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That's Unpossible!

Prior to Syracuse’s frustrating defeat at the hands of the Scarlet Blight, Syracuse was sitting at a 1-4 record with six games remaining on its schedule. While it was highly unlikely that Syracuse would finish the season with a record above the .500 mark given its historically pitiful start, the opportunity to right the ship was still a possibility.

In order to get above the “Pasqualoni Line,” Syracuse would have had to go 5-1 down the stretch with an upset win over either Louisville or Notre Dame and victories against Rutgers, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and South Florida. With Rutgers knocking off the Orange in the Dome for the first time since 1986, Syracuse needs to run the table in order to finish with an underwhelming 6-5 mark.

The operative question, then, is whether Syracuse can turn the trick and win five of its last six (or, more importantly, win all five of its final games). If history is any indication, the answer is a pretty solid “no.”

In the Dome era, Syracuse has won five of its final six games only 10 times. Over that period, the Orange has closed the season with five straight wins only twice (1987 and 1997) and one of those season saw Syracuse accumulate a perfect record.

Here’s the data:

Just Watch the Trainwreck
YearRecord Over Final Six GamesPoints Scored/Yielded Disparity
20043-3166/156
20032-4133/138
20023-3167/215
20015-1172/127
20003-3138/128
19992-4108/182
19985-1247/134
19976-0235/73
19965-1215/101
19954-2205/129
19943-3107/136
19933-3131/179
19925-1164/69
19915-1153/89
19904-2165/86
19895-1169/109
19885-1189/103
19876-0235/95
19864-2128/158
19855-1147/82
19843-398/88
19833-391/97
19821-587/123
19813-3150/164
19802-469/116

While it is uplifting that Syracuse has managed to turn the trick in the past, the underlying aspects of those seasons show that Syracuse has very little chance at managing the same feat this season.

Of the ten seasons where Syracuse was able to rip off wins in five of its final six contests, seven of those seasons saw the Orange enter its final six games with a winning percentage at or above the .600 mark. In the 1997 season, Syracuse entered the final stanza of its regular season at the .500 mark.

In only two seasons, 1985 and 1989, Syracuse was able to overcome a sub-.500 record and win five of its last six. Unlike the 2005 season, however, the 1985 and 1989 edition of the Orange managed to win more than one game achieving an awesome 2-3 record entering the home stretch.

Historical records not enough to convince you that Syracuse won’t rebound from its abysmal start? Well the following statement should put the nail in the coffin:

Only once in 25 years has Syracuse finished the season with at least a 5-1 mark after being outscored by its opponents over its first five games (1989).

It’s just not going to happen this year. It’s time to accept this reality, wallow with crying children, and move on.

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