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Cincy’s Stinker Gives Orange Nation Hope

Yes, it’s October 30th. It’s more than seven weeks away. And it’s the eighth game of the season.

But tell me you’re not already circling the trip to Cincinnati on your Syracuse football calendar as a swing game in the battle to six wins.

The win over Akron this weekend provided everyone in Orange Nation some evidence that the Bowl Goal is steak, not just sizzle.

Had SU played el stinko, gotten shoved around on the road or (gasp) even lost to the Zips, postseason aspirations and bowl talk would’ve looked like Lindsey Lohan talking sobriety. Again.

However, the superior defensive effort coupled with a weekend of shaky football from the supposed Big East elite made the road to six victories seem a little brighter.

In Western PA, the scribes are ripping Pitt after its loss in Utah:

“Pitt didn’t deserve to win. Make no mistake, it earned its 27-24 loss. Utah had a 405-266 edge in total yards. Pitt committed 12 penalties for 75 yards. Its interior offensive line showed it has major issues. Heisman Trophy candidate Dion Lewis ran for just 75 yards on 25 carries. Shame on coach Dave Wannstedt for playing not to lose instead of playing to win at the end of regulation when he didn’t allow quarterback Tino Sunseri to take a shot in the end zone with 6-foot-5 wide receiver Jon Baldwin.”

Next door, Huskie Fanboys are wondering how embattled Rich Rodriguez and his trusty assistant Groobers were able to lay the smackdown so thoroughly on UConn. And in the Queen City? Well, that brings us to 10/30/10.

As we detailed in The Fizz’s Season Predictions, the Orange could very well come up one win shy of its first bowl in six years. Despite Pitt’s loss, it still seems unlikely the Orange can beat the Panthers on Homecoming. We’ve already forecasted SU splitting the final two games at the Dome against UConn and B.C. Winning both feels unrealistic.

But the roadie to Cincinnati on Halloween weekend suddenly seems winnable. How about this caterwauling in the Cincy Enquirer?

“Since taking the job at UC, Jones has talked about making the Bearcats a more physical team, but they were pushed around by Fresno State.

He said he wanted to the run the ball more effectively, but running back Isaiah Pead managed only 36 yards on 10 carries.

UC quarterback Zach Collaros was sacked eight times – just seven fewer than UC quarterbacks were sacked in all of 2009 – and spent most of the night on the run, as the Bearcats’ offensive line was dominated by Fresno State’s defensive line. “

Can the loss of Brian Kelly really leave Cincy that vulnerable? The BearCats had won 18 straight regular season wins and the road trip to Cincinnati in October would usually be a surefire loss. But remember in ’07 when Bobby Petrino left Louisville and a certain 315 school walked into Papa John’s Stadium and stunned the Cards and the nation? Steve Kragthorpe was exposed and the magic of UL’s recent dominance was gone. Could that be happening in Cincy already?

It’s pretty early to start shaking down the schedule week-by-week. The Orange will face a much sterner test this weekend in Seattle. But if the first Saturday of the season gave Orange Nation anything, it’s more credence to the Bowl Goal.

Posted: D.A.

The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.

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