Co 2020-21 Iggy Award Winner MPG (special again)
- Aug 15, 2011
In 1970, when Wayne Hepburn's daughter, Lisa, was a child, she gave him a paperweight that had a base with a parade of elephants around it. He became interested in elephants and kept buying elephant figurines and other paraphernalia, learning more about elephants, and riding elephants. By the time Hepburn created Elephant Appreciation Day in 1996, he had thousands of elephant artifacts: figurines, books, toys, clothing items, jewelry, art, and music boxes.
Syracuse quarterbacks coach Jason Beck (right) during the Syracuse UConn game Sept 10, 2022. Dennis Nett | email@example.com
Beck’s ‘calming effect’ has turned his QBs into stars. Shrader looks like he’s next (PS; $; Leiker)
Despite playing and coaching one of the most high-pressure, scrutinized positions in football, Jason Beck has always been a calm guy.
He’s not one to scream on the sidelines or cuss out players when they mess up. Instead, he speaks in a measured voice and regroups with his quarterbacks after both good and bad plays.
“And I think the way he does it really resonates with people and quarterbacks and allows them to go out there and play freely,” Los Angeles Rams quarterback Bryce Perkins, one of Beck’s protégés, told syracuse.com. “I think that’s when people are at their best.”
Beck, who has turned several quarterbacks into national talents and has coached three current NFL players, is flexing his abilities once again with Garrett Shrader and Syracuse football.
Beck came to SU from Virginia with offensive coordinator Robert Anae, who he’s known since playing at BYU from 2004-06.
In six seasons on the same staff at Virginia, the pair created the powerhouse offensive trio of QB Brennan Armstrong and wide receivers Keytaon Thompson and Dontavyion Wicks, who they’ll face off against on Friday night when UVA travels to Syracuse.
Beck’s impact on the SU offense, particularly Shrader, was evident from early in the Orange’s season-opening win against Louisville.
Virginia's trip to Syracuse means facing former coaches Robert Anae, Jason Beck (richmond.com; Barber)
The freedom is both fun and effective.
A year after ranking last in the ACC in passing, Syracuse has become lethal through the air. And, the players said, a lot of that credit goes to the addition of two former Virginia
assistant coaches — offensive coordinator Robert Anae and quarterbacks coach Jason Beck.
“They bring that ‘Air Raid’-style of coaching,” said quarterback Garrett Shrader. “They give us the opportunity to make this offense our own. Not everything’s so technical. It gives guys the freedom to go out and play and make mistakes and also make a lot of plays.”
Shrader and the Orange (3-0, 1-0 ACC) have been making plenty of plays through the team’s first three games. Perhaps none has been bigger than Shrader’s 25-yard touchdown pass to Oronde Gadsden II with 7 seconds left last weekend to beat Purdue.
That game-winning play, Gadsden said, is the perfect encapsulation of Anae’s offensive philosophy, which stresses two key elements.
“Being able to separate is a big thing for him,” said Gadsden. “And knowing the quarterback, as soon as we separate, they’re going to hit us.”
Shrader ranks second in the league with eight touchdown passes this year, and the Orange are scoring 37 points per game going into Friday night’s meeting with Virginia (2-1) at the JMA Wireless Dome in central New York. A year after the Orange offense was a one-sided attack riding the talents of star running back Sean Tucker, it’s found balance under Anae and Beck.
Syracuse has run the ball 126 times and thrown it 82, averaging 408.3 yards.
Syracuse Orange running back Sean Tucker (34) during the Syracuse vs Purdue game at the JMA Wireless Dome, Sept. 17, 2022. Dennis Nett | firstname.lastname@example.org
Tucker Tracker: What’s keeping SU's star back from his first breakaway run? (PS; $; Leiker)
Sean Tucker has hit every level on his personal performance scale through three weeks of play for Syracuse football.
He was pleased with his performance against Louisville.
He felt OK with his performance against UConn.
He was not pleased with his performance against Purdue.
Through three weeks, Tucker has rushed for 254 yards and two touchdowns. To put that in perspective, he was already up to 367 yards and six touchdowns by this point last season, albeit against a relatively easier slate of opening opponents.
Perhaps a better indicator that something has been off: Tucker’s longest rush on the season is just 13 yards, compared to a long of 56 last season.
So what’s holding Tucker back from that first big breakout rush of the year?
“Not quite sure. It’s something that we definitely are putting under a microscope because we feel like it needs to change,” SU coach Dino Babers said Monday. “But defenses are coming out to stop him. He’s doing other things as well, but still those numbers need to be better.”
Tucker’s Heisman Trophy odds increased from 200/1 to 150/1 between Weeks 1 and 2 but have not changed since. SU launched a Heisman campaign for its returning All-American running back over the summer, using the hashtag #PL34SED as a nod to his postgame tweets in which he recaps his stats and judges his performance.
Some had suspected Tucker might have lingering issues from a minor injury he suffered during Syracuse’s 31-7 win against Louisville in Week 1. He left the game in the second quarter but returned after halftime, carrying the ball another 14 times.
Babers said that based on the amount of work Tucker does year-round, the running back is physically healthy.
Tucker wasn’t among the players who spoke with media following Saturday’s win against Purdue or after Tuesday’s practice.
There are a few non-injury explanations that can point to why Tucker hasn’t had a run this season that sets the JMA Wireless Dome on fire.
The obvious one is that Tucker is no longer a secret.
Axe: SU football’s star coaches remain mystery men. Why do fans rarely hear from them? (PS; $; Axe)
The two most significant voices that could be heard ahead of Friday night’s Syracuse-Virginia football game will remain silent this week.
Syracuse offensive coordinator Robert Anae and quarterbacks coach Jason Beck came here from Virginia after coaching the Cavaliers’ offense to a top-five ranking in the country last season.
Anae and Beck helped mold Virginia quarterback Brennan Armstrong into one of the best passers in the nation last year, and they are working their magic again with Garrett Shrader.
Both assistant coaches are two of the stars of a revamped staff that has spurred the team’s 3-0 start and quieted talk about Dino Babers’ job status.
Yet most wouldn’t know what they sound like even if they were using a bullhorn outside your bedroom window.
Syracuse fans have barely heard a public whisper from defensive coordinator Tony White in three seasons on his 3-3-5 defense producing NFL talent, the art of confusing offenses or even what his favorite place to grab a sandwich is in Syracuse.
