We’re under 100 days from the college football season! Spring has come and gone so all that’s left to do is get the rest of the freshman class on campus and get ready for August. In the meantime our previews and predictions continue. Today, we’ll examine what the experts think about how high SU could fly this fall. Here’s what 247sports.com writer Austin Nivison had to say:
“Syracuse Orange | 7-5 — The Orange are coming off a truly miserable 2020 season in which they went 1-10 with the only victory coming against Georgia Tech. That makes it hard to imagine a turnaround like this for Syracuse, but this is the best-case scenario. If Syracuse can go 3-1 in their non-conference slate, the Orange would only need to go .500 in conference play to reach seven wins.”
I don’t think previous seasons and records have any sort of merit in any discussion about predicting the future. Just think about UCF from 2015 when the Golden Knights went 0-12, then proceeded to finish 13-0 in 2017. How about Michigan going 5-7 in 2014, then 10-3 in 2015. There are plenty of examples that discredit this “theory” that just because a team went 1-10 last year, they can’t win in the next season.
On the other hand, the turnaround from 1-10 to 7-5 would be impressive. SU’s schedule is brutal this year and it’s not loaded with non-conference cupcakes. Click here for more in-depth analysis on the slate, but here’s a quick reminder:
Home: Wake Forest, Clemson, Boston College, Pittsburgh
Away: Florida State, Virginia Tech, Louisville (off a bye week), NC State
Non-Conference: @ Ohio, vs Rutgers, vs UAlbany, vs Liberty
The path to seven wins seems like a lot to ask for but as Nivison says, all SU needs to do is go 3-1 in non-con play and break even in ACC competition. At this point in the Dino Babers tenure and with all the talent returning from last year, the Orange should beat Ohio and UAlbany.
Between Rutgers and Liberty (both home games), ‘Cuse needs to pull an upset. Syracuse should have a better chance against Liberty so long as the defense isn’t gashed on every HB Dive up the middle.
As for breaking even in conference play, SU needs to win four of its eight games (good math). The four most likely W’s are NC State, Pittsburgh, Louisville, and Virginia Tech. By no means does this mean the Orange will be favored to win these games, but these are the four weakest squads on the schedule and thus the best chances for victories.
The path to the best case scenario 2021 season definitely exists and is possible. Now is it attainable? There’s no reason to believe so after just six total wins in 2019 and 2020. As previously mentioned, the past doesn’t always define the future. The onus falls upon Babers and Company to prove the critics wrong and give SU Nation reasons to believe.