Orangeyes Daily Articles for Thursday - for Football |

Orangeyes Daily Articles for Thursday for Football


No recent Cali or Iggy awards; Mr Irrelevant
Aug 15, 2011

Welcome to NYS Fair Dairy Day!

The 2023 Great New York State Fair will hold its 46th annual Dairy Day celebration with a full slate of events and opportunities for fairgoers to enjoy New York’s high-quality dairy products and learn about the state’s largest agricultural sector. Held Thursday, August 31, Dairy Day features a variety of activities to educate fairgoers about the State’s largest agricultural sector, recognize New York’s top dairy processors, and taste the very best of New York dairy.

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “Dairy Day at the Great New York State Fair is consistently a highlight for many fairgoers. From getting to sample world class dairy products like milk, cheese, and ice cream, to learning more about the farmers, processors, and dairy cows who fuel the industry, there is no better way to showcase New York dairy.”

SU News

BREAKING THROUGH: Football Guide 2023 (DO; Staff)

Breaking Through: Football Guide 2023

MADE FOR THIS: Syracuse's generational weapon took 2 years to burst onto the scene (DO; Alandt)

With time winding down in a packed JMA Wireless Dome, Oronde Gadsden II had a chance to put himself — and Syracuse football — at the forefront of the conversation early in college football. And he appeared to hardly break a sweat.

The Orange had 12 seconds, down four points, to go 25 yards and pick up a second nonconference win against Purdue. Quarterback Garrett Shrader, fading back to avoid the six-man blitz, never broke his gaze from Gadsden.

He initially had a one-on-one, then ran a 10-yard out route to draw off a second defender. On a corner route to the front left pylon, Gadsden shook him off with a simple move and took off, creating enough separation for Shrader to dump an off-balance pass over his right shoulder.

“He looked like he was moving in slow motion,” said Anthony Queeley, Gadsden’s former teammate. “Just because of his technique, he was able to get over him and score that touchdown.”

The final play of Syracuse’s miracle win over Purdue en route to its first 6-0 start since 1987 catapulted Gadsden into the national spotlight. It was the beginning of a First-Team All-Atlantic Coast Conference season, letting the secret out on the 6-foot-5 wide receiver positioned to be the Orange’s first first-round receiver selection since Marvin Harrison in 1996.

MAN IN THE MIDDLE: Marlowe Wax has transformed into a cornerstone for SU’s defense (DO; O'Brien)

Marlowe Wax loves ice cream. So much so that in April 2022, he signed a name, image and likeness deal with The Ice Cream Stand in downtown Syracuse.

In this partnership, Amanda Hughes, the shop’s owner, said Wax invented his own flavor — vanilla ice cream with caramel and cookie dough. They called it “Marlowe’s Mix.”

Wax brought teammates and local fans to visit that October. When doing events with Wax — he once appeared as a celebrity scooper — Hughes saw how approachable he was. When she watched Wax play for Syracuse, Hughes noticed the same presence.

“You can see him game day on the sidelines, he is that mentor, that other coach for his teammates and certainly the defense,” Hughes said. “You can see him being vocal.”

Like at The Ice Cream Stand, Wax has become the center of attention on SU’s defense. A star high school running back turned All-ACC linebacker, Wax is equally proficient at rushing the quarterback as he is at stopping running backs. He’s the self-proclaimed head of the “mob,” a nickname used to describe Syracuse’s defense. It’s also the title of the podcast he co-hosted with Caleb Okechukwu and Ja’Had Carter last season, a shock to his high school coaches that remember him as a quiet kid.

When Richard Holzer, Wax’s head coach at Mount Saint Joseph High School in Baltimore, first met him, he wasn’t playing on defense. Or running back. Wax was an offensive lineman because of his height — he’s SU’s second shortest linebacker, at 6-foot-1, right now.

SWISS ARMY KNIFE: How Justin Barron developed the versatility to play rover in 3-3-5 (DO; Miller)

Justin Barron’s transition from a two-way athlete to full-time safety his freshman year at Syracuse didn’t involve much playing time. But midway through the 2020 season, a fumbled field goal snap led head coach Dino Babers to search for a backup holder.

Barron seized the opportunity, telling Babers he had the hands for the position — the head coach just needed to give him the opportunity.

“I just went up to him and was like, ‘coach, just let me do something,’ because I wasn’t playing much that year as a receiver,” Barron said. “I just wanted a way to get on the field.”

While his soft hands and prior special teams experience won Barron the backup role, kicker Andre Szmyt had a hard time accepting a non-specialist as his holder, Babers said. The two had limited practice time together.

“I said, ‘Andre, you understand that there are people on this team that have better hands than the punter,’” Babers said.

In his senior year, Szmyt let Babers pick the team’s holder. Without hesitation, he chose Barron, who successfully held every field goal last season.

But, his versatility isn’t confined to special teams. Barron has played at every level of the defense during his football career and he’ll continue to circulate the Syracuse secondary as its starting “rover,” an extra defensive back that plays all over the field.

A two-way starter all four years of high school, Barron was recruited as an “athlete.” He garnered Division-I offers as a tight end, wide receiver, linebacker and safety. While he didn’t receive offers for the positions, he also played as a long snapper and holder in high school. At each school he attended, he played both ways at all times.

THE GODFATHER: Syracuse's new DC pioneered its go-to defensive set (DO; Alandt; Miller)

Before heading to the New Mexico airport in the early 1980s, David Williams and Rocky Long sat down at Ned’s Uptown Bar and Grill for lunch. The pair of college friends quickly began trading ideas back and forth about a better scheme for a prevent defense. Williams, a defensive-minded head coach at Eldorado (New Mexico) High School, watched Long, then an assistant at the University of Wyoming, pull out a napkin. He began drawing up what would become known as a Cover 5 defense, a simple combination of man and zone.

“That’s Rocky,” Williams said.

It was a simple concept, Williams said, nobody wider, nobody deeper. Williams used Long’s quick-sketch defensive formation until he gave up coaching in 2007.

“He loves sitting around and talking about it and getting his turn with the marker and getting to the board,” Williams said.

Long, now 73, later created the 3-3-5 defense after stints in the Canadian Football League, New Mexico and TCU. He made his mark as the calm professor of the revolutionary set, becoming the winningest head coach in New Mexico history. Now, he’s in charge of the 3-3-5 at Syracuse, who has used it for the past three seasons.

Long needed to figure out how to stop opposing offenses in 1986. At the time in the CFL, teams were allowed five receivers running toward a line of scrimmage on a field 15 yards wider than college football’s. As the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach for the British Columbia Lions, Long wanted to counteract these high-powered offenses which constantly had players in motion.

He landed on using tough players who ran fast and were comfortable shooting gaps and sprinting around with quick pre-snap motions. The Lions were always attacking, former defensive back Kevin Konar said.

“We blitzed. Guys were always bringing pressure on the quarterback,” Konar said. “If we gave up a big play, so be it.”

The disruptive defensive scheme helped the Lions to two straight 12-6 seasons. It spawned the eventual defense that Long trademarked and used for the next 35 seasons across five different schools. The time in professional football also shaped Long into a player’s coach.

“He really knew what we were all going through. He respected us, and he knew how hard to push players,” Konar said.

Beat writers split on Syracuse's bowl eligibility in 2023 (DO; Staff)

Syracuse begins its 137th season on Saturday at home against Colgate, ushering in the eighth season of the Dino Babers era. After a 7-6 season in which the Orange climbed to No. 14 in the national rankings and earned a bowl game berth, Syracuse lost both of its coordinators and three position coaches. On the field, numerous defensive starters left for the transfer portal and NFL draft. In their place, Rocky Long — the creator of the 3-3-5 scheme — took over the defense while Jason Beck was elevated to offensive coordinator.

