Everybody has feelings about Syracuse's 3-5 record and current five-game losing streak. It's impossible to not have some kind of response to the last six weeks, a month and a half of wanting to strangle things due to a combination of urinating on the rug and concentrated "dammit." It's football; it happens. Yet, the most difficult of all circumstances is potentially primed to suffocate your face: Three football computers -- Massey Ratings, S&P+, and FPI -- are giving Syracuse about a blended 30% chance of finishing the season without another victory. If Vegas were laying odds, Syracuse would be about 2:1 to finish without another win in 2015.
Syracuse's odds and probabilities could be worse, but hovering around 30% winless finish highlights both the difficulty of the Orange's closing stretch and where Syracuse currently stands in the college football hierarchy. As noted last week, I illustrate this not to assert a particular agenda, but rather to help set expectations around projected results/outcomes. However you're trading in feelings commodities -- it's a volatile market -- kind of exists outside the scope of this piece, even if it may tangentially relate to your particular feelings portfolio.
|DATE||OPPONENT||MASSEY W%||MASSEY PROJ.||S&P+ W%||S&P+ PROJ.||FPI W%||SAGARIN SPREAD|
|Nov-21||at N.C. State||24%||28-37||19%||21-37||16%||+12.29|
Some brief thoughts on this:
- Louisville opened as a 12-point favorite against the Orange, a fair assessment from Vegas considering the zeros and ones that football computers are considering. The Cards have some issues -- Louisville has some health concerns and the Cards haven't pounded anyone's skull since taking a lead pipe to Samford's mouth in late September -- but Louisville is, at least according to the machines that will one day enslave us all, in a better position to triumph on Saturday than Syracuse. The spread may move in the Orange's direction a bit over the course of the week, but installing the Cardinals as a double-digit favorite at least aligns with what the football machines predict.
- The projection for the Boston College game has finally moved in Syracuse's favor, although the S&P+ ratings are lagging a shade. Potentially waiting four weeks for another victory is going to further test the patience of Syracuse fans, especially considering that gasoline is cheap and arson is a beatable rap, but the reality here is that football computers are pointing at post-Thanksgiving as the only strong opportunity to square up against an opponent and feel the sweet tingle of not losing.
- A note on Clemson for anyone that has the head trauma necessary to boldly predict a Syracuse upset in the Dome next week: The Tigers are second in the Massey Ratings, first in S&P+, seventh in FPI, and second in the Sagarin Ratings. Of these four rating models, none have Florida State ranked ahead of Clemson, and the Seminoles just outclassed the Orange without a Heisman-worthy running back. The Tigers have the capacity to detonate an atomic bomb in Syracuse's pants, and anything less than a 20-point destruction -- assuming that the Tigers don't sleepwalk or otherwise power down their overall trajectory -- would be massively surprising. Clemson is College Football Playoff-good, and football computers aren't expecting the Orange too have all that many digestible results against the Tigers in a 10,000-game series.
Here's a win-loss projection table from three football computers:
A Monte Carlo simulation ascribes a 45-ish% chance of Syracuse finishing this season with one more win while the odds of finishing with two more victories is slightly lower than finishing winless (obviously there is some rounding here). Anything over two wins is highly improbable. Please analyze your calibrations accordingly.
As for how football computers changed their outlook on the Orange after hanging around Tallahassee, here are the changes from last week:
|DATE||OPPONENT||MASSEY W%||MASSEY MARG.||S&P+ W%||S&P+ MARG.||FPI W%||SAGARIN SPREAD|
|Nov-21||at N.C. State||0%||+1||+1%||0||+1%||+0.28|
|MASSEY W||MASSEY L||S&P+ W||S&P+ L||FPI W||FPI L|
Some brief thoughts on this:
- There wasn't a lot of movement relative to Syracuse's next three opponents, and that seems appropriate given that the Orange didn't particular distinguish itself against the Seminoles. Somewhat interestingly, the projected margins and win probabilities against Louisville, Clemson, and N.C. State haven't changed all that dramatically since South Florida week. Football computers are essentially asserting that Syracuse is a similar 'dog to these opponents as the Orange were in the first week of October, which is worrisome from a relative improvement standpoint.
- Boston College is burning up on re-entry. This is great for two reasons: (1) Orange Eagle points are more important than, like, healthy human emotions; and (2) Hanging 76 on Howard demands a correction in the universe wherein the Eagles are drowned in the sink. Boston College is, similar to the Orange, on a five-game losing streak and looking at ugly probabilities to finish 2015: The Massey Ratings and FPI give the Eagles about a 30% chance to lose their final three games this year (the S&P+ Ratings are a little more positive about Boston College), providing Monte Carlo simulation figures that are similar to that of Syracuse. This is the darkest timeline of them all.