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The Math Behind Syracuse’s Road to a Bowl

Coming into the season it seemed like an impossibility: Syracuse playing in the postseason. But at the bye week for the Orange it’s actually not an alternate universe that would have Dino Babers coaching in a bowl game in his first year at the helm. SU sits at 4-4 after consecutive ACC wins, and two wins the rest of the way would get the Orange to bowl eligibility.


Just nabbing two more wins doesn’t guarantee a bowl bid unfortunately since there’s an amazing 11 of 14 ACC schools are at or above .500 right now. If SU comes in at 6-6, it would be one of the last schools chosen in the conference for a bowl. But hey, that’s a good problem to have for a program that was just hoping to show some improvement in year one under Babers.
Here’s the rest of SU’s schedule and the Fizz’s chances of pulling off a win:


at Clemson (11/5): 5%
We can’t give it a 0% because anything can happen, but this is by far the most remote of all chances. The ‘Cuse will be on the road in Death Valley against a national title contender and a Heisman candidate at quarterback. Right now My Top Sportsbooks has the Tigers as one of the front runners to winning the College Football Playoff and if Clemson is undefeated, the Tigers focus on remaining that way will be laser sharp against SU. The only hope is if FSU pulls the upset this weekend and Clemson’s heads are elsewhere next week. But even an FSU win doesn’t totally take Clemson out of the mix, so let’s chalk this up to a Tigers win over the Orange.


vs. NC State (11/12): 40%
It’s hard to give SU a better than 50/50 chance to do it, but the Orange can definitely win this game. NC State has lost both of its road games in conference, although against the two best teams – Clemson and Louisville. The Wolfpack are pretty close to SU, although NC State is more talented. The Pack beat Wake Forest, and the Orange got beaten by the Deacs. They kept it close against Clemson but got demolished by UofL. Right now the Pack are 4-3 and are looking for the same thing as the Orange: getting to a bowl. But it’s at the Dome and a fast track may help SU put up some points and try to win a track meet.


vs. FSU (11/19): 20%
Look, at every position the Noles are better. They consistently recruit as well as anyone in the ACC. They have a boatload of NFL talent from Florida. FSU came into the season with playoff expectations. The problem is the loss to UofL undressed them of their aura, and then the last second loss to UNC knocked them out of the final four contention. But this is still a good team with the tools to beat SU at the Dome. However, the Orange pulled the trick against the Hokies at the Dome. Is there one more shred of magic in Babers this year? Doubtful. Beating one ranked team this year was a miracle. Two is not likely gonna happen.


@Pitt (11/26): 35%
Pitt is a better team than ‘Cuse, has one of the best stories in the country with James Conner, and this will be on the road. But it doesn’t mean it can’t be done. Pitt has been vulnerable on defense this season giving up at least 27 points to every opponent except FCS Villanova. The Panthers had a three game stretch earlier in the season where they gave up an average of 38 points per game to Penn State, Okie State and UNC. They can be had with big plays and a downfield offense. The problem will be the weather may be miserable and the conditions are usually awful for offense in Western PA around Thanksgiving.


Can SU get to 6 wins? Yes, but it’ll be an uphill battle because none of the final four contests are gimmes for the Orange. It is a beautiful thing though that we’re even able to talk about bowling in late October. Leave us your thoughts below on the odds of SU making a bowl game.
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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