With quarterback Garrett Shrader on the mend from elbow surgery in March, the Orange returned top receiving threat Oronde Gadsden II and welcomed back LeQuint Allen after a dropped school-issued suspension. All three will operate behind an offensive line that is replacing three former starters. Amidst the backdrop of conference realignment, including the possibility of the Atlantic Coast Conference adding three new programs, the Orange will begin their trek toward a second-straight bowl appearance for the first time since 2012-13.

Here is how our beat writers think the Orange will fare this season.

Anthony Alandt
Transition Year
Record: 5-7
MVP: Rocky Long
X-Factor: Offensive line

Syracuse stunned the college football world through six games last season. It started 6-0 and reached No. 14 in the AP Top 25 poll while introducing the country to Shrader and Gadsden’s improvisational link-up play. But then, it buckled under the realities of a 12-game season and an ACC schedule that included three top-25 teams and a series of substantial injuries. Taken as a whole, it’s hard not to view last season, and the ensuing offseason, as a success for Babers.

The assistant coaching hires, highlighted by Long, show a commitment to bringing in experience to a roster with plenty of turnover. They’re the best crop of coaches I’ve ever seen under Babers.

I love Gadsden’s potential to blossom into a top receiving threat in the league but Shrader coming off elbow surgery gives me pause that he can work in other receivers down field. I’m given further pause when looking at a mostly new offensive line and a secondary that lost top-end talent like Ja’Had Carter, Duce Chestnut and Garrett Williams.

This team, like last year, is going to have to walk a fine line to get to a bowl game. The Orange have shown nothing that says they can pluck wins against top opponents. The new faces boast promise for Syracuse, but I just don’t see this team getting over the hump consistently.

Henry O’Brien
Just enough to squeak in
Record: 6-6
MVP: Oronde Gadsden II
X-Factor: Offensive depth

Injuries are inevitable in college football and they have always exposed Syracuse’s lack of depth. After starting 6-0 in 2022, the Orange’s injuries started to catch up with them as they faced a tougher schedule and dropped five straight.

This year, however, the defense should have the depth to deal with players going on the injury reserve. Babers said the defensive line is as deep “as we’ve been in a long time.” Though many of the key linebackers are returning, questions remain for the offense. Can Shrader deal with injuries? Can Carlos Del Rio-Wilson or Braden Davis take a step up? If Allen goes down, can Juwuan Price or Ike Daniels fill the void? Gadsden will be an NFL draft pick but will a No. 2 wide receiver emerge? These questions remain unanswered for now, but I think the Orange squeak by when the time comes.

After a projected 3-1 start, SU will have a tough stretch at the end of September and start of October. It faces three straight preseason top-25 teams (No. 9 Clemson, No. 21 North Carolina and No. 8 Florida State). Yet, Syracuse has a chance to finish with a bowl berth if they can conquer Babers’ achilles heel — November. There are winnable games against Boston College and Georgia Tech. A postseason appearance will likely come down to road matchups against the Yellow Jackets or Virginia Tech in October, but Syracuse will have enough to make back-to-back bowl appearances.

Wyatt Miller
Same old Syracuse
Record: 5-7
MVP: The Secondary
X-Factor: Garrett Shrader

Syracuse gave up the 19th fewest passing yards per game in the Football Bowl Subdivision last season, ranking second in the ACC. Now, they’ve hired Long, the creator of the 3-3-5 scheme that has been so successful over the past three seasons. That’s a recipe for success on defense.

Long’s scheme is all about deception and Syracuse has the athletes to cause it consistently. Justin Barron is proficient all over the field, Isaiah Johnson is quietly one of the top tackling cornerbacks in college football and Marlowe Wax can drop in coverage just as well as he can dip past 300-pound linemen. Despite losing multiple starting pieces in the offseason, this defensive backfield has a chance to expand on their success from last season.

The questions, as usual, are on offense. Syracuse ranked 123rd out of 131 FBS schools in sack rating last year at 13.3% (once in every seven-and-a-half plays), according to Football Outsiders. Plus, Shrader ranked 15th in the FBS in average depth of target last season (min. 304 dropbacks).

Assuming there’s no magical fix for Syracuse’s offense, the adjustment will fall on Shrader and Beck. Beck was the quarterbacks coach last season, so he’s had a year of experience with Shrader to pull from. If this offense is to succeed, they’ll need to hold the ball less and get playmakers in space more. That hasn’t been the formula for the past few seasons, making it difficult to predict another bowl appearance with a tough schedule in 2023.

Syracuse Football Preview: Defensive Backs (; Ridley)

Syracuse football is just a few days away. Orange open up the season Saturday against in-state foe, Colgate. Although, this SU squad is missing many of last year’s big names, especially in the secondary. So, who can SU count on in the five of the infamous 3-3-5 defense?

Isaiah Johnson, Cornerback

With the departure of Deuce Chestnut, Johnson could play a significant role as SU’s first option for a lockdown corner. The red shirt sophomore has a height, length and speed combo that opens him up to playing all over the field. The Dartmouth transfer capped off his tenure for Big Green in 2021, breaking up nine passes and taking his lone interception 74 yards back for a touchdown.

Justin Barron, Safety

Some SU fans view Barron as the heart of the Syracuse secondary. Not just for his leadership, but for his play style as well. The Connecticut product certainly possesses high-level coverage skills. But, it's his hard-nose, first-to-the-ball approach to tackling that makes him so dangerous. The Junior’s 65 tackles put him at the top spot for defensive backs and third overall on Syracuse’s 2022 squad. Barron’s hybrid style should pair nicely with linebacker Marlowe Wax to form SU’s new hard-hitting duo.

Jaden Gould, Cornerback/Safety

Dino Babers hit the transfer portal hard this season pulling in solid talent at multiple positions including secondary. Gould comes to the 3-1-5 from the University of Nebraska, and his skillset is pretty unique. The former four star is a plug and play defender anywhere in the secondary. Fansided publisher Mike Macalister believes Rocky Long could have some interesting plans in store for the Sophomore.

Syracuse Football Preview: Offensive Line (; Remoll)

Syracuse football’s offensive line in 2023 is going to look a lot different from the 2022 edition. That’s natural, though, when three starters, the offensive line coach, and the offensive coordinator all leave the program.

The transition at OC should be the smoothest of them all. Quarterbacks coach Jason Beck was elevated to replace Robert Anae, who went to NC State. Beck followed Anae from BYU to UVA to SU, so it is safe to say that the former coordinator’s vision for a strong aerial attack will be preserved under his predecessor.

Former OL coach Mike Schmidt departed Syracuse for Mississippi State after two years of helping Sean Tucker and the rushing attack flourish. Steve Farmer was given Schmidt’s old job after impressing in his first season at Tulsa. Farmer’s line contributed to the rise of the Golden Hurricane passing offense from 53rd in the FBS in 2021 to 24th last year.

When it comes to lost personnel, there are some big shoes to fill. Carlos Vettorello and Dakota Davis started every game last season, and Matthew Bergeron started almost 40 games in an incredible Syracuse career that resulted in his selection by the Atlanta Falcons in the second round of the NFL Draft. Saying goodbye to that stability is not ideal, but there are still some solid pieces left on the line, along with some new faces, that warrant excitement from Syracuse fans.

Returning Starters

Christopher Bleich

Bleich is easily the most established player on this offensive line. The Redshirt Senior has started 19 games for the Orange, mostly at right guard, in two seasons since transferring from the University of Florida. Bleich only conceded two sacks across the 772 snaps he played in 2022. He will begin this year as the Orange's left guard.

