It might technically be Spring in Syracuse right now, but you wouldn’t know it by the still-chilly weather and incessant rain we can’t seem to get away from. The frosty air reminds us that we haven’t even come close to the Summer yet – and are still very, very far away from Syracuse football’s 2022 opener on September 3rd.
That hasn’t stopped us, though. Here at the Fizz, we’ve kept an eye on SU recruiting targets and even offered some early potential breakout candidates for head coach Dino Babers’ squad. With an overhauled offensive coaching staff, renewed attention on special teams, and plenty of starters returning, there’s definite reason to feel optimistic about this year’s Orange squad.
That would be true even if we completely forget about what this team was going through heading into Fall 2021. After a dismal 1-10 2020, most publications picked Syracuse to continue its tailspin in 2021. Only two of our six writers picked the Orange to win more than three games, and two more chose Ohio – a MAC team that eventually finished 3-9 – to prevail over the Orange in their season opener. Needless to say, plenty of us were proven wrong over the course of a year that produced some memorable moments and a few surprising wins along the way.
However, Syracuse didn’t blow anyone away with a 5-7 record last season. At least one metric – ESPN’s “Football Power Index” – doesn’t seem all that impressed with SU’s counting stats ahead of 2022.
ESPN’s preseason FPI rankings dropped on April 14th, and tabs Syracuse with just a 0.2% chance to win the ACC Atlantic and a flat 0.0% to win the conference outright. From a statistical standpoint, it predicts SU will finish with a 4.8-7.2 record, or roughly the same as it did in ‘21. It may seem a little extreme considering Syracuse is returning its leading passer, rusher, receiver, and tackler, but we’ve already written at length about SU’s lacking recruiting classes and remaining questions at quarterback. The FPI model also gives Syracuse a 30.4% chance to win at least six games and qualify for a bowl.
To soften the blow, FPI also gives several other ACC teams a 0% chance to win the conference: Virginia, Boston College, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, and Duke have suffered the same designation. Clemson sits with the top odds to win the conference at 59%, according to the model.
In all, the FPI rankings are just one in what will become a sea of preseason rankings. Many similar predictions fell totally flat last year, so it may not be worth putting too much stock into one ESPN metric. However, keep your eye on what Syracuse is up against this year in what looks to be a loaded ACC Atlantic.