While the Syracuse Orange finished 20th in the final College Football Playoff rankings, they were a bit higher in the last Coaches Poll (and AP Poll) of the season, up at No. 17.
It’s never been a secret which AP voters loved Syracuse and which didn’t since their votes are public each week. However, only the final Coaches Poll reveals individual ballots, so Sunday was the first and only chance to get a glimpse of what coaches really thought of other teams on their respective ballots.
Obviously we’re most interested in the thoughts around Syracuse.
To start, we look at Dino Babers’s own ballot, which features the Orange at No. 13, and smartly puts NC State at 25th to help out SU’s best win a bit. Clemson was second and Notre Dame was third, which shouldn’t surprise.
Most ballots had Syracuse somewhere between 17th and 20th, though there were outliers there for various reasons — some obvious, some not so much. Bowling Green’s Mike Jinks (fired before the end of the season) actually had the Orange highest of any coach up at 12th. David Cutcliffe also channeled some #goacc vibes and voted SU at 13th.
The other highs were a handful of No. 14 picks, from Troy Calhoun (Air Force), Butch Davis (FIU) and Scott Frost (Nebraska).
As far as the lows, every coach did include Syracuse in their rankings, but a handful definitely low-ball the Orange. San Diego State’s Rocky Long picked SU at 25th, as did Liberty’s Turner Gill. No clue why Long’s anti-SU, but perhaps Gill is still hanging onto Upstate NY grudges from his Buffalo days? To be honest, it would benefit him having Syracuse highly ranked considering the Flames face the Orange early next year.
Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy and Appalachian State’s Scott Satterfield both picked SU at 24th. No clue what the issue is with Gundy. Satterfield could be trying to downplay Syracuse as he emerges as a favorite for the Louisville job. James Franklin picked Syracuse at 22nd, which is likely fueled by perceived competition for Northeast recruits with his own Nittany Lions.
Other “lower” rankings at No. 21: Bob Davie (New Mexico), Dan Mullen (Florida), Bobby Petrino (Louisville) and Kyle Whittingham (Utah). It’s honestly surprising that Petrino, or whoever from Louisville might have taken over the polling process after he was fired, didn’t try to tank SU’s ranking.
Any other thoughts about the rankings. Bring your Coaches Poll hot takes below.