Bleav in Syracuse Episode 46: Virginia Preview (SI; podcast; Bleav)
Breaking down the matchup between the Orange and Cavaliers.
- MIKE MCALLISTER
- 1 HOUR AGO
Bleav in Syracuse podcast episode 46, presented by Bet Online and Hofmann Sausage Company, is out! Syracuse is looking to start 4-0 and takes on Virginia in the JMA Wireless Dome Friday night. Wahoos247's Jacquie Franciulli joins the show to breakdown the matchup and give more insight on the Cavaliers. You can subscribe and listen on your favorite podcasting platforms as linked below.
How to watch, listen, stream and notes for Virginia's ACC opener vs. Syracuse (247sports.com; Curran)
Virginia (2-1) faces perhaps its toughest opponent yet on Friday against undefeated Syracuse (3-0). The Cavaliers will take on not just Syracuse’s powerful running back Sean Tucker and their dual-threat quarterback Garrett Shrader, but also the challenges that come with playing in the JMA Wireless Dome.
Defensive coordinator John Rudzinski noted that just one player has played in the dome with a few crowd.
“Anthony Johnson…he’s played up there,” Rudzinski said. “It was his first start as a freshman actually.” Johnson began his collegiate career at Louisville before transferring to Virginia last season.
UVA has not played at Syracuse since 2005, so without most of the players having experienced a dome, the Cavaliers will lean on the experiences of the coaching staff. Associate head coach and wide receivers coach Marques Hagans was the quarterback of that 2005 Virginia team that led the Cavaliers to a 27-24 win over the Orange.
Additionally, while coaching at Clemson, head coach Tony Elliott made multiple trips to what used to be called the Carrier Dome.
“They do a great job regardless of the size of the crowd. They find a way to make it loud in there," said Elliott.
Syracuse Football: Let’s all get stoked to go bowling in Boston or El Paso (itlh; Adler)
Yeah, yeah I know that bowl-game projections for the end of the 2022 season are super early at this juncture, but still, it’s nice to see that Syracuse football is garnering some attention on this topic.
After beating Big Ten Conference member Purdue over the weekend on a last-second touchdown to move to 3-0 in this young 2022 campaign, the Orange is preparing to host Virginia this Friday night and then Wagner on Saturday, Oct. 1.
The ‘Cuse, I think we all can agree, has a terrific chance in the near term to start out the current term at 5-0. But one game at a time, Neil. I know, I know.
In any event, multiple college football pundits and media outlets are projecting that the Orange will end up bowling later this year, and this pleases me.
Let’s look at where experts are forecasting Syracuse football to arrive during bowl season.
Jerry Palm of CBS Sports is placing the ‘Cuse in the Wasabi Fenway Bowl on Saturday, Dec. 17, in Boston. Palm has the Orange squaring off against Memphis out of the American Athletic Conference.
To date in the 2022 stanza, the Tigers have a 2-1 overall record. Memphis fell to Mississippi State but has conquered both Navy and Arkansas State.
Brett McMurphy of the Action Network also predicts that Syracuse football will suit up in the Wasabi Fenway Bowl. However, he has the Orange going toe to toe with Cincinnati, which also is a member of the American Athletic Conference.
The Bearcats, a squad that earned a berth in the most recent College Football Playoff, are 2-1 so far in 2022. Cincinnati lost in a close game at nationally ranked Arkansas, while the Bearcats smoked both Kennesaw State and Miami (Ohio).
For what it’s worth, McMurphy says that Cincinnati would be a 7.5-point betting favorite against Syracuse football in the Wasabi Fenway Bowl.
Meet The Enemy: Virginia’s Facts and Players to Know – Orange Fizz – Daily Syracuse Recruiting News & Team Coverage (orangefizz.net; Griffin)
After taking down Purdue last week, Syracuse has a chance to be 4-0 for the first time since 2018. To do so, SU will have to take on an opponent it hasn’t seen in the Dino Babers era: Virginia. The last time these two schools met was in the final year of the Scott Shafer era, and the Cavaliers won a 44-38 3OT thriller over the Orange. Despite that win, UVA has revenge on its mind for this matchup.
SEASON/PROGRAM OVERVIEWVirginia has a completely different look this season after the departures of former Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall and Offensive Coordinator Robert Anae. While Mendenhall called an end to his career, Anae wasn’t finished. The Hawaii native is now on Dino Babers’ staff. That sets up a clash between old friends this weekend.
This year’s iteration of the Cavaliers hasn’t had the same offensive punch as last year. UVA had the third-highest yardage per game in the FBS last season, but it has only topped 20 points once this season. That was against an FCS team in Richmond. Still, Virginia is 2-1 for the second straight year, and they would’ve gone bowling last year had COVID not caused the game to be canceled.
HEAD COACH TONY ELLIOTTElliott had never been a head coach before he arrived in Charlottesville. But, he did work under one of the best in the country in Dabo Swinney for over a decade. An offensive-minded coach, Elliott held a multitude of positions during his time in South Carolina, including working as the coach of both the running backs and receivers. Towards the end of his time at Clemson, Elliott saw duties as both offensive coordinator and associate head coach under Swinney. While his offense hasn’t looked great in his first three games, he’s got plenty of experience as an assistant to succeed as a head coach.
QB BRENNAN ARMSTRONGUnder Anae, Armstrong was one of the most prolific quarterbacks in the country last year. The Ohio native broke the program record for passing yards in a game and season as well as the single-season passing touchdown mark. But through three games this season, Armstrong’s arm hasn’t been as strong. The mark of 710 passing yards isn’t bad, but he has more interceptions (3) than touchdowns (2). Armstrong is also completing just 53% of his passes. He was at 65% a season ago. Armstrong certainly hasn’t looked like himself in the early going.
WR KEYTAON THOMPSONThompson burst onto the scene in a big way last season, nearly accumulating 1,000 receiving yards. His mark of 12.7 yards per catch wasn’t too shabby either. But there is one significant flaw to Thompson’s game: he struggles to find the end zone. The New Orleans native only found paydirt once a year ago and has yet to find it in 2022. Thompson has been Elliott’s go-to wideout so far, and he’ll make life tough for the Orange secondary despite his struggles to score.
