I know three things.
1. College football is really simple to figure out if you're willing to take pride out of the equation.
2. Many programs around the nation have discovered this an exploited it to become the kinds of football programs that can eventually get to a level where pride comes back into play.
3. Syracuse refuses to ever do this.
When it comes to scheduling, we've got all sorts of issues with the way the Syracuse Orange go about it. From the fact that they always wait until it's too late to fill their upcoming opponents to the fact that they routinely schedule way above their pay grade, it always feels like the ship is in motion but no one's actually manning the controls.
And so, that's why the Orange head into the 2016 football season with one of the toughest schedules in the nation, according to ESPN. A schedule that Syracuse is given an expectation of finishing 4-8 against.
Of course, many of the marquee games this season can't be helped. We're always going to play Florida State, Clemson, and Louisville and this just so happens to be our year with Notre Dame. But knowing all of that is exactly why SU should be mitigating the part of the schedule it can control with the easiest, most-winnable games possible.
I'd blown a blood vessel trying to encapsulate the short-term importance of all of this so I'll just direct you here in case you want more.
Some might point to last year's LSU game as proof that the Orange need those kinds of games on the schedule, to show that they can flex their muscle. But here's the thing. We lost that game. No one outside of Syracuse fans and 35% of LSU fans remember what happened other than the fact that LSU beat Syracuse. No one will remember that game even took place by the time the 2016 season starts. Like I said at the time, Syracuse had to capitalize on the LSU game or else it didn't matter. And they didn't. So it doesn't.
It should be noted that it's hard to quantify what the SOS actually looks like. Just as it's hard to quantify what the current Syracuse football team really looks like. Both of those ideas are based on what happened last year and we all know the danger of making assumptions based on what happened in the past.
No matter where you stand on the scheduling debate, we can all agree that the only thing that matters is winning football games. Everything else is just nonsense to complain about when we're losing. So whatever the schedule, just win more than you lose. And if that's too hard to do on a consistent basis, make it easier for yourself. Pride schmide. Give me another Pinstripe Bowl.