After a wild finish at the Dome over Purdue, Syracuse is 3-0. Garrett Shrader’s first half was rough, but after halftime he came alive and threw the perfect pass to Oronde Gadsen to win the game. As we dissected on the Fizz, Shrader’s development into a star this season has been the best thing that could’ve happened for the Orange. In a world where more elite QBs enter the transfer portal every season, becoming a place where signal callers can reenergize their careers is enormous for long term health of the program.
The second-best outcome of this season is making a bowl game. How likely is that? Let’s break it down. The number indicates ESPN’s predictor index in the likelihood of Syracuse wins.
vs. Wagner 99.8% (Syracuse cannot lose to its only FCS opponent, especially at home)
vs. Virginia 85% (1-2, got drummed by Illinois and nearly lost to Old Dominion yesterday)
at BC 77% (1-2, only win over Maine. Two bad losses to brutal Rutgers and 27-10 at Virginia Tech)
vs. NC State 62% (this number feels high since the Wolfpack are a darkhorse to win the ACC but some luster washed away with its rough opener vs. ECU. ESPN clearly values playing at the Dome)
vs. FSU 57% (3-0 as the Noles have found ways to beat LSU and UofL. But this is at the Dome)
vs. Notre Dame 51% (hard to tell what the Irish are after a good effort vs. Ohio State but a dreadful loss to Marshall and an uninspired win over Cal)
at Wake Forest 48% (3-0 with an elite offense, but only P5 win is over Vandy so far)
at Pitt 33% (2-1 with a crazy win in the Backyard Brawl and an OT loss to Tennessee. Playing in Western PA is always tough)
at Clemson 15% (class of the ACC yet again. The Tigers only have one P5 win but it was a pounding of GT and this is in Death Valley)
Analysis: It’s surprising to see the Predictor Index be so kind to SU. Obviously it’s not a perfect science, and these numbers will shift as the season goes on. It’s impossible to know what the game against BC looks like two months from now, but it’s a fun exercise. If the Orange take care of business and beat Wagner, Virginia and BC, at worst they’ll notch 6 wins and a bowl game. If SU can do that and then split its 50/50 games by finding two wins between home games with NC State, FSU and Notre Dame plus a trip to Wake, Dino Babers has himself an impressive 8-4 bounce back season and really good vibes for ’23. If the Orange win the games they’re supposed to, split the 50/50 games and steal one at Clemson or Pitt, it’s potentially 9-3 and a massive improvement for the program.