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Syracuse Football Hiring Dino Babers May be One of the Nation's Best Offseason Moves... How?!

The offseason's young. But scorecards are already coming out.

Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Most of college football's head coaching vacancies have been filled -- including all 13 open Power Five jobs. While people can differ on the rankings here, a rough look at how these hires shook out could look like this:

1. Miami – Mark Richt (Georgia)

2. Virginia Tech – Justin Fuente (Memphis)

3. Georgia – Kirby Smart (Alabama DC)

4. Virginia – Bronco Mendenhall (BYU)

5. Syracuse – Dino Babers (Bowling Green)

6. Maryland – DJ Durkin (Michigan DC)

7. Iowa State – Matt Campbell (Toledo)

8. Rutgers – Chris Ash (Ohio State DC)

9. USC – Clay Helton (USC interim)

10. South Carolina – Will Muschamp (Auburn DC)

11. Minnesota – Tracy Claeys (interim Minnesota)

12. Missouri – Barry Odom (Missouri DC)

13. Illinois – Bill Cubit (interim Illinois)


5. Syracuse – Dino Babers (Bowling Green)

5. Syracuse – Dino Babers (Bowling Green)

5. Syracuse – Dino Babers (Bowling Green)

... Syracuse may have made a top-five hire in an offseason that saw USC, South Carolina, Missouri, Georgia, Miami, Virginia and Virginia Tech all fill coaching vacancies. Rutgers is also in there, but we only include them for the sake of proximity comparison.

This is incredible, astounding, stunning and a huge coup for an Orange program desperate for a home run hire.


Honestly, I'm struggling to figure it out, myself. Sure, I was optimistic about what Syracuse could potentially find during a busy coaching market. Many within and outside the fan base were not, because of the pure number of bigger schools and larger budgets and better runs of respective success, and no one can be blamed for having doubts at all given those factors. I only pegged the possibility at 10 percent or so myself, so I'm no better a prognosticator either.

Yet, everything managed to align here. What's everything?

  • Illinois and Minnesota decided to stay in-house on their hires.
  • USC, which could have set off a whole slew of coaching dominoes, stayed in-house as well.
  • LSU didn't fire Les Miles, which also could've set the coaching carousel on fire.
  • When linked to the UCF job, Babers denied it and said he was focused on the MAC Championship Game. This pushed his timeline past where many could wait for him.
  • Mark Coyle and Kent Syverud were willing to wait.
  • Mark Coyle and Syracuse athletics were ready to open the checkbook more than some realized (we'll see on final figures).
  • Missouri -- a job that could've fit Babers on many levels -- got significantly more difficult right before hiring season.
  • Maryland hired D.J. Durkin -- closing the door as the only other viable suitor by that point.
  • Rutgers has no money.
  • With a flurry of conversation around his name and coaching openings, Babers's Bowling Green team put on an offensive showcase in front of a national audience.

All of that had to happen in some order -- but preferably, the order it did -- to get Babers (one of the hottest names on the market this offseason) in the door at Syracuse. The hire was lauded on every national college football broadcast. Spencer Hall even removed us from purgatory for it. WE WERE AND NOW ARE RELEVANT TO THE NATIONAL COLLEGE FOOTBALL CONVERSATION.


Obviously this isn't even half the battle. Babers still has a coaching staff to finish up, a recruiting class to get signed and an offense to install -- and all of that before we even get to the part where Syracuse is playing actual games. That's the true test, clearly. But for now, Syracuse has bested better challengers and positioned itself better than most dreamed after the team dismissed Scott Shafer. Syracuse -- yes, OUR Syracuse -- made one of the best hiring moves of the offseason. I doubt we've ever said that about this program before... at least immediately following a hire.

And that, for the time being, is some excellent progress.