Good write up from ESPN, they were ranking the New ACC football league. SU came in at #5, below is the debate between SU or Miami at number 5.
The hardest selection was ranking Syracuse. The Orange, Miami and NC State are all 7-5. Miami does not have a win as impressive as Syracuse (over then-No. 9 Louisville) or NC State (over then-No. 3 Florida State). The Hurricanes do own the head-to-head over NC State, so that gives them the advantage over the Wolfpack.
That leaves Syracuse and Miami fighting for the No. 5 spot. Heather said last week she would have the Hurricanes above Syracuse. I disagree.
First, let's look at the schedule.
Worst loss: Syracuse's five losses all came to bowl teams. Miami had one bad loss, to Virginia (4-8). Advantage: Syracuse.
Best win: Syracuse over No. 9 Louisville, 45-26. Miami over NC State 44-37. Advantage: Syracuse.
Record vs. ranked teams: Syracuse 1-2; Miami 0-3. Advantage: Syracuse.
Average margin of defeat: Syracuse, 8 points; Miami, 19 points. Advantage: Syracuse.
Average margin of victory: Syracuse, 12 points; Miami, 15 points. Advantage: Miami.
Common opponent: Syracuse beat USF in Tampa 37-36; Miami beat USF at home 40-9. Advantage: Miami
Now let's look at the actual personnel.
Quarterback: Each team has a 3,000-yard passer in Ryan Nassib
and Stephen Morris
. But Nassib was more consistent, and he's also got way more experience. Advantage: Syracuse.
Running back: Syracuse started to run the ball much better in the second half of the season, but Miami has the clear advantage with Duke Johnson
. Advantage: Miami.
Receiver/tight end: Alec Lemon
and Marcus Sales
were one of the top receiving duos in the Big East, combining for 1,926 yards and 15 touchdowns. Miami has been really banged up at receiver all season. Advantage: Syracuse.
Offensive line: Syracuse had one of the better offensive lines in the league, and went on its winning streak to close the year after first-team All-Big East tackle Justin Pugh
returned. Advantage: Syracuse.
Defensive line: Syracuse had 24 total sacks on the year; Miami 13. The Hurricanes were inexperienced at just about every single defensive position this year, and line is no exception. Advantage: Syracuse.
Linebacker: The Orange got solid linebacker play, while Miami shuffled its players in and out thanks to injury. Denzel Perryman
just couldn't stay healthy. Advantage: Syracuse.
Defensive back: Shamarko Thomas
made All-Big East for Syracuse, while Deon Bush
made a big name for himself as a top ACC rookie. Syracuse was still better in passing D. Advantage: Syracuse.
Special teams: Johnson is the best special teams player either team has. Advantage: Miami.
We can further look at NCAA stats.
Total offense: Syracuse No. 21; Miami No. 38.
Total defense: Syracuse No. 50; Miami No. 117.
So, this is all a very long-winded way of saying I think Syracuse is a better team this year and would win a head-to-head matchup. Therefore, the Orange get the No. 5 spot.
Next year, however, is a different story.