The predictions for the Syracuse Orange football team this upcoming season have been diverse. It’s hard to guess what this Orange team will do with a lot of experience but an entirely new coaching staff.
Media predictions have ranged from a 3-9 season to 6-6 or Syracuse going bowling. We here at TNIAAM tapped out on the optimism at 7-5.
Let’s say Syracuse does go 7-5. That would be a three-win increase from last season and mean that SU possibly pulled an upset or two. The Orange would go bowling and likely finish around the the middle of the division and conference. It would make Orange fans happy. It would also mean Dino Babers and his staff have done a pretty good job.
Would that performance be good enough to put Babers in consideration for ACC Coach of the Year? A first year coach that has performed above expectations at their new program often gets consideration for COTY honors. But the last three years in the ACC the award has gone to a coach with 10 wins or more.
In 2012, however, Duke’s David Cutcliffe won the award with a 6-6 regular season record, a three-win improvement from the 2011 season. Mike London won the year before that by taking Virginia to an 8-4 regular season record. Same with Ralph Friedgen the year prior at Maryland. So it’s not out of the realm of possibility for Babers should he take the Orange to a bowl.
Obviously, this depends on SU as much as it depends on how other ACC schools perform. Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher could be a great candidate if the ‘Noles end up in the College Football Playoff, as many in the media are predicting. He’s never won ACC Coach of the Year award, surprisingly. Dabo Swinney won it last year and could be in contention again should Clemson go to the CFP. Louisville could be a surprise ACC title contender under Bobby Petrino and Larry Fedora has UNC’s program moving in a very positive direction. Miami could make some noise with their new coach and same with Virginia Tech. With all these guys and the rest of the ACC coaches to be considered, it seems a 7-5 record doesn’t exactly lock it up for Dino, although it gives him a chance.
Anything better than that record would be pretty impressive given the predictions for this season. Dino’s biggest competition and maybe even the only other competition in this scenario, one in which he leads the Orange to an 8-4 record or better, would be an ACC coach with his team in the playoffs and/or national championship game. Anything worse than 7-5 and Dino probably gets a better shot at the award in 2017.