LB NICK JACKSONJackson has been wreaking havoc for opposing offenses this season. The two-time All-ACC linebacker has done a little bit of everything for Elliott this year. He leads the team in tackles, has a sack, and has a pair of pass breakups. Syracuse star RB Sean Tucker has been slow out of the gate. Jackson will make life difficult for Tucker as he tries to burst out of his slump.
How Syracuse football adopted a 'mob' mentality (spectrumsports.com; MacWilliam)
It’s all about the mindset for the Orange.
“You guys hear me say 'mob' every day, right?" Syracuse defensive lineman Caleb Okechukwu said. "I think that’s just something that we embody every day. But it starts in practice, which is what I see on game day, how we are in practice, and it’s probably even crazier in practice.”
But what exactly is the mob mentality?
What You Need To Know
- Thanks to an aggressive mindset, Syracuse football is off to a 3-0 start
- The Orange call it 'mob' mentality
- The trio that coined the term are Marlow Wax, Ja'Had Carter and Caleb Okechukwu
“Being aggressive," Syracuse defensive back Ja'Had Carter said. "Always flying to the ball and having that mentality nobody scores on us. But it’s really good to see, not only the defensive guys, but some of the offensive guys buy into the mob mentality too. That’s keeping us together and strong, so whatever we’ve got to do to do that.”
It’s a phrase coined by Okechukwu, Carter and Marlowe Wax.
All three hail from the Washington, D.C. area. The trio have all made an impact for the Orange on the field, but are getting fans involved off the field as well by starting the Mob Podcast, which provides an inside look into the team that has had incredible success.
“It actually surprised me a little bit," Carter said. "We had for a little bit been calling ourselves the mob. We put way more emphasis into it and stuff like that, and it’s kind of spread, so it shocked me a little bit.”
In a day and age when athletes' voices can be powerful tools, Carter said it’s a great way for fans to put a face behind the number and get to know who they are off the field.
“It’s a fun way for fans to see us outside the game, hear our regular voices, see how goofy we are and see how we are as a whole. And moving forward, I think it really can grow, like once we leave college. You never really know what’s going to come down the road,” Carter said.
Virginia vists unbeaten Syracuse on Friday night (eagletribune.com; AP)
Virginia (2-1, 0-0 ACC) at Syracuse (3-0, 1-0), Friday, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Line: Syracuse by 9 1/2, according to FanDuel .
Series record: Virginia leads 3-2.
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
The unbeaten Orange are coming off a last-second win over Purdue in which the Boilermakers stuffed Orange tailback Sean Tucker, holding him to 42 yards on 18 carries for his first game this season under 100 yards. Syracuse has to address that if it hopes to retain its unblemished record and get to 2-0 in the conference play for the first time since becoming an ACC member in 2013. Virginia also is coming off a last-second win — 16-14 over FBS foe Old Dominion. This game is the conference opener for the Cavaliers and new coach Tony Elliott.
The Syracuse offense against the Virginia defense. Syracuse quarterback Garrett Shrader has completed 66.2% of his throws for 709 yards and eight touchdowns and has zero turnovers. The Virginia defense is ranked 57th nationally, allowing 349 yards per game, and has eight sacks.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Virginia: QB Brennan Armstrong. He hasn't looked like the prolific passer of last season in the Cavaliers' new balanced offense but he rallied the team with a game-winning drive that included a 30-yard completion and 13-yard run against Old Dominion. If he finds his form of last season, balance might become less of a priority.
Syracuse: WR/TE Oronde Gadsden II. Last year Orange receivers had only seven touchdown catches the entire season. Gadsden already has three this season and is tied for the team lead in receptions with Tucker at 12 apiece. Gadsden also leads the Orange with 16.08 yards per catch.
FACTS & FIGURES
Armstrong had two of Virginia's three lost fumbles against the Monarchs, and one of his and one by tailback Mike Hollins came inside the opposing 10 yard-line. ... Syracuse is one of only four FBS teams to have not committed a turnover this season, along with top-ranked Georgia, James Madison and USC. The Orange defense has three interceptions and three fumble recoveries. ... Virginia won the last meeting between the teams, 44-38 in triple overtime in 2015. ... Tucker is within 10 yards of Heisman Trophy winner Ernie Davis (3,386) on Syracuse’s all-time rushing list.
The toughest test of the season awaits Virginia football at Syracuse (cavalierdaily.com; Smythe)
With three weeks of non-conference play under its belt, Virginia will look to start off strong in a matchup against ACC opponent Syracuse. The second road game of the year for the Cavaliers (2-1, 0-0 ACC) entails a Friday night contest against a team that has surpassed expectations early into the season.
Due to the separation of the ACC into two divisions — the Atlantic and Coastal — this will be the first meeting since 2015 between the Orange (3-0, 1-0 ACC) and the Cavaliers, a game Virginia won 44-38 in a three-overtime thriller.
Plenty of buzz surrounds this long-awaited clash between the Orange and the Cavaliers. Senior quarterback Brennan Armstrong will aim to get back on track after an unusually slow start to the season, while Syracuse will feature a new offense — a high-scoring unit with an explosive pass game — that shares an uncanny resemblance to that of Virginia in 2021. Expect an emotionally-driven game thanks to some coaching moves that affected both the Cavaliers and the Orange.
Syracuse offensive coordinator Robert Anae and quarterback coach Jason Beck
After former Virginia Coach Bronco Mendenhall decided to resign last season, the bulk of his coaching staff pressed the reset button by searching for jobs elsewhere. Unfortunately for the Cavaliers, quarterback coach Jason Beck — who has received acclaim for his tutelage of Armstrong and former Cavalier quarterback Bryce Perkins — and offensive coordinator Robert Anae chose Syracuse as their next destination. Despite Virginia fans’ largely mixed feelings towards Anae, Beck was undoubtedly a member of the staff who many wanted to retain. The duo’s departure has evidently left a mark on this year’s roster, as the offense has taken a sharp dip from where it was in 2021.
Syracuse’s junior quarterback Garrett Shrader — who played in 12 games last season for the Orange — has already tallied nearly half of his passing yards from 2021 through three games. The dual threat quarterback may remind Virginia fans of Armstrong, who thrived under Beck and Anae’s system as a runner and passer. Shrader’s passer rating has skyrocketed — from 113.7 to 177.9 in only one year — and his eight passing touchdowns are only one shy of his total amount from last season. The dramatic improvement by Syracuse’s offensive unit only shows the effect that Beck and Anae have had on their new roster, an unfortunate sign for a Cavalier team which has taken a step back from its former production.
