No matter what John Wildhack says about Dino Babers‚Äô job status entering this season, if Syracuse does not reach a bowl game, and misses out in a similar fashion to last season, 2022 should be Babers’ final year at the helm of SU football. It is plain and simple. Actions speak louder than words, and in this case, the numbers jump off the page.
Hired before the 2016 season, Babers was able to take a 4-8 team that year and improve them enough that even though the Orange went 4-8 in 2017, there was hope. Then there was 10-3 in 2018, a Camping World Bowl win, multiple draft picks, and it felt like maybe, just maybe SU could compete in the ACC.
In the three years since Syracuse has won 11 games, which is absolutely unacceptable. Last year, Babers wasted the greeted rushing performance in the history of the program and considering what other running backs have worn the SU uniform, that is saying something, with poor clock management, and terrible special teams decision making.
It helps that Sean Tucker is back for a third season, and new offensive and special teams coaches have come in to solidify units that struggled a season ago. Therefore, Babers has no scapegoats left except himself. Tony White has been great in his two seasons, and with new coordinators on offense and special teams, Babers can only blame himself if those hires fail.
Wildhack preached patience and that Babers is not on the hot seat a couple of weeks ago. Of course, he would say that. He was one of his first hires when he took over as athletic director in the mid-2010s. Actions speak louder than words, and if SU does not make a bowl game, Wildhack‚Äôs actions will be what everyone has their eye on.
There is a plethora of NFL talent on this 2022 Syracuse roster. Matthew Bergeron is being talked about as one of the best left tackles in the ACC. Although he‚Äôs undersized, Mikel Jones could have an NFL future, and Garrett Williams has proved himself as a capable ACC starting cornerback that could play anywhere in the country.
That‚Äôs not to mention Tucker, who, if he has another great season, be potentially picked higher than any other Syracuse player since Justin Pugh went 19th overall in 2013. Andre Cisco, had it not been for his injuries his last two seasons, would have gone higher, but the first pick of the third round isn‚Äôt too shabby.
This is to say Babers has to take advantage of the talent on his roster. Credit to him, he recruited these talented guys to one of the least likable places to play in the country. But, he has to utilize this talent and win at least six games, otherwise, the Orange could, and should be looking for a new head coach in December and January.