With four minutes left, I started writing my post-game recap as if Syracuse had already lost the game. I fully expected them to lose because, well, I'm a Syracuse fan and they're Syracuse. Only...they didn't. They won in the most confusing, thrilling, shocking and ridiculous way possible.
Even though the below recap is written as if Syracuse lost, I'm going to let it stand. I feel like it still encapsulates the entire experience of just how insane this Syracuse football season has been. We're 4-4, and, honestly, I'm still not sure how.
In a way, the 2012 Syracuse Orange football season is unique in that it is the singular most confusing season that I've ever had the pleasure/displeasure of watching. What happens in one game is completely outside of what happens in the next, and so on and so forth. So in that sense, it shouldn't be surprising that the Orange lost 36-31 to the South Florida Bulls, because, when you play a season like Syracuse has, what's considered a surprise?
Coming off a 40-10 decimation of UConn, you'd think this Syracuse team finally had it all figured out. But you'd be forgetting that the game before that was a clusterf*** loss to Rutgers, a loss that looks even more confusing today. Before that was a hard-fought win over a Pitt team that's getting better. Before that, a disturbingly-bad loss to Minnesota. Before that, a win over Stony Brook. Before that, a hard-fought loss to USC, which was preceded by a well-played loss to Northwestern, a game Syracuse might have won if not for some ticky-tack officiating.
The point is, again, last week means nothing. And after surrendering 551 yards to an offense that has lost five games in a row and made their quarterback, B.J. Daniels, look like a Heisman winner, that is most certainly clear.
What team other than Syracuse can continue to have mistakes like the one Jerome Smith had at the goal line in the first half, a fumble that changed the entire game on a dime? What team other than Syracuse can fix all of its mistakes one week and then commit all of them like its the first time the next week? What team other than Syracuse can literally look unstoppable on one drive and completely, utterly stoppable on the next? What team other than Syracuse doesn't give up 100 yards to a Big East rusher before this game only to give up 100 yards to TWO separate guys? What team other than Syracuse drives all the way down the field on the game-winning drive only to murder it's own chances with two, consecutive penalties?
Syracuse football is like the football version of chaos theory. Drip them down your knuckle and you never know which way they're going to dribble down your hand. There's absolutely no way to predict it or assume it or allow for it.
That's what makes them so frustrating to watch. They'll go down 20-3 to a 2-5 team only to emerge from the locker room and, before you know it, go up 24-23, only to immediately take their foot off the gas and go down 33-24. And yet, despite the horror show, they still had a chance at the buzzer. And they shot themselves in the foot. Because of course they did.
They're Syracuse. If they're not confusing you, they're not doing their job.
I don't know about you, but, I'm gonna go faint now.