Grothe: Syracuse a must win game for bowl.

Unlike Navy, who Monday accepted an invitation to play in the Meineke Car Care Bowl, the Bulls feel they have no help in securing a bowl berth.

Sure, they have six wins just like the Midshipmen, but officials from the Meineke Car Care Bowl said they would invite Navy even before the season began.

But in 2005, the Bulls won six games as well and played N.C. State in the Meineke Car Care Bowl.

And even though though the Bulls already have six wins this season, many players feel they need at least one more to make absolutely sure they are playing in December.

Hence why the Bulls are not overlooking Syracuse on Saturday. And even though the Orange are 0-12 in Big East play the past two seasons, players such as quarterback Matt Grothe feel Saturday’s game is more important than the final two against No. 3 Louisville and No. 10 West Virginia, respectively.

“I know, if everybody feels the way I do, this is probably the biggest game we’ve played in since we’ve been in the Big East,” Grothe said. “We’ve got six (wins), and everyone says, ‘Oh, they’re going to a bowl.’ But, really, if we lose out the rest of the games, we’re not going to a bowl. We have to win this game, so we can set up the rest of the season. If we win this game, we’re guaranteed a bowl game.”

Cornerback Mike Jenkins says the team isn’t looking past Syracuse.

“We don’t really want to look past anybody to those other games,” Jenkins said. “Some people here looked past Cincinnati, and we lost to them.

“We have to stay focus on what we working on this week. … We’d like to win out, but we have to keep our minds on this week because you know what can happen.

Coach Jim Leavitt, who’s known to treat the week’s opponent as though it were ranked No. 1 in the country, said Tuesday Syracuse is a “very good team” and after watching plenty of film, says the Orange and the Bulls are “pretty even teams.”

“I know I say the same thing every week, pretty much, but it’s the truth,” Leavitt said. “They’re a very good football team, and I know from watching them against Iowa and West Virginia.”

Leavitt added as a reminder no matter what a team’s record is, he’ll never look past it.

“We’ll never be good enough to look past anyone. And we never will, not as long as I’m here.”

This and that: Grothe returned to practice today but did not go full, with most of his work coming on the seven-on-seven drills.