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

Orangeyes Daily Articles for Monday for Football

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Welcome to Cyber Monday!

Cyber Monday takes place on the Monday after Thanksgiving, and is the largest online shopping day of the year in the United States. The term was coined by Ellen Davis of the National Retail Federation, while working with Scott Silverman and others, at Shop.org. In 2005, shortly before Thanksgiving, Shop.org put out a press release highlighting the growing amount of sales that took place on the day. Research from 2004 had shown that the day was the 12th largest online shopping day of the year. After the term made its debut, it has been used as a marketing tool by retailers, and the public has embraced the day. As of 2017, sales have increased each year since its inception, transforming the day from the 12th largest online shopping day, to the largest. In 2006 there were $610 million of sales on the day, and in 2016 there were $3.45 billion in sales, marking the first time online sales had passed $3 billion on a single day in the United States. Half or more of the sales from the day are from work computers, suggesting that consumers still want to do more shopping after Black Friday, want to take advantage of the days' deals, or want to hide the gifts they are buying for family members.

SU News

BREAKING: Dan Mullen will not be Syracuse football's next head coach (cnycentral.com; Wenskovski)


Dan Mullen will not be the next head coach of Syracuse football, according to his personal X account (formerly Twitter).

Mullen responded to a tweet at 11:57 p.m. on Sunday stating "Love the cuse. But will not be the next head coach." Eight year head coach Dino Babers was fired last Sunday with one game left remaining in the regular season. It was revealed the following day that SU Athletic Director John Wildhack set a 7-5 record as the benchmark for Babers to keep his job this year, and he was unable to fulfill it.

Speculation surrounding the ESPN analyst and the vacant Syracuse football head coaching job had risen this week, after a source told CNY Central that Mullen met with Wildhack on Wednesday.

Mullen has had a long career in college football. He was formerly the head coach at Mississippi State from 2009-2017 as well as Florida from 2018-2021. After his firing from Florida in 2021, he turned to a career as an ESPN color analyst.

With Mullen now seemingly ruled out,
here's another list of candidates for the SU coaching vacancy.

The Next Day: Dino Babers’ firing motivated Syracuse to win a shootout over Wake Forest (DO; Miller)

His Hawaiian shirt and tranquil presence were absent from the sideline Saturday, but former head coach Dino Babers made an impact against Wake Forest. Babers was fired a week ago after nearly eight years of coaching Syracuse football. Still, he called multiple players this week to check in, including quarterback Garrett Shrader.

Many players were surprised by the firing, as they found out indirectly. Interim head coach Nunzio Campanile didn’t hide from the news or try to push it aside. Campanile said he knows how deep player-coach relationships can be, and he wanted to approach the situation head-on.

“I totally encouraged them to address it, to communicate with it, talk to assistant coaches about it, but at the same time, they did an excellent job of staying focused on this game,” Campanile said. “There are some special guys in that locker room.”

Campanile didn’t pretend like Babers’ dismissal wasn’t a factor, and that resonated with his players. One of the first things he did upon being named interim head coach was make SU feel comfortable talking about the coaching change and its implications. That enabled the players to think exclusively about football, and resulted in Syracuse’s (6-6, 2-6 Atlantic Coast Conference) best offensive performance against an ACC opponent this year, winning 35-31 over Wake Forest (4-8, 1-7 ACC) to clinch bowl eligibility.

Dan Villari said Campanile didn’t change much in terms of practice but was sensitive to the players’ personal relationships with Babers. Villari added that his tight end coach took the challenge in stride and led the team admirably. Thus, a cohesive and focused week of practice under Campanile in his second stint as an interim head coach gave Syracuse some extra juice.

“I told the kids, everyone in the room, nobody would be here without (Babers), including myself,” Campanile said. “You have to deal with that and you have to work your way through that… I don’t think there’s a person in the world who doesn’t think coach Babers is a great guy and everybody in the program was thinking about him all week.”

Players praised Babers postgame, and Justin Barron posted a message on social media ending in “that one was for you.” The players that bought into Babers’ “Ohana” and wanted to get the win in his honor.
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MSN (msn; Carlson)

Syracuse football captains Marlowe Wax and Justin Barron were non-committal about whether they will play in the Orange’s bowl game following the team’s 35-31 win over Wake Forest on Saturday.

The win over the Demon Deacons helped the Orange finish 6-6 and qualify for a bowl game for a second-consecutive season. It’s the first time that SU has gone to bowl games in back-to-back years since 2012-13 and the first time the school has accomplished that feat while playing both seasons in the ACC.

The team celebrated the accomplishment by dumping ice on interim coach Nunzio Campanile. It wore “bowl bound” shirts to the team’s press conference.

Despite the celebration, the allure of competing in bowl games has diminished in recent years as the College Football Playoff has dominated conversation about the postseason, the number of bowls has swelled to 41 games, players have prioritized staying healthy to prepare for the NFL draft and transferring has become commonplace.

Syracuse’s bowl game will come after players are permitted to enter their names into the NCAA’s transfer portal, possibly reducing the roster.

Both Wax and Barron said they needed to take time and put thought into whether they will play in the bowl game and whether they would return to Syracuse.

“I haven’t made my mind up,” Wax said, when asked if he’s decided whether to return to Syracuse next season. “I’m just worried about this bowl game right now.”

When asked if that meant he was playing in the bowl game, Wax said: “We’re gonna see. We’re gonna see what happens.”

Wax’s comments, made at a podium, led Barron to shout: “Come on, man, we’re going bowling.”

When asked the same questions, Barron offered similar answers to Wax.

“I have no idea,” Barron said. “I have to talk to the coaches. I’ve got to talk to people that care about my future.”

When asked whether he expected to play football in college next season, and whether he might go somewhere other than Syracuse, Barron repeated that he had no idea.

“I have no idea,” Barron said. “Just have to sit back and take a deep breath. I have no idea.”

Both Barron and Wax have a year of college eligibility remaining but chose to participate in Syracuse’s Senior Day festivities.
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Wake Forest sliced through Syracuse's secondary. But it stood up when it mattered most. (DO; Alandt)

Interim head coach Nunzio Campanile told his team that Saturday was going to come down to the last 30 seconds of the game. A team embroiled in change, from the head coach to transfers, needed to cap off a tumultuous season with a win to improve to 6-6 and earn bowl eligibility.

They needed to do something the Orange haven’t done in the last eight seasons — win an Atlantic Coast Conference game late in November — after SU fired Dino Babers.

They needed to shut down a Wake Forest team they hadn’t beaten in three years, one that entered with the worst offense in the ACC and just one conference win. All game long, WF quarterback Michael Kern found open receivers and moved the offense down the field with chunk plays. Then with two minutes remaining, Kern was flushed to his right out of the pocket on a fourth-and-goal play from the 4-yard line.

A touchdown would have given the Demon Deacons their first lead of the game and put a wildcat, run-heavy offense with three timeouts, in a position to drive down the field and pull out a win.

Kern keyed in on his man at the goal line and chucked a low pass on the run. But defensive back Jason Simmons Jr. jumped the route and got his arms between the ball and the ground in enough time to notch the interception. A replay review confirmed the pick, and the Orange, who had been torched by Kern’s arm all game, finally made a stop when it mattered the most.

“Jason made a great play. I know he’s been waiting for that play. A lot of plays don’t come to him, but when they do … he’s going to make the play,” defensive back Alijah Clark said.

Saturday’s win was supposed to be another slog, two offenses ranked at the bottom of the ACC squaring off to see which technique would win out. Then, Syracuse found itself in a shootout, saved only by Garrett Shrader being able to pass, and a more open playbook. Kern finished with his best game at Wake Forest, going 17-for-24 for 261 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. He helped the Demon Deacons keep their foot on the throttle and force the Orange into executing better than they have in conference play this year. In the end, Kern’s arm, the same reason Wake Forest (4-8, 1-7 ACC) was so close to winning, ended up harming it in the 35-31 loss to Syracuse (6-6, 2-6 ACC).

Isaiah Johnson said Syracuse knew WF was going to rely heavily on taking shots down field and opening up their call sheet with a heavy dose of run-pass option plays. Once Kern got the snap, he’d take two or three steps forward slowly with his eyes down field and chart out how the play was developing. If Syracuse was dropping back, he’d hand off to Justice Ellison or Tate Carney, who combined for 89 rushing yards and a touchdown. If one of the Orange’s defensive backs pressed too much or made a “false step” he’d find the open receiver.

SU wanted to counteract the approach with tight man defense and zero coverage, pressing the line of scrimmage so that Kern didn’t have as much time as he’s used to for the RPO to develop. But Johnson said playing that much man defense requires each defensive back to be perfect on every play. That’s nearly impossible to do, and some of the holes that opened up throughout the game were because of that.
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https://www.si.com/college/syracuse/football/five-takeaways-syracuse-35-wake-forest-31 (SI; McAllister)

Syracuse knocked off Wake Forest 35-31 to clinch bowl eligibility for the second straight season. Here are five takeaways from the victory.

1. Credit to the Players and Coaches

This could not have been an easy week. Not only dealing with the firing of their head coach, but also game planning without knowing the availability of your quarterback while trying to focus on the opponent. That is not easy to do, yet these guys clearly did. They played with energy, effort and enthusiasm and pulled out a win. Kudos to them for that. Similarly, the coaches had to adjust to no longer having their boss calling the shots. Credit to Nunzio Campanile for his leadership and to the other assistants for getting the players ready.

2. Garrett Shrader

I cannot imagine the level of discomfort and pain Garrett Shrader has been dealing with the last several weeks. He was clearly unable to throw the ball the last three games, but was good enough to do that in this one. He gutted it out, threw for 173 yards with three scores and ran for 46 yards with another touchdown. A nice way to go out in his final home game at Syracuse.

