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Dino Babers’s Syracuse rebuild takes center stage before Notre Dame game

Certainly you’ve seen the recent headlines...

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NCAA Football: Clemson at Syracuse Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

We’ve been ranked for weeks, so it shouldn’t really be a surprise. Yet seeing the Syracuse Orange football program grab a ton of headlines going into this weekend’s matchup against Notre Dame is still surprising in some ways.

As Orange fans, we know what Dino Babers has been preaching and building, but for much of the last two-plus years, those proclamations that we’d win and dreams of what it could look like for this program to be “back” were mostly for us. With the 12th-ranked team in the country now, though, the cat’s sort of out of the bag.

And that’s fine. Any potential school that was interested in giving Babers a call isn’t doing so because of the feature article or radio spot. A quick look at the standings and scores this year tells them all they need to know about the job he’s done with Syracuse.

For me — and hopefully you too — the parade of coverage serves as a sign that SU is back to some semblance of what we wanted. We’re ranked. We’re a formidable foe. We’re a season-long part of the national story of college football from 2018; not just a flash in the pan like the past two seasons.

If this is just the beginning of what Babers does as coach of the Orange, that’s fantastic. If it’s the end, at least we’re in a MUCH better spot now than the one he inherited. We’ll get to the future conversation eventually, one way or another. For now, I’m just enjoying what we have and the special season we’ve been able to enjoy. Now hopefully that will include an exclamation point like a win over the Irish...

Your Syracuse-related links below:

Syracuse football won Dino Babers’ trust 3 years ago; to keep him, it must do so again (

Trust has guided Babers along his 32-year career path. Trust has meant taking a six-figure paycut to leave Baylor for his first head-coaching job at Eastern Illinois, to moving on to Bowling Green - with Edinger - and, most recently, according to a source, turning down more money from Missouri to come to Syracuse three years ago. Trust is at the heart of Syracuse football’s remarkable turnaround this season.

‘It’s a great success story’: Amid Syracuse’s rise, Dontae Strickland makes the most of every opportunity (The Athletic)

“You know, you come from humble beginnings, and you just attract that. There’s an energy that people see, and I saw that in Dontae. I saw something in him. He was glowing to me. When you talk to him, he glows. But he didn’t have the structure that needed to be successful. So, when I say, ‘Hey, we’re gonna put you in this environment, where you’re gonna be successful,’ you can see how he turned the corner.”

Open your eyes: Dino Babers’ vision for Syracuse has come to life in just three seasons (CBS Sports)

This is not a new coach making a splash on college football with viral-worthy postgame speeches and press conference quotes. This is a coach who has been growing and evolving for decades in the industry, and in 2018 we’ve seen him bring to life the vision he discussed on that day he was introduced as Syracuse’s new head coach three years ago

Syracuse invades Garden as a work in progress, but believes good things are coming (The Athletic)

But in the long run, Howard’s absence could be a blessing in disguise. Both Battle and Howard averaged more than 38 minutes per game last year, a punishing workload. Reinforcements arrived in the backcourt this fall in the form of Boeheim, who is more of a classic catch-and-shoot gunner, and fellow freshman Jalen Carey, a traditional pass-first point guard. They’re now getting extended minutes, crucial to their development.

Jamal Custis’ career is dedicated to creating a better life for his mother Jeanette (Daily Orange)

After months of recovery, Jeanette was back on her feet, working to support her children as a single mother and protect them from the neighborhood destroying the lives of other kids in the area. As a student at Temple, Jeanette was forced to drop out when her parents died. After enlisting in the Army, she and her future husband, also an Army veteran, institutionalized a regimented lifestyle in her house to combat the gangs and violence in the neighborhood.

Winning college football teams can boost spirits and economy: Mitchell Patterson (

What’s left for Syracuse basketball recruiting? (247Sports)

Syracuse fullback Chris Elmore is driven by his best friend’s death (Daily Orange)

Why Danny Hurley calls matchup versus Jim Boeheim ‘surreal’ (New York Post)

Former Syracuse football legend Tim Green says he has ALS (

Yonkers native Trill Williams ready for pressure when Syracuse takes on Notre Dame (

5-star recruit Akok considering bypassing college for NBA Draft (247Sports)

Hour 3: Dino Babers (Golic and Wingo)