Orangeyes Daily Articles for Thursday - for Football | Syracusefan.com

Orangeyes Daily Articles for Thursday for Football

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Co 2020-21 Iggy Award Winner MPG (special again)
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Welcome to National Burnt Ends Day!

Once considered trimmings or left-overs, burnt ends come from the point of a brisket. However, these days burnt ends take center stage in a BBQ basket of smoky flavor and goodness.

The name comes from the longer cooking time required for tender brisket. As a result, these thinner points become a little charred and tougher than the rest of the meat.

Don’t let that description deter you, though. As a tradition in the Kansas City area, they’ve mastered burnt ends and a taste for them has spread across the country.

SU News

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Syracuse wide receiver Oronde Gadsden II warms up against N.C. State on Nov. 17. Gadsden is the Orange's No. 1 tight end for Week 1 against Louisville and revealed he'd be playing a new position in SU's new offense. N. Scott Trimble


Oronde Gadsden at tight end? There’s more to it than that (PS; $; Leiker)

Oronde Gadsden II’s father saw a different side of his son during a 2020 Florida 5A state championship regional quarterfinal.

Like many high schools that season, American Heritage had battled changing personnel due to Covid issues and injuries. Gadsden played a handful of positions throughout the season accounting for gaps in the team’s lineup.

In that playoff game, it was Gadsden who came to the sideline hurt. It wasn’t a serious injury, but his coaches weren’t going to put him back in because the team was losing.

Gadsden wanted to play. When reentered the game, he made plays his father had never seen him make. American Heritage won the game, and, a few weeks later, the state title.

“I kind of figured from that point on, he was ready,” said Gadsden’s dad, the former wide receiver for the Miami Dolphins.

Gadsden, rostered as a wide receiver, was listed as Syracuse football’s No. 1 tight end on the Week 1 depth chart released Monday.

But the 6-foot-5, 216-pound sophomore revealed this week he will play more of a flex-wide receiver role as opposed to acting as a more traditional, blocking tight end.

It’s a new position in Syracuse’s offense, brought over from Virginia by Robert Anae, who deployed Keytaon Thompson in a similar fashion and dubbed him “football player.”
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SU gears up for Louisville in football opener (thenewshouse.com; Del Trecco)

College football will be back in Syracuse. On September 3rd, fans will return to the JMA Wireless Dome to watch the Orange take on the Louisville Cardinals. Starting with an ACC opponent right away will be a tall task that could set the tone for the rest of the campaign.

“This will be the very first time that both teams have been playing each other as healthy as you can be,” Babers said. “Obviously we’re going to have injuries coming out of camp and they’re going to have injuries coming out of camp, but the entire football team this is the healthiest we’ve ever been.”

Offensive Challenges

Babers called Louisville quarterback Malik Cunningham, calling him special, and said how the team doesn’t have anybody like him who can even emulate him in practice.

“When he steps on the field, he’s traditionally the best football player on the field on both sides. I would have the tendency to agree with that. He’s that explosive and he can change the game.”

Syracuse defensive tackle Caleb Okechukwu talked further about Cunningham’s development, and how he plans to get to Cunningham early.

“When you look at him you think he’s a runner, but I think last year he was an accurate passer as well so now that gives you both points. You can’t just worry about just the run cause he can hurt you with his arm too,” Okechukwu said.

“You know he’s [Cunningham’s] going to have his good plays cause he’s one of the best dual threat quarterbacks not just in the conference, but probably in the country,” Syracuse cornerback Garrett Williams said.

Williams also talked about the best way to limit the damage Cunningham can cause.

“Just limiting those big plays, just communicating in the secondary I feel like we can force him to take things like shorter route dink and dunk – make him work down the field instead of chunk plays we’ll be successful,” Williams said.
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Paul Rogers "Orange Nation" 8-31 (ESPN; radio; Orange Nation)

Paul Rogers, voice of the Louisville Cardinals, joins Steve and Paulie to preview the Cardinals’ season and their opener against Syracuse this Saturday.

