First Wake Forrest, then Rhode Island and now USC. The first two games of Syracuse's schedule provided last minute drama that unveiled both resiliency and weakness for the Orange.
Syracuse came into this year with relatively high expectations from the fanbase (at least high by the standards of a rebuilding program). While the Orange are 2-0, the two wins were ugly; however, this week's past win may have been the ugliest.
Rhode Island, a middle of the pack FBS team, gave Syracuse a scare. The Orange should have been fine without three defensive starters, right? The Orange should be able to just run the ball down the throats of the Rams, right?
Wrong and wrong.
The Orange had to rely on Ryan Nassib's career day and the Rams' inability to cover a screen pass in order to move the ball down the field and win the game. The Orange needed two key sacks from Marquis Spurill to stop Steve Probst's Ben Roethlisberger impression.
This week, the Orange prepare for their most difficult opponent: USC. Some would argue that the travel, environment and unfamiliarity makes this game the most difficult on the schedule (a view I agree with).
This match-up is an intriguing contrast of a once proud program on the decline due to scandal versus the rejuvenation of another under an old school approach. The game presents Syracuse with an opportunity to obtain national recognition and respect for the Big East if they can upset USC.
But first, there were some issues that needed to be addressed from the Rhode Island game.