Syracuse Football: Orange is poised for ‘good year,’ says expert Phil Steele

Syracuse football (Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports)
Syracuse football (Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports) /

Syracuse football is looking to make a second bowl game in a row this coming season, and one of the top experts in college football thinks that the Orange is in store for a solid campaign in 2023.

Phil Steele, one of the best in the business, recently conducted an interesting interview with two of my favorites, Steve Infanti and Paulie Scibilia, on their ESPN Radio Syracuse program, “Orange Nation.”

In the interview, Steele discussed, of course, the ‘Cuse, along with the rest of the Atlantic Coast Conference and other teams in the national landscape.

Some odds-makers, at present, have the Orange’s over/under win total for the 2023 term set at 6.5 victories. Phil Steele told Orange Nation that he’s leaning toward the “over” for the ‘Cuse in the upcoming stanza.

I’m no expert, but I agree with Steele. I’m projecting a regular-season record of 7-5 for Syracuse football in 2023, which would include reaching a second-consecutive bowl game.

Well-respected expert Phil Steele shares more thoughts on Syracuse football.

The Orange’s non-conference docket consists of home contests against Colgate, Western Michigan and Army, along with a road game versus Purdue. Steele says a 4-0 start for the ‘Cuse isn’t out of the question.

The next three affairs for the Orange are rough, as Syracuse football will host Clemson and then travel to both North Carolina and Florida State. Phil Steele is forecasting three losses for the ‘Cuse.

The remaining five encounters for Syracuse football are at Virginia Tech, home versus Boston College, playing Pittsburgh at Yankee Stadium in New York City, at Georgia Tech and against Wake Forest at the JMA Wireless Dome.

There are numerous winnable games in there for the Orange, Steele says. We all know that the ‘Cuse began the 2022 stanza at 6-0, was ranked inside the top 15 and was leading Clemson on the road.

But then, sadly, everything pretty much fell apart, as Syracuse football would go 1-6, including a heartbreaking setback to the Tigers, to finish at 7-6 a year ago. Phil Steele says he doesn’t think everything will fall apart for the Orange this season as it did in the second half of last year.

He adds that he believes the 2023 campaign will be a “good year” for head coach Dino Babers and his assistants. Steele says he’s bullish on the ‘Cuse defense and loves the addition of new defensive coordinator Rocky Long. Syracuse football will prove “tough defensively,” Phil Steele adds.

Interestingly enough, even with star running back Sean Tucker now in the pros, Steele says the Orange offense can be better in 2023 than it was in 2022, given that presumed starting running back LeQuint Allen Jr. will be available this fall, and assuming that starting quarterback Garrett Shrader is fully healthy (he missed spring practice after undergoing a procedure for an injury to his right arm, per SU Athletics).

Infanti and Scibilia asked Phil Steele if he has concerns about the Syracuse football wide-receivers group, outside of Oronde Gadsden II, a wide receiver/tight end who will contend for All-America and All-ACC honors in 2023.

Steele responded that the dependable Damien Alford will likely be the No. 2 wide receiver on the Orange’s depth chart, Umari Hatcher has talent and Trebor Pena is dynamic. Those four guys should be a solid mix for Shrader, according to Steele.

As far as the cream of the crop in the ACC, Phil Steele says the top-two teams will be Florida State and Clemson. He says FSU will be the preseason pick to win the league, but he is projecting Clemson to go 12-0, earn the ACC’s grand prize and make the College Football Playoff.

A couple of days ago, 247Sports released its predicted order of finish in this year’s ACC, with Florida State at No. 1, Clemson at No. 2 and Syracuse football at No. 10. Personally, I’d have the ‘Cuse up a bit higher, but Orange players will have plenty of opportunities to show the experts how good they (hopefully) will be in 2023.

Next. New Syracuse football RB commit has persevered, to provide strong depth. dark