The Syracuse Orange athletics department has long branded the school as New York's college team, based on the fact that they have some of the most high-profile collegiate athletic teams in a state not necessarily known for present day college sports prowess. And with the state of New York only having one college bowl game each year, the Pinstripe Bowl held in Yankee Stadium, the team always seems like a potential fit for the game. And with this year's start to the season for their football program, it's being asked if Syracuse may just be the ACC's representative in this year's edition of the game.
New York City's own bowl game each year, the Pinstripe Bowl pits one team from the ACC against one team from the Big Ten, in a game that usually features cold weather and interesting moments from within one of the most iconic venues in all of sport. The participating teams are usually strong, but not on the level of the teams competing in the annual College Football Playoff. For that reason, Syracuse might be a perfect fit this year.
Syracuse's appearance against a College Football Playoff team in Clemson spelled out the exact place that the Orange find themselves. American football odds on the college side had the Orange as a 27.5 point underdog to the defending national champions, which is right where a team in position to play in the Pinstripe Bowl normally finds itself against such an opponent at that point in the season. And, with the likelihood that Syracuse would help move tickets for the game, the mentions of 'Cuse making New York City's bowl game may only get louder.
The Orange got off to a strong start this season in shutting out up and coming Liberty on the road. But their second game saw Maryland of the Big Ten put up a record number of points against a ranked opponent, as the Orange showed that they still had some growing to do after last year's breakout campaign. The start to the season for Dino Babers' team looks similar to what recent Pinstripe Bowl participant Miami has done over the last couple of seasons, making Pinstripe Bowl projections even more natural for Syracuse.
For the Orange to follow up on last year's successful season, their defense will need to step things up. After the departure of quarterback Eric Dungey after last season, Syracuse's offense has taken a step back, and the other side of the ball will need to make up for the decreased production from the offense. In the cold weather that usually comes with the Pinstripe Bowl, the more physical team typically comes out on top, as Wisconsin did against Miami last year. Whether or not Syracuse can ramp up its physicality to get there remains to be seen.
Putting New York's college team into New York's lone bowl game seems like a natural fit. But given Syracuse's style of play, they may prefer to play somewhere that lends itself to some more offense. With so many warm weather bowl games out there, the Orange may hope to avoid the Pinstripe Bowl. However, their fans would likely love to see them up close.
Courtesy SU Athletics