Whether you were happy or sad to watch the Clemson Tigers beat down the Alabama Crimson Tide on Monday night, there was a silver lining: It meant the release of the final AP top 25 rankings for college football. And for the first time in 17 years, the Syracuse Orange were included on the list.
After going 10-3 on the year, including wins over NC State and West Virginia, plus a very close (27-23) loss to Clemson, Syracuse would up at No. 15 to end the year. The Orange received a total of 683 votes — 62 behind Michigan at 14th, and a good 131 in front of former Dino Babers employer Texas A&M in 16th.
Among the notable opponents you may be keeping tabs on: Clemson was obviously No. 1, while Notre Dame finished fifth. The vanquished West Virginia Mountaineers fell to 20th after losing to Syracuse in the Camping World Bowl. Our other main competition for the Lambert Trophy finished 17th (Penn State) and 19th (Army), respectively. Aforementioned NC State also received two votes.
The finish is Syracuse’s first in the top 25 since 2001, when they were 14th overall. It also marks the 11th time the program has finished in the AP’s top 15 to end the year.
SU got a vote as high as eighth, from Mike Barber (Richmond Times-Dispatch). They also received a 10th-place vote from Sean Manning (The Dominion Post in Morgantown, W.V.). Just two voters had the Orange further down the rankings than 18th: the Florida Times-Union’s Garry Smits had them 19th, while the Omaha World-Herald’s Sam McKewon had them 23rd.
But congrats to the Orange for a very successful season that a lot of us will remember for years to come.