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Return to Relevance Still Far Away for Orange

TD CelebrationLast week, both in his weekly press conference, and in an interview on The DA Show with our very own Damon Amendolara, Scott Shafer reiterated that he, Doug Marrone, and Doctor Gross have worked very hard to get the program back to respectability and now the coaches in place need to work on getting the Orange back to relevance. Well, that may be further off than anyone thinks – or wants to think.

USA Today releases a poll every week. It does not just rank the top 25, but instead ranks all of the 128 programs playing FBS football. This week, Syracuse came in 85th. Last week, the Fizz took a look at the challenging stretch SU faces. If the Orange could have a respectable showing in this stretch, or if the Orange sat at 4-0 right now instead of 2-2, some speculated the Orange may have been able to return to the Top 25 rankings.

However, with this week’s ranking in USA Today, it appears that SU’s return to the Top 25 may be further away than anyone thought.

For context, here are some schools ranked ahead of the Orange in the USA Today poll:  1-3 Iowa State and 1-3 Louisiana-Lafayette. Also ahead of the Orange is 2-3 Michigan, and the Wolverines may have a new head coach this time next week. The point is, the Orange has a long way to go.

As discussed over the summer on Fizz radio, much of the Top 25 poll – USA Today and AP the two most prominent – are voted on due to the reputation of the programs in the minds of the voters. Right now, Syracuse doesn’t have that. In fact, SU isn’t close to having the reputation of a top team in the country.

For a while, we have speculated that maybe the Orange is on the doorstep of a top 25 appearance. But, when you take a look at the USA Today poll from this week, the Orange is still pretty far away from even making a dent in reaching the Top 25.

So, what can the Orange do to make a run at the top 25?

Well, in reality, it may be too late for SU to make it to the top 25 this year, unless the Orange runs the table, which is very unlikely due to the ACC schedule it still faces.  So realistically, next year is the first chance the Orange could get to make a run towards top 25 and a run towards relevancy. At that point, it could take a win over LSU in the Dome.
So with that said, how far away is SU from being a legit threat to the top 25? Well, it could be a while, maybe a few recruiting cycles. To be a top 25 team, you first need to be an 8 or 9 win program consistently. While some on The Fizz (myself included) thought this team could win 8 games this season with a 9th win coming in a bowl game, it is impossible to know whether the Orange win 8 games this year after seeing the team play. Also, it is difficult to picture this team winning 8 games year in and year out as currently constructed and coached.
While some were hoping SU was closer to a top 25 ranking this year – Shafer included – the only thing this USA Today poll shows is that the Orange is way farther away from this goal than it may have been thought.
Posted:  Seth Goldberg
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