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Syracuse Football: When Is A Season Defined?

At Central Michigan has become something of a must-win game for Syracuse. At least, I think it has become something of a must-win game for Syracuse.

Sandra Dukes-USA TODAY Sports

Would you believe the team that struggled with Villanova, at home, is favored by a touchdown and an extra point in its next game? A road game nonetheless!

Well, there are some people out there who seem pretty comfortable with Syracuse Orange football right now.

Syracuse at Central Michigan - Sat, Sep 13, 12:00 PM ET (128)
POINT SPREAD TOTAL MONEY LINE
BETONLINE.ag
-7
+7
SYR: -110
CMU: -110
N/A N/A
5Dimes.eu
-7
+7
SYR: -110
CMU: -110
N/A N/A
SportsBetting.ag
-7
+7
SYR: -110
CMU: -110
N/A N/A
BOVADA N/A N/A N/A
Fantasy911.com N/A N/A N/A

The Orange giving seven to a Chippewas team that has won both games to start 2014, including a victory at Purdue? I'm not entirely sold on that line, at least not right now.

Okay, so CMU is undefeated but it barely beat Tennessee Chattanooga at home and it rolled a really bad Boilermakers team. Are the Chippewas a byproduct of a relatively light early-season slate or is Syracuse in some kind of trouble here? Just the same, is Syracuse as bad as it looked in game one against the Wildcats or will Terrel Hunt's return, and a week off, show what the Orange can do?

I guess those answers will become clearer Saturday afternoon in Mount Pleasant. But, for the Orange's sake, a loss could really be derailing to the season. A kind of "reshuffling of the cards" situation when taking into account everything. Because not only would that mean Syracuse would lose a "winnable" game, but it would probably turn other future "winnable" games into something else.

Right?

I mean, Notre Dame looks like a top-25 team right now, even with some players suspended due to an academic investigation. How about Louisville and even Duke? I'm on record that Syracuse's struggles against Villanova did not change my overall thoughts on the season, but I'm a little surprised by some of the other team's starts to the year. Even if we are only talking about two games here.

Just look at what could be looming ahead for the Orange should SU somehow drop this game. Struggle with Nova, lose at Central Michigan and then prepare for Maryland (2-0), Notre Dame (2-0) and Louisville (2-0)? That's not even taking into account Florida State and Clemson which dot the schedule over the next month, too.

Originally I thought Syracuse's game with Central Michigan was just the standard "trap" game: The Orange on the road after a strange bye week looking a head to a gauntlet featuring teams like the Irish, Cards and Seminoles. But while I still see how and why Syracuse will beat the Chippewas, I do think this game is shifting away from trap and into some other season-defining territory. And right now I wonder if SU is seven points better than anyone given the limited view of the team we've had so far.

Ultimately, though, I guess even if Vegas is off by a few points, it won't change the fact that a win is a win. And victory, apparently, is what is expected by experts and the not-so-experts this weekend. A loss in Michigan, though, would probably shift the odds of winning future games against Syracuse.