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College Football

Which years may an expanded playoff have benefited Syracuse soccer?

As is the case each offseason, this yr brings calls to broaden the Faculty Soccer Playoff past the 4 groups it normally invitations. Besides this time, it no less than looks like the powers-that-be are discussing the thought with an thought of implementing a change sooner reasonably than later.

Why the urgency? Nicely, TV cash most likely performs an excellent greater issue now after these faculties misplaced hundreds of thousands because of the pandemic. And since cash is the first motive any change occurs in school sports activities, right here we’re.

Whereas we’ll absolutely admit the variety of instances the place the Syracuse Orange may contend for a spot in an eight-, 12- and even 16-team playoff occasion might be minimal, it’s not not possible. And that wasn’t even at all times the case. In order an offseason train, it appeared entertaining to return to 1987 to see what number of instances ‘Cuse may’ve been concerned in these expanded playoff fields (and who they may have confronted).

Eight Groups

For the eight-team occasion, we’ll assume the one squads assured invitations are the Energy 5 champs and three at-large squads. Taking final yr’s last CFP rankings under consideration as our commonplace for inclusion, right here’s what it could’ve regarded like, whereas making the manager choice that the top-rated undefeated Group of 5 staff makes this subject.

1. Alabama (11-0) vs. 25. Oregon (4-2)

2. Clemson (10-1) vs. 8. Cincinnati (9-0)

3. Ohio State (6-0) vs. 6. Oklahoma (8-2)

4. Notre Dame (10-1) vs. 5. Texas A&M (8-1)

Which years would Syracuse have made it?


Sure, Donovan McNabb does get a title shot right here regardless of not ending among the many high eight. However with six energy conferences on the time (together with the Huge East), the Orangemen snag an auto-bid.

1. Tennessee (12-0) vs. 18. Syracuse (8-3)

2. Florida State (11-1) vs. 10. Tulane (11-0)

3. Kansas State (11-1) vs. 6. Texas A&M (11-2)

4. Ohio State (11-1) vs. 5. UCLA (10-1)

Not shopping for SU getting previous this Vols staff in any respect. However possibly the Inexperienced Wave goes on a run led by Shaun King and all of us have a staff to root for anyway previous the primary weekend?


Identical story right here, as SU sneaks in on the finish (with a greater staff, doubtlessly, than that they had in ‘98).

1. Michigan (11-0) vs. 14. Syracuse (9-3)

2. Nebraska (12-0) vs. 7. North Carolina (10-1)

3. Tennessee (11-1) vs. 6. Florida (9-2)

4. Florida State (10-1) vs. 5. UCLA (9-2)

No, Syracuse isn’t getting previous that Michigan staff. That’s alright, although, on condition that they’re the worst-seeded staff on this occasion.


Whereas there’s no CFP or BCS rankings to have a look at, Syracuse was sixth within the AP Ballot heading into bowl season. Now technically, there are seven energy conferences presently (add the Southwest Convention and Huge East). And with Notre Dame ranked fifth forward of SU, a No. 6 Orangemen staff wouldn’t even make the sphere. However… holding seven spots for convention champs on this state of affairs looks like a stretch. So we’re simply going high 8.

1. Miami (11-0) vs. 8. Georgia (9-2)

2. Alabama (12-0) vs. 7. Michigan (8-0-3)

3. Florida State (10-1) 6. Syracuse (9-2)

4. Texas A&M (12-0) vs. 5. Notre Dame (9-1-1)

Would Syracuse have overwhelmed the No. 3 Seminoles? I’d wager not. However it could’ve been enjoyable to see them get the possibility to strive (earlier than getting stomped by ‘Bama within the semifinals even when they managed a win).


With out a loss on the schedule, it’s nonetheless not THAT farfetched that we joke to say a nonsensical nationwide title right here (SEC groups are comfortable to do worse). Syracuse simply makes the sphere in an eight-team occasion, simply as they’d make a four-team subject had it existed on the time.

