Sure, Syracuse didn't play yesterday. But the rest of its opponents did see the field, and at least gave us some more tape to look at/numbers to crunch when evaluating the Orange's chances in the upcoming weeks. A quick glance around the college football scoreboard to see how those teams did, and whether or not our outlook (on paper) has changed:
Central Michigan 38, Purdue 17
The Chippewas went into the Boilermakers' house and just ran roughshod all over them. This was obvious. CMU's balanced offense looked pretty good times (even without top wideout Titus Davis), and the power running game managed over 170 yards -- a concern for Syracuse. On the bright side, any time Purdue blitzed, they appeared to get behind the line of scrimmage with little effort. That's not a sign of a clear win, but certainly a harbinger of good things for a team like the Orange that loves to blitz.
Maryland 24, USF 17
Down 17-14 to USF on the road, Maryland needed a fourth quarter comeback to put the Bulls away. It was a closer matchup than most thought it would be, which bears the question of whether Maryland is not as good as folks thought, or if USF isn't nearly as bad? If the Terps turn the ball over six times in their next game, it's probably the former. Even a "very bad Syracuse team" won't let them pull out a win with that many errors.
No. 16 Notre Dame 31, Michigan 0
LOOK AWAY! Notre Dame ran through Michigan with reckless abandon, and the result was an embarrassing loss for the Wolverines (and a very nice-looking victory for the Irish). The defense appears up to par with recent vintages at Notre Dame, and the offense also appears to have picked back up with Everett Golson returning to the fold. If you didn't fear this team before, a win like this should probably change that mindset a bit.
No. 25 Louisville 66, Murray State 21
Yup. This team's just fine stepping up to the ACC. No, Murray State's no world beater, but this is exactly what you're supposed to do to an FBS team. Bobby Petrino's mindset is to burn down every village his team visits, and so far, the Cardinals' offense has done just that, with 97 points in two games (including one conference game). Frighteningly, this team probably isn't done improving either.
No. 1 Florida State 37, The Citadel 12
Florida State just casually beat up on the Bulldogs, and those 12 points you see for them are a mirage (and a product of garbage time). Jameis Winston was able to throw to whomever he wanted, whenever he wanted, and the defense thoroughly kept the Citadel in check. Can't glean a ton from FCS victories in general, but this at least shows that the 'Noles are still very good and very capable of beating any opponent on any day.
Wake Forest 23, Gardner-Webb 7
It certainly wasn't the world's most amazing victory, but a win's a win for Wake, as they finally managed to get the offense on track. It's Gardner-Webb, of course, but QB John Wolford managed to throw for over 290 yards and two scores -- however, it was the defense that really made the difference for the Deacs. Overcoming three turnovers by Wolford, Wake's D held G-W to just 11 first downs and 131 yards, making the ultimate difference.
No. 23 Clemson 73, South Carolina State 7
Clemson just wanted to remind you they can still score points, even if that required continuing to score into the fourth quarter. The Tigers looked great in the route, on both sides of the ball, and it's obvious they needed this after falling to Georgia last week. SC State only managed five first downs and 44 yards, though they only turned it over once. Can't deduce much from this game, other than Clemson knows how to beat an in-state FCS opponent.
NC State 46, Old Dominion 34
Old Dominion hung around for three quarters, but ultimately, the Wolfpack were able to grab themselves a win against a feisty C-USA team. The Monarchs can score points in bunches, which challenged State to continue pushing for the entirety of the game. It's tough to tell if the Wolfpack are deficient on defense or not after just two games, but with Georgia Southern and Old Dominion putting up a combined 57 points on them, it's not exactly farfetched to think that.
Duke 34, Troy 17
Duke was "workman-like" in defeating Troy, with QB Anthony Boone establishing a lead early and then letting his supporting cast hang on for the win. Have the Blue Devils gotten to a point where they just coast to non-conference wins and don't worry about style points? Perhaps. Though it's at least a little disconcerting that the Trojans managed to amass nearly 400 yards of offense (after being largely stuffed by UAB all last week).
Pittsburgh 30, Boston College 20
Once again, Pitt's James Conner ran all over an opponent, and that should put a decent amount of fear into the minds of Syracuse fans, given how much we can let up in that department. The Panthers look very sound on both sides of the ball right now, and with Conner and wideout Tyler Boyd leading the way, it seems to cover up for mistakes by anyone else (QB Chad Voytik in particular). Boston College, on the other hand, did an alarmingly accurate impression of Syracuse throughout the game, with Tyler Murphy rarely throwing downfield -- and looking shaky the few times he did. The only way this team's running the ball well is with Murphy taking off with it, which should also concern SU fans a little.
There you have it. Syracuse's opponents in a nutshell. Did you notice anything else worth mentioning? Share away in the comments.