Syracuse’s football program will take the field against North Carolina on Sep. 12. Hopefully for Dino Babers, his players are ready for the season. Babers currently has a career record of 23-26 since becoming the head coach at SU. This is that type of mediocrity that the Syracuse program is rewarding.
After just one season going 10-3 in 2018, John Wildhack gave Babers an undisclosed contract extension. It’s understandable to give him an extension at that time, as it was the first time the team was relevant since the early 2000s. But in the following season, Babers cut his win totals in half, finishing 2019 with a 5-7 record. That should worry SU fans as the majority of the players were Babers’s recruits.
The offense is Babers’s specialty. Back in 2018, the offense ranked 11th. But one year later, they were ranked 69th (nice). A drop off like that is concerning especially when your whole thing is having a good offense. You can’t win games if the offense is hot trash; to win, you’ll need to score. You would figure a head coach would understand this but Babers is in the minority with this one.
The offensive line played a major role in why the offensive unit struggled,. They gave up the 3rd most sacks in the country with 50. Clearly Babers and company don’t think a good o-line is necessary, as they look to have a bad line once again in 2020. PFF has the unit ranked as the 101 best o-line out of 130.
Yeah, that’s not going to cut it. Quarterback Tommy DeVito must be upright in order to make an accurate pass. Devito could be an elite QB, but no one would know since he was pressured on 23 percent of his throws. Babers will need to do some serious work in order to get that line at a competitive spot.
The theme for the 2019 season was regression .All the blame should not be put on the offense, as the D wasn’t any better. In 2018, the defense ranked 64th in the nation. The team was able to overcome this as it had a good offense. But surprise, surprise, the unit regressed and finished the year ranked 89th. This was so bad that Babers had to fire a scapegoat and let go defensive coordinator Brian Ward go to buy himself some time.
Recruiting is another thing the Babers lead staff has struggled with. Since 2016, the SU freshman class has had an average ranking of 56. In college football if you don’t have good class after good class, you can’t compete. The top programs always have good classes and it is the reason they are good every year.
In order for the Syracuse football program to be successful under Babers, it needs to get better recruits. If the recruiting staff can’t do this, the team will not be a top-25 program. That is the sole reason as to why they extended Babers in the first place, if they can’t be in the top 25 every year why extend him?
Now class rankings are not the end all be all, as long as you develop the players. Babers hasn’t been able to do this to date. He will need to improve at this if he wants to compete in the ACC every year.
SU fans should be a little worried about Babers only having one winning season. This is his 5th season with the team. If he has another losing season, Babers should be on the hot seat in 2021.
SU fans have waited too long for the team to be relevant again. Syracuse sold its fans on a dream. They responded in mass, setting a record amount of new season ticket holders. They were repaid by watching the team go 3-3 at home. I’m glad I wasn’t one of those schmucks who wasted time and money.
If Babers can’t get the team to at least 6-6 the next two seasons, SU should really think about moving on. If they don’t, another decade of losing is in the books for all Syracuse football fans.
P.S. I just want the best for the football program and Babers needs to show me that winning 10 games wasn’t a fluke.