On The Block On Demand 8-31 (ESPN; radio; Axe)

Brent discusses how people in Louisville are approaching the matchup with the Orange and their confidence heading into the season opener. Later, Josh joins Brent to make some bets on the Syracuse football season.

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Sep 18, 2021; Syracuse, New York, USA; Syracuse Orange defensive lineman Cody Roscoe (18) sacks Albany Great Danes quarterback Jeff Undercuffler (13) during the second half at the Carrier Dome. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Defense & Special Teams — 2022 Syracuse Football preview - The Juice Online (the juice; Stechschulte)

DEFENSIVE LINE
:

The defensive line will have a very fresh look this season, as it is going through almost a complete overhaul. Josh Black, Curtis Harper, Kingsley Jonathan, Cody Roscoe, and McKinley Williams are all gone, leaving Caleb Okechukwu as the most experienced player on the unit. Okechukwu had a pair of starts in 2021 and has appeared in every game in the last two seasons, logging 21 tackles and recovering a fumble last year. He will start at one defensive end spot.

Terry Lockett will line up next to Okechukwu on the inside of the defense’s 3-3-5 alignment. Lockett saw action in all but one game as a freshman last year as a rotational player at defensive tackle, logging 12 tackles and two sacks during the campaign. Kevon Darton, who recently earned a scholarship from the Orange program, will also be a part of the interior rotation. Darton had nine stops last season in limited action while appearing in all 12 games.

Beyond those three, the personnel on the defensive line are very, very raw. Jatius Geer played in only the Albany game last season, but is listed as the other starting defensive end. True freshman Dennis Jaquez Jr. and redshirt freshman Chase Simmons are the reserve defensive ends to start the campaign.

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Syracuse’s Passing Game Will Determine 2022 Success – Orange Fizz – Daily Syracuse Recruiting News & Team Coverage (orangefizz.net; Frank)

As seen in the countdown of the top ten most important players to Syracuse football in 2022, the offense was highlighted significantly. But, when it comes to a unit, or overall gameplan, how SU fares on passing downs and situations will determine how many games this team wins and how far they go in 2022.

Garrett Shrader’s numbers last season are not the most pretty, but he had his moments. Strong games against Florida State, Wake Forest, and Virginia Tech laid the foundation and was a view into what a fully developed passer Garrett Shrader can become. With Robert Anae and Jason Beck in the fold to help and after a full offseason of work, that potential can be realized and put into play.

Anae and Beck led a Virginia offense that put up astronomical numbers last season. The Cavaliers ranked just outside the top 20 nationally in points per game, third in yards per game, and were top ten in yards per play. The Orange ranked near 100th in the country in all of those categories last season.

It has been made brutally clear that SU has an extremely tough schedule this season. The Orange have to take advantage of having four of their first five games of the season at home, and although they will be tough, you need to win at least three of the first five to have a chance at a bowl game, at best.
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Syracuse football 2022 opponent preview: Boston College Eagles (TNIAAM; Ostrowski)

Well... you made it. Not only is this the final Syracuse Orange football opponent to cover, it’s also being released right before Week 1 of College Football gets underway! If you missed any previous previews, they’re linked for your convenience: Louisville, UConn, Purdue, Virginia, Wagner, NC State, Clemson, Notre Dame, Pitt, Florida State, and Wake Forest.

So at long last, we conclude our season breakdown with...

Boston College Eagles

School: Boston College

Mascot: Eagles

#BRAND Slogans: #WeAreBC, #ForBoston, #GetIn

Alternate #BRAND Slogan Suggestions: #TheArtOfSixWins, #ForASuburbOfBoson, or “Remember when the Patriots played here, then left for Harvard?”

