This was supposed to be the soft spot in the Syracuse football schedule. Coming into the season, weeks 4 through 8 figured to be a chance for the Orange to potentially work its way into bowl contention. However, those hopes have seemingly vanished after the Orange’s latest implosion on Saturday at the hands of Wake Forest in a 28-9 loss. The Demon Deacons peppered SU all day on the ground with 190 rushing yards and three touchdowns.
Wake Forest was a team that many predicted would finish in the basement of the Atlantic division, however, it now has a bowl game in its sights. This was a winnable game for the Orange. Throughout the majority, SU sat within one possession of the Demon Deacons, but the Syracuse offense was stagnant with eight 3-and-outs. The Orange needed this game to salvage any hope for their season because the road ahead is grueling.
Syracuse has six games remaining on its schedule, three of which come against top-25 teams. All six teams the Orange face for the rest of the year have at least a .500 record.
The rough ride begins with #25 Virginia Tech this week, but the Hokies ranking will go up after trouncing 17th ranked North Carolina 34-3. Virginia Tech is riding a three game winning streak in which it has outscored its opponents 137-20. If the Orange gets behind early against the Hokies, it will be extremely tough for Syracuse to get back in the game with how the offense has stalled out for stretches of games.
After Virginia Tech, SU gets its easiest test down the stretch with a trip to Boston College. This is the only easy game on the Orange’s remaining slate, but the way SU is playing, there are no easy games. Throw in the road factor and this is anyone’s game.
From there, the Orange has contests against #3 Clemson, North Carolina State, #23 Florida State and Pitt. All of these teams are 4-2 or better and have the potential to light up the scoreboard on offense. With a defense marred by injuries and an inconsistent offense, it is not out of the question for Syracuse to lose out.