Before the season, I wrote a post on 6 players I thought could make the most impact on the Syracuse football season and one of them has missed the first four games of the season, FB/TE/Mr. Everything Chris Elmore.
While the reasoning behind his absence is unknown and likely none of my business, there were hints on social media that his return was imminent as the Orange is scheduled to play Florida State University on Saturday, October 2 at 3:30 pm in Tallahassee, Fla., yet again on the ACC Network, TK99 locally on the radio or on The Varsity Network app.
Chris is a “super senior” who has played defensive line, offensive line, fullback and listed on the initial depth chart at TE and a player who brings leadership, experience and a level of excitement and intensity that will only help this team in ACC play.
And while it appears at times that FSU is struggling this season, if the Orange wants to play in a bowl game or have the potential I believe that they have to even make the ACC Championship game, it will need all hands on deck to make plays.
Another reason I view Chris’s return as crucial is in watching the Liberty game with Garrett Shrader at QB, the offense will want to run a lot of rush plays and short screens and a player like Rhino can not only provide a key block but also another set of hands/legs that could be utilized to get a few more yards if the defense is looking at Sean Tucker, Shrader or even Abdul Adams.
Head Coach Dino Babers LOVES to play chess with the press and other teams so we likely won’t know much until about 3:29 pm Saturday if he can help it in regards to Rhino’s status or if Shrader starts again but either way, the one I guy I loved preseason who mentioned wanting to be NCAA champions and matches my level of Orange insanity will only help this team succeed no matter the QB when the game starts.
Syracuse football gets going with its ACC calendar by heading to the Sunshine State.
Lao Tzu once said, “There is no greater danger than underestimating your opponent!” FSU is struggling but I refuse to take any team lightly and assume SU will or should win. It is easy to assume based on records and oddsmakers that the Orange should win this and the fan in me would LOVE to walk around confident that this is the case.
However being the Orange fan that I am, I know what it is like when even your own fellow fans are counting you out but you’re going to go on that field and prove you are better than people say and therefore I truly hope the Orange walk on that field not taking anyone lightly and play intensely.
Also, FSU is at home in front of their fans and as ESPN’s Greg McElroy noted recently, FSU Head Coach Mike Norvell is not just going to idly standby and not put up a fight to get his team better. While Norvell has struggled so far at FSU, he was very successful at Memphis before leaving to take over the FSU program after the 2019 season and I won’t underestimate the hunger of a successful coach looking to hunt for a win.
Syracuse is 3-1 and one game short of where many oddsmakers thought they would be in regards to wins this entire season and halfway to bowl eligibility, so I would hate to see the team take a step back now.
Plus after FSU, the Orange head back to the Carrier Dome for back to back games against Wake Forest (Family Weekend/Military Appreciation Day) and Clemson (Orange Out), and a win at FSU will hopefully help generate attendance for those games…and not to mention how sweet would it be to become bowl eligible by beating FSU and then Wake and Clemson at home back to back?
This also gives them an advantage in the bowl bids and should it come to a tie-breaker scenario or one game difference to play in Charlotte, every win you can get matters. Also, I can stop seeing all the ledge jumping amongst Orange fans over every bad play or every loss that leads to a crucial analysis of everything from play calling to scheduling to what color the uniforms and towels are for this game. It’s funny how winning cures so much!
Can The Rhino Chris Elmore help this Syracuse football team continue to win? Can the 3-3-5 defense continue to play at such a top-tier level not just in the ACC but in all of college football? Can Sean Tucker prove he not only deserves a chance to wear 44 but impress everyone including NFL scouts and Heisman voters with all his records, and can Abdul Adams prove he also can be productive behind an improved offensive line?
Can Andre Szmyt continue to be one of the best field goal kickers in Syracuse football history? Which quarterback will lead us into temptation and deliver us from evil? Will Coach Babers do enough to quiet the critics calling for his job and prove that Syracuse football is in good hands with him at the helm? With the ACC portion of the schedule starting now, we will learn the answer to a lot of these questions and more with each and every game, and I am here for it.