Broad Overview: Syracuse is a solid ACC program on the rise that looks to be in a rebuilding year. This will be their first game at home, defeating Liberty on the road 24-0 and losing to Maryland away 63-20. Turnover differential is a volatile year-to-year statistic, and Syracuse was exceptionally lucky in the turnover department last year. It doesn’t help that impressive quarterback Eric Dungey graduated either.
Believe it or not, Syracuse actually returns three first team All-ACC players from 2018. One of Syracuse’s best players isn’t draft eligible yet, as true sophomore safety Andre Cisco was a first team All-ACC pick as a freshman last year. In addition to both specialists and Cisco, defensive end Alton Robinson (2nd team all ACC) leads the Orange on defense as the 25th ranked prospect on The Draft Network’s 2020 Big Board.
In addition to Syracuse being better in 17 and 18 than they likely are this year, both games involved injuries to Clemson’s starting quarterback. Kelly Bryant probably played at less than full health (despite coaching staff assurances) in 2017, and Trevor Lawrence leaving the game combined with the saga of Bryant leaving in 2018 (and CJ Fuller’s death) introduced hard-to-quantify factors in the game last year.
Syracuse has struggled at linebacker so far this season, which means that Etienne and Lyn-J could dominate on the ground in the Carrier Dome if the Tigers jump to an early lead.
Oddshark Segment: Clemson is favored by 27.5 points, and 56% of bets have Clemson covering the spread. The over/under is 64.5 points and 65% of betters have taken the over. Oddshark’s projected score is 54.6 Clemson to 19.5 Syracuse.
William’s Take: Dino Babers is an excellent coach with an excellent scheme who has done a wonderful job at Syracuse. The Orange have the potential to cause Clemson problems (see 2017 and 2018), but Clemson is akin to FSU in the 1990s with its run of dominance in ACC play. This doesn’t look to be Syracuse’s year to challenge Clemson (UNC looks excellent however) – Clemson 48 Syracuse 17