On this blog and beyond, it has been debated whether the Syracuse Orange should be scheduling all weak non-conference opponents to boost its win total and give the program a better chance of achieving bowl eligibility every year. It is a strategy that has worked for other programs trying to become nationally relevant again.
So far, Syracuse has largely stuck to a formula of scheduling three weaker non-conference games, and one game against a national powerhouse. In recent years, we've seen Syracuse play USC, Penn State, Notre Dame and now this year, LSU. One benefit of playing these big time programs is that Syracuse can garner national attention, at least for that week. What may decide if playing these teams is worth it to the program is how competitive Syracuse makes the game.
In past years, Syracuse has played each of the other programs tough, but ultimately the Orange could not play well enough to pull out the win. Yesterday against LSU was different. Playing with a walk-on quarterback, everyone counted the Orange out, especially in the second half after each time LSU scored another touchdown. No one, except the Syracuse players themselves, seemed to think Syracuse's struggling offense would be able to put more points on the board against the athletic SEC defense, but they did. This time, Syracuse didn't beat themselves as they did against Penn State and Notre Dame. They played a better, more athletic, nationally renowned program and hung tough, and recruits took notice:
Syracuse is literally playing a great game against LSU.— KentrailMoran (@Wooda_Moran24) September 26, 2015
Moran is a four-star running back who is committed to Illinois that Syracuse re-engaged with after Robert Washington de-committed.
Love how tough Syracuse is playing ⚠️ against a "power house"— ☁️TenToes❗️ (@2Touchmillz) September 26, 2015
#CuseTwitterArmy #OrangeNationRising Syracuse Put Up A Great Fight LSU Great Win what a day of Football ❗️ pic.twitter.com/jl2NB7iNyb— ☁️TenToes❗️ (@2Touchmillz) September 26, 2015
2017 four-star wide receiver Anthony White, Jr. who plays for Hialeh (FL). White had several more pro-Syracuse tweets during the game as well.
My boys fighting LSU ‼️— Will2⃣5⃣ (@_willharp) September 26, 2015
2016 verbal commit Will Harper.
Had a great time at Syracuse today we played hard can't wait to play there myself #Cuse17 #OrangeNation— #⃣1⃣1⃣ (@isaiahmcduffie_) September 26, 2015
2017 verbal commit Isaiah McDuffie.
Game time pic.twitter.com/9qHuJNq8OB— 6'2 ‼️ (@wolf_gangclarke) September 26, 2015
2016 three-star defensive back target Devon Clarke.
Really looking forward to the game! #cuse— Jamal Holloway (@Malmoney_2016) September 25, 2015
2016 verbal commit Jamal Holloway who was in attendance for the game.
Had a great experience today at Cuse #CuseNation— Noel Brouse (@n3brouse) September 26, 2015
2016 verbal commit Noel Brouse who was in attendance for his second game in a row.
Now Syracuse has to build on the momentum and continue to win games they are supposed to win and be competitive in tough games.