Another week, another Syracuse win. Another win, another thriller. The Orange are 4-0, and fans are starting to wonder just how far SU can go. By virtue of the win over Virginia on Friday night, SU is almost guaranteed to still be undefeated by mid-October. Next up is Wagner, a game the Orange simply can’t afford to lose. After the Seahawks, SU has a bye. This means the Orange will be likely 5-0 when they take on NC State on October 15th.
First, it was revenge against Louisville that proved this season had a different feel. The Cardinals have been a thorn in the side of Dino Babers for years, but SU cruised to a 31-7 win. The win over UConn may have been expected since the Huskies are one of the worst FBS programs in the nation, but the blowout nature of it (48-14) proved SU could throttle a lesser opponent. How long has it been since SU wasn’t itself the lesser opponent?
Then came the crazy endings against Purdue and Virginia. While some have claimed the Boilermakers gifted the Orange the win, Garrett Shrader still had to make the perfect pass at the end of the game. And then SU held on in the frantic final seconds to secure a Power 5 win in front of a rocking Dome and rowdy fans. The UVA game doubled down on the Cardiac ‘Cuse vibes with its 22-20 win on Friday. The Orange needed 5 FGs including one with just over a minute to play, and multiple big defensive plays in the waning seconds, to survive. But SU is 4-0 for the first time since ’18, and only seventh time since World War II.
There’s something special brewing with this team. Their biggest challenges are still ahead, specifically these next two against ranked opponents NC State and Clemson. But why would you doubt the Orange can hang with them, and perhaps pull the upset? Shrader has become a true program-stabilizing QB. The defense is getting stops when needed. The play-calling can certainly be blamed as overly conservative (or questionable), especially against UVA. But they’re winning, and it’s impossible to ignore the results.
As the Fizz documented, the ESPN Projection Index is very kind to SU. With a weakened Notre Dame squad, and battered programs in BC and FSU still to come, the Orange faithful can start thinking bowl game. But even more so, this is setting up to be a memorable season. When things are breaking your way (like the crazy end to the Purdue game) and you’re good enough to take care of your own business, there’s reason to believe it can be more than just a 6-6 season. There’s an air of pixie dust floating through the program right now. How else can you explain the bounces that have gone SU’s way? And with that comes a hope the magic keeps happening.