When the Syracuse Orange take on the Maryland Terrapins on Saturday, there’s quite a bit at stake. A win keeps SU in the top 25, scores a nice road victory and most importantly, appears to lock in a College Gameday visit for next weekend’s game against top-ranked Clemson.
And while those are all the most important things, Syracuse also has a chance to snap a less-than-ideal streak of losing seven straight regular season non-conference games vs. Power Five programs.
If it sounds like an obscure streak littered with caveats, you’re not entirely wrong. But given the ACC’s mandate for at least one Power Five opponent in non-conference play each year, it’s at least an annual thing to keep an eye on.
Syracuse’s last regular season win over a non-ACC P5 squad was back in 2012, when the Orange scored a huge road victory over Missouri to get to six wins on the year. Since then:
- 2013: 23-17 loss to Penn State at MetLife Stadium
- 2013: 48-27 loss at Northwestern
- 2014: 31-15 loss to Notre Dame at MetLife Stadium
- 2015: 34-24 loss to LSU
- 2016: 50-33 loss to Notre Dame at MetLife Stadium
- 2017: 35-26 loss at LSU
- 2018: 35-3 loss to Notre Dame at Yankee Stadium
Notably, SU’s also scored three P5 non-conference wins in there as well, but all in bowl season (West Virginia twice, plus Minnesota). But when looking at that slate of regular season games above, it’s at least easy to see how a streak like this can occur. Penn State, Notre Dame and LSU all recruit at a top-20 level. Syracuse was not bringing in talent at a P5 level during at least half of this stretch, and as a result, most of these SU squads weren’t all that good.
Still, it’s a streak that the Orange will need to break this year for various reasons — most importantly the aforementioned consequences of a win.
Luckily, these next five seasons at least represent better opportunities to pull one (or more) off. On top of Maryland this year, ‘Cuse faces Rutgers in 2020 and 2021, then Purdue and Notre Dame in 2022, plus Purdue in 2023. Aside from the Irish, that’s five games against the bottom half of the Big Ten — so would seem likely at least a few victories are in there.
In the immediate term, Maryland’s also just 5-9-1 against Syracuse in College Park, if that means anything to you. The Orange have beat the Terps three straight times down there dating back to 1984, with the most recent coming in 2013 when SU beat the then-ACC Terps by a score of 20-3. I was there, and it was an incredibly unwatchable game.
How do you feel about this streak? Don’t care? Just want it to be over? In any case, hopefully it’s all a distant memory come Saturday afternoon.