3. Defense

The defense surprisingly struggled all game. Wake Forest has been one of the worst offenses in the ACC all season, but racked up 31 points against the Orange. Syracuse's defense had been playing well the last three weeks, which is why this performance was a bit of a shock. That said, when it mattered the most, the defense stood up and made a play. Whether it was holding Wake Forest without points after Syracuse's lone turnover of the game or making a stop on fourth and goal with the Demon Deacons poised to take the lead late in the fourth quarter. The biggest struggles in this one were rushing the passer and coverage.

4. Damien Alford

We have been waiting for a breakout performance from Damien Alford all season and finally got it in the regular season finale. Alford was fantastic, making big play after big play. He finished with four catches 126 yards and two touchdowns. Alford participated in the senior walk, but still has two years of eligibility remaining. It will be interesting to see what his future holds.

5. Going Bowling

With all of the craziness, drama and injuries this season, Syracuse was still able to get to bowl eligibility. A good reward for the seniors and an opportunity to get 16 extra practices for the new coach to evaluate the current players. If I had to guess, I would say the Pinstripe or Fenway Bowl are the most likely destinations. I am sure, however, the players would prefer a warmer location.


Who are SU football's most experienced players heading into 2024? (season snap counts) (PS; $; Mink)


Syracuse football concluded the 2023 regular season with a 35-31 victory against Wake Forest on Saturday afternoon.

While the Orange awaits its bowl destination and opponent next weekend, a more impactful date looms in a week.

The NCAA’s transfer portal opens Dec. 4 through Jan. 2. At least two players have said they intend to transfer: defensive lineman Francois Nolton and cornerback Jeremiah Wilson.

December portends to be a busy month. The Orange must hire a new coach, and that coach and staff must quickly turn their attention to appraise and retain members of the active roster.

The high school early signing period and junior college mid-year signing date also looms Dec. 20.

Expect some roster volatility.

Syracuse.com will publish snap counts throughout the season, courtesy of Pro Football Focus

*Highlighted rows denote players who are out of eligibility. Note: Joe More has appeared in three games and would need a medical hardship waiver to qualify for a seventh season.
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SU football PFF grades vs. Wake Forest: Unsung defensive back makes a winning play (PS; $; Mink)

Wake Forest had a final shot to retrieve the lead with 2:05 remaining in the fourth quarter and the ball inside the 4-yard line.

On 4th-and-goal, quarterback Michael Kern reached for a low snap and rolled right, trying to squeeze a late throw into Taylor Morin.

Jason Simmons Jr. jumped the hitch route and knifed his body in front of Morin to come up with the interception that pretty much ended the game. Syracuse’s backfield mustered the first down it needed to kneel out the clock and clinch bowl eligibility.

It was a little redeeming for Simmons to corral the game-sealing turnover in his final home game.

Great way to go out with the guys Forever blessed https://t.co/2IYdZZpngV
— Jason Simmons Jr. (@jaysimms11) November 26, 2023

Simmons has been a frequent target for opposing coordinators looking to stretch the field. He’s been the lowest-graded player in SU’s starting secondary this season, according to Pro Football Focus. Often times the last line of defense, the field safety was flagged six times, most among defensive backs, and was targeted as often as any defensive back all season other than cornerback Isaiah Johnson.

The transfer from New Mexico State has been a multi-year starter who made 22 starts entering the season. The Orange became even more dependent on him after it could not retain Ja’Had Carter off last year’s roster.
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(youtube; video; CitrusTV)


Syracuse Football clinched bowl eligibility in the season finale against Wake Forest, 35-31. Stephen Sklar was at the JMA Wireless Dome for the Senior Day sendoff.

Syracuse Football Bowl Bound in 2023 - Tortora & Alford (youtube.com; video; Tortora & Alford)

“Tortora & Alford” comes to you on #WakeUpCall as the duo discuss the Syracuse Orange becoming Bowl-Eligible for 2nd-straight season, LeQuint Allen, Jr, reaching 1,000yds rushing, Garrett Shrader fighting for his teammates, & More, including a special message to Dino Babers…

Axe: Shrader carves out a unique spot in SU football lore (PS; $; Axe)

Garrett Shrader has entered the Syracuse football history chat.

Shrader’s lionhearted performance on Saturday against Wake Forest potentially (pending his decision on whether to play in SU’s bowl game) put a cap on a career that won’t top any lists in Syracuse history but deserves acknowledgement.

Shrader, a game-time decision after struggling with an undisclosed injury that limited him to two pass attempts in SU’s three prior games, was 10-of-15 for 173 yards and three touchdowns against the Demon Deacons. He added a rushing touchdown.

Not bad for a guy who acting Syracuse head coach Nunzio Campanile wasn’t sure could even play until gametime.

“Everything was built around me not playing,” Shrader said. “This week I wanted to play. It was my last game of guaranteed football I would get. I was grateful. We got it done. It was an awesome way to finish.”

It was a surprising but fitting plot twist to conclude a regular season in which Syracuse had to MacGyver its way over the finish line to bowl eligibility at 6-6.

“Shout-out to Garrett, he’s a warrior,” SU tight end/running back/quarterback Dan Villari said. “Obviously he could sit out and rest and get ready for the NFL, but he wants to keep fighting with us and wants us to win. He’s not a vocal leader, but he’ll show you. So grateful for him.”
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How Does Garrett Shrader Get Remembered? (orangefizz.net; Gotkin)

In the history of the program, Syracuse has had some memorable quarterbacks and some that are very forgettable. Fans will never forget names like Eric Dungey, Don McPherson, and Donovan McNabb. But where will Garrett Shrader stand in terms of his legacy with the Orange?

Shrader’s career will forever be plagued by the fact he never played a full season. In his first season, 2021, Shrader didn’t take the starting job until four games into the season. He did replace a current NFL starting quarterback (still crazy to say) Tommy DeVito if that is worth anything. Shraders best season running the football came in his first but the Orange didn’t make a bowl game that season. SU lost three in a row by three points to Florida State, Wake Forest, and Clemson before ending the season with back-to-back losses against ranked teams to go 5-7.

2022 was Shraders year to make a massive leap. His first year as the starting quarterback from day 1 and the Carolina native had an all-American runningback next to him in Sean Tucker. QB1 led the Orange to a 6-0 start and played well in a heartbreaking loss on the road against Clemson. But then, Shraders injury issues started to plague him. He was a little banged up going into the game against Notre Dame, but got even more hurt and had to be pulled.

SU then lost a winnable game at Pitt with Carlos Del Rio Wilson starting and we all know how the season ended. Syracuse made it to a bowl but just limped there. Shrader was then out for all of spring ball this year and was on a snap count for most of fall camp.
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Babers shares message to former players online: ‘Grandpa watched every snap’ (PS; Leiker)

Former Syracuse football coach Dino Babers shared his first public message since his firing Sunday morning.

“Congratulations to all the [Syracuse football] players and staff on a hard-fought, well-deserved victory last night,” Babers wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter. “Grandpa watched every snap.”

Several players either spoke of Babers directly during their postgame comments or shared messages online thanking him following the Orange’s 35-31 win over Wake Forest last night.

A whiteboard with the message “Thank you Coach Babers” was held by players as they exited the field postgame.

Babers had been given the option to coach the game, said Syracuse athletic director John Wildhack said, but declined.

Congratulations to all the @CuseFootball players and staff on a hard-fought, well-deserved victory last night. Grandpa watched every snap. You all sent the seniors out the right way and earned the right to play one more! Proud of you all. Can’t wait to watch the last one!!
— Dino Babers (@CoachBabersCuse) November 26, 2023

Babers did not attend the game in person. His wife, daughters and grandchildren came after the game to deliver Hawaiian leis to the players who walked for Senior Day.

Babers liked a number of posts on X during and after the game both directed at him and referencing his players.

Syracuse’s win Saturday made it bowl eligible for the second straight year. It is the first time since 2012-13 the Orange are eligible in consecutive years.

Had Babers still been coach, it would have marked the first time since 1998-99 that SU had made consecutive bowl games under the same head coach.


Syracuse football: sacrificing for the greater good (TNIAAM; Wall)

When we look back at this Syracuse Orange season, the 6-6 record won’t tell us the story of the 2023 Orange. Through all the ups and downs, these last few weeks have given some of the Syracuse players a chance to leave their legacy.

We wondered how the Orange would respond after the firing of Dino Babers and while the win over Wake Forest wasn’t pretty, it showed the character of this team.

Garrett Shrader dealing with whatever injury limited last week came back this week and willed his way to a 10-15 passing day with 3 touchdowns through the air while adding 46 yards and a touchdown on the ground. On a day where the Syracuse offense was 14-19 on 3rd and 4th downs, a lot of that success was thanks to the selfless Shrader.

LeQuint Allen carried 32 times for 144 yards as he surpassed the 1,000-yard mark. We learned after the game that Allen attended the captains meetings this week and after a summer where his status was unknown, his rise to respected leader is a testament to his character.

Dan Villari carried the ball 13 times for 51 yards, caught a touchdown pass and completed both his passing attempts for 51 yards and another score. From switching positions before the season, then playing multiple roles the final month, Villari has earned free meals and drinks in Syracuse for life.
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Where is SU most likely headed for bowl? From Boston to Florida, several options in play (PS; $; Carlson)

Syracuse’s bowl bid won’t be officially announced until next Sunday, but with the regular season complete there are some obvious possibilities for a realistic bowl destination and a number of games that can be crossed off the list.

The ACC has 12 teams that are bowl eligible this year (11 ACC teams and Notre Dame) and affiliations with 13 different bowl games outside of the College Football Playoff. Some of those bowls are required to take an ACC team. Others have the option to take an ACC team.

The official ACC bowl games are separated into four tiers. The playoff tier, the Orange Bowl tier, Tier 1 and Tier 2.

At 6-6, Syracuse will almost certainly not be selected in one of the first three.

