Syracuse Football: Is it possible for Cuse to win the ACC championship?

Syracuse football (Mandatory Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports)
Syracuse football (Mandatory Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports) /

Once upon a time, this young blogger used to contribute Syracuse football articles occasionally to the Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician blog as well as trying to establish my own blog. They’re a huge reason I wanted to try blogging, especially at the encouragement of founder Sean Keeley.

I bring all this up because annually about this time of year, they do a joint series of posts breaking down different record scenarios for the team, from worst to best. It’s not to be pessimistic or anything but simply discuss various scenarios that could lead to certain outcomes.

And I’m a fairly positive guy so I always liked the latter ones with the better records. I do so because, in my head, I don’t doubt my favorite team and have a belief they can win any game they play.

So it shouldn’t surprise anyone if I tell you right now that not to take away from their posts or steal their idea, I think there is a likely scenario where the Orange can win the ACC championship in football. I’m not saying take your paycheck to a gambling site and bet on me but I think it’s important to not count them out, too.

Some will see this as “fan fiction” but I plan to actually show a way this can happen. I don’t automatically think Syracuse football will win or lose any game because there are always things that can happen but here is my positive yet likely possible response to how it can happen.

Can Syracuse football capture an ACC championship in 2023?

First off, there is a three-game stretch I’ll call the Bermuda Triangle because this season could be very much determined by how they survive those three games. Syracuse will play Clemson at home to finish out the September portion of the schedule and then travel to Florida State and North Carolina to start October.

In order for Syracuse football to win the ACC, they’ll likely need to win at least two of the three, and win every other game or hope those three fail otherwise without another dark horse riding in to steal their thunder.

But if you want to win the Atlantic Coast Conference title, the best bet is to find a way to beat Clemson at home and then win at least one of two of those road games. Clemson will not be easy, many predict Florida State could be the best team in the ACC in 2023, and North Carolina has Heisman Trophy-hopeful Drake Maye at quarterback.

Can Syracuse football take advantage of home-field advantage against a Clemson Tigers team that they’ve had success against in the past in the JMA Wireless Dome? Can the “godfather of the 3-3-5,” defensive coordinator Rocky Long, formulate a game plan to contain Drake Maye, and can Orange quarterback Garrett Shrader show he deserves some postseason award love, too? Or will Syracuse football go down to Tallahassee, Fla., and ignore all the chants and tomahawks to win a game many think they have no chance to win?

Also, some will point out that playing at Purdue won’t be easy and they’re right but that game will have little impact on winning the ACC. But the five games after that Bermuda Triangle won’t be easy either, because they’ll start with a Thursday night game at Virginia Tech then only one more “road game” at Georgia Tech plus two at home and the Yankees Stadium “home game” versus Pittsburgh. These five are very much winnable if everyone is healthy and playing well but all five games will not be won easily.

So for argument’s sake, let’s say Syracuse football starts 4-0 or 3-1, with a close loss at Purdue. Then they beat Clemson in the Loud House, drop one to Florida State but come up with a game plan to contain Maye and win in Chapel Hill.

Worst care scenario, they’re 5-2, but 2-1 in the ACC. Now with five games left, they’re healthy and determined to prove they are a legitimate contender, so they win the last five. They’re now 10-2 overall and 7-1 in the ACC, which should be good enough to play in the ACC championship game.

Odds are fairly good if you listen to the experts that their opponent in the ACC championship contest will likely be one of those “Bermuda Triangle” teams. If it’s North Carolina, they’ll be looking for revenge. If it’s Clemson, they will be as well but this time on a neutral field. If it’s Florida State, they’ve already won against the Orange, and it’ll be up to Syracuse football to prove they can win.

If someone comes up to me and tells me that I have to bet on who wins the ACC outside of Syracuse football, I would say I feel like Florida State is the best bet. That’s not a knock on Clemson or anyone else but simply my feeling having watched them last season some and feeling like they’re trending upwards.

So now it’s Syracuse versus Florida State on Saturday, December 2, at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C., for the ACC championship and the right to be in the College Football Playoff, possibly. Sadly, I could see a way Syracuse football wins the ACC but is left out of playoff contention, especially if they did have two losses but I’d hope the winner gets in regardless.

So can Syracuse football beat Florida State on a neutral field in North Carolina? My instincts say FSU fans would travel better than Cuse fans, even though many former Syracuse residents reside in the Carolinas these days.

So it’s possible they’d still have to beat the crowd as well. But yes, if Syracuse football plays to this level to this point of the season and key guys are healthy, I believe the core of this team will go into the Queen City ready to leave it all on the field for the sake of a title and possibly playing in front of numerous scouts curious to see the team nobody predicted to be there.

Syracuse quarterback Garrett Shrader will leave his hometown with a belly full of Bojangles supremes and an ACC championship in a game I believe that would literally come down to the last play in regulation (if not overtime) and have Syracuse fans’ blood pressure higher than that of a security guard at a Waffle House at 2 am on a Saturday morning.

Make no mistakes about it, this team has the players and the coaching staff to win. Last season if not for injuries, I fully believe that they would have been at the very least a nine to 10-win team.

If this year’s team is healthy and players like LeQuint Allen Jr., Oronde Gadsden II, Justin Barron and Marlowe Wax Jr. have the seasons I think they can, then this floor vs. ceiling talk everyone is discussing lately could see something the JMA Wireless Dome is without…a clear view of the sky because can’t no ceiling hold them back.

And as September 2nd creeps closer and closer to kick off the season, all the experts and speculation, including mine, will end and we will see what happens. But just know this, I am openly admitting to being a homer for the team I love but what if I’m right?

What if all this head coach Dino Babers is on the hot seat is actually off and this team/program is on the right path to success that last season got sidetracked by injuries but this year hits its potential? What if the offensive line clicks, the defense only gets better and the offensive weapons prove to have enough strength to make big plays and win big games?

Don’t be shocked if the above scenario is closer to reality than fan fiction and the Orange can give the people of Syracuse reasons to pump their chests and walk around heads held high because when the football and basketball teams at Cuse win, you can see the abundance of confidence in the town and in the fan base.

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