The New Year always offers a fresh slate. 2020 wasn’t good for anyone, but an argument can be made for Syracuse especially struggling this past year on the hardwood and the gridiron. The Orange limped to the ACC Tournament and were cut short just when they started to turn a corner. In football, SU had its worst season since 2005, with no consolation prize outside of a glimmer of young talent. So Syracuse fans will happily turn the page to 2021. The question is what should their New Year’s resolutions be, and will they stick to them?
Syracuse Football: Find your Quarterback
When Dino Babers’ squad convenes camp, hopefully it won’t be socially distant. But whether it is or not, the QB battle should be tight. Depending on who you ask, there are four or five signal callers with legitimate cases for the starting role. The obvious answer is redshirt senior Tommy DeVito, who started four games last year before getting hurt, but he was on and off the bench during that stretch anyway. Then there’s Mississippi State transfer Garrett Shrader. He was moved to wideout for the Bulldogs last year as a sophomore, which doesn’t scream starting QB, but he showed some promise as a freshman with eight touchdowns and five interceptions. Then there are the sophomores. Jacobian Morgan showed flashes in his three games last year, while Dillon Markiewicz never got his shot. All this gets more complicated with three-star Justin Lamson’s early enrollment.
Starting DeVito, whether Syracuse fans like it or not is a viable option. He’ll likely begin camp as the presumptive starter just based on seniority in the system. But SU can still stick to their resolution even if DeVito is under center. Again, the silver lining for SU is their youth and the QB room is no exception. Maybe it’s in practice. Maybe it’s in-game. But one of those young names has to prevail as the clear-cut starter when DeVito leaves the Hill.
Syracuse basketball: Stay healthy
A lot of Syracuse fans were probably expecting something more along the lines of “Get Dior to flip back to Syracuse” or “Win a National Championship”, but resolutions have to be realistic. It can’t be that you want to lose 100 pounds, but rather 25. Unlike the football team, Jim Boeheim’s personnel is pretty solid. Quincy Guerrier is blossoming, Alan Griffin has shown what he’s capable of and Kadary Richmond looks like the best guard defender in the Zone since Michael Carter-Williams.
But none of that matters if health remains a problem. Despite the calendar swap, COVID-19 still looms over college basketball, and the Orange get a late start due to contact tracing. The Orange have a promising unit, and it’s up to them to make sure 2021 actually comes to an end one way or another, unlike 2020. Then there’s the non-pandemic health factor. Bourama Sidibe should be good to go when the Orange resume on January 6th against Florida State. But depth is this team’s strength. The question is can they keep it that way.