Athlon Sports continued their preseason rankings for college football on Tuesday, this time, ordering the FBS head coaches from No. 128 all the way to No. 1.
First-year Syracuse Orange head coach Dino Babers came in at No. 46, one spot ahead of Boston College coach Steve Addazio and one spot behind West Virginia boss Dana Holgorsen. Babers ranked 11 of 14 coaches in the ACC, landing ahead of only Addazio (No. 47), NC State coach Dave Doeren (No. 63) and Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson (No. 64).
In their description of him, Athlon raved about SU's hiring of Babers:
"Babers is one of the top coaching hires in the 2015-16 coaching carousel and comes to Syracuse after a successful two-year stint at Bowling Green. The Orange needed to get this hire right, as the program can't afford to fall too far behind in the top-heavy ACC Atlantic. Under Babers' watch, the Falcons won back-to-back MAC East titles and finished 18-9 from 2014-15. Prior to Bowling Green, Babers went 19-7 in two seasons at Eastern Illinois (2012-13) and also made stops as an assistant at Baylor, UCLA, Pittsburgh, Texas A&M and Arizona. Babers' four-year stint at Baylor as an assistant under Art Briles proved to be one of the most influential stops in his career and helped the California native emerge as one of the nation's top offensive minds. Babers led Bowling Green's offense to an average of 42.2 points a game last season and also developed Jimmy Garoppolo into a NFL draft pick while at Eastern Illinois. Hiring Babers should help get Syracuse moving back in the right direction."
It's pretty clear that Athlon really likes the hire and views Babers as the guy to swing SU Football back in the winning direction.
Athlon's numerical opinion falls pretty closely in line with CBS Sports' ranking. Earlier this offseason, when ranking the top Power-5 head coaches in the country, CBS slotted Babers at No. 45 overall.
On Athlon's list, only two non-Power-5 coaches are ranked ahead of Babers: Navy's Ken Niumatalolo and Houston's Tom Herman. That means Babers is the No. 44 Power-5 head coach on Athlon's list.
Babers will get begin his journey to prove those rankings weren't high enough on September 2 when Syracuse kicks of its 2016 season against Colgate in the Carrier Dome.