CBS Sports released its preseason bowl projections yesterday and the Orange was nowhere to be found on the list.
What is even more surprising is that fellow Atlantic Division teams N.C. State and Boston College were picked to go to the Detroit Bowl and Bitcoin Bowl, respectively. The Wolfpack did not make a bowl game last year, while Arizona crushed Boston College in the Eagles’ 42-19 loss in the AdvoCare V100 Bowl. Meanwhile, the Orange won its 3rd bowl game in the past four seasons in the Texas Bowl.
Syracuse is no stranger to low expectations from the national spotlight. Bovada, an online gambling site, currently has the Orange at over/under 5.5 total wins for the upcoming season. Considering the team now has a guaranteed quarterback and is returning many of their starters from last year, it seems as if 5.5 games is setting the bar low. But as we have seen many times in the past, Syracuse thrives in the underdog role.
The Orange will not be in an underdog role to Scott Shafer, who still has his eyes on an eight-win season. Syracuse should have a better offense than in previous years. Terrel Hunt will get his shot to prove he can be the starting quarterback after having a quarterback competition with Drew Allen linger in the first half of last season. He will have a fair share of receiving threats in Ashton Broyld, Bristly Estime, Jarrod West, Adrian Flemming and more, any of whom have an opportunity to become Hunt’s favorite target. The ground game also should certainly help to contribute plenty first downs.
Predictions and preseason expectations will come to fruition when the team hits the gridiron in less than two weeks, but it is important to talk about if the Orange wants to take the next step into the spotlight of the college football world. Brent Axe wrote a piece yesterday about Syracuse’s disappearance from the AP Top 25 since 2001. It does make for an interesting conversation about when fans will believe SU football is “back,” as Axe puts it. Some believe that SU football is already back due to its bowl presence and bolstered recruiting. Others who have followed Orange football since the late 1990s know the program can still get better.
Low expectations from national publications and media have caused the Orange to play with a chip of its shoulders the past few years. Let’s see whether the trend will continue this season.
Posted by: Zephan Mayell