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How Sustainable is Syracuse’s Success?

Dino Babers’ squad has undeniably had an incredible season up until this point. It might even be better than 2018 when the Orange went 10-3. But, as seen after that season, SU’s win total was cut in half the next year from 10 to 5, and then all the way down to 1 in 2020. Syracuse had a good runway last season but finished a disappointing 5-7 after starting 3-1. 

Now, in 2022, the Orange have already guaranteed their second-highest win total in Babers’ seven seasons as head coach. This comes for a team whose win total was in the 4 or 5 range before the season and started 6-0. So, it’s clear what Babers can do when expectations are low, but for the rest of this season and next, they’ll go back up to the levels of the 2019 season. The good news is, Garrett Shrader will likely still be the quarterback next season, unlike having to switch from Eric Dungey to Tommy DeVito.

The Orange might lose some talent to the NFL, like Sean Tucker, Garrett Williams, Matthew Bergeron, and Mikel Jones, but will still have a solid core that should provide a good foundation for what next year’s team can be. Shrader still has his favorite target in Oronde Gadsden II, and the defense will be led by Marlowe Wax and Duce Chestnut most likely. So, it’s all about player development, and as we’ve seen under Babers, that usually happens in spurts, like this year. Can that development sustain year over year is the question to be answered.

Syracuse recruiting classes have ranked near the bottom of the conference year after year now, and that makes sense. Central New York is not a college football destination, or somewhere most people want to live when you can play elsewhere. So, the best pitch Babers can give to recruits is winning, and consistently winning. That hasn’t been the case in his years as head coach, but if he can keep this snowballing year after year, and go to a second consecutive bowl game next season, that changes everything.

If you show you can win consistently, recruits notice that national media notices that, and other teams notice it too. Plus, another factor that should help the Orange is the conference doing away with divisions starting next season, meaning SU won’t have to face Clemson every year, unlike this season, when they could be the second-best team in the conference and not make the ACC Championship game, could be in that situation in the future. 

So, is winning sustainable? Maybe. It all depends on how well Babers and his staff developed this roster that will likely have some turnover this off-season. Replenishing that talent will be key to how successful SU is moving forward. But, one thing remains true, and that’s winning is good for the program in many ways. More attention, more recognition, and more funding for the program are the three big ones. But, above all else, people just want a winning football team, yet it remains to be seen if that is only something that happens every 4 years or can be a sustainable method.

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The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.


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