1. Oklahoma (11-0) vs. 8. Michigan State (8-2-1)

2. Miami (11-0) vs. 7. LSU (9-1-1)

3. Florida State (10-1) vs. 6. Auburn (9-1-1)

4. Syracuse (11-0) vs. 5. Nebraska (10-1)

Admittedly, that Nebraska staff doubtlessly bests the Orangemen, because the Huskers have been fairly good and carried out fairly nicely in opposition to a more durable schedule that yr. Even when SU beats Nebraska, they’re up in opposition to Oklahoma — whose offense admittedly slowed down because the season wore on (failed to attain greater than 17 factors in any of their last three video games of the season). In the end, ‘Cuse most likely winds up shedding to both Miami or FSU within the title recreation.

Syracuse v Miami

Photograph by Doug Pensinger/Getty Photographs

12 Groups

A 12-team affair opens issues up even additional, and makes it straightforward sufficient to get assured spots for the P5 plus the highest G5, with six at-large invitations. The gathering of assured convention bids expands to 6 once we observe again to the BCS period, and 7 in 1996 then reverting again to 6 earlier than the Huge East arrives.

Like earlier than, right here’s what it could’ve regarded like final season:

Byes: 1. Alabama, 2. Clemson, 3. Ohio State, 4. Notre Dame

5. Texas A&M (8-1) vs. 25. Oregon (4-2)

6. Oklahoma (8-2) vs. 11. Indiana (6-1)

7. Florida (8-3) vs. 10. Iowa State (8-3)

8. Cincinnati (9-0) vs. 9. Georgia (7-2)

Now which years is Syracuse getting in?


The identical technicality that obtained Syracuse into the eight-team hypothetical for 1998 will get them in right here.

Byes: 1. Tennessee, 2. Florida State, 3. Kansas State, 4. Ohio State

5. UCLA (10-1) vs. 15. Syracuse (8-3)

6. Texas A&M (11-2) vs. 11. Nebraska (9-3)

7. Arizona (11-1) vs. 10. Tulane (11-0)

8. Florida (9-2) vs. 9. Wisconsin (10-1)

Identical UCLA matchup. Although right here we additionally narrowly keep away from seeing Dino Babers on the opposite sideline, since he’s operating Arizona’s offense in 1998. This recreation would’ve tasked him with outscoring Tulane.


See above. Identical rule applies with the Huge East title in hand.

Byes: 1. Michigan, 2. Nebraska, 3. Tennessee, 4. Florida State

5. Florida State (10-1) vs. No. 18 Colorado State (10-2)

6. UCLA (9-2) vs. 14. Syracuse (9-3)

7. North Carolina (10-1) vs. 10. Kansas State (10-1)

8. Washington State (10-1) vs. 9. Ohio State (10-2)

UCLA was a reasonably wonderful staff that yr (their solely losses have been by a complete of 9 factors to fellow playoff groups right here Tennessee and Wazzu), and so they’d have the firepower to get previous the Orangemen. An upset win would simply imply an excellent more durable recreation vs. the Vols subsequent.


The 1992 staff obtained in on a technicality created by your “commissioner” within the eight-team occasion, however they’re simply in with 12 groups.

Byes: 1. Miami, 2. Alabama, 3. Florida State, 4. Texas A&M

5. Notre Dame (9-1-1) vs. 25. BYU (8-4)

6. Syracuse (9-2) vs. 11. Nebraska (9-2)

7. Michigan (8-0-3) vs. 10. Colorado (9-1-1)

8. Georgia (9-2) vs. 9. Washington (9-2)

As a substitute of dealing with the lesser Huge Eight staff like Syracuse did in actual life (beating Colorado within the Fiesta Bowl), the Orangemen would get Nebraska — the convention champs that stomped the Buffaloes, 52-7. Undecided they pull off a win, to be sincere. In the event that they do, they’re up in opposition to a a lot better FSU staff that seemingly bests them within the quarterfinals.


