Inside Slant

The Sports Xchange

November 21, 2018 at 1:18 am.

Babers thinks Orange’s best days ahead

Syracuse coach Dino Babers compared his program’s development to the “whole butterfly-cocoon thing” with the Orange climbing to a No. 12 ranking before losing 36-3 last week to No. 3 Notre Dame at Yankee Stadium.

Despite that outcome, Babers, in his third year as the Orange’s head coach, believe greatness for his 20th-ranked program will come in time.

“It’s like growth, the whole butterfly-cocoon thing,” Babers said.

“It just takes stages. Two years ago, we lost close games. This year, we win close games. This is our first really big game on a national stage outside our venue. We didn’t play well. Next time we’ll have that experience in our back pocket. Hopefully, we win. But it’s all about the stages.”

Babers said Syracuse (8-3, 5-2 ACC) is “ahead of schedule” from when it was a last-place team in the ACC upon his arrival. The Orange closes out its regular season Saturday at bowl-bound Boston College (7-4, 4-3).

The Fighting Irish demonstrated a good example of a team that has the personnel and cohesion Babers is striving for with Syracuse.

“If we want to get some of that solidity, we’ve got to get some more players here,” Babers said.

“And I think that what we’re doing in 2018 and what we have a chance to do in 2019 could very easily give us the ammunition we need to become the type of team that we want to become, that we need to become, in the conference that we’re in.”

Syracuse’s game against Boston College will be for second place in the Atlantic Division behind Clemson. The Orange can also improve its resume in the eyes of the Camping World Bowl, which has the first pick of ACC bowl-eligible programs following the New Year’s Six bowl committees.

Babers wants his team focused on Boston College without concerning itself with the bowl picture.

“We’re not even thinking about a bowl game,” Babers said. “That’s how you get knocked out in a fight. This is all about Boston College and Syracuse University, and everything that gets tied into that. This is the big game. This is not a freebie. This is the game.”