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Preseason predictions: Syracuse

Posted by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett

Three predictions for the 2009 Syracuse Orange ...

1. Greg Paulus will start at least one game at quarterback: The most-watched story on the Orange this year will be how the former Duke basketball player adjusts to the gridiron. While I have an extremely difficult time envisioning that Paulus can start immediately after four years away from the sport and only a few weeks of practice at the college level, I think he will see playing time and eventually get at least one start. It's not like he has to beat out Donovan McNabb; current starter Ryan Nassib is completely unproven as well.

2. The Orange will beat Louisville again: First-year Syracuse coach Doug Marrone will continue Syracuse's recent mastery of the Cardinals with a third straight win in the series, even though this one is on the road. Louisville and the Orange will be in a fight to avoid the Big East cellar this season, and this victory will give Syracuse an upper hand in that dubious battle.

3. Progress, though incremental, will be evident: Marrone isn't going to work miracles and suddenly get this program to a New Year's Day bowl. Given the Orange's brutal opening stretch (Minnesota, at Penn State, Northwestern), the team is likely going to get off to a slow start. But the offense will be a lot more fun to watch, and the team will compete against some of the Big East big boys. Think four or five wins, which sadly is still an improvement over the Greg Robinson era.