Let me start off by saying that this is all purely hypothetical. I state this because if I state these speculations as fact, the football karma forces will ensure the Orange lose out and make me look awful, or worse, like Craig James.
Look, I'm not going to go in detail about just how could this team could be. We know the passing game can be the best in the conference. The running game is decent. The defense can shut down the run and no team we face from here on out really has the passing offense to rip apart our secondary. It's the bone headed penalties and play calling that kills this team week in and out. This team is good. Much better than 4-4.
Anyways, this entire premises rides on the fact that the Orange HAVE to beat Cincy. Losing momentum going into Louisville needing to win at home so as to avoid making Missouri a must win is a horrible position. Essentially, lose this week, we are lucky to get Beef. Lucky.
If I am proven wrong and Syracuse pulls the upset against Cincy, the Orange would be 5-4 with three games remaining with
Homecoming Orange Central and Senior Day on the horizon, most likely on National TV. I smell an upset game there. That would leave the Orange 6-4, qualified for the Beef and more importantly 5-1 in the conference. In reality, the Mizzou game wouldn't matter and, if we've knocked off Cincy and Louisville, we would knock off Temple. 6-1 Big East record.
To be the Debbie Downer I know is waiting for the comment thread, I think a loss to Louisville leads to a rough trip to Mizzou and then Temple becomes the Beef-or-Bust Bowl. Therefore, I am saying the only way the Orange don't go to the Beef Bowl is if they finish 4-0 or 3-1 with a loss to Mizzou. Look me in the eye and say that's impossible.
Here's where things get interesting. If Syracuse finishes the year 6-1 in the conference, (ignore the win or loss to Mizzou) the Orange could hypothetically finished tied for first in the conference if Louisville defeats Rutgers. But Syracuse doesn't have nine wins, ergo, no BCS game. Rutgers wins, Syracuse finishes second. Therefore, the Orange are locked into second.
Now where does that leave us Bowl-wise? The top three bowl selectors are Russel Athletic Bowl, Belk Bowl, and Pinstripe Bowl. The criteria are pretty much sexy factor, traveling crowd and story lines they can create. So...
Hello to the best tweeting Bowl in the USA! The Russel Athletic Crew visited Syracuse when the Orange throttled UConn and showed off their best football thus making a good impression. The RAB can't take ND this time because they already did in 2011 thus the only other option would be the third place finisher. The RAB takes ACC vs Big East and why not start a rivalry early? The ACC opponent could be really anyone with how topsy-turvy the ACC middle is but my bet is on Clemson. Battle Orange. I like it.
But just to be difficult I realized that to finish with six wins at this 4-4 mark, we can win either one or two Big East wins to make 6-6. At 6-6 we'd have either a 5-2 or 4-3 Big East mark. Money is on the 5-2. Two losses keeps us at third place. Third place gets Pinstripe Bowl. Dr. Gross is already making the travel arrangements.