Maybe the headline to this article is misleading. Many fans have kept their undying support for this team and the players, believing they were capable of winning gritty games and coming out on top, instead of losing them. If you were one of these fans, then the title to this article is absolutely misleading.
In the beginning of the season, many fans were saying it was bowl or bust for this football team. After the first three games, many thought it was going to be a season where Syracuse finished the year with three wins with the clock ticking on Doug Marrone.
If you were one of these fans, it is time to up the ante on your expectations for this team.
Personally, I found myself somewhere in the middle. While I thought it was going to be very difficult and pretty unlikely to make a bowl game following a 1-3 start to the season, I knew the team had as much talent in the Big East as anybody and could win any of the remaining games on the schedule. I also believe(d) that Doug Marrone is the right man for the job, and that he should not have been on the hot seat to begin with.
But back to expectations. The Orange now need to split the remainder of their schedule in order to make a bowl game. One of the games the Orange will absolutely be a favorite in (Temple). The other three are against a Cincinnati team that appars to have lapses at times throughout the game, a Louisville team who came very close to losing to South Florida two weekends ago, and a bottom feeder in the SEC (although talented) in Missouri.
In terms of a measure of success, I think it is bowl game or disappointment for this team.
Syracuse has won two straight no matter what way you spin it. I’ve already heard the excuse of it only being South Florida and Connecticut and that they are both in the basement of the conference, and I think that is nonsense. The Big East is a conference where anybody can beat anybody on any given Saturday, and I only have to point to the top teams to prove it. Both Louisville and Rutgers have proven that they are by no means blowing teams out, and in Rutgers’ case even have their hands full with a MAC team. South Florida had Louisville on the ropes, and has been winning in virtually all of their games this season before bowing out in the fourth quarter.
The Orange enter the week as a five point underdog on the road at Cincinnati, and this is definitely a game that they are capable of winning. Should the Orange win their third straight this weekend, they will be in a great position for postseason play, and can begin to set their sights on earning a spot in a good bowl game with only one more win needed for the rest of the season. I know I for one would love to see them playing in Yankee Stadium in their last game as a member of the Big East, and I can party like its 2010 all over again. It’s a recurring theme, but if Syracuse takes care of business and doesn’t beat itself, the Orange have a great chance at winning the game.
Check back all throughout the week for for game previews and predictions!