The games in Tier 2 include the Fenway Bowl, the Military Bowl, the Gasparilla Bowl and the Birmingham Bowl.

If Syracuse isn’t selected in Tier 2, then it’s very difficult to project where they could be placed as the Orange could end up in any bowl where the spot isn’t filled by an affiliation.

The lower-level bowls are largely owned by ESPN, which plays a role in shaping matchups by moving teams around.

ESPN’s bowl projection experts picked Syracuse to a pair of overflow bowls last week, projecting the Orange to the Armed Forces Bowl in Fort Worth, Texas, and the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, Louisiana.

Here’s a look at some of the options and how Syracuse might fit in:

Pinstripe Bowl vs. Big Ten in New York City on Dec. 28: Syracuse is the best geographic match but is unlikely to be picked after playing in Yankee Stadium last year and this season. Schools and bowl games prefer not to have the same team play in the same game in back-to-back years. This would be the most prestigious bowl SU has a strong chance of playing in, but it feels unlikely.
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BOWL BOUND: Where will SU football play their 13th game? A look at the projections (cnycentral.com; Wenskovski)

A tumultuous regular season for Syracuse football (6-6. 2-6 ACC) ended on a high note on Saturday. SU's sixth win over Wake Forest officially makes them Bowl eligible - so where will they play that 13th game next month? Let's discuss the options, and what experts are projecting.
  • Armed Forces Bowl (Fort Worth, TX): Analysts at both ESPN and 247 Sports project SU to land in the game played on TCU's campus. The Armed Forces Bowl does not have a contractual tie-in with the ACC, and favors hosting service academies that are bowl eligible. Either Army (5-6) or Navy (5-6) will notch their sixth win in their annual matchup on Saturday, December 9th. Air Force, out of the Mountain West, sits at 8-4 and could be a candidate for this game. Getting to Texas would be a challenge for fans, and it's also not a state with a particularly notable alumni presence. The December 23rd game would seem like a bit of a random pick for the Orange.
  • Gasparilla Bowl (Tampa, FL): CBS Sports currently has SU slotted against South Alabama in the December 23rd Gasparilla Bowl. Syracuse has a good amount of fans and alumni that winter in Florida, so this one would probably be more preferable to the fanbase. But the Gasparilla bowl has tie-ins with eight different conferences including the ACC, so there's a wide scope of teams to pick from for this one, and they might be more apt to give it to a regionally closer team in the south.
  • Birmingham Bowl (Birmingham, AL): This bowl has tie-ins with the American Athletic Conference and the SEC, so if SU is selected they can bet on facing a team from one of those conferences. BettingPros is among various sites that slot the Orange here. This one would arguably be the biggest nightmare for the fanbase, as direct flights out of Syracuse Hancock International Airport wouldn't be an option. This one will be played on December 23rd as well.
  • Military Bowl (Annapolis, MD): SU has strong alumni ties in the mid Atlantic and this game has conference tie-ins to the ACC and the American. Syracuse has also been designated as one of the top private schools for veterans by the Military Times and places a large emphasis on its programs for military veterans and their families. The December 27th game could feature Navy if they become bowl eligible. This one could be a good fit for the Orange, but there are also other ACC schools that are regionally closer and would probably draw more fans: see Duke, Virginia Tech.
  • Pinstripe Bowl (Bronx, NY): The Orange lost to Minnesota in this game last year, and they also played at Yankee Stadium in the 2023 regular season against Pitt. It's rare for a team to play in the same bowl game in back-to-back seasons, but the game does have conference tie-ins to the ACC and the Big Ten. SU is arguably the ACC school that would make the most sense geographically, but the desire for something new from both the fanbase and the school will likely lead to a different choice. Rutgers (6-6) is the obvious Big Ten pick this season, and Syracuse vs. Rutgers would likely draw a large east coast crowd. The game is scheduled for December 28th this year.
  • Fenway Bowl (Boston, MA): This game is also scheduled for December 28th and has tie-ins to the ACC and the American. Hometown choice Boston College (6-6) seems like the obvious ACC pick, but if the Eagles don't land here, this could be a very real (and cold) option for SU.
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ACC News

Friedlander: What we learned about every ACC football team in 2023 - Saturday Road (saturdayroad.com; Friedlander)


Florida State is undefeated and still in the thick of the College Football Playoff race, even without starting quarterback Jordan Travis.

Louisville is in the conference championship game in Jeff Brohm’s first season back at his alma mater.

The league won its head-to-head matchups against the SEC and Big Ten. But’s biggest victory came when North Carolina beat the NCAA in the battle over Tez Walker’s transfer waiver.

And not only did it manage to keep its current 14-team football membership intact despite threats and rumors of Florida State and Clemson looking for ways out the door, it actually added 3 new schools while spreading its geographic footprint to a second coast.

All-in-all, it’s been a successful season for the ACC.

Now it’s time to take a look back and see what we learned about each conference team during the 2023 regular season.

Boston College

The Eagles rallied from a 1-3 start to win 5 straight and earn bowl eligibility. So at least from that standpoint, the season can be considered a success. But after 3 straight losses to finish the schedule, including 2 by double-digit margins, it doesn’t exactly feel like it.

Coach Jeff Hafley did, at least, find a quarterback around whom he can build for next year. UCF transfer Thomas Castellanos took over from Emmett Morehead midway through a season-opening loss to Northern Illinois and lit a spark to an offense that ranked dead last in the ACC in 2022. Castellanos led the team in rushing with 957 yards and 11 touchdowns while also throwing for 2,146 and 15 scores.

But with the departure of star guard Christian Mahogany and transfer Kyle Hergel, Hafley will have some rebuilding to do on his offensive line. That is, if it’s still Hafley’s job to do. No matter what happens in the bowl game, this will be the 11th time in the past 13 years that the Eagles have lost at least 6 games.

With the athletic director that hired him now at UCLA, Hafley’s job security is anything but certain. We’ll have to wait to learn if he did enough this season to earn at least another year in Chestnut Hill.

Clemson

The Tigers’ season got off to a self-destructive start with an opening week loss at Duke and was all but over after falling in double overtime at home to Florida State 3 weeks later. Sure, they finished strong by winning their final 4 games, including a revenge victory against rival South Carolina on Saturday. But when you’re Clemson and you’re used to contending for championships, simply beating the Gamecocks doesn’t make for a successful season.

This marks the 3rd straight year Dabo Swinney’s team has been shut out of the College Football Playoff. It’s the 2nd time in the past 3 seasons that it has failed to qualify for the ACC Championship Game.

Those trends, along with the recurring offensive mistakes that helped this current team back, have become a cause for concern in the land of orange tiger paws. Just ask Tyler from Spartanburg, the fan who sparred with Swinney publicly on his radio show after a loss to Miami that dropped the Tigers to 4-4.

Though Swinney’s program is far from falling off a cliff, it’s clearly at a crossroads. In order for Clemson to keep up with its fellow national powers – let alone the rest of the ACC – the stubbornly old-school coach is going to have to make some difficult decisions this offseason, especially when it comes to loyalty and his disdain for transfer portal.

Duke

The lasting theme for the Blue Devils’ season, once all is said and done, will almost certainly be “What if.”

What if they would have stopped Notre Dame’s Sam Hartman from gaining 17 on 4th-and-16 in the final minute? What if quarterback Riley Leonard hadn’t gotten hurt a few plays later? And again with Duke leading after 3 quarters at Florida State?

A season that began with such promise and a nationally televised upset of Clemson on Labor Day night quickly faded once a defense that led the ACC – and ranked among the top 5 nationally for a large portion of the season – began wearing out.

Despite a rash of injuries and a couple of close losses, including a heart-breaking double-overtime setback to rival North Carolina, Duke still managed to win 7 games and go .500 in the ACC against a killer schedule. And the biggest victory may not have come on the field. The Blue Devils got good news earlier this week when we learned that coach Mike Elko has informed his school administration of his intention to return next season rather than seek other jobs.

Florida State

We knew the Seminoles were talented. Not only did they return 87% of their offensive and defensive production from a 10-win team that finished 2022 on a 6-game streak, but coach Mike Norvell added to his arsenal by bringing in the nation’s best transfer class.

What we learned as the season went on is that in addition to all that star power, FSU possesses several other important elements all championship teams possess. Things such as poise under pressure, confidence, depth and perseverance. They’ve been instrumental in helping the Seminoles stay on track to accomplish their goals of an ACC championship and Playoff berth.

The depth and perseverance have become especially apparent during the past week since Travis was lost to a season-ending leg injury. With playmakers Trey Benson, Johnny Wilson, Jared Verse, Kalen DeLoach and others rallying around Travis’ replacement, Tate Rodemaker, FSU was able to grind out a win at Florida on Saturday to complete the 7th undefeated regular season in program history and officially welcome the Seminoles “back” as one of college football’s elite.

Georgia Tech

The Yellow Jackets opted for substance over salesmanship when they chose no-nonsense offensive line coach Brent Key to replace Geoff Collins midway through last season, then gave him the job permanently after a strong finish.

Now that Key’s first full regular season is in the books, it appears as though it was the right decision. Tech has become a much more organized, disciplined and competitive team in winning 6 games and earning bowl eligibility for the first time since 2018.

The improvement in the program was most visible on offense thanks to the play calling of offensive coordinator Buster Faulkner, who came over from rival Georgia, and the passing of Texas A&M transfer Haynes King. The next step in the building process will need to come on the defensive side of the ball, where Key switched coordinators after a disappointing performance against Bowling Green on Sept. 30.

Louisville

Brohm exceeded all expectations in his 1st season back at Louisville. The former Cardinals quarterback produced only the 2nd 10-win season in school history, scored an epic upset of Notre Dame and has his team headed for next week’s ACC Championship Game.

