This week on ESPN's ACC Blog, they've been looking at the best- and worst-case outcomes for every team in the conference. As one might imagine, that typically yields two very different extremes for the year, with reality likely falling somewhere in the middle.
"...The schedule certainly isn’t accommodating, but part of the allure of Babers’ scheme is that it helps even the odds against more talented opponents, so there’s reason to believe the Orange could surprise a few favorites along the way. If the nonconference slate proves manageable and the offense is sharp enough to pick off a couple of wins as an underdog, a bowl berth isn’t entirely out of the question..."
"...With a tough nonconference slate that includes USF and Notre Dame, combined with a top-heavy battle in the Atlantic this season, there aren’t many surefire wins on the docket. Last year’s four-win campaign cost Shafer his job, but if things don’t break right for Babers, Year 1 under his watch could potentially result in half that total."
Yikes, on the latter portion, but completely fair in terms of best case. As Hale also points out in the post (the above are short excerpts), the pieces are in place for Syracuse right now to adapt to Dino Babers's offense quickly. As he mentions in the worst case, there still may be hiccups -- and ones that aren't worked out before the team's easier opponents are over with.
We're usually pretty optimistic during preseason around here, so 2-10 may seem out of the question. But even if things start off well, we could still be looking at a six- or seven-win season as a cap. Last week, Bill Connelly pointed out that the Orange would improve a lot, but the schedule will make it hard to notice. Hale says similar things here in his best case, without a boatload of advanced statistics anchoring the point as well. Bill sees five games where SU has less than a 40-pecent chance to win, and another five that sit between 40 and 60 percent. That's the toss-up zone that separates this team from a likely ceiling of 7-5 and a floor of (yes) 2-10.
You could assume the Orange split those toss-ups, and that's how you get to four or five wins without issue. But Syracuse has lost them all before (2014), just like they've won most of them before (2013). The (my) theory that SU will lose four and win four every year can still ring true. It just needs a little luck on its side.
Go check out Hale's full post if you haven't already, and please don't start yelling at him about 2-10 on Twitter, since we clearly just proved it's in play, even for an improved Orange squad.