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Against Virginia Tech, Syracuse looking for first win over ranked team since 2012

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Maybe you’re up for it, Virginia Tech?

Syracuse v Rutgers Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

The Syracuse Orange have not beaten a ranked team since 2012. You’ll likely remember that game, a 45-26 victory for SU over the (then) ninth-ranked Louisville Cardinals. Charlie Strong made up some wacky quote for Ryan Nassib. The win propelled the Orange to a co-Big East title on their way out of the conference. It was a fun time across the board.

Since that game, Syracuse has lost 12 straight to ranked teams. There’s been an increase in difficulty since 2012 with the Orange joining the ACC, sure. But nonetheless, the program has fallen a bit flat against quality teams since that victory over the Cardinals. Those results (sorry in advance):

Date Rank Team Result Score
09/09/16 13 Louisville L 62-28
11/14/15 1 Clemson L 37-27
10/31/15 17 at Florida State L 45-21
10/24/15 25 Pittsburgh L 23-20
09/26/15 8 LSU L 34-24
11/08/14 22 Duke L 22-10
10/25/14 21 at Clemson L 16-6
10/11/14 1 Florida State L 38-20
09/27/14 8 Notre Dame L 31-15
11/16/13 2 at Florida State L 59-3
10/05/13 3 Clemson L 49-14
09/07/13 19 at Northwestern L 48-27

We bring this all up because Saturday’s matchup with the Virginia Tech Hokies creates the latest opportunity to break this unfortunate streak of futility. Tech is 17th in the AP Poll and 19th in the Coaches Poll after soundly beating North Carolina, 34-3. As you’ll notice above, SU lost to Louisville, its first ranked opponent, earlier this year. They’ll likely have two more shots at ranked teams this year (Florida State and Clemson).

In some ways, it’s easy to write this off as a factor of Syracuse’s overall struggles as a program. We’re 2-4 this year, Scott Shafer’s tenure did not show improvement at all, and even Doug Marrone went just 25-25 at the helm for the Orange.

Still, Marrone did create wins over ranked teams throughout his time on the hill. Louisville (2012), West Virginia (2011 & 2010), Rutgers (2009) were all pelts collected in his four years. They’re the only four wins over ranked opponents since the start of 2009.

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Vegas isn’t overly optimistic about Syracuse’s chances in the Carrier Dome. But we can still hope for some sort of shocking shift. Each time Marrone knocked off a better team, it was hardly expected (well, maybe the 2012 win over Louisville was...). So any Saturday (or Friday night) presents a new opportunity to rewrite the narrative.