During peak offseason, various aspects of college football programs are ranked and examined mostly for the point of conversation, even if not heavy analysis. And since we’re part of the sport’s content factory as well, we’re happy to talk about said rankings — no matter where the Syracuse Orange wind up ranked.
This week, CBS Sports constructed its annual Power Five head coach rankings, and Syracuse’s Dino Babers is now 59th. The rationale:
“Dino’s rockstar status is quickly dissipating. After a 10-3 season in 2018, Babers ranked 27th in our 2019 rankings. Last year he dropped to 48 after a 5-7 season, and now after going 1-10, he’s plummeted again. Still, I’m not sure how much the 2020 season should be held against him considering the injuries and opt-outs, but 2021 is probably a crucial year for Babers. If it’s not good enough, he might not be in these rankings at all next spring.”
As the article notes, Babers dropped 11 spots from 2020. and he’s definitely in a tough position this coming fall. We’ve talked ad nauseum about how despite the 10-3 season in 2018, a 6-17 in the years since is not acceptable either. The 2021 campaign presents an opportunity to fix the narrative that results are fading under Babers... or lean into them and potentially lead to the end of his tenure.
For reference, here are where all the ACC coaches are slotted in (via full P5 ranking):
2. Dabo Swinney, Clemson Tigers
12. Mack Brown, North Carolina Tar Heels
25. Bronco Mendenhall, Virginia Cavaliers
28. Dave Clawson, Wake Forest Demon Deacons
29. Dave Cutcliffe, Duke Blue Devils
31. Pat Narduzzi, Pittsburgh Panthers
32. Manny Diaz, Miami Hurricanes
36. Dave Doeren, NC State Wolfpack
40. Jeff Hafley, Boston College Eagles
44. Mike Norvell, Florida State Seminoles
45. Scott Satterfield, Louisville Cardinals
49. Justin Fuente, Virginia Tech Hokies
55. Geoff Collins, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
59. Dino Babers, Syracuse Orange
As you probably figured, Babers is last here, which can’t necessarily surprise following the 1-10 campaign we just came off. But the more notable thing, perhaps, is how tightly clustered so many of these coaches really are in the ACC — speaking to many of the conference’s issues over the last couple years establishing a true second tier beyond Clemson (and Notre Dame in 2020).
Really, the fact that winning six or seven games this year could potentially vault Dino nearly halfway up the ACC portion of the list is a bit of an issue for the league overall. But it also shows the opportunity for Dino and Syracuse to succeed this year despite a schedule with few gimmes.
Ultimately, these simple rankings don’t matter as much as the wins behind them, though. There are definite flaws in some lists like this — like big year-to-year swings for some coaches on the basis of success but not others, and a lack of proof of success for some but not others — but overall, it’s a decent guideline for the current state of affairs.
We’re aware it’s not impossible to have a great coach at Syracuse. And Dino could still emerge as one despite the struggles of the last two years. This list showcases how “smaller” programs look a hell of a lot better with the right guy in charge (like how Iowa State and Northwestern are both in the top 10). So it’s not impossible. Just looks tougher right now.
How do we feel about the ranking? Should Babers be higher, lower? Share your own thoughts below.