Man, we’ve been all over the map this season, haven’t we?
We came into the 2016 Syracuse Orange football season mostly thinking that it was a lost one. We figured we were going to sit through a lot of bad losses with the hope that we come out the better for it in 2017.
After the Louisville and Notre Dame games, we realized “oh my god this is going to be so much worse than we thought.”
Then we beat Virginia Tech and all of a sudden so many things seemed possible. Everything we thought we knew about this team seemed wrong. We were suddenly so close to achieving bowl eligibility that some were poo-pooing the very idea, as if we have that right.
And then we went to Clemson and, good lord, we’re right back where we started.
The really crazy part is that the path to a bowl game is still pretty clear (assuming Eric Dungey is still around to be a part of it). NC State is decent but inconsistent. Pitt is Pitt, falling short of lofty expectations (i.e., Pitt-ing).
Depending on a slew of factors, this Syracuse team could still end up 6-6. Of course, it could easily end up 4-8 as well.
What did I learn from the Clemson game? Aside from the realization that the talent gap between the two schools is astronomical, it was that you’ll drive yourself crazy basing how you feel about this team on a weekly basis. I saw people on Twitter who had been praising Dino and the program after the VT and BC wins calling the program a disaster after the Clemson loss.
It’s good to feel good when SU wins and understandable to feel bad when we lose, but this season just continues to remind us that staying close to the middle is the way to go about it. For now, at least.
I could tell you we’re not as bad as the scoreboard looking on Saturday, but the scoreboard still said what it said. I could tell you we’re not as good as the scoreboard read in the Virginia Tech game, but we did score more than they did (and VT is still a Top 20 team). In the moment, both results ended up creating big ideas about the state of the program. In their ways, both results spoke truths but they also gave a false perspective on the big picture.
Point being, this is still a team capable of winning more games this season and it’s a team capable of losing them as well. The Clemson score doesn’t tell that story. The Virginia Tech score doesn’t tell that story either. Those scores are both part of the bigger story, one that isn’t done being told just yet.