Recommended Blog: BC Interruption

Conference: ACC

History vs. Syracuse: The Orange lead the Eagles 32-22 all-time and 6-4 since joining the ACC. We’ll see if history repeats itself, as in both 2004 and 2013, SU took down BC in the final game of the regular season to earn bowl eligibility. ‘Cuse hasn’t traveled to Chestnut Hill since the finale of the 2018 season - their last bowl year, fittingly enough. The longest Syracuse winning streak in the series is six games from 1987-1992.
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Smith: Syracuse football’s failures have cost it a seat at the big table (DO; Smith)

The year is 1987. And for the first time in nearly three decades, Syracuse football is in national championship contention. SU has a quarterback in the Heisman Trophy race, plays regularly in front of a packed crowd in the Carrier Dome and will appear in the Sugar Bowl on New Year’s Day.

Now think about 2037. The Atlantic Coast Conference’s TV contract has just expired, there’s only two power conferences and the Orange are left outside the group of college football powerhouses. They have no access to a national championship or any major bowl games and play a slate of games against other programs left behind in realignment. Syracuse’s TV revenue pales in comparison to the Big Ten teams — like Rutgers, Penn State and Maryland — it beat up on 50 years prior.

Football drives realignment. After Texas and Oklahoma bolted to the Southeastern Conference in 2021 and USC and UCLA announced they would join the Big Ten this summer, Syracuse is facing a harsh reality given the current state of its football program.

“I don’t know if that’s inevitable or not,” Director of Athletics John Wildhack said in July when asked if SU could be left out of a power conference. “It clearly could go that way.” When asked for further comment from Widhack about realignment, an SU spokesperson redirected a comment request to the ACC.
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Louisville Preparing for Retooled Syracuse Offensive Scheme Under New OC - Sports Illustrated Louisville Cardinals News, Analysis and More (SI; McGavic)

Ever since Scott Satterfield took over as the head coach of the Louisville football program, and really since the Cardinals joined the Atlantic Coast Conference back in 2014, they have dominated the series against Syracuse. Louisville is 7-1 against Syracuse since they joined the ACC, with Satterfield being a perfect 3-0.

On top of lighting up the scoreboard on offense, in their last two matchups, Louisville has kept Syracuse completely in check on defense. The Cardinals won 30-0 in 2020 for their first shutout over a Power Five opponent since 2004, then followed up that up with a 41-3 drubbing last season.

Both seasons, the Orange featured Sterlin Gilbert as their offensive coordinator, and their lack of success moving the ball wasn't just against Louisville. In 2021, Syracuse ranked 86th in total offense at 371.7 yards per game, as well as 91st in scoring offense at 24.9 points per game.

Following the end of last season, Cuse head coach Dino Babers made some changes in his offensive staff. He opted not to retain Gilbert, and brought in former Virginia offensive coordinator Robert Anae. Babers also hired quarterbacks coach Jason Beck, who also came from UVA.

For Louisville, preparing for a Syracuse team that has the potential to have a very different offensive scheme, in the first week of the season, presents a unique challenge.
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Malik Cunningham has a Mikel Jones quote in his locker (Louisville scouting report) (PS; $; Leiker)

Speaking at the ACC Kickoff podium in July, Mikel Jones made a statement that seemingly downplayed Malik Cunningham’s prowess as a quarterback.

At least, that’s how a tweet containing part of the Syracuse football linebacker’s quote made it seem.

A TV reporter from Louisville shared that Jones had said he didn’t see facing Cunningham “as much of a challenge.” The tweet garnered 100 quote tweets and dozens of replies many of which questioned or made fun of Jones’ statement.

Days later, the Louisville QB posted a photo to his Instagram Story of the tweet printed out and taped front and center in his locker.

If you listened in to the Twitter Space earlier, here’s the screenshot of Louisville QB Malik Cunningham’s Instagram Story posted earlier this summer which @Alexis_Cubit mentioned.

The quote comes from SU linebacker Mikel Jones’ time at the podium at ACC Kickoff. pic.twitter.com/PbtSVHXihK
— emily leiker (@emleiker) August 30, 2022

Jones was ejected for targeting in the second quarter of SU’s 2021 loss to Louisville. His quote, in full, paid a little more respect to Syracuse’s Week 1 opponent than the snippet shared to social media.

