The Home Stretch: Here’s How Syracuse Can Finish 6-6 & In A Bowl Game

The Fizz breaks down how likely it is the Orange can make a bowl game this year.

Photo from

It hasn’t happened since 1999.

And in the nearly decade and a half afterword came years of turmoil, Saturday afternoons that featured empty Carrier Domes and general misfortune. Back in 1999 was the last time the Syracuse football team went to back-to-back bowl games. And the Orange, 14 years later, has a chance to finally accomplish the feat in its first year in the ACC. The Cuse sits at 4-4 and 2-2 in the conference and in prime position to finish the season strong, just Ryan Nassib and company did a season ago.

But Cuse Nation isn’t foolish. Its checked the ACC standings frequently, and many are asking if things are getting a bit crowded in the 14-team conference. Besides, the conference only has nine bowl tie-ins—that’s including the BCS National Championship game—and at this point in the season, six teams are already bowl eligible. Another four more are 4-4 or better (not to mention Wake Forest, who Syracuse would have an edge over, is still right behind the pack at 4-5).

History shows, though, that Syracuse’s aim for the six-win plateau is all that is necessary. Over the last five seasons, not one single BCS football team finished the year at 6-6 and was denied a bowl game. The only exceptions are Notre Dame in 2009 when the Irish turned down an invitation, and Kansas State in ’09 and Arizona State in 2010. Those years, the Wildcats and the Sun Devils did finish 6-6, but they played two FCS teams. Therefore, in order to be eligible for a bowl, they’d have had to win seven games.

The concept for Cuse fans, and the team,  is simple. Win, and odds say you’re in. Syracuse faced a similar predicament in 2011. SU played Pittsburgh on the final weekend of the season with both teams featuring identical 5-6 records. There was no guarantee at the time that the winner would nab the last of the 35 bowls, but sure enough, after the Panthers took down the Orange at Heinz Field on December 3rd, they went bowling. Pitt, though, lost that year in the BBVA Compass Bowl.

Seventy teams will make bowls this winter and the Cuse could surely be one of them, as it needs just two wins. And it can do it against the likes of Maryland—which has been as up and down as any ACC team—or Boston College and Pittsburgh (both of which feature middle-of-the-pack run defenses that give up close to 200 yards on the ground per game).

Because there is a cluster in the middle of the conference, it wouldn’t hurt the Orange if certain teams lose in different situations. It certainly wouldn’t hurt if Florida State leaped Oregon and played in the BCS National Championship game. With the Panthers at 4-4 as well this season, it would help if one of Syracuse’s final wins were against Pitt (the Panthers still have to play #23 Notre Dame and #11 Miami as well). Wake Forest might fall right out of the bowl picture as well. The Deacs face the 3rd ranked Seminoles in a few days, and also play 6-win Duke and a tough Vanderbilt team on the road the last week of the year.

Boston College and SU have probably the easiest roads left on their respective schedules. There is a good chance that the final game of the season inside the Carrier Dome might be do or die for a bowl.

If Syracuse does finish 6-6, which the Fizz predicts, its destination in late December will most likely be the Military Bowl (vs. C-USA) in Annapolis, or the Belk Bowl (vs. the AAC) in Charlotte. Regardless of where the Orange ends up, a bowl berth would prove that the Cuse can compete with some of the best in the ACC.

And to do that Year 1 would be very special.

Posted by: Kevin Fitzgerald

20 Comments on this Post

  1. Ending the 1st year of competition with a (6-6 4-4 ACC)record and receiving it’s 3rd bowl invitation over the last 4 years would be good for the program and would help send the message that Syracuse is back.

    I know the last 4 games of the season are going to be tough to win but I think a 3-1 stretch to finish at (7-5 5-3 ACC) is a goal that can be accomplished.

    Good luck to the orange.

  2. 8-4, why be a fan of a sports team if you can’t dream of glory.

  3. OrangeCrush27

    7-4 is my prediction and is attainable.

  4. I fedl that this team can finish stong and end the season at 7-5. I just don’t see us beating FSU but I’m really hoping for a surprise. The one game that scares me is the BC game. If for some reason we lose to Maryland or Pitt(which I don’t see happening). We would be in the same position that we were in back in ’11. I just hope that if that was to happen that the cuse come out on top this time around. I don’t see that happening though. I feel that this team will take care of business and I’m sure that it won’t be pretty. But a win is a win. And anyway we can get a win and go to a bowl game is all that I care about for this team.

  5. Where’s Ron he’ll say SU will be 8-4!! LOL!! Your something else!! In July I thought SU AT BEST would be 6-6. Well I also thought they would have “5” wins by now before Maryland!! I’m not predicting games until next year. My picks have been off this year-LOL!! But I don’t see 6-6 this year. Its just a matter of poor QB play and also a very poor learning curve from the whole coaching staff!! Hope I’m wrong!!

    I heard that SU might take some schollies back from current players. That doesn’t sound right, but dougie did it so I guess it happens. But I just watched ESPNU and they said Tenn. is ok’d for 30 recruits on the class of 2014. HOW COME they can do that??