He did it with a mix of returning talents, including league sacks leader Ashton Gillotte and ace running back Jawhar Jordan, and an influx of impact transfers. Brohm and his team also showed a versatility that enabled them to win games in different ways – through the air against Boston College and Miami, on the ground against Notre Dame and Virginia Tech and with defense against NC State and Duke.

And yet, despite all the positive things the Cardinals accomplished and still have a chance at accomplishing, we learned that even with a new coach and a roster full of new players, they still can’t figure out a way to beat rival Kentucky. Saturday’s loss was Louisville’s 5th straight in the Governor’s Cup rivalry.

Miami

Mario Cristobal almost completely overhauled his roster through the transfer portal and replaced both coordinators in his 2nd season back at his alma mater. The improvement it produced, however, was only modest.

Cristobal shoulders some of the blame for that. Had he and his offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson called for their quarterback to take a knee in the final minute against Georgia Tech, the Hurricanes would be 8-4. And maybe we’d be looking at the season in a little bit more positive light.

So did Miami underachieve?

If we’ve learned anything since the Hurricanes joined the ACC, it’s that their expectations always exceed reality. And that no matter how badly their fan base and some in the national media want them to be “back,” they’re still not there yet.

Expect Cristobal to hit the portal again hard this offseason. Maybe it will finally happen next year.

North Carolina

Mack Brown is good at recruiting future NFL quarterbacks. That much is indisputable. But as we learned with Sam Howell and now again with Drake Maye, he doesn’t have a great track record for taking full advantage of their talents once he gets them into Carolina blue.

The Tar Heels are a pedestrian 38-26 in its 5 seasons with Howell and Maye running its offense. And in each of the past 2 seasons, they’ve squandered promising starts that put them squarely into the College Football Playoff conversation by stumbling to the finish line.

While many of the causes were the same – a defense that couldn’t stop anyone, a once-potent offense that inexplicably lost its rhythm and never got it back and losses to double-digit underdogs – this latest collapse was even more spectacular than the first. At least in 2022, UNC ended up with something to show for its efforts by winning the Coastal Division and advancing to the conference championship game.

This year’s team will simply go quietly into the night, or more accurately to a forgettable mid-tier bowl, after losing 4 of its last 6 punctuated by Saturday’s 3rd straight loss to rival NC State. Brown, who is 72, has already said he plans on returning next year. But it’s almost certain that his long-time friend and defensive coordinator Gene Chizik won’t be back. It’s just one of the many changes that are likely to be made during what promises to be an eventful offseason.

NC State

The Wolfpack were picked to be one of the top teams in the ACC and they fulfilled that promise by going 9-3 overall and finishing tied with Louisville for 2nd in the league at 6-2.

They just didn’t get there in the conventional way.

Dave Doeren’s team was foundering heading into their early October open date. They were 4-3, they’d benched graduate transfer quarterback Brennan Armstrong and were coming off a shutout loss at Duke that was so embarrassing that star linebacker Payton Wilson felt the need to publicly apologize for his team’s effort.

But as we’ve learned many times in the past, Doeren and State are usually at their best when they’re forced to make chicken salad out of chicken droppings. And they did it again.

Challenged by their coach to treat the final 5 games as a separate new season, the Wolfpack responded. They won all 5, including the final 3 after Armstrong returned to the starting role after his replacement MJ Morris decided to preserve his redshirt. In the process, they helped Doeren become the all-time winningest coach in school history and posted a 4th straight season of 8 or more wins for the first time ever. That’s a remarkable record of consistency, especially considering that this one was anything but.

Pittsburgh

A lot of the blame for the Panthers’ dismal 3-9 season will inevitably be placed on the quarterback situation, where coach Pat Narduzzi swung and missed with a transfer addition for the 2nd straight season. But after closer inspection, we learn that the real culprits were breakdowns in the 2 areas that have become Pitt’s trademarks during Narduzzi’s 9 seasons at the helm.

Defense and the running game.

Pitt was still able to put pressure on opposing passers, though not as often as in the past, by recording 31 sacks – a figure that ranked 5th in the ACC. But there was a significant drop-off in virtually every other area. Offensively, the Panthers were dead last in the league in rushing at only 101 yards per game after averaging 183 per game a year ago. Some of that disparity can be traced to the loss of Israel Abanikanda, the ACC’s leading rusher in 2023. But injury issues along the offensive line were also a major contributor.

Narduzzi has already fired offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti Jr. Other changes are likely to come. Narduzzi is fortunate that his athletic director Heather Lykes has shown patience with her coaches, because the Panthers have taken 2 consecutive steps backward since winning their first ACC title in 2021.

Syracuse

We learned that a 2nd straight 6-win bowl season wasn’t enough to keep coach Dino Babers from losing his job. The end, which seemed inevitable after a 5-game midseason losing streak that negated the first perfect 4-0 nonconference record in program history to start the season.

We also learned that the Orange’s offense is a lot better when it has an actual quarterback playing quarterback. They were reduced to having running back LeQuint Allen and tight end Dan Villari take direct snaps over the past few weeks because of injuries to starter Garrett Shrader and backup Carlos Del Rio-Wilson.

Shrader was healthy enough to throw the ball in Saturday’s regular season finale against Wake Forest and he completed 3 touchdown passes in leading Syracuse to 35 points, its highest-scoring effort since Week 3 against Purdue.

Although Saturday’s win means that the Orange will have another game to play this season, Job 1 for athletic director John Wildhack will be finding a new coach capable of getting the program over the just getting bowl eligible hump.
...


Is Louisville the best team in the ACC? - Week 14 Football Power Rankings (wsaz.com; Skrive)

Ahead of Week 14 of the college football season, let's take a look at our newly updated power rankings, which dissect how each team in the ACC stacks up against the competition.

Watch college football all season long on Fubo and ESPN+!

ACC Power Rankings

Projected records only reflect games against FBS opponents.

1. Florida State

  • Current Record: 12-0 | Projected Record: 11-0
  • Odds to Win ACC: -400
  • Overall Rank: 9th
  • Strength of Schedule Rank (FBS): 64th
  • Last Game: W 24-15 vs Florida

Next Game

  • Week 14 Opponent: Louisville
  • Game Time: 8:00 PM ET on Saturday, December 2
  • TV Channel: ABC (Watch on Fubo)

2. Louisville

  • Current Record: 10-2 | Projected Record: 9-3
  • Odds to Win ACC: +300
  • Overall Rank: 19th
  • Strength of Schedule Rank (FBS): 59th
  • Last Game: L 38-31 vs Kentucky

Next Game

  • Week 14 Opponent: Florida State
  • Game Time: 8:00 PM ET on Saturday, December 2
  • TV Channel: ABC (Watch on Fubo)

3. Clemson

  • Current Record: 8-4 | Projected Record: 6-4
  • Odds to Win ACC: +50000
  • Overall Rank: 22nd
  • Strength of Schedule Rank (FBS): 34th
  • Last Game: W 16-7 vs South Carolina

4. Duke

  • Current Record: 7-5 | Projected Record: 6-5
  • Odds to Win ACC: +30000
  • Overall Rank: 30th
  • Strength of Schedule Rank (FBS): 44th
  • Last Game: W 30-19 vs Pittsburgh

5. NC State

  • Current Record: 9-3 | Projected Record: 7-3
  • Odds to Win ACC: +20000
  • Overall Rank: 36th
  • Strength of Schedule Rank (FBS): 56th
  • Last Game: W 39-20 vs North Carolina

6. Miami (FL)

  • Current Record: 7-5 | Projected Record: 6-5
  • Odds to Win ACC: +2000
  • Overall Rank: 38th
  • Strength of Schedule Rank (FBS): 49th
  • Last Game: W 45-20 vs Boston College

7. North Carolina

  • Current Record: 8-4 | Projected Record: 7-3
  • Odds to Win ACC: +10000
  • Overall Rank: 41st
  • Strength of Schedule Rank (FBS): 62nd
  • Last Game: L 39-20 vs NC State

8. Virginia Tech

  • Current Record: 6-6 | Projected Record: 6-6
  • Odds to Win ACC: +15000
  • Overall Rank: 48th
  • Strength of Schedule Rank (FBS): 69th
  • Last Game: W 55-17 vs Virginia

9. Georgia Tech

  • Current Record: 6-6 | Projected Record: 5-5
  • Odds to Win ACC: +50000
  • Overall Rank: 58th
  • Strength of Schedule Rank (FBS): 57th
  • Last Game: L 31-23 vs Georgia

10. Syracuse

  • Current Record: 6-6 | Projected Record: 5-6
  • Odds to Win ACC: +100000
  • Overall Rank: 79th
  • Strength of Schedule Rank (FBS): 67th
  • Last Game: W 35-31 vs Wake Forest
...

Stanford football: Wreckage behind, Stanford looks ahead to ACC (mercurynews.com; Gutmann)

Fans were still streaming out of Stanford Stadium after the final game of the season, but sophomore receiver Elic Ayomanor was already looking ahead.

“For me, the off-season has already started,” Ayomanor said after the Cardinal completed a 3-9 season with a 56-23 loss to Notre Dame on Saturday.

“I’m already evaluating myself, seeing what I need to improve on. You see exactly where you had missteps and you make sure those things don’t happen again. Although the season is in the past, you can’t forget those emotions you had when things didn’t go your way, and you use those emotions to fuel you in the future.”

Stanford coach Troy Taylor said a $3-million facelift to the weight room will start immediately, along with meetings with current players. Though the team has 26 seniors and fifth-year players, everyone on the roster except for former walk-on linebacker Spencer Jorgensen is eligible to play next season.

And since Stanford’s academic requirements and lack of a large NIL collective doesn’t lend itself to adding talent via transfers, Taylor must also focus on recruiting before the Dec. 20 early signing day.

Stanford’s 2024 class currently ranks 27th nationally by 247Sports. Five of its 24 commits are ranked as four-star players, led by QB Elijah Brown, who is 42-2 as the starter of Southern California power Mater Dei.

