Syracuse football fans, understandably, have a lot of spirited opinions about Orange head coach Dino Babers and his contract.
I get it. I really like Babers as a person (and a motivator), but in his tenure on the Hill, he’s put forth one winning season and one bowl game.
There are slivers of optimism heading into the 2022 season, even as the ‘Cuse is projected to face a tough schedule. But even still, a lot of my fellow Orange fans wanted Babers gone after the team dropped three in a row to close out 2021 at 5-7.
One of the best parts (most of the time) about my role as site editor for Inside The Loud House is interacting with other ‘Cuse fans on social media and in chat rooms.
Sure, we disagree plenty of times, and unfortunately sometimes there are folks who personally attack other fans. By and large, though, I come across a ton of fun debates and insightful commentary.
Syracuse football fans chimed in on the report over the Dino Babers contact.
Not too long ago, ESPN senior writer and Syracuse University graduate Pete Thamel published a comprehensive article where he detailed some college football programs and their head coaches.
The nugget of interest here, to ‘Cuse fans, is that SU would owe Dino Babers more than $10 million if the university fired him this year, according to Thamel.
Naturally, as soon as I read that, I posted it to social media and asked my fellow Syracuse football fans for their thoughts, because we all know Orange fans have a ton of them!
Some context. The ‘Cuse went 5-7 a stanza ago and lost several games by three points. Could the team have gotten to six triumphs and a bowl game? Absolutely.
If the squad landed in a bowl in 2021, would Syracuse football fans be calling for Syracuse University leaders to have already fired Dino Babers? Maybe. Maybe not.
That being said, while the Orange proved one victory short of a bowl in 2021, it was still a marked improvement over the disastrous 1-10 record that the ‘Cuse put forth in 2020.
Yes, the schedule looks rough this fall, but I’m not making excuses before the 2022 term even commences. I’ve said for a while now that Babers has to reach six wins in 2022, and get to a bowl game, or he should be let go.
The dilemma, though, is that per Thamel, SU would owe Dino Babers a lot of money if the university fires him. Plus, Syracuse football has multiple first-year assistant coaches on the sidelines in 2022.
So my thought is then if the Orange were to go, say, 5-7, given the buyout figure, the new assistants and the challenging 2022 slate, maybe Babers is retained.
Let’s remember, ‘Cuse athletic director John Wildhack said earlier this summer that Babers is not on the hot seat, even if some media members and Orange fans alike adamantly disagree.
But what if Syracuse football only collects four, or fewer, victories in 2022? The ‘Cuse fan base, at least a good portion of it, is already feeling a lot of negative emotions about the football program.
One fellow fan said that if the Orange is 4-8, or worse, in 2022, that could lead to some ‘Cuse fans losing interest in the Syracuse football squad altogether, and he’s got an interesting point there.
If the Orange stinks this coming stanza, and Babers is still retained, I don’t think the entire fan base is gone. But some fans did say on social media that they would stop renewing their season tickets if this scenario I just described ends up occurring. That’s important to note.
Multiple fans said that unless Syracuse football is 6-6 or better in 2022, then Dino Babers has to go. To be fair, many fans I’ve interacted with already want him gone. In the bigger picture, by extension, it’s not just fans who have been noticing the Orange’s recent struggles; I would imagine future recruits are keeping tabs on how the ‘Cuse ends up performing in 2022 as well.
Also, a terrific point was brought up as it relates to conference realignment developments. I don’t see the Atlantic Coast Conference crumbling anytime soon, but it also seems to be lagging way behind the two super leagues in formation, the Big Ten Conference and the Southeastern Conference.
Because of those super leagues possibly dominating every other conference, one fan thought that Syracuse football might be destined for ongoing sub-par results now and in the future regardless of whether Babers is at the helm, or someone else is.
Also, as was raised by one fan, is $10 million really a lot of money for Syracuse University to cough up? If the Orange is woeful in 2022, and the fan base is up in arms, with season ticketholders jumping ship, wouldn’t it be better for SU to pay Babers and start fresh?
Then again, as I’ve said before, if Dino Babers is let go, there’s no guarantee that a new head coach would do any better in Central New York.
One fan expressed frustration that the SU athletics department put itself in this position in the first place, as it pertains to Babers’ contract. That’s fair.
Simultaneously, it’s impossible to truly and completely know how a new head coach, such as when Babers was hired by Syracuse University back in December of 2015, is going to fare on the field.
Syracuse University, from my perspective, is caught in a precarious position. Assuming the ‘Cuse isn’t good to great in 2022, or at least has a .500 record, SU will have to pony up a lot of dough to get rid of Dino Babers, or it could lose interest from a contingent of the Orange fan base. It’s a no-win situation.
"But this quote from one fan on social media summed it up best, to me anyway. “At some point if it’s not working, then you have to bite the (bullet) and start over. No one wants to start over, yet as a fan and season ticket holder, I also don’t want to continue seeing this team continue to lose.”"
Well said, my friend.