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Syracuse football 2016: Why the Orange will finish 6-6

Here come the positive outlooks, from a surprising source.

NCAA Football: Wake Forest at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Ed. Note - This week, TNIAAM writers are taking a stab at telling you why this football team will finish with a specific record, so don't get all huffy about this prediction. Yet.

Monday: 3-9 (Suxa)

Tuesday: 4-8 (James)

Wednesday: 5-7 (Ari)

Thursday: 6-6 (John)

Friday: 7-5 (Sean)

Positive thinking? From me? Hope you enjoy it, because it all goes away once the season starts...

(kidding, of course)

While the Syracuse Orange football team faces a very tough schedule in 2016, all hope is not lost. Dino Babers arrives with an actual offensive scheme, the defense should improve (how could it not?) and most of last year’s top contributors are back. All that means to me is that SU should be better. And since I’m a noted doubter of half of the Atlantic Division, we’re going bowling, right?

Of course! Follow me on the path to probably the Quick Lane Bowl...

Colgate Raiders: Hoodoo? Hoodon’t. While Babers doesn’t unload everything on the Orange’s one-time rival, Syracuse wins by five touchdowns on opening night. It would’ve been even more if he didn’t pull Eric Dungey and the rest of the major contributors after halftime. The Dome is more electrified for a football game than it has been in quite awhile. Toothpaste jokes for everyone! W, (1-0) (0-0)

Louisville Cardinals: This could have the makings of a trap game for the ranked Cardinals, but despite some speed bumps along the way, the road squad pulls out a win. Syracuse hangs tough for three quarters but Lamar Jackson finally starts testing SU’s secondary and ‘Ville ends up grabbing a late insurance touchdown to win by 10. Later, it’s found that Louisville destroyed a cardboard cutout of Ryan Nassib before the game as motivation. L, (1-1) (0-1)

USF Bulls: Last year didn’t go very well, but SU’s defense remembers and rights the wrong. Dungey duplicates his second half performance vs. the Bulls last year, this time for an entire game, tallying 300 passing yards and three scores. The secondary forces Quinton Flowers into multiple mistakes and the Orange manage a surprising victory. Cries of “2-1! Two years! 2-1!” can be heard from a small collection of fans on Twitter. W, (2-1) (0-1)

at Connecticut Huskies: Syracuse fans invade PAWS ARF, pining for its second straight 3-1 start (“one year!”). They’re not disappointed as Bob Diaco looks out-manned by Babers’s bold attack. UConn’s defense manages to slow things for perhaps a quarter and then the brakes come right off. The Huskies letdown is understandable after finding out that morning that the Big 12 invited ECU and Tulane. Wavey the Wave is spotted in downtown Hartford that night. W, (3-1) (0-1)

Notre Dame Fighting Irish: Syracuse fans convince themselves they’re going to win, and then... they don’t. At all. Notre Dame’s high-powered offense simply sprints past the Orange’s thin defensive front, and despite the Irish being a top-10 team, there’s a stunning silence about SU online that evening. People are surprised, and SU falls below BC and Wake in every meaningless ACC power poll. L, (3-2) (0-1)

at Wake Forest Demon Deacons: Another trip to Winston-Salem, another win for the Orange. Proving power polls wrong, SU puts up 45 on the Deacs while wearing its orange jerseys on the road. #IBrandWithBabers t-shirts mysteriously appear on Twitter shortly after the contest ends. Wake’s new full-stadium alcohol policy is put to the test by halftime. W, (4-2) (1-1)

Virginia Tech Hokies: At one point, these teams had a knack for thrilling finishes here and there. Perhaps they have another in them this year, but it won’t be in the Orange’s favor. Bud Foster’s defense keeps SU’s offense from ever getting going, but turnovers on both sides keep it a closer. Tech kicks the game-winning field goal as time expires in a 20-17 game. Someone tries to get #IBlandWithBabers going on Twitter afterward. L, (4-3) (1-2)

at Boston College Eagles: #OrangeEagle points are on the line and the season sort of hangs in the balance for SU as they stare at a bye week and a very tough November. Lucky for them, BC still can’t move the football, aiding an Orange victory - the first road win for either in the series since 2010. Steve Addazio uses #BeADud after the game to try and motivate the Eagles. They end up losing out. W, (5-3) (2-2)

at Clemson Tigers: The Deshaun Watson death and destruction tour is happy to claim another victim, as Clemson is simply too much for Syracuse on both sides of the football. It’s a messy affair for the Orange and my Twitter mentions are even uglier as Tigers fans do their typical piling on after beating an “inferior” SU squad. I disable site comments for a weekend, known as #DisloyalSunday for years after. L, (5-4) (2-3)

NC State Wolfpack: The pain ends quickly, however. An overrated State squad head up to the Carrier Dome, both teams needing a win to guarantee a bowl bid. But the SU ground game ends up putting on a show to the tune of 340 yards and four scores, the last of which on a Sterling Hofrichter fake punt-turned-TD-run to win the game. The second the whistle blows on the win, “Hofrichter” won’t remove his visor or speak to media before mysteriously boarding a plane to Denver. W, (6-4) (3-3)

Florida State Seminoles: Bowl trip in hand, Orange fans get delusional about the possibilities with two games to go. They’re knocked down quickly after a hapless defeat at the hands of Florida State. Dalvin Cook laughs right past an overwhelmed Syracuse line. Afterward, we end up having a fun, 400-comment thread about whiskey with Tomahawk Nation and forget the loss ever happened. L, (6-5) (3-4)

at Pittsburgh Panthers: It’s no Kiwi Bowl, but a cold Syracuse offense certainly looks like it’s allergic to something as they simply can’t get past the Panthers. For a second, players think they see Scott Shafer on the Pitt sideline, but the hard-nosed figure slips away before anyone can get a look. Syracuse loses, but Pitt gets sent to the BBVA Compass Bowl a week or so later, which feels like a victory. L, (6-6) (3-5)


The bitter end on the season won’t stop the Orange from a Quick Lane Bowl win over an Indiana team coached by Tom Crean despite the Hoosiers administration telling him no repeatedly. The future looks bright for Syracuse under Babers. We all rejoice, buy a bowl victory shirt and tell ourselves we’re going 10-2 next year for no reason whatsoever.