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Syracuse faces top six returning ACC defensive lines in 2017

Hope that offensive line’s ready to go...

NCAA Football: Syracuse at Clemson Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

In 2016, the Syracuse Orange allowed 38 sacks — 115th in the country. That’s troubling for any team, obviously. But especially one with a mobile quarterback like Eric Dungey.

If you were worried about SU’s offensive line, it’s unlikely that the spring game really made you feel much better. The following stat won’t either. From ESPN’s David Hale:

For those closely following along with Syracuse’s schedule, the top six teams there are all on it. Two (Pitt, Louisville) of the bottom four are there too. And SU finds itself close to the top half too, which is nice. But the focus is on those first six teams, three of which the Orange will face on the road this year.

Miami, particularly, should concern us a bit. While the Hurricanes lost some pieces on offense, Mark Richt’s team gets back a ton on the defensive end. And Clemson and Florida State are what they are. ESPN raised some alarm bells (in a good way) on NC State this week, which means they’re headed for a nine-win season or four wins and Dave Doeren’s getting fired.

None of that -- nor the high marks for fellow Atlantic Division “bottom-dwellers” Boston College and Wake Forest — should be reassuring for an Orange team that’s found its offensive line more injured than not for the last four seasons. This year’s line brings back a lot of experience because of those injuries. But they still lose two veterans in Omari Palmer and Michael Lasker. The size and experience both brought to the table were valuable assets. This year’s young group could still show some cracks.

These numbers are no guarantee that those teams are incredibly successful making tackles behind the line of scrimmage. Nor does it assure us that Syracuse will be under fire once again. But given the Orange’s tempo, pure number of plays and last year’s clear issues protecting Dungey... it certainly won’t reassure us much either.