The Syracuse Orange are headed into their bye week at 5-4, a mark that has traditionally led to six wins. With the off time to get healthy, the Orange are eying at least one W on the road against Louisville or NC State, or knocking off Pittsburgh on Senior Day at the Carrier Dome.
ESPN’s Bill C updates SP+ each week, which also updates the projected win totals. (SP+ projected Syracuse for between three and four wins at the beginning of the season.) Last week, the Orange had a 50% chance of reaching six wins for the first time since they started 3-1 earlier in the season. Going into this week’s bye week, the Orange have a 72% chance of finishing with six wins (SP+ has the projection at 6.0, as close as you can get) which has certainly buoyed hope in the Orange, and that has translated to projections for the first time this year!
Big Game Boomer: Fenway Bowl, Boston, MA, December 29
USA Today, Yahoo Sports: New Era Pinstripe Bowl, New York, NY, December 29
The Athletic, ESPN, Action Network: Military Bowl Presented by Peraton, Annapolis, MD, December 27
Right off the bat, we may have to adjust our Gasparilla navigation and head north this December. While the Gasparilla Bowl in Tampa Bay is usually the slot reserved for “Worst ACC School,” in a year where sports attendance has been ravaged by the post pandemic fallout, it seems as if Northern bowl committees are looking for a safer draw.
The Orange have a long history in the Pinstripe Bowl, and the alumni base in the area will almost assuredly move tickets should the Orange be selected. The Fenway Bowl is similar, but to a lesser extent, so both of these bowls are natural landing places.
The Military Bowl is always an interesting name that gets thrown around, but rarely seems to favor the Orange, preferring for closer Tobacco Road ACC competition. (UNC, Virginia Tech, Virginia, Wake Forest are the last four selections from the conference for the game.) With the ACC as it is at the moment, there’s a good chance most of those teams do not qualify or are higher in the pecking order, so Syracuse becomes a pick that delivers a metro area alumni base and a potential natural rivalry with Army, should they be selected.
No matter what, the Orange still have two games left against College Playoff ranked opposition, a tricky Louisville that will be honoring a player who tormented the Orange that day. Six wins are all but guaranteed, but there’s belief outside of Central New York that it will happen.