Syracuse bounced back from a crushing defeat with a comfortable victory over Central Michigan, but now things are about to get a whole lot tougher. The Orange face a trip down to Baton Rouge to take on the #25 ranked LSU Tigers, who are coming off of a lackluster performance in their SEC opener.
Prime-time Showdown: For the second time this season, the Orange will be under the floodlights. For the first time, it will be a Saturday night kick-off after Syracuse opened the season on Friday, September 1st with a dominant win over Central Connecticut State. Saturday is the first of back-to-back road games and the Orange’s last non-conference game of the season. It is also the first Syracuse game to be broadcast on national tv with the 7 o’clock kick airing on ESPN2.
Head-to-Head and Notable Streaks: Saturday’s matchup concludes the two game home-and-home series that the two programs agreed to back in the Daryl Gross era. The Tigers came to the Dome (and brought thousands of friends) and left with a 34-24 victory in 2015. Saturday will be the fourth time the teams meet in program history with Syracuse winning one of the previous three, a 23-10 win in the 1988 Hall of Fame Bowl. The Tigers defeated the Orange in the 1964 Sugar Bowl. Another note, the Tigers have not lost a non-conference game at home in 17 years, a 13-10 defeat against UAB. That is 48 straight wins. Syracuse won its only true road non-conference game last season against Connecticut.
If the Orange lose: It is hard to imagine that a situation plays out on Saturday that leaves Syracuse fans hanging their head. They are expected to get dismantled. Anything short of a blowout defeat will likely be somewhat encouraging to the Orange faithful. The only negative that comes out of a defeat is that the Orange will have one fewer game to reach the coveted six-win mark.
If the Orange win: Oh boy. Prepare for some sort of hype around the Orange. Remember the reaction when Syracuse knocked off a ranked team at home last season? Syracuse was all over SportsCenter and Dino Babers was the savior that Syracuse has been looking for. (Remember that to some, he was a Scott Shafer reincarnate after the loss to Middle Tennessee). In all seriousness, if the Orange could get a win, it would be a huge morale boost and would significantly increase the odds of reaching a bowl game. Syracuse opens its ACC schedule with one of its most winnable, and some ways, important road conference games in Raleigh and coming off a huge road upset win could only be a good thing.
Line: The Orange find themselves a three touchdown dog. Fair? Maybe, maybe not, but there is no doubt that in Vegas’ mind, and probably everyone else’s, Syracuse is a massive underdog in Death Valley.