If we posted that in August, no one really blinks do they? Now, that doesn’t mean to say that Syracuse fans should feel good about yesterday’s game because as I said in the takeaways, it was a missed opportunity.
Now with games at North Carolina and Florida State I can already hear the “same as 2022” refrain from a good portion of the Orange faithful. Again, this doesn’t mean you can’t be disappointed or question things which happened against Clemson and are likely to happen as road underdogs the next two weeks.
Should Syracuse drop the next two and fall to 4-3, is it somehow different than what the majority of fans projected? No.
Not only that but the post-bye portion of the schedule looks even more forgiving than we thought. Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, Pitt, BC and Wake haven’t looked like competent football teams in the first month of the season. We know the Orange won’t get Oronde Gadsden or David Wohlabaugh, Jr. back, but can the Syracuse team improve before the end of October? Sure. I think you can see the possibilities on both sides of the ball.
It’s clear that Garrett Shrader’s health is the biggest x-factor. After taking a vicious hit on the opening possession, Shrader struggled against the Clemson defense. Outside of FSU, that’s the best defense by far on the rest of the 2023 schedule. Will the offensive line improve as Kalan Ellis and Joe More return to health? Can the group get Shrader back to where he was the first four weeks?
Syracuse missed their best chance to do something special. A win over Clemson would have put the Orange in the top 25 mix. It would have resonated as a big program milestone and it would have made a strong impression on the recruits in attendance. The result should hurt, but it doesn’t have to define the season or the state of the program.
There is still a path to an 8 or 9 win season and a potential to hit 10 wins in a bowl. If the Orange can rebound from yesterday and find a way to win one of the next two then the feelings of despair subside. Otherwise they are sitting at 4-3 and control the narrative of the 2023 season.....hang on folks as it’s likely going to be a long month ahead.