Things were going so well for the Orange just a few weeks ago. Then a loss to St. Bonaventure started a bit of a slide for the Orange that now puts them in a precarious situation. Syracuse is 1-3 in conference play after a hideous loss to Notre Dame and a valiant effort on the road against Virginia. Next on the docket is Florida State who, at least for now, are ranked 23rd in the nation. Syracuse has opened up as a six point underdog and faces a real possibility of being 1-4 in the conference. Hardly an ideal situation.
Granted, the schedule has been far from kind to the Orange, and it will get easier, but the Orange are facing a potentially dire situation. After nabbing 11 non-conference wins, the Orange likely need to win nine ACC games to feel relatively comfortable on Selection Sunday (a position that the Orange haven’t had the luxury of having in four years).
So, let’s, for arguments sake, say the Orange fall to Florida State on Saturday. The easier way to look at this is that they can only lose five more games, rather than calculating eight more wins. After Saturday, the Orange will have five more games against teams that are currently in the Top 25. Home games against Virginia, UNC and Clemson and road games against Miami and Duke. With additional games against Louisville and NC State (who have won back to back games against ranked opponents). In short, there is little margin for error.
Again, for argument’s sake, allow this more optimistic view. Even if the Orange fall to 1-4 in the conference on Saturday, the schedule presents a clear opportunity to get back to .500 or even above it, before the next loss. After Florida State, the Orange will play Pitt twice, Boston College and Georgia Tech over their next four games. Those three teams are probably the worst three in the entire conference. That gives the Orange a real shot at being back over .500 by the next stretch of back-to-back tough games.
In short, the season is far from over. There is, of course, the chance that the Orange figure things out and win on Saturday and then everything feels different. Even if the Orange lose, there is still ample time to right the ship but the Orange will have to up their game.