For the first time in weeks, nay years, we wake up after a weekend and aren’t worrying about whether Syracuse will or won’t make a bowl game. Last week, they stamped their first college football postseason appearance since 2013.
After a comfortable 41-24 victory over Wake Forest this past weekend, the number 13th ranked team in the country can now turn their focus to which bowl they can make. So let’s do the same and work out where the Orange are likely to land after the win.
The New Year’s Six
It would take a miracle for the Orange to end up in the playoff, especially after the close loss to Clemson, the likely ACC representative. However, a trip to the other marquee bowls on the big day is still very much in play.
This week, nine of the top 25 lost, including seven teams previously ranked ahead of Syracuse. After Saturday’s slate, the Orange climbed to 13th in the AP poll. If the playoff committee ranks them similarly, the Orange will likely control their own destiny in terms of making one of the signature bowls.
That’s because, if they were to win out from here, they would have two more impressive wins to add to their resume: Notre Dame and Boston College. That’s a big ask, but those wins would all but guarantee that the Orange were the second best team in the ACC and would likely deserve a chance to cap their season off with a marquee win.
However, the likelihood of them beating both the Fighting Irish and the Eagles are slim. Notre Dame is probably going to be one of the four best teams in the country when all is said and done while Boston College will prove a very tough road out in the season finale.
For the moment, let’s temper the excitement until next week.
The Camping World Bowl
A more realistic prestige bowl, the Camping World Bowl acts as the marquee non-New-Year’s-Six bowl for the ACC. If Syracuse takes care of business against Louisville next week, a split against the final two opponents would probably be enough to make a run at it.
That said, there’s a path for NC State to win out from here which could make life difficult for the Orange should they drop any games. At this stage, they are more likely to drop games than the Wolfpack, meaning that, even though Syracuse beat them a week ago, they would make the more prestigious postseason game.
Hardly seems fair but that’s the price the Orange could pay for a tougher out-of-conference schedule.
Tier One Bowls
The remainder of the bowls Syracuse looks likely to make are the Belk Bowl, Pinstripe Bowl, Sun Bowl, and then either the Music City Bowl or Gator Bowl.
As alluded to last week, the Pinstripe Bowl makes sense due to its desire for a northeastern team that will travel well. It was also the bowl in which Syracuse played in 2013, the last time they made the postseason.
The Orange could, however, get bumped for Boston College should they lose to them in the season finale. It’s hard to see Syracuse falling beyond one of the tier one bowls but the game against the Eagles could be decisive in what choices the Orange may have come bowl selection time.
A win against Louisville next week should all but guarantee the Pinstripe Bowl as a low end. A win on Friday will guarantee a perfect home record and could bolster the Orange to go and aim higher.
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