Man, did we pick a bad week to do updated Syracuse Orange football season record predictions. I blame Ari.
Aside from Dan, the rest of us have already hit our expected win totals for the season. I still don’t think you can blame us. Based on the evidence, it was unrealistic to think this Syracuse team would win more than one or two games this season and they certainly weren’t going to beat Virginia Tech.
And yet, here we are.
And so, the state of the Syracuse Football program feels very differently today than it did last week, even if we don’t want to get too ahead of ourselves.
Or maybe we do? Dino Babers has been very clear from the beginning about his mantra. Belief without evidence. I said that such a thing was too much of an ask from Syracuse fans and the first half of the season bore that out. Look at how many Orange fans jumped off the bandwagon after each huge loss. We’ve been second-guessing this squad in spite of their offensive fireworks.
Meanwhile, the defense has been improving greatly over the last couple weeks. The offense has been learning not to burn itself out after one quarter. There are still lots of questionables (play-calling, the running game, and special teams remain spotty) but as we’ve been saying for a while the groundwork is being built.
Dino has always been clear about his own expectations for this season. Without saying it he’s been saying that he assumed we’d end this year with a losing record. And yet he’s also been very clear about the future of the program and that you’d be a fool not to buy in now. He doesn’t make guarantees, but, he also kinda does.
"The biggest thing about this win is that anytime you take over a new program, you're trying to get everybody to buy in, to work as one," Babers said. "No matter how hard everyone wants to do that, there's always the naysayers. There are always those ones that say, 'Hey, maybe we should do it the way the old coaches did it.' It's always that way until you get that one win that solidifies you, that hardship that brings the family closer together. That's what happened today.
“I'm happy for all of you, to get a taste of what this is going to look like."
Not what this “might look like.” What this “is going to look like.” He’s had enough faith in his process to weather the storm while the rest of us work up the courage to have faith as well.
Now comes the hard part. Syracuse very well could lose this weekend to Boston College. Or they could very easily end the season 3-9 or 4-8. The hard part for excited Syracuse fans is to remember this game and remember how you felt. Because now that we’ve seen the potential in full effect, it’s up to us to buy in to Dino Babers’ vision. He’s doing his part. The offense can be a worldbeater and this team can win certain games. We don’t have all the evidence, but we have enough to believe now.
I can’t say my expectations for the rest of the season have changed drastically, but now I know what’s possible. I’ll try to remember that when I make my game predictions and set my presumptions before each game. I’d recommend that to everyone else as well.
I thought I knew where this season was going and now it looks like I was wrong. I’m glad for that. I hope to be wrong a few more times before it’s over.