NYG in playoff chase

Rich Fyle column

From the drawers of the Top Secret Fyles:

The reeling Syracuse University football team, which is 5-6 overall, needs a win over Pittsburgh in Saturday’s ACC regular-season finale to become bowl eligible.

The problem is, the Panthers (9-2), who have already clinched a berth in the league’s title game, are listed as early 10.5-point favorites over the Orange.

So the question remains that if SU loses to Pitt on Saturday night at the Carrier Dome, would it automatically be snuffed out of a bowl game or is there a scenario for a five-win team that could play in the postseason?

There are 41 bowl games beginning in mid-December, room for 82 total schools to participate. Currently, there are 72 teams already have secured bowl eligibility. There are four games this weekend pitting five-win teams against each other that will raise the total to 76, leaving six open spots.

In past seasons, when there haven’t been enough six-win teams, losing five-win schools were allowed to play.

If the Orange falls Saturday, everything then would fall into the hands of the NCAA Bowl Committee to see if SU qualifies. If SU wins, then it would be eligible for a minor bowl game (Pinstripe, Camping World or Texas, etc.), but otherwise don’t hold your breath.

SU’s league wins this season have come against Virginia Tech, which just fired its head coach, and Boston College, whose starting QB was out.

SU has been too inconsistent, could post its seventh losing season in nine ACC campaigns, and remains in third gear when it comes to recruiting in the league.

n Thoughts on NFL’s Week 11: Have you noticed that the grown-ups have taken over first place in all eight divisions, leaving the upstart teams looking upward? The division leaders are the Patriots (legendary coach Bill Belichick); Titans (Belichick disciple Mike Vrable); Ravens and Chiefs (Super Bowl-winning coaches); Cowboys (star players); Packers (Aaron Rodgers); Bucs (Tom Brady); and Cardinals (NFL’s best team).

n MLB and the players’ union is headed for a lockout, when the CBA expires Dec. 1. It will be the first standstill in almost 27 years. While the winter months will bring uncertainty, here’s a list of the star-studded, free-agent class: Carlos Correa (SS); Corey Seager (SS); Marcus Semien (2B/SS); Trevor Story (SS); Robbie Ray (LHP); Max Scherzer (RHP); Freddie Freeman (1B); Nick Castellanos (OF); Starling Marte (OF); Javy Baez (SS); Kris Bryant (INF/OF); Kevin Gausman (RHP); Marcus Stroman (RHP); Chris Taylor (INF/OF); Michael Conforto (OF); Kyle Schwarber (1B/OF); and Anthony Rizzo (1B).

Times sports copy editor Richard Fyle can be reached at rfyle@wdt.net

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