The Army Black Knights are typically not the kind of team you’d want to overlook for a few reasons. They’ve made some respectable runs in recent memory, they are never beyond fooling defenses with their unique playstyle (an option offense that new offensive coordinator Drew Thatcher hopes to add a more reliable passing game too), and they are coming off of a non-losing season.
Yet, with all of that said, I’m willing to give Syracuse the W in this one anyway.
Of Army’s six wins from last year, its strongest was a 34-17 home victory over UConn, a team that finished its 2022 stretch with a negative record of 6-7. That combined with the Orange having both the home-field advantage and a drive to keep their winning record alive will ultimately be what puts them over the top.
Here is where things start to get ugly. Clemson will be the first of multiple teams to down Syracuse throughout this section of the schedule—and it probably won’t be pretty.
The Tigers will be a very entertaining team to follow, as the country will be seeing a lot more from quarterback Cade Klubnik. Klubnik is a very interesting talent; while many hold him in high regard for what he’s shown so far, he is just now getting a chance to establish more of his limits with D.J. Uiagalelei transferring to Oregon State.
Another factor that really adds to the excitement surrounding Clemson is its hiring of offensive coordinator Garrett Riley. Riley is an award-winning OC who crafted his image with TCU, as it was his offense that led the Horned Frogs to the national title game last season.
Nothing about any of that looks good for the Orange. It is their Homecoming game, though. So I guess that helps a little, just not nearly enough.
@ North Carolina (L)
I’ll keep this one brief: The Tar Heels will be hosting this game in the notoriously rowdy Kenan Stadium. They have an esteemed head coach in Mack Brown and a Heisman-worthy quarterback in Drake Maye. They also made the ACC title game last year.
Syracuse has to deal with all of that just a week after getting manhandled by Clemson? Yeah, no thanks. Akron is hosting Northern Illinois that weekend, so I think I’ll take my chances on watching them instead.