Co 2020-21 Iggy Award Winner MPG (special again)
- Aug 15, 2011
Today celebrates the popular chocolate dessert, the brownie. Brownies can vary in their texture; they may have a similar consistency to cake, fudge, or cookies. Although they are often plain, they many times include ingredients such as nuts, frosting, or powdered sugar. They almost always are chocolate, but variations exist such as the blonde brownie, which substitutes the chocolate for brown sugar, and butterscotch brownies, popular in the South, which also contain no chocolate, and are topped with butterscotch meringue.
Brownies were created in the late 19th century, and were popularized at the beginning of the 20th. There is some debate as to their provenance. One story claims that Bertha Palmer, wife of the owner of the Palmer House Hotel in Chicago, asked a pastry chef to create a dessert for women to eat at the World's Columbian Exposition. The chef created the Palmer House Brownie, a brownie with walnuts and apricot glaze, that is still sold at the hotel today. Another story claims a housewife in Bangor, Maine, created the brownie. Brownies began appearing in their current form in various cookbooks during the first decade of the 20th century.
Syracuse football to host Notre Dame on Halloween weekend next fall; what we know about 2022 schedule (247sports.com; Bailey)
Syracuse football will host Notre Dame on Halloween weekend next fall, the two programs announced on Tuesday. The contest is set for Saturday, Oct. 29 with kick time and broadcast information to be set at a later date. The game will mark the first time since 2003 that the Fighting Irish have come to the Carrier Dome.
While the Orange finished an up-and-down 5-7 season with its head coach intact, UND reeled off an 11-1 regular season before Brian Kelly left to take over LSU. Marcus Freeman, Notre Dame's defensive coordinator, was quickly promoted to full-time head coach. The Fighting Irish are getting ready to face Oklahoma State in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 1.
SU's 2022 schedule now has all four of its non-conference matchups locked into the calendar. Year 7 of the Dino Babers era will see Syracuse take on Connecticut (Sept. 10), Purdue (Sept. 17) and Wagner (Sept. 24) early in the slate before hosting UND in what's traditionally been Week 10 of the season.
The most intriguing note, aside from the magnitude of the Notre Dame game perhaps: The Orange currently doesn't have an opening-week opponent. Barring the schedule being shifted back, Babers and Co. will have to take on an Atlantic Coast Conference foe at the head of what's being laid out as a bowl-or-bust campaign.
"I’ve met with Coach Babers multiple times over the past several weeks," athletic director John Wildhack said in a press conference last week. "Given those factors, I believe the best decision is for him to continue to lead this program. Our young men respect Coach Babers and they play hard for him. We all know what the expectations are for 2022. The schedule will be challenging, as it is every year in the ACC. That said, we need to win more games. We all want to win more games. We all want to play that 13th game."
Duce Gets Two Freshman All-America Nods - Syracuse University Athletics (cuse.com)
Star freshman defensive back Darian Chestnut picked up a pair of Freshman All-America honors this week, being named to both the Pro Football Focus and 247 Sports' freshman teams.
Chestnut – who finished second in ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year voting – was previously named a third-team All-ACC cornerback.
Full PFF Team | Full 247 Team
He's the fourth member of the Orange to be named a Freshman All-American in the last two seasons on the 'Cuse defense. DB Ja'Had Carter, LB Stefon Thompson and DB Garrett Williams each earned the accolade from at least one major national publication in 2020.
The Camden, New Jersey native finished the season with the second-most passes defended in the ACC. His three interceptions led all Syracuse players, which he complimented with eight pass breakups. Louisville's Kei'Trel Clark led the passes defended category in the ACC (12). The Orange's Garrett Williams (10) led the league in pass breakups.
He became the third Orange true freshman defensive back in the last 40 years to earn a week one starting job out of camp, joining Andre Cisco (2018) and Markus Paul (1985). Both of whom eventually went on to be drafted in the first four rounds of the NFL Draft.
