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Syracuse football: let’s remember to respect the players

I get the frustration but let’s address some of the nonsense out there

Florida State v Syracuse Photo by Isaiah Vazquez/Getty Images

Last night’s Syracuse Orange performance was bad. There’s no bright side for the game we watched. It was by far the worst one of the year.

No sense in spending a lot more time today revisiting what we saw but there’s one thing I read and heard that is worth some time this Sunday.

I’m talking about the “they don’t deserve a bowl” sentiment that has been going around the last couple of weeks, but really popped up in the last day. That’s complete bullshit.

Anyone who claims to be a fan of this program and this team should at the very least appreciate that this group deserves to have a post-season experience. I can guarantee that inside the locker room is a group that is more frustrated and disappointed than we are.

Tell players like Mikel Jones that his commitment to Syracuse and to this program and teammates isn’t deserving of the opportunity to play in the post-season. When you look at the scores each and every weekend, you realize it’s not easy. Texas A&M’s had some of the best recruiting classes in the country and they’ll be watching the bowl season from home. Boston College got their first win over a ranked opponent since 2014 yesterday. You can’t dismiss the six wins just because it’s now how you wanted them to happen. That’s not how it works.

We should be glad we’ve got some incredible representatives of this program on that field and not lose sight that this isn’t about us- it’s about them.

This site has spent it’s entire existence telling you that Syracuse needs to make bowl games to build the program back to the level you think it should be. This team has done that and it shouldn’t go unappreciated. There are no apologies needed because the Orange got their six wins in the first six games. No one apologized in Scott Shafer’s first year when the sixth win came on the last offensive play in the final game.

Extra practices are important for younger players. They provide visibility to recruits. For all the complaining about Syracuse’s lack of depth and recruiting, you’d think people would understand the correlation between those struggles and the program’s irrelevance for the last 20 years.

Look next year the slate starts new and the expectations are raised because the schedule is more manageable. The team will be losing a lot of talent and it’s on the staff to replace that talent. The extra work with young players helps. Getting transfers to take a visit helps (just look at FSU last night with Jared Verse and Johnny Wilson).

We can complain about coaching and game management but let’s remember that these players deserve better.

They brought back some fun to our Syracuse Saturdays.

They brought casual fans back even after a three-game losing streak.

They brought back caring about this team, which many hadn’t done in a while.

They deserve to feel good about what they’ve earned.

Let’s not forget that.