Kalan Ellis

Ellis and Bleich will most likely make up the guard tandem for SU this year. Ellis started nine times at left guard for Syracuse last year, and probably would have started every game if not for a late-season injury. Even with all that game time, Ellis surrendered just one sack on nine total pressures in 2022 (per Pro Football Focus). It was announced, however, early this week that Ellis will not be part of the starting five to begin the season. Instead, he will be the backup at left guard.

Enrique Cruz Jr.

Cruz only started five games last season, but they were the last five on the schedule. In those appearances, The redshirt sophomore played at both tackle spots, which is a great benefit for a Syracuse roster with few proven options on the exterior o-line. Cruz was given the honor of starting in place of draft-bound Matthew Bergeron at LT for the Pinstripe Bowl, showing how quickly the young tackle has gained the trust of the coaching staff. He has been named the starting left tackle to begin this season.


'Orange Menace' set to lead Otto’s Army this season (; Wang)

If you’ve been to Syracuse games in recent years, you’ve probably seen a guy dressed up in an orange morphsuit in the student section.

“It started as a joke, and it kind of carried on as a tradition,” said Greg Slodysko, the man behind the mask known as the "Orange Menace."

It’s the SU senior’s way of getting the crowd fired up every game.

“It seemed to work because the more I do it, the more I do it, the more people come in these crazy morphsuits, or these crazy outfits that people are like ‘what are they doing?’”

Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but Slodysko loves creating a fun and an electric atmosphere for his fellow students. And this season, he’s got another title: president of Otto’s Army.

“When I start to see the game swing in our way, like, I see a touchdown and then the whole football team gets us all rowdy, I know that’s going to get the student section driven, and it really feeds into my energy,” Slodysko said.

Slodysko, along with vice president Lexi Thomas and other board members, will be leading the synchronized chants this year inside the dome.

Keeping Up With The 315 8-30-23 (ESPN; radio; The 315)

Brian Higgins opens the show by taking a deep-dive on a recent national QB rankings list that got his attention and where Garrett Shrader fits on it. Then, a caller give his take on why Shrader is better than fans think and Brian lays out the case for why he agrees with that caller. Finally, another familiar caller gives a full history of the Syracuse/Colgate rivalry with some fun nuggets.

Eric Malanoski "The 315" 8-30-23 (ESPN; radio; The 315)

Colgate Football Play-by-Play voice Eric Malanoski joins Brian to preview the week 1 matchup, talk about the current state of the Colgate program and some players to watch on Saturday.

Caleb Okechukwu Two-Minute Drill 8-30-23 )ESPN; radio; the 315)

Brian Higgins runs the two-minute drill with Caleb Okechukwu and asks him some rapid fire fun questions ahead of Week 1 against Colgate. Hear it first on The 315 every week!

(youtube; podcast; Locked on Syracuse)

On your Locked On Syracuse Wednesday episode, Owen Valentine details some of the big picture thoughts heading into the 2023 season for Syracuse Football. Plus, a game by game prediction of 'Cuse's final record this year.

Three Wishes For Saturday's Game (; Griffin)

Three days from now, Syracuse Football will be back on the Dome field to do battle with Colgate. You can never take an opponent lightly, even if it’s an FCS school, but this matchup with the Raiders represents an opportunity for the Orange to tinker, experiment, or try some new things. Three things MUST happen on Saturday from that tinkering and experimenting if SU is to have hope for the rest of the way.


There’s only so much stock you can take from the first game of the season, especially when it comes against an FCS opponent. But if Garrett Shrader does not have any reliable weapons behind Gadsden on Saturday, there will be immediate cause for concern. Defenses are going to plan for Syracuse’s undisputed top weapon, so someone needs to step up, and it does not matter who. It could be Damien Alford, who has gotten plenty of hype in the preseason. Might it be LeQuint Allen, who showed receiving prowess in the Pinstripe Bowl? Or will it be an unknown commodity like Kendall Long or Donovan Brown, similar to what Gadsden was a year ago? It doesn’t matter who, but someone must elevate their play and take the load off Gadsden.


Both Coach Babers as well as members of the front seven have been talking the talk throughout training camp about the depth of this unit. Nobody needs reminding about how much trouble SU had stopping the run down the stretch last season. It also goes without saying that Colgate does not carry the running firepower that Clemson has with Will Shipley or Notre Dame with Audric Estime, but if Chris Achuff’s unit allows significant chunk yardage play after play on Saturday, it’ll be hard to not be anxious. There’s plenty of experience on the defensive line with the likes of Caleb Okechukwu, Kevon Darton, and a healthy Terry Lockett. They’ve talked the talk, now it’s time for them to walk the walk.


Syracuse football will ride arm and legs of dual-threat quarterback Garrett Shrader | On Sports | Rochester Business Journal (; Pitoniak)

The dream could have ended four years ago at Mississippi State after Mike Leach took over the football program in Starkville and asked Garrett Shrader to switch from quarterback to wide receiver and special teams. Though he had been a widely coveted, four-star recruit at Charlotte (N.C.) Christian High School and had shown some flashes while starting several games at quarterback as a college first-year student, Shrader really had no choice in the matter if he wanted to keep his scholarship. He accepted the move, but eventually realized he had made a huge mistake.

Shrader had been a quarterback since his first game of organized football as a seven-year-old. It was not only his natural position, but who he was. After a COVID-interrupted season in 2020, he decided to leave Starkville and enter the transfer portal in search of a program that would let him be a QB.

And that’s how he wound up at Syracuse University. There were no promises or guarantees at first. The Orange seemed set at the position with experienced veteran Tommy Devito as starter. Shrader accepted his No. 2 spot on the depth chart, but made sure he was ready, just in case opportunity arose. It did four games into the 2021 season when it became apparent a bruised and battered Devito no longer could operate behind SU’s porous offensive line. Orange coach Dino Babers switched to Shrader, who was bigger (6-foot-4, 240 pounds), faster, and more agile.

Devito wound up transferring to Illinois, where he enjoyed some success before signing as an undrafted free agent with the NFL’s New York Giants and delivering several solid preseason performances.

Shrader, meanwhile, bet on himself, and won. A true dual-threat quarterback, he will begin his final season with the Orange Saturday at 4 p.m. against Colgate in the JMA Wireless Dome.

Much is at stake for Shrader and the man who took a chance on him three seasons ago. One of just five active major-college quarterbacks with 5,000 passing yards and 1,500 rushing yards, Shrader will have more than a football in his hands this fall. He’ll also be handling the fate of Babers’ coaching future.

The Juice Online - Prediction: Syracuse football in line for second consecutive bowl season (; Stechschulte)

The 2023 Syracuse season bears a strong resemblance to the 2022 season. Each team was coming off what basically amounted to a .500 season (2021 – 5-7 with three three-point losses; 2022 – 7-6 with two wins by a combined five points).

Each team has a handful of established high-end players (2021 - left tackle Matthew Bergeron, cornerback Duce Chestnut, linebacker Mikel Jones, running back Sean Tucker, and cornerback Garrett Williams; 2022 – rover Justin Barron, tight end Oronde Gadsden Jr., defensive end Caleb Okechukwu, quarterback Garrett Shrader, linebacker Marlowe Wax).

Each team has the same goal – make a bowl game.
In fairness, that has pretty much been the goal since Paul Pasqualoni was the Orange coach. That goal is probably never changing for Syracuse unless something drastic alters the fortunes of the program, but that is a separate conversation.

While the Orange do have that list of established players, there are still legitimate concerns looming over the team. Will any wide receiver develop into a legitimate threat and help take coverage off Gadsden? Can LeQuint Allen hold up as a starting running back? Will the offensive line develop into a cohesive unit that stays healthy and can pass block effectively (every Babers team has given up at least 32 sacks, even with mobile quarterbacks like Eric Dungey and Garrett Shrader starting lots of games)?
And questions also hamng over the defensive and special teams units. Who besides Okechukwu will provide pass rush? Can Isaiah Johnson hold up as a starter at cornerback for the full season? And who wins the starting spot across from Johnson? How will the kicking game shake out with Andre Szmyt gone?

