Heading into this Syracuse Football season the thought of a bowl game was blasphemous. The Orange were coming off a one-win season and Vegas had SU‚Äôs projected win total right around three. So, it is a little surprising to say this, but Syracuse could have a chance to make a bowl game.
Going 3-1 in the non-conference part of your schedule helps a ton. A 2-2 record was more realistic, but grabbing that extra win got Syracuse halfway to bowl eligibility. All the Orange need to do now is find three ACC wins. Easy, right?
Not so much. With Syracuse‚Äôs loss to Florida State last weekend, the Orange missed a massive opportunity to make a bowl. The Seminoles were the most realistic win on the schedule remaining, as they were winless on the year going into the game. Dropping that opportunity makes the path to the postseason way more difficult.
With seven games to go, SU needs to go 3-4 for the remainder of the season. While that may be a tall task for a team that only got three wins in the non-con, it‚Äôs not out of the realm of possibility. The ACC is down this season – Clemson is not Clemson, Miami and North Carolina are severely underwhelming, and the other usual powerhouse schools are meh. This is the best year for SU to sneak out some wins and sneak into a bowl game.
With that being said, there is not a game left of Syracuse‚Äôs schedule that is a definite win or a definite loss. Sure, some games will be closer than others, however, the Orange can realistically put up a fight in each game remaining. So, if they‚Äôre in each game, you would expect them to pull out at least one or two more wins. Maybe even three to become bowl eligible.
What are the most realistic wins left of the schedule, you ask?
You probably aren‚Äôt looking at a realistic win until Boston College comes to town in late October. The Eagles are better than advertised, however, they lost their starting quarterback, Phil Jurkovec.
After that, you have Louisville on the road, which is probably your most winnable game on the schedule. If you can contain Malik Cunningham, the Cardinals QB, you can win that game handily.
Then, you‚Äôd have to pull out a win on senior day when Pittsburgh is in the Dome. The Panthers are as solid as ever with Kenny Pickett still leading the way, but SU vs. Pitt is always a close game.
In the other games on the schedule, you could make an argument for Syracuse, but they aren‚Äôt as realistic. Could SU beat Clemson? This is probably the Orange‚Äôs best chance, but the Tigers will still probably take care of business.
Now, winning two of the three listed games is absolutely doable. Winning three of them is a whole other story. That is why losing to Florida State put such a large dent in Syracuse‚Äôs bowl plans. An extra game isn‚Äôt off the table, but it‚Äôs a whole lot harder now.