Syracuse football is just one win away from a bowl appearance. An extra game would be great for the program and Orange fans should be hungry for postseason play. However, whether or not SU gets to six wins shouldn’t dictate Dino Babers’ future with the team.
A bowl game is looking pretty likely at this point. Syracuse just needs one win through the next two weeks, both of which provide beatable opponents.
Georgia Tech has the 129th-ranked rushing defense in the entire country – out of 130 teams. The Yellow Jackets give up over 220 yards on the ground per game. Meanwhile, the Orange’s three-man wildcat system resulted in 392 rushing yards. That’s a recipe for SU competing with GT at the very least, with the potential for a big win.
Wake Forest isn’t a scary foe either. The Demon Deacons are just 1-6 in ACC play, a game worse than the Orange.
So a Syracuse football bowl appearance is very possible given how winnable the next two matchups are. But should that impact SU’s decision on whether or not to bring Dino Babers back as head coach next year? Absolutely not.
Now, I’m not saying that Babers shouldn’t return. My point is that whether or not the Orange make a bowl game is an arbitrary line to draw. The difference between six wins and five wins is absolutely nothing in the context of an eight-year stint at SU.
The ability to recruit should play a big role. Babers has put together a solid class of 2024, but struggled to bring people to CNY in the previous seven years.
Establishing discipline is also something to consider. Syracuse has been in the top half of penalized teams in each year of Babers’ tenure, and even drew more yellow flags per game than any other team last season.
Also key: in-game coaching decisions. Babers has had several games where timeouts were wasted early in halves. A complete lack of offensive adjustments in last year’s loss to Clemson also comes to mind. SU didn’t score in the second half in that game. However, there have been bright spots, like the unique offense Babers won with on Saturday.
All of these attributes are bigger than a one-game difference in record. If Wildhack and Syracuse Athletics want to move on from Babers, a bowl game shouldn’t make the difference. The reverse is the same. If the department thinks this is as good as it will get for the Orange, then it shouldn’t just make a coaching change because SU misses out on bowl season this year.
The takeaway: Babers has coached at Syracuse for eight years. Don’t get caught up in one game. College football is far too complex of a sport to do that. Instead, think big picture, and look at everything that’s happened since 2015. Coaching skills, decisions, and values displayed over the course of several seasons are the most important things to consider.