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College Football Playoff expansion may be closer than you think

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We thought the field would stay at four teams for the foreseeable future — and it may. But there’s growing talk about expansion.

NCAA Football: Camping World Bowl-West Virginia vs Syracuse Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

A year ago, Syracuse Orange fans (self included) would rightfully laugh at the idea that we’d be talking about the College Football Playoff with any relevance to us. And yet, that’s where we are entering year four of the Dino Babers era. Not that we’re legitimate contenders, mind you. But Syracuse is being mentioned as a darkhorse, and more likely appears primed to contend for a New Year’s Six bowl bid — which we would’ve had last year if not for the Orange Bowl being a semifinal game.

That could potentially expand into more, however, if Wisconsin AD Barry Alvarez has his way. Alvarez has been a proponent of expanding the CFP field in the past, and thinks there’s a chance to push to six or eight teams as soon as a year from now. Should that happen, suddenly Syracuse’s potential Orange Bowl contention turns into a real shot at playing for a national title (provided everything lines up between SU’s talent, Babers sticking around and the new playoff deal, of course).

Check out more on that, plus the rest of your Syracuse-related links below:

Q&A: Wisconsin AD Barry Alvarez on College Football Playoff expansion, improving the gameday experience and more (The Athletic)

It’ll be decided by the presidents, the university presidents and the commissioners. The commissioners will have to buy into it first. There’s a window I think a year from now where they can make changes. They left that available. It was initially I think an eight-year contract, but there’s an opening when they can make changes, so that’s available. I think our (Big Ten) commissioner, Jim Delany, who’s going to retire in another year and a half, is in favor of expansion.

In midst of 3-game win streak, Syracuse prioritizes possession (Daily Orange)

With Jakob Phaup and Varello taking faceoffs, Syracuse have a two-pronged possession-generator. Phaup ranks top-5 in the country in faceoff win-percentage (66.1%) and Varello won 13-of-18 draws against UNC on Saturday. The two are SU’s direct path to dominating possession — when either are on, the Orange are difficult to beat. In the last three games, they’ve combined to win 74% of faceoffs.

Babers prepares for year 4 at Syracuse after 10-win season (AP)

“I think that last year was very important to him,” Babers said. “Some of the things that I feel that are critical to his development, you might not see it the same way. For him not to have success was a positive. I think those negatives are going to feed him so that he can have the type of attitude that he needs throughout the summer to be the type of quarterback that he’s capable of being. I think he’s made from the right cloth.”

Her IMPACT (Daily Orange)

Through Team IMPACT, a nonprofit organization that pairs children with chronic illnesses and local collegiate programs, Maddy joined No. 3 Syracuse women’s lacrosse on National Signing Day on Jan. 25. Maddy spends two to three days a week with her 35 teammates and has gone to every home game. She’s a superstar to a team vying for a national title.

Syracuse football depth chart projection: Where do battles stand after spring? (Syracuse.com)

Adams is one of the most experienced players in SU’s locker room, and he’s taken on a larger leadership role this spring. The fifth-year senior is athletic enough to play tackle, but worked primarily at right guard this spring -- the same position he’s started at each of the last three years.

Miami Needs to Broadcast Their Spring Game Moving Forward (State of the U)

3 knee surgeries didn’t stop Morgan Alexander from playing lacrosse (Daily Orange)

Virginia guard Ty Jerome declares for NBA Draft (Daily Progress)

Why Dabo Swinney has a different strategy than most when it comes to spring games (News & Observer)