I know. Trying to find the worst Syracuse football games of the past decade is like trying to figure out which Dick Vitale catchphrase is the worst. But, dear readers, I took the hit so that you wouldn't have to. Well, I mean, you still have to read all about them and re-live the horror, so, I guess I did you no favors really. You're welcome.
Dishonorable Mention (see what I did there?)
2000: Miami 26 - Syracuse 0
"On its eight first-half possessions, Syracuse did not gain a first down on seven as quarterback R.J. Anderson failed to generate anything offensively. The Orangemen gained 42 yards on 29 plays in the half and had two first downs."
2002: Miami 49 - Syracuse 7
Hey, at least we scored, unlike the previous two meetings.
2003: Virginia Tech 51 - Syracuse 7
Still angry over Syracuse's upset win over them the previous season, the Hokies left nothing to doubt, out-gaining the Orangemen 439-172 and holding Walter Reyes to 40 yards rushing.
2004: Purdue 51 - Syracuse 0
Kyle Orton blew up the Orange on opening weekend for 287 yards and four touchdown for their first shutout in four years. Coach P had banked on freshman Joe Fields becoming Syracuse's savior before this game. Dethroned Perry Patterson regained his starting job by the time it was over.
2004: Temple 34 - Syracuse 24
In front of Donovan McNabb and in spite of three Damien Rhodes touchdowns, the Orange lost to the Temple Owls for the 2nd time in 3 years.
2005: Rutgers 31 - Syracuse 9
Syracuse fumbled the football nine times (niiiiine tiiiiiimes) and freshman Mike Teel tore up SU in the Dome.
2005: Louisville 41 - Syracuse 17
This one was the ninth-straight loss for the Orange and capped the first 10-loss season in SU history.
2006: West Virginia 41 - Syracuse 17
West Virginia QB Pat White rushed for a career-high 247 yards and four touchdowns in the romp.
2007: West Virginia 55 - Syracuse 14
West Virginia ended up scoring the most points ever allowed by Syracuse at home.
No. 10 - Louisville 10, Syracuse 9 (2009)
You could argue that this was the first game in five years against a BCS opponent that Syracuse was truly expected to win. At least by its fanbase. The two worst teams in the Big East battling for their first conference win and the right not to dwell in the basement. The first half was about as terrible and boring as a football game could possibly be. The game featured putrid offenses, bad coaching and horrendous special teams play. And through it all, Syracuse held Louisville to 151 yards, their lowest offensive output in years. But thanks to a missed extra point and the insane decision to punt to Trent Guy, the Cardinals pulled out the ugly 10-9 win. The Play of the Game was actually a negated Trent Guy punt return, which means they couldn't even find a play from the actual game worth calling attention to.
No. 9 - Miami (OH) 17, Syracuse 14 (2007)
Syracuse was coming off their then-monumental upset of Louisville. After beating a 37.5 point favorite on the road, beating a 1-3 MAC team that had lost seven-straight home games should have been a piece of cake. Instead, Syracuse needed a 2nd-half comeback just to stay in the game and still fell short in the end. It was SU's first loss to a MAC school since 1976. It also completely zapped all of the momentum gained by beating Louisville and proved that the win was just a fluke.
No. 8 - Rutgers 24, Syracuse 7 (2003)
Of all the Rutgers loss in the 2000's, this was the tamest of them all. But here me out on why it's here. Up until this point, Syracuse had lost to Rutgers a grand total of one time since 1986. In the three times SU did lose the game, it was always a close battle. This loss marked the first time Rutgers whooped up on the Cuse, and the timing could not have been worse. The game itself was a mess. The swirling winds screwed up SU's kicking and passing game, turning the Orangemen's gameplay into a comedy of errors. The impact of the loss was far-stretching. The Orange were basically eliminated from bowl eligibility with the loss while Rutgers won five game for the first time since '98. The passing of the Tri-State Area torch quickly followed.
No. 7 - Iowa 20, Syracuse 13 2OT (2006)
Syracuse would head to Ames and get throttled 35-0 in 2007 but it was the events of 2006 that will live on in highlight reels for years to come, just not in any way the Orange would appreciate. Just watch:
No. 6 - Washington 42, Syracuse 12 (2007)
Any Syracuse fan who had lived through the first two seasons of the Greg Robinson Era could tell you that 2007 was going to be different. There was something in the air. No one could put their finger on it but it really seemed like this was the year the team was gonna break through. After going 1-10 in '05 and 4-8 in '06, the logical conclusion was that a bowl game was in Syracuse's immediate future. And it all began with lowly Washington at home. Here's what I said at the time:
First game of the season. It will set the tone for the entire year. Both schools are in a very similar place (fallen programs, in the rebuilding process, untested QBs, coaches with warm seats about to get hot). This is our chance to set the tone, beat a BCS school and make Orange fans believe that we actually do have a shot this year at getting back to .500.