Getting Rocky Long on board to coordinate the 3-3-5 was a definite win. Jason Beck stepping up to the offensive coordinator spot means continuity on that side of the ball.
The schedule is not unbearable, aside from the three-game meat grinder to open the conference portion. But, the slate opens up with a lighter touch, the bye week immediately follows those toughest tests, and the difficulty eases for the finishing kick.

As always when shorthanded on talent in the ACC, the biggest factor for Syracuse remains a simple one: health. Shrader’s productivity slid when he got hurt last season and returned early to play behind a line that was getting shuffled due to their injuries.

The defensive line got riddled with injuries last season, as well as season-ending ones befalling a handful of opening day starters behind the line (Stefon Thompson, Garrett Williams, Ja’Had Carter) over the course of the season.

Allen carries painful loss and father's legacy into new season (PS; $; Leiker)

LeQuint Allen’s first collegiate start last December was memorable for more than his on-field performance.

When Syracuse played in the Pinstripe Bowl, the running back’s father, aunt and cousin drove approximately 140 miles from South Jersey to New York for the game.

Other family members attended, too. For several of them, including Allen, it was their first time inside iconic Yankee Stadium.

After the game, they all shared what Allen called a “heart-touching moment” reflecting on where Allen had started, how far he’d come and what lay ahead after a breakout performance in the Orange’s loss.

What's new with the JMA Wireless Dome ahead of the first Syracuse football game? (wrvo; Pukatch)

The Syracuse Orange take on Colgate in the first football game of the season Saturday at the JMA Wireless Dome.

The JMA Wireless Dome is undergoing a transformation with new railings and ramps to comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act and new sprinklers on the concourse for updated building codes. Seat installation, replacing bench seating with chair backs, is expected to begin in April to be ready for the 2024 football season.

Syracuse University Chief Facilities Officer Pete Sala said the capacity change will go from roughly 49,000 seats to between 42 to 43 thousand seats — depending on the types of seats put in.

"The width of the aisles definitely made it a little bit more difficult," Sala said. "It dropped us about three seats per row."

Changes fans could expect to see throughout this season: a light show through the Cuse app and a fan rewards program.

A mobile wireless network enhancing the capabilities of sharing on social media, downloading mobile tickets or checking stats online will be implemented later this fall.

"The system's fully installed," Andy Adams, chief operating officer of JMA said. "It's ready to go."

Syracuse football vs. Colgate tickets: Where to buy cheapest seats online for season opener (PS; Axelson)

The Syracuse Orange Football Team opens its 2023 college football season against the Colgate Raiders at the JMA Wireless Dome on Saturday, September 2 (9/2/2023) at 4 p.m. ET, and there are plenty of tickets available online for fans who want to cheer on the Orange at the start of the season.

Last-minute tickets to the game are available online via resellers like StubHub, VividSeats and SeatGeek, and you might even find a better deal than you would if you bought standard admission tickets through Ticketmaster — the official ticketing partner of Syracuse athletics.

Here are the cheapest seats available for Syracuse vs. Colgate as of Wednesday, August 30:


Syracuse Football: Five pivotal keys to success for ‘Cuse in 2023 season (itlh; Fiello)

I’m a big believer in the same theory that Syracuse football head coach Dino Babers has in that every season is different than the last. So I think placing expectations for success on a team based on the past is not necessarily the best measuring stick.

Yes, some factors may still be relevant but there is also so much change that you can’t accurately judge too much. But 2023 is definitely different than 2022 but can they still have success and make a bowl game in 2023?

I’ve thought a lot about stuff like this over the past few months and I think they definitely can be a bowl team or better. But what will it take to get them there?

I thought about this too and to me, there are five things I truly believe could make this a special season, a campaign that begins this coming Saturday at home against Colgate. If these five pieces come together, I could see the puzzle complete with at the very least a very nice bowl experience.

Here are my five keys to success for Syracuse football in 2023.


The 2022 season started off so unbelievably amazing and fans were excited but sadly injuries caught up to them. They started 6-0 but finished 1-5 plus a bowl game loss mostly because so many key players were injured.

If 2023 is going to be what they hoped 2022 could be, the biggest factor is likely keeping players healthy. Coach Babers even admitted this offseason that Syracuse football quarterback Garrett Shrader was injured/banged up in the Clemson game and not the same the rest of the season. Many players last year were lost for significant time if not for the whole season. Praying this year players can stay healthy.

Syracuse football: Orange players are locked in for season opener against Colgate (TNIAAM; Ostrowski)

Syracuse Orange football returns in just a few more days, which means we’re going all-in on our coverage of the 2023 team. Dino Babers held his first press conference of the regular season on Monday, and then on Tuesday, many of his key players also met with members of the media. Here’s a summary of what they discussed:

Garrett Shrader

  • On playing against Colgate to start the year: “The biggest thing is just getting the nerves out and going out and being comfortable.” The plan is to keep things routine and focus on not getting unnecessarily hurt.
  • “For me, it’s more just the first drive. The biggest thing’s the first time you get hit.” Well... none of us are in a rush to see that happen Garrett.
  • Everyone knows how good Gadsden is after last season, but others are getting more consistent and can complement him well. Offense should be “explosive” with lots of playmakers.
  • On the offensive line: “We’ve been rotating a bunch of different guys and trying out different things throughout camp. I got a lot of trust in those guys... once we start moving the ball a bit, that’s when the confidence comes in.”
  • Coach Beck is still very involved with the quarterback room, and Shrader doesn’t believe that him calling plays from up in the Box will have any negative effects on their rhythm.
  • Donovan Brown is a quick learner and could see a lot of targets as soon as this week.
  • LeQuint Allen is a different style of RB than Sean Tucker, but he suits the offense just fine - “We want LeQuint to be LeQuint.”

Enrique Cruz

  • “You never overlook your opponent.” Brought up FSU being upset by Jacksonville State, another FCS team, two years ago.
  • The line rotated around a lot in camp and competitions were only recently wrapped up, with Cruz securing the starting left tackle spot.
  • Excited to see how the revamped five can perform against other defenses, and for crowds to pack the Dome again. Hoping for more sellouts this season.

Oronde Gadsden

  • There are plenty of vocal leaders on the team - “I’m more of a ‘lead-by-example’ person.”
  • Doesn’t really pay attention to the preseason accolades - “You have to go out and do it during the season.”
  • With the NFL on his radar, Oronde has been diving deep into film to see what scouts are looking for the most. He and Shrader both studied with Gadsden Sr. over the summer.
  • By the third or fourth game, he expects other receivers to start drawing enough attention themselves that he’ll be able to find a lot of open space.
  • Calls LeQuint Allen “a ball of energy” at all times.

Former Syracuse DT Chris Slayton joins Packers’ practice squad (PS; Carlson)

Former Syracuse defensive tackle Chris Slayton has signed on to join the Green Bay Packers’ practice squad.

Slayton re-joined the team on Wednesday, one day after the organization released him as it trimmed its roster to 53 players. Slayton cleared waivers and then signed on to join the Packers’ 16-player practice squad.

Slayton has found a home on a number of different practice squads since he was picked in the seventh round of the NFL Draft by the New York Giants in 2019.

He’s been on the active roster for short periods of time with both the Giants and Falcons, as well as the practice squads of the Bills, Steelers, 49ers and Packers.

