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Syracuse vs. Clemson among top 10 college football games of 2018 season

If only we’d closed it out...

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

Focus has rightfully been on the positive for Syracuse Orange football fans following a 10-3 season that defied all expectations and landed SU in the final top 25 rankings for the first time since 2001.

That said, this team was also a couple minutes away from an 11-1 regular season with quite a bit more on the line, as any Orange fan is keenly aware. Such an alternate reality starts with September’s 27-23 loss to the eventual national champion Clemson Tigers. Syracuse led for much of that game, but a late Tigers score and some questionable time management derailed the upset bid at Clemson.

Despite the loss for SU, it’s still one of the better games of the season. SB Nation puts it all the way up at No. 9 in its annual rankings. Syracuse’s other close loss — a 44-37 overtime game the following week — also made the list at No. 72.

Perhaps you want to forget these. But I choose to take a look back at them to remind us how close we were, and that the work’s not necessarily “done” just yet.

That, plus the rest of your Syracuse-related links below:

College football’s 100 best games of 2018-19 (SB Nation)

For whatever reason, Syracuse’s Dino Babers looks like he has Clemson’s number. The massive upset last year in the Carrier Dome was about to repeat in Death Valley. Following a shaky performance against Texas A&M, it felt like Clemson was slipping into the country’s second tier. But Brice did this … and nothing else mattered.

Most important recruit for every 2019 top 25 college football team (ESPN)

No. 15 Syracuse Orange: LB Lee Kpogba. If junior college players were allowed on this list, offensive tackle Darius Tisdale would be the pick. They’re not, though, so Kpogba is the name we’ll go with for true freshmen. Syracuse is losing quite a bit at linebacker and is going to need some immediate help next season. Kpogba, at 6-foot-1 and 205 pounds, is enrolling early and has a chance to get on the field right away.

College football coaches favor changes to targeting rule, no Friday night games (

Targeting I would enforce a 15-yard penalty but carry no ejection or suspension. Targeting II would be deemed having malicious intent and would carry the ejection or suspension as well as the 15-yard penalty. Some coaches favor a longer suspension for players who commit multiple Targeting II penalties in a season.

Expanding College Football Playoff could help Syracuse (Auburn Citizen)

Now if there’s an eight-team playoff, Syracuse still has good chance of getting in even if they lose to Clemson. All of the Power Five (ACC, Big 10, Big 12, SEC, Pac 12) conference winners could get an automatic bid and the last three spots could go to at-large teams. So UCF, which was undefeated in 2017 and was 12-0 going into its bowl game last season, would have a fair chance to make the playoff.

Bill says defy NCAA, let college athletes accept pay (The Spokesman-Review)

The proposal doesn’t address whether the schools themselves could have rules against their athletes receiving payments for endorsements or appearances. That’s something Stokesbary hopes would be discussed in a hearing, if he can get one on the proposal after the Legislature convenes Monday. Allowing players to be paid, either by universities or from companies, remains among the most controversial issues in college athletics.

How many states has Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim coached in? (

Season grades for all 130 college football teams in the Bowl Subdivision (USA Today)

ACC bowl recap: National championship caps a solid season (The Comeback)

Former Syracuse University football player, 14 others arrested in federal drug bust (

Tiana Mangakahia on John Wooden Award midseason Top 25 (LocalSYR)

AEK parts ways with Tyler Roberson (