Syracuse coach Scott Shafer is a realist.
He knows his team is a major underdog against Florida State this weekend – a 38.5-point underdog, actually – but he’s telling his players to embrace the moment and the opportunity of playing at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee.
"This is what it's all about," Shafer said during his press conference Thursday. "Win, lose or draw you have an opportunity to go play a football game, the game you love, the game you love to coach, in an environment that you've watched since you were a little kid. The big horse running out there and throwing the thing in the grass and all the pomp and circumstance that you got fired up about.
"And then when you get to the opportunity to go play the game you realize that it's just a football game."
Syracuse is 5-4 and would like nothing more than to have its bowl eligibility-clinching win come against the nation’s No. 2 team. But Syracuse stumbled mightily the last time it played a highly-ranked opponent. Clemson blew out the Orange 49-17, but Shafer is hoping the experience will help his team even if this weekend’s odds are once again stacked against his Orange.
"They're scoring 52 points a game on offense, I think it's 520-something yards of total offense. Those numbers are staggering," Shafer said. "We've got no chance in hell according to the stat books and all that other stuff. I still think we should go play them though."
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