Orange Watch: Tough to be patient with Syracuse in world of Power Five

Syracuse has plenty to be excited about with the 2017 class
Off to 1-2 start, Saturday’s game at Connecticut provides a reasonable chance to grab a tough road victory

Item: It’s the harsh reality of inconsistency in leadership and direction sliding Syracuse out of being a major player in the major college football scene for some 15 years now, or since the program’s last Top 25 appearance (as No. 18 in the final poll) in 2001. From 2005 forward the fan base’s patience has been repeatedly tested under now four head coaches, with only two Pinstripe Bowl wins and a Texas Bowl victory to show for it. After a second consecutive Dome blowout loss this season against South Florida, we can at least envision that with a few more recruiting cycles under his belt, Dino Babers will perhaps

have enough of the players to fit his systems to produce perhaps different results against athletic and speedy teams like Louisville and USF. However, exactly how many more seasons that will take to produce on the field is hard to figure in the talent-rich ACC.

Although it’s not necessarily indicative of all the teams listed below so far this season, but if there were generally three divisions among the Power Five football conferences in which the differences between the haves and the have-nots is any clearer it is the SEC West, the Big Ten East, and the ACC Atlantic.

Take a look:

SEC West Big Ten East ACC Atlantic
Alabama Michigan Clemson
Auburn Michigan State Florida State
LSU Ohio State Louisville
———- Penn State ———-
Arkansas ———- Boston College
Mississippi Indiana N.C. State
Mississippi St. Maryland Syracuse
Texas A&M Rutgers Wake Forest

» Related: For Syracuse football, growth comes with pains of mistakes

While literally never in the game against Louisville from the opening seconds, and despite racing out to a 17-0 lead against S. Florida only to be outscored 45-3 over the final three quarters, Babers has remained grounded that the foundation is being built through his first season.

“I thought the first part of the game (against South Florida) we were able to do the things we wanted to do, (but) we weren’t quite able to finish,” Babers succinctly summed up after no second half answers to drop to 1-2. “I thought we could really win that game and I’m a little disappointed that we didn’t.”

Now one of the more evenly matched games on the schedule coincides with the first road game for Babers and the Orange Saturday at 2-1 Connecticut (1:00 p.m. ET / CBS SN), with a needed win before conference play there for the taking in this building block season.

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About Brad Bierman 848 Articles
Now in his sixth decade of covering SU sports, Brad was sports director of WSYR radio for eight years into the early 1990s, then wrote the Orange Watch column for The Big Orange/The Juice print publication for 18 years. A Syracuse University graduate, Brad currently runs his own media consulting business in the Philadelphia suburbs. Follow him on Twitter @BradBierman.