“We will get bigger, stronger, faster, and we’ll improve as a coaching staff,” Taylor said.

There is plenty of room for improvement. Without the ability to generate pressure or force turnovers, Stanford finished 129th out of 130 teams in points allowed (37.2), yards allowed (461.7), and passing yards allowed (298). The offense was slightly better, ranking 110th in points (20.6) and 92nd in yards (351.4) despite not having a consistent running game.

The 3-9 record — same as the previous two seasons under coach David Shaw — surpassed expectations in some ways.

The Cardinal was picked to finish last in the final year of the Pac-12 and was only favored in two games, against Hawai’i (a win) and FCS-level Sacramento State (a loss). But Stanford won road games at Colorado and Washington State to escape the bottom of the conference.

While the season will always be remembered for the 29-point comeback at Colorado, the fourth-biggest comeback in Pac-12 history, there was also plenty for Stanford fans to forget. The Cardinal was the only team in the country without a home win – including the second loss in program history to an FCS team – and lost five games by 33 points or more.

Now Stanford will prepare for its first season in the ACC. In addition to the 127th Big Game, which will be at Cal, will travel to North Carolina State, Clemson, and Syracuse. The home schedule includes games against Wake Forest, Virginia Tech, Louisville and SMU.

The dates for those matchups, including Stanford’s first-ever ACC game, have yet to be determined. But the non-conference schedule is set – Stanford will open by hosting TCU on Aug. 31 and Cal Poly on Sept. 7, play at Notre Dame on Oct. 12 in the last scheduled meeting of that series, and finish at San Jose State on Nov. 30.

“I haven’t really been keeping up with any of the teams in the ACC,” Ayomanor said. “But like I said, the off-season starts right now, so I’m looking forward to just seeing what those teams bring to the table and how they’ll challenge us and how we’ll be able to attack them.”

Ayomanor is one of the reasons for optimism in 2024. He finished with 1,013 receiving yards, the eighth-most in program history.

“That’s an amazing accomplishment, getting over the 1,000-yard mark, and his better days are ahead of him,” Taylor said.

Stanford should also benefit from stability this offseason after one of the most tumultuous years in program history. Seventeen players who were expected to be significant contributors left the program after Shaw resigned, and Taylor installed completely new offensive and defensive systems when he arrived from Sacramento State. And then the Pac-12 dissolved, leaving Stanford without a conference home in 2024 until the ACC eventually offered a spot.

“These guys that stayed, they gave us every single thing they had from day one,” Taylor said. “I’m indebted to them, and I told them we will be champions here. It will happen. Obviously didn’t happen this year. Some of them won’t be here physically when it happens, but they are a part of it.

“You know, when you give everything you have and put everything into it, you’re not guaranteed a tangible reward. That’s just not how life works. These guys continued to do it each week. A lot of respect for them, and excited to get moving forward.”
...


https://www.si.com/fannation/colleg...ootball-acc-championship-game-odds-prediction (SI; Parks)

Down to its backup quarterback after a shocking injury but still riding an undefeated record, Florida State comes into the ACC Championship Game looking to make another statement for the selection committee and prove it belongs in the College Football Playoff as it lines up against challenger Louisville on Championship Saturday.

The Cardinals dropped a surprise decision against rival Kentucky in the regular season finale, dropping to 10-2 on the season, and eliminating any of the very slim chances they had to get within reach of the playoff. Those chances never really existed based on the teams ahead in the rankings, but Louisville can still have a direct impact on the playoff if it can pull off the upset here.

Florida State vs. Louisville game odds

Courtesy of SI

Line: Florida State -3.5
Total: 51.5 points
Moneyline: FSU -175 | UL +138

Early computer predictions

Most analytic simulations favor the Seminoles to take care of business this week.
...


Bowl projections: Michigan creates distance in College Football Playoff bid as Florida State avoids upset (cbssports.com; Palm)

Barring something very unexpected, we now have one spot locked up for a specific New Year's Six game slot. This as Louisville was upset at home by in-state rival Kentucky, ruining the slim chances the Cardinals had of climbing into the College Football Playoff. Because the Orange Bowl will get the ACC champion -- if it is not in the CFP -- or the highest-rated conference team outside of the playoff, Louisville will be that team.

If Louisville wins the ACC crown over Florida State next Saturday, the Cardinals will go to the Orange Bowl as the league champion. If not, the Seminoles are in the playoff and Louisville will be the highest-rated ACC team available.

So, what could happen that falls into the "very unexpected" category? (1) FSU wins the ACC, but the CFP Selection Committee decides for the first time ever to leave an undefeated major-conference team out of the playoff. (2) FSU wins and advances into the CFP, but the committee drops the Cardinals below NC State despite Louisville having one more win and a road victory over the Wolfpack.

We will break down each team's path to the College Football Playoff later this week, but there are still eight teams in the running, four of which control their own fate: Georgia, Michigan, Washington and Florida State. It is not a coincidence that all those teams are currently undefeated. We have never had a CFP with four unbeaten teams, but then again, we've never had four undefeated teams this deep in a season during the CFP era.


College Football Playoff

DATEGAME / LOC.MATCHUPPREDICTION
Jan. 8National Championship
Houston
Title gameSemifinal winners
Jan. 1Sugar Bowl
New Orleans
Semifinal(1) Georgia vs. (4) Oregon
Jan. 1Rose Bowl
Pasadena, Calif.
Semifinal(2) Michigan vs. (3) Florida State

New Year's Six bowl games

DATEBOWL / LOCATIONMATCHUPPREDICTION
Jan. 1Fiesta Bowl
Glendale, Ariz.
at-large vs. at-large Texas vs. Tulane
Dec. 30Orange Bowl
Miami
ACC vs. SEC/B1G/NDLouisville vs. Ohio State
Dec. 30Peach Bowl
Atlanta
at-large vs. at-largeMissouri vs. Penn State
Dec. 29Cotton Bowl
Arlington, Tex.
at-large vs. at-largeAlabama vs. Washington
We will see some shuffling of bowl-conference pairings next season with the demise of the Pac-12 and expansion in the other major conferences. The Pac-12 has contracts with six bowls outside of the CFP. The Big Ten and Big 12 will probably end up with some of those spots next season.

The race to 82 bowl-eligible teams came to a reasonably satisfying end Saturday. We only ended up with 79 teams at 6-6 or better, but that left room for James Madison and Jacksonville State to get to the postseason when they would not have otherwise been eligible while making the FBS transition.

With JMU added as a fill-in, the Sun Belt will have 12 of its 14 teams in bowl games this season, half of those with 6-6 records. There are 12 bowls where a Sun Belt team could play, so that doesn't sound like a problem, except that the New Mexico Bowl usually gets a Conference USA team for its spot opposite the Mountain West and New Mexico State is eligible for the second straight season. Last year, the Aggies wound up in the Quick Lane Bowl filling in for the Big Ten, but ESPN gave the New Mexico Bowl a pretty good non-standard matchup instead. It would be a tough call to move New Mexico State out again this season.

Instead, I'm guessing that ESPN will ask the AAC to give up its spot in the Hawaii Bowl for the 12th Sun Belt team. With the SEC short a couple of eligible teams this season for its games, SMU is projected to fill in at the Liberty Bowl.

Minnesota will be the only 5-7 team in a bowl game this season. The Golden Gophers are just the second 5-7 team to play in a bowl for reasons not related to COVID-19 since the number of bowls expanded in 2017. Rice in 2022 is the other team, so this will be the second consecutive season with a 5-7 team.
...


2023-24 Bowling, by Conference (RX; HM)

2023-24 Bowling, by Conference

College football is, essentially, over, which means now we know which teams are bowl-eligible and which are not...
2023-24 bowl-eligible teams, by 2023 conference:

ACC: 11[12]* - Boston College, Clemson, Duke, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Louisville, Miami, NC State, North Carolina, Syracuse, Virginia Tech (Indep.: 1* - Notre Dame)
American: 6 - Memphis, Rice, SMU, South Florida, Tulane, UTSA
Big Ten: 9 - Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota*, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State, Rutgers, Wisconsin
Big XII: 9 - Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas Tech, UCF, West Virginia
C-USA: 4 - Liberty, Jacksonville State*, New Mexico State, Western Kentucky
MAC: 6 - Bowling Green, Eastern Michigan, Miami-OH, Northern, Illinois, Ohio, Toledo
MWC: 7 - Air Force, Boise State, Fresno State, San Jose State, UNLV, Utah State, Wyoming
Pac-12: 8 - Arizona, California, Oregon, Oregon State, UCLA, USC, Utah, Washington
SEC: 9 - Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Missouri, Ole Miss, Tennessee, Texas A&M
Sun Belt: 12 - Appalachian State, Arkansas State, Coastal Carolina, Georgia Southern, Georgia State, James Madison*, Louisiana, Marshall, Old Dominion, South Alabama, Texas State, Troy

Total teams: 82 (enough for 41 bowls)

The ACC leads all power conferences with 11 bowl teams (out of 14). If we include Notre Dame - which also counts toward ACC bowl tie-ins - it's 12 teams. The next highest P5 conference is a 3-way tie between the Big Ten, Big XII, and SEC (9 teams each). The Pac-12 has 8 bowl teams.

It's worth noting that SMU is not only bowl-eligible but also still in contention for the American Athletic Conference Championship and, possibly, the G5 auto-bid.
...

Biggest Losers 2023 Nov 26

Ranked Losers

#1 Ohio State lost at #3 Michigan, 24-30
In a year with this many undefeated teams, one loss almost certainly knocks the Buckeyes out of the playoffs.
#10 Louisville lost at home to Kentucky, 31-38
The Cardinals led 3/4ths of this game, but a pair of fumbles in the 2nd half turned the tide... well, that and having an SEC officiating crew that called zero penalties against Kentucky.
#16 Oregon State lost at #6 Oregon, 7-31
Sorry, Beavers - the Ducks are forever champs of the Civil War.
#19 Kansas State lost at home to Iowa State, 35-42
People in Kansas fear cyclones for good reason.