“We see it as a good opportunity,” he said. “We don’t think it’s going to be a tough challenge. We’re excited to play those guys the first week.”
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#FakeNunes previews Syracuse vs Louisville (TNIAAM; Wall)

It’s Wednesday, so you know what that means... time for the blog that gives you the internet’s most ridiculous college football preview series- it’s #FakeNunes time. Have we found some creative ways to get #jokesandgarbage into a Syracuse Orange preview? Probably not but if one of you chuckles this is a success in our book.

Now onto this week’s opponent

Opponent: Louisville Cardinals

Location: Louisville, KY

Students: 14,448 students who can’t believe Scott Satterfield lasted longer than Chris Mack

The 2022 Fake Nunes Statistical Index (#FNSI)

We continue to look to innovate our analytics model so we here’s what the lab cooked up for this season.

The Great One Hair Factor

In order to maintain our status as #CanadasCollegeTeam, each week we look at who is wearing #99 and determine who has the better salad.

Syracuse’s Elijah Fuentes-Cundiff has a great beard but that cut’s not flowing out the back of any Jofa. Louisville’s Dezmond Tell will definitely draw your eyes in the pre-game warm-ups.
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Syracuse Sets Uniform Combo For Season Opener vs Louisville (SI; McAllister)


Syracuse football has announced its uniform combination for the season opener against Louisville. Syracuse will wear its traditional orange helmet, blue jersey, orange pants combo. The helmet, of course, will feature the block S while the jersey will have the word "Orange" in orange letters and the number in white with orange outline.

Louisville also announced its week one uniform combination. The Cardinals will wear red helmets, white jerseys and red pants. The helmet will feature the Cardinal logo in white, while the jersey will have red lettering/numbering outlined in black.
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Syracuse Football: Orange’s keys to take down Louisville in season opener (itlh; Adler)

Syracuse football heads into its 2022 season opener on the Hill this Saturday evening as a betting underdog versus fellow Atlantic Coast Conference team Louisville.

A year ago, the Orange dropped three in a row to end 2021 at 5-7 overall. The Cardinals finished at 6-7, although that included a close setback in a bowl game.

Both squads, in 2021, fell multiple times to opponents in tight-knit contests that could have gone either way.

As we look ahead to the upcoming campaign, Louisville is projected to finish higher in the Atlantic Coast Conference standings than the ‘Cuse, but the Orange has an opportunity here to grab some momentum at the onset of 2022.

Here are the keys for Syracuse football to dispatch of the Cardinals.

First up, to me, is that the ‘Cuse could really use a big play early on in this encounter. Syracuse football is opening a stanza in Central New York for the first time since 2017.

Head coach Dino Babers believes that the student section will be rocking, and if the Orange could grab a touchdown, a turnover – something to get the home crowd riled up in the game’s first few minutes – I think that would prove huge.

As we noted in another recent column, Louisville has the ability to score points in droves, or at least it did a season ago.
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Syracuse Football: Otto’s Army is ‘going to be crazy out there,’ coach says (itlh; Adler)

Syracuse football is opening a season on the Hill for the first time dating back to 2017, and head coach Dino Babers expects the student section to be boisterous, excited, loud – heck, even crazy (in a good way).

I’m hopeful that the student section, which as we all know is referred to as Otto’s Army, and the rest of the newly renamed JMA Wireless Dome will prove a sea of Orange-colored fans as the ‘Cuse welcomes fellow Atlantic Coast Conference squad Louisville to Central New York this Saturday evening to kick off the 2022 campaign.


While a contingent of national experts is forecasting a low win total for the ‘Cuse this fall, I’m fairly high on Syracuse football in 2022, despite the 5-7 mark a stanza ago and an upcoming slate that, on paper, looks quite challenging.

