From The Athletic’s Matthew Gutierrez, a report that the Syracuse Orange might have a tougher time than expected fielding the team they expected 2020:
The group of possible opt-outs includes major contributors and starters at Syracuse. “A lot of the better players on the team want to opt out,” another person said. “They just don’t feel like it makes sense from a health standpoint.”— Matthew Gutierrez (@MatthewGut21) August 14, 2020
With the NCAA guaranteeing the scholarships and no loss of eligibility for players that choose not to dress this season, it’s not a surprise some players might not want to participate. The Orange were 5-7 last season, 2-6 in the ACC, and added new offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert from McNeese State to try and bolster the offense.
If players don’t want to play or don’t feel safe, with their scholarships and additional funds guaranteed, there’s not a ton of incentive to play beyond the love of the game or the desire to impress NFL scouts. Especially for a program that isn’t projected to win a lot of games in 2020, with or without a global pandemic. Syracuse is listed at 100-1 to be ACC Champions at DraftKings Sportsbook.
Head coach Dino Babers brought with him a high-octane scheme that excited fans when paired with starting quarterback Eric Dungey his first three seasons in Upstate New York. The regression last year makes the next season pivotal for ‘Cuse, who wants to show they can be consistently competitive in a division recently dominated by Clemson. The Orange defeated the Tigers 27-24 in 2017 for one of the biggest wins in program history, and nearly did it again in 2018 in Death Valley falling 27-23. But with Dungey graduated the Tigers won 41-6 in the Carrier Dome in 2019, and missed a bowl game for the sixth time in a decade.
With no names of the players as of yet, there’s not much to say about how this will affect the team on the field. But this might become a trend not just at Syracuse, but across the few remaining leagues attempting to play college football in 2020.