clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Syracuse results since 2005, if college football used the electoral college

A fun exercise that has nothing to do with last week’s election

Camping World Bowl - West Virginia v Syracuse Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

As you’re plenty aware, the United States had a presidential election last week. A Syracuse grad won, though we’re not talking about that much here because this is the internet in 2020.

What it does bring up, though, is the nature of the electoral college as a means of altering the realities we know. Over at Moon Crew, Jason Kirk brought up how college football could be different if it used the electoral college — and specifically, if it gave a three-point boost to blue state teams (by Jason’s definition, teams in states that have voted blue for the last seven presidential elections).

Before we dive in, the blue state list is below. Also blue state teams only get bonuses against those not on this list. You’ll see below that the Syracuse Orange (in blue New York) get snake-bitten by that stipulation a few times.

Blue state list: California, Connecticut, Delaware, D.C., Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Washington

Here’s a look at how Syracuse fares from 2005 to present under these new stipulations...


Real W-L: 1-10 | Updated W-L: 2-9

Under the rules, Syracuse gets three points against several opponents. But the only one that mattered ends up being a matchup with Virginia. The Orange lost by three in real life, so here, they get a regulation tie and we’ll assume a win in overtime because reasons.


Real W-L: 4-8 | Updated W-L: 5-7

Call this an iffy adjustment if you must. However, if we want to tack on the three points at the end of regulation, then the horrors of the Iowa game never happen. As a result, perhaps I’m also a completely different type of SU fan (as are at least a few of you).


Real W-L: 2-10 | Updated W-L: 4-8

This series of events doesn’t change the fact that ‘Cuse was pretty bad under GERG and that Robinson was on his way to getting fired by the end of 2008 anyway. Still, it’s at least a little less brutal to watch. In this season, we add two victories — vs. Miami (OH) and Pitt, erasing three-point losses suffered in real life.


Real W-L: 3-9 | Updated W-L: 3-9

The closest games this season were the wins, not the losses, so we wind up with the same record and that’s enough to get GERG canned.


Real W-L: 4-8 | Updated W-L: 5-7

HCDM just misses a bowl game in this updated reality. The electoral college count erases the ugly 10-9 loss to Louisville. But unfortunately (in this exercise anyway), Minnesota is also on the blue state list, so no three-point boost for Syracuse there. Would’ve been nice to eliminate Greg Paulus’s late pick vs. the Golden Gophers. Alas...

New Era Pinstripe Bowl - Kansas State v Syracuse Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images


Real W-L: 8-5 | Updated W-L: 8-5

No change here for Marrone in year two. The wins were close, but the losses largely weren’t. We’ll continue to enjoy this “breakout” season that did a lot to help bring the program back.


Real W-L: 5-7 | Updated W-L: 5-7

You’ve probably noticed by now that I’m giving Syracuse the win in any possible overtime game this exercise creates. That’s fine, since we could use the help. Unfortunately, the only contest that could’ve been fixed this time around was the horrendous 19-16 Rutgers loss, but New Jersey’s also a blue state. On the bright side, maybe, it tacks on another three points to the blowout win against West Virginia.


Real W-L: 8-5 | Updated W-L: 8-5

Another season that doesn’t change due to facing more blue state teams. In the case of 2012, it’s the reprehensible one-point loss to Northwestern that avoids being righted because they’re in Illinois. If it was Pitt, we’d add another win and take the Big East championship. Darn.


Real W-L: 7-6 | Updated W-L: 8-5

Hey, improvement! Here, Syracuse manages to beat Pitt 19-17, reversing what at the time felt like a season-crippling 17-16 defeat. In real life, the Orange lost a 16-10 lead on the final play of the third quarter, and then never scored again. TBD if winning one more game gives SU a HUGE advantage going forward under Scott Shafer. It may have provided a better postseason landing spot that year than the Texas Bowl, though.


Real W-L: 3-9 | Updated W-L: 3-9

Especially once we get to the back half of the season and the quarterback situation’s been completely thrown up in the air, this was a season full of blowouts. So any progress in 2013 is largely erased here too.


Real W-L: 3-9 | Updated W-L: 4-8

Is one win (overriding another close Pitt loss) enough to buy Shafer another year here? It’s tough to say. The losing streak before the final game was part of his dismissal, but the straw that broke the camel’s back was probably the sideline freakout vs. NC State (he was fired the next day). I’m tempted to believe a 4-8 season wouldn’t have been enough.


Real W-L: 4-8 | Updated W-L: 4-8

Same old here. Syracuse didn’t have too many close losses in year one of the Dino Babers era. They do get to add another three points in the record-setting Pitt game, at least.


Real W-L: 4-8 | Updated W-L: 5-7

Remember how mad you were when Syracuse went for it on fourth down against FSU and wound up losing the game 27-24? Well, now that wrong has been corrected to an overtime win over the ‘Noles down in Tallahassee. Whether the Orange get the field goal at the end of the half instead, or Cole Murphy hits at the end of regulation, it doesn’t much matter. Had it happened, it would’ve been SU’s second signature win of the year (after Clemson).

Camping World Bowl - West Virginia v Syracuse Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images


Real W-L: 10-3 | Updated W-L: 11-2

If only we’d lost to Clemson by three instead of four points. The electoral college scoring could’ve erased two of our three defeats during 2018, but instead we just get to take back the Pitt game, as is a recurring theme here. The Orange lost by seven in real life, but they did so in overtime. If we’re adding those three points in regulation, then SU gets the win. The 11 victories may not have gotten them a better bowl slot. Just a better ranking instead.

You could argue Syracuse would’ve jumped as high as 12th or 13th in the final CFP rankings, which wouldn’t have been enough for a New Year’s Six bowl. So the Camping World Bowl happens either way. A win there to go 11-2, though, probably lands them between 10th and 13th in the final AP rankings. All of this only matters if they actually do something with it on the recruiting trail, of course.


Real W-L: 5-7 | Updated W-L: 5-7

Just a little too far off vs. Pitt or NC State to erase either ugly defeat. This season lands with a thud even in our alternate reality.


Real W-L so far: 1-7 | Updated W-L: 1-7

No upgrades here either, with the lone three-point loss to another blue state team, Boston College.


Does this drastically alter the recent history of Syracuse football? No, not really. Still, we’ll take the couple extra wins in there, and the even better 2018 season.