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Syracuse football: can the Orange crack the Top 20 during their bye?

The Orange are off, but these matchups can impact their rankings:

Syracuse Orange v Wagner Seahawks Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images

While the Syracuse Orange are already ranked in both the Coaches’ (21) and AP (22) Polls, Head Coach Dino Babers has his own thoughts on where he wants the program to be this year. During his press conference last week, when SU was at No. 25 in the Coaches’ Poll, Babers had this to say:

“(The Top 25) means a little bit. When I was growing up, it was only a Top 20.... that’s what gets me excited.”

Since we know Syracuse will stay 5-0 for now, it’s up to some other teams to knock off the guys in front of the Orange. Here are some matchups with big impacts on the Week 7 polls, complete with AP rankings and odds provided by DraftKings SportsBook.

#17 TCU Horned Frogs (4-0, 1-0) at #19 Kansas Jayhawks (5-0, 2-0)

Texas Christian (-250) is a 6.5-point favorite against KU (+210) in this battle of unbeaten teams. While I for one still want the Syracuse/Kansas National Championship on the table, it’s probably more feasible that a Jayhawks loss moves them down three spots than the five that would be needed for the Frogs. TCU has the nation’s second-best offense with an average of 48.5 points and nearly 550 yards per game.

Arkansas Razorbacks (3-2, 1-2) at #23 Mississippi State Bulldogs (4-1, 1-1)

In this case, Syracuse fans should be rooting for an upset. If the Bulldogs (-315) take down the Razorbacks (+260), it’s possible that they actually jump over the Orange based on strength of schedule. Arkansas hung with #1 Alabama last week before the Tide pulled away in the 4th quarter, but they are 9-point underdogs in this one. We could really use some Hog magic against Garrett Shrader’s old squad.

#11 Utah Utes (4-1, 2-0) at #18 UCLA Bruins (5-0, 2-0)

The Utes’ (-170) lockdown defense will look to stop UCLA’s (+145) explosive offense in front of what should be a better crowd than we’ve seen at the Rose Bowl this year. The soon-to-be members of the Big 10 16-20 are only 3.5-point underdogs and will not be an easy out, but the Utes have been scorching hot since coming up just short in Florida during the opening week.

#20 Kansas State Wildcats (4-1, 2-0) at Iowa State Cyclones (3-2, 0-2)

Another upset watch has KSU (-130) locked in a fierce battle with one of the country’s best defenses. Though they’re not ranked, Iowa State (+110) yields the eighth-fewest yards (255.4) per game and is especially potent in stopping the run game. That’s bad news for the Cyclones, whose offensive attack runs through the legs of Deuce Vaughn. The line for this one is less than a score: the Wildcats are favored by just 2 points.


Where do you think Syracuse will rank in next week’s polls? Can the Orange slide into the Top 20 heading into the NC State game?

Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See for details.