Ranked team that should've lost, but somehow didn't:

Alabama had a fork stuck in them already at Auburn. It was 4th and goal from the 31 yard line, trailing by four with 43 seconds to play. Auburn had a 99.9% chance of winning that game... and choked. No, Bama didn't win it - Auburn lost it, plain and simple.

Other notable losers:

BYU need to win to go to a bowl, and the Cougars led the Cowboys 24-6 at halftime. Then they got outscored 34-10 the rest of the way.
Nebraska only scored 10 points in a home loss to #17 Iowa, 10-13, which also keeps the Huskers home for the holidays.
Illinois was denied bowl-eligibility by Northwestern, 43-45.
Minnesota needed to beat Wisconsin to go bowling; maybe next year.



BREAKING: Texas A&M to Hire Mike Elko (RX; HM)

BREAKING: Texas A&M to Hire Mike Elko

The Duke Blue Devils are about to lose another good football coach. Second year Head Coach Mike Elko went 9-4 last year, 7-5 this year, will become the next head coach of the Texas A&M Aggies, according to ESPN [LINK].

The Aggies are at risk of being relegated to second class status in the SEC, especially with the Longhorns and the Sooners joining the conference next season.
Meanwhile, the Blue Devils don't really have much of a fan following for football even when the team is good - Duke fans prefer their "ball" to be round, brown, and played indoors on a wooden floor.


2023 ACC vs SEC: 6-4 so far (RX; HM)

2023 ACC vs SEC: 6-4 so far

The regular season is over (except for the conference championship games and Army/Navy). ACC and SEC football teams played each other in a total of 10 non-conference football games this season. Here's how those 10 contests turned out:

ACC 6-4 SEC
Florida State 24 @ Florida 15
Clemson 16 @ S Carolina 7
Vanderbilt 20 @ Wake Forest 36 Kentucky 38 @ Louisville 31
Texas A&M 33 @ Miami 48 Georgia 31 @ Ga Tech 23
N Carolina 31 vs S Carolina 17 Ga Tech 23 @ Ole Miss 48
Florida State 24 vs LSU 24 Virginia 13 vs Tennessee 49
ACC Wins SEC Wins

All of which prompted Danny Kannell to ponder...

The ACC finishes the season with a 6-4 record vs the SEC. Funny you don't hear nearly as much coverage about it compared to if the SEC had the edge...
...

AP Poll 2023 Nov 26 (RX; HM)

AP Poll 2023 Nov 26

The new AP poll is out. Here are the rankings (including others receiving votes):

AP Top 25
RKTEAMPTSTREND
1Georgia12-0-
2Michigan12-0up1
3Washington12-0up1
4Florida State12-0up1
5Oregon11-1up1
6Ohio State11-1dn4
7Texas11-1-
8Alabama11-1-
9Missouri10-2up1
10Penn State10-2up1
11Ole Miss10-2up1
12Oklahoma10-2up1
13LSU9-3up1
14Arizona9-3up2
15Louisville10-2dn6
16Notre Dame9-3up1
17Tulane11-1up1
18Iowa10-2up2
19Oklahoma St9-3up2
20Liberty12-0up2
T21NC State9-3up6
T21Oregon State8-4dn6
23Toledo11-1-
24James Madison11-1-
25SMU10-2up4
Others receiving votes:
26Tennessee8-4dn1
27Clemson8-4up4
28Kansas State8-4dn9
29Utah8-4NR
30Troy10-2NR
31Kansas8-4up1
32New Mexico St10-3up2
33Kentucky7-5NR
T34Memphis9-3NR
T34Miami (OH)10-2up2
T34N. Carolina8-4dn4

Shocking news: The AP voters dropped an SEC team (Tennessee) out of the Top 25 without that team losing -- Imagine that! Of course, Georgia and Alabama both struggled mightily to beat 6-win teams, yet neither of them fell, so don't think SECBias is a thing of the past - at least, we still appear to have bias toward the top SEC teams.
...


Other

Syracuse city officials to seek bold new powers to promote more and better housing (PS; Breidenbach)


Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh wants to create a new arm of government that would allow the city to own and manage apartment buildings and help private homeowners fix up their homes.

Walsh has asked the city council to create a housing trust — a separate public authority with its own board and mission, and the power to issue bonds, make loans and award grants.

The goal is to boost quality, affordable housing in a city in crisis.

It would give the city game-changing powers to take on long-neglected housing problems that don’t fit the molds of other government programs. It comes at a time when quality housing is scarce and an increase in demand is imminent.

A study released in March exposed two related problems in Syracuse: Most residents can’t afford market-rate housing. And the cost to rehabilitate existing homes often exceeds their worth.



A survey of the more than 35,000 residential properties in Syracuse found that one-third showed signs of “chronic disinvestment,” syracuse.com | The Post-Standard reported in March.

Many of the existing nonprofit housing agencies and streams of funding are too specific to fix the problem — focusing, for example, on homelessness or lead paint remediation in homes with children, said Michelle Sczpanski, the city’s deputy commissioner of neighborhood development.

A housing trust could be flexible enough to build new housing and to encourage private landlords and homeowners to make improvements, city officials say.

The first step is to create the trust and accept a $5 million grant already awarded in last year’s state budget.

The next steps, defining the mission and identifying specific projects, are still in development.

City officials are looking to Montgomery County, Maryland as one model.
 
cyber-monday-happy-cyber-monday.gif


Welcome to Cyber Monday!


Cyber Monday takes place on the Monday after Thanksgiving, and is the largest online shopping day of the year in the United States. The term was coined by Ellen Davis of the National Retail Federation, while working with Scott Silverman and others, at Shop.org. In 2005, shortly before Thanksgiving, Shop.org put out a press release highlighting the growing amount of sales that took place on the day. Research from 2004 had shown that the day was the 12th largest online shopping day of the year. After the term made its debut, it has been used as a marketing tool by retailers, and the public has embraced the day. As of 2017, sales have increased each year since its inception, transforming the day from the 12th largest online shopping day, to the largest. In 2006 there were $610 million of sales on the day, and in 2016 there were $3.45 billion in sales, marking the first time online sales had passed $3 billion on a single day in the United States. Half or more of the sales from the day are from work computers, suggesting that consumers still want to do more shopping after Black Friday, want to take advantage of the days' deals, or want to hide the gifts they are buying for family members.

SU News

BREAKING: Dan Mullen will not be Syracuse football's next head coach (cnycentral.com; Wenskovski)


Dan Mullen will not be the next head coach of Syracuse football, according to his personal X account (formerly Twitter).

Mullen responded to a tweet at 11:57 p.m. on Sunday stating "Love the cuse. But will not be the next head coach." Eight year head coach Dino Babers was fired last Sunday with one game left remaining in the regular season. It was revealed the following day that SU Athletic Director John Wildhack set a 7-5 record as the benchmark for Babers to keep his job this year, and he was unable to fulfill it.

Speculation surrounding the ESPN analyst and the vacant Syracuse football head coaching job had risen this week, after a source told CNY Central that Mullen met with Wildhack on Wednesday.

Mullen has had a long career in college football. He was formerly the head coach at Mississippi State from 2009-2017 as well as Florida from 2018-2021. After his firing from Florida in 2021, he turned to a career as an ESPN color analyst.

With Mullen now seemingly ruled out,
here's another list of candidates for the SU coaching vacancy.

The Next Day: Dino Babers’ firing motivated Syracuse to win a shootout over Wake Forest (DO; Miller)

His Hawaiian shirt and tranquil presence were absent from the sideline Saturday, but former head coach Dino Babers made an impact against Wake Forest. Babers was fired a week ago after nearly eight years of coaching Syracuse football. Still, he called multiple players this week to check in, including quarterback Garrett Shrader.

Many players were surprised by the firing, as they found out indirectly. Interim head coach Nunzio Campanile didn’t hide from the news or try to push it aside. Campanile said he knows how deep player-coach relationships can be, and he wanted to approach the situation head-on.

“I totally encouraged them to address it, to communicate with it, talk to assistant coaches about it, but at the same time, they did an excellent job of staying focused on this game,” Campanile said. “There are some special guys in that locker room.”

Campanile didn’t pretend like Babers’ dismissal wasn’t a factor, and that resonated with his players. One of the first things he did upon being named interim head coach was make SU feel comfortable talking about the coaching change and its implications. That enabled the players to think exclusively about football, and resulted in Syracuse’s (6-6, 2-6 Atlantic Coast Conference) best offensive performance against an ACC opponent this year, winning 35-31 over Wake Forest (4-8, 1-7 ACC) to clinch bowl eligibility.

Dan Villari said Campanile didn’t change much in terms of practice but was sensitive to the players’ personal relationships with Babers. Villari added that his tight end coach took the challenge in stride and led the team admirably. Thus, a cohesive and focused week of practice under Campanile in his second stint as an interim head coach gave Syracuse some extra juice.

“I told the kids, everyone in the room, nobody would be here without (Babers), including myself,” Campanile said. “You have to deal with that and you have to work your way through that… I don’t think there’s a person in the world who doesn’t think coach Babers is a great guy and everybody in the program was thinking about him all week.”

Players praised Babers postgame, and Justin Barron posted a message on social media ending in “that one was for you.” The players that bought into Babers’ “Ohana” and wanted to get the win in his honor.
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MSN (msn; Carlson)

Syracuse football captains Marlowe Wax and Justin Barron were non-committal about whether they will play in the Orange’s bowl game following the team’s 35-31 win over Wake Forest on Saturday.

The win over the Demon Deacons helped the Orange finish 6-6 and qualify for a bowl game for a second-consecutive season. It’s the first time that SU has gone to bowl games in back-to-back years since 2012-13 and the first time the school has accomplished that feat while playing both seasons in the ACC.

