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Syracuse Football: Rock Bottom Is Arbitrary

Things are bad, things could, and likely will, get worse, before they get better. So in a way, rock bottom isn't so bad, it's just getting there that's the problem.

Brett Carlsen

I don't know what it sounds like when the stuff actually hits the fan, but I think we're getting a good idea of what it looks like.

As if the 28-6 loss to an undermanned Louisville team at the dome on Friday wasn't bad enough. Syracuse is now dealing with a reshuffling of coordinators and a major injury to its starting quarterback. Some massive changes coming to this Orange team, and program, whether you wanted them or not.

We're here because things have gone wrong. How wrong? Well, despite averaging just over 21 points per game, an anemic stat given the state of offensive football being played just about everywhere, the Orange hasn't hit that number in just about a month. And don't forget this nugget, pulled by ESPN's David Hale:

Since the start of last season, Syracuse has thrown just 10 touchdown passes in 503 attempts against FBS opponents -- second worst rate in the country.

That's pretty jarring when you consider Syracuse somehow managed to win seven times in 2013 and twice already this season. All of that when getting virtually nothing from a true passing game. It makes you wonder if Syracuse was truly just lucky last year, for a variety of reasons, and maybe that's reversed form for this season.


And now Scott Shafer is now bringing up ISIS and beheadings to deflect from his team's performances, and earning some Barstoolsports attention in the process. Tell me that wasn't a little Robinson-ish of Shafer? Where Shafer went for the dramatic distraction, Robinson would go for the blind "we're just a few plays away" routine. But still, both styles were over the top.

It can't get any worse, can it?!


*tugs at collar*

Ooof, ha..ha, ummmm, would you believe basketball practice has already started? Yeeessh.

Well, George McDonald's being removed or Terrel Hunt's injury isn't going to change what happens this weekend. Florida State is going to pound Syracuse, even if Chip Kelly is calling Syracuse's plays and Peyton Manning is under center for the Orange. It'll be a "hide the children" type of game, no matter the moves made behind the scenes.

In other words: this ain't rock bottom, kids. That could come this Saturday, before halftime maybe, or even a week or two down the line. I think that's one of the things you have to deal with when free falling: you can't see the bottom until after you've started the climb back up.

The question is: when does Syracuse start that climb back up?

Now, let this be the place where I admit to penning this dandy about Syracuse's going 8-4 in 2014. I'll also come clean, though, and tell you, there's no chance in hell SU is going 8-4. Shoot, seven wins seems just about im-freaking-possible at this point. A two-quarterback system featuring two quarterbacks best suited to hold clipboards right now? Florida State and Clemson lurking? Four of the last six games on the road?


For as much as I want to write off this season and predict only one more victory, I'm just not there yet. That Wake Forest game is still, even now, something I see as "winnable" for Syracuse. The two home games in November? Well, it's not inconceivable to think the Orange wins one, maybe both, is it? What if Tim Lester, offensive coordinator, is better than what Syracuse had before? What if one or both of the newbie QBs distract defenses enough to allow for Prince Tyson-Gulley or Adonis Ameen-Moore to finally get untracked? Those are some talented running backs that have been misused in extreme fashions so far in 2014.

That's all a ton of "what ifs," I know. But that's the thing, it's still too early to be getting late around here. There is a lot of time left. The defense showed something in that Notre Dame game, even if it was just a penchant for bending but not breaking. The Maryland game? The offense was at the least moving the ball, ignoring the red zone issues and that backbreaking Hunt pick before halftime.

Look, there's something definitely off about this team. Losing Hunt will certainly add to the problems, at least for now. Still, even with the look-away-from-the-carnage game Saturday, all can't be completely lost. Not yet. Last year was lucky, but there were signs of progress. And while the trip down to the bottom isn't over yet for Syracuse this season, it's likely close. Which could very well be a good thing, eventually.