With Dino Babers steering the ship, it’s easy to be reasonably optimistic about the future of Syracuse Orange football. Long-term, it’s hard to be specific with any real confidence. But short-term? Yeah, we may be able to predict a few things. We’ll even try to keep it positive, just for the sake of starting off May on the right foot.
In the next five years...
1. Syracuse will make four bowl games
Now, the Orange have only made four bowl games in the last 13 years, so this definitely requires a leap of faith. But if Dino really has us on the right track, then this shouldn’t be a major stretch to win six games four different times, right?
The 2017 season will be a tough season to make the postseason (we’ve discussed), but it’s not impossible if everyone can stay healthy. Notre Dame is on the 2018 schedule, along with a resurgent Miami. If SU is missing a bowl in one of the next five seasons, it’s most likely this one or next.
(that said, the 2019-21 schedules are no cakewalk either)
2. Will complete its non-conference schedule through 2024
With an open spot still lingering on 2018’s schedule, and several more on future slates too, it would seem virtually impossible for the Orange to get themselves well ahead of things. And yet, John Wildhack may be indicating some movement on that front. If nothing else, Babers and Wildhack have been talking about the schedule difficulty and how things can be done to change that.
It’s a tall order to not only get the next five years’ worth of schedules done, but the three after that as well. But perhaps the motivation’s finally there higher up that it’s time we set ourselves up for success long-term.
3. Carrier Dome renovations will have started
They also may not be finished by that point, depending on which plan goes forward, and to what extent these renovations are undertaken.
We know a long-term solution is really the only way the Dome works as a long-term home for Orange sports (especially football). Now, we wonder if SU sees that as feasible -- or if they take the short-term gains of some small fixes now.
The hesitation and feet shuffling is why I wouldn’t commit to the renovations being DONE within five years just yet. That’s ideal, obviously. But with little movement of late, let’s maybe focus on some more attainable goals.
4. Syracuse gets another quarterback drafted
Just three Orange passers have ever been selected in the NFL Draft, with Ryan Nassib (2013) being the most recent one. In the next five years, at least three reasonable prospects will be draft eligible. So which one of them (Eric Dungey, Rex Culpepper, Tommy DeVito) gets picked?
If I’m picking between them right now, it’s probably DeVito. From a scouting perspective, he’s definitely the best out-of-the-box quarterback of the three. That’s also all we have to judge him on. Dungey’s inability to stay healthy dings him too. Culpepper, on the other hand, is an enigma with regard to how effective he could be.
No matter who’s under center, though, they’ll put up big numbers in a Babers offense. That doesn’t guarantee you’re drafted (Amba Etta-Tawo inexplicably went without hearing his name called). But it certainly helps a little.
5. Someone wears 44
Last we heard about the number 44, it was back but not really. There was a council that dictated who wore it. And Babers hasn’t really addressed it much since arriving.
Despite all of that, if Syracuse can find some consistent success on the field, it would seem likely we’ll see it in very limited circulation once more. Right now, that seems unlikely for any of the running backs (no offense). But you never know. Perhaps the offensive line improves and helps turn this running game into something valuable this season (or in the next few).
Babers’s offenses have worked best when the rushing attack is also operating successfully. What better way to reward whichever back carries that load than with the hallowed 44 uniform?
Plenty more possibilities for the next five years of SU football. So what about you? What do you think could happen? Share your thoughts below.