You don't need to be told Syracuse's road to bowl eligibility is... well, almost non-existent according to advanced stats. Following another brutal Orange loss on Saturday, you wouldn't be blamed for being VERY down on this program and the rest of the schedule. But there are six more games, for better or for worse. So might as well take a look at what we're up against (and what previous opponents have done since we last saw them).
Richmond 37, Rhode Island 12
Following a one-week respite from the program's endless barrage of losses, URI suffered a defeat at the hands of the 5-1 Spiders. The Rams are now without starting QB Paul Mroz, which certainly didn't help matters. But the defense -- just as we saw vs. Syracuse -- is simply too porous to keep a below-average offense in games. It's tough to see another win on Rhody's slate.
North Carolina 50, Wake Forest 14
Wake hung around for a quarter against UNC. Then the floodgates poured open, and the Deacons were left motionless on the turf. North Carolina's fast-paced attack was simply too much for Wake Forest's defense, as Marquise Williams threw for 282 yards and three scores, while running for another 59 yards too. In a season full of growth and mostly close losses, this is a pretty difficult result to stomach for the Demon Deacons, despite UNC's 5-1 record.
Central Michigan 51, Buffalo 14
Finally, it all came together for the Chippewas on offense and defense. Previously, when the team scored a lot, its opponents did too (see: Western Michigan's 41-39 win last week). When the defense held firm, the Chipps' offense was lackluster (see their close early-season loss to Oklahoma State). In this one, though, it was all Cooper Rush, and the Bulls were run off the field by halftime. Despite a 3-4 record, CMU's still very much in the MAC race at 2-1 in the conference.
LSU 35, Florida 28
When LSU's throwing the ball pretty well, they're nearly impossible to stop. For yet another week, Brandon Harris continued to show growth there (202 yards, 2 TDs and 0 INTs), while Leonard Fournette did his usual in rushing for 180 yards. The Gators still gave LSU a battle, but it was a fake field goal specifically designed to beat Florida that secured the win. After an ironic role reversal had Riley Dixon beating LSU for a fake in the Syracuse game, it's predictable the Mad Hatter would go back to his old ways soon enough.
USF 28, UConn 20
Say this quietly to yourself, and then try to forget it: UConn played USF closer than Syracuse did. They didn't necessarily stop Quinton Flowers or Marlon Mack more than the Orange. But playing at home, the Huskies held very tough and forced mistakes against the Bulls who were primed for a letdown game following their big victory over SU. The Bulls, once a perceived one-win chump on the Orange schedule, are now 3-3 and very much in contention in a stacked AAC.
Pittsburgh 31, Georgia Tech 28
Georgia Tech's a tire fire, yes. But Pitt -- despite a QB change and the absence of their best running back (ACC player of the year James Conner) -- are still 5-1 and possibly the best team in the Coastal Division. Under center, Nathan Peterman seems to be getting better and more efficient by the week (3 TDs vs. Tech), and the run-game by committee is working well too. The defense, however, is what's been holding firm and creating opportunities for the offense most of all. I wonder how that feels (/pokes body of Syracuse defense with a stick).
Florida State 41, Louisville 21
Weeding through all the Everett Golson slander that gets tossed around the web every Saturday, the Notre Dame transfer has actually had a pretty nice season for the Seminoles. The peak performance might have been this past weekend too, when he threw for 372 yards and three TDs, looking every bit like the leader FSU needs if they're going to try and run the regular season table for a third straight year. Louisville? Uhh... this is officially a rebuilding year, as this offense wanders around in the wilderness and the defense struggles to replace last year's main playmakers. Keep an eye on them.
Clemson 34, Boston College 17
Boston College has no offense, but still managed to put up 17 points against a stout Clemson defense in a loss on Saturday. The Eagles needed Jeff Smith to throw the ball with some sort of proficiency if they had any shot to win, and instead, he went 7-of-22 (watch him go 8-of-9 for 200 yards vs. SU). BC WAS able to force some mistakes from Deshaun Watson, however, even through he still managed 420 passing yards and three scores. That he could do that against a very good Boston College defense should scare you plenty for when the Tigers head up to Syracuse.
NC State: Bye Week
State gets Wake before a three-game stretch of Clemson, then BC and FSU both on the road. They may be cruising toward 5-5, at best.
Syracuse Opponent W-L in Week 6: 7-4 (including Virginia)
Overall Opponent W-L for 2015: 45-32