    Do not forget the kids of PSABUSEDU. The NCAA did!!

  6. If we can get to 6-6 I will consider it a good SY FB season. Looking back, we should have won over Penn State. Going forward, No way with Florida State, but A win over Maryland means we need just one more (Pitt or BC) It’s possible so let us pray (Like in Greece, NY)

  7. Most of the regulars know my prediction since preseason was 7-5 but I’m a little nervous knowing to achieve that now won’t be easy counting FSU in the negative column?Lets be real!!Beating Pitt/BC/MD isn’t a given but I’m sticking to my guns thinking the BC game will be the toughest(I did’nt like them preseason)as Adazzio has them flying(recruiting too)but MD and Pitt(with QB Tom Savage)should be wins so at the worst we should get bowl eligible 6 wins!It never seems to be easy [email protected] should have beaten PSU this year if not for DA’s QBing!

  8. @Terry;

    I heard that SU might take some schollies back from current players.

    Where did you get that information from? What’s the reasoning behind it? Is it a rumor or fact?

    If Shafer is taking some scholarships back,do you think that the coaching staff has knowledge of the amount of recruits that are going to commit to Syracuse and is not willing to share that information with us? There has to be a reason behind someone making a statement like that.

  9. @RelentlessOrangeFan;

    Could happen great post.


    I dared to dream a little at the beginning of the season by making a prediction of 9-3 with the upset being against Clemson. RelentlessOrangeFan’s post is a little bit more down to earth and seems to be a goal that is attainable for the team. If they do finish at 7-5 and go to a bowl game and win a repeat of 8-5 is ok with me.

  10. @Terry;

    “I heard that SU might take some schollies back from current players”.

    The following are some of the players that Syracuse is still pursuing.

    3* 6’3″ 210 lb OLB Jonathon Thomas,5* OT Casey Tucker,4* DE Malik McDowell,4* CB Parrker Westphal,4* DT Thomas Holley,4* RB Chris James,4* RB Myles Autry,4* OT Chad Mavety.

    I’m still hoping for 4* WR Juwann Winfree and 3* DE/TE/OT/LB Kurt Huloba to announce that they are committing to the Orange.

    Could these recruits be the reason Syracuse might be pulling back some of the scholarships or is the reason due to the players under performaning on the field and in the classroom?

    You posted a couple of weeks ago that Chad Mavety had kissed Syracuse goodby,I can’t find anything anywhere telling me that Chad has committed to a specific school yet. I think it would be great if Syracuse were to get a couple three of those players listed above.

    There is still an awful lot of recruits that haven’t committed to anyone yet and NLOI day is still a long way off. Maybe just maybe the coaching staff has an advantage over us in knowing who might be really interested in joining the Orange,that will surprise us all in

  11. Say it isn’t so Joe(Dr.Gross) Syracuse is ranked 124th out of 126 spots on the coaches pay list. With all of the money the school is making you think Syracuse would be closer to the middle or upper half on that list.

    He’s listed 5 spots lower than coach Todd Berry of Louisiana-Monroe who’s only making $288,268.00 per year.

    Randy Edsell is making over $2 million per year.

    This(not paying the coaching staff) is and has always been one of the sore spots with the Syracuse Football program.

    Get the lead out of your a$$ and get with the program. Start paying the coaching staff exactly what they deserve.

  12. Read and heard it from sources to get more spots. Mainly players who just did not pan out. dougie did it when he first got here and I was against that, but now numbers are important for SU-I guess. There is plenty of fat to cut! HCSS just has more class than dougie, but to him its still not an easy thing to do. But how can the NCAA ok 30 verbals for TENN???????
    Ron-Mavety get OVER IT is history and the others you mentioned SU probably won’t get a sniff at!!! Maybe if the staff offers a realistic shot at starting from the get go!! I hear there more interest in WR with Estime connections!! But please start some Freshmen next year HCSS!! After all the talent now is limited. I’d rather grow and struggle than play and lose with low level talent. Again SU has shown low level hope and prays(2 stars) will not get you to double digit wins. The last 12 years at SU shows that!! Ron-A Lot of those who have not committed are those hope and pray types SU just doesn’t need them!!!! Get some real thoroughbreds in here for a change!!

    6-6 would be great, but I don’t see that NOW!! All remaining games SU can get beat. Maybe Maryland and Pitt are wins. BC has just got it for SU and has to beat SU for what nuggets are in the NE in recruiting!! BC could turn into a rival in both FB and BB-we’ll see!! I see 5-7. So that means SU will be 7-5-LOL!!

  13. @ Ron, Mavety is not Orange. I beleive he is between Ohio State and FSU, so we may yet see him in the Dome.

