We are one day away from the game on the Syracuse schedule that no one thinks they will win. Let’s start this off by saying they won’t. However, that does mean that there is nothing that can be gained from the game against LSU on Saturday.
The first priority for this game is getting through it without any significant injuries. The Orange have had to deal with plenty of significant injuries to significant players this year, not least of which the injury that is keeping Eric Dungey out of the game.
However, the Orange should not approach the game against LSU only thinking about getting through the game and onto the next one. This game can be used as a measuring stick for the Orange. Obviously, Syracuse can’t compete with giants like LSU no matter how hard they work or how the approach the game. What they can do is learn from a great program.
This is somewhat similar to FCS teams, like Rhode Island, scheduling opponents like Syracuse. Obviously there will be the argument that these schools are only in it for the money and, of course, that plays a part. However, the players and coaches can benefit from playing against an opponent that is so clearly superior. This is all, of course, putting aside the ridiculously remote possibility that the Orange pull the greatest upset of the year.
In addition, while it is not fair to judge anyone on how the perform against a team like LSU, this game gives players like Zack Mahoney a chance to really command an offense in a game situation. Whoever the opponent, lining up under center in a game is not like practice. The defense is playing hard and playing to win. Nothing can simulate a real game experience and, hopefully for Orange fans, Mahoney can get more comfortable in the Tim Lester offense.
Of course the best case scenario is that Eric Dungey uses the bye week to heal and is ready to go in two weeks against South Florida, but you can never be sure. The game against LSU can only help Mahoney, and for that matter Austin Wilson if gets snaps, prepare for the rest of the season
In short, while getting a win is the remotest of possibilities, Saturday’s game against LSU, assuming the Orange get through it without any major injuries, can help Syracuse prepare for the rest of the quest for six wins.