Another year of Syracuse football is about to see its curtain rise and its performers hit the turf. Louisville treks up to the newly-christened JMA Wireless Dome on Saturday, and SU’s depth chart was released today. The Orange return the most starters of any team in the ACC, and does it under one of the longest tenured coaches in the conference in Dino Babers.
But does that last point really matter all that much? Babers’ 29-43 record doesn’t look all that pretty, and neither does his conference record of 15-35. Couple that with no bowl appearances since 2018, and it’s not hard to see why some in the Syracuse media realm consider this a bowl-or-bust season for Dino as it concerns his job security.
Oddsmakers seem to be catching on to this trend, and you don’t have to look too far down some brutal list to find certain lines concerning Syracuse’s head man.
As of Thursday, Babers’ +200 odds on BetOnline.ag to be the first ACC coach fired during the 2022 season were actually the lowest in the ACC for a bettor, while Georgia Tech’s Geoff Collins (he of the 9-25 record through three seasons) was slightly lower at +225. Since then, Collins’ odds have slightly improved to be the first out the door, but Babers is a close second.
Fairly or not, the pressure on Babers has ratcheted up this year. The pandemic and the havoc it wreaked are behind the program now, and the team has legitimate All-ACC talent at positions like running back, linebacker, and defensive back. Last year, it’s arguable that coaching made the difference between SU’s 5-7 mark and a potential bowl – look back to coaching snafus in key situations against FSU, Wake Forest, Clemson, and Rutgers for what-ifs.
Babers has cemented himself in Syracuse as a likable man. He’s generous with the media, patient, and took the team to heights it hadn’t been in a generation in 2018. Unfortunately, the results need to promptly follow suit in Year 7. At this point, oddsmakers and the general consensus seem to agree: only a bowl will do for Babers, or else.