Earlier, Sean talked about expectations and what you should realistically think this Syracuse Orange football season amounts to (plus "Wet Hot Summer," of course). Now that we've got that covered, let's see what others think. All of these predicted national rankings are based on some of the most popular 128-team countdown series:
SB Nation (F/+): 78
Alright, I can deal with that, given last season and all...
Any perceived "hometown bump" is also nullified by the fact that SBN had the same number.
ESPN (FPI): 82
Phil Steele: 82
Again, I can deal with this. It's only a few spots lower than the first set.
The Power Rank: 88
CBS Sports: 95
Below Akron and Texas State, among others. Troll hard.
Orlando Sentinel: 116
This one might as well have been this gif and nothing else:
Good thing it also works as our own response to the preview.
Like Sean said, how you view this season will largely depend on what you're expecting going into it. And these folks... don't expect much. In every outlet, Syracuse is predicted no higher than sixth in the Atlantic Division (ahead of Wake Forest). By many, they're seen as seventh, out of seven. Nothing against our Demon Deacons friends, but when a team has an offense WORSE than Syracuse's, and loses two NFL defensive backs, it's tough to see things improving by leaps and bounds... and especially surpassing SU.
But, y'know, there's really no reason to get caught up in these arbitrary rankings. Out of the eight above, only SB Nation and ESPN even used some form of advanced metrics to come up with their figures. And for the rest: how many times are teams ranked 1 through 128 during the season, anyway? If we finish 78th and go 7-6, is that really any worse than finishing 65th with the same record? Or 5-7 but ranked 58th? I can guarantee incoming recruits aren't checking where you're viewed out of 128 teams when making their college decision.
We've been here before, and we thought these days were over after finishing 35th in F/+ in 2012. Just three years later, we're back to being viewed as a bottom feeder. The solution, as it was last time: win games. Win games, play quality football and regain the perception bump we'd received under Doug Marrone. We don't have to win championships to be perceived as a quality program. Just need to put a decent product on the field. Last year's team performed above 50 percent just three times, and under 35 percent six times. That can't happen again.
The easy prediction: Syracuse will prove someone wrong. Whether it's me, you, one of these publications or even the team itself, someone will end this season being incorrect about the Orange. And that's okay. As long as we, the fans, can live with the result, that's really all that matters.
(But if you want to go out and make it back to a bowl game, Syracuse, I doubt you'll find a soul complaining...)