Syracuse is exactly where most thought they'd be, or maybe even a little further, with two games left in the season. Yes the Orange were just blown out 59-3 against Florida State, but the Seminoles may be the best team in the country. They have also made a habit of blowing out teams, including two that were in the top-10 at the time of their thrashing.
So while losing by such a large margin is never a desired outcome, the Syracuse season is still full of promise with the main goal right in front of them. Entering the 2013 campaign, bowl eligibility was always the objective. In a new conference that holds better competition, a new coaching staff and the loss of several key contributors to the NFL, this was a year of transition.
Still, Syracuse has found their way to 5-5, navigating a difficult schedule to set themselves up for two cracks at their goal. Even better for the Orange, both games are at home and both are winnable.
What we know is that the defense is the strength of the team, and young players all over the field are contributing. There are injury concerns, but still two chances to achieve the goal and go bowling for the third time in four years. With subpar performance at the quarterback position, young players forced into action and a coaching staff finding their way, it is encouraging regarding the direction of the program to be in this position.
Even more amazing is in a season where Syracuse has lost by 56 twice and 35 once, the Orange are still in prime position to finish third in the Atlantic division behind only Florida State and Clemson.
So after a blowout loss and only two games remaining on the schedule, there is reason to be excited about the stretch run, not discouraged. A third bowl appearance in four years would mean the program is on the rise and out of the shadow of the Greg Robinson era. It would also give Syracuse momentum to finish strong in recruiting for the 2014 class.
The taste of a blowout loss is never a sweet one, but the bigger pictures suggests a positive attitude for the last pair of contests is the proper one for Syracuse fans.