Virginia’s wide receiving corps’ struggles
Senior wide receiver Keytaon Thompson and junior wide receivers Lavel Davis and Dontayvion Wicks were ready to make a splash come 2022. However, the offense has often sputtered and the unit which spurred Armstrong on to so much success has looked like a shell of themselves.
Sciria: Syracuse University football team's 3-0 start changes the conversation (auburnpub.com; Sciria)
Well then, how about that?
The Syracuse University football team is 3-0, its best start in four years. Last Saturday's thrilling victory at the JMA Wireless Dome (there, I said it), was the kind of game that gets the community talking and could end the, ahem, apathy around the program.
Amazing how in less than a month the Orange have gone from "afterthought" to "I thought they had a chance to go 3-0."
Give Syracuse coach Dino Babers the credit, so far he has done a nice job preparing his team to play and his new assistant coaches have done well.
The biggest difference has to be the play of starting quarterback Garrett Shrader. A lot of us thought the offense was going to run through running back Sean Tucker since Shrader struggled throwing the ball last season. Instead, the Orange are using Shrader as a dual threat.
Shrader has completed 51 of 77 passes (66%) for 709 yards and eight touchdowns. Even more important, not one interception as the Orange haven't turned over the ball a single time in the first three games. Shrader has carried the ball 46 times for 201 yards and three touchdowns.
Last season in 12 games, Shrader completed 52.6% of his passes for nine touchdowns and four interceptions. His improvement is the biggest reason why the Orange offense is clicking. The throw that Shrader made to Oronde Gadsden II for the winning touchdown last week against Purdue was as fine as any throw you'd see a NFL quarterback make, perfect timing and in the right spot for Gadsden to make the catch. Gadsden has been a wonderful surprise as a sophomore, 12 catches for 193 yards (16.1 yards per catch) and three touchdowns.
Virginia vs Syracuse Prediction, Game Preview (CFN; Fiutak)
Virginia vs Syracuse How To WatchDate: Friday, September 23
Game Time: 7:00 ET
Venue: JMA Wireless Dome, Syracuse, NY
How To Watch: ESPN
Record: Virginia (2-1), Syracuse (3-0)
Virginia vs Syracuse Game Preview
Why Virginia Will WinThe offense hasn’t cranked it up yet.
The parts are there. Brennan Armstrong is a good veteran quarterback who has been just okay, but the explosion isn’t there – there’s more this group can do.
It’s going to show up at some point, but it might not need to if the grinding running game can hit the 240-yard mark like it did in two of the first three games.
On the other side, Syracuse might be 3-0, and it might have a passing game now, but the ground attack that was so devastating last season has been just okay.
The Orange D has been awful on third downs, the 30 penalties in three games are too many, and …
Why Syracuse Will WinVirginia has a big, BIG problem with turnovers.
The eight giveaways spread out over the first three games have been part of the reason why the offense with all the high-powered talent has stalled.
The O line hasn’t been great, third down conversions have been like pulling teeth, and this isn’t the team to be playing against right now if everything isn’t working.
Syracuse is playing with some serious swag. It came out and rocked Louisville, didn’t panic late against Purdue, and it’s getting a hugely efficient passing year out of Garrett Shrader to do along with the running Sean Tucker, who hasn’t gotten going yet.
It also helps that …
What’s Going To HappenZero. That’s how many turnovers the Orange have given up so far.
That’s going to change relatively soon – expect two giveaways in this – but the team isn’t giving teams easy chances, and at the moment, Virginia needs them.
At some point the Cavalier offense will start to roll. Syracuse’s offense, though, will set too high a bar in this.
Virginia vs Syracuse Prediction, LineSyracuse 27, Virginia 17
Line: Syracuse -9, o/u: 54
ATS Confidence out of 5: 2
Virginia vs Syracuse Must See Rating (out of 5): 3
Virginia vs. Syracuse Prediction: Orange Look to Stay Undefeated When They Host Cavaliers on Friday Night (athlonsports.com; Staley)
The Syracuse Orange are having one of the more surprising seasons in college football thus far.
Syracuse (3-0, 1-0 ACC) is unbeaten after its exciting 32-29 victory against the Purdue Boilermakers last weekend. Now the Orange will look to continue their winning streak Friday night when they host the Virginia Cavaliers at the JMA Wireless Dome.
Virginia (2-1) is coming off a close win themselves, defeating Old Dominion 16-14 thanks to a 26-yard field goal by Brendan Farrell as time expired.
Syracuse will try to start the season with four consecutive wins for the 17th time in program history and the first since 2018. The Orange began that year with four straight victories and went on to a 10-3 record and a win in the Camping World Bowl.
Friday all mark the sixth meeting between Syracuse and Virginia all time as the Cavaliers hold a slight 3-2 advantage.
Virginia at SyracuseKickoff: Friday, Sept. 23 at 7 p.m. ET
Live Stream: fuboTV (Start your free trial)
Spread: Syracuse -9
When Virginia Has the BallVirginia's offense hasn't produced the results many people expected entering the season. The Cavaliers are 117th in the nation in scoring offense (17.7), although they're 72nd in total offense (413.3 ypg). That's quite a fall from when they scored 34.6 points per contest (21st in FBS) and averaged 516.3 yards per game (third) last season.
However, against Old Dominion, Brennan Armstrong threw for 284 yards, 118 of them to wide receiver Keytaon Thompson, who hauled in nine passes. Running back Xavier Brown is another player Syracuse's defense will need to keep an eye on. He has rushed for 122 yards and is averaging a healthy 7.2 yards per carry.
When Syracuse Has the BallSyracuse has an excellent running of its own in Sean Tucker, who put up back-to-back 100-yard games to begin the season. But Purdue was able to limit Tucker's production to just 42 yards on 18 carries.
Last weekend, the Orange had just 306 yards of total offense, but most of that came after halftime. Four of Syracuse's touchdowns came in the final 18 minutes of play – two in the hands of Oronde Gadsden II, one by Isaiah Jones, and a pick-six by defensive lineman Caleb Okechukwu.
