In the days leading up to each SU football game, The Juice Online will address questions about the team in our “Kickoff Countdown” segment.
Today’s question: Syracuse needs just one more win in their last two games to qualify for a bowl game. But both of those games are on the road, where the Orange have struggled. Do you see SU playing in the postseason?
Saturday’s huge win over then-No. 9 Louisville put Syracuse in an excellent position for the postseason.
At 4-2 in the conference, the Orange still maintain a slim chance at winning the Big East, and at 5-5 overall, SU needs just one more win to clinch a bowl game with two games remaining this season.
But the win comes with a cautionary tale.
Last season, Syracuse beat then-No. 11 West Virginia in similar blowout fashion to move to 5-2 on the season.
It seemed like a shoo-in that the Orange would be headed to the bowl season. But, you know how that went.
It’s a sobering reminder for a team that has plenty of momentum coming into this game.
“You’re exactly right about last year,” Syracuse coach Doug Marrone said during his weekly teleconference when asked about last season’s swoon. “What you said is the truth. This year’s team is different.”
The Orange will have two opportunities to clinch a bowl spot.
The first comes this Saturday, when the Orange travel to Missouri to play the Tigers. Though Missouri is just 2-5 in SEC play, they’ve won two of their last three, including a dramatic 51-48 win in overtime against Tennessee.
“It’s always a greater challenge when you go on the road with the environment,” Marrone said. “Especially going on a road to a team we haven’t played before as a opposed to playing a team you’ve already played.”
The Orange will stay on the road to close out the regular season against 3-6 Temple. While SU will be favored, keep in mind that Syracuse has won just one game on the road (USF) this season.
“We haven’t played well (on the road), and you have to acknowledge those things and move forward,” Marrone said. “We’ll try to make sure the players are concentrating on the game plan and not let anything distract us.”Wesley Cheng