On Friday, SB Nation’s Bill Connelly wrapped up his 2017 ACC football previews with his power rankings and some other odds and ends summarizing the conference this year. We’ll lead with the power rankings, since that’s probably what you’re most concerned with.
The Syracuse Orange finished 10th out of the conference’s 14 teams, leading off Bill’s “Tier Four.” Other inhabitants of that final rung included (in order) Duke, Wake Forest, Boston College and Virginia.
Bill noted that Syracuse needs more defensive talent, which we would likely agree with as well.
But it is worth noticing that he does have us above BC and Wake -- the constant perception struggle we face with those two schools despite the Orange defeating them six times in eight tries in the ACC. Bill’s S&P+ rankings have Syracuse winning 5.3 games versus 6.7 losses overall, with 2.6 wins in league play. That’s just behind Wake at 2.7 in the league, though the Orange get 0.3 more wins from the advanced metric.
Also included in the piece is a rundown of each team’s best offensive and defensive players. The top names for Syracuse in each may end up surprising some here, even if you’ll ultimately agree with the assessment (I’ve sort of gone along with it). On offense, Bill names wide receiver Steve Ishmael our top talent, and on defense, it’s Antwan Cordy.
For Ish, that evaluation comes from a combination of expert route-running, three years of excelling at wideout and his abilities as a blocker on the outside as well. Stepping into Amba Etta-Tawo’s very big shoes as the team’s No. 1 receiver this year, we’ll see if he’s able to translate all of that to some record-setting numbers.
Though Cordy missed much of 2016, he’s obviously the most talented player in the secondary and his absence was felt dearly last season. The only other contender here would probably be Zaire Franklin, whom many of you probably just assumed (like I did) would inhabit this spot.
What do you think about those evaluations? Agree with 10th in the power rankings? Think lower or higher? And what about the selections of Ish and Cordy as our top players? Obviously the greater buzz this offseason has been on names like Franklin, Ervin Philips and Eric Dungey so far.
Share your own thoughts below.