If there's one Big East Conference football program that enters the season with the most question marks, it could be the Syracuse Orange. Coming off one of the programs most turbulent years under now fourth-year head coach Doug Marrone -- SU began the season 5-2 before losing five straight to end the year -- SU gridiron fans really don't know what to expect, especially when its squad will play the nation's toughest non-conference schedule.
Despite the tough out-of-conference slate, which includes national title contenders the USC Trojans and Missouri Tigers, Syracuse will need to deal with a league it finished seventh out of eight teams last season. The Orange ended their year with five straight losses, all Big East games, and seemed like a completely different team which earned its way into and won the Pinstripe Bowl a season before.
For the third full season, senior quarterback Ryan Nassib will be the Orange's starting quarterback. Nassib is coming off a solid 2011-12 campaign and will begin the year fourth in school history in passing yards (5,441) and touchdowns passes (44).
Other than Nassib, the Orange have a lot of issues on offense that need to be answered, and quickly. First, SU is still lacking a big-play threat at the wide receiver position, even though, senior Alec Lemon earned Big East Second-Team honors last year. Fans are hoping returner Marcus Sales, who missed last year with a suspension, can be Nassib's play-making guy.
On defense, Syracuse should see improvements as Marquis Spruill, a Big East Second-Team selection, returns along with seven other players on defense, including last year's impactful rookies linebackers Cameron Lynch and Dyshawn Davis.
For a full preview and updates on the Big East media day, check back to this SB Nation New York StoryStream. For on the Syracuse football program visit the SB Nation blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician, while Big East Coast Bias is all about the Big East Conference.