Well, 42 points later Washington proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that this Syracuse team was not who we thought they were. The entire fanbase let out a collective sigh and prepared itself for the inevitable 2-10 season ahead.
No. 5 - Miami (FL) 59, Syracuse 0 (2001)
2001 was a prototypical successful Paul Pasqualoni season. The Orange dropped the first two games of the season to remove any and all expectations. They then proceeded to go on a eight-game winning streak. That brought them to the No. 14 ranking when they faced off against No. 1 and undefeated Miami. Here it was, a perfect opportunity in front of a national audience to prove once and for all that the Orange were for real and not just coasting by. And in typical-Coach-P-team fashion, the Orange proved that they were indeed, not at all for real.
No. 4 - Penn State 55, Syracuse 13 (2008)
It had all the makings of a classic. Syracuse's longtime and most hated rival Penn State returns to the Carrier Dome for the first time in almost 20 years the same weekend that The Express, a movie based on the life of Ernie Davis, premieres in Syracuse!!! Hollywood stars rub shoulders with Syracuse legends in the crowd. The Ernie Davis Statue is unveiled in the Syracuse Quad. The game is nationally televised on ABC.
It's a shame then that what the nation got to see was Syracuse got absolutely, undeniably embarrassed 55-13. Oh I assure you, it wasn't even that close. SU's RB Curtis Brinkley finished with 21 yards on 14 carries. Meanwhile, Penn State's top two wide receivers caught 12 passes for 223 yards and four touchdowns...in the first half.
Adding insult to injury was the depantsing of Syracuse football and Greg Robinson that ESPN put together and broadcast all day long.
No. 3 - Temple 17, Syracuse 16 (2002)
The last time Syracuse lost to Temple before this game? 1983. So when the Orange finally did sink low enough to fall to the Owls, they made sure to do it in gut-wrenching fashion. The Orangemen led 10-3 to start the 4th quarter but Temple scored touchdowns on consecutive drives to take a 17-10 lead with 3:40 remaining. R.J. Anderson led SU down the field with time running out and hit Jared Jones in the endzone with :30 left. All SU needed to do was kick the extra point and the game would likely head to overtime.
Alas...Collin Barber's extra-point kick hit the left upright. And just like that, Syracuse lost to Temple. On a friggin' missed extra point.
No. 2 - Akron 42, Syracuse 28 (2008)
If you watched the video that accompanied the Penn State loss a few back, you noticed a discussion about Akron and how many times Syracuse should lose to them. DOCTOR Daryl Gross says "none" and he's right. Unfortunately for him, Greg Robinson apparently enjoyed losing to MAC teams so much, he did it twice.
Syracuse gave up 42 points...at home...to Akron...AKRON!!!...which dropped the Orange to 0-2. This loss, more than any, came to represent The Greg Robinson Era. That he could allow the Syracuse football program to devolve to the point where we're not only losing at home to Akron but getting pushed around by them was inexcusable. There was no going back now. Greg's fate was sealed, just two games into the season. Nothing he did the rest of the year mattered. Syracuse football had reached the bottom.
No. 1 - Georgia Tech 51, Syracuse 14 (2004)
How do you top the loss that acts as the rock bottom point for a program? How bout with the loss that was the catalyst for sending us there? The 2004 Champ Sports Bowl was already a heady proposition when SU accepted the bid. The Orange seemed over-matched against the Yellow Jackets and a loss was expected. Off the field, longtime AD and Coach P supporter Jake Crouthamel was retiring. Before leaving, Jake gave Coach P the vote of confidence. Nancy Cantor seconded that on Dec. 6 when she announced that Pasqualoni would return for his 15th season with Syracuse. 11 days later Daryl Gross was hired as the new AD. He joined up just in time to watch Syracuse suffer their worst bowl loss since 1953.
Nine days later, Gross fired Pasqualoni, ending his 14-year tenure.
Because it was so late in the season, many of the top candidates had already been taken. In his haste to remake the football program (and all SU sports programs) in his image, Gross was left with little viable options. On a recommendation from Pete Carroll, he settled on Texas DD Greg Robinson. And the rest, they say, is history...