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A Halloween Tale: Syracuse In Frighteningly Good Position For Big East Run

-- See SB Nation's Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician for complete Syracuse coverage -- Big East looking into expansion

Is it just me or did the Syracuse football team take Halloween weekend a little too seriously?

On Saturday, Syracuse (6-2, 3-1 Big East) dressed up as a conference powerhouse by routing defending Big East champions Cincinnati, 31-7.

On Sunday, the Orange changed into a national contender as they placed just outside the Top 25 in both the AP and USA Today college football polls.

For Monday, SU head coach Doug Marrone acted like New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick -- without the hoodie -- by giving no praise for exceeding preseason expectations.

"No -- can't. I can't afford to do that," he said to the local media when asked if he could reflect on the team's start. "We haven't really accomplished anything. Good job. We're 6-2, not 8-0."

But it seems whatever the Syracuse football team wants to be, SU followers like it.

That's because if the Orange defeat Louisville (4-4, 1-2) on Saturday at noon, they will be bowl eligible for the first time since 2004.

Syracuse also will have done something that seems almost... well... paranormal.

Last season, Syracuse went 4-8. If SU wins out -- which is very possible seeing that three of the team's final four games are at home and against opponents that have a combined overall record of 15-16 -- they would be 10-2.


Orange Football Schedule

@ Akron Sat 09/04 W 29 - 3
@ Washington Sat 09/11 L 20 - 41
Maine Sat 09/18 W 38 - 14
Colgate Sat 09/25 W 42 - 7
@ South Florida Sat 10/09 W 13 - 9
Pittsburgh Sat 10/16 L 14 - 45
@ West Virginia Sat 10/23 W 19 - 14
@ Cincinnati Sat 10/30 W 31 - 7
Louisville Sat 11/06 12:00 PM EDT
@ Rutgers Sat 11/13 3:30 PM EST
Connecticut Sat 11/20 TBA
Boston College Sat 11/27 TBA

That would be a turn-around that ESPN.com Big East Blogger Brian Bennett wrote Tuesday would be one of the greatest in league history:

"...Virginia Tech's leap from 2-8-1 in 1992 to 9-3 the following year. West Virginia improved from 3-8 in 2001 to 9-4 in 2002. Since 2005, there have been three teams who have improved by four wins in one year. Rutgers went from 7-5 to 11-2 in 2006; Pittsburgh went from 5-7 to 9-4 in 2008; and Cincinnati went from 4-7 to 8-5 in 2006."

And you thought it couldn't get better?

"With a 3-1 Big East Record with all wins away from home, now the Orange must take advantage of the schedule..." wrote the Scout.com staff on Monday. "Bowl eligible, now the program can shoot for something bigger. The D is playing well enough to beat Louisville, Rutgers, and Connecticut and (gulp) get to the BCS."

Last week, SB Nation New York mentioned a 20 percent chance of the Orange earning the Big East BCS bid.

This week, the percentage has increased to about 30 percent, and with every victory those odds increase.


Big East Conference Standings

(updated 10.31.2010 at 3:31 AM EDT)


Week by week, this season of SU football becomes more and more unexplainable. 

"This makes no sense," wrote Syracuse Post-Dispatch sports columnist Bud Poliquin on Sunday. "None. Syracuse, remember, had caught all those meringue pies with its puss for a good eight years. It had gotten splashed into the dunking booth across most of the first decade of this century by the Akrons and Temples and Miami of Ohios. It had been rendered the universal butt of the ubiquitous college football joke."

"And now... this. A .750 batting average, and every reason to believe that this campaign, which was slated to end with shrugs on Thanksgiving Weekend, will now stretch with smiles beyond Christmas."

"Re. Mark. Able."

It's all sort of like an old-fashioned ghost story that one day could be told over a campfire to future SU football fans.

"It all began two years after a nightmarish eight-year period that featured one bowl appearance..." is how the storyteller will begin the tale, which will star an upstart head coach (Marrone), a sophomore quarterback (Ryan Nassib) and a stifling defense that didn't have a star.

Right now, nobody knows the ending.

Lets just hope that the tale mirrors the Orange's Halloween spirit and disguises itself as a Disney movie with a miracle ending.