It has been a long time since the Syracuse University football program has carried any type of winning expectations into a season, but that's what going to happen beginning Thursday night when the Orange host Wake Forest University in a non-confernece contest at the Carrier Dome (8 p.m. on ESPN3).
Last season, the SU faithful began the year with a "wait and see" attitude for the program that had finished with five straight losing seasons. But, by the end of the year the Orange, led by second-year head coach Doug Marrone, had won more games than lost (8-5), earned a bowl bid to the inaugural Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium, which featured SU defeating Kansas State, 36-34, and sparked a lot of New York buzz about the state's new up-and-coming college football program.
SU is hoping to use its experience -- the Orange return eight starters on offense, five on defense -- and momentum from last year to earn a Big East Conference title. Those are refreshing expectations for a fan base that has seen a lot of bad football teams recently.
For the past two weeks, SB Nation New York has been previewing the Syracuse football team. If you haven't checked out any of our pieces, they're linked below: