No recent Cali or Iggy awards; Mr Irrelevant
- Aug 15, 2011
Welcome to Early National Letter of Intent Day!
The calm of 2018 Early Signing Period eve cloaks a freneticism that steps into the daylight on Wednesday morning. The texting, calling and last-minute pitches lead to signing day surprises, press conference drama and secret pacts. This is a gift usually reserved for February, but now we have two signing periods and twice the excitement.
The early signing period begins at 7 a.m. ET Wednesday across the country and extends through Friday, Dec. 21. However, most of the activity is expected to take place Wednesday.
Syracuse football recruiting: Live updates from Early National Signing Day (PS; Bailey)
The early signing period for college football opens Wednesday morning, and it figures to be a busy day for Syracuse football.
The Orange is expected to receive binding letters of intent from the vast majority of its 17 verbal commitments. SU is also hoping to add three-star South Carolina defensive lineman Cooper Dawson to its class.
With a smaller group projected to join the program this cycle due to roster size, there should only be a handful of spots remaining by the end of the day.
Keep an eye on this page as it will be updated throughout the early signing period.
welcome ad (rbj.net; Pitoniak)
Antiquing has long been one of Pat Stark’s favorite pastimes.
“I like restoring a piece and watching it come back to life,’’ the Walworth resident once told me. “It’s like preserving history.”
As we learned from Stark’s glory days as a football player and coach, desks, cabinets and chairs were not the only things he refurbished. Decades before quarterback Eric Dungey and coach Dino Babers restored the luster and sheen to Syracuse University football, Stark and Ben Schwartzwalder performed a similar reclamation in Orange Nation. Like Dungey and Babers, they brought a program back to life.
Schwartzwalder showed up on campus in 1949 after winning a national small college championship at Muhlenberg (Pa.) College. SU alumni and benefactors were somewhat underwhelmed by the hire, but the man who often referred to himself as Ol’ Ben didn’t seem bothered that he didn’t receive the “Orange-carpet treatment.” Schwartzwalder was just six years removed from parachuting behind enemy lines during the D-Day invasion of Normandy. The slings and arrows of skeptics were sloughed off as minor annoyances by the man who had dodged bullets, grenades and death during World War II. Schwartzwalder drolly addressed his critics by noting that “the alumni wanted a big-name coach and they wound up with a long-name coach.”
1964 Syracuse Grid Victory One of Finest in School History - West Virginia University Athletics (wvusports.com; Atonik)
Poll anyone who remembers West Virginia football back into the 1960s and they will rate the Mountaineers' 28-27 victory over ninth-ranked Syracuse in 1964 among the best in school history.
The chances are small of running into someone alive today who saw the game in person, however, because attendance that frigid November afternoon at Mountaineer Field was estimated at between 10 to 14,000, depending upon which newspaper you read.
And, of course, the contest wasn't televised (most weren't back then when Walter Byers was running the NCAA) and no usable footage is readily available in the athletic department's archives. It was still two years before Jim Carlen made the department produce season-ending highlight films for recruiting, and the first one they did was so hastily assembled that it did not even include narration.
So, we have to dig deep into the athletic vault to learn more about a West Virginia football victory the late Mickey Furfari regarded as "one of the greatest games ever played at Mountaineer Field, if not THE greatest from the (standpoint) of thrills and spills."
Mickey could sometimes get carried away with hyperbole immediately after games - positively and negatively - as he did a month later when he wrote after the Mountaineers' 32-6 loss to Utah in the Liberty Bowl that West Virginia "may not have to worry about football bowl bids for another 11 years."
He was referencing West Virginia's Sugar Bowl invite to face Georgia Tech, which the Mountaineers lost 42-19 in 1954.
But there were some things about the Syracuse victory that do make Furfari's description of it believable. For one, the two-touchdown favorite Orangemen, as they were known back then, were poised to accept an invitation to face LSU in the Sugar Bowl immediately following the game.
Virginia Tech Football: Early Signing Day preview (gobblercountry.com; Manning)
It’s been a rough 2018 for the Virginia Tech football team. Whether it was the loss of several good players to the NFL, off-field issues for a couple of former starters or an assistant coach’s indiscretions becoming public, to a 6-6 season that saw the team struggle to make a bowl, it hasn’t been an ideal year.
In addition to the struggles on the field, the Hokies have suffered some attrition on the field this fall as a number of players have announced their intentions to transfer during the season. Well, finally we can put all of that behind us as the Early Signing Period for college football happens on Wednesday and we can welcome a new bunch of Hokies to Blacksburg.
Currently, the Hokies have 19 commitments on the board. That has been bolstered with three commitments within the past week as two junior-college players, defensive tackle Dashawn Crawford and linebacker/defensive end Amare Barno and three-star defensive tackle Joshua Fuga have jumped into the class of 2019.
