By this point, you’ve already seen that the Syracuse Orange football team is ranked 22nd in the preseason Coaches Poll. Coincidentally, everyone else has noticed too, and the Athletic’s Stewart Mandel actually thinks that Syracuse may be underrated.
It’s not farfetched when you think about the eventual win total this schedule could set up, even without an upset over Clemson. Though these rankings aren’t just a straight numerical sequence going from the highest win total on down, collecting a lot of wins will usually put you up higher if you’re in a Power Five conference. We saw the effects of that last year when Syracuse won 10 games and finished 15th.
So in that regard, the Orange could be underrated relative to the number of wins they’re slated to collect. But if we’re truly better than teams in front of us right now, who might those names be?
The three directly in front of Syracuse are probably the easiest and most reasonable options to pick. Iowa and Michigan State have more talent, but also have questionmarks and have Big Ten schedules that could prove tough. Washington State’s replacing its quarterback just like the Orange, and plays in a difficult Pac-12 North division that should prove challenging nearly every week (save the Oregon State game).
Going up from there, I’d truly have a tough time making a case that Syracuse is currently better than any of the other teams currently ahead of them, and maybe I would’ve opted for No. 19 just out of pure homerism, if nothing else. Obviously we’d love to see SU ranked No. 1. Let’s deal in tangible reality for the moment, however.
That, plus the rest of your Syracuse-related links below.
No. 22 Syracuse. Write off Dino Babers at your own peril, coaches. I believe the Orange will only build on last year’s 10-win breakthrough season. Yes, QB Eric Dungey is gone, but successor Tommy DeVito has already notched considerable experience. Also, have you seen the rest of the ACC outside of Clemson? Somebody’s got to win more than eight games. It’s just math.
But the veteran leader of a new-look Syracuse bunch understands the balance necessary for the Orange to make this a trip to remember. “We’re going to have to have a level of focus. We’re going over there to win four games,” he said. “But we’re also going over there to enjoy ourselves, have fun, and experience a new country and new culture.”
Goulbourne, who said he arrived on campus Wednesday morning, joins a defensive ends group led by two of the best in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Seniors Kendall Coleman and Alton Robinson return as starters after 10-sack seasons with key reserves including redshirt junior Kinglsey Jonathan and redshirt senior Brandon Berry.
In Alton Robinson and Kendall Coleman, the Orange have not one but two returning linemen who recorded 10 sacks in 2018. Syracuse’s rush defense was also significantly better than it had been from 2015-17, albeit still worse than most Power Five teams in both yards per carry and yards per game. Look for this front four to take another step forward as Syracuse tries to give Clemson a run for its money in the ACC.
Babers has made great strides in the three years as head coach. Though young on offense, the Orange return talented defensive players who should support the team while players on the other side of the football find their footing. Aside from an early game against Clemson, the Orange start the season facing four nonconference teams in their first five games and don’t hit key ACC matchups until mid-October.
Does Syracuse have the best DE tandemin the country? (CuseNation)