CBS Sports ranked all 65 (well, No. 26-65) Power Five college football coaches on Tuesday, and...
The Syracuse Orange’s Dino Babers finished 51st overall.
Babers was 45th last year before coaching a game, so it’s confusing how he’d drop six spots for going 4-8 against one of the country’s toughest schedules, while dealing with a host of injuries and depth concerns as well. The reasoning, as provided by CBS:
“Babers was brought in because of his high-powered offense. Well, the Syracuse offense actually scored nearly two fewer points per game last season than it did the year before hiring Babers. Transitions can be rough.”
This refrain was bounced around by some of the last remaining Scott Shafer defenders, and I understand how you might gravitate toward it. That said, Babers’s team also upset Virginia Tech, scored over 60 points in one contest and the offense accounted for more points in 2016 than it did in 2015. Defensive scores were a big part of how Shafer teams got on the board. It’s not as essential to this regime’s system.
That’s not the say we wouldn’t have liked more points last year -- or will be okay with less points this year. But trotting out the points (which ends up being less than 24 total in 12 games) as your reasoning for dropping Babers is downright lazy.
The other ACC head coaches, as ranked by this list (from lowest to highest):
59. Dave Doeren, NC State
50. Steve Addazio, Boston College
46. Dave Clawson, Wake Forest
43. Pat Narduzzi, Pittsburgh
34. Justin Fuente, Virginia Tech
32. Bronco Mendenhall, Virginia
26. Larry Fedora, North Carolina
(that means six more ACC coaches are in the top 25)
Again, it’s worth pointing out how little sense this all makes. Addazio’s made bowl games, but against a far more manageable (read: smarter) schedule. Mendenhall’s UVA squad was miserable last year, yet he’s still getting credit for what he did with better support at BYU. Clawson was a losing season away from being on the hot seat at Wake before going 7-6 in 2016.
These lists are subjective, of course, so it’s hard to get too tied up in the numbers. If Babers continues to improve the program and win games, he’ll rise. If not, he’ll drop and rightfully so.
But seriously, Syracuse faces four of the conference’s top six coaches this season -- with three of those games coming on the road.