Things could be so much worse.
We could be back in 2005 or 2006 in the beginnings of the GERG Era, realizing that the decent football program we thought we knew was actually now a basement dweller. Dark days indeed.
With the arrival of Doug Marrone, those days ended and Syracuse Orange football ushered in a new era, one that continues today. Thankfully, we're no longer the program that is expected to lose almost every game we play. Alas, we're not yet the program of the mid-to-late 90's that could rattle off eight or nine wins no matter what.
We're stuck in the middle. And somehow, this middle-ground can often feel worse than basement.
At least when we were in the basement we knew where we stood. A rare Louisville upset aside, we knew the games we weren't going to win and we prayed for more games that we could.
Nowadays, Syracuse goes into most games with a fighting chance. It wasn't hubris that made most Syracuse fans think that we'd beat the Maryland Terrapins this past weekend. It was a legitimate possibility. We'd done it a year earlier. We were coming off a 40-3 thrashing of an opponent. We were fully capable of winning that game.
But we didn't. And that's what happens when you're playing football in The Age of Who The Hell Knows.
It's that intangible feeling that all SU fans have going into most games, whether they care to admit it or not. It's that feeling that tells them there's a good chance we can win this football game but there's an equally good chance we will lose this football game and there's no discernible way to tell which one is about to happen.
Look at each season since 2010 and the games therein. You'll find results next to one-another that make absolutely no sense. Home losses followed up by road victories over better teams. Early season wins followed by late-season swoons and vice versa. Shutout losses followed by shutout victories. Dominant wins, heartbreaking losses, blowout losses and solid wins...all one right after the other.
No rhyme or reason. No real theme or tangible thread that you can follow to make sense of it all. Taking a step back, the results almost seem random.
That's why, in a weird way, Syracuse fans can take solace in the fact that this year's team will almost certainly pull off a major upset. I have no facts to back this up. I have no argument to make. I just know Syracuse Football in the 2010's. We will lose at home to Maryland but we will also beat a ranked Louisville or Notre Dame team. I just know it. And then we'll go out and lose another game we shouldn't and the whole thing will be an excruciating exercise in sixandsixdom.
When SU football fans get frustrated in spite of victories, this is why. When the Carrier Dome crowds are pocked with empty sections, this is why. When Syracuse Football doesn't get any kind of national respect, this is why.
It's not that we're bad. It's that we're random. We have no through line. You can't point to a game left on our schedule and know for a fact SU will win that game, not even Wake Forest.
Doesn't mean we're not good enough to win. Doesn't means we're not good enough to go bowling. Doesn't mean we're not good enough to knock off a ranked team.
Just means....who the hell knows, you know?