The Syracuse football team has a huge matchup vs the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on Saturday. Dino Babers considers this game a ‘freebie’, here’s why.
The Syracuse football team is 8-2 with two games remaining in their season. Let me repeat this a tad louder for the folks in the back… SYRACUSE IS 8-2 WITH TWO GAMES REMAINING IN THEIR SEASON.
Ah that feels better and those two games are both road contests vs Notre Dame and Boston College. Both of these opponents mind you are ranked in the latest AP top-25.
Essentially Syracuse is playing with house money here, they already have a bowl berth in their back pocket no matter what happens the rest of the way. Syracuse is guaranteed to finish above .500, regardless of what happens down the stretch.
While on the other side the Notre Dame Fighting Irish are undefeated vying for their first appearance in the new look College Football Playoff. If the Irish win out, they’re a near lock to be in the Playoff, although with a loss in either of the final two games, they’d likely be ousted. All the pressure is on the Irish to get it done.
Hell the oddsmakers already have the Irish as a nine point favorite and according to the ESPN FPI Analytics they’re a 74.8 percent lock to win the game vs the Orange.
Although Syracuse football head coach Dino Babers didn’t consider any of the things mentioned when he labeled this Notre Dame game as a ‘freebie’ in his post game presser:
“This Syracuse team has put themselves in a position to play a game that’s a freebie. Notre Dame is not in the ACC. It’s not a conference game. So as far as our conference goals, this game doesn’t apply. But it is a game that provides us an opportunity to prove that we belong. To prove that perhaps we’re better than people think we’re. Now that doesn’t mean we’re going to prove it, it just means we have an opportunity. When you think about where this team was picked (Syracuse): dead last. Now we’re at where we’re at, thank god that was the media poll and not the coach’s poll, had to throw that one out there. Now this game has an opportunity to put us on the map. We’re on the map, but we may get a red circle if we can do something. The Irish are a very good football team. There’s a reason why they’re ranked so high. If we had to play them 10 times, we probably couldn’t beat them 10 times. How many coaches have ever admitted that? But the really cool thing about football is it’s not like the World Series in baseball, you only have to play once.”
The coach is simply downplaying the biggest game for Syracuse since 2001, but he has a lot of points. My favorite is the last point, “if Syracuse had to play Notre Dame 10 times, we probably wouldn’t beat them 10 times.” How many coaches have ever said that before?
No seriously how many times? That candidness from the head coach is simply more than just buttering up the opposition and as Babers indicates, the cool thing about football is you only play once. Anything can happen on a given day.
Take Syracuse for an example, how many people thought that the ‘fluke’ Orange win over Clemson in the loud house on Friday spooky October 13th in 2017 would have any bearing on what would happen this season in Death Valley?
Most pundits thought Syracuse would have to swallow a hard slap of reality, instead Syracuse was even more dominant than they were in 2017 and were leading the majority of the game before letting it slip through their fingers.
Make no mistake about it, this Notre Dame team is damn good, but so are the Orange. In this no lose scenario, we’ll see how this Syracuse team responds on the grand stage of Yankee Stadium.