The 27-year-old is 6-foot-4 and 307 pounds. He played four years for the Orange, starting every game for his final three years, and was a captain in 2018, helping lead the team to the Camping Word Bowl.

Former Syracuse quarterback Tommy DeVito lands on New York Giants’ practice squad (PS; Carlson)

Former Syracuse quarterback Tommy DeVito played his way onto the New York Giants’ practice squad following an impressive preseason with the NFL club.

The team released him on Tuesday, when all NFL franchises had to submit an initial 53-man main roster, but brought him back to be part of its 16-player practice squad after he cleared waivers.

DeVito’s inclusion was reported by The Athletic’s Dan Duggan, who cited head coach Brian Daboll.

Confirmed P-squad members per Daboll:

• QB Tommy DeVito
• WR Cole Beasley
• TE Ryan Jones
• OL Tyre Phillips
• DL Ryder Anderson
• OLB Oshane Ximines
• OLB Tomon Fox
• ILB Darrian Beavers
• ILB Dyontae Johnson
• CB Amani Oruwariye
• CB Gemon Green
• S Alex Cook
— Dan Duggan (@DDuggan21) August 30, 2023

Syracuse Football on Instagram: "Congrats to our own Tom Coughlin for being named a Semifinalist on the coaches’ ballot for the @profootballhof. He’ll look to become the ninth Syracuse football alum to be enshrined in Canton, which would give the Orange the 5th-most Hall of Famers!" (instgram)

Congrats to SU alum Tom Coughlin on being a semi finalist for the NFL Hall of Fame!

Poll results: Who are Section III football preseason players of the year? (PS; $; Lacy Jr)

Your votes have been cast and the results are in. Now it’s time to see who readers have chosen as the Section III preseason football players of the year.

This vote was purely for fun and was a way for fans to voice their opinion.

The large school winner in Cicero-North Syracuse’s Nathan Williams. The Northstars’ pass catcher, who received 221 votes (44.02%), caught 29 passes for 500 yards and five touchdowns and was named first-team All-CNY last season.

With 259 votes (43.31%) Solvay’s Jaysin Bliss won the small school poll. The All-CNY first-team selection rushed for more than 1,700 yards and scored 17 rushing touchdowns last season. On defense, he recorded 71 tackles, eight sacks and forced one fumble.

Goldbacks seek another trip to Syracuse in late fall - My Hudson Valley (; Zummo)

An era ended when the Newburgh Free Academy football team’s season ended at the JMA Wireless Dome in Syracuse in the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class AA championship game last December.

Wide receiver Deondre Johnson graduated and moved on to Division I Rutgers, while fellow wide receiver Elijah Bevier has also moved on to Division II University of New Haven.

But there is plenty of talent remaining as the Goldbacks look to defend their Section 9 championship this season.

“I think our team chemistry is very good this year,” Newburgh coach Bill Bianco said. “To be honest, comparing this year, we actually have more pieces in place from last year’s team than we did two years ago. So even though we might have the one or two star guys that everybody knows are missing, there’s a lot of continuity.”

There is no replacing what Johnson and Bevier brought to the Goldbacks last year, but they return many key pieces, including Mason Hoover, who is entering his second full season as the Goldbacks’ quarterback.

ACC News

Giglio: The upside and downside for every ACC QB - Saturday Road (; Giglio)

The ACC might have the most interesting collection of quarterbacks in the “Power 5.” There are 2 quarterbacks who transferred within the conference, 2 transfers from other P5 schools and 3 quarterbacks with a legitimate chance to be in the Heisman Trophy conversation.

That’s a lot going on the most important position. Let’s catch you up on the changes and the upside and downside for each team:

Boston College

Upside: BC coach Jeff Hafley went into the 2022 season thinking he would have a proven, veteran starter in Phil Jurkovec. And for 8 games, he did. Then Jurkovec got injured and Hafley had to turn to Emmitt Morehead, a raw, redshirt freshman, to finish the final 4 games of the season.

Morehead, a classic dropback passer at 6-5 and 235 pounds, showed real promise in 3 of those games with 330 passing yards in his first 2 starts and 9 TDs to 2 INTs in the 3 good games. The 4th game, a 44-0 loss at Notre Dame, was the kind of clunker to be expected from an inexperienced quarterback. The way Morehead handled himself in a 21-20 win at NC State in November showed Hafley that he has a building block in Morehead.

Downside: As good as Morehead was in throwing for 912 yards against Duke, State and Syracuse, 305 of those yards went to receiver Zay Flowers. With Flowers off to the NFL, as a 1st-round pick of the Baltimore Ravens, will Morehead still be good without him?

Flowers was a force last year, leading the ACC in TD catches (12) and ranking 2nd in receiving yards (1,077). It will take more than 1 player to replace Flowers’ production. Joseph Griffin, a big target (6-4) on the outside, will help. So will UCF transfer Ryan O’Keefe, who caught 157 passes the previous 2 seasons for the Knights. If it was more Flowers than Morehead that revived the offense after Jurkovec’s injury, then Hafley will have to go back to the drawing board.


Upside: When Cade Klubnik came off the bench to lead the Tigers to a runaway 39-10 win over UNC in the ACC title game, the most common refrain from Clemson fans was: “Finally!” Just about everyone waited all season for the 5-star freshman to overtake DJ Uiagalelei for the starting job. He broke through with a 20-of-24 performance in the romp of UNC, where he ran for a score and threw for another as the Tigers won their 7th ACC title in 8 years.

The biggest addition for Klubnik this year will be new offensive coordinator Garrett Riley. TCU quarterback Max Duggan was a Heisman Trophy finalist last year with Riley calling the plays. The Horned Frogs ranked 9th nationally in scoring.

Downside: In his first college start in the Orange Bowl, Klubnik ran into some of the same problems that plagued Uiagalelei. The Tigers’ receivers have fallen off from their championship run with Tee Higgins, Hunter Renfrow and Justyn Ross. Without major additions from the transfer portal, will the group be significantly better this season?

The popular thinking is that Klubnik will be an upgrade from Uiagalelei. That will likely be true but he might not be ready to jump up into the class of Tigers greats Trevor Lawrence or Deshaun Watson. Those QBs had a much better supporting cast than Klubnik and that might hold him back, even while expectations soar.


Upside: Riley Leonard was a revelation last year as a 1st-time starter. He threw for 20 TDs, with only 6 INTs, and then ran for 13 more scores. He was the primary reason Duke jumped from 3-9 in 2021 to 9-4 in 2022.

It stands to reason, a year older and a year wiser in coordinator Kevin Johns’ system will only make Leonard better. Factor in he has so many of the same skill players back from last year’s group and it easy to be bullish on Leonard’s potential in 2023. It’s also easy to predict that NFL scouts will be paying attention to an athletic, 6-4 quarterback who is a threat as a passer and runner.

Downside: The same questions about Duke, in Year 2 under coach Mike Elko, are the same ones for Leonard. How will a much more difficult schedule affect Leonard?

Last year’s first 3 games were against Temple, Northwestern and an FCS team (North Carolina A&T). This year, the Devils swap out Clemson for Temple (in the opener).

Of the ranked ACC teams to start the season, Duke gets all of them (the Tigers, Florida State, UNC) plus Notre Dame. There aren’t many layups on deck for Duke or Leonard.



Upside: Armstrong isn’t the only quarterback switching schools within the ACC. Phil Jurkovec went from Boston College to Pittsburgh. The Panthers are hoping to get the healthy version of Jurkovec, who started his career at Notre Dame in 2018. He’s a big, pocket passer who can drive the ball down field.

In 2020 at BC, Jurkovec was at his best with a 17 TDs and 5 INTs. He battled injuries the past 2 seasons and wasn’t quite the same player he was in the pandemic season. When healthy, Jurkovec can be an effective quarterback who’s good enough to win games with his arm. The way Pitt won last year (with Kedon Slovis) was by trying to run. That has its limits.

