Syracuse Football: 3-game gauntlet is over; let’s see how ‘Cuse responds

Syracuse football (Mandatory Credit: Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports)
Syracuse football (Mandatory Credit: Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports) /

Syracuse football, mired in a three-game losing streak in which its offense has proven anemic, has a bye week coming up, enabling the program to rest and regroup.

The Orange (4-3, 0-3 in the ACC) fell by a wide margin at top-five Florida State this past Saturday, making it three setbacks in a row for the ‘Cuse where the team has gotten thoroughly outplayed versus top competition.

Make no mistake about it. A stretch of home against Clemson, then on the road against highly rated North Carolina and FSU was brutal, and many fans felt Syracuse football would go 0-3 during that gauntlet trio of games, which the Orange did end up doing.

As I noted in a column on Sunday, though, is that the ‘Cuse setbacks, on the face of them, weren’t the issue, because the opponents were excellent programs. That Syracuse football got outscored, collectively, in those three losses by a combined 112-24 is what’s most alarming to me as the Orange moves through the second half of its 2023 regular season.

How Syracuse football responds will be telling.

Okay, let’s set the stage for the final five games in the regular season, which are all against Atlantic Coast Conference members. The ‘Cuse needs two more wins to qualify for a post-season bowl for the second year in a row. Here’s the remaining docket:

Thursday, Oct. 26
at Virginia Tech (3-4 overall)

Friday, Nov. 3
vs. Boston College (3-3 overall)

Saturday, Nov. 11
vs. Pittsburgh in New York City (2-4 overall)

Saturday, Nov. 18
at Georgia Tech (3-3 overall)

Saturday, Nov. 25
vs. Wake Forest (3-3 overall)

At present, the combined overall record of these five future foes is a sub-par 14-17. On paper, there looks to be numerous “winnable” encounters on the horizon for the Orange.

However, this past weekend, Pittsburgh, for one, steamrolled previously unbeaten Louisville. Virginia Tech, by extension, was dominant in defeating Wake Forest. Putting everyone’s records to the side, some of these future foes are playing pretty well, whereas Syracuse football is not.

Then again, maybe the ‘Cuse will be able to beat up on some of these squads as it did in the non-conference versus Colgate, Western Michigan, Purdue and Army. I am still cautiously optimistic that the Orange will play in another bowl game this season.

Syracuse football players and coaches have to put the last three losses in the rear-view mirror. The SU offense has to get going. The ‘Cuse, undeniably, is facing adversity these days, and how the team responds will say a lot about the Orange’s collective character.

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