On Monday, we ranked the top 25 through 21 best seasons in Syracuse athletics history. Today, we continue our countdown with seasons 20 through 16.
Make sure to check back in on Friday as we reveal spots 11 through 15!
20. 2012 women’s lacrosse
The closest Syracuse women’s lacrosse has ever come to winning a national championship in terms of score margin, the 2012 season is one to remember. They won a regular season game at archrival Maryland and won the Big East regular season title with a perfect record in the conference. ‘Cuse lost in the national championship game by two goals to Northwestern. It turned out to be the end of a dynasty in the sport where the Wildcats won seven national championships in eight years.
19. 1956 football
This was the birth of a legend. No. 44 holds a very special place in Syracuse football history, and it was started by Jim Brown in 1956. While he had been around for a few years by this point and everyone knew his name, that season was when Brown etched his name into the history of the sport. He was a unanimous All-American scoring 14 total touchdowns and amassing over 1,000 yards from scrimmage in just eight games. He should have won the Heisman. ‘Cuse narrowly lost the Cotton Bowl that year to TCU and would finish the season ranked 8th in the AP Poll.
18. 1995 men’s lacrosse
As it would turn out, this would be Roy Simmons Jr.’s final championship team as the coach of the Orange. It was a clash of titans as Syracuse met Maryland in the title game. Both teams were loaded with talent as evidenced by the fact that every other school was locked out of the All-Tournament team. The added bonus was that ‘Cuse won the national championship on Maryland’s home field. It was also the start of the Powell-brother era at Syracuse as Casey rocked the famed No. 22 en route to a spot on that All-Tournament team.
17. 2015 men’s cross country
After a 64-year wait, Syracuse finally conquered the men’s cross country world again with a national championship. ‘Cuse was led by wonderkid Justyn Knight, who would go on to win the individual NCAA title in 2017. Colin Bennie and Martin Hehir also placed in the top 10 as the Orange took down two-time defending national champion Colorado. The Buffaloes entered the race as the top team in the country, making Syracuse’s narrow victory even more sweet.
16. 2000 men’s lacrosse
After one of the greatest runs in the history of the sport, Roy Simmons Jr. retired following the 1998 season. As it turns out, it wouldn’t take too long for coach John Desko to start building his own legacy. In just his second season in charge, Desko led ‘Cuse back to the promise land with a resounding 13-7 victory over Princeton in the national championship game. The path their was pretty sweet as well with wins over Georgetown and Johns Hopkins. After coming up just short the year before against Virginia, Syracuse let everyone know that their reign was not over yet.
Check back in on Monday when we reveal our rankings for the 11th through 15th best Syracuse seasons of all time!