The team celebrated the accomplishment by dumping ice on interim coach Nunzio Campanile. It wore “bowl bound” shirts to the team’s press conference.

Despite the celebration, the allure of competing in bowl games has diminished in recent years as the College Football Playoff has dominated conversation about the postseason, the number of bowls has swelled to 41 games, players have prioritized staying healthy to prepare for the NFL draft and transferring has become commonplace.

Syracuse’s bowl game will come after players are permitted to enter their names into the NCAA’s transfer portal, possibly reducing the roster.

Both Wax and Barron said they needed to take time and put thought into whether they will play in the bowl game and whether they would return to Syracuse.

“I haven’t made my mind up,” Wax said, when asked if he’s decided whether to return to Syracuse next season. “I’m just worried about this bowl game right now.”

When asked if that meant he was playing in the bowl game, Wax said: “We’re gonna see. We’re gonna see what happens.”

Wax’s comments, made at a podium, led Barron to shout: “Come on, man, we’re going bowling.”

When asked the same questions, Barron offered similar answers to Wax.

“I have no idea,” Barron said. “I have to talk to the coaches. I’ve got to talk to people that care about my future.”

When asked whether he expected to play football in college next season, and whether he might go somewhere other than Syracuse, Barron repeated that he had no idea.

“I have no idea,” Barron said. “Just have to sit back and take a deep breath. I have no idea.”

Both Barron and Wax have a year of college eligibility remaining but chose to participate in Syracuse’s Senior Day festivities.
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Wake Forest sliced through Syracuse's secondary. But it stood up when it mattered most. (DO; Alandt)

Interim head coach Nunzio Campanile told his team that Saturday was going to come down to the last 30 seconds of the game. A team embroiled in change, from the head coach to transfers, needed to cap off a tumultuous season with a win to improve to 6-6 and earn bowl eligibility.

They needed to do something the Orange haven’t done in the last eight seasons — win an Atlantic Coast Conference game late in November — after SU fired Dino Babers.

They needed to shut down a Wake Forest team they hadn’t beaten in three years, one that entered with the worst offense in the ACC and just one conference win. All game long, WF quarterback Michael Kern found open receivers and moved the offense down the field with chunk plays. Then with two minutes remaining, Kern was flushed to his right out of the pocket on a fourth-and-goal play from the 4-yard line.

A touchdown would have given the Demon Deacons their first lead of the game and put a wildcat, run-heavy offense with three timeouts, in a position to drive down the field and pull out a win.

Kern keyed in on his man at the goal line and chucked a low pass on the run. But defensive back Jason Simmons Jr. jumped the route and got his arms between the ball and the ground in enough time to notch the interception. A replay review confirmed the pick, and the Orange, who had been torched by Kern’s arm all game, finally made a stop when it mattered the most.

“Jason made a great play. I know he’s been waiting for that play. A lot of plays don’t come to him, but when they do … he’s going to make the play,” defensive back Alijah Clark said.

Saturday’s win was supposed to be another slog, two offenses ranked at the bottom of the ACC squaring off to see which technique would win out. Then, Syracuse found itself in a shootout, saved only by Garrett Shrader being able to pass, and a more open playbook. Kern finished with his best game at Wake Forest, going 17-for-24 for 261 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. He helped the Demon Deacons keep their foot on the throttle and force the Orange into executing better than they have in conference play this year. In the end, Kern’s arm, the same reason Wake Forest (4-8, 1-7 ACC) was so close to winning, ended up harming it in the 35-31 loss to Syracuse (6-6, 2-6 ACC).

Isaiah Johnson said Syracuse knew WF was going to rely heavily on taking shots down field and opening up their call sheet with a heavy dose of run-pass option plays. Once Kern got the snap, he’d take two or three steps forward slowly with his eyes down field and chart out how the play was developing. If Syracuse was dropping back, he’d hand off to Justice Ellison or Tate Carney, who combined for 89 rushing yards and a touchdown. If one of the Orange’s defensive backs pressed too much or made a “false step” he’d find the open receiver.

SU wanted to counteract the approach with tight man defense and zero coverage, pressing the line of scrimmage so that Kern didn’t have as much time as he’s used to for the RPO to develop. But Johnson said playing that much man defense requires each defensive back to be perfect on every play. That’s nearly impossible to do, and some of the holes that opened up throughout the game were because of that.
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https://www.si.com/college/syracuse/football/five-takeaways-syracuse-35-wake-forest-31 (SI; McAllister)

Syracuse knocked off Wake Forest 35-31 to clinch bowl eligibility for the second straight season. Here are five takeaways from the victory.

1. Credit to the Players and Coaches

This could not have been an easy week. Not only dealing with the firing of their head coach, but also game planning without knowing the availability of your quarterback while trying to focus on the opponent. That is not easy to do, yet these guys clearly did. They played with energy, effort and enthusiasm and pulled out a win. Kudos to them for that. Similarly, the coaches had to adjust to no longer having their boss calling the shots. Credit to Nunzio Campanile for his leadership and to the other assistants for getting the players ready.

2. Garrett Shrader

I cannot imagine the level of discomfort and pain Garrett Shrader has been dealing with the last several weeks. He was clearly unable to throw the ball the last three games, but was good enough to do that in this one. He gutted it out, threw for 173 yards with three scores and ran for 46 yards with another touchdown. A nice way to go out in his final home game at Syracuse.

3. Defense

The defense surprisingly struggled all game. Wake Forest has been one of the worst offenses in the ACC all season, but racked up 31 points against the Orange. Syracuse's defense had been playing well the last three weeks, which is why this performance was a bit of a shock. That said, when it mattered the most, the defense stood up and made a play. Whether it was holding Wake Forest without points after Syracuse's lone turnover of the game or making a stop on fourth and goal with the Demon Deacons poised to take the lead late in the fourth quarter. The biggest struggles in this one were rushing the passer and coverage.

4. Damien Alford

We have been waiting for a breakout performance from Damien Alford all season and finally got it in the regular season finale. Alford was fantastic, making big play after big play. He finished with four catches 126 yards and two touchdowns. Alford participated in the senior walk, but still has two years of eligibility remaining. It will be interesting to see what his future holds.

5. Going Bowling

With all of the craziness, drama and injuries this season, Syracuse was still able to get to bowl eligibility. A good reward for the seniors and an opportunity to get 16 extra practices for the new coach to evaluate the current players. If I had to guess, I would say the Pinstripe or Fenway Bowl are the most likely destinations. I am sure, however, the players would prefer a warmer location.


Who are SU football's most experienced players heading into 2024? (season snap counts) (PS; $; Mink)

Syracuse football concluded the 2023 regular season with a 35-31 victory against Wake Forest on Saturday afternoon.

While the Orange awaits its bowl destination and opponent next weekend, a more impactful date looms in a week.

The NCAA’s transfer portal opens Dec. 4 through Jan. 2. At least two players have said they intend to transfer: defensive lineman Francois Nolton and cornerback Jeremiah Wilson.

December portends to be a busy month. The Orange must hire a new coach, and that coach and staff must quickly turn their attention to appraise and retain members of the active roster.

The high school early signing period and junior college mid-year signing date also looms Dec. 20.

Expect some roster volatility.

Syracuse.com will publish snap counts throughout the season, courtesy of Pro Football Focus

*Highlighted rows denote players who are out of eligibility. Note: Joe More has appeared in three games and would need a medical hardship waiver to qualify for a seventh season.
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SU football PFF grades vs. Wake Forest: Unsung defensive back makes a winning play (PS; $; Mink)

Wake Forest had a final shot to retrieve the lead with 2:05 remaining in the fourth quarter and the ball inside the 4-yard line.

On 4th-and-goal, quarterback Michael Kern reached for a low snap and rolled right, trying to squeeze a late throw into Taylor Morin.

Jason Simmons Jr. jumped the hitch route and knifed his body in front of Morin to come up with the interception that pretty much ended the game. Syracuse’s backfield mustered the first down it needed to kneel out the clock and clinch bowl eligibility.

It was a little redeeming for Simmons to corral the game-sealing turnover in his final home game.



Simmons has been a frequent target for opposing coordinators looking to stretch the field. He’s been the lowest-graded player in SU’s starting secondary this season, according to Pro Football Focus. Often times the last line of defense, the field safety was flagged six times, most among defensive backs, and was targeted as often as any defensive back all season other than cornerback Isaiah Johnson.

The transfer from New Mexico State has been a multi-year starter who made 22 starts entering the season. The Orange became even more dependent on him after it could not retain Ja’Had Carter off last year’s roster.
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(youtube; video; CitrusTV)

Syracuse Football clinched bowl eligibility in the season finale against Wake Forest, 35-31. Stephen Sklar was at the JMA Wireless Dome for the Senior Day sendoff.

Syracuse Football Bowl Bound in 2023 - Tortora & Alford (youtube.com; video; Tortora & Alford)

“Tortora & Alford” comes to you on #WakeUpCall as the duo discuss the Syracuse Orange becoming Bowl-Eligible for 2nd-straight season, LeQuint Allen, Jr, reaching 1,000yds rushing, Garrett Shrader fighting for his teammates, & More, including a special message to Dino Babers…

Axe: Shrader carves out a unique spot in SU football lore (PS; $; Axe)

Garrett Shrader has entered the Syracuse football history chat.

Shrader’s lionhearted performance on Saturday against Wake Forest potentially (pending his decision on whether to play in SU’s bowl game) put a cap on a career that won’t top any lists in Syracuse history but deserves acknowledgement.

Shrader, a game-time decision after struggling with an undisclosed injury that limited him to two pass attempts in SU’s three prior games, was 10-of-15 for 173 yards and three touchdowns against the Demon Deacons. He added a rushing touchdown.