Is SU Football Facing a Depth Crisis? – Orange Fizz – Daily Syracuse Recruiting News & Team Coverage (orangefizz.net; Bainbridge)
Men’s basketball season is officially under way in Syracuse. Much like the Syracuse winter winds that always seem to blow whichever way you’re facing, the renewed focus on Jim Boeheim’s squad has taken just about all the attention away from SU football. It’s par for the course, considering the former is playing and the latter ended its season by tripping over its own feet with a bowl berth on the line 10 days ago.
Head coach Dino Babers is probably glad to get a break from all the questions that peppered him throughout his sixth season, whether they were about the lack of a special teams coordinator (now filled), his own job (seemingly stable), or why quarterback Garrett Shrader regularly finished with stat lines similar to what Mac Jones put up last night (still undetermined). Now that we’re in the offseason, the scrutiny machine has been turned off. However, there’s an issue at hand that bears addressing as SU enters the winter.
Running back and special teams captain Cooper Lutz’ announcement to enter the transfer portal yesterday came as a bit of a surprise, but should it have? Lutz led the special teams unit in tackles but only touched the ball 21 times on offense all season behind now-program record holding running back Sean Tucker. It’s unlikely Lutz comes back, but his mere entry into the portal makes him the fourteenth Syracuse player since August to do so. The number, combined with a slew of graduating contributors, means that next year’s squad will look pretty different.
There’s no simmering controversy (like we later found out about SU women’s basketball) that explains the large number of transfers. Instead, players are exercising their right to go places where their contributions have the most visibility. Throw in the NCAA’s appropriate post-COVID nullification of eligibility forfeiture, and players are more likely than ever to seek greener pastures. Wideout Taj Harris, defensive lineman Curtis Harper, and linebacker Geoff Cantin-Arku are a few of SU’s bigger names who waved goodbye this season. Feel happy for the players, but feel worried about Syracuse and programs of similar caliber. The high degree of turnover is putting a team with already shaky depth in rough territory.
Exit 31 12-07 (ESPN; radio; Rain & Spencer)
On today’s James Mitsubishi Exit 31 Podcast, Rain and Spencer talk to Syracuse Basketball Coach Gerry McNamara, Former Syracuse/NFL WR Rob Carpenter, Tommy Sladek from CNY Central and Eric Watkins from VUSports dot com, plus more!
PFN's All-ACC Football Team Honors for the 2021 college football season (PFN; Mellor)
For the first time in a decade, the Atlantic Coast Conference has a champion not named Florida State or Clemson. As such, the PFN All-ACC Football Team for the 2021 college football season is dominated by Pittsburgh Panthers.
All-ACC Football Team Honors for 2021The ACC saw some miraculous performances and top moments this season. For a conference steeped in rich offensive tradition, 2021 was no different. Pittsburgh QB Kenny Pickett rewrote the Pitt record books and broke many of Dan Marino’s career Panther records. Clemson struggled to find their groove despite rebounding nicely. Florida State and Miami may have found new identities late, as well, as stars were born near and far.
It’s important to note that these are awards and honors from Pro Football Network for each individual’s prowess on the field this season. This is in no way a projection of their NFL Draft status nor a report on actual conference awards that have already been handed out. These honors are from Pro Football Network, as judged upon by our team of college football analysts.
Let’s get to the overall awards.
- ACC Coach of the Year: Pat Narduzzi, Pittsburgh
- ACC Player of the Year: Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh
- ACC Newcomer of the Year: Jermaine Johnson II, Florida State
- ACC Game of the Year: North Carolina vs. Wake Forest, Week 10
All-ACC OffenseThe ACC season was headlined by Pickett and the offensive prowess of multiple schools. While defense was largely an afterthought, here are the individual awards on the offensive side of the ball for the ACC in 2021.
- ACC Offensive Player of the Year: Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh
- ACC Quarterback of the Year: Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh
- ACC Running Back of the Year: Sean Tucker, Syracuse
- ACC Wide Receiver of the Year: Jordan Addison, Pittsburgh
- ACC Offensive Lineman of the Year: Olusegun Oluwatimi, Virginia
- ACC Offensive Line of the Year: Boston College
- ACC Offensive Rookie of the Year: Tyler Van Dyke, QB, Miami (FL)
Kenny Pickett’s historic seasonAnytime your description names the likes of Marino, Winston, and Watson, you know you’re doing something right. And that’s not all Pickett did in 2021. His top target — Jordan Addison — also deserves a large amount of credit. Pickett and Addison developed a connection unlike anything we’ve seen in some time at Pittsburgh. Addison finished the year as a Biletnikoff Award finalist after bringing down 93 receptions for 1,479 yards, ranking third in the country in receiving yards. His 17 touchdowns were the most in the FBS, 2 more than Alabama’s Jameson Williams.
Sean Tucker is as fast as he is elusive. Don’t believe us? Just ask any defense that tried to stop him. Tucker has track speed and jukes to make any running back jealous. He’s a name to remember ahead of the 2022 season.
Tyler Van Dyke has a remarkable run at MiamiEntering the year with one of the most notable quarterbacks, Miami seemed to find their groove with a newcomer in Tyler Van Dyke. The redshirt freshman put the world on notice that he was no run-of-the-mill newcomer. He threw for 2,931 yards and 25 touchdowns, both ranking fifth in the ACC. But the craziest part is the fact that he only started nine games in the process and played only a half in one of his starts.
Van Dyke absolutely gave the Hurricanes life. Despite a couple of losses, he also showcased the resiliency that few other quarterbacks showed during the 2021 season. Van Dyke gives the Hurricanes a true identity in a questionable time in Miami.
Boston College also earns the nod as the best offensive line in the country, though the award for top lineman goes to Olusegun Oluwatimi of Virginia. Oluwatimi was a dominant man in the middle. He routinely found the second level and was efficient in every facet.
Like Oluwatimi, BC’s line of LT Tyler Vrabel, LG Zion Johnson, C Alec Lindstrom, RG Christian Mahogany, and RT Ben Petrula routinely found themselves on our National Team of the Week.
First Team All-ACC OffenseQB: Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh
RB: Sean Tucker, Syracuse
RB: Ty Chandler, North Carolina
WR: Jordan Addison, Pittsburgh
WR: Dontayvion Wicks, Virginia
WR: A.T. Perry, Wake Forest
TE: Jelani Woods, NC State
FLEX: Malik Cunningham, Louisville
LT: Ikem Ekwonu, NC State
LG: Zion Johnson, Boston College
C: Olusegun Oluwatimi, Virginia
RG: Chris Glaser, Virginia
RT: DeVonte Gordon, Wake Forest
Second Team All-ACC OffenseQB: Devin Leary, NC State
RB: Pat Garwo III, Boston College
RB: Mataeo Durant, Duke
WR: Charleston Rambo, Miami
WR: Josh Downs, North Carolina
WR: Jaquarii Roberson, Wake Forest
TE: Lucas Krull, Pittsburgh
FLEX: Keytaon Thompson, Virginia
LT: Zach Tom, Wake Forest
LG: Marcus Minor, Pittsburgh
C: Alec Lindstrom, Boston College
RG: Christian Mahogany, Boston College
RT: Ben Petrula, Boston College
Honorable Mention All-ACC OffenseQB: Tyler Van Dyke, Miami
RB: Jashaun Corbin, Florida State
RB: Will Shipley, Clemson
WR: Zay Flowers, Boston College
WR: Tre Turner, Virginia Tech
WR: Thayer Thomas, NC State
TE: Trae Barry, Boston College
FLEX: Jordan Travis, Florida State
LT: Carter Warren, Pittsburgh
LG: Dillan Gibbons, Florida State
C: Jack Wohlabaugh, Duke
RG: Marcus McKethan, North Carolina
RT: Jordan Tucker, North Carolina
All-ACC DefenseWith the ACC known for its offensive prowess in 2021, somehow it wasn’t difficult to find stalwart defensive performances. Even in downtrodden moments, some defenders rose to fame. Jermaine Johnson II not only made great use of the transfer portal, but he also made FSU’s defense a feared unit throughout the season.
