Less than a month separates Syracuse football from its opener against Central Connecticut State on September 1, but the Orange hype train is already moving full steam ahead. Today, the USA Today released its Preseason Coaches Poll and SU received some traction. The Orange received three points in the initial rankings, giving it more than returning bowl teams like Army, Colorado State, Maryland and Toledo; as well as notable programs like UCLA and Michigan State.
We can’t tell exactly how many of the 65 randomly selected coaches placed Syracuse in their Top 25, but we do know that Dino Babers is not one of the participating coaches. The voting goes as follows: each of the coaches submits a Top 25. The first places team receives 25 points, second gets 24 and so on and so forth. That means there are a couple of scenarios where Syracuse landed in somebody’s rankings. One coach could have placed the Orange at 23 and none of the other 64 voters ranked it in theirs. SU could have two coaches vote for it with one placing the Orange at 24 and the other at 25. And lastly, three of the 65 coaches could have put Syracuse at 25 in their polls.
Regardless of how it shook out, it seems rather ambitious for a team that is coming off a 4-8 season and just lost its best offensive threat in first team All-ACC wideout Amba Etta-Tawo. In last season’s final poll (including teams receiving votes), no team finished with fewer than 7 wins, at least three of which came in conference. This year’s SU team seems to have a ceiling of six wins, and that is if everything goes exactly according to plan. However, three of those wins could come against ACC opponents. The Orange is widely regarded as having one of, if not the, toughest schedule in the nation.
Regardless of where SU finishes in the polls, a bowl is still in the picture for this season. And that is the first step in what hopes to be a promising rebuild.