Syracuse coach says even Alabama is chasing Clemson


by - Senior Writer -
Babers knows his team faces a tall task at Clemson Saturday. (USA TODAY Sports-Rich Barnes)
Babers knows his team faces a tall task at Clemson Saturday. (USA TODAY Sports-Rich Barnes)

Syracuse head coach Dino Babers knows his program is chasing Clemson in the ACC, as are the rest of the teams in the country, including Alabama.

Babers’ team is 1-4 overall, including 1-3 in the Atlantic Coast Conference, and is coming off a 38-21 loss at home against Liberty. Clemson is 5-0 overall and 4-0 ACC and is coming off a 73-7 win at Georgia Tech.

Babers said that while he knows Syracuse is chasing Clemson, so is Alabama and everybody else.

“Based on those guys winning the national championship two out of the last four years and the facilities that they have compared to everybody else in the conference, I think the entire country is chasing Clemson – Alabama is chasing Clemson, everybody’s chasing Clemson,” Babers said. “And I think it’s fortunate for us that every year we get an opportunity to play them. I don’t look at that as something that’s bad, I look at that as something that’s good.”

Clemson has won 26 consecutive games against Atlantic Coast Conference opponents, dating back to a 2017 defeat at Syracuse in 2017. This year, the Tigers are listed as a 46.5-point favorite for Saturday’s game. That’s the largest point spread on record in Syracuse history between two Division I-A teams.

Babers knows it is a tall task.

“No one expects you to win outside the family, and to be able to compete in a situation like that, to measure up and see where you’re at, we’ll see,” Babers said. "You get an opportunity to play the No. 1-ranked team in the country. Whether you're injury-free or not, whether you're playing with all seniors or all freshmen, you get an opportunity to compete. To be able to measure up to see where we're at -- we'll see. We understand how tall the task is, but we'll be there."

Syracuse’s roster numbers look more like the roster of an FCS school (63-player scholarship limit) than it does an ACC roster because of opt-outs and injuries. Fewer than 60 scholarship players are suiting up for the Orange and almost half are freshmen.

Babers is looking for the greater good in a bad situation.

"I'm really trying to stay mentally, physically and spiritually sharp because I think there's nothing but good that's going to come out of this," Babers said. "Every decision that I make, I'm trying to make a clear -- emotion's always involved -- but I'm really trying to go deeper than that and push by that and see the greater good in things. We've got a lot of guys that are playing which is usually not very good, but down the road those guys will all get better. Hopefully, I get an opportunity to see all of that. Then we'll go 'neener, neener, remember that year? Look at them now.' They'll be all grown up and they've got muscles from Wal-Mart. Bi's and tri's and they can walk around and nobody will kick sand in their faces when they're on the football field, even though there's no sand on the gridiron. So, I know there are better days to come and hopefully I'm here and get to see all of it."

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