- ACC Defensive Player of the Year: Jermaine Johnson II, FSU
- ACC Defensive Lineman of the Year: Jermaine Johnson II, FSU
- ACC Linebacker of the Year: Drake Thomas, NC State
- ACC Defensive Back of the Year: Andrew Booth Jr., Clemson
- ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year: Darian Chestnut, CB, Syracuse
- ACC Defensive Line of the Year: Florida State
- ACC Secondary of the Year: Virginia
Drake Thomas was also remarkable in his own right. He recorded 6 sacks, 3 interceptions, 99 total tackles, and a touchdown for NC State this season. Thomas was a one-man wrecking crew for the Wolfpack in 2021. Similarly, Andrew Booth Jr. really turned it on down the stretch. Despite a heavy volume of targets, he was rarely beaten for anything more than a short catch. He made 3 interceptions and had another 5 pass breakups this year.
Darian Chestnut had the nation’s best interceptionBreaking onto the stage in a big way, Darian Chestnut made the country’s best interception in 2021. Seamlessly breaking on a wide receiver screen against FSU, Chestnut made an incredible diving pick for one of his 3 INTs on the season. He displayed tremendous instincts on that play and throughout the year.
The Cavaliers’ secondary, however, earns the top spot here as they have multiple players earning honors on our All-ACC defense. Led by CB Anthony Johnson and S Joey Blount, Virginia had tremendous coverage on the backend during most games. Johnson and Blount combined for 6 interceptions while they also broke up another 8 passes. As a team, Virginia certainly struggled on defense, but it wasn’t always the secondary’s fault.
First Team All-ACC DefenseEDGE: Jermaine Johnson II, Florida State
EDGE: Keir Thomas, Florida State
DI: Calijah Kancey, Pittsburgh
DI: Myles Murphy, North Carolina
LB: Trenton Simpson, Clemson
LB: Drake Thomas, NC State
LB: Charlie Thomas, Georgia Tech
CB: Jermaine Waller, Virginia Tech
CB: Andrew Booth Jr., Clemson
CB: Darian Chestnut, Syracuse
S: Traveon Redd, Wake Forest
S: Jammie Robinson, Florida State
FLEX: Amaré Barno, Virginia Tech
Second Team All-ACC DefenseEDGE: Cody Roscoe, Syracuse
EDGE: Habakkuk Baldonado, Pittsburgh
DI: Jordan Williams, Virginia Tech
DI: DeWayne Carter, Duke
LB: Stefon Thompson, Syracuse
LB: Alan Tisdale, Virginia Tech
LB: Dax Hollifield, Virginia Tech
CB: Kei’Trel Clark, Louisville
CB: Anthony Johnson, Virginia
CB: Damarri Mathis, Pittsburgh
S: Cam’Ron Kelly, North Carolina
S: Joey Blount, Virginia
FLEX: Brandon Sebastian, Boston College
Honorable Mention All-ACC DefenseEDGE: Myles Murphy, Clemson
EDGE: Rondell Bothroyd, Wake Forest
DI: Cory Durden, NC State
DI: Robert Cooper, Florida State
LB: Kalen DeLoach, Florida State
LB: SirVocea Dennis, Pittsburgh
LB: Jeremiah Gemmel, North Carolina
CB: Ja’Sir Taylor, Wake Forest
CB: Jarvis Brownlee Jr., Florida State
CB: Erick Hallett, Pittsburgh
S: James Williams, Miami
S: Jaiden Woodbey, Boston College
FLEX: Tyler Baker-Williams, NC State
TV Ratings for last weekend's championship games are out - Sports Illustrated (SI; Gastelum)
As expected, the SEC championship between Georgia and Alabama was the most-watched college football game of the weekend, but one particular championship struggled to pull in viewers.
