Hale: Ceiling for Syracuse football could be nine wins

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Sep 23, 2022; Syracuse, New York, USA; Syracuse Orange running back Sean Tucker (34) runs with the ball against the Virginia Cavaliers during the first half at JMA Wireless Dome. Mandatory Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

At the start of the 2022 football season, if someone had told you Syracuse was going to go 6-6 and head to the postseason, most of you would’ve taken that proposition in a heartbeat. After all, Syracuse was a combined 11-24 in the past three seasons and head coach Dino Babers was getting close to being on the hot seat.

Of course, the expectations have shifted since September. The Orange is now 5-0 and ranked in both the AP (22) and Coach’s (21) polls. But can Syracuse stay in the rankings? After its upcoming bye, the Orange plays six consecutive games against teams that are either ranked, or were recently ranked. It will provide a test into how good the Orange is after beating five teams that have been unranked.

And that’s exactly what we chatted about with ESPN ACC reporter David Hale in this week’s The Juice on the Cuse Podcast, presented by SNY.tv. Hale sees a path for the Orange to get to as many as nine regular season wins if they can win one of its next three against No. 14 NC State, No. 5 Clemson and currently unranked Notre Dame. Those three games will prove to be a barometer for Syracuse’s final win total, Hale says. Hale adds that Syracuse should be in every one of these three games, even if its talent doesn’t quick stack up. That’s because this is one of Syracuse’s deepest teams in years.

» Related: Syracuse football has started 5-0, but there are perils ahead

The last four games, Hale says, are a bit more forgiving, with currently unranked Pitt and Florida State, a No. 15 Wake Forest team that has struggled at times this year, and a Boston College team that has struggled to find any kind of rhythm. Then again, Hale could also easily see the Orange finishing with just six or seven wins for the same reason. In the conversation, Hale and I also chat about whether anyone can topple Clemson, his votes for the most surprising and disappointing teams in the ACC, and also whether Syracuse is deserving of its top 25 ranking considering it hasn’t played any ranked opponents to date.

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.

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About Wes Cheng 2831 Articles
Wes has worked for Rivals.com covering the New York Knicks, as well as for Scout.com covering Syracuse athletics. Wes has also been a contributing writer for the South China Morning Post (Hong Kong), for SportsNet New York (SNY) as a news desk writer covering all of New York professional sports, and reported on the NBA and MLB for the New York Sportscene. A native of Long Island, New York, Wes graduated from Syracuse University in 2005 with a degree in journalism. Contact him at wes[at]sujuiceonline.com.