One good thing about going to the ACC, we won't have to play Louisville anymore.
Syracuse's 27-10 loss to the Cardinals was their third-straight on the gridiron. Couple with seven-straight losses to them on the hardwood (last time our basketball team beat L'vlle was 2006) and we should just feel lucky they don't have a lacrosse team.
If there's anything I've learned watching this Syracuse team, it's not to react too strongly in any one direction. They are the perfect example of why some teams should be taken week-to-week instead of trying to draw some conclusion from their overall body of work.
I mean, look at the way some fans have swung each week.
Before The West Virginia Win: "This team is terrible! Barely beat Tulane! Barely beat Rhode Island! Shouldn't have beaten Toledo! They don't deserve their record! Nate Hackett should be fired! Back to the basement with us!"
After The West Virginia Win: "This team has so much heart! We survived against all odds against Tulane! We mounted a never-say-die ending to the Rhode Island game! We proved that good teams have luck on their side against Toledo! We deserve to be 5-2! Nate Hackett should get a contract extension! To the BCS Bowl with us!"
After The Louisville Loss: "This team is terrible! Barely beat Tulane! Barely beat Rhode Island! Shouldn't have beaten Toledo! The West Virginia win was an aberration! They don't deserve their record! Nate Hackett should be fired! Back to the basement with us!"
It's exhausting. And a bit much. Oh and if you're a Syracuse fan saying "I told you so" this week, you're a weird fan. Congrats?
Anyway, that game sucked. No, we're not going to the Orange Bowl this year. And no, we're pretty much assured we're not going to win the Big East, though you really never know with this conference. But that doesn't mean the season is over.
In a way, this game felt like a course correction on the state of SU football. Last week, we won a conference game at home against a quality opponent. This week, we lost a conference game against a quality opponent. This is, all thing considered, how it's supposed to happen. All these years of losing games in the Dome and winning on the road has turned that upside-down.
What it seems to be is, this Syracuse team doesn't dictate a football game. It lets the other team dictate the game and then reacts as best it can. That's why we find ourselves in the suck so often, even against lesser opponents. We destroyed West Virginia because the Mountaineers brought nothing with them...they barely showed up...so we steamrolled them. Meanwhile, Louisville and Rutgers, especially their defenses, came with an agenda, and we were unable to react accordingly. For whatever reason, we don't seem capable.
You can go into the UConn game focusing on the Louisville one and assuming the worst but it would be a mistake. The old adage that you take this one game at a time has never been more true than it is for this team. They show up completely new each week and they react accordingly to their opponent each week. We don't expect much from UConn so the signs are good. But...best to reserve too much judgement til we step out on that field.
I leave you with this...Cincy looks tough, A Ray Graham-less Pitt is vulnerable, and UConn & USF look very beatable. If we can all agree that a 2-2 finish is do-able and/or acceptable, then I think we will have our heads on straight here. We'll go to a bowl game, don't worry. We're just not going to the Orange Bowl. So be it.