Boise State football: Talkin’ ACC-level talent in the First Responder Bowl (ktvb.com; Scott)
Boise State football: Talkin’ ACC-level talent in the First Responder Bowl
One of the challenges of facing a Power 5 team is Power 5 personnel. With Boston College, the conversation starts with the Eagles chosen for college football’s most important all-star game—and with one of the nation’s top ballhawks.
As we get to know the Boston College Eagles ahead of the First Responder Bowl, we can start with their Senior Bowl representatives. On that scoreboard, it’s BC 4, Boise State 0. The four Senior Bowlers are led by offensive guard Chris Lindstrom, who was also a first-team All-ACC selection and was named a third-team AP All-American. Lindstrom’s Twitter handle is Big Fish—he’s 6-4, 310 pounds. Another All-ACC pick, tight end Tommy Sweeney, is also Senior Bowl-bound. Sweeney has 32 catches for 348 yards and three touchdowns this season. Defensive end Zach Allen, Boston College’s top NFL Draft prospect, and strong safety Will Harris round out the Eagles’ contingent in the Mobile, AL, clash on January 26.
Hamp Cheevers would be on that list if he was old enough. But Cheevers isn’t a senior. He isn’t even a junior. Cheevers is a sophomore cornerback who leads Boston College and is tied for the national lead in interceptions with seven this season, his first as a starter. He could be a handful for Boise State’s Brett Rypien next week. According to Pro Football Focus, which really drills down stats, opposing quarterbacks have a pass efficiency rating of just 40 when targeting Cheevers (keeping in mind that 110 is considered poor). Like Lindstrom, Cheevers was a first-team All-ACC pick and a third-team AP All-American.
The best way to evaluate the ACC football season? This is still a basketball league. (charlotteobserver.com; Jacobs)
Well, that didn’t turn out so well.
There’s still plenty of time to indulge in happy talk about ACC bowl participation, and for in-depth analysis of undefeated Clemson’s chance to win another national title. But before we rush forward, the recently concluded regular season confirmed an uncomfortable truth we continue to avoid: teams and programs may stand out from time to time, but the enduring quality of conference football explains why the ACC remains known as a basketball league.
Rather than bristle at this characterization, putting up a stouter defense than many league teams manage on the field, ACC boosters and administrators might consider accepting it in the spirit of realistic self-appraisal. ACC football is exciting and entertaining. What it’s not, especially this year, is excellent, meriting secondary football status that’s less a slur than recognition of a comfortable fit.
ACC Football Rx: Making Playoff Expansion Sausage (RX; HM)
We've know for some time that the Group of 5 conferences would like to see the playoffs expanded to 8 teams - particularly if one of those spots would be reserved for the best G5 champ [LINK].
We can assume that the Pac-12 are growing tired of missing the 4-team playoff field.
Now we're hearing that the Big Ten is open to expanding the playoffs to 8 teams [LINK].
It's also reasonable to assume that the Big XII would support such a change. So the question is, would they have enough votes without support from either the ACC or the SEC?
Let's see... to pass a change requires either
60% of the P5 teams (65 X 0.60 = 39 teams) plus a majority in 3 of the P5 conferences, OR
51% of the P5 teams (65 X 0.51 = 33.15, so really 34 teams) plus a majority in 4 of the P5s.
Here’s how autonomy could work: pic.twitter.com/0pg0udsZtE
— Inside the NCAA (@InsidetheNCAA) July 18, 2014
How many votes are there in favor? Let's say the Big Ten, Big XII, Pac-12 and Notre Dame will all vote in favor of expanding the playoffs; we would then have:
CNY's best Italian restaurant: And the winners are... (PS; Pucci)
And the winners are:
Judges' Choice: Francesca's Cucina in Syracuse
Readers' Choice: Santangelo's Restaurant in Liverpool.
The judging panel included Best of CNY and Upstate New York writer and critic Jacob Pucci; managing producer Charlie Miller and Chef Mary Kiernan, associate teaching professor at Syracuse University, an American Culinary Federation-certified chef de cuisine and certified professional chef, level II from the Culinary Institute of America.
No. 1: Francesca's Cucina (Judges' Choice winner)
We sat in the packed Francesca's dining room on a Monday evening, flanked by two groups of college-aged diners who, as the singing waiters quickly revealed to us and the rest of the diners, were celebrating birthdays.
Francesca's has a reputation for being a top spot in Syracuse for a birthday dinner, anniversary meal or any other special occasion you wish to celebrate with top-notch Italian food--and really, is there an occasion you wouldn't?
As it turns out, it's a well-earned reputation.