Key Matchups: Syracuse vs Virginia (SI; Crawford)
While many Syracuse fans (rightfully so) see 5-0 and a ranked matchup vs. NC State brewing up ahead, with all due respect to Wagner, I believe this is the real trap game. Currently, SU is the overwhelming favorite (84% win probability according to ESPN, -10 on the spread for CBS Sports), but even 6 months ago, this would have been a pick ‘em game and one of those essential ACC matchups for the Orange. Some of these matchups below will go a long way in ‘Cuse securing a not-so-secretly important win vs. the Cavaliers.
SS Lex Long vs. QB Garrett Shrader
True sophomore Lex Long fills a hybrid linebacker/safety role similar to the ROVER spot in Tony White’s defense, and he’s been stellar so far in it. He’s led the Cavs the past 2 games in tackles, and the former high school WR has an INT already this year and the requisite ball skills to get another on Friday. His physicality in the box and nose for the ball, as well as being a high-functioning DB as an underclassmen, should remind fans a lot of Ja’Had Carter. Physically imposing at 6’2 and a solid 215-220, he flys around the field, and after Shrader’s 17 rushing attempts last week, he may want to be mindful of raking up hits, especially from Long. Long is the an X-factor on defense in both the run and pass game, and Shrader may need to be weary of #3 roaming the secondary and causing havoc in the box. Speaking of Shrader, after last week’s performance, I know he’ll be eager to make up for last week’s performance, and I can imagine that meaning pushing some balls downfield and trying to get some chunk plays. For ‘Cuse, he needs to make sure to stay with himself and take what the defense gives him in order to avoid the the inefficiency and mistakes that plagued him vs. Purdue.
LB Nick Jackson vs. RB Sean Tucker
Virginia has their own version of Mikel Jones, and Nick Jackson is every bit as impactful on and off the field for the Cavaliers in the same way Kel is for The Mob. The Atlanta native and the ACC’s top tackler last year with 117 stops, he’s a traditional down-hill thumper in the vein of former Alabama LB great Reggie Ragland. He’s been the leader of this UVA defense that has continued its stellar play after a strong 2021, and his performance and leadership is even more important with a Virginia offense that seems stuck in the mud to start the year. By virtue of his nose for the ball and amount of snaps he’ll have, Jackson should have at least 8 tackles, the big question is if they’ll be coming after long chunk plays from Tuck, or will be stonewalling him similarly to what Purdue did last week. Tucker hasn’t looked like himself outside of the Louisville game this year, and if he plans to maintain any legitimacy in his Heisman campaign and spot as one of CFB’s best backs, he needs one of those 18 carries, 142 yards, two touchdown stat-lines to remind everybody how dangerous he is and to re-assure worried SU fans. One decided advantage that Tucker should have is catching the ball and playing in space, as Jackson can be tight-hipped and isn’t super agile and laterally quick in open-field scenarios. With Tuck’s development as a receiver in camp and through the first three games, that could be a way to hit some of those home runs we’ve been missing the past couple of weeks and ensure that #34 is #PL34SED with his performance after Friday.
Purdue Football: Running Game? More Like a Falling Down Game... (hammerandnails.com; Schneider)
I thought about focusing on the fourth quarter of last Saturdays’s Syracuse loss, but honestly, I’m tired of talking about the refs. Y’all can continue to re-litigate the last 15 minutes of the game if you like. Everything I could possibly say about the end of the game has already been said, and honestly, I don’t think many of you will like what I have to say...so I’m choosing to hold my peace.
This was another game where the Purdue offense was either red hot or ice cold. If you look at the stats, this offense looks solid. 31 points vs Penn State and 29 on the road against Syracuse is nothing to sneeze at, but the offense has been anything but consistent. I consider an “explosive” quarter, a 15 minute period where a team scores more than once (usually 10-14 points). As good as Purdue has been on offense, in the 2 games against actual teams, they’ve only had 2 “explosive” quarters. The third quarter against Penn State and the 4th quarter against Syracuse. In those 2 quarters, Purdue scored a combined 34 points. In the other 6 quarters, they’ve put up a combined 26 points.
The Syracuse game, in particular, should have been done and dusted by the 4th quarter. Purdue is better than Syracuse, but couldn’t get out of their own way and kept Syracuse in the game late, setting up the controversial finish. If the Boilermakers takes care of business early, it doesn’t matter what happens late. The frustrating part is that Purdue’s issues against Cuse were self inflicted. They turned it over on downs inside the red zone, they had an extra point blocked, they chased points and failed to convert a 2 point conversion. It was sloppy, poorly managed, and frankly, inexcusable for a veteran team. Whatever your opinion is on the end of the Syracuse game, know that Purdue’s poor execution of the basics in the first 3 quarters brought the refs into the game late.
#FakeNunes previews Syracuse vs Virginia (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: Virginia Cavaliers
Location: Charlottesville, VA
Students: 17, 076 students who can’t wait for basketball season so they can see some offense
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.
NEW Rivalry Trophy
The FNSI staff realized that some of what’s missing in these games is that the Orange aren’t playing for any rivalry trophies and they are out to fix that injustice. Each week the winner of the FNSI will get to take home a new trophy. This week we give you
The Three Goggles Trophy Game
Come on folks..you had to see this one coming right?
Our experts' predictions for every Week 4 ACC football game — Can Wake beat Clemson? (fayobserver.com; Staff)
The USA TODAY Network ACC coverage team picked correctly on 93% of its Week 3 predictions, with three panel members going 12-0.
This week, another USA TODAY Coaches Poll Top 25 matchup highlights an 11-game slate of games involving ACC football teams with No. 16 Wake Forest hosting No. 5 Clemson on Saturday at noon.
