Imagine that you’re sitting at a restaurant with your friends a few weeks ago, and ask them that very question. Chances are you’re getting looks of befuddlement and people are calling you crazy, deeming such a thing impossible. Fast forward to today, and the chances of that happening are legitimate. Who would’ve thought?
Make no mistake, Syracuse’s on-field performance is a big reason why this is a topic of discussion. This team has both a different look and a different feel to it.
Indeed, the Anae Effect has been in full force early on. Only three teams in the ACC have put up points at a higher rate than the Orange so far. Perhaps more impressively, SU is second in the conference in completion percentage and sixth in passing yards. Not a bad jump after being dead last in both those categories a season ago. Sure, it’s only two games, and one of them was against a cookie in UConn. If that thumping of Louisville wasn’t enough to convince you, have no fear. There are plenty of opportunities against quality opponents ahead.
Speaking of which, let’s analyze the four games the Orange have to win to make 6-0 a reality. You can pencil in a win in week 5 against a cupcake in Wagner. SU should probably beat a Virginia team that lost 24-3 to Illinois and Tommy Devito this past weekend. That leaves Purdue and NC State. The Boilermakers open up as a one-point favorite for this weekend’s impending showdown at the JMA Dome. So far this season, Purdue has played a ranked Penn State team down to the wire and smacked Indiana State, so it won’t come easy. Nor will the game against NC State. The Wolfpack played with fire but didn’t get burned against East Carolina, but rebounded by thumping Charleston Southern. NC State is also at the service of Devin Leary, arguably the best gunslinger in the conference. The good news for Syracuse is that it is at home. The Wolfpack struggled on the road against ECU, who’s to say it can’t happen again? Especially in front of what will likely be a very raucous Dome crowd. That plays for both Purdue and NC State.
Under no circumstances should we pencil in a 6-0 start. In fact, that would be quite foolish to do. But if Dino Babers’ squad continues to play at the level it has played in the first two weeks, especially as the tougher portion of the schedule draws closer, the Orange could clinch a bowl much earlier than anyone would have ever predicted.