Syracuse Loses to Boston College–Yikes!
The Confidential just spent 1,000 words explaining that Syracuse deserved to be 25-0. They most certainly did–even with their flaws. But those flaws came out in full force in a loss to Boston College last night. And now Syracuse most certainly deserves to be 25-1. Only the specifics of that “1” are such that there is significant cause for concern. And perhaps even relief. Here is why.
If you are a Syracuse fan, you MUST be concerned… in the back of your mind… about this team being a #1 seed. No #1 seed in the modern era has lost to a #16 seed. Syracuse was the first #2 seed to lose, it does not want to also be the first #1 seed to lose. That tiny voice has to be there. At least for any Syracuse fan old enough to remember Richmond. Could any Syracuse fan be confident in a #1-#16 game? Maybe going into BC, only a the most glass-half-empty pessimist would openly say so. Post-BC, that tiny voice is not so tiny.
Nobody doubts that Syracuse can beat anyone in the country. A 25-0 team can win 6 games and win the national championship. No question. None.
But the BC loss shows that Syracuse can lose to just about anyone–certainly anyone good enough to make the Big Dance. Really, it is hard to argue that Boston College is necessarily better than a #16 seed?
Boston College was 6-19. This was a team that beat Virginia Tech (a 9-16 team) twice, as well as a 14-13 Washington and a 10-16 Florida Atlantic (by 3). Those were the GOOD wins. The other two wins included an overtime win against 4-22 Sacred Heart and win over Philadelphia. What’s Philadelphia’s record? ESPN does not know–although they are apparently called the “Philadelphia Univers Rams.” See ESPN. They are a Division II team–somehow, Boston College had to dip outside the 300+ Division I schools to find itself a win. What #16 team will have a worse collection of wins than that?
In fairness, looking at Boston College’s schedule, it is hard to find bad losses too, especially in the out-of-conference schedule. USC is 10-15, but that was a road game. As was the game against 12-12 Auburn (who took #2 Florida to the wire last night). Harvard was 20-4. Toledo is 19-4. Providence is 17-10. UMass is 20-5. UConn is 20-5. Purdue is 15-10. In fact, if you look at RPI… Syracuse losing to Boston College gives Syracuse a worse loss than any of Boston College’s losses–all of which were to teams with an RPI in the top 150 (beating Boston College helped all those teams though). Even with the win, Boston College is 170.
But throw out whether BC is better than its 6-19 record. If you can lose to a team with 19 losses, you can lose to a team that is seeded #16. The Confidential cannot prove it because it is not aware of a #1 seed losing to a team with such a record during the regular season. And it is not about to engage in that research. You can. Prove us wrong. We’ll stick with our hunch.
Of course, last night’s loss means nothing if Syracuse makes a deep run in March. Last night’s loss means everything if the team does not regroup. It still controls its own destiny. And it may be better for Syracuse to take a step back right now, regroup, and get hot again in March. Better to be a “hot” #3 seed (see 2003) than a cold #1 seed.
The bottom line is that is scary to be a Syracuse fan this year. Not because it is not good enough to win a national title. But because it now appears that any team in the field could prevent them from winning that national title. Even a #16 seed. What was a team of destiny 24 hours ago is now a team that was dumped by destiny. This was not a “wake up call,” this was getting dragged into the shower to be greeted by ice cold water. For the team and its fans.