Putting that aside, there is a lot to like about the current Orange roster on both ends of the field. The Cardinals, with their stellar dual-threat quarterback Malik Cunningham, present a tough opening opponent for the ‘Cuse, and Babers says the Orange will need students and other fans to show up and show out to give the team a jolt this Saturday.
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On Sports: Syracuse football fans not juiced up about team's future (auburnpub.com; Sciria)

Did you know the Syracuse University football team's season starts Saturday?

Do you care?

A few die-hard Orange fans may be heading to the Dome (I don't plan on using the new name, sorry new sponsor) on Saturday night to see Syracuse take on, umm, let me check, oh yeah, Louisville.

It'll be interesting to see how many come out to support the Orange and in all seriousness, the players deserve all the support they can get.
If you plan on watching from home, make sure you have the ACC Network. You didn't think this game was going to air on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU or even ESPN The Ocho (Again sorry, another lame attempt at humor).

The Cardinals are 4 1/2 point favorites but as we know, you can't bet on New York-based college teams here. Too bad because that's another reason why some fans will pass on watching.

The word being tossed around central New York to describe the Syracuse football program is apathy and it's accurate. The Orange have been basically irrelevant in the sport from the day Donovan McNabb played his last game. There have been some bright spots over the last 20+ years but they've been few and far between.
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Opponent Breakdown: Syracuse Orange Defense (cardchronicle.com; Wynne)

Tony White is in his third season as the Syracuse defensive coordinator and he has made a major impact during his time at the helm. The Orange has improved across the board each season and his players are starting to get recognition for their production. White’s 3-3-5 scheme is tough to prepare for and he now has the talent needed to deploy it at its best. With the youth of the defense last season, White has to be excited about what his defense can be with more experience.

The defensive line is the one position group that will have a facelift this season. The starting group has moved on and the depth that they utilized last year will have to step up. This scheme needs the defensive linemen to be more disruptive than productive but it has to be noted that they return nearly no production from the defensive line last year. Steve Linton is the best bet when it comes to rushing the passer. Linton has good length and should be comfortable in the system as a third-year player. Terry Lockett is the key player in the middle. At 270 pounds, he could get pushed around by UofL’s size.

Linebacker is where the Orange are at their best. Mikel Jones is a star at middle linebacker and he does it all for the defense. Jones led the team in tackles, tackles for loss, and finished the year with four sacks. Jones took advantage of a defensive line that cleared out space for him but he is also very athletic and fast. He hasn’t played very against Louisville but after his bulletin board material from ACC media days, I’m sure he will want to show out.

Stefon Thompson and Marlowe Maxe flank Jones and both were very productive when they were on the field last season. Thompson has great speed for a player his size and he has a knack for making plays around the line of scrimmage. Thompson finished the season with 6 sacks and 2 forced fumbles. He will likely see a lot of Marshon Ford on Saturday and that will be a key matchup in the run game.
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Taylor Prepares for First Game as Offensive Coordinator - University of Louisville Athletics (gocards.com)

Looking ahead to his debut as the University of Louisville offensive coordinator, Lance Taylor is excited for the veteran presence and depth on the offensive side of the football.

The Cardinals offense will be matched up against a Syracuse defense that is returning eight of 11 starters from last season.

"That (Syracuse) is a havoc creating defense, when you look at what they do," Taylor said. "They create negative plays by penetrating, by blitzing, by creating different looks up front but also on the back end. We have to be locked into our keys, not only from the quarterback position, but from all positions offensively to make sure that we know look they are giving us."

With redshirt senior quarterback Malik Cunningham at the helm, Taylor said he is looking for the captain to make a jump in his leadership ability

"(I want to see him) continue to develop in leadership. I think he has done a great job in fall camp, but its easy when the lights aren't on, you're not in a game, and the pressure," Taylor said. "I think we all play this game with passion, especially Malik, he has a ton of passion and excitement for this game and sometimes its how you channel that."

Cunningham is 20 total touchdowns away from breaking Lamar Jackson's school record for total career touchdowns responsible for.

As far as the wide receiver room goes, Taylor said he is confident in the chemistry that has been formed between Cunningham and his pass catchers over the offseason.

