Before Saturay’s spring game, Syracuse Orange head coach Dino Babers chatted with Brent Axe last week about a host of different topics.
It’s a great article that gets into Dino’s thinking on several aspects of spring practice, so wander over to Syracuse.com to read the whole thing. But the nugget that really stuck out to me was (of course) about scheduling...
"We're going to have the toughest schedule in the country next year. I'll push all in on anybody. It's not lip service. It's not me trying to 'duh duh duh duh.’ Look at the schedule. There is no one who is going to have a tougher schedule. There is definitely no one with a tougher schedule in the second year of a rebuild."
These are exactly the type of things we’ve (I’ve) been saying around here since January, and it’s both scary and a relief that Babers feels the same way.
When the 2017 scheduled was unveiled by the ACC, we were a little wary about a midseason stretch including quite a few tough opponents. Some early strength of schedule calculations hammered the point home, calling SU’s slate the most difficult in the country. Athlon expressed some doubts about the non-conference portion of it all, and the outlet only ranked Syracuse’s schedule the fourth-toughest in the league.
We posited that the influx of transfers this offseason was a result of the schedule to some degree. And it seems like Babers is conscious of how that could help him out in speeding up the steep rebuild at SU.
"When you play in the ACC Atlantic and play the teams we have to play and draw the non-conference opponents we have drawn, 11 out of 12 opponents played in a bowl game in 2016. Are you kidding me? 11 out of 12 and the only one who didn't couldn't qualify because it is an FCS school. Having a schedule like when you are trying to rebound and rebuild a program is very difficult.”
Babers, rightfully, sounds a little like your author here. WHY ARE WE DOING THIS TO OURSELVES?!
He’s made subtle pleas like this before around staffing and support, and Syracuse athletics has seemingly responded with budget where there wasn’t any before.
For Babers’s sake, and the program’s, let’s hope this latest plea is met with a two-for-one deal with every team at the bottom of the C-USA and Sun Belt standings. Or an annual date with Army. Or literally anything but the gauntlet of teams we’ve been forcing this program to run through nearly every season since like 2003 or so.
Not to play alarmist, but usually when people feel like their job is actively preventing them from succeeding, they leave (I say this with some personal experience here). Babers is giving Syracuse a chance to help him succeed here, and as you’re aware, we have an empty spot on the 2018 schedule.
So while we joke around here about scheduling, to a degree, the athletic department has a responsibility to Babers to help him help Syracuse football. Let’s hope they take it seriously. We like Dino quite a bit. It would be great to have him around for the long haul if we can.