You've likely been following along with Bill Connelly's daily ACC team previews on SB Nation (if not, what have you been doing with your life?). Yesterday wrapped with Clemson, so today gives us Bill's full power rankings for the conference, separated out into tiers.
The Syracuse Orange finished 10th overall, and fifth in the Atlantic Division. They were slotted into Bill's "third tier," just behind NC State and just ahead of Duke.
As you'll remember, Bill was optimistic about SU's ability to improve greatly this fall:
"Weighting returning production where it seems to matter the most, Syracuse returns more of last year's production than anyone in the country not named LSU or UCF (so basically, anyone above the 31st parallel). The receiving corps and secondary are wonderfully experienced, and the quarterback has upside.
Because the likely improvement is pretty extreme with this level of returning talent, Syracuse is projected to immediately become a top-50 team under Babers."
He also added the caveat about the pesky scheduling nonsense that will inevitably hold us back in the wins column -- a perfectly understandable note when you look at the teams Syracuse is up against.
As Bill implies in the power rankings post, the difference between many of the "tier three" teams is negligible, so despite the six-team gap between Pittsburgh at four and Syracuse at 10, there's reason to believe either or both finds themselves in the top 30-50 range of the S&P+ rather quickly.
After tier three, there are just three additional teams in tier four, including Orange opponents Boston College and Wake Forest. This hammers home the point that we're still in better position than both programs -- whom we've beaten five times in six tries since joining the league -- but should also serve as a reminder that we're still not entirely "safe" from falling down to that zone. A tough schedule likely means less wins, and potentially a bigger injury risk. But for now, let's focus on the positive: SU has a real shot to be a top-50 team this year, which is a feat it's rarely achieved in the last decade or so.
So what do you think? Agree that we're probably 10th? Think we're higher? Lower? Weigh in below.