While there are still quite a few questions around what exactly this Syracuse Orange football team is in 2021, they’re still 3-1 and have still managed to perform beyond the expectations of computers and humans alike so far.
Yet, the work is only just beginning if this team wants to go bowling. After being Liberty on Friday night, Syracuse is sporting its first two-game winning streak since September 2019 (when they knocked off Holy Cross and Western Michigan in back-to-back games). A win on Saturday over Florida State would mean a three-game winning streak — the program’s first since late 2018 through 2019, when the Orange beat Boston College and West Virginia to close out a top-15 season, then followed it up with a victory over Liberty.
Perhaps to little surprise, the Orange haven’t had too many lengthy win streaks since joining the ACC. Before the aforementioned three-game streak, SU won four straight two separate times in 2018. ‘Cuse also won three straight to start 2015 (“24 years!”) and four in a row between the last two games of 2013 and the first two of 2014.
And that’s it.
But of course, but results aren’t necessarily indicative of future returns, which applies to both the winning streak conversation and the matchup with Florida State. Syracuse is just 2-11 all-time against the ‘Noles, with the only wins occurring in 1966 and 2018. And none of those victories have come in Tallahassee.
This is also a very different FSU program than the Orange faced in most of those matchups, though. Syracuse was arguably facing a top-10 caliber team in 10 of those 13 games. This year’s matchup with an 0-4 Seminioles squad wouldn’t quality. But that doesn’t mean this will be a cakewalk. Though FSU is winless on the year, just one of those losses was a one-sided affair (a 35-14 loss to Wake Forest). And they also lost to a top-10 Notre Dame team in overtime... while dropping a unforgivable home game to Jacksonville State, too. So it’s tough to know what exactly we should expect from this group come Saturday.
Whichever squad shows up, I’d bet Syracuse has its work cut out for them to get to 4-1, which is to be expected. If the Orange can pull off the road victory (the team’s first in league play since 2019 over Duke), it’ll also mark the Orange’s best start since 2018’s magical season.
I’m not saying this team is as good as that one... because it’s not. But given the fact that one of this coaching staff’s biggest challenges is living up to that 2018 campaign, any similarities to it are probably welcome.