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Syracuse picked 21st in Athlon’s top 25 college football rankings

The Orange pick up more believers.

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NCAA Football: Syracuse at Notre Dame Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

It’s no longer breaking news to see the Syracuse Orange football team included in various preseason top 25s. SU finished 2018 at No. 15, and has spent much of the offseason somewhere in the 15-25 range for most publications.

Still, adding another name to the list is still interesting, so we’re noting Athlon Sports as the latest believer in a long line of them leading up to 2019. Athlon sees Syracuse as the 21st-best team in the country right now, and the next ACC squad after second-ranked Clemson. While one would think there would be some doubt on the Orange after Eric Dungey’s departure, most pundits are buying into the fact that Tommy DeVito’s recruiting ranking will deliver and that he may actually wind up a better fit for what Dino Babers’s offense wants to do. As always, that’s no knock on Dungey. Just a remark about Dino coming in with a system that’s largely been tailored to pocket passers before this.

When we looked at win probabilities last week, it was easy to see how this group “only” winds up at seven or eight wins. But that’s not a bad thing, and it doesn’t make the top 25 projections invalid either. There’s variance to how these projections shake out, obviously. And with Babers, he’s typically outperformed against expectations, so... an optimistic outlook gives you exactly what you need to see a top 25 contender once again.

That, plus the rest of your Syracuse-related links below:

College football top 25 rankings for 2019 (Athlon Sports)

Eric Dungey will be missed under center, but the offense seems to be in good hands with sophomore Tommy DeVito. The New Jersey native ranked as a four-star prospect out of high school and saw playing time in eight games last fall. Easing DeVito’s transition into the starting lineup is a loaded group of skill players. Moe Neal (869 yards) is joined by Oklahoma transfer Abdul Adams at running back, with Sean Riley, Nykeim Johnson and Trishton Jackson forming one of the ACC’s top receiving corps.

Best of the 1950s: Oklahoma wins at a historic rate while new championship contenders emerge (The Athletic)

Jim Brown, Syracuse. One of the greatest all-around college athletes, Brown gradually emerged as a national football star, the first in a line of superstar Syracuse backs — Ernie Davis, Jim Nance, Floyd Little, Larry Csonka — who carried the Orange to prominence under Ben Schwartzwalder. In Brown’s three seasons, Syracuse rose from 4-4 to 5-3 to 7-1 with a No. 8 ranking and close loss to TCU in the Cotton Bowl.

The debate: The ACC schedule starting in November (Tar Heel Blog)

The plainest argument against this slate is that most sports leagues typically aim for a seasonal progression of intrigue and importance and avoid scheduling the higher stakes games early on, particularly right off the bat. They wouldn’t schedule UNC against Duke in this showcase, right? Players and teams want and need some games under their belt before the biggest bouts.

It’s a trap: 1 game these 5 Playoff contenders better not overlook (Saturday Down South)

Last year, national champion Clemson survived two upset bids. One involved controversy (Texas A&M), the other a bit of good fortune (Syracuse). The Tigers needed their 3rd-string QB to complete a 4th-down pass to rally past Syracuse, at home. Who knows what happens to the Playoff race if that pass falls incomplete.

College football’s 10 biggest wildcard teams in 2019 (247Sports)

After being picked to finish last in the preseason media poll in 2018, the Orange went went 9-3 before winning their 10th game in the postseason to finish second behind Clemson in the ACC’s Atlantic Division. Once again, Syracuse played the Tigers tough and this time around, get Dabo Swinney’s team inside the Carrier Dome in a Week 3 prime-time affair.

Boeheim, Lee earn Upstate NY Basketball Hall induction (Cuse.com)

Will Steve Addazio’s Boston College ever win more than 7 games a year? (SB Nation)

What saved the season: Baylor’s 3-point revolution (Our Daily Bears)

Gabriela Knutson, 2 coaches win ITA regional awards (Daily Orange)