While Alabama's 42-24 win in Atlanta brought in roughly 15.2 million viewers, according to ShowBuzzDaily, the ACC championship between Pitt and Wake Forest was the least-watched championship game of the Power Five conferences with just 2.6 million viewers.
The ACC championship, which saw Pitt win 45-21, was up against the Big Ten championship that also started at 8 p.m. ET. Michigan routed Iowa 42-3 to clinch its first trip to the College Football Playoff, pulling in 11.7 million viewers.
Pitt leads ACC's 10-team college football bowl contingent - Chatham Journal Newspaper (chathamjournal.com)
Led by league champion Pitt’s first-ever berth in the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl, the Atlantic Coast Conference placed 10 teams in college football postseason games on Sunday.
This is the 21st consecutive season in which the ACC earned at least six bowl bids. Not including the pandemic-affected 2020 season, the ACC has sent at least 10 teams to a bowl every year since 2016. Since 2013, the ACC is second among all conferences with 91 postseason appearances.
“We’re incredibly proud of our 10 bowl teams, including Pitt, our ACC Champion that will compete in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl as part of the College Football Playoff New Year’s Six,” said ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips, Ph.D. “Following an extremely competitive ACC football season, we look forward to celebrating the many accomplishments of our student-athletes in the postseason.”
Pitt (11-2), which earned a No. 12 CFP national ranking following its 45-21 win over Wake Forest in Saturday night’s Subway ACC Football Championship Game, will face No. 10 Michigan State (10-2) on Thursday, Dec. 30, at Atlanta’s Mercedes Benz Stadium (7 p.m., ESPN). Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi served eight seasons as the Spartans’ defensive coordinator before leaving to become the Panthers’ head coach in 2015. It will be Pitt’s 36th all-time bowl game appearance.
In addition to the Panthers’ New Year’s Six selection, No. 17 Wake Forest, No. 18 NC State, No. 19 Clemson, Boston College, Louisville, Miami, North Carolina, Virginia and Virginia Tech also received bowl bids on Sunday.
Wake Forest (10-3) earned a trip to the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Florida, and will face No. 25 Texas A&M at 11 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 31. The Demon Deacons concluded the 2017 season with a 55-52 victory over the Aggies in a Belk Bowl game that featured more than 100 total points and 1,200 yards of total offense. Wake Forest will be making its school-record sixth consecutive bowl appearance under head coach Dave Clawson. It will be the 16th overall postseason game for Wake Forest.
NC State (9-3) is headed for the San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl versus UCLA (8-4) on Tuesday, Dec. 28 (8 p.m., FOX). The Wolfpack is making its seventh bowl appearance in the last nine seasons under current head coach Dave Doeren. NC State has made 33 previous bowl appearances overall, posting a 17-15-1 record.
Payton Wilson likely to return to NC State; Pack set for 2022 - ACCSports.com (accsports.com; Geisinger)
Payton Wilson, one of the top defenders in the ACC, is expected to return to NC State for the 2022 season. While this has been the assumption for some time now, Joe Giglio reported the news via an NFL source. Wilson won’t opt for the 2022 NFL Draft; he’ll return to Raleigh for another season.
This will be his fifth season with the program.
Following an All-ACC season in 2020, Wilson could’ve left for the 2021 NFL Draft; however, back in Jan. 2021, Wilson announced his decision to play more college football.
With Wilson in the middle at linebacker, NC State looked to have a ferocious defense in 2021. That proved true, too: the Wolfpack finished top 15 nationally in defensive efficiency. Unfortunately, most of that work came sans Wilson, who suffered a season-ending shoulder injury during the second game of the season at Mississippi State. He finished the year with five total tackles.
Injuries have always been an issue for Wilson — going back to high school. Wilson missed the entire 2018 season, his true freshman year, due to injuries, too. Wilson even played with two dislocated shoulders during a 2020 win over Georgia Tech. Despite the injuries, Wilson finished with 11 tackles, including 2.5 for loss.