Downside: Jurkovec has talent but he hasn’t been able to play a complete season. Even in ’20, he fought through an shoulder injury. It’s kind of difficult to predict he’s going to be able to start all 13 games when he’s never done it in his college career. He’s in Year 6. Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi doesn’t mind playing old-fashioned football. He won’t have to if Jurkovec can stay healthy. Jurkovec isn’t Kenny Pickett, but he should be an upgrade from Slovis.


Upside: Garrett Shrader has 23 TD runs the past 2 years as the primary starter for the Orange. His completion percentage improved from 52.6 to 64.7 last year. His passing TDs went from 9 to 17. He made great strides. There’s every reason to believe he can maintain that progress from ’22 as a 5th-year senior.

Downside: Shrader flourished under coordinator Robert Anae last season. Anae is off to NC State. Jason Beck, who coached with Anae at BYU and Virginia, takes over for Anae as the new coordinator. There will be plenty of continuity there for Shrader to continue his progress.

The loss of running back Sean Tucker, who posted back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons, might tempt Shrader to pick up more of the slack in the ground game, but it’s difficult to see Shrader going to back his ’21 form.

Wake Forest Football: Season Predictions (; Bridges)

We are finally just one day away from the 2023 Wake Forest football season! While constant discussion of realignment and the death of the ACC kind of killed a lot of my excitement during the offseason, now that we are officially on the eve of the first game day of the season, I can confidently say that I am all the way back and ready to watch the Deacs play some football. With the season starting tomorrow, this is the final day of speculation and predictions before we can finally start talking about some real games, so let’s dive into some predictions for the 2023 season.

Overall Record: 7-5 (4-4)

It seems like we have the same question every year heading into the season: can the defense stop anyone? The offense, which is averaging 36 points per game with 3 different starting QBs since 2017, has consistently been good enough to keep the Deacs in almost every game. The defense, unfortunately, has been just the opposite, giving up almost 30 points per game in that same time span. We will find out if the defense has made any improvements when we get into some real games, but until then, I am operating under the assumption that both sides of the ball are going to be pretty similar to last year. With that in mind, here’s how I think the schedule breaks down this season:


The Deacs should absolutely start out the season 4-0. A loss in any of the first 4 games would not be a great sign for how the season is going to go. On the road at Clemson and Notre Dame, both ranked teams, are probably going to be losses, to be blunt. If the Deacs are going to steal one in the “loss” category, it’s going to be the Florida State game at home—time will tell if the FSU hype is for real or if they are once again overrated. Wake should be able to go 3-2 in the remaining tossup games. I think I’d have VT and Syracuse in the win category if they were home games, but Blacksburg is not an easy place to play in and Syracuse typically gives Wake all they can handle in the dome. That puts my worst-case scenario at 4-8 and my best-case scenario at 9-3—I think the Deacs fall comfortably in the middle at 7-5.

Most Important Game: NC State

This is almost always one of the biggest games of the year for the Deacs, especially when the game is in Winston. Not only is a win great for bragging rights, but this season it will likely be pivotal in whether or not Wake gets to a bowl game.

Offensive MVP: Taylor Morin

Morin had 47 catches for 575 yards and 9 touchdowns last season. I think he is poised for a Jaquarii Roberson type year in the slot and will serve as a sort of security blanket for Mitch Griffis in his first season as the starting QB.

Defensive MVP: Jasheen Davis

With a secondary that struggles at staying with receivers, a pass rush is going to be crucial this season. It seems like 3rd and long is always the Achilles heel for the defense, so the ability to get into the backfield and blow up the play before the receivers can get separation would really help the defense get off the field. Davis finished last season with a team high 7 sacks, so another big year could be on the horizon.

Breakout Player: Mitch Griffis

Who else could it be? The Deacs run a pretty favorable system for quarterbacks, as seen by the success of every QB who has run it. While Griffis may not yet be on the level of Sam Hartman in the passing game, his ability to run the ball should open up the offense even more.

Bowl Game: Military Bowl

Anything but Fenway, please.

ACC Incoming Impact Transfers | 2023 ACC Football (youtube; video; podcast)

A lot of talented players have moved into the ACC from other conferences during this past offseason. New Louisville coach Jeff Brohm is reunited with quarterback Jack Plummer who were together at Purdue before Plummer spent a year at Cal. Wide receiver Ryan O'Keefe looks to step into the hole left by Zay Flowers at Boston College after amassing 3,367 all-purpose yards at Central Florida. South Carolina's Jaheim Bell was the top tight end in the transfer portal, and he became the latest weapon for a high-powered offense at Florida State. Check out who else made our list of some of the impactful transfer players joining the ACC for the 2023 football season. (; Lassan)

The 2023 college football season continues with Week 1 games kicking off on Thursday, Aug. 26 and continuing through Monday, Sept. 4. The first full weekend of action features 87 overall games, and Athlon Sports is back with predictions and picks for every contest.

Thursday night's action features 11 games, including a high-profile showdown between Florida and Utah in Salt Lake City. New Nebraska coach Matt Rhule takes his team to Minneapolis for a key Big Ten matchup against Minnesota. Six matchups are slated for Friday, including Louisville-Georgia Tech and Stanford-Hawaii.

On Saturday, the first wave of contests includes Virginia-Tennessee, TCU-Colorado, and East Carolina-Michigan. The afternoon window features Ohio State-Indiana, Boise State-Washington, and Cal-North Texas. In the first night slate of action, Washington State-Colorado State, UTSA-Houston, West Virginia-Penn State, North Carolina-South Carolina, and South Alabama-Tulane provide several big-time matchups. And the first full Saturday of games concludes with Sam Houston-BYU, and Coastal Carolina-UCLA rounding out the final window.

Three matchups are slated for Sunday, with LSU-Florida State in Orlando the most-anticipated showdown of Week 1. The week concludes with Duke hosting Clemson on Monday night.

