With spring practice wrapped up around the country, and college football writers sitting in peak offseason right now, there was a recent round of revised top-25 rankings released for 2019. To little surprise, at this point, the Syracuse Orange appeared in a couple of those.
First up are Stewart Mandel’s rankings on the Athletic, which place SU at No. 21. He said the following about the Orange:
“Don’t expect the Orange to disappear coming off their milestone 10-win season. QB Tommy DeVito takes over for Eric Dungey and will be surrounded by proven skill players in RBs Moe Neal and Oklahoma transfer Abdul Adams and WRs Sean Riley and Taj Harris. DEs Alton Robinson and Kendall Coleman combined for 20 sacks last season. The Orange also welcome back Groza Award K Andre Szmyt.”
Next, USA Today has Syracuse at 23, down a spot from the last iteration (Auburn, Boise State and Northwestern moved up while USC, Iowa and Wisconsin also moved down in that section of the rankings).
“Dino Babers aims to lead the Orange to double-digit wins for the second year in a row after last season’s breakthrough. There’ll be a change at quarterback, with Tommy DeVito set to take over full time after playing in eight games as a freshman, but there are few questions about the health of the offense.”
CBS Sports didn’t include Syracuse.
As we’ve said before, it’s encouraging that the national football press already has enough faith in Babers and the system he’s implemented to think that losing Eric Dungey still puts us in the top 25. DeVito is largely getting the benefit of the doubt, which is encouraging. And the main concern with this offense is with the line and how it replaces three starters. That could quickly derail things, but... this is also a group that knows how to win now, and should be able to translate that into wins (to some extent) this time around.
One thing that was interesting to me at Sunday’s L.A. alumni event is that Babers and Orange AD John Wildhack aren’t avoiding the hype with this team. While the first two years were about the promise of the program, and keeping expectations conservative, there’s a different vibe this year. Babers knows what he’s built, and is confident in what he’s building toward. When he arrived, he talked about competing in the ACC and beyond. Even if those chips aren’t completely cashed in this season, I’m willing to believe they very well could be soon.