Here are our panel members' predictions:
West Virginia at Virginia Tech (7:30 p.m., ESPN)The picks: West Virginia 7, Va. Tech 0
- Sammy Batten, Fayetteville Observer: West Virginia
- Carter Karels, Tallahassee Democrat: West Virginia
- Alexis Cubit, Louisville Courier Journal: West Virginia
- Jim Rice, Greenville News: West Virginia
- David Thompson, Fayetteville Observer: West Virginia
- Scott Keepfer, Greenville News: West Virginia
- Todd Shanesy, Greenville News: West Virginia
Virginia at Syracuse (7 p.m., ESPN)The picks: Syracuse 7, Virginia 0
- Sammy Batten, Fayetteville Observer: Syracuse
- Carter Karels, Tallahassee Democrat: Syracuse
- Alexis Cubit, Louisville Courier Journal: Syracuse
- Jim Rice, Greenville News: Syracuse
- David Thompson, Fayetteville Observer: Syracuse
- Scott Keepfer, Greenville News: Syracuse
- Todd Shanesy, Greenville News: Syracuse
No. 5 Clemson at No. 16 Wake Forest (noon, ABC)The picks: Clemson 7, Wake Forest 0
- Sammy Batten, Fayetteville Observer: Clemson
- Carter Karels, Tallahassee Democrat: Clemson
- Alexis Cubit, Louisville Courier Journal: Clemson
- Jim Rice, Greenville News: Clemson
- David Thompson, Fayetteville Observer: Clemson
- Scott Keepfer, Greenville News: Clemson
- Todd Shanesy, Greenville News: Clemson
ACC Football Power Rankings: 2022 Week 4 - Sports Illustrated Louisville Cardinals News, Analysis and More (SI;; McGavic)
Week three was certainly an interesting one for the Atlantic Coast Conference.
There might not have been a ton of shakeup at the top, but it certainly set up for an interesting next few weeks when conference play starts to really ramp up. Clemson had a slow start. Wake Forest looked mortal. Miami had a big hiccup. Florida State and Syracuse are threatening to make some noise. Not to mention that the lower half of the ACC continues to be in flux, at least for the most part.
So where do things currently stand in the conference following week three? Check out our updated ACC power rankings below:
1. Clemson TigersRecord: 3-0, 1-0
Last Week's Ranking: No. 1
Week Three Result: W, 48-20 vs. Louisiana Tech
Clemson found themselves on upset alert early, possessing just a 13-6 lead at halftime, and still found a way to win by four scores. D.J. Uiagalelei might not be a generational QB that the Tigers are accustomed to having, but RB Will Shipley continues to prove that he is the real deal after a 139-yard and two-score day. Oh, and Clemson is still Clemson on defense.
2. NC State WolfpackRecord: 3-0, 0-0
Last Week's Ranking: No. 2
Week Three Result: W, 27-14 vs. Texas Tech
If NC State has any hopes and dreams of winning the ACC, they're going to have to get more out of their offense. The Wolfpack had multiple stalled drives, and QB Devin Leary had his second average performance in three weeks. But then again, if NC State does win the ACC, it'll be due to their defense, which had an incredible afternoon against a Red Raiders team that had upset Houston the week before.
3. Wake Forest Demon DeaconsRecord: 3-0, 0-0
Last Week's Ranking: No. 3
Week Three Result: W, 37-36 vs. Liberty
Speaking of teams with aspirations of winning the ACC... Wake Forest has (mostly) the opposite problem. Sam Hartman came back down to Earth after throwing two picks, but still had 325 yards and three scores. However, the Deacs were only able to rush for 21 yards against Liberty, and their defense let the Flames have their way. Had it not been for a failed two-point conversion in the final two minutes, Wake Forest would have outright lost.
4. Florida State SeminolesRecord: 3-0, 1-0
Last Week's Ranking: No. 6
Week Three Result: W, 35-31 at Louisville
Is Florida State finally back? They very well might. Even after losing their starting quarterback in Jordan Travis and top two defensive assets in Jared Verse and Tatum Bethune, the Noles were still able to finish and grit out a win in a hostile road environment. Sure, Louisville has been a disappointment to start the year, but 3-0 is still 3-0.
5. Pitt PanthersRecord: 2-1, 0-0
Last Week's Ranking: No. 5
Week Three Result: W, 34-13 at Western Michigan
Israel Abanikanda, remember his name. Even though Western Michigan *knew* Pitt would run the ball with their top two quarterbacks out, the running back still ran for 133 yards and a touchdown on 31 carries. Not to mention that their aggressive defense looked much sharper than it did last week against Tennessee. Pitt could have looked flat on the road, but instead looked dominant and handled a team they should handle.
6. Miami HurricanesRecord: 2-1, 0-0
Last Week's Ranking: No. 4
Week Three Result: L, 17-9 at Texas A&M
You mean that scoring dozens of points against clearly inferior competition isn't indicative of their true potential? I'm shocked. Even with 175 rushing yards and an okay showing from QB Tyler Van Dyke, Miami saw several drives stall out late and couldn't even break double figures. It wasted a decent showing from their defense, holding A&M to just 264 yards. It's not a good look considering Texas A&M lost to App State last week.
7. Syracuse OrangeRecord: 3-0, 1-0
Last Week's Ranking: No. 8
Week Three Result: W, 32-29 vs. Purdue
As it turns out, Syracuse is actually pretty good! Garrett Shrader not only looks like a much improved passer, but he stepped up to the challenge and led the Orange to a game winning drive that say them score with seven seconds left. Plus the defense, again, looked good through the first three quarters until the game got completely bonkers in the fourth. Could Cuse make a run for the Atlantic Division crown? We shall see.
Syracuse Football: Orange soaring on up in national, ACC power rankings (itlh; Adler)
As Syracuse football prepares to host fellow Atlantic Coast Conference squad Virginia this Friday evening on the Hill, the Orange is starting to garner more and more praise from national and ACC experts.
It’s absolutely true that the Orange is 3-0, which is awesome. It’s also true that the ‘Cuse still has nine games to go in the 2022 regular season, including a brutal stretch in the near future.
So while things are looking good at this juncture for Syracuse football in the current term, I know that a lot of my fellow Orange fans are saying to take it one game at a time and not get too far ahead of myself in cheerleading for the ‘Cuse. I get it.
Still, for a Syracuse football team that was projected by many pundits to finish near or in the basement of its ACC division in 2022, I am pretty jazzed up that the Orange has commenced this campaign with three victories in a row over Louisville, UConn and Purdue.
Syracuse football is climbing in national and ACC power ratings.
Starting with the ACC, after narrowly escaping Purdue this past Saturday afternoon in Central New York, the Orange checks in at No. 5 within the conference, according to the latest rankings from ESPN and ACC Network analyst Eric Mac Lain.
Rx for CFP-12 Scheduling (RX; HM)
Rx for CFP-12 Scheduling
...because scheduling out a 12-team College Football Playoff is hard!
