Dear Future Fizzers,
We write for you today to give you a look into the crystal ball. Dino Babers and Company just completed a brilliant 2021 campaign. The effort quieted the critics, shocked the nation, and earned job security for the staff. After five years of inconsistency, six was the charm as Syracuse outdid itself on the gridiron. Our message to you is this: stay patient and optimistic for better days are on the horizon.
What would inspire a message like that? What would it take for Syracuse to completely flip the narrative surrounding its football program? Let’s discuss.
A best case scenario season for SU is one that nobody expects and one that checks all the boxes. Now let’s be realistic (ish) with this. ‘Cuse isn’t going undefeated and isn’t turning into Alabama overnight. However, a magical season would include an upset or two and have the Orange win the games they’re supposed to win.
A dream season includes a 6-0 start with upset wins over Rutgers, Liberty, Florida State, and Wake Forest. Syracuse won’t be favored in any of those contests’ but could very well triumph in all of them. Of course before SU gets off to a hot start, it needs to decide on its quarterback. Whoever wins the job takes it and hits the ground running and teams up with an explosive ground attack.
So the Orange are 6-0 and ranked around #23 in the country when juggernaut Clemson visits the Loud House. The Tigers should be entrenched in the top five and should have an identical 6-0 start if they can beat Georgia in the opener. Dabo Swinney and Company get a much needed week of rest halfway through the slate and right before this SU game. ‘Cuse will be competitive as it usually is but things get out of hand and Clemson takes the primetime win.
A 6-1 but unranked Syracuse team took a step back but has a quick chance for recovery against Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. The Hokies could be nursing serious problems at the quarterback spot at this point in the season.VT will be fresh off hard fought games against Notre Dame and Pittsburgh. The Orange steal a win here in comeback fashion and shock a fanbase that’s thirsty for a coaching change.
How about that, a 7-1 SU team that’s knocking on the door of the rankings once again now welcomes Boston College to the Carrier Dome. This has potential to be a top-25 meeting but either way the environment will be bumping for this one. For the third straight year, the Eagles make the trip west to the 315 and hope to leave with a third consecutive win. Jeff Hafley and Company get the job done in an absolute barnburner. BC builds off the momentum it gained against Louisville a week ago and earns its sixth victory of the 2021 season.
So SU heads into the bye week 7-2 with a chance to match its ten win season in 2018 or even set a new standard with a bowl win. The Orange use the week off and take down Louisville in a shootout. Now comes the finale, @ NC State and vs Pittsburgh. A pair of winnable games but difficult tests no less.
The Pack should be 9-2 and ranked inside the top 20 before hosting the ‘Cuse and riding a three game win streak. That continues as one of the ACC’s most veteran teams continues to roll with a big win against the Orange.
Now comes the end of the regular season. It’s Thanksgiving time in Syracuse, New York and fans aren’t excited about watching the Bills, Jets, or the Giants, no. ‘Cuse Nation is stoked to make a trip through a blizzard to see the Orange take the Ernie Davis Legends Field and beat Pitt.
The Dome will be rocking as an 8-3 Syracuse squad looks to end the year on a high note and make a big bowl game. The Panthers figure to also have a similar 8-3 record entering the contest and could find themselves slotted in the top 25. In an ESPN Instant Classic, SU falls to Pitt in double overtime as Kenny Pickett scrambles into the end zone and proceeds to engage in his patented ‘can shotgun’ celebration.
The SU faithful will mourn the loss for a month as the Orange use the critical time to practice and prepare for the bowl game and next season. How about an 8-4 effort though? In a year where nobody thought Syracuse would win an ACC game or even hit the four win mark.
Of course eight wins is more than six so Dino Babers and Company earned a spot in the “New Era Pinstripe Bowl” for a date with Minnesota out of the Big Ten Conference. The Gophers just knocked off previously 11-0 Wisconsin to spurn its College Football Playoff hopes. Minnesota wins the bowl game as well in a defensive struggle.
So to recap, a 6-0 start for the Orange which rockets themselves into the top 25 before a loss to Clemson ensues a 2-5 finish. A disappointing end but a miraculous season in the eyes of the Fizz because many people didn’t have Syracuse winning any conference games, let alone making a bowl. Could this be the start of the “consistency” that Babers is chasing? Or was 2021 just another anomaly? That remains to be seen.
Syracuse begins what could be a defining 2021 season on the road at Ohio on September 4th.