Wilson led the ACC in tackles per game in 2020 (10.8); he finished the season ranked fourth in the FBS in total tackles, too.
Beyond Wilson, something cool is brewing in Raleigh with NC State football. After a strong 2021 season, several key defensive players have announced decesiions to return for 2022:
Former Dallas Cowboys HC Jason Garrett May Go to Duke, first reported by Steve Wiseman of the News & Observer. Locked On Boston College Host AJ Black joins the show to talk about the insane idea of Garrett joining the program and who else could fill the role. Other topics: who takes over for Bronco Mendenhall, why Notre Dame nailed the Marcus Freeman hire and why would Mario Cristobal leave Oregon for Miami?
Links, news, and rumors: 2021-12-08 (RX; HM)
Links, news, and rumors: 2021-12-08From SI's Daily Newsletter...
The author wrote that this matchup "caught [his] eye"...
Bowl Season Spotlight: Peach Bowl
Pittsburgh Panthers (11-2) vs. Michigan State Spartans (10-2)
Time: Dec. 30, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN; Spread: Pittsburgh -3.5 (-110)
Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett and MSU running back Kenneth Walker III were two of the most exciting players in college football this season. Michigan State is one of the few teams that beat one of the four playoff teams, and Pittsburgh has the built-in grudge of being a conference champion that was not even considered for the playoff. This should be a fun matchup.
This should be one of the more entertaining bowl games!
Unfortunately, the Panthers will be without their Offensive Coordinator because...
...Mark Whipple quit Tuesday!News: Pitt offensive coordinator Mark Whipple resigned this morning, according to sources close to the program. He is not expected to coach Pitt in the Peach Bowl against Michigan State on Dec. 30.Offensive coordinator Mark Whipple resigns from Pitt, won't coach in Peach Bowl
— Johnny McGonigal (@jmcgonigal9) December 7, 2021
For more on this strange development, check out the Pitt blog Cardiac Hill.
2021-22 Bowl Payouts (RX; HM)
2021-22 Bowl PayoutsHere's the latest data I have on bowl payouts for this season. Note that there are a few bowls which have yet to publicly announce any amount; for those bowls, I made an educated guess.
|Independence||$2.2 M||$2.2 M||$2.2 M||ACC vs. SEC|
|Los Angeles||$???||est. $1 M||PAC-12 vs. MWC|
|Armed Forces||$1.35 M||$1.35 M||At-large teams|
|Gasparilla||$1.125 M||$1.125 M||At-Large teams|
|Quick Lane||$2 M||$2 M||Big Ten vs. MAC|
|Military||$2.07 M||$2.07 M||ACC vs. American|
|Birmingham||$1.37 M||$1.37 M||SEC vs. American|
|First Responder||$824,545||$824,545||$824,545||$824,545||Big Ten vs. Big 12|
|Liberty||$4.7 M||$4.7 M||$4.7 M||Big 12 vs. SEC|
|Guaranteed Rate||$1.6 M||$1.6 M||$1.6 M||Big Ten vs. Big 12|
|Fenway*||$???||est. $2 M||ACC vs. American|
|Pinstripe||$4.4 M||$4.4 M||$4.4 M||ACC vs. Big Ten|
|Cheez-It||$6.1 M||$6.1 M||$6.1 M||ACC vs. Big 12|
|Alamo||$8.25 M||$8.25 M||$8.25 M||Big 12 vs. Pac-12|
|Duke's Mayo||$4.8 M||$4.8 M||$4.8 M||ACC vs. SEC|
|Music City||$5.7 M||$5.7 M||$5.7 M||Big Ten vs. SEC|
|Peach||CFP $ Pool||$4 M||$4 M||CFP selections|
|Las Vegas||$2.9 M||$2.9 M||$2.9 M||Big Ten vs. Pac-12|
|Gator||$5.35 M||$5.35 M||$5.35 M||SEC vs. ACC|
|Sun||$4.55 M||$4.55 M||$4.55 M||ACC vs. Pac-12|
|Cotton-Semi||CFP $ Pool||$6 M||CFP 1v4 or 2v3|
|Orange-Semi||CFP $ Pool||$6 M||$6 M||CFP 1v4 or 2v3|
