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The Five Games That Will Make or Break Syracuse Football's 2016 Season

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According to the Win-Loss Projections, there are five games that will truly determine whether or not the 2016 season ends in November or December.

Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday, the 2016 Syracuse Orange football team got the Bill Connelly Treatment. It's fairly-required reading so get to that.

You don't have to agree with everything, take what you want to take and let's see what happens. But if you believe that the numbers don't lie, then there's some very stark numbers worth looking at in the Win/Loss Probabilities.

win loss

Like so many Syracuse seasons, it seems that there are games we can assume that we'll win, games that we can assume we'll lose, and then there's the games that matter most.

The most obvious ones are the games we're probably going to lose. To no one's surprise, they're the games against the Clemson Tigers, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Florida State Seminoles, Louisville Cardinals, and Pittsburgh Panthers. That's a lot of "probable" losses but we've been down this road plenty of times before.

On the flip side is the presumed win against the Colgate Raiders as well as the one over the Connecticut Huskies. We've lost games that we should have won like the UConn game plenty of times before but for the sake of argument let's put that one aside for now.

So that gets us to 2-5 and leaves five games where SU's Win Probability is hovering between 44 percent and 55 percent. Toss ups. Games that could go either way. Games that we won't really know the outcome of until we actually play. And those are the games that will determine if this is a Syracuse team that goes bowling or a Syracuse team still in a solid rebuild.

Interestingly, the least-likely win of all of them is the Boston College Eagles game, likely because it's on the road and BC is expected to be better. After that, the home game vs. the Virginia Tech Hokies is the only pure toss-up on the list. That might be a bit surprising given their stature but they'll be coming to the Dome with a new coach and a lot of turnover. That leaves homes games against the N.C. State Wolfpack and South Florida Bulls and a road contest vs. the Wake Forest Demon Deacons, all of which slightly favors SU.

So if we follow the percentages above, Syracuse is 5-6 before you flip a coin against Virginia Tech. I think most of us will take the chance to go 6-6 this year and many of us are probably surprised to see it as a viable possibility. Of course, there's a lot more to all of this than just percentages but it seems like a good sign to me.

Looking back at Bill's 2015 preview, ominously subtitled "Uh-Oh," he didn't have W/L Projections for the season but going by the rankings SU was pegged to finish 4-8. That's exactly what happened, though you have to swap out an expected win over USF for an "upset" over BC. I don't know if that should make you feel better or not, but, we'll see if the numbers add up in the end again.