Could Syracuse be getting Notre Dame at exactly the right time? A few weeks ago this looked like another brutal matchup for the Orange against a superior team that would overwhelm SU in this rebuilding season. But somehow after a month, both teams are sitting with identical records and it’s the Irish who are in a state of turmoil.
After a few disastrous outings, Notre Dame was forced to fire its defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder. When you give up 38 points in a loss to Duke? Yep, you’re gonna be the sacrificial lamb. More importantly, a harsh glare is also coming down on Brian Kelly. Some are speculating he could get fired if he loses this game. The ND defense should be a work in progress all season, but specifically in the week after a major shake up. So timing could be perfect for SU.
Dino Babers’ attack has done its part, continually pushing the pace, putting up some big aerial numbers, and giving the wideouts ample opportunities to make plays. The Orange has put up the 7th most passing yards in the nation. Add to that a stormy day in the NYC area, and maybe the suboptimal conditions, a tumultuous early season, and a coaching shakeup could make this the ideal spot for SU to pull the upset.
The problem is the talent is obviously slanted in this game for the Irish. They have more depth and better pieces at almost every position. But the crosshairs are on the program for a miserable first four games, and Kelly has griped about how unemotional the team has played. As a neutral site game in cavernous and antiseptic MetLife Stadium it won’t feel like being on campus. It won’t have a buzz that will wake up the players. I’ve been to every one of these MetLife Series games for the Orange since Doc Gross created it. It’s a pretty dull affair. Even the oddsmakers are shifting toward SU in this one. As pointed out, the Irish are just 3-7 in their last ten games as favorites against the ACC.
Which is GOOD for Syracuse. The Irish are vulnerable. Notre Dame is lacking a spark. And playing in a big grey shipping container with an already dismissive Irish fan base is far from ideal. This is all predicated on Eric Dungey being healthy for SU, but if the Orange get a win Saturday, it’ll be the first signature win in Babers tenure.
Posted: Damon Amendolara