When the ACC and AAC announced that they’d be facing off in a Boston-based bowl game for some reason, we met the move with skepticism. Not because of the additional postseason contest, but because of the location. Most, however, doubt the former aspect.
Over at Stadium, Andy Wittry asks if making a bowl game is even impressive anymore. It’s not necessarily a new point — I’d argue that it stopped being truly “impressive” a decade ago when the field was expanded so much that any Power Five team with a winning record was bound to go bowling. Still, not making a bowl game remains pretty damning, especially when teams in the ACC and SEC can get themselves at least three non-conference wins by way of cupcake games. Or at least they should. Syracuse is thankfully on board there too at this point.
Wittry makes the case that we assign some sort of additional prestige to different games, and though I get what he’s saying, I think that already exists. Obviously a New Year’s Six game is more important than other bowls, and within that, making the College Football Playoff is even more so. There’s a middle tier of games like the Alamo, Holiday, Camping World and some other games that do carry some extra weight compared to the majority of games. But the rest are just more football. And that’s fine.
So what’s the importance in 2019? Once you get past those first few tiers, it’s more football, and it’s rewarding players for hard work over the course of a season. I think they should avoid playing lesser games around Christmas so that players aren’t missing times with their families for the Quick Lane Bowl or something. But beyond that, nothing wrong with letting them play, if only to get a cool opportunity and some extra practices in to build for the next season.
That, plus the rest of your Syracuse-related links below:
More meaningful football games during the holiday season isn’t necessarily bad for the sport, prospective schools or their players, but it means it’s time that we take a more nuanced approach to how we discuss and categorize various levels of success in college football because not all bowl games are created equal.
Sam Heckel: He’s a premed student at Syracuse, so that comes with the territory. He’s also an established leader, heading up Syracuse’s Uplifting Athletes chapter. And he knows the sport. He’s a versatile O-lineman, working at guard and center. Heckel figures to be a key contributor for this year’s Orange line, and if he wants to get into coaching down the road, he’d certainly be a good candidate. You know, if the whole doctor thing doesn’t work out.
A look at Syracuse’s recruiting targets in the 2020 class (Syracuse.com)
yracuse has already done a lot of work on 2020 recruits with some scholarship offers to recruits having been extended as far back as last summer. There already appears to be a big difference in the Syracuse coaches’ approach to this recruiting class. With 13 players currently on scholarship, the Syracuse coaches seem to be very focused in their pursuit of players in the ’20 class.
Top 25 ACC 2020 NFL Draft prospects to watch (Athlon Sports)
Alton Robinson, Syracuse: The other half of the Orange’s sack exchange, Robinson tied Kendall Coleman for the team lead in 2018 with 10 QB takedowns. In 24 games, he has 15 career sacks and 24 tackles for a loss. If he builds on last year’s production, Robinson is sure to attract some attention from NFL scouts based on every team’s desire to find effective pass rushers.
A heightened educational component for athletes and staff would also be included. Currently, athletes are not allowed to gamble on sports sponsored by the NCAA. If adopted, the proposal would be in place for the 2019 season. It would be instituted because of concerns regarding the integrity of college games in this new era of state-sponsored sports gambling.