Hey, did you know we're a week and a half (?!?!) away from college football season? Well we are! And that means it's about time they released the preseason AP rankings, which appeared for the first time yesterday. Rejoice!
Just like the AMWAY Coaches Poll, three of the top 25 teams as named by the Associated Press also appear on Syracuse's 2014 regular season schedule. No surprises here, though Notre Dame staying fairly stable in the top 20 is at least a bit shocking to those paying attention to the ongoing academic scandal news. The highly-regarded opponents you'll need to know (including ND):
1. Florida State Seminoles: Loaded on both sides of the line and at every skill position, too. Take one look at the Seminoles' schedule and it's tough to find a loss -- yes, even in the game against Syracuse.
16. Clemson Tigers: Same offense, different players. Were this game at the Carrier Dome, perhaps we'd entertain a closer matchup -- but a quick look at this defense (likely top-15 nationally) and the fact that it's a road game should diminish most hopes SU has for an upset. Never say never, of course, but (on paper) it's unlikely.
17. Notre Dame Fighting Irish: As mentioned up above, Notre Dame's academic scandal has rocked its key personnel, and the team is now down four significant contributors this season (several of whom were starters). They're not "depleted," per se, though the suspensions certainly increase Syracuse's chances when the two teams meet at MetLife Stadium in September.
Beyond those three, Duke and Louisville also receive consideration in the poll, with 71 points (29th overall) and 48 points (31st overall), respectively. As you know, the Blue Devils head up to the Carrier Dome in November for SU's home finale. Louisville, on the other hand, returns to Syracuse on October 3. The Friday Night matchup could be a big turning point for both programs' seasons, depending on their W-L records up to that point.
Elsewhere around the ACC, North Carolina was ranked 23rd by the AP, while Virginia Tech (26) and Miami (16) also received some votes. If you think this post looks a LOT like the previous one, well that's because there's very little difference in these polls... which is strange (and sort of makes both even more pointless).