Prior to last week’s Syracuse Orange football game against the N.C. State Wolfpack, we mentioned that it was sort of a must-win. The Orange had a chance to get to bowl eligibility without beating the Pack, but things did get significantly tougher minus that victory.
Unfortunately, we lost.
So now we stare out into the abyss again. At 2-3, the season’s not over by any stretch. But the level of difficulty has been cranked up to “All-Madden,” so to speak.
According to Bill Connelly’s updated S&P+ projections, SU now has just an 18.5-percent chance to finish 6-6 or better. That includes a three-percent shot at 7-5, but let’s focus on the most realistic and near-term goals.
On the one hand, that means we have a less than one-in-five shot to bowl. On the other? We have nearly a one-in-five shot to go bowling. Optimism. Pass it on!
A look at how the S&P+ sees the road ahead:
Syracuse gets a 69-percent (nice.) chance to beat Pitt this weekend, then faces the schedule’s murderer’s row. Five straight games against top-31 teams, including four against the top 17. Somehow, Clemson and Wake Forest are the only foes giving us a 20 percent or greater chance to win. The Tigers game, in particular, is giving us quite a bit of credit.
At a 4.56-win projection, that’s not going to be enough for bowl eligibility. A win over Wake (still very feasible, though those odds are shrinking by the week) would get Syracuse to five victories and the opportunity to spin the APR wheel of destiny. I know many of you think going bowling at 5-7 is a crime against humanity, but we’re taking that trip every time. This program simply can’t afford to turn down opportunities to improve perceptions.
Bill’s numbers do actually give us a 33-percent shot at 5-7, too. If we stretch to assume that five wins gets us bowling, that moves up bowl chances to over 50 percent when combined with our odds to finish 6-6 or better.
That’s not amazing, but it’s still very much hope. We’ve seen clear improvement on the field, but the team just needs to pull together a full game. They’ll have that chance against Pitt this weekend, in what is absolutely a must-win contest at this point.