College football isn’t easy. There are only a handful of teams with a legitimate shot of winning the Whole Damn Thing (tm) and for the rest of us, the season is nothing more than a prolonged experience of disappointment. Now that I’ve cheered you all up, let’s talk Syracuse Orange Football!
But seriously, anyone who really follows college football knows the joy in this sport comes week to week, finding joy in the games that we win and moving on quickly from losses. Hell, as a season ticket holder in New York City, I’m self-disillusioned enough to say that this thing we watch 12 or 13 times a season is worth an investment of my time and money.
Even at Syracuse’s recent(-ish?) peak as a football program, the frustrations of not exactly being a blueblood were obvious. For every upset of a team like Virginia Tech or Miami, there was an NC State loss or East Carolina or any of the other numerous, puzzling Coach P defeats.
But let’s talk 2018. I’m on record saying I think this team can win six games and get to a bowl — the closest thing to winning the Whole Damn Thing (tm) I’m going to see for the foreseeable future. And because of this, we exist in this band where every game versus a non-dominant team feels that much more important. Like when ‘Cuse is actively losing their grip on what appeared to be a blowout win, we start freaking out. Especially when we don’t know if a star QB is hurt or not. And the defense crumbles. And ultimately, we’re left with more questions than answers.
Syracuse will never be an easy job. And we as fans are pretty aware of this. Dino Babers and his staff know this, too. So this will always be painful, or at least uncomfortable. There will be weird lessons he tries to teach and more often than not, it’s going to feel like throwing darts at the wall. For any rebuild, pain is coming. Friday night was a fun win with an exciting team. It was also infuriating and painful.
Nothing about Friday was unusual. This is the norm for 2018. If it is the norm beyond, we’ll have some slight issues (it is Syracuse, after all). For now? It’s going to be crazy, wonderful, painful and maddening. That’s why we drink and watch with family and friends. So buckle in; it’s going to be quite the ride.