While we can't expect to see Syracuse showing up in any of the rankings yet, we can be sure that quite a few of our opponents will be spending time there. With some of the preseason rankings and polls out, let's take a look and see what we're in for.
The Huskies made some nice strides last season, finishing 5-7 after a disastrous 0-12 campaign the year before. They expect further improvement this year (the way they talk about UW on local sports radio you'd think they're gonna win the National Title) and a lot of voters seem to as well. They're on the fringe of both of the AP and Coaches Polls as well as the ESPN Power Rankings. At least one person thinks the Huskies are poll-worthy, Chris Dufresne of the L.A. Times nudges the Dawgs in there at No. 25 in his.
Well, Maine certainly isn't going to show up in any FBS polls, but don't expect to see them in many FCS ones either. The Bears have been picked to finish 7th in the 10-team Colonial Athletic Association. That conference includes Villanova, a team that should sack up already and start playing the big boys (mini-rant over).
The Raiders are the first SU opponent that can claim to be No. 1. In the Patriot League, at least. QB Greg Sullivan was named the preseason Offensive Player of the Year as well. So...keep that in mind before taking SU with the spread.
The Bulls are bit of an enigma wrapped in a question nestled in a box of riddles. They're not showing up in any preseason rankings and they probably shouldn't. Still, that's no reason to sleep on Skippy's boyz. Even the Big East voters are skeptical, putting the Bulls at sixth in the conference poll.
Syracuse's first nationally-ranked opponent (for now). The Panthers have not only been picked to win the Big East but they show up at No. 14 in the Coaches Poll/No. 15 in the AP Poll. ESPN's Power Rankings have them at No. 14 as well.
Underscoring the need for Syracuse to win as many September games as it can, October just gets more and more brutal as the Panthers are followed by the nationally-ranked (for now) Mountaineers. They check in at No. 24 in the AP Poll and are the first team outside of the Coaches Top 25. WVU finished No. 2 in the Big East Poll, tied with Cincy.
Speaking of the Bearcats, the two-time defending champions aren't ranked but they are dangerous. It's not really a rebuilding year, they've still got great talent and an experience QB. Sports Illustrated still thinks enough of them to rank the Cats No. 18 in their preseason poll. No reprieve for the Orange, who seem to lose by 527 points every time they play Cincy these days.
Louisville's only notable mention in the rankings is that they're at the bottom of the Big East ones. That it's someone other than Syracuse is a welcome change. For us, at least. Not so much for Louisville.
The Scarlet Knights were picked to finish fifth in the Big East Poll, and then got all huffy in a "we'll-show-you-how-we-don't-care-by-telling-you-we-don't-care-but-we-really-do" way. With UConn supplanting the Knights as the up-and-coming Big East team du jour, the lack of respect might do Rutgers a big favor.
Everybody on the bandwagon! The Huskies drummed up quite a few votes in the AP and Coaches Polls, though fell short of a ranking. The Big East voters put UConn at No. 4 in the conference. Don't tell that to Rivals, who slotted in Edsall's boys at No. 20 overall.
Those damn Eagles are back and they're not all that terrible (how's that for a poster slogan?). They picked up a couple AP votes and got pegged for fifth in the ACC, third in the Atlantic Division. The season-ender against SU could be a critical game for the Eagles. Let's hope it is for the Orange as well.