Maybe this isn’t the “time” for a reevaluation of a two-week old loss, especially after the Syracuse Orange just suffered another loss this past Saturday.
But when you look at what happened to the (then) second-ranked Florida State Seminoles against Louisville in week three, it’s at least makes you feel a little better about the Orange’s fate, no?
We’re not taking delight in our FSU pals’ loss — far from it. Just pointing out that while we were at first stunned by what Lamar Jackson and the Cardinals did to Syracuse at the Carrier Dome, it suddenly feels less painful in light of what happened the ‘Noles. The precise scores don’t matter (especially since SU lost again against USF). But the fact that the Orange managed to put up 28 against THAT team, and specifically that defense, was no small feat.
Obviously the defensive side of the ball is a rough situation for SU, and getting more so due to the growing injury count each week. And that part of things should still worry you, with Syracuse allowing 107 points over the course of the last two weeks. Still, from an offensive perspective, the pieces are there and they’re moving... even if the full vision of what this Orange offense can be has yet to be realized.
This week, the Louisville Cardinals received first-place votes in the polls, have a quarterback (Jackson) who is clearly the Heisman frontrunner and now appear to be the odds-on favorite to win the ACC. When you look at the box score against Syracuse, you’ll find that while the Cards dominated in many ways, they were still only up 14 going into the fourth quarter. The final two scores, to cap the 34-point blowout, were largely “garbage time” points. This isn’t to say they weren’t deserved, and that the win for Louisville was less important. It’s just to remind you that while the Orange are 1-2, the team and especially the offense aren’t in the dire straits many believed following Saturday’s 45-20 defeat vs. the Bulls.
Look down the schedule and you’ll see plenty of flaws from upcoming SU opponents. Not guaranteed wins for the Orange, of course. But flaws just the same that could be exploited if the offense shows up as we hope. The UConn Huskies can’t score points, and neither can Boston College. Wake Forest’s best quarterback, Kendall Hinton, could be injured. And teams like NC State and Virginia Tech are unknown entities. Anything can happen any week. Look at a team like Notre Dame, even. They have top-25 talent, yet are 1-2, are giving up mountains of points. SU’s unlikely to pull an upset against the Irish. But that possibility’s not gone until the game actually ends.
Now obviously the transitive property’s a foolish application in sports. So this article may quickly seem silly in hindsight. It’s just a reminder that you can’t really judge a season’s results until the year’s over. The last two weeks may be the new normal. They may also be a footnote in a season of growth. Let’s not get too tied up in each week’s result, good or bad, until we can survey what we have when 2016 comes to a close.