The 2018 spring college football rankings, taking the first look at the Syracuse Orange.
No. 59: Syracuse Orange
Spring Practice Starts: March 4
Spring Game: April 13
Syracuse Orange Spring Status
After three straight 4-8 seasons, and with just 11 wins over FBS teams over the last four years, it’s time to finally start being in the bowl game mix again.
Good enough to stun Clemson last season, that was it for the fun, losing five straight to close out the year. However, to be fair, it was a brutal, brutal, brutal schedule, facing ten bowl teams including LSU, Miami, Florida State, Louisville and NC State all on the road.
This year’s team should be a killer offensively, with eight starters returning including QB Eric Dungey, four starters up front, and RB Dontae Strickland.
The D was the problem, though, and it’ll need a little work after losing five starters, but getting back three starters up front and three more in the secondary.
Now in Year Three of the era, it’s time for head coach Dino Babers to start winning more. With an easier schedule and a stronger team, it’s time.
Syracuse Biggest Depth Chart Battle
Wide receiver. The linebacking corps is close, too.
The offense makes the receivers – at least a little bit – but there was talent last year, too. All Steve Ishmael did was catch 105 passes for 1,347 yards and seven scores, and Ervin Philips made 89 grabs for 904 yards and four scores.
The hope is for Devin Butler, Jamal Custis and Nykeim Johnson to turn into the new stars – and getting TE Ravian Pierce back helps – but the Orange are losing two big-time playmakers.
Syracuse Biggest Issue
Pass rush. The offense is going to carry the defense, but at least the D has to carry a little weight and start making more big things happen.
In 2013, Syracuse came up with 36 sacks, and have gone steadily downhill since then. Under Dino Babers, the defense came up with 16 in 2016, and 16 in 2017 with just 67 tackles for loss. The front has to give the secondary a bit of a break.
Syracuse Biggest Positive
The passing game should be great. Even with the new parts in the starting receiver slots, the offense is designed to crank up the big-time passing production. As long as Dungey can stay in one piece – not a given considering his injury history, expect at least 4,000 yards of passing.
Really, Why Are The Syracuse Orange Ranked Here?
This is when it’s all supposed to work. The offense will be fine, but it has to stop turning the ball over so much. The defense has to be far, far, FAR better after allowing 152 points over the last three games. Being at least two wins better with a bowl appearance isn’t too much to ask.