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Syracuse football: Can the Orange get back to embracing the underdog role?

The Orange have just one upset win this season; will that change against FSU?

Syracuse v Pittsburgh Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images

This season has been a mixed bag for Syracuse Orange football. On one hand, the 6-0 start and Top 20 ranking exceeded all expectations. On the other, the last three losses seem to be a reality check for a squad that has fallen off in the back end of too many recent seasons.

If SU wants to change that fortune this year, then they need to start rising to the challenge against their top competition. According to DraftKings SportsBook, the Orange are just 1-3 as underdogs, compared to a perfect 5-0 as favorites. The only upset so far was Opening Night against Louisville. The ‘Cuse opened the week as 6.5-point dogs to FSU; they are currently at +7.

Against Clemson, Notre Dame (who the line flipped in favor of on game day), and Pitt, Syracuse lost by 6, 17, and 10 points respectively. Not being blown out by any of their top three opponents of the season is a good sign, especially with SU’s extensive injury list.

The one common denominator in all three has been the difference in play between the first and second halves. The offense has been getting figured out and limited as the games go on, causing the defense to get worn down and let the lead slip out of reach. But this week presents a similar scenario to the first win of the season.

Like Louisville, the last time Florida State came to the Dome was in 2018, a 30-7 SU win. Andre Szmyt is the only straggler from that team who is still starting for SU now, and, in case you needed a reminder, the uniforms also had a big overhaul since:

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 15 Florida State at Syracuse Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The other big comparison to the 2018 squad? They also lost to Clemson, Pitt, and Notre Dame. So while the personnel are different, the people suiting up now can still repeat history. They’ll get a chance to do so in front of a Dome crowd that will be back to an Orange consensus as opposed to the 70/30 split with Irish fans last time out. Though it won’t be as packed, that extra fan boost may be just enough motivation to get the ship back on course before back-to-back away games.

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