A Syracuse win against Louisville on Saturday puts the Orange in position to qualify for a bowl game with a home win over Boston College on Senior Day. A loss, and those bowl dreams fade to black. But, this game is about more than keeping the chance of a .500 record alive. This game is about optics and attitude.
There are two clear factions in the Syracuse Football fan base. The question remains which faction will be louder at the season’s end. The remaining two games will very likely determine that. Let’s examine the two sides to the Syracuse football coin.
Yes, of course things have changed.
Fans who hold this view will, likely, point early and often to the 27-24 home win over the number two Clemson Tigers. Syracuse beat the defending National Champions. What more evidence could one possibly need? Syracuse followed that win up by going blow-for-blow with both Miami and Florida State… ON THE ROAD. Despite the hiccup against Middle Tennessee State and the disaster against Wake Forest, Babers has this defense trending in the right direction. (Here these fans will likely point to holding Clemson to 24 points). The Orange did not have any games this year that were over before halftime because the defense couldn’t get a stop. With Eric Dungey at the helm, this Syracuse team is prepared to compete with the best next season and Babers is the right man to lead this program forward.
New year, same result and results are all that matter.
Look, there will always be a segment of every fan base that is looking for the worst; that will be furious will anything short of perfection. However, if the Orange fail to win their last two games, these fans will have something real and tangible to hold onto and their numbers will grow. The Orange were 4-3 through seven games each of the past two years. Things unraveled quickly last season and the Orange finished the season a disappointing 4-8. After the huge win over Clemson, Syracuse has dropped three straight games and is staring at the possibility of a fourth consecutive season with at least eight loses. Saturday’s implosion against Wake Forest illustrated quite clearly that there are still some major holes on this team. The Clemson won is canceled out by the embarrassing home defeat against Middle Tennessee and as nice as it is to be competitive against some of the other big boys, a loss is a loss.
The point here is is that both factions have valid points. The reality is likely somewhere in between “The Cuse is back baby” and “The sky is falling”. There have been signs that brighter days may be ahead but this program is far from done with its rebuild. These last two games could go a long way in making the fans happy, which doesn’t really change the reality that there is still work to do, but will make everyone sleep a bit easier at night.