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ESPN’s Football Power Index projects Syracuse 80th, with 4-8 record

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About what you’d expect given returning talent and recruiting right now.

NCAA Football: Liberty at Syracuse Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

Kickoff for the 2021 Syracuse Orange football season is still over four months away. But it’s never too early for advanced metrics to tell us how SU will finish the year.

ESPN’s newly unveiled Football Power Index rankings project Syracuse to finish 4.2-7.9 (so, 4-8), which is 80th overall. They have just a 17.2% chance to win six games or more and a 0% chance to win the division.

Being ranked 80th puts the Orange last in the ACC, and about six spots below Duke. As far as the 2021 schedule goes, here’s how SU’s opponents look (aside from FCS foe Albany).

3. Clemson Tigers

28. Virginia Tech Hokies

33. N.C. State Wolfpack

37. Wake Forest Demon Deacons

41. Florida State Seminoles

42. Louisville Cardinals

51. Pittsburgh Panthers

54. Boston College Eagles

65. Liberty Flames

79. Rutgers Scarlet Knights

89. Ohio Bobcats

If you’re looking at these numbers compared to win likelihood, a lot rides on those bottom three games plus Albany. Ohio’s the only FBS opponent ranked below us. However, there are five games within 30 spots — so in the middle third of college football.

Winning all of those games (plus Albany) would be an ideal situation for Syracuse, since it gets you to six wins without needing to pull a major upset. But it’s far more likely that they don’t sweep this bottom group, meaning the Orange will need to pull a bigger win off — something they haven’t done since 2018.

Looking at FPI since 2005, 80 is about where things have been. That’s not a good thing, or even a defense of where we’re currently sitting. Just worth noting this has been an unfortunate baseline for the program for over 15 years now.