The Syracuse Orange football team is 4-6 with two games to go, and while conventional wisdom says they’ll need to win both two guarantee a bowl trip, there’s the outside chance that the Orange still get to the postseason at just 5-7.
On Syracuse.com, Chris Carlson broke down exactly what would need to occur for that to become a reality. And while it’s not necessarily likely, the chance is out there, as it is some seasons where not enough teams hit the six-win mark.
Obviously we’d love to just get to 6-6 and make a bowl the standard way. But if a 5-7 bowl season were to happen, Syracuse — in particular — would take that in a second. And you should too as an Orange fan.
I’ve seen the complaints in recent years that fight the notion a sub-.500 team “deserves” a bowl spot, and if you’re a hyper-traditionalist, sure maybe they’re valid critiques. The Pac-12 doesn’t even allow sub.-.500 teams to make bowls and they think they’re making some sort of statement with that stance (despite having numerous programs with academic rankings that would put them in good standing to make it at 5-7). Thing is, though, those criticisms don’t matter because of the benefits of making a bowl. And the fact that no one will care what your record is when looking back on the season’s accomplishments (unless you’re ranked — hi, last season).
Along with the actual bowl trip, even a 5-7 team gets extra practices, valuable experience for young players and great exposure for the football program. You get to sell back-to-back postseasons to recruits and fans. And (again, despite the losing record) get to keep morale on the positive side.
There is no downside to bowling at 5-7 should it occur. Very few programs are “above’ the act. Nebraska, largely thought of as a historically better program than Syracuse, happily takes the trip. So do other Big Ten programs. And SEC and Big 12 teams if they’d qualify via APR.
Not saying it’s going to happen. But if it somehow does, let’s just take the benefits and run. I know there will be complaining later on, but maybe let’s just skip that part and address it now instead.
That, plus the rest of your Syracuse-related links below.
There are 18 teams that would qualify before a five-win Syracuse team if they win just one more game, so Syracuse needs the majority of them to lose out. Those teams are Army, Arizona State, California, Oregon State, Texas Christian, Troy, Washington State, Florida International, Charlotte, Duke, Ohio, Mississippi, Kent State, Nebraska, Mississippi State, North Carolina State, South Florida and North Texas.
Small changes contribute to offensive breakout for Syracuse (Daily Orange)
While there’s no guarantee a simple switch was the solution for the Orange, it led to Syracuse’s best offensive line performance of the season. Syracuse (4-6, 1-5 Atlantic Coast), who’s ranked in the bottom of the country in sacks this year, allowed only one. A team that’s rushed for more than 150 yards four times this season compiled a season-high 286. The 49-6 win marked the first time that the Orange had breached 27 points against a Power 5 team this season.
Syracuse won five of its 10 home games this season, finishing with four draws and one loss on home grass. While the Orange picked up a marquee home win against North Carolina State, they also settled for ties against Yale, New Hampshire and Pittsburgh, two of which are in the NCAA tournament field.
Orange duo earns weekly ACC honors (Cuse.com)
Williams posted his third consecutive double-digit tackle game, making a team-best 14 stops. He added 2.5 tackles for loss, one sack and one quarterback hurry. Williams’ performance led a Syracuse defense held the Blue Devils without a touchdown and limited them to 279 yards of offense on 85 plays (3.3 avg.).
There’s a chance something useful will come from his reprieve and in-person conversations with Boeheim. Maybe he will realize better, deeper truths about himself during this pivotal opportunity to reflect. “You set goals. It’s taking a little longer, but I still got those same goals, that same ambition,” Waiters said. “I just wanted to come up and talk to coach (Boeheim). I know that’s a person who will always be there if I ever need anything.”
Syracuse’s Marek Dolezaj on 19-point game: ‘It’s mindset’ (Syracuse.com)