The seat in which Dino Babers sits upon is apparently lukewarm. Syracuse Athletic Director John Wildhack told us this much last week following the ACC’s scheduling changes. How can Babers solidify his place as the SU head man long term and maybe even earn a contract extension? Well its pretty simple, make it to a bowl game (and win it?).
Unfortunately, the seemingly herculean mission of the ‘Cuse playing past Thanksgiving is easier said than done, especially this year. The Orange face a pair of daunting non-conference foes in Purdue and Notre Dame. On top of that, the ACC is absolutely stacked this year. With that said, there is certainly a path to six wins for Syracuse but it means that certain games must be “W’s” and not “L’s.” It’s safe to assume that Uconn and Wagner are locked up wins for SU, but which other games are must wins? Let’s see.
vs Louisville 9/3
Syracuse doesn’t get a cupcake to open the season. Instead, the Orange are tasked with an opener against a Louisville team that has beaten SU by a combined score of 71-3. The ‘Cuse has struggled to contain Malik Cunningham and his dynamic playmaking ability.
However, UL is replacing talent at wide receiver and along the defensive front. With a sold out Dome crowd behind them, this is a game Syracuse can win and must win to garner momentum and eventually make a bowl game.
vs Purdue 9/17
This matchup comes at a pretty good time for SU. Babers and Company should be high off of a road win over Uconn and ready to rumble inside in the Loud House. One thing is for sure, the Orange will need to put up some serious points to beat the Boilermakers.
Purdue has had a top two passing offense in the Big Ten under Jeff Brohm every season that he’s been at the helm in West Lafayette. If Syracuse can control the tempo and move the ball against a fairly average Boilermakers defense, it can snag a massive non-con win early in the season.
vs Virginia 9/23
This is a revenge game of sorts. Syracuse poached UVA’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in Robert Anae and Jason Beck. Cavs quarterback Brennan Armstrong should be ready to go and motivated for this one. On top of that, former Clemson offensive coordinator Tony Elliot is running the show in Charlottesville now. If Syracuse proved it can put points on the scoreboard against Purdue, it should be able to do the same against the Wahoos.
vs Florida State 11/12
Winning games and Babers coached Syracuse teams don’t exactly mix as well as PB & J. However, this is a very winnable game and could be the sixth and final victory needed for SU to go bowling. The Orange and Seminoles played a very tightly contested game last year which ended in walk-off fashion.
Last time FSU came to the Salt City, Syracuse rolled en route to a ten win season in 2018. November 12th represents Senior Day and a chance for all of SU’s sunshine state recruits to pop off against a school that may not have recruited them. All signs point to this being a deciding game and a must win if the Orange want to get back to the postseason for the first time in four years.