For most of the past decade, and really past two decades, Jim Boeheim has run his program in circles around the football program, which has been led by too many coaches to count. Of course, there were the good years under Doug Marrone, Dino’s aberration in 2018, and not much else outside of that.
Last season was the first year that both teams disappointed heavily, considering that football stood at 5-4 with three games to clinch a bowl game, and basketball did not finish above .500 for the first time since Boeheim was the coach. 2021-2022 is in the past, and the expectations are higher and bigger for 2022-2023 for Syracuse football and basketball.
Starting with football, the group has a top-50 NFL Draft prospect according to ESPN’s Sean McVay, and in ESPN’s top-100 players in college football, Sean Tucker comes in at 15th overall in the entire country. That is not something that happens every year for the Orange under Dino Babers.
Tucker has a chance to be the biggest Syracuse star in decades, and make a name for himself on the national stage while playing against five preseason-ranked teams this season. Along with stars on the defense like Mikel Jones, Garrett Williams, and Duce Chestnut, SU has the star power to potentially compete in the ACC, it’s all about if the coaching and quarterback can mesh and work well together. There’s potential with football to make a bowl, maybe even an expectation to do so.
Let’s shift to basketball. The roster has been completely overhauled, aside from a handful of guys, with an influx of young talent and a good recruiting class for the first time in a while. Joe Girard III, Symir Torrence, Benny Williams, and Jesse Edwards are the four guys back from last season who played significant minutes and will again.
Boeheim brought in seven players, six freshmen, headlined by four stars Judah Mintz, Chris Bunch, and Justin Taylor, along with transfer Mounir Hima from Duquesne. Those three freshmen, along with Maliq Brown, are expected to get the most minutes this season and pair nicely with the veterans on the roster.
The Orange may suffer through some growing pains early, but the talent is clearly there, and it could be a reinvigoration for Boeheim with a completely new roster to coach, none of his sons on the roster, and a chance to rebound from last season, the worst in his tenure as head coach.
Thus, football and basketball each have expectations to be playing in the postseason, but football arguably has more pressure to win, especially after last season, and to take advantage of potentially Sean Tucker’s final season on the hill. Basketball does not have the luxury of time, especially with Boeheim nearing the end of the road, but he’s done this before. Babers has done it once and not backed it up. The pressure is on Babers to get to six wins, and if he does not, there will not be a lot of happy Orange fans around the Syracuse area, and the country.