What would make 2014 successful?
That was the question asked by Gang Green Nation, our SB Nation affiliate for the New York Jets. If you're unfortunate enough to be a Jets fan like me, it's a good site to check out. (Aren't I the quite the company man?)
It got me to thinking - what are the expectations here at TNIAAM and around the Syracuse community for the upcoming college football season?
Throughout much of the last decade, the answer was very simple: reach a bowl game. We created the Quest for Beef, the mission to reach the Beef O'Brady Bowl. After Greg Robinson took almost three full years to win his sixth game, even that goal seemed too much to ask.
A whole lot has changed since then, but you probably don't need me to tell you. Three bowl games in four seasons. More specifically, three bowl wins in four seasons.
But, by any measure, Syracuse has room to improve on last year's 7-6 season. If you're a certain running back, you would say that the hay isn't in the barn. In Scott Shafer's introductory press conference, he promised an offense with juice. "I want this team to be an offensive unit that when you come and watch them play, you better not take a bathroom break," he said. The Orange, instead, averaged 85th in yards and 98th in points per game.
If you went to the men's room, you probably didn't miss much.
For me, seven regular season wins seems like a good number to strive for. With Clemson, Florida State, Louisville and Notre Dame all on the schedule, it's hard to expect much more. The offense, especially the quarterback play, has to improve in Year Two for Shafer.
But how about you? What is your benchmark for success? What improvements, win totals, or bowl appearances would make you happy with the 2014 Syracuse football season?
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