CINCINNATI - OCTOBER 30: D J Woods #3 of the Cincinnati Bearcats is tackled by Phillip Thomas #1 of the Syracuse Orange during the Big East Conference game at Nippert Stadium on October 30 2010 in Cincinnati Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
With a 6-2 record, 3-1 in the Big East, the Syracuse Orange are worthy of praise this season. Expected to finish near the bottom of the conference and win no more than 3-4 games, SU is one game away from a bowl bid and still has a decent shot at the Big East crown. RB Delone Carter is on pace to break 1,000 yards on the year, Derrell Smith and Doug Hogue anchor the best SU defense in years and head coach Doug Marrone is a serious candidate for national coach of the year.
But that's not fun to write. What IS fun to write is the same thing you've written every week for the past month, which is to caveat Syracuse's success with enough excuses and asterisks as to render their success a farce. Surely there is an explanation for the Orange's victories other than hard work, good coaching, discipline and the desire to become a winner. Those all sound so boring.
"Congrats to Syracuse for their 6-2 start, however..."
In the interest of making everyone's life easier, here's a little cheat-sheet to help you as you pen your passive-aggressive diatribe about SU football.
Akron (W, 29-3) - Despite the fact that there are two FCS teams on Syracuse's schedule, the Zips might actually be the worst team of them all. The Zips are 0-9, a record that includes a loss to FCS Gardner-Webb, 47-10 loss to Kentucky, 50-14 loss to Northern Illinois and 56-10 loss to Western Michigan.
Washington (L, 20-41) - Can you believe Syracuse lost to a team like the Huskies? The same team that has been outscored 85-14 in the last two weeks?
Maine (W, 38-14) - The first FCS opponent on the schedule, the Bears actually made a game of it for a half. The Bears are 3-5 on the season, not exactly cream of the 1-AA crop.
Colgate (W, 42-7) - Another FCS opponent, the score should have been 80-7 if Syracuse was really good. The Raiders are 4-4 on the year, another mediocre selection.
South Florida (W, 13-9) - The Orange beat the Bulls, whoop-de-do. USF is an anemic offensive nightmare. They're 4-3 but most of those wins are over cupcakes. This win shouldn't even count.
Pitt (L, 45-14) - See? Told you so.
West Virginia (W, 19-14) - Great, big deal. Did you see what West Virginia did against UConn on Friday? The Mountaineers are in last place in the conference right now. Says it all, really.
Cincinnati (W, 31-7) - Zach Collaros wasn't playing. If he was, the final score would have been 431-7 Cincinnati.
In case all of that isn't enough for you, you can always play the Big East card. The Big East is terrible. And there's no better way to confirm that than to showcase Syracuse's success as the direct result. SU is responsible for the miserable outputs by all of the other Big East teams simply by existing. This is fact.