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FSU vs. Syracuse: Staff predictions

How we think things will play out on Saturday.

Scott Shafer and Jimbo Fisher
Scott Shafer and Jimbo Fisher
Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The 'Noles are set to host the Orange in a noon tilt on Halloween-- here's how we think this one goes.

Bud Elliott:

Click on over to the preview podcast for this pick, along with that of Ingram Smith.

David Visser:

While the defense continues to establish itself as more playmakers emerge every week, Syracuse finds a way to put up points, week in and week out (they've not yet finished with fewer than 20). The real concerns here are squarely on an offense that continues to shuffle linemen, is without Dalvin Cook, and has question marks at the quarterback position. Until FSU shows otherwise, I think it continues to start slowly and play to the level of its competition.

This one could look a lot like Georgia Tech-- minus the incredible finish. Still, the 'Noles could provide a few Halloween scares for fans. FSU 27, 'Cuse 17.

Matt Minnick:

It's fitting this game is on All Hallows' Eve because FSU's offense could be scary. A couple of turnovers and continued woeful performances in the redzone could very well result in a loss. Syracuse isn't great, but they are scrappy and proved they can move the ball on both LSU and Pitt.

Ultimately I see a low scoring game with the Noles trailing early and tied at the half, before pulling out an ugly 26-16 win.


I'm always wrong, but I'll give you all my wrong predictions anyway.

I don't see how the line is -20.5 FSU. The over/under suggests a 38-17 type game. I think this Dungey kid is pretty decent. I like Vegas' 17 for SYR here, but put me down for 30 or 31 for FSU. 31-17, there ya go.


Gotta avoid the hangover because Syracuse is no pushover. Look for a dose of young WRs and let's hope for zero injuries before Clemson. FSU gets past Syracuse, 27-13.


I thought the 20ish point line was too high even before the Cook news. 'Cuse has lost close in a few games this year. This is a dangerous spot for FSU, coming off of a loss with a look ahead to Clemson next week. I'll be interested to see how this team plays mentally. Do they recover? Stop making dumb mistakes? Can they execute in the red zone/eliminate penalties in the red zone, etc. With Cook out, does Patrick get a chance to have a breakout game? What other players fill the void, if any? I look for a really shaky, ugly first half that will have fans groaning. But in the end, FSU relies on defense and some explosive plays in the second to pull away. I'll say 27- 20, FSU.


This is a tough one. FSU is without Cook and could be without Golson, and that doesn't include the other players that have already been injured this year. Syracuse is also a better team than its record. Like Georgia Tech, 'Cuse really hasn't gotten blown out and can be dangerous. I'm really not sure what FSU can do on offense, but I do believe they can do a number on the Syracuse offensive attack. I'll say FSU gets scores, or at least in a position to score, a few times due to turnovers, and the offensive line bounces back. FSU 21 - SU 10.

Curt Weiler:

The main question entering this game will be whether this young team, that has not been through many losses, especially in the regular season, will respond from its first conference loss in over three years. I believe that they will play angry in all the right ways, leaving little doubt in this one.

With Dalvin Cook out of the picture for this week, Everett Golson will be called upon to carry a larger portion of the Florida State offense. He will answer the call with great success, having possibly his best game as a Seminole on the Orange, who have the worst pass defense in the ACC.

When it's all said and done, Florida State wins 37-13, controlling the game on both sides of the ball and ensuring that one loss doesn't become two.


TimScribble: In honor of Halloween, FSU has decided to play their zombie squad against Syracuse. The blocking dead will be without key players against 'Cuse, which should make for an ugly game. Could this be a breakout game for monster running back, Jacques Patrick? Will some of the young, but giant wide receivers play? Will Jimbo strangle a quarterback on the field? The Seminoles sneak by 'Cuse, 24-14.


It doesn't matter that Dalvin Cook won't be playing, and that Sean Maguire may start under center. FSU's talent advantage will be enough for our offense to best SU's defense more often than not with the Patrick/Freddie/Vickers backfield.

FSU's defense, on the other hand, will dominate the Orange offense. I am sincerely concerned about QB Dungey's welfare, considering his history, and I hope he makes it through the game healthy and his remaining college career is injury free. Syracuse will probably score a couple of touchdowns, but, overall, its offense will be pretty much stymied and contained for most of the game by the FSU defense.

FSU 27- SU 17


Last week was a trick, so prepare for the treat. No Dalvin? That's a blessing in disguise. 13 days to rest the Hammy is crucial. We need Cook back to at least 71% health vs. Clemson. After all, their orange is brighter than Syracuse's.

To Saturday...who's dressing out? No clue. It'll feel like the southern hemisphere in Doak: hot on Halloween and an offense resembling the Spring Game.

Everett Goulson playing? No clue. Expect heaping handfuls of Jonathan Snickers.

OZ runs to the right? Welcome to the Brock-n-Jacques Show!

This is the week FSU puts it all together: I really think that Quarterback X will find rhythm with Receiver X, and Running Back X finds gaping holes running behind Rodareem Mavubletinez.

Blackout FSU 25, Orange People 19


'Noles are ailing, with questions about their top two RBs, their starting QB, and multiple WR reserves and two (3?) OL starters out. That's just offense. Terrance Smith will hopefully be back for Clemson, but I don't see 'Cuse moving it despite having a good young QB. 34-16, 'Noles.

Andrew Miller:

FSU 21, 'Cuse 17 - Without Dalvin Cook, I think the offense will struggle mightily, and the defense will surrender two big plays resulting in touchdowns, not necessarily steady drives. FSU has been so inconsistent on both sides of the ball all year; you can never really tell if it's gonna be a blowout or a close game. This 'Cuse team showed they can stay in games late against Pitt and Louisville, but against FSU, they won't be able to close.

Josh Pick:

Whether Dalvin Cook's missing this game with an ankle or hamstring doesn't matter---it's smart for Jimbo Fisher to rest him. Same with Terrance Smith. FSU isn't beating Clemson without those two. However, I think the Noles should still be able to win this one, although I was pretty surprised by such a lopsided Vegas line. I think the Florida State defense is the difference Saturday: Seminoles win 27-14.

Michael Rogner:

After FSU's first regular season loss in years, we now get to see how resilient this team is. Luckily, they get to test themselves against an FCS opponent. 'Noles 31-7.