|Outback||$6.4 M||$6.4 M||$6.4 M||SEC vs. Big Ten|
|Fiesta||CFP $ Pool||$4 M||CFP selections|
|Citrus||$8.22 M||$8.22 M||$8.22 M||Big Ten vs. SEC|
|Rose||$40 M||$40 M||$40 M||Big Ten vs. Pac-12|
|Sugar||$40 M||$40 M||$40 M||SEC vs. Big 12|
|Texas||$6.4 M||$6.4 M||$6.4 M||Big 12 vs. SEC|
|Redbox||$3.6 M||$3.6 M||$3.6 M||Big Ten vs. Pac-12|
|Holiday||$6.53 M||$6.53 M||$6.53 M||ACC vs. PAC-12|
|Arizona||$350,000||MWC vs. Sun Belt|
Computer Rankings 2021-12-08 (RX; HM)
Computer Rankings 2021-12-08Unlike the humans that make up the AP poll or even the CFP Selection Committee, computers don't care about the name of the team, just the numbers...
In this post we look at computer rankings from SonnyMoorePowerRatings. First, the top 30:
On Pitt, Wake Forest, and patience in an impatient football world (bcinterruption.com; Graveliese)
On Saturday, Pitt battled Wake Forest in the ACC Championship Game - a matchup of two non-bluebloods.
It was the first ACC Championship Game not to feature either Clemson or Florida State since Boston College represented the Atlantic Division in 2008, what feels like about three lifetimes ago.
Counting Virginia Tech as a ‘blueblood’ (particularly in those days), you have to go back to the 2006 matchup between Wake Forest and Georgia Tech to find an ACC title game with a profile similar to that of Wake-Pitt.
As a BC fan, you can look at this in one of two ways.
On the one hand, it’s frustrating that these opportunities come about so rarely - Clemson and Florida State both being down by their standards - and yet we weren’t within shouting distance of taking advantage of it this year.
But on the positive side, you can look at what Wake and Pitt (and to a lesser extent, NC State) accomplished this year and know that opportunities do come along, even if they’re not as frequent as you’d like.
And that’s what got me thinking about patience. And by that, I don’t mean patiently waiting as a fan for our team’s moment to shine (there’s not much we can do about it either way). By that I mean, how patient should mid-tier programs and their ADs be as they look to build teams that can compete with and beat the bluebloods?
Ralph Rotella, owner of Discount Shoe Repair in downtown Syracuse, with boxes and bags containing the thousands of shoes he's cleaning and repairing to donate to the Syracuse Rescue Mission. (Don Cazentre | firstname.lastname@example.org)
Ralph Rotella’s annual Christmas shoe drive for the Rescue Mission aims for new record (PS; Cazentre)
Ralph Rotella likes to say that when he started his annual drive to collect shoes for the needy in Syracuse, back in 2010, he had jet black hair. Today, his hair is fully white.
“It’s all those shoes that did it,” he said.
The more important change from Rotella’s first shoe drive 11 years ago is this: That first year, Rotella collected, cleaned and repaired fewer than 100 pairs of donated shoes at his Discount Shoe Repair shop, 116 E. Washington St.
Last year, in the midst of the Covid pandemic, the tally for Ralphy’s Rescue Mission Shoe Drive was 23,187 pairs of shoes, boots, sneakers, sandals, slippers and any other type of footwear you can imagine. That was a new record, eclipsing the 18,000 pairs of the year before.
This year, the number could reach 25,000 or maybe even 30,000.
“It just keeps getting bigger,” Rotella said. He credits the “generous spirit” of people in the Syracuse area.