The Orange’s remaining opponents promise no success
The first of Syracuse’s last three foes is Pittsburgh, and don’t let the 2-7 record fool you—the Panthers will in no way be an easy ride.
Firstly, while the game will be in New York, it will not be in the Orange’s JMA Wireless Dome, a factor I imagine would only hurt whatever home-field advantage they’d normally have. Secondly, it’s a rivalry game. Thirdly, it’s a rivalry game that Syracuse struggles in, with the Orange having lost the last five meetings. Fourthly, the Panthers have done better against common opponents.
I don’t care what Pitt’s record is, that sounds like an upset (if you can even call it that) waiting to happen.
Next up, it’s the 5-4 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets who, of the remaining challengers, just might have the clearest shot at beating Syracuse. Sure, they’ve been pretty hot-and-cold so far this year, but they are the only one of these names that have a winning record today, along with being the only one that will host the Orange. Being expected to survive them right after a tricky rivalry game is far from a safe bet.
Last but not least, Syracuse will head back home to take on the Wake Forest Demon Deacons. The Deacs are 4-5, which has them painted out as “beatable” in every sense of the term right now. However, as far as Syracuse is concerned, they haven’t been so in years, as the last run-in with Wake Forest that went the Orange’s way was back in 2019. On top of that, Wake falls in a line similar to Pittsburgh’s, as it has also outshined Syracuse against common foes this season.
When looking at that rowdy bunch, the best and worst case scenarios are rather easy to identify: At best, the Orange somehow manage to win two of those games (I flat-out refuse to humor the thought of them winning all three when going at their current rate), squeak into the postseason, get lucky enough to be paired with a bowl opponent even sorrier than them, and prevail to finish with another barely positive record. At worst, they lose out and finish 4-8, their worst record to come from a full/non-COVID season since 2017.
With neither of those paths resulting in the eight-win threshold I demanded earlier, my declaration becomes completely unforgiving and virtually ironclad: Upon the conclusion of this season, the Syracuse football program must move on from Dino Babers.