Over the past two seasons, Syracuse football has had a pair of big time wins in the Carrier Dome. Beating #17 Virginia Tech and stunning #2 Clemson were great victories for SU, but there is still a long way to go in the rebuild process. As Dino Babers often says, his team is trying to be consistently good, not occasionally great. So far in his tenure, they have been the latter. In fact, under Babers, the Orange has won just two road contests. Those victories came at Connecticut and Boston College, two underwhelming environments. A win at #8 Miami would really speed-up the rebuild process.
Another thing Syracuse has to do to become “consistently good” is win the games it’s supposed to win. Week two against Middle Tennessee State was a bad showing for the Orange. I know Scott Shafer’s return was a variable, but the bottom line is SU looked outmatched in a game it should not have been. The good news is that Wake Forest and Boston College come to Syracuse later this season. Those are two games the Orange needs to win rather convincingly. This team has to establish a dominant home field advantage. After last week’s upset over Clemson, fan support should be strong to close out the season. Finishing the year with positive momentum will help attendance in the early part of next season and beyond.
Winning a game against a top-25 opponent on the road is just what the Orange needs. I don’t think it happens on Saturday against Miami, but I do think it happens soon. It’s crazy how much a single win can do for a program. After a lackluster start to the year, it now seems likely that Syracuse will make a bowl game.
This program has to get to a point where making a bowl game is the expectation. Once it gets there, Syracuse can worry about competing for conference titles. For now, the Orange should still be focused on gaining respect around the nation and beating the teams it’s supposed to beat. After all, SU is a 16.5 point underdog on Saturday in South Florida. That number seems a little high, but it’s up to the Orange to go out and continue to prove the doubters wrong.