The hype for Syracuse, now 4-0, is growing with every win. In the most recent AP Poll, the Orange received a season-high eight points. SU was even ranked as high as 22 in Seattle Times writer Mike Vorel’s poll.
Before the season, if you told Syracuse fans that the team went 5-0 with a win over Clemson to start the season, they’d assume that SU was ranked. However, it’s becoming pretty realistic that the Orange will be on the outside looking into the top-25 even if they beat the Tigers.
There are several reasons for this. Firstly, this isn’t the dominant Clemson that college football fans know and love (or hate). The Tigers are 2-2, including an upset loss to Duke. While Clemson is still favored betting-wise, it actually sits behind Syracuse in the most recent AP Poll. A win over the Tigers would still be impressive, but it wouldn’t turbo-boost the Orange’s resume like in years past.
The group just outside of the top-25 is also very crowded. Kansas State, Kentucky, Colorado, Louisville, UCLA, Maryland, TCU, and Tulane are all unranked, but still have more points than Syracuse. It’s unrealistic to expect SU to leapfrog eight teams just for beating Clemson.
Another factor to consider is that the AP Poll is a zero-sum game. One team joining the ranks means one team has left. There are plenty of teams towards the bottom of the top-25 that have tough games this week. #19 Oregon State plays #10 Utah, #22 Florida takes on undefeated Kentucky, #24 Kansas visits #3 Texas, and #20 Ole Miss is matched up with #13 LSU. That’s four teams that could drop out of the top-25 this week. However, because of the crowded pack that’s receiving votes, it would take all of those teams losing and a few other upsets for Syracuse to even have an argument to get ranked by the AP Poll.
Right, wrong, or indifferent, it will take more than a win over Clemson for Syracuse to get into the top-25 this year. Luckily, there’s plenty of chances for the Orange to prove themselves in the coming weeks.