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Beats' picks: Can Duke football recover against Syracuse?

<p>Will Quentin Harris and company be able to turn it around Saturday?</p>

Will Quentin Harris and company be able to turn it around Saturday?

Prior to each Duke football game, The Chronicle’s Evan Kolin, Ramona Naseri, Derek Saul, Shane Smith and Dilan Trivedi make their predictions for the contest and we’ll track their records throughout the season. Here are their takes on the Blue Devils’ matchup with Syracuse Saturday:

Evan Kolin: Duke 27-14

The Blue Devils have had a rough month. Lucky for them, they get perhaps the worst team in the ACC coming to town this weekend. Syracuse is yet to win in conference play this season, and despite Duke’s own recent struggles, I don’t see that changing Saturday. The Blue Devil offense will rebound, taking control early and cruising to get within one game of clinching bowl eligibility.

Ramona Naseri: Syracuse 27-15

Duke has been struggling lately, and although the Blue Devils are favored to win this matchup, Syracuse is going to dominate the game. Quentin Harris and company have had a hard time putting points on the scoreboard, struggles that will continue this weekend. Duke hasn’t faced a team with a pocket passer like Tommy DeVito since its blowout loss to Alabama, inexperience that will hinder them Saturday.

Derek Saul: Duke 24-14

There's no better way to spend a Saturday afternoon than braving near-freezing temperatures and rain to watch two teams that are a combined 2-5 in ACC play, right? Though I can't say I recommend tuning into this one, I expect the Blue Devils to come out on top, as they have more closely resembled a competent football team than the inept Orange. 

Shane Smith: Duke 38-17

It hasn’t been a smooth last few weeks for the Blue Devils, but Syracuse will provide a nice springboard in an attempt to secure bowl eligibility over the last few weeks of the season. Duke should have great field position throughout the game thanks to its defense and running back Deon Jackson will emerge for his best game of the season.

Dilan Trivedi: Syracuse 24-13

If there is a team for Duke to turn its offense around against, it has to be the Orange. Syracuse entered the season as a top-25 team, but its season has since derailed. Unfortunately for Blue Devil fans, I can’t get behind the offense which has looked passive, hapless and lost since the Georgia Tech outburst.

Overall results:

Evan Kolin: 6-3

Ramona Naseri: 7-2

Derek Saul: 8-1

Shane Smith: 5-4

Dilan Trivedi: 6-3

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