Now that the Syracuse Orange football season’s wrapped up, we can finally start taking full stock of what we watched — and in part, what it all means in the big scheme.
Among the most popular topics is the legacy of record-setting quarterback Eric Dungey, who fittingly capped his exciting career with a bowl victory for win No. 10 on the season. As 2018 wrapped up, the Daily Orange was willing to state that Dungey is the most important quarterback in program history.
I don’t think the concept’s incorrect, necessarily. It just gets very difficult to determine that just yet because we don’t know what follows Dungey under center. We know “who” — former blue-chipper Tommy DeVito — but we don’t know if the record-setting numbers and big wins come at the same rate. If they do, Dungey’s the poster child for the new Syracuse football program. If not, the records still stand, though it becomes harder to determine the true meaning of “importance.”
When compared to the other contenders for the title, Don McPherson and Donovan McNabb, it’s easy to argue that they had far more talent around them than Dungey did. And while they may have also gotten a bit more out of their careers in terms of wins, Dungey willed the Orange to surpass what they could be on paper, especially before Dino Babers’s efforts to add depth really got going.
In the D.O. piece, writer Andrew Graham mentions that Dungey was the catalyst for change under Babers, so the importance is definitely there. We’ll just have to wait and see if he’s important for what he pulled off in a short stretch, or as the player that ushered in a new era for SU football success.
That, plus the rest of your Syracuse-related links below:
Dungey is the most important Syracuse quarterback ever. Loyalists to Don McPherson and 1987 might differ on Dungey, still bemoaning McPherson’s Heisman stiff. Donovan McNabb partisans who remember that win at Michigan Stadium in 1998 will feel differently, too. A good quarterback can resurrect a team and a bad one can cripple a squad.
Way-Too-Early Top 25 College Football Rankings for 2019 (Athlon Sports)
Other teams to watch: The Orange capped their best season and earned a 10th victory under coach Dino Babers by beating West Virginia in the Camping World Bowl. Eric Dungey is gone, but Tommy DeVito ranked as one of the top quarterback recruits in the 2017 signing class. He will have help from transfers Abdul Adams (Oklahoma) at running back, and Trishton Jackson (Michigan State) at receiver.
Syracuse football OL Colin Byrne not returning for 5th year (Syracuse.com)
Byrne made the decision to leave the program after the 20th-ranked Orange’s 34-18 victory over No. 16 West Virginia in the Camping World Bowl on Friday. He expects to graduate this summer with a degree in human development and family science. He has not decided if he will transfer to use his final year of eligibility.
Syracuse and Northwestern are under-the-radar names that closed strong. Cuse coach Dino Babers is a media darling, and Northwestern will pair continuity after a strong 2018 campaign. Oh, and they have a Clemson transfer in QB Hunter Johnson to start under center, so a better offense isn’t out of the question. Both also have their share of media graduates, so they’re on the radar of many of my colleagues when preseason chatter gets going.
ACC Reset: Does the ACC title run through Durham or Charlottesville? (College Basketball Talk)
2. Will Syracuse turn this thing around? The Orange are the team in the ACC that has been the toughest to figure out early on this season. On the one hand, this is a team that wasn’t all that good last season that managed to gather quite a bit of preseason hype due to the fact that they won three NCAA tournament games and returned everyone of note from last year’s team.
Syracuse up to 36th in S&P+ (SB Nation)