"They developed that (chemistry) during the offseason," Taylor said. "Our guys got together three days a week early to throw extra. They've watched film this week together on Syracuse. That's how you build that chemistry and bond is just by spending time with each other."

Leadership and attitude are two things Taylor said have impressed him from the wide receivers, especially the Cards top six guys.

"I think we have a group of guys that are bought in to what we are preaching and what we're selling," Taylor said "They've stayed after, worked extra hard so I feel confident in our top six guys, I really like the group that we have."
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(youtube.com; video; College Football Picks and Predictions)

Louisville head coach Scott Satterfield will be fighting for his job his year after 2 tough seasons leading the Cardinals. The Orange are led by dual threat QB Garrett Schrader and All America running back Sean Tucker, who are a potent combination, combining for 2,277 rushing yards and 26 touchdowns on the ground last year. Who is the right NCAAF pick?

‎Locked On Syracuse - Daily Podcast On Syracuse Orange Football & Basketball: Questions We Need Answered In The Syracuse Football Opener on Apple Podcasts (apple.com; podcast; Locked on Syracuse)

Matt Bonaparte and Owen Valentine take a look at the questions still lingering heading into week one of the Syracuse Football season. As the Orange take on a tough Louisville Cardinals squad, find out the questions that need to be answered on your Thursday Episode.


Syracuse Orange Preview 2022: Season Prediction, Breakdown, Key Games, Players (CFN; Fiutak)

Syracuse Orange Season Prediction, What Will Happen

On the plus side, going 5-7 in 2021 was a huge improvement after the 1-10 2020 disaster.

There’s too much experience and talent on offense to be as bad over the second half of the season like last year’s version was, and the defense should be fine once the line finds the right rotation.

This is hardly a perfect team, and it’s going to be tinkering a bit too much considering there’s a fantastic running game in place to work around, but it’s desperation time. Dino Babers needs a big season, and he and the staff will pull out all the stops.

The problem is a schedule that isn’t going to help the cause.

SET THE SYRACUSE ORANGE REGULAR SEASON WIN TOTAL AT … 5

Not getting Duke or Georgia Tech from the Coastal hurts, but missing Miami, North Carolina, and Virginia Tech isn’t a bad thing.

Clemson is almost certainly a loss no matter what, so that might as well be on the road. That isn’t the problem – the date with NC State before and having to play Notre Dame right after is the issue.

After that brutal three game stretch is a November with three road games in the final four dates, and none of them – Pitt, Wake Forest, Boston College – will be easy.

That means the Orange have to beat Louisville to start the season. they have to take out UConn and Wagner without a problem, and they need to come up with a few key home wins against – possibly – Virginia and Florida State.

And even with all of that, the team has to come up with something it just can’t seem to do on a regular basis under Babers – win a few games it’s not supposed to.

It’ll work its way to five wins, but for the second time in three years, getting the sixth will be way too tough.
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Phillips: ACC on right path, but hot start will help (ESPN; Adelson & Hale)

After an offseason filled with questions about the future of the Atlantic Coast Conference, commissioner Jim Phillips told ESPN on Wednesday that he feels "really, really good about the trajectory" of the league.

Changing the narrative surrounding the conference begins Thursday night, when Pitt hosts West Virginia in a renewal of the Backyard Brawl rivalry. With ESPN College GameDay on-site, the game begins a weekend where the ACC will be showcased nationally with 12 games across five days -- including another marquee Power 5 nonconference matchup on Sunday night between Florida State and LSU.

The ACC traditionally has scheduled tough nonconference games over the first three weeks of the season, but with the ACC going 1-10 in Week 1 against Power 5 nonconference opponents since 2018, it has set in motion a narrative about the conference as a whole that is hard to break.

Phillips understands what it means to get wins in these national spotlight games.

