When Syracuse kicked off its season against Louisville on Sept. 3, the question on the minds of most people is whether or not the Orange could get to a bowl game. In nearly every preseason projection, the Orange was either at six wins, or five wins, or 5.5 depending on what publication you were reading.
Of course, SU has jumped out to a faster start than most expected, winning all four of its games and are now ranked in the USA Today Coach’s Poll (25), while receiving votes in the AP Poll (30), after a come-from-behind 22-20 win over Virginia on Friday evening. That has changed Syracuse’s projected wins from the 5-6 territory into the 7-8 range.
But there are also perils ahead. After Syracuse plays FCS Wagner this weekend (they are a 38-point favorite at the time of this writing), the Orange embarks on a brutal stretch of the season, facing five ranked teams in six games, with previously ranked Notre Dame as the sixth team. And even in wins over Purdue and Virginia, Syracuse’s flaws have started to show, be it penalties, turnovers or scoring in the red zone.
I chatted with three-time All Big East punter and former captain at Syracuse, Brendan Carney, on this week’s The Juice on the Cuse Podcast, presented by SNY.tv, to get his take on Syracuse’s start so far (“there’s a lot to be proud of,” he says). He also sounds off on how the Orange will fare as it heads into the gauntlet, starting with its matchup with No. 10 NC State on Oct. 15. He believes the Orange can win 7-8 games, but things will certainly not be easy.
In the conversation, Brendan and I also chat about Sean Tucker’s struggles (60 yards rushing against Virginia), how SU can reestablish the run game and reinvigorate the offense, the job true freshman Max von Marburg has done as the team’s starting punter, and how it feels seeing Syracuse ranked in one of the two most largely recognized rankings in college football.
You can listen to our whole conversation by following “The Juice on the Cuse Podcast,” a Syracuse Orange podcast, by subscribing to the podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts.