I’m going to start by saying something that’s not always popular: The bowl game your team is playing in probably doesn’t matter, aside from the New Year’s Six.
And that’s also true for the Syracuse Orange.
Bowl games are tacked on almost a month after college football’s regular season ends, with the intent of making money for athletic conferences, schools, and bowl organizational committees by creating the closet thing to a playoff game for a sport who’s playoff only includes four teams.
Think of bowls like a college house party: You can crash or you can be invited (though being invited is always better), and there’s a clear hierarchy! Some are great; Full house, fun memories, high end booze! Some are blah; there’s alcohol but it’s a brand you’ve never heard of, maybe a quarter of the house was actually filled and most of the time, everyone stood around watching a pong game that should’ve ended an hour ago keep happening. At the end of the day, it’s not your place getting trashed so it’s something different.
And now we have the Camping World Bowl. On paper, this should be one of the best bowls played. It sounds like we’re going to have plenty of Orange in Orlando (including some new faces as well). And Syracuse gets an extra month of team practices together, too.
Who wins and who loses won’t impact Syracuse’s momentum for next season. Who wins and loses won’t impact if Dino Babers leaves next offseason, either. All a win would do is keep Syracuse in the top 25 to close out the 2018 season, and probably earn them a spot in too-early top 25 polls for next year. Those will be meaningless, by the way, once the actual polls come out and national media has had an offseason to forget the Orange. Which they very well could. And that’s fine.
Still, I’m going to root like (foodlion) hell for Eric Dungey and the other members of the senior class to end their careers with a win. But if they play well — or even average! — and don’t come away with the W, it’s not an indictment on the season, Dino or the staff.
Syracuse went 9-3 and finished second in the ACC Atlantic Division. They were 11 points away from being first in the Atlantic Division at 11-1.
That’s what matters about 2018. That’s what the team will be building on for 2019.
(now all of that said, let’s just get to the part where we beat West Virginia and get to 10 wins, please)