Clearly, primarily based on the truth that they have been fourth. Right here’s the remainder of that subject, with the total understanding that Miami most likely trounces anybody they face in a possible title recreation.

Byes: 1. Miami, 2. Oklahoma, 3. Florida State, 4. Syracuse

5. Nebraska (10-1) vs. 14. Clemson (9-2)

6. Auburn (9-1-1) vs. 13. Texas A&M (9-2)

7. LSU (9-1-1) vs. 10. UCLA (9-2)

8. Michigan State (8-2-1) vs. 9. South Carolina (8-3)

Simply too many independents to present out a G5 spot (additionally there have been no “G5 groups” within the last common season high 25.

St. John’s v Butler

Photograph by Mitchell Layton/Getty Photographs

16 Groups

Opening issues as much as 16 groups opens up extra potentialities for Syracuse. However admittedly, the elevated subject additionally means extra assured bids for conferences, so it shuts the Orange(males) out in these different fringe seasons. Nonetheless, you get 4 totally different 16-team playoff potentialities under, for the 1987, 1992, 1997 and 1998 seasons, respectively.

So earlier than you ask: Syracuse was twentieth within the last CFP rankings, so would’ve been ignored. And in 2001, SU wasn’t within the BCS rankings regardless of going 9-3. The Orange have been sixteenth within the last common season ballot of 1991 and seventeenth in 1988, so simply missed each instances.


With extra groups, we’re slicing down on prose for these.

1. Tennessee vs. NR Idaho

2. Florida State vs. NR Marshall

3. Kansas State vs. 16. Air Drive

4. Ohio State vs. 15. Syracuse

5. UCLA vs. 12 Georgia Tech

6. Texas A&M vs. 11. Arkansas

7. Arizona vs. 10. Tulane

8. Florida vs. 9. Wisconsin

The highest half of the bracket’s not supreme. If they will get previous the Buckeyes and Florida/Wisconsin, although, it could’ve spurred a rematch with Tennessee, who gained by a single level (gnashes enamel) over SU in week one.


Syracuse would’ve simply missed the sphere if not for the auto bid.

1. Michigan vs. NR Utah State

2. Nebraska vs. NR Marshall

3. Tennessee vs. 22. Southern Miss

4. Florida State vs. 18. Colorado State

5. UCLA vs. 14. Syracuse

6. Florida vs. 11. Penn State

7. North Carolina vs. 10. Kansas State

8. Washington State vs. 9. Ohio State

UCLA and the highest half of the bracket isn’t nice, and we don’t need any a part of FSU in spherical two.


As you realize by now, SU’s in with ease right here. Although you gained’t just like the matchup they get…

1. Miami vs. NR Nevada

2. Alabama vs. NR Bowling Inexperienced

3. Florida State vs. 25. BYU

4. Texas A&M vs. 13. Stanford

5. Notre Dame vs. 12. NC State

6. Syracuse vs. 11 Nebraska

7. Michigan vs. 10. Colorado

8. Georgia vs. 9. Washington

Dammit, Nebraska once more. At the least it’s the opposite half of the bracket, although.


Lastly, one thing that appears to be in our favor.

1. Oklahoma vs. NR Japanese Michigan

2. Miami vs. NR San Jose State

3. Florida State vs. NR Wyoming

4. Syracuse vs. 14. Clemson

5. Nebraska vs. 13. Texas A&M

6. Auburn vs. 12. Notre Dame

7. LSU vs. 10. UCLA

8. Michigan State vs. 9. South Carolina

The highest 4 this season was extraordinarily good, so there’s no “straightforward” recreation right here assuming SU will get previous Clemson in what turns into the opening shot within the eventual web rivalry. Syracuse was ok to squeak by Nebraska, however TBD in the event that they’d have the ability to beat Oklahoma. In any case, Miami was a juggernaut.


After all not one of the above really occurred, however it’s a enjoyable train to marvel “what if?” Assume Syracuse may’ve gained any of those hypothetical playoffs? Or produce other concepts on what a top quality playoff would appear to be? Share your personal ideas under.

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