Preview 2018: Previewing and looking ahead to the Syracuse Orange season with what you need to know.
Preview 2018: Syracuse Orange
– What You Need To Know: Offense | Defense
– Top Players, Key Game, Fun Stats
– What Will Happen & Win Total Prediction
– Recruiting Class Analysis | Schedule Analysis
– Syracuse Previews 2017 | 2016 | 2015
Syracuse is defining what it means for a program to be in a rut.
The football school of Jim Brown, and Don McPherson, and Floyd Little, and Donovan McNabb, and John Mackey, and Larry Csonka, and Marvin Harrison, and the 1959 national championship, can’t seem to get this thing booted up.
The Dino Babers era so far hasn’t been without its charm – beating Clemson last year was wild, and the high-powered passing game is occasionally a blast – but the two straight 4-8 seasons under his watch came after a 4-8 season under Scott Shafer, which was on the heels of a 3-9 season, which …
Again, Syracuse is in a rut.
So what’s the problem? Playing defense has been optional so far in Babers’ two seasons – allowing 42 points or more nine times in 24 games – and the offense hasn’t been able to translate all the big passing yards into enough points, scoring 28 or fewer 16 times so far.
This is Year Three, and it’s supposed to be when the pieces are starting to come into place so the winning can start happening. But instead, it’s looking even more like Syracuse is building – literally.
The Carrier Dome – the stadium named for an air conditioning company – is finally getting air conditioning, along with a whole lot of other renovations.
The stadium is getting a makeover, and now the team has to follow suit.
The star receivers from last season – Steve Ishmael and Ervin Phillips – are done, the entire linebacking corps is undergoing an overhaul, and the line that had so many problems in pass protection is still playing around with the pieces.
But Eric Dungey is a terrific veteran quarterback who can make everyone around him better, and if something happens and he misses time for a third year in a row, there’s a good option in Tommy DeVito waiting to take over.
There isn’t a lot of bulk on the defensive front, but there’s quickness, and the secondary that struggled so much is at least full of veterans. But can the second-worst D in the ACC be appreciably better without any obvious stars to work around?
Can the offense that’s been so great at bombing away that it starts to do more scoring in shootouts, and are all the weapons in place to finally break free?
Babers was a success at Eastern Illinois, he was great at Bowling Green, and he knows how to lead a team to a conference championship. But for now, anything better than 4-8 would be a nice shakeup.
Wake Forest was able to bust out. Boston College turned into a thing. Virginia got to a bowl, and so did Duke.
Syracuse can and should be one of those surprise ACC teams that comes from out of nowhere.
Syracuse can and should bust free.