After last night’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad showing in Blacksburg, Syracuse has gone from 4-0 to 4-4. The Orange looked like locks to qualify for a bowl game after taking down Army in mid-to-late September, that is anything but the case now. Entering last night’s game, there was a legitimate case to be made that SU could win all five games, but there was also a world in which all five games could be Ls. Not only is the latter option the only one of the two that could happen now, but there is a very legitimate possibility that it does happen. We’ll go opponent-by-opponent before going in-depth on Syracuse at the end.
Talk about two teams trending in opposite directions. The Eagles hit rock bottom after falling to Northern Illinois at home in week 1 and barely escaping FCS Holy Cross in week 2. But dual threat QB Thomas Castellanos has BC at 4-3 with a layup on Saturday in the form of a UConn team that has fallen back to Earth after last season. Boston College should be playing with both momentum and for bowl eligiblity a week from tonight, neither of which Syracuse can claim. Oh, this could also be considered a rivalry, which adds more fuel to it.
Sacrificing the home game to play at Yankee Stadium has taken a new meaning with this four game skid. Now that the Orange are in a position where there’s little-to-no room for failure in order to reach the postseason, you would certainly like a home game as opposed to a neutral one. The good news is that the 2-5 Panthers are nothing special. At the same time, you can’t ignore Pitt’s 18-3 record over the last 21 matchups with SU, and all three of those Orange victories have been at the Dome. This is the weakest Pitt team in years, but they have owned Syracuse recently and there’s no denying it.
Sometimes the Yellow Jackets look like a real force to be reckoned with in the ACC, other times they look like a pumpkin. Georgia Tech has a pair of conference road wins, though one of them was aided by perhaps the dumbest decision you will ever see on the gridiron. Double-digit losses at home to Boston College and Bowling Green make you think the opposite. Regardless, the Yellow Jackets have shown that they can compete at a high level, SU should hope it catches them on an off day.
It’s a rebuilding year for Dave Clawson’s crew, and it shows. The Demon Deacons had trouble putting away Old Dominion early on and overall have had nowhere near the offensive spark they had with Sam Hartman under center. The good news is that Wake Forest’s schedule ahead of the regular season finale is no joke- it includes Florida State in Winston-Salem as well as road clashes with Duke and Notre Dame. But if the Orange lose the three games leading up to it, it won’t matter and they may not come out with the juice you would typically hope them to on senior night. Plus, Wake could be fighting for its bowl eligiblity too.
OUTLOOK ON SYRACUSE
Even with the offense struggling, the defense has still somewhat done its job. That was anything but the case last night. Rocky Long’s unit gave Jason Beck’s an opportunity to make something happen by at minimum slowing down Drake Maye and Jordan Travis, but the defense had no answers for Kyron Drones last night. Combine that with a still struggling offense, things are not looking good. It’s hard to not wonder if Dino Babers’ job is on the line over the next four weeks.