Orange Fizz


The Potential “Turning Point” Games in Syracuse’s Schedule

Before any team’s season, you can usually pick out a few games that you chalk up as wins, some that you figure will be losses and others that are toss ups. That’s certainly the case with Syracuse this fall.

SU faces Colgate, Western Michigan and Army in the first four weeks of the season. Conventional wisdom tells you all three of those games should be wins for the Orange. Conversely, SU takes on Clemson, North Carolina and Florida State consecutively in late September and early October. Those, one would guess, will most likely be losses.

The rest of Syracuse’s games–Purdue, Virginia Tech, Boston College, Georgia Tech and Wake Forest–are all games that Syracuse should at least be competitive in, if not win.

If you look even closer at those toss up games, there are three that particularly stand out. Call them turning point games. Their outcome, at various points in the season, will have a big impact on what happens after. They’re games that could propel Syracuse to greater heights, or sink them away from bowl eligibility.


This is the second straight year that the Boilermakers can be chalked up as a key opponent. Last year, Syracuse won in week three, which was the beginning of SU’s time in the national spotlight on its way to a 6-0 start.

That win sent the Orange to 3-0, a place Dino Babers’ team will likely find itself in again. Assuming Syracuse gets past its first two games against Colgate and Western Michigan, it would have the chance to beat a Big 10 team on the road, a feat that certainly isn’t easy.

Most would pick the Orange to lose, which is fair, but if Syracuse finds a way to win, that can be a game that raises the expectations for the rest of the season.

Virginia Tech

A Thursday night in late October at Lane Stadium? That will be fun, but it will also probably be a get-right game for Syracuse. That will be the first contest after SU’s three game gauntlet against Clemson, North Carolina and Florida State.

Those are probably the best three teams in the conference and it would take a lot for SU to steal one of those contests, especially since two of them –UNC and FSU– are on the road.

Virginia Tech is picked to finish 11th in the ACC preseason poll, one spot behind Syracuse. It’s a Hokies program that’s struggling, and could afford the Orange a chance to get back on track after what will likely be a brutal stretch throughout most of October.

Wake Forest

The final game of the regular season, and quite possibly the game that decides whether or not Syracuse goes to a bowl game. There’s three games the Orange should win: Colgate, Western Michigan and Army. There’s three they more than likely won’t: Clemson, UNC and FSU. There’s two that they could win, but they certainly won’t be favored in: Purdue and Pitt.

Then, there’s four that could go either way: Virginia Tech, Boston College, Georgia Tech and Wake Forest. If the rest of the schedule shakes out as most would predict, which is far from a guarantee, Syracuse would need to win three of the four games in that final group to earn a 13th contest.

Wake was projected to finish 9th in the conference after losing quarterback Sam Hartman and Syracuse killing receiver AT Perry. There’s certainly a scenario in which Dino Babers and company have to win on the season’s final day to keep playing, which would make this the definition of a turning point game.

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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