ORANGE OUTLOOKSYRACUSE -- A new era begins soon for Syracuse football. The 2013 season will see the Orange in a new conference, the ACC, with a new head coach, Robin Hood. The question is, will the program ascend to new heights, or will the mediocrity continue in New York? Here's a look at this year's squad: QUARTERBACKS: After a three-way competition in fall practice, redshirt sophomore Terrel Hunt (79 OVR) has been named SU's starting QB. Hunt's arm is a notch below that of RS Sr Drew Allen (83 OVR) and RS Sr Charley Loeb (82 OVR), but Hunt's playmaking ability with his legs is something only he could provide, and is a dynamic the offense will look to use to its advantage, whether it be through option runs or with Hunt scrambling from pressure to extend the play. RUNNING BACKS: Now for the strength of the offense, the tailbacks. Junior Jerome Smith (85 OVR) provides a nice mixture of size (217 pounds) and speed (91 speed) and will be the team's main ball carrier. Speedy senior Prince Tyson-Gulley (82 OVR) and will also see playing time, especially out of the shotgun and in the passing game. With an inexperienced quarterback who doesn't have a great arm, the Orange will have to be able to move the chains on the ground. WIDE RECEIVERS/TIGHT ENDS: The stable of options Hunt will have at his disposal is an intriguing one. Junior Jarrod West (83 OVR) is the leader of the pack, and at 6-foot-2, 202 lbs, provides Hunt with a sizable target. Opposite West will be, no, not east, but Christopher Clark (80 OVR). The 5-foot-10, 160 lb senior is the unit's fastest starter with 93 speed. Sophomore Quinta Funderburk (77 OVR) will lineup in the slot and will see plenty of reps. Junior Jeremiah Kobena (79 OVR) will be the team's 4th WR, as a drop-plagued preseason dropped him down the depth chart, despite his 96 speed. Senior Beckett Wales (81 OVR) is the starting tight end, a position Hunt will look to often. Taking the field in double TE sets will be redshirt freshman Aaron Batten (75 OVR), the program's tight end of the future. OFFENSIVE LINE: The Orange may lack elite talent on offense, but the skill position pieces are in play for a solid offensive attack. They'll need the boys in the trenches to out-perform their ratings, though. From left to right: LT: JR Sean Hickey (77 OVR) LG: RS FR Omari Palmer (75 OVR) C: SR Macky MacPherson (87 OVR) RG: RS SO Nick Robinson (76 OVR) RT: RS SO Rob Trudo (70 OVR)The good news is Hunt is mobile. The bad news, though, is that he may find himself on the run quite often. The interior of the line has held up well in practice sessions and a recent online game, but the right tackle spot may be in flux all year. DEFENSIVE LINE: Juniors Robert Welsh (72 OVR) and Trevon Trejo (76 OVR) are the starting DE's, though a handful of others will see limited action in select packages. Anchoring the 3-4 line is redshirt freshman John Raymon (79 OVR). The coaching staff has high hopes for the 6-foot-5, 319-pounder whom they view as a future star. He will have to produce right away, keeping blockers from getting to the second level easily and providing a stout run defense. LINEBACKERS: Seniors Marquis Spruill (88 OVR) and Fred Aliyu (70 OVR) will anchor the inside, while juniors Cameron Lynch (75 OVR) and Dyshawn Davis (86 OVR) will be the outside backers. Not prototypical 3-4 backers, the four will have to adjust to coach Hood's scheme on the fly and become effective in both rush and pass defense, as strong linebacking play is the key to Hood's defense. SECONDARY: Just like the rest of the defensive unit - and team, for that matter - the secondary on paper seems average. Seniors Keon Lyn (80 OVR) and Ri'Shard Anderson (76 OVR) are the starting corners, senior Jeremi Wilkes (77 OVR) is at free safety and sophomore Wayne Morgan (74 OVR) occupies strong safety. The key for this group will be to minimalize the big play. Teams will likely be able to pass pretty well on the Orange, but if 'Cuse can keep wideouts in front of them, this unit likely won't lose the team many games. Junior Brandon Reddish (76 OVR) and true freshman Brisly Estime (71 OVR) will also see plenty of reps in nickel and dime packages. SPECIALISTS: Senior Ross Krautman (84 OVR) is the place kicker and junior Jonathan Fisher (81 OVR) is the punter. Tyson-Gulley will handle return duties. With a roster lacking elite playmakers, winning the special teams battle in terms of field position will be extremely pivotal for the Orange. VERDICT: Coach Hood has his work cut out for him, and he knew that coming into the job. It's part of why he took the job; it'll be a process. But just because the National Championship is not on this squad's radar does not mean that anything will fly. Anything less than a 7-5 record will be a disappointment, while anything above 8-4 will be a pleasant surprise. If Hunt is effective and stays healthy, bowl eligibility shouldn't be an issue for the Orange. If the QB play goes south, the defense may have to be near the top of the ACC in takeaways for this team to be much of a threat to the conference's upper echelon. User games against Clemson and Florida State appear to be the toughest on the team's slate. It'd be nice to defeat fellow users, but the key to a successful season for the Orange will be defeating the CPU opponents, paving a way to a bowl game.