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.
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.