Originally posted on Crystal Ball Run  |  Last updated 12/5/11

(Editor's note: All week, Crystal Ball Run will be handing out its inaugural Ballsy Awards, recognizing the "best" – in a number of senses – from the 2011 college football season.)

With the latest round of postseason invites handed out, college football players across the country are gearing up to spend their holiday break in exotic locations like Birmingham, Ala., and Detroit. They'll find bowl-sponsored swag in their stockings, while their coaches are likely to see a nice little holiday bonus in their paycheck, courtesy of those delightful incentive clauses in their contracts to reward them for finishing 6-6.

Unfortunately for the Syracuse Orange, there won't be a return trip to the Pinstripe Bowl to take in some New Era hospitality. There won't be any postseason bowling for the 'Cuse at all, for that matter.

The Orange are among the ranks of unfortunate squads out there with sub-.500 records that won't have the privilege of a postseason invite. Coach Doug Marrone's team came painfully close to bowl eligibility, finishing the season 5-7.

The Cuse was 5-2 and sitting pretty after a Friday night romp in October over eventual Big East champ West Virginia. This blog was even hailing Cuse as "the Big East's bully."

It would turn out to be the Orange's only win in conference play, though, as they finished the year with a Big East record of 1-6.

A made extra point here, a lucky bounce there – maybe the Orange are enjoying a scrumptious pregame meal at Beef O'Brady's before taking on the Marshall Thundering Herd Maybe they're rocking some new Beats By Dre earbuds as they're warming up to play Florida State in the Champs Sports Bowl. Maybe they're touring the post-holiday sights of Birmingham prior to a date with SMU in the BVAA Compass Bowl.

We here at Crystal Ball Run under your frustration, Syracuse. If it's any consolation, however, you are the winner of the first-ever 2011 Ballsy Award for Best Non-Bowl-Eligible Team Not On Probation Or Self-Imposing Penalties.

Better luck next year.

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