Syracuse is considered to have one of the toughest schedules in the country entering the 2014 season. CuseNation.com takes a look at the schedule below.
Most Important Game
Maryland: Syracuse is expecting to be 2-0 entering the game against the Terps. After that, Syracuse has a brutal stretch where they face Notre Dame, Louisville, Florida State and Clemson over a five game span. Defeating Maryland to improve to 3-0 entering that stretch would be huge for managing the rest of the schedule. In that scenario, even if Syracuse lost each of those four games, there are still five very winnable games left. Losing the Maryland games means Syracuse would almost have to pull off an upset in order to get to the seven or eight win mark.
September 27th through October 25th: Syracuse starts a tough five game stretch by facing Notre Dame at MetLife stadium on September 27th. After that, they welcome Louisville to the Carrier Dome for a Friday Night matchup. The following Saturday, the Seminoles come to town in what will be the most hyped game of the season (see below). After a road trip to Wake Forest, the Orange face Clemson in Death Valley. What a brutal five game stretch for Syracuse with several teams that could be nationally ranked. Going 2-3 in that stretch will be a win.
Most Hyped Game
Florida State: The defending national champions and Heisman Trophy winner come to the Carrier Dome for what is sure to be a near sellout crowd. The game may end up similar, score wise, to the Clemson matchup last season, but Syracuse will be hyped up for the game. The team, the coaching staff and the community will be buzzing for a big time college football game. The Dome will be electric at kickoff and it should be fun to see the stadium come alive.
Wake Forest: In the middle of the brutal four game stretch is a road matchup with Wake Forest. Syracuse is a better team than the Demon Deacons, but they could fall victim to a game against a lesser opponent after getting up for three straight prime time matchups. It is also sandwiched between the Florida State game and a road trip to Clemson. This is a classic trap game in every sense.
Syracuse has the potential to get off to a 2-0 start with a season opener against FCS Villanova and MAC opponent Central Michigan. Syracuse is better than both teams. Even though the game against CMU is a road game, the Orange should be able to win that game if they play to their ability. That start is important to navigate the rest of the schedule in order to get the desired win total.
Rivalries to End the Season
Pittsburgh and Boston College: Syracuse ends the season with road trips to Pitt and B.C. Two traditional northeast rivals who have had some classic battles with the Orange over the years. Having those teams at the end of the schedule every season is a great thing for the continuation of those rivalries.