From ESPN: CFP committee meets about moving up timeline for expanded 12-team playoff
While CFP officials have laid out the obstacles to such a sudden move -- venues, hotels and television contracts -- there is an estimated $450 million in gross revenue if the commissioners can implement the new format for the final two seasons.
What are those obstacles, exactly? You're talking about expanding from three CFP games to 11, and from two rounds of playoff games to four. That's eight more games and two more weekends at a time of year when
- most schools are closed for the holidays
- the NFL is playing on Saturdays
Teams seeded five through 12 will play each other in the first round on either the second or third weekend of December.
This year, on the second weekend in December (Week 14 for the NFL, or December 8-12th), there's an NFL game on Thursday Night, another on Monday Night, and three sets of games on Sunday (1 pm, 4 pm, and 8 pm).
Analysis of 2023 SEC Non-Conference Schedule. (RX; HM)
Analysis of 2023 SEC Non-Conference Schedule.From ESPN's SEC football schedule release: Every game for every team in 2023, here is some quick & dirty analysis from yours truly...
2023 SEC non-conference road games:
- Florida @ Utah 9/2
- S. Carolina vs N. Carolina (@ Charlotte) 9/2
- LSU vs Florida State (@ Orlando) 9/3
- Auburn @ Cal 9/9
- Ole Miss @ Tulane 9/9
- Texas A&M @ Miami 9/9
- Vanderbilt @ Wake Forest 9/9
- Alabama @ USF 9/16
- Vanderbilt @ UNLV 9/16
- Georgia @ Georgia Tech 11/25
- Kentucky @ Louisville 11/25
Some are neutral site games, such as SC/UNC and LSU/FSU.
Three teams - Ole Miss, Alabama, and Vanderbilt - play at a G5 stadium.
Four teams - Arkansas, Miss. St. Missouri, and Tennessee - do not play any road games out of conference. (No, a "neutral site" game in Nashville doesn't count for the Volunteers).
SEC teams with a cupcake OOC game on Nov. 18th:
- Alabama (Chattanooga, before Auburn)
- Arkansas (FIU, before Missouri)
- Auburn (New Mexico St, before Alabama)
- (not Florida!)
- (not Georgia!)
- (not Kentucky!)
- (not S. Carolina!)
- LSU (Georgia St, before Texas A&M)
- Miss. St. (Southern Miss, before Ole Miss)
- Ole Miss (ULM, before Miss. St)
- Texas A&M (Abilene Christian, before LSU)
Top 25 Most-Valuable CFB Teams (RX; HM)
Top 25 Most-Valuable CFB Teams
Found on twitter:
Here's a little extra information from gobankingrates, with the focus on the ACC-related teams:
|Top 25 Most Valuable College Football Teams (2022):|
|25. University of Iowa||$43,491,626|
|24. University of North Carolina||$43,654,962|
|The Tar Heels began the season ranked in the top 10 but struggled and were unranked after a 2-2 start. North Carolina finished 6-7 after losing 38-21 to South Carolina in the Duke’s Mayo Bowl.|
|23. Clemson University||$43,797,610|
|The 2021 season was a letdown for Clemson. For the first time since 2014, the Tigers failed to appear in the ACC Championship Game or College Football Playoff. Clemson finished 10-3, beat Iowa State 20-13 in the Cheez-It Bowl.|
|22. Ohio State University||$43,835,452|
|21. University of South Carolina||$43,854,572|
|20. University of Minnesota||$45,125,727|
|19. University of Washington||$45,516,356|
|18. Iowa State University||$46,794,639|
|17. Penn State University||$47,204,178|
|16. University of Oregon||$48,123,584|
|15. University of Wisconsin||$48,559,349|
|14. University of Mississippi||$49,111,536|
CFB RPI as of 2022 Sep 19th (RX; HM)
CFB RPI as of 2022 Sep 19th
Remember RPI in college basketball? Sometimes I wish it would come back, but that's another story. It's simple to calculate and it's just based on who you've played, did you win or lose, and by how much... no strange statistics which attempt to quantify the "eye test". Only results on the field count. With that in mind, here's the college football version of the current RPI rankings, with ACC teams in light blue (and one team in light green):
|Big Ten||3||Ohio St.||3-0||47.46||52.17|
|Big XII||8||Oklahoma St.||3-0||44.43||45.88|
|Big Ten||13||Penn St.||3-0||42.35||57.05|
|Big Ten||18||Michigan St.||2-1||39.03||53.85|
|Big XII||25||Iowa St.||3-0||36||57.99|
|Sun Belt||28||Appalachian St.||2-1||34.68||54.7|
|Mtn West||40||Air Force||2-1||29.78||44.93|
|Sun Belt||44||Coastal Car.||3-0||27.05||37.4|
|Big XII||48||Kansas St.||2-1||24.87||60.07|
|Mtn West||49||Boise St.||2-1||24.65||59.16|
|Sun Belt||50||La Lafayet.||2-1||23.82||50.55|
ACC Football: Official Week Four Game Predictions - Sports Illustrated Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets News, Analysis and More (SI; Caudell)
It might only be week four, but there is a massive game in the ACC this week that has division and conference title implications involved.
Wake Forest is hosting Clemson and the Demon Deacons will be trying to get their first win in the series since 2008. Whoever wins this game is going to be well positioned in the Atlantic Division going forward and establish themselves as the front runner in the entire conference.
The other big games this week in the ACC are Duke vs Kansas (weird, right?) and Notre Dame vs North Carolina. These games won't change the perception of either team really, but it would be great for both programs and the conference if they did win.
Note: I will have my preview and prediction for UCF vs Georgia Tech later in the week
So how will the ACC do in week four? Let's make some picks.
ThursdayVirginia Tech vs West Virginia (-1.5)
Old Big East rivals will collide in Blacksburg on Thursday night to kick off week four of the college football season. Virginia Tech is looking for their third straight win and West Virginia is looking for their second of the season.
This game is very important for Neal Brown at West Virginia. He is on the hot seat and it will only get louder if he loses. I like Virginia Tech at home in a close game this week and for the Hokies to get to 3-1.