"I'm proud of how we've looked at scheduling. It creates a narrative that is hard to put a value on, especially early in the season," Phillips told ESPN in a phone interview. "You start -- fairly or unfairly -- to be molded into what they think your season can be and the type of team you have, so it's important for us to get off to a good start. I hope that we will.

"If we don't, it won't mean that we don't have a bunch of really good teams. But it certainly gets you off on a fast start and puts you in position to create the narrative about your programs [if you win], and the success that you may have throughout the year."

Much has been made about the ACC's place in the Power 5 hierarchy, especially after realignment moves made by the Big Ten and SEC over the past year. The ACC is currently working on ways to enhance revenue streams.

Said Phillips multiple times: "We're going to look at all options that could further strengthen our conference."

The Big Ten recently signed a seven-year media rights deal worth more than $7 billion, and Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren did not rule out "perpetual and future growth" in an interview with HBO's "Real Sports."
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Teel: ACC football needs to deliver on considerable preseason hype (roanoke.com; Teel)

Rarely has ACC football been accorded such preseason regard, and rarely has the conference so desperately needed to deliver on that promise.

The incessant offseason analysis of the league’s revenue challenges? Speculation that some members are searching for escape hatches in the grant of media rights?

Reminders of last year’s nonconference setbacks to the likes of Jacksonville State, Charlotte, Northern Illinois and Western Michigan?

None will abate if ACC football endures a second consecutive trying season.
After Saturday’s routine victories by Florida State over Duquesne and North Carolina over Florida A&M, the season hits overdrive in the next four weeks with 32 nonleague contests. Among the most intriguing are West Virginia-Pittsburgh, North Carolina-Appalachian State, Florida State-LSU, Tennessee-Pitt, Virginia-Illinois, Miami-Texas A&M, Texas Tech-N.C. State, West Virginia-Virginia Tech and Notre Dame-UNC.

By now you’ve likely seen the preseason media and coaches polls. Each ranks five ACC teams in the top 25: Clemson, N.C. State, Pitt, Miami and Wake Forest. Only the SEC, with six, has more.


Not bad for a conference that last season finished without a top-10 squad for the first time since 2011, missed the College Football Playoff for the first time and went 8-18 versus its Power Five peers.

This marks the first preseason since 2017 that five ACC squads grace the polls, and only the second time Wake Forest has ever been included, the latter a tribute to the program Dave Clawson and his staff have assembled.

As the lone ACC teams to win at least nine games last year, Clemson, N.C. State, Pitt and Wake expected the preseason accolades, the Deacons despite the undisclosed medical condition that has sidelined quarterback Sam Hartman (39 passing touchdowns and 11 rushing TDs in 2021) indefinitely.
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How "Neutral" is UGA/OU, really? (RX; HM)

How "Neutral" is UGA/OU, really?

Before you call this year's Chick-fil-A Kickoff between the Oregon Ducks and the Georgia Bulldogs a "neutral" site game, consider:

  • UGA is only 61 miles away, while U of Oregon is 2,189 miles away (nearly 36X further!)
  • UGA will receive a larger base payout ($5M to UGA, $4.5M to Oregon)
  • UGA received more tickets to sell - 43k to UGA vs. 6,052 for UO (including 10,276 more lower-level seats and an extra 7,538 mezzanine seats for the Dawgs)
Does that sound "neutral" to you?
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2022 Week 1 Upset Alert (RX; HM)

2022 Week 1 Upset Alert

This tweet from Big Game Boomer is actually worth repeating:

Teams On Serious Upset Alert This Week pic.twitter.com/YQFposJanF
— Big Game Boomer (@BigGameBoomer) August 30, 2022
So, who are these guys playing this week?

  • Oklahoma State hosts Central Michigan
  • Penn State visits Purdue
  • NC State visits East Carolina
  • Iowa hosts S. Dakota State
  • Indiana hosts Illinois
  • N. Carolina visits App. State
  • Houston visits UT-San Antonio
  • San Diego St hosts Arizona
  • Utah visits Florida
  • Miss. State hosts Memphis
  • S. Carolina hosts Georgia State
  • Oregon State hosts Boise State
The Wolfpack and the Tar Heels both play tough in-state G5 teams on the road, but quite a few of these "upset alert" teams are at home this weekend (looking at you, Gamecocks!).
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The Brawl is Back! (RX; HM)


The Brawl is Back!

