Welcome to the party, pal. Syracuse's inaugural season as an ACC member is here, and circumstances could be a bit more ideal for the Orange considering that Doug Marrone took the Buffalo Bills head coaching job during the offseason and the team has to replace Ryan Nassib at quarterback. Syracuse replaced Marrone from within, promoting defensive coordinator Scott Shafer to the head coaching position, which may lessen the adjustment period for a program coming off an 8-5 season.
2013 Syracuse schedule
Projections from Football Outsiders' 2013 college football almanac.
As far as the league slate goes, Syracuse is getting tossed right into the fire -- its first-ever ACC game is against Clemson. The Orange have a road trip to Georgia Tech two weeks after that, as well as a road game at Florida State in November. Most of the Atlantic Division -- Syracuse's new home -- isn't much to be frightened about, though, so plenty of games are there for the taking.
The Orange aren't wasting any time getting into the tough part of their non-conference schedule, either; they open the season with a neutral-site game against Penn State, then follow that up with a road trip to Northwestern. They could easily be sitting at 0-2 after those first two games, but on the bright side, the two non-conference games that follow should prove to be suspense-free tuneups to conference play.
And they have the potential to finish strong. Setting the daunting visit to Tallahassee aside, the Orange have four winnable contests in November, three of them at home. If they capitalize there, they should have an ACC debut they can feel good about.