With all of the realignment and rescheduling nonsense going on around the country, we wanted to give a breakdown of each of the ACC‘s schedules — how the teams stack up, and some thoughts on overall difficulty. If these change at all, we’ll also be sure to update them on a rolling basis. All information is up-to-date as of publishing, based on the latest from FBSchedules.com.
Today’s breakdown: Syracuse Orange
Syracuse managed to fill the gaping hole in their 2012 schedule late last Thursday, securing a road date with the Missouri Tigers. So long as Temple‘s on board for the Big East next year, their last opening will be taken up by a trip to Philadelphia. As for the rest of their non-conference slate, however, it’s no picnic. On top of the difficult trip to Missouri, SU also travels to Minnesota (‘Cuse fans may recall the Greg Paulus game a few years back) and faces off with USC on neutral ground in New Jersey. At home, the Orange get a tough test with Northwestern, along with the customary FCS tune-up game with Stony Brook. Putting it mildly, this is a challenging group of games for any team — but especially so for a team hoping to rebound a bit from a disappointing 2011. If this team expected to take it easy en route to bowl eligibility in 2012, no such luck.
The conference slate sets up equally difficult for Syracuse. As mentioned, Temple’s membership would be another road game to go along with the three already on the schedule in the Big East. In all, that’ll be six true road tests, and one neutral site in 2012 — harrowing, to say the least. On the bright side, the Orange get the teams they’ve struggled with most of late (Pitt, Louisville & Connecticut) at the Dome. On the other hand, they’ve failed to find all that much success against their road opponents either. In a very evenly matched Big East, the distance between first and last will likely be no more than a win or two, meaning they’ll need to muster up the type of mental toughness absent for much of the 2011 season. If SU can finish the non-league schedule at 3-2, I’d tend to think they have a fighting chance to go bowling, if not strive for even more.
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