Given all the change surrounding Syracuse Orange football, fans have spent the offseason wondering about reasonable W-L expectations for the program. The coaching staff is different, so the offense should be better. But the defense might be worse, and the schedule is tougher.
Hoya Suxa crunched some number last week and it seems like SU’s going to fall right within the four/five-win range, at least based on current projections. That would probably put us fifth or sixth in the ACC’s Atlantic Division, and definitely ahead of Wake Forest (at least), right?
Apparently not, if you ask ESPN’s ACC blog. Today, Jared Shanker unveiled the blog’s preseason power rankings for 2016, and Syracuse came in at 14th (dead last).
In a way, this is fitting. When the four ACC writers at ESPN were polled back in June, Syracuse was picked last in the Atlantic by all but one (appreciate your loyalty, David Hale!). While it seems puzzling to those of us that follow the team very closely, it makes sense when looking at the Orange from afar. As Sean pointed out at the time, perception is reality, and until we’re truly “back” (or at least string together a couple of bowl seasons), we’re fighting an uphill PR battle as a program... even if we beat Boston College and Wake Forest five out of six times now.
The rest of the rankings shouldn’t surprise. Virginia, Wake and BC populate the spaces right above SU, and for some odd reason bring a bit more optimism to this season. NC State and 2016 Orange opponent Virginia Tech are two teams full of questions in the league’s muddled middle. Syracuse will face four of the top five in Clemson (no. 1), Florida State (2), Louisville (3) and Pittsburgh (5).
Where do you think Syracuse belongs on this list? I’d be tempted to put us around 12, slotting Wake and UVa below us, while maybe giving BC some credit to bounce back? Not like it truly matters. But obviously there’s some bottom of the ACC pride at stake!