Pondering SU football as the season draws near

It's September 1, and college football season is upon us. I decided to take a one-day getaway to Cascades Indoor Waterpark in Cortland to relax before the crazy work schedule of football season commences. However, as I try to relax I can't help but analyze the upcoming Syracuse University football season.

This place is easy to relax at, very quiet, even with children enjoying the waterslides and wave pools. Kind of reminds me of my childhood, not to date myself, but the 1990s when things for Orange fans were different, but I can honestly say my excitement level for the 2010 SU football season is only matched by those seasons in the McNabb era.

I'm traveling to Akron on Saturday. I feel confident in predicting a 27-16 win for the Orange, there's only hesitance based on being burned from 2005-2008 on these sorts of games the Orange are supposed to win. I hope its not as hot in Akron as it is here today. I'm excited to see Scott Shafer's attacking defense and how Dan Conley and John Anselmo's linebacker and secondary units look respectively, as well as the new recruits Doug Marrone has brought in.

The view from the balcony here is fantastic and it reminds me of the season. As it always will be, the football season is a long winding road that has its fair share of mountains to climb. I look to the left, the ski slope here at Greek Peak reminds me that the Akron game, if lost it could make the season one very slippery slope. Want another cliche? It would make the season like the indoor waterslides, a downward spiral.

But enough negativity. The Orange are a new bunch the past year-plus since Marrone took over. This really could be THAT year that seemed so mythical when the previous regime was in town. The year the Orange are bowling again.

If the Orange beat the Zips, a 3-1 or better September is likely. Jake Locker and Washington on the road will be extremely difficult but the back to back Maine and Colgate matchups should be wins. A bye week preceeds a Big East gauntlet of sorts, USF, Pitt, West Virginia, and Cincinnati. Syracuse hasn't beaten any of those teams since wins over Pitt and Cincy in 2004. SU hasn't taken out West Virginia since 2001 and has never beaten South Florida. There's no telling what will happen but to be honest I like SU's chances for a bowl even if they can win just one of those October battles, best bet is USF on the 9th.

This November has the potential to be one of the most exciting in recent memory. It features three of four games in the Carrier Dome kicking off with Louisville at home on the 6th. I would say that SU has a great chance at that one, then again neither team has played a game yet, but bear with me! An exciting game personally for me, I'll be there as a fan instead of a journalist. A friend is getting married, wedding is at 5:30 so the groom and all of us groomsmen are taking in the game before ceremonies. Not wearing the wedding tuxes, since the colors are red and black (really?? C'mon know the SU schedule when you do things like that!)

After that is a road date with Rutgers, I'm on the fence with this one, even though RU is a rival and I know SU will be in it, and absolutely crushed the Scarlet Knights last year in one of my favorite games to cover to date. The road and revenge factor are at work here casting a little uncertainty in my mind. That's followed by a home date with Connecticut. We remember UConn taking those late, unnecessary shots at the end zone when the game was already in hand. We remember the post game "handshake" with Marrone and UConn Coach Randy Edsall afterwards and rest assured the team remembers everthing. In my opinion this game is last year's Rutgers game, an emphatic win the "experts" don't see coming. The renewal of the Boston College rivalry Thanksgiving weekend is a nice way to close things out.

Syracuse CAN win all four of those games, and they COULD lose all four. As I sit in the lavish accommodations here at the resort, I think to myself that in just four months members of our sports department could be in a hotel room for a bowl game!

Let's go with this, SU beats Akron, Maine, Colgate, USF, Louisville, Rutgers, Uconn for a 7-5 record (4-3 in conference) and beats Brian Mueller's Missouri Tigers in the Pinstripe Bowl. If that doesn't get you excited, watch the 2009 SU football open on YouTube. Tthat'll get the blood pumping.

Well, I'll enjoy the rest of the calm before the football storm, but get ready fans, 2010 SU Football is upon us!