Syracuse vs. Wake Forest - Thursday, September 1, 2011 - 8:00 p.m. - ESPN3.com
Carrier Dome - Syracuse, NY
Point Spread: Syracuse -6.5
The 2011 campaign will be the 122nd season in Syracuse football history. The Orange are coming off their first winning season since 2001. Syracuse will raise a banner at halftime on Thursday to commemorate their 2010 Pinstripe Bowl win over Kansas State. Wake Forest won the only other meeting between the two schools in 2006 with a 20-10 in Winston-Salem.
Syracuse 8-5 (4-3)
Wake Forest 3-9 (1-7)
Syracuse can't let the fans down on Pinstripe Bowl Champions Day (granted, attendance projections for the game aren't pretty). There are people picking Wake Forest to win this game. I didn't read any good reasons for such a prediction so I'm not even going to bother going into those predictions. The game notes reveal that the Demon Deacons 0-3 all-time in domes. So right off the bat, that's a strike against their chances. More importantly, Wake Forest was awful last year, let's not forget that. They return 17 starters from that team. I don't know if that is the best thing for them. It is true that the Deacs QBs got injured and that forced true-freshman Tanner Price into action. He's the guy again this year. The strength of the offense is going to be running back Josh Harris who rushed for 720 yards and 7 touchdowns last season.
Syracuse will not have the luxury of Delone Carter in the backfield this year. However, Antwon Bailey will take the pressure off of quarterback Ryan Nassib as another receiving option. Bailey is already first all-time at Syracuse in receptions by a running back and should finish first in receiving yards by a running back at Syracuse as well. Having several returning receivers (I'm including tight end Nick Provo) and most of the offensive line back will help the offense from backsliding. The defense was the strength of the Orange team last year. Philip Thomas returns at free safety after making 92 stops last season. Syracuse returns a total of five starters on defense. I think there will be some kinks to work out on that end for the Orange. I don't think that Syracuse will be in real trouble in this game and that a late score will make the final score appear closer than it was.
Score Prediction: Syracuse 24, Wake Forest 17