Final Score: Virginia Tech 23, West Virginia 17
FridayVirginia at Syracuse (-9)
Virginia got a win last week against Old Dominion, but they were not very impressive in doing so. Syracuse on the other hand got to 3-0 and got a good win against a solid Purdue team. This will be a matchup of former Virginia and current Syracuse offensive coordinator Robert Anae. Anae has done a good job resurrecting this Syracuse offense and will challenge the Virginia defense.
I like the Orange to win the game at home. After performing well last week, it is a letdown spot, but this offense will be too much for the Cavaliers.
Final Score: Syracuse 31, Virginia 24
ACC off to strong start in nonconference games (AP; Golen)
All that talk about how the Big Ten and Southeastern Conference are making the rest of college football irrelevant?
Well, the Atlantic Coast Conference would like a word.
Winner of two national championships in the past six years — the only league other than the SEC to claim even one — the ACC is off to its best start in nonconference games in at least two decades. The ACC is 28-6 against other conferences so far this season, including a 17-6 record against the FBS and 6-5 against members of the other Power 5 leagues.
“Wow,” Clemson defensive end K.J. Henry said, though he urged caution. “The last thing I’m going to do is go out on the side of the street and say, ‘We have the best conference.’ That’s not for me to say.”
No. 5 Clemson, which won it all in 2016 and ’18, is 3-0 for the seventh time in eight years and seems headed for its seventh trip to the College Football Playoff in the last eight years. But it’s not just the Tigers.
Seven ACC teams – five from the Atlantic Division – remain unbeaten through three games, equaling the most of any league. Syracuse is undefeated through three weeks for the first time since 2018, and Florida State is 3-0 for the first time since ’15.
No. 5 Clemson at No. 21 Wake Forest tops ACC's Week 4 slate (apnews.com; Beard)
Here are things to watch in the Atlantic Coast Conference in Week 4:
GAME OF THE WEEK
No. 5 Clemson at No. 21 Wake Forest. The preseason favorite Tigers (3-0, 1-0 ACC) are starting a two-week stretch that could allow them to take complete control of the league’s Atlantic Division race. First comes a trip to face the reigning division champion Demon Deacons (3-0, 0-0).
Clemson had won six straight league titles before Wake Forest reached last year’s ACC championship game. A win Saturday followed by a victory next week at home against No. 12 North Carolina State would give the Tigers wins against their two top division challengers.
The Demon Deacons’ last win against Clemson came in 2008, which led to the ouster of then-coach Tommy Bowden and the promotion of current Tigers coach Dabo Swinney as an interim choice.
Duke at Kansas. It sounds like a basketball matchup befitting a Final Four. Instead, it’s a meeting of 3-0 teams.
For the Blue Devils, early success has come under first-time head coach Mike Elko, including a win at Northwestern of the Big Ten. For the Big 12′s Jayhawks, second-year coach Lance Leipold has already surpassed last season’s win total.
A win will give Duke its first 4-0 start since 2018. As for Kansas, it would mark the first time the Jayhawks have won more than three games since 2009, when they started 5-0.
No. 2 Alabama opens SEC play against heavy underdog Vandy
Syracuse (3-0, 1-0) has been a pleasant surprise to start the season for Dino Babers, led by Garrett Schrader throwing for eight touchdowns with no interceptions. Things haven’t come as easily for Virginia.
Playing under first-year coach Tony Elliott, the Cavaliers have eight turnovers to tie for the most of any Bowl Subdivision team. The presence of veteran quarterback Brennan Armstrong gives the Cavaliers a chance to put up points, but they’re a 9 1/2-point underdog for Friday, according to FanDuel .
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
Wake Forest has lost 13 straight meetings to Clemson. ... It’s been a season of extremes so for unbeaten North Carolina entering Saturday’s visit from Notre Dame. The Tar Heels are fourth in FBS in scoring offense (51.3) and fifth in total offense (547.3 yards) but 119th in scoring defense (37.7) and 123rd in total defense (468.3). ... Georgia Tech has managed a total of 10 points in two games against FBS opponents after a season-opening loss to Clemson and a 42-0 loss to No. 16 Mississippi last weekend. ... The ACC’s 28-6 (.824) record against non-conference opponents is its best since going 27-5 (.844) in the first three weeks of 2014.
Upstate NY fall foliage map: Adirondacks, Catskills are beginning to look colorful (PS; Hernandez)
With tomorrow (Sept. 22) officially kicking off the fall season, colors across Upstate New York are starting to see significant change, especially in higher elevations.
The second fall foliage report of the season has been released by I LOVE NY, the state’s tourism website, with a look ahead for autumn leaves during the week of Sept. 21-27, 2022.
Colors are being spotted by volunteer observers who are reporting colors of rhubarb, cerise, maize, saffron, russet, and tangerine. Both vibrant hues and muted shades have been reported.
If you’re heading to this weekend’s Historic Grape Festival in the Finger Lakes, you can expect to see up to 15 percent change with pops of yellow in this fall festival backdrop.
Find a bounty of fall activities to do with our fall travel guide. Checking ahead to make sure attractions are open and available is recommended.
I LOVE NY's fall foliage forecast for the week of September 21-27, 2022. Provided photo | nyup.com
Here are the color change predictions around Upstate New York for the week of Sept. 21-27, 2022:
- Whiteface, 15-20 percent
- Crown Point, 10 percent
- Ticonderoga, 10 percent
- Lake Placid, 15 percent
- Long Lake, 30 percent
- Saranac Lake, 25-30 percent
- Tupper Lake, 35-40 percent
- Mt. Arab, 35-40 percent
- Old Forge, 30 percent
- Newcomb, 15 percent
- Lake Pleasant, 20 percent
- Malone, 15 percent
- Lake George, 15 percent
- Queensbury, 15 percent
- Plattsburgh, 15 percent
- Delhi, 25 percent
- Bloomville and Walton, 15 percent
- Windham and Hunter, 35 percent
- Catskill, 15 percent
- Liberty, 15 percent
- Forestburgh, 10 percent
- Belleayre Mountain Ski Area, 10 percent
- New Paltz, 5 percent
Central New York
- Oneida County, 20 percent
- Onondaga County, up to 10 percent
- Oswego County, 5 percent
- Cayuga County, 5 percent or less
- Cortland County, 5 percent
- Broome County, 10 percent
- Herkimer County, 10 percent
- Otsego County, 10 percent
- Chenango County, 5 percent
- Madison County, 5 percent
- Tompkins County, 5 percent