When the Syracuse Orange started this season, I legitimately worried what I would do when ‘Cuse won more than six games, as my below logo only fit 6 “win bowls” comfortably. Since then, the Orange have found a way to make this quest so difficult, that this week, we’re changing things up. You don’t need to know that most everyone dropped ‘Cuse from projections. You need to know how the Orange beat the odds and I add more cereal bowls to Dino’s Balanced Breakfast (tm).
Let’s start with the basic numbers:
- ‘Cuse is 79th in SP+ (-2.8). Only four Power 5 schools rank lower.
- The Orange’s remaining opponents? BC is 68th (-0.7), Louisville is 61st (1.1), Duke is 60th (1.0) and Wake Forest is 49th (4.4).
SP+, being the predictive measure, helps us most evaluate chances at winning 3⁄4 of these contests. Starting with the most immediate, while BC is more than two whole points better than the Orange, they’re without their starting quarterback, the only logical explanation as to why ‘Cuse is the favorite on Saturday. SP+ doesn’t adjust for injuries (only opponents and garbage time), so let’s say the Orange wins. Now what?
Duke and Louisville are almost equal overall challenges, but the exact opposite in how each would lineup versus ‘Cuse. Duke as the 37th ranked SP+ defense and 95th offense, while Louisville has the 39th SP+ offense to the 98th defense. (For reference, Syracuse is 98th in offense, 53rd in defense). You can read into either as favorable to the Orange, but winning both would require Syracuse to win two different games in two different styles.
Finally, there’s Wake Forest. 40th in offense and 69th in defense (nice), the Demon Deacons would be the third toughest SP+ opponent behind Clemson and FSU for ‘Cuse. A lot can happen between now and then, but Dave Clawson’s team is consistent and fundamentally above average, the exactly opposite of the Orange to date.
So do the Orange have good odds to 6 wins? Nope, not at all. But the ACC hasn’t respected odds too much to date in the Coastal. Let’s hope that bleeds into the Atlantic for ‘Cuse’s favor. But