College Football Picks: Expert Predictions for Every Game in Week 1

Steven LassanJoe VitaleLuke Easterling
Elon at Wake Forest (Thurs.)Wake ForestWake ForestWake Forest
Kent State at UCF (Thurs.)UCFUCFUCF
Rhode Island at Georgia State (Thurs).Georgia StateGeorgia StateGeorgia State
St. Francis (PA) at Western Michigan (Thurs.)Western MichiganWestern MichiganWestern Michigan
NC State at UConn (Thurs.)NC StateNC StateNC State
Florida at Utah (Thurs.)UtahUtahUtah
Nebraska at Minnesota (Thurs.)MinnesotaMinnesotaMinnesota
South Dakota at Missouri (Thurs.)MissouriMissouriMissouri
Arkansas Pine-Bluff at Tulsa (Thurs.)TulsaTulsaTulsa
North Carolina A&T at UAB (Thurs.)UABUABUAB
Southern Utah at Arizona State (Thurs.)Arizona StateArizona StateArizona State
Howard at Eastern Michigan (Fri.)Eastern MichiganEastern MichiganEastern Michigan
Central Michigan at Michigan State (Fri.)Michigan StateMichigan StateMichigan State
Miami, Ohio at Miami, Fla. (Fri.)Miami, Fla.Miami, Fla.Miami, Fla.
Louisville at Georgia Tech (Fri.)LouisvilleGeorgia TechLouisville
Missouri State at Kansas (Fri.)KansasKansasKansas
Stanford at Hawaii (Fri.)HawaiiStanfordStanford
East Carolina at MichiganMichiganMichiganMichigan
Virginia vs. Tennessee (Nashville)TennesseeTennesseeTennessee
Colorado at TCUTCUColoradoTCU
Arkansas State at OklahomaOklahomaOklahomaOklahoma
Utah State at IowaIowaIowaIowa
Ball State at KentuckyKentuckyKentuckyKentucky
Bowling Green at LibertyLibertyLibertyBowling Green
Fresno State at PurduePurduePurdueFresno State
Louisiana Tech at SMUSMUSMUSMU
Northern Illinois at Boston CollegeBoston CollegeNorthern IllinoisBoston College
Long Island at OhioOhioOhioOhio
Robert Morris at Air ForceAir ForceAir ForceAir Force
Mercer at Ole MissOle MissOle MissOle Miss
East Tennessee State at Jacksonville StateJacksonville StateJacksonville StateJacksonville State
Northern Iowa at Iowa StateIowa StateIowa StateIowa State
Akron at TempleTempleTempleTemple
Portland State at OregonOregonOregonOregon
Ohio State at IndianaOhio State Ohio State Ohio State
Boise State at WashingtonWashingtonWashingtonWashington
Rice at TexasTexasTexasTexas
Tennessee State at Notre DameNotre DameNotre DameNotre Dame
Buffalo at WisconsinWisconsinWisconsinWisconsin
UMass at AuburnAuburnAuburnAuburn
Towson at MarylandMarylandMarylandMaryland
USF at Western KentuckyWestern KentuckyUSFUSF
Wofford at PittPittPittPitt
Eastern Kentucky at CincinnatiCincinnatiCincinnatiCincinnati
Gardner-Webb at Appalachian StateAppalachian StateAppalachian StateAppalachian State
Western Carolina at ArkansasArkansasArkansasArkansas
SE Louisiana at Mississippi StateMississippi StateMississippi StateMississippi State
California at North TexasCaliforniaCaliforniaCalifornia
Colgate at SyracuseSyracuseSyracuseSyracuse
UT Martin at GeorgiaGeorgiaGeorgiaGeorgia
South Carolina State at CharlotteCharlotteSouth Carolina State Charlotte
Monmouth at Florida AtlanticFlorida AtlanticFlorida AtlanticFlorida Atlantic
The Citadel at Georgia SouthernGeorgia SouthernGeorgia SouthernGeorgia Southern
Bucknell at James Madison James Madison James Madison James Madison
UAlbany at MarshallMarshallMarshallMarshall
Southeast Missouri State at Kansas StateKansas StateKansas StateKansas State
New Mexico at Texas A&MTexas A&MTexas A&MTexas A&M
Army at ULMArmyArmyULM
Alabama A&M at VanderbiltVanderbiltVanderbiltVanderbilt
Washington State at Colorado StateWashington StateWashington StateWashington State
Texas State at BaylorBaylorBaylorBaylor
UTSA at HoustonUTSAUTSAHouston
Central Arkansas at Oklahoma StateOklahoma StateOklahoma StateOklahoma State
Bethune-Cookman at MemphisMemphisMemphisMemphis
Alcorn State at Southern MissSouthern MissSouthern MissSouthern Miss
Stephen F. Austin at TroyTroyTroyTroy
Middle Tennessee at AlabamaAlabamaAlabamaAlabama
West Virginia at Penn StatePenn StatePenn StatePenn State
North Carolina vs. South Carolina (Charlotte)South CarolinaNorth CarolinaNorth Carolina
Toledo at IllinoisIllinoisIllinoisIllinois
Texas Tech at WyomingTexas TechTexas TechTexas Tech
Northwestern State at LouisianaLouisianaLouisianaLouisiana
South Alabama at TulaneTulaneTulaneTulane
Old Dominion at Virginia TechVirginia TechVirginia TechVirginia Tech
Western Illinois at New Mexico StateNew Mexico StateNew Mexico StateNew Mexico State
Northern Arizona at ArizonaArizonaArizonaArizona
Coastal Carolina at UCLAUCLAUCLAUCLA
Idaho State at San Diego StateSan Diego StateSan Diego StateSan Diego State
Northwestern at Rutgers (Sun.)RutgersNorthwesternNorthwestern
Oregon State at San Jose State (Sun.)Oregon StateOregon StateOregon State
LSU vs. Florida State (Orlando - Sun.)Florida StateLSULSU
Clemson at Duke (Mon.)ClemsonClemsonClemson

Column: NC State football will win the ACC in 2023 (; Trotter)

It’s that time of year when we all make our bold predictions, no matter how crazy they seem, and I have made mine: NC State football will win the ACC.

Underdog Mentality

Clemson and Florida State are currently the heavy favorites to win the ACC, receiving most of the first-place votes in the preseason poll — a position that NC State was just in a year ago when it received the second most votes to win the conference.

There was plenty of preseason hype around NC State for the first time in years — both locally and nationally. The Wolfpack started the year ranked 13th in the AP Poll, which was the highest it has ever been ranked entering a season.

The Pack, however, failed to meet expectations, finishing with an 8-5 overall record and a 4-4 ACC record. I know what you’re thinking, how does this have anything to do with this season? Well, I’ll tell you.

Going into the 2023 season, there is much less hype around the team, and that’s exactly where the red-and-white wants to be. As much as everyone craves national recognition, there’s something about going unnoticed that can motivate a team to play for each other and exceed expectations.

Home Schedule

NC State’s record at Carter-Finley Stadium over the past two seasons stands at an impressive 13-1, and it’s no doubt that the Pack’s home field advantage is one of the strongest in the ACC. With NC State’s toughest games of the year at home, that advantage will prove crucial to the red-and-white’s success.

NC State has three preseason-ranked teams on its schedule, with all of them set to play the Pack in Raleigh. The Wolfpack’s home opener will be against No. 13 Notre Dame, while No. 9 Clemson visits in week eight and No. 21 UNC-Chapel Hill travels in for the regular season finale. Other notable home matchups include Miami and Louisville.

The Defense

With all the preseason talk centered around NC State’s new offensive coordinator and quarterback combo in Raleigh, it seems like many are forgetting about how talented the Wolfpack’s defense is. Defensive coordinator Tony Gibson commanded the top defense in the conference last year, and that ranking shouldn’t change this season.

While the unit lost many key contributors to the NFL, there are still several players who have been waiting for their opportunity and are ready to prove themselves. Not to mention, there are returning starters at every position, with some considered the best in the country in their roles.

For every new starter like junior linebacker Devon Betty, there is a veteran, like graduate linebacker Payton Wilson, there to help them along. This defense has a perfect mix of vets who have performed at a high level and young guns who are hungry for their first opportunity in an elite defense.

Gibson is considered one of the best defensive minds in college football, and his side of the ball should be dominant once again.

ACC power rankings: Pollsters wrong about Clemson-Florida State order — for now (; Keepfer)

ESPN: Cal, Stanford, SMU ACC invites hinge on swaying a holdout, likely delaying vote (; Kunnath)

It is looking less likely like Cal will know its ACC fate this week.

Pete Thamel of ESPN reports that the shooting in North Carolina delayed a potential vote happening yesterday and maybe for the rest of the week.

“The tragic shooting at the University of North Carolina has muted those conversations a bit in the ACC and put any decision in a bit of a holding pattern out of respect for the leadership at North Carolina,” Thamel said.
Additionally, with Hurricane Idalia hitting Tallahassee today, Florida State probably has other things on their mind today.

The college football season also starts tomorrow, with the ACC scheduling games from Thursday to Monday. So it’s possible we’re waiting until after Labor Day weekend for an actual vote, as conference presidents get busy with football matters in the coming days.

The most concerning update from Thamel yesterday is it sounds as if the vote that was needed to be swayed…hasn’t been swayed?