    @ Terry, while I agree with your thoughts about SU needing better talent, heck I want the best talent in the land, the way you tell it, it sounds like SU is somehow choosing not to bring in better talent. There is no way they would not bring in 4* and 5* if they could. Heck, you even tease Ron for saying SU is potentially opening up roster spots for 4 and 5 stars, but then you say “Get some real thoroughbreds in here for a change!!”
    Can’t have it both ways. Have to beleive they are trying. I have a good feeling about this Fla. TE coming in Jan. I have a good feelling about Miquel Cotton out of St, Louis and even his teammate Nile Sykes. Not too optimistic on Holley, but the Williams news can’t hurt that.
    I am also feeling good about Cordell Hudson and Steve Ishmael.
    I still don’t like the Hallmon situation. I am thinking JUCO for the OL, and I have no idea who. I would love Jonathan Thomas out of Georgia, but I am not sure. I think he may go Oklahoma.

  14. @Malone;

    Terry made the statement a couple three weeks ago that “Mavety kissed Syracuse goodby”. As I looked at the souting websites I noticed that he hasn’t committed to anyone yet. Seems funny to me is all that I’m saying. I agree with you though,I think ist’s going to come down to Ohio State ans FSU.

    If you look at website you’ll find that there are a couple of 6’6″ 330 lb OL interested in Syracuse that are playing this year at Milford Academy out of New Berlin NY. I’ve also noticed that there are a few OL that hasn’t committed to anyone yet. I just feel that the class of 2014 that Shafer is putting together is going to be something special before it’s all over with.

    You noticed when Terry was asked about the information on pulling some scholarships,making room for more recruits,he couldn’t come up with a very good answer.

  15. @Malone;

    Over the last 3-4 years,Terry has complained on this website about Syracuse’s lack of getting top talent from within the State of NY and was getting tired of Syracuse recruiting the so called second tier recruits.

    Well I’ve read articles telling me that neither does Rutgers lock NJ down but after watching the Miami/FSU game last week neither of those schools lock down the Florida.

    During the FSU/Miami game ESPN put a list of the top ten recruits in the state and where they committed too. Miami got one of those ten and FSU didn’t get any. Both of these teams heavily recruit the 3* players and are getting 4-6 4* players to their programs with a couple of 2* athletes thrown in. When using Terries own words,I asked if he thought FSU and Miami were recruiting 2nd tier recruits? His response was to call me stupid and I didn’t understand the game.

    You,Mademan,Russell and I have talked about the importance of recruiting the northeast region especially the NJ area and keeping it as our footprint to having a stong football team.
    I found it real funny that both Kirk Herbstreit and Brent Musburger talked about the 6’6″ WR’s on FSU that came from NJ They also made reference to the speed of the NJ players and it wasn’t just the players from Florida that obtained that characteristic.

    I find it troubling that when Syracuse recruits a top 3* athlete(Jason Cabinda/Corey Cooper)their no good. But when another team recruits them well Syracuse must be doing something wrong.

    I also realize that no matter what we say as fans and Syracuse does to recruit good players won’t make us all happy campers. Instead of putting 4/5*’s after a recruits name we put 10*’s after them and that alone will change some peoples attitudes about the type of recruit Syracuse brings in.

    This weeks game against Maryland isn’t going to be easy. I hoping that our collection of low life no good bunch of recruits that comprise the makeup of our Syracuse Football team wins the game and goes (5-4 3-2 ACC).

  16. Theres a lot of wisdom in what Terry says …only trouble is he doesn’t apply it or its erratic? Terrys an enigma to me who understands the game but wants everything both ways!?!I think before he posts he indulges in a few but I love him anyway!Ha Ha…No doubt he’s a superfan though!I think in Mavety’s case if he was academically eligible he’d be committed already!A cousin of mine whose close to RU’s program told me RU could’nt get him through admissions?So how could we at SU get him in?He’ll probably end up somewhere that don’t play by the rules!Malone seems to be pretty well connected to the school maybe he can enlighten us?I would’nt be surprised if we had to take a pass on him?Hilarious that Terry thinks 4 and 5 star guys come under the Xmas tree!!

  17. HedgeHog

    I would just like to call out all the knuckleheads that post on this site – predicting SU would finish 3-9 or 2-10 or worse. You all can go fly a kite – and you know who you are, we do to. They sit at 4-4 overall right now and should end up at 6-6 or better. Syracuse is 3rd in the ACC Atlantic behind ONLY Florida St and Clemson. Not bad. So go put that 3-9 prediction in your pipe and smoke it !

  18. Dr. bill

    I am with you Hedgehog…..We now sit at 5 and 4. 5 wins……there was a bunch of people on here predicting two -three wins and saying HCSS was equal to GROB……Well, it is clear to me, that we are a team and a program on the rise. Let’s hope we make it to a bowl…..continue the effort to bring in more good recruits……and find a big time QB. Go Cuse!!!!

  19. @Dr. bill and @HedgeHog,I Syracuse is coming out of a learning curve that will change it’s course over the next 5-10 years.

    We’ve turned the corner,better things are on the way.

  20. First of all I would like to say fantastic
    blog! I had a quick question that I’d like to ask if you don’t mind.
    I was interested to know how you center yourself and clear your head
    before writing. I’ve had difficulty clearing my
    mind in getting my ideas out. I truly do take pleasure in writing but it just seems like
    the first 10 to 15 minutes are lost just trying to figure out how to begin. Any ideas or
    hints? Kudos!

Comments have been disabled.