Yesterday was no fun. We've been over this, and how Syracuse's loss to Maryland certainly puts a damper on things yet again for the Orange. But it's a short schedule, so time to quickly refocus on the next opponent and hope SU can right the ship. Here's a quick glance around the college football scoreboard to see how Syracuse's opponents -- past and future -- did, and whether or not our outlook (on paper) or overall feelings about opponents have changed:
Villanova 49, James Madison 31
'Nova continued to look impressive this season after knocking off the Dukes by 17. QB John Robertson was great again, accounting for six scores (four passing, two running) to go with his 337 passing yards. While the Wildcats couldn't hold former Georgia Tech quarterback Vad Lee in check all that well -- 478 total yards, four TDs -- their offense did enough to get the job done and continue climbing the FCS rankings.
Kansas 24, Central Michigan 10
For the second straight week, CMU was overwhelmed by a Power 5 opponent, falling to Kansas on the road. Still without Thomas Rawls (suspended) and Titus Davis (injury), the offense has simply lost too many pieces to be effective and it's shown in losses to Syracuse and Kansas now. The Chips are in danger of dropping out of the bowl picture completely now, and SU's win could get less impressive by the week.
No. 9 Notre Dame (Bye Week)
The 3-0 Fighting Irish took a week off this past Saturday, and will now be well-rested to face off with the Orange at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. Though Notre Dame has been winning, it's not without its faults, showing a problem running the ball thus far that SU will certainly want to hone in on. Can't say I'm that optimistic about the Orange's chances to upset ND in primetime, but then again, I wasn't when this happened either.
Louisville 34, Florida International 3
Yes, FIU seems much improved this year, but you can't help but think the Cardinals sort of slept through this one, no? The running game looked largely ineffective (just 68 yards if you don't count sacks), and if not for an INT returned for a score and two field goals, Louisville really wouldn't have put much up on the Panthers. It's probably inconsequential, but two straight weeks of minimal offensive production does raise a few questions about the Cards.
No. 1 Florida State 23, No. 22 Clemson 17
We learned plenty about both teams (and future Orange opponents) in this game, so might as well go through it all here. Without Jameis Winston, this Florida State offense does lack some scoring punch, though it also appears to have the playmakers to rise to the occasion despite the defending Heisman Trophy winner's absence. FSU's defense was an impressive force throughout the night, largely holding the Tigers in check, save freshman QB Deshaun Watson, who is going to be a star for that team soon. Speaking of Clemson, that offense is going to have some real struggles this year (seems weird to say), so it's all about the defense from here on out. They looked great for much of the night, collapsing the pocket around 'Noles QB Sean Maguire without much issue. These two teams should scare you... but you knew that.
Wake Forest 24, Army 21
The Deacons showed some fight for the second straight week, as QB John Wolford continues to mature into a competent passer at the college level. Saturday's 25-for-35 for 238 yards and two scores was a nice step forward from last week's insane 20-for-50 effort, and it seems Wake is putting things together on offense under Dave Clawson. The fact that they actually managed 100 yards on the ground also shows major progress and will be key in their gradual improvement.
NC State 42, Presbyterian 0
Tough to get much out of this game or any of the other three State played before it, honestly, as the Wolfpack have only exhibited an ability to beat up on bad opponents. That's not a knock on them, as it's what you should be able to do. But just pointing out that there's still a lot of uncertainty about what this team can actually do against better competition. We'll find out more next week, as State takes on the Seminoles.
Duke 47, Tulane 13
Duke's looked great so far this season, though Saturday's rout may have been their worst showing yet. Anthony Boone was off all day -- 181 yards passing, one INT -- and a bevy of ball-carriers (Boone included) had to pick up the slack on the ground with four rushing scores. It was the defense that really ruled the day, however, with five turnovers, including two interceptions returned for touchdowns. It's concerning that SU is going to have to try and outscore this squad...
Iowa 24, Pittsburgh 20
Last week looked like Pitt was starting to show some holes as a team, and this week, a loss to Iowa confirmed it. The Panthers were manhandled in the second half, and despite huge days from James Conner and Tyler Boyd (as per usual), Pittsburgh found itself on the losing end of a very winnable game. If someone outside of those two players can't step up for Pitt, things could take a turn for the worst, as we saw yesterday.
Boston College 40, Maine 10
The Eagles' rushing attack has reached a pretty high level at this point, amassing yet another huge output (413 yards) in a winning effort. That's two straight weeks with over 400 on the ground, and the reason is defenses' fear of QB Tyler Murphy. Murphy does have some issues throwing the ball, of course, but if you can help your team move it on the ground like this, it's much less of a concern. BC is rounding into a better team by the week.
There you have it. Syracuse's opponents in a nutshell. Did you notice anything else worth mentioning? Share away in the comments.