Is it any surprise what the cover story is for Sports Illustrated today?

On the 15-year anniversary of “13-9,” the Backyard Brawl is back. And so too are the nightmares from Dec. 1 2007
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Changing the Narrative (RX; HM)

Changing the Narrative

In an article about an interview with the ACC commissioner by Andrea Adelson and David M. Hale, they make the point that the ACC will be

showcased nationally with 12 games across five days -- including another marquee Power 5 nonconference matchup on Sunday night between Florida State and LSU.
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Veteran QBs have ACC set for season of big offensive totals (wnct; AP)

Devin Leary hasn’t forgotten lessons that came as a first-year starting quarterback struggling just to consistently complete passes, much less avoid turnovers and move North Carolina State’s offense.

“I think one of the biggest things is pretty obvious,” the fifth-year QB said. “It’s hard to win games.”

Things look much rosier now for the preseason pick as Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year and his 13th-ranked Wolfpack. He’s part of a deep group of league quarterbacks who have moved past hard-lesson days to open this season as proven veterans. That could lead to a season full of big production from offenses set to thrive behind the experienced guys taking the snaps.

“We’ll see, it could be deceiving,” Leary said. “But I think going into every offseason with knowing who your starting quarterback is, that makes you feel a little bit better about your offense.”

In all, 12 of 14 teams have at least one quarterback with nine or more career starts, headlined by Louisville’s Malik Cunningham (38).

Duke and North Carolina are outliers, with the Blue Devils having one start from Riley Leonard for Mike Elko’s first season as coach. Mack Brown’s Tar Heels had a preseason battle to replace star Sam Howell before going with redshirt freshman Drake Maye, who became the first player in program history to throw for five touchdowns in his starting debut last weekend against Florida A&M.
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Other

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Alfonso Cubillos lets an audience member secure the chains wrapped around his chest, which he will snap as part of his Xtreme Strong Man Show.

The strong man. The farmer. The carnie. The dancer. Behind the scenes with the NYS Fair’s unsung heroes. (PS; Featherstone)


For a few bucks your child can ride a pony at the New York State Fair. You can watch a barrel-chested muscleman move a truck with his teeth. You can pet a llama (but not on its head).

It’s a joyful reprieve from the ordinary for the hundreds of thousands of people who walk through the fair’s gates each year.

But beneath the shiny, sticky surface of the fair lies a robust layer of lives — the people who crisscross the nation with goats or llamas or sometimes nothing in tow. They do the unglorious work that makes this big, wild festival so colorful.

Let’s meet some of them.

The strong man

A little over two weeks ago, Alfonso Cubillos, a 38-year-old native of Argentina now living in Florida, got a phone call from Wade Shows, the company that operates the fair’s midway. Their motorcycle stunt show had dropped out at the last minute, they said. Could Cubillos fill in?

The New York State Fair has a good reputation, Cubillos said. It was like being called up to the big leagues. So Cubillos and his girlfriend, Irene Espana, packed up their trailer and drove 1,400 miles north.

Everything unfolded so quickly that Cubillos’ show—the ‘Xtreme Strong Man Show’—located on a strip of grass adjacent to the midway, wasn’t initially listed in the fair’s program. That might explain why, on opening day, Cubillo’s debut performance had an audience of just four people, two of them fair employees.

“The first day, I was so nervous,” Cubillos said.

“But not when he’s doing the show,” Espana interjected. “People don’t know the inside, the real things.”

“I will do it if it’s one people or two people,” Cubillos said proudly. “I don’t cut anything.”

Both Cubillos and Espana hail from generations-old circus families. Espana traveled the world as a trapeze artist; Cubillos’ father was a tent boss, always on the move.
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