Syracuse Football: Who cares about top 25 for now, let’s just beat Clemson

Syracuse football (Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports)
Syracuse football (Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports) /

Syracuse football, on Sunday, picked up more votes in the Associated Press and Coaches polls, but the Orange didn’t make the top 25 of either ballot.

No worries. The ‘Cuse is still trending in a positive direction, after the team stormed back in the second half on the Hill over the weekend to knock off Army and move to 4-0 so far in the 2023 season.

At this juncture, do I think that Syracuse football is a top-25 team? Probably not. The Orange has defeated Colgate, Western Michigan and Army at home, as well as Purdue on the road. That’s not an overly impressive resume, but it’s also not a shot at my alma mater.

The ‘Cuse can’t control how “good” or “not good” its opponents are. The Orange has taken care of business through four games, and that’s all we can ask of Syracuse football. The squad has a brutal three-contest stretch coming up, and if the ‘Cuse continues winning, it will be ranked in the top-25 polls in the near future.

Syracuse football is about to see its 2023 schedule get way more challenging.

There are four Atlantic Coast Conference groups in the top 25 of the two major polls. Here’s where things stood when the latest polls were released on Sunday afternoon:

AP Poll
Florida State, No. 5
North Carolina, No. 15
Duke, No. 17
Miami, No. 18

Syracuse football, 8 votes (No. 34 overall)
Clemson, 5 votes

Coaches Poll
Florida State, No. 4
North Carolina, No. 15
Duke, No. 16
Miami, No. 18

Clemson, 35 votes
Syracuse football, 32 votes (No. 34 overall)

As I noted in a separate column on Sunday, the Orange has gone 4-0 in non-conference play for the first time since 1991. The ‘Cuse has also started out 4-0 in back-to-back seasons for the first time going back to 1959 and 1960.

Those are encouraging signs. However, coming up, Syracuse football will host Clemson this Saturday afternoon, followed by road battles against North Carolina and Florida State.

This past Saturday, Clemson lost at home, in overtime, to Florida State. The Tigers are 2-2 overall, so I do find it a little comical that they have more votes in the Coaches poll than a 4-0 ‘Cuse squad.

In any event, we all know that Syracuse football has had some success versus Clemson in the past (hi, 2017). The Orange also had the Tigers on the ropes in Death Valley a stanza ago, only to fall by six points in a heartbreaking setback.

Given that Clemson sits at 2-2, and the Tigers had a prime chance to best a top-five FSU crew in week four, you know that Clemson players and coaches will be arriving on the Hill later this week ready to take out their frustration on the ‘Cuse.

Hopefully, the Orange fan base will show up and show out at the JMA Wireless Dome to make things more difficult and frustrating for this Clemson program.

Not that I have any ill-will toward the Tigers, but nothing would make me happier than for Syracuse football to continue an undefeated season and, simultaneously, push Clemson under the .500 mark this Saturday.

To reiterate, the top-25 rankings for the Orange will come, if it keeps on winning. It begins with the Tigers, followed by the Tar Heels and the Seminoles. A tall task for Syracuse football, indeed. Let’s see if the ‘Cuse is up to the challenge.

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