“Things are about where they were mid Monday afternoon when the vote was scheduled. There are still four dissenting votes from the earlier straw poll a few weeks back, and there’s no clear view… heading into Monday there wasn’t, anyway, of whether one of those four votes would flip and allow the three teams – Cal, Stanford and SMU – to enter the league,” Thamel said.
This was also confirmed by Andrea Adelson.

Quick (non) update here on ACC - no current rescheduled presidents call out of respect for what happened at UNC. Jim Phillips is going to Dallas for CFP meetings tomorrow. It is my understanding nobody has flipped yet on adding Cal, Stanford and SMU but talks continue.
Phillips actually wasn’t able to attend because of the hurricane, but is reportedly zooming in. But if that last vote hasn’t been swayed that vote might not be happening for awhile.

The four rumored no votes continue to be Clemson, Florida State, North Carolina and NC State. Clemson and Florida State are the least likely to be swayed, since they are probably looking for an exit hatch out of the ACC once the exit fees for leaving the ACC Grant of Rights. North Carolina is also probably very reluctant as they likely will be part of the next line of conference realignment and have no stress at all about their future.
... (SI; Caudell)

Earlier this week, ACC presidents had scheduled a call to discuss and possibly vote on adding Cal, Stanford, and SMU. Yahoo Sports Ross Dellenger also reported that in the presented model, expansion would add $55M annually for ACC to share via an incentive pool. However, due to the tragedy at the University of North Carolina, the call was postponed and did not have an immediate date for being rescheduled.

Today, Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick said that he is unsure when the ACC president's call is going to be rescheduled, but he does expect it to happen at some point. Swarbrick also said that a decision is in the president's hands.

While they are not a member of the ACC in football, Swarbrick and Notre Dame have been at the forefront of trying to get the ACC to add the schools and expand.

Swarbrick was on the Dan Patrick Show last week and voiced similar frustrations as he previously had about the possibility of Cal and Stanford not having a place to go in the current conference realignment landscape:

"You can't have two of the great academic institutions in the world not have a place to play. We're working on (a solution). There is still consideration of the ACC as a home for those schools."

Swarbrick also made broader comments on the state of college athletics and what is happening right now:

"A complete disaster” what’s happened in college athletics. “Everybody in the industry has to take responsibility here I'm not excluding myself from that. I think the decision-making lost its way in terms on the focus of the student athlete & what's primarily best for them.”

Earlier this month when Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Utah, Arizona, and Arizona State left the Pac-12, leaving Stanford, Cal, Oregon State, and Washington State without homes, Swarbrick made similar comments:
... (charlotteobserver.xcom; Weight)

In 2021, a secret proposal to form a European Super League was uncovered which led to extreme public backlash throughout the United Kingdom.

The prime minister described the proposal as a cartel and suggested legislative action to stop it. There were protests in the streets and organizing bodies (FIFA and UEFA) threatened to ban super league players from international competition. These actions successfully blocked the proposal and preserved tradition in the UK.

We are in a similar situation in the United States with our uniquely American college sport tradition. College sport superpowers — the Big 10, Big 12, and Southeastern Conferences — are paving the way for a super league in college football. And our Atlantic Coast Conference will likely be the next to react by becoming a conference with institutions on the Pacific Coast. Erianne Weight Once the west coast schools — USC, UCLA, Oregon and Washington — officially join the Big 10 in 2024-2025, we have failed. TOP VIDEOS We have allowed football television revenue to take priority over common sense, iconic rivalries and athlete, coach and employee well-being.

Football is driving the madness and all the other sports are being treated as commodities that must go along. It’s complicated. There are so many contracts. There is no clear leader. In a game of whack-a-mole management, the NCAA points to the member schools, athletics administrators point to their presidents, the presidents point to the commissioners, and we all wonder who is in charge. Currently we’re led by an alternative golden rule — those who have the gold make the rules. Broadcast revenue from big-time football is the largest source of revenue in collegiate athletics, and conference commissioners hired by presidents (under the demanding thumb of their boards of trustees) are charged to maximize these broadcast deals with pressure fueled by rising costs, recruiting pressure, and the allure of winning national championships.

Why are they in charge? Because of you. Because of me. Because of our eyes. Because we’ve decided to have community rituals surrounding football powerhouses that yield industry-leading ratings and commercial profitability. But our TV-viewing eyes can be diverted. Contracts can be revised.

Leaders and athletes can sit in a conference room and generate innovative value-driven solutions that improve the health of the entire industry and stop the madness of conference realignment. Our call to action?

First, be a discriminating consumer by directing your eyes and wallet toward systems with value congruency. Conference realignment illuminates capitalistic values in action. These actions do not align with the stated missions of our universities. If wealth creation is the aim, organizational systems should realign. If education is the aim, athletics should be an integrated part of the educational system with organizational structures akin to music, dance or theater.

Second, wielding the power of our viewership, we must demand our football leaders (conference commissioners, College Football Playoff (CFP) members, and NCAA leaders) separate football from the traditional conference systems to put an end to impractical conference realignment and make college football more accountable for its national expenses and liability. (See Knight Commission and LEAD1 recommendations.)

Third, consider a football revenue sharing relegation model separate from the current conference system. Relegation provides an avenue of hope for all college football programs and an escape from the very real and overwhelming fear of getting left behind. Fourth, encourage athlete unionization to amplify their voice within the educational and economic framework they navigate.



The pork tenderloin sandwich at Daniella's at the New York State Fair. (Charlie Miller | (PS; Miller)

Happy Dairy Day, everyone. The New York State Fair is celebrating cows and all the good stuff they help produce.

If it weren’t for cows, we wouldn’t have the butter sculpture to admire every year. We wouldn’t have 25-cent cups of milk in the Dairy Building. (Then again, the Dairy Building would be called something else, and the Milk Bar would probably be serving a chilled soy- or oat-based liquid.)

But we DO have cows, so we’re going to honor them today with a parade of dairy farmers at 6 p.m. at Chevy Court. The Fair also will be showing off the winners of the best New York cheese, ice cream and milk contests. At 10:30 a.m., the American Dairy Association North East will have its annual media milkshake competition in the pavilion opposite the Chevy Court stage. (Stop by and encourage the judges to vote for’s entry. It’s a humdinger.)

Today’s Menu

In a meeting to plan our State Fair coverage, my boss lifted a line from the classic movie “Animal House” as a parental-like suggestion: “Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, Charlie.” To which I replied, “Why not? It’s the Fair.” After all, I write about food and drinks for and The Post-Standard, and I rely on readers to tell me what’s good. That’s what I do at the Fair too. If you find something that makes your belly smile, text me at 315-382-1984 and I’ll give it a shot. I might join you for a meal or drink and pick up the tab if I write about it.


Traffic headed south on Interstate 81 to Interstate 481 will have to detour at South State Street during construction of the new interchange. The green line is the detour. The red line is construction. (PS; Breidenbach)

Highway drivers heading from downtown Syracuse to Jamesville or DeWitt will have to detour onto city streets for more than a year to avoid construction where southbound Interstate 81 meets Interstate 481.

About 4,500 drivers use this route each weekday, according to the state DOT.

The detour starts at 9 a.m. Monday September 11.

The construction is part of the state’s $2.25 billion plan to tear down the elevated I-81 viaduct in Syracuse and reroute high-speed traffic around the city on I-481. The project starts with widening I-481 and redesigning interchanges where I-81 meets I-481 both north and south of the city.

The new ramp is expected to open in spring of 2025.

Until then, drivers traveling from I-81 south to I-481 north will exit the highway at South State and Salina Streets, at Exit 17. Traffic will take South State Street to Brighton Avenue, then to Rock Cut Road and onto I-481 north.

It’s important to note, drivers who forget to exit for the detour will have to travel to the Nedrow exit to turn around. That’s four miles away.

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