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Disturbing Statistics in The Athletic’s ‘State of the Program’ Article

Photo courtesy of The Athletic and Brett Carlsen / Getty Images

Dino Babers and Syracuse need a winning season or at least a competitive season in the worst way this fall. The Orange have won just six games over the last two campaigns and have started to lose the respect that was gained after 2018’s 10-3 surprise

For those looking for reasons to be optimistic, the Fizz suggests you don’t go out to the nearest Walmart and purchase any of the preview content in the magazine section. The high profile publications have really let SU have it, and the quotes regarding the program are frightening. 

Over at The Athletic, there are daily releases which hone in on one football team per day and paint the picture of where the program is at from a bird’s eye perspective. Typically, each beat reporter for the respected college team will write a brief synopsis regarding where the team is at, what the personnel looks like, and what the over outlook of the program is. 

Matthew Gutierrez wrote the Syracuse ‘State of the Program’ and did some great research. As you read through the piece, you’ll come across several statistics and quotes that will make you do a double-take. Some of the numbers that define Syracuse’s recent history when it comes to football are so disappointing that they’ll make you sit in disbelief. Here are some examples: 

Syracuse is just 38-59 since 2013 

Why is ‘13 such an important year? Well that’s when SU joined the ACC. The transition has certainly not been kind to the Orange. A major reason why the record sits where it does is because ‘Cuse has only had two winning seasons since joining the power five. 

Aside from the on-field performance, a major catalyst to this statistic is the fact that Syracuse hasn’t been able to recruit at an average level. SU has never finished inside the top 10 in the ACC recruiting rankings. Furthermore, since joining the conference the Orange have only reeled in twelve of the 90 available recruits in the state of New York.   

Dino Babers hasn’t recruited or developed a quarterback at SU 

Yes we all know what Babers did with Jimmy Garrapolo at Eastern Illinois and it’s incredible, but that was nearly a decade ago. He brought in the wide open Baylor offense and took advantage of defenses that were slow and ill-prepared to defend the spread. 

The game of football changes every single day and innovates every single day. Here in 2021 pretty much everybody except for the military academies has instituted some sort of spread principles into their offensive gameplans.  

That means defenses see it in practice all the time and coordinators know how to defend it. That’s not to say it can’t still work because offense’s are still averaging over 40 points per game at places like Alabama and Ohio State. However, those programs also have elite personnel. 

Before you type in the comment section, Eric Dungey may have been developed by Babers but he wasn’t recruited by him out of high school. Instead the Oregon native was a Scott Shafer prospect. 

Why does that matter? Because you want your head coach and ‘quarterback guru’ to show he can identify talent, bring it in, and develop it. Babers did the first two with Tommy DeVito but let’s just say the third aspect of that process has yet to come to fruition

Syracuse hasn’t had a 1,000 yard rusher since 2012  

This right here might be why SU has struggled offensively under Babers. No, college football isn’t like it was in 2005 when teams would just line up and pound the rock. However, it still plays a major role in today’s spread offense atmosphere. As an offensive coordinator or play caller, you need to be able to run the football to keep the defense guessing. 

Here’s how SU has looked on the ground since Babers took over in 2016.  

2016: 112th in FBS (119.1 per game) 

2017: 63rd in FBS (161.9 per game) 

2018: 32nd in FBS (201.9 per game) 

2019: 63rd in FBS (155 per game) 

2020: 120th in FBS (92 per game) 

The proof is in the pudding folks. When Syracuse runs the ball with some success, they’re better. See the progression that happened from ‘16 to ‘18. That’s when Dungey was the signal caller for the Orange and had that dual-threat ability. 

Once he left after ‘18, the numbers have declined again almost like we’re forming a pyramid. That’s because DeVito has taken over and he hasn’t shown that same ability to run the football. The offensive line has been terrible to let’s not pin it all on number 13. 

If Syracuse can find any kind of ground game in 2021 they will compete and maybe even break this streak of not having a runner get over the millennium mark since 2012. If you’re a betting man, put your bottom dollar on rising sophomore Sean Tucker to snap the skid.

Since Dino Babers took over a SU, the o-line has allowed 195 sacks

It wouldn’t be an article about Syracuse Football if it didn’t include some o-line slander. The abysmal performance is well documented on this site, but here are some defining numbers that can sum up just how bad the trenches have been for the Orange.  

‘Syracuse has allowed 88 sacks over the last two seasons’ 

‘In 2020, the o-line allowed 3.5 sacks per game and 7.5 tackles for loss per game’ 

‘SU has allowed 39 sacks per year since Dino Babers took over’ 

‘Only South Alabama and Kansas allowed more than 39 sacks last year’ 

If Syracuse is ever on the level of the Jaguars and the Jayhawks, there’s no reason to even have a football team. There’s not much else to say regarding this stat, the front five simply need to improve that’s pretty much it. 

With a better o-line comes a better run game, and with a better run game comes a more efficient offense which should eventually result in some wins. We’ll see if anything changes in 2021. 

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