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Syracuse football: Is it cake?

A large crowd and a chance to make a statement await the Orange this weekend

NCAA Football: Louisville at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Syracuse Orange fans probably remember some of the best press conference nuggets from Dino Babers. High on that list is this one from 2016

“I think when it’s all said and done you guys will like the cake that we’re baking. Right now is not the time to eat the batter. Wait for us to bake the cake.”

Dino’s cake has been a staple of discussion around here from Sean to John, which means it’s my turn to use the analogy to describe Syracuse Football. Dino was right that upset wins over Virginia Tech and Clemson were certainly to be enjoyed but the feeling didn’t last long.

Last year it sure appeared that the cake was beyond repair and Dino seemed to recognize that it was time to adjust his recipe and start over. The coaching hires of Robert Anae, Jason Beck and Bob Ligasheshky have done for the Orange offense and special teams what Tony White has done for the defense since he arrived. But would customers be convinced that Babers Bakery was once again worth the trip?

The Orange have done their part by starting this season 5-0. Not only have they won games, but they’ve shown that big play ability on both sides of the ball, even if Sean Tucker has yet to find his 2021 form. This Syracuse team has rediscovered their ability to create turnovers and have cashed in twice on defense. The special teams units have impressed- especially in coverage and all three phases have contributed to getting the Orange back into the Top 25.

Purdue v Syracuse Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images

Fans were understandably cautious about the team for the first month, but you can feel the interest coming back. We see it here with football engagement and the fact that the crowd could push beyond 45,000 on Saturday afternoon. Since it’s almost basketball season we’ll borrow from Jon Rothstein and say that “there’s a palpable buzz” around Syracuse and this October it’s around the football team.

We know that Syracuse has invested in the coaching and support staffs for football to help the on-field product as well as the recruiting. John Wildhack offered his vote of confidence in Dino but the news of the cost of Babers’ buyout didn’t make Syracuse football fans feel any easier about the program’s future. All of this added up to a very slow recruiting start for the 2023 class but a ranked team and an engaged fan base can certainly crank up the momentum as we head into early Signing Day.

Should the Orange find a way to beat the NC State Wolfpack on Saturday we might be able to have our cake and bowl it too.