Not bad for a guy who acting Syracuse head coach Nunzio Campanile wasn’t sure could even play until gametime.

“Everything was built around me not playing,” Shrader said. “This week I wanted to play. It was my last game of guaranteed football I would get. I was grateful. We got it done. It was an awesome way to finish.”

It was a surprising but fitting plot twist to conclude a regular season in which Syracuse had to MacGyver its way over the finish line to bowl eligibility at 6-6.

“Shout-out to Garrett, he’s a warrior,” SU tight end/running back/quarterback Dan Villari said. “Obviously he could sit out and rest and get ready for the NFL, but he wants to keep fighting with us and wants us to win. He’s not a vocal leader, but he’ll show you. So grateful for him.”
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How Does Garrett Shrader Get Remembered? (orangefizz.net; Gotkin)

In the history of the program, Syracuse has had some memorable quarterbacks and some that are very forgettable. Fans will never forget names like Eric Dungey, Don McPherson, and Donovan McNabb. But where will Garrett Shrader stand in terms of his legacy with the Orange?

Shrader’s career will forever be plagued by the fact he never played a full season. In his first season, 2021, Shrader didn’t take the starting job until four games into the season. He did replace a current NFL starting quarterback (still crazy to say) Tommy DeVito if that is worth anything. Shraders best season running the football came in his first but the Orange didn’t make a bowl game that season. SU lost three in a row by three points to Florida State, Wake Forest, and Clemson before ending the season with back-to-back losses against ranked teams to go 5-7.

2022 was Shraders year to make a massive leap. His first year as the starting quarterback from day 1 and the Carolina native had an all-American runningback next to him in Sean Tucker. QB1 led the Orange to a 6-0 start and played well in a heartbreaking loss on the road against Clemson. But then, Shraders injury issues started to plague him. He was a little banged up going into the game against Notre Dame, but got even more hurt and had to be pulled.

SU then lost a winnable game at Pitt with Carlos Del Rio Wilson starting and we all know how the season ended. Syracuse made it to a bowl but just limped there. Shrader was then out for all of spring ball this year and was on a snap count for most of fall camp.
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Babers shares message to former players online: ‘Grandpa watched every snap’ (PS; Leiker)

Former Syracuse football coach Dino Babers shared his first public message since his firing Sunday morning.

“Congratulations to all the [Syracuse football] players and staff on a hard-fought, well-deserved victory last night,” Babers wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter. “Grandpa watched every snap.”

Several players either spoke of Babers directly during their postgame comments or shared messages online thanking him following the Orange’s 35-31 win over Wake Forest last night.

A whiteboard with the message “Thank you Coach Babers” was held by players as they exited the field postgame.

Babers had been given the option to coach the game, said Syracuse athletic director John Wildhack said, but declined.



Babers did not attend the game in person. His wife, daughters and grandchildren came after the game to deliver Hawaiian leis to the players who walked for Senior Day.

Babers liked a number of posts on X during and after the game both directed at him and referencing his players.

Syracuse’s win Saturday made it bowl eligible for the second straight year. It is the first time since 2012-13 the Orange are eligible in consecutive years.

Had Babers still been coach, it would have marked the first time since 1998-99 that SU had made consecutive bowl games under the same head coach.


Syracuse football: sacrificing for the greater good (TNIAAM; Wall)

When we look back at this Syracuse Orange season, the 6-6 record won’t tell us the story of the 2023 Orange. Through all the ups and downs, these last few weeks have given some of the Syracuse players a chance to leave their legacy.

We wondered how the Orange would respond after the firing of Dino Babers and while the win over Wake Forest wasn’t pretty, it showed the character of this team.

Garrett Shrader dealing with whatever injury limited last week came back this week and willed his way to a 10-15 passing day with 3 touchdowns through the air while adding 46 yards and a touchdown on the ground. On a day where the Syracuse offense was 14-19 on 3rd and 4th downs, a lot of that success was thanks to the selfless Shrader.

LeQuint Allen carried 32 times for 144 yards as he surpassed the 1,000-yard mark. We learned after the game that Allen attended the captains meetings this week and after a summer where his status was unknown, his rise to respected leader is a testament to his character.

Dan Villari carried the ball 13 times for 51 yards, caught a touchdown pass and completed both his passing attempts for 51 yards and another score. From switching positions before the season, then playing multiple roles the final month, Villari has earned free meals and drinks in Syracuse for life.
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Where is SU most likely headed for bowl? From Boston to Florida, several options in play (PS; $; Carlson)

Syracuse’s bowl bid won’t be officially announced until next Sunday, but with the regular season complete there are some obvious possibilities for a realistic bowl destination and a number of games that can be crossed off the list.

The ACC has 12 teams that are bowl eligible this year (11 ACC teams and Notre Dame) and affiliations with 13 different bowl games outside of the College Football Playoff. Some of those bowls are required to take an ACC team. Others have the option to take an ACC team.

The official ACC bowl games are separated into four tiers. The playoff tier, the Orange Bowl tier, Tier 1 and Tier 2.

At 6-6, Syracuse will almost certainly not be selected in one of the first three.

The games in Tier 2 include the Fenway Bowl, the Military Bowl, the Gasparilla Bowl and the Birmingham Bowl.

If Syracuse isn’t selected in Tier 2, then it’s very difficult to project where they could be placed as the Orange could end up in any bowl where the spot isn’t filled by an affiliation.

The lower-level bowls are largely owned by ESPN, which plays a role in shaping matchups by moving teams around.

ESPN’s bowl projection experts picked Syracuse to a pair of overflow bowls last week, projecting the Orange to the Armed Forces Bowl in Fort Worth, Texas, and the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, Louisiana.

Here’s a look at some of the options and how Syracuse might fit in:

Pinstripe Bowl vs. Big Ten in New York City on Dec. 28: Syracuse is the best geographic match but is unlikely to be picked after playing in Yankee Stadium last year and this season. Schools and bowl games prefer not to have the same team play in the same game in back-to-back years. This would be the most prestigious bowl SU has a strong chance of playing in, but it feels unlikely.
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BOWL BOUND: Where will SU football play their 13th game? A look at the projections (cnycentral.com; Wenskovski)

A tumultuous regular season for Syracuse football (6-6. 2-6 ACC) ended on a high note on Saturday. SU's sixth win over Wake Forest officially makes them Bowl eligible - so where will they play that 13th game next month? Let's discuss the options, and what experts are projecting.
  • Armed Forces Bowl (Fort Worth, TX): Analysts at both ESPN and 247 Sports project SU to land in the game played on TCU's campus. The Armed Forces Bowl does not have a contractual tie-in with the ACC, and favors hosting service academies that are bowl eligible. Either Army (5-6) or Navy (5-6) will notch their sixth win in their annual matchup on Saturday, December 9th. Air Force, out of the Mountain West, sits at 8-4 and could be a candidate for this game. Getting to Texas would be a challenge for fans, and it's also not a state with a particularly notable alumni presence. The December 23rd game would seem like a bit of a random pick for the Orange.
  • Gasparilla Bowl (Tampa, FL): CBS Sports currently has SU slotted against South Alabama in the December 23rd Gasparilla Bowl. Syracuse has a good amount of fans and alumni that winter in Florida, so this one would probably be more preferable to the fanbase. But the Gasparilla bowl has tie-ins with eight different conferences including the ACC, so there's a wide scope of teams to pick from for this one, and they might be more apt to give it to a regionally closer team in the south.
  • Birmingham Bowl (Birmingham, AL): This bowl has tie-ins with the American Athletic Conference and the SEC, so if SU is selected they can bet on facing a team from one of those conferences. BettingPros is among various sites that slot the Orange here. This one would arguably be the biggest nightmare for the fanbase, as direct flights out of Syracuse Hancock International Airport wouldn't be an option. This one will be played on December 23rd as well.
  • Military Bowl (Annapolis, MD): SU has strong alumni ties in the mid Atlantic and this game has conference tie-ins to the ACC and the American. Syracuse has also been designated as one of the top private schools for veterans by the Military Times and places a large emphasis on its programs for military veterans and their families. The December 27th game could feature Navy if they become bowl eligible. This one could be a good fit for the Orange, but there are also other ACC schools that are regionally closer and would probably draw more fans: see Duke, Virginia Tech.
  • Pinstripe Bowl (Bronx, NY): The Orange lost to Minnesota in this game last year, and they also played at Yankee Stadium in the 2023 regular season against Pitt. It's rare for a team to play in the same bowl game in back-to-back seasons, but the game does have conference tie-ins to the ACC and the Big Ten. SU is arguably the ACC school that would make the most sense geographically, but the desire for something new from both the fanbase and the school will likely lead to a different choice. Rutgers (6-6) is the obvious Big Ten pick this season, and Syracuse vs. Rutgers would likely draw a large east coast crowd. The game is scheduled for December 28th this year.
  • Fenway Bowl (Boston, MA): This game is also scheduled for December 28th and has tie-ins to the ACC and the American. Hometown choice Boston College (6-6) seems like the obvious ACC pick, but if the Eagles don't land here, this could be a very real (and cold) option for SU.
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ACC News

Friedlander: What we learned about every ACC football team in 2023 - Saturday Road (saturdayroad.com; Friedlander)


Florida State is undefeated and still in the thick of the College Football Playoff race, even without starting quarterback Jordan Travis.

Louisville is in the conference championship game in Jeff Brohm’s first season back at his alma mater.

The league won its head-to-head matchups against the SEC and Big Ten. But’s biggest victory came when North Carolina beat the NCAA in the battle over Tez Walker’s transfer waiver.

And not only did it manage to keep its current 14-team football membership intact despite threats and rumors of Florida State and Clemson looking for ways out the door, it actually added 3 new schools while spreading its geographic footprint to a second coast.

All-in-all, it’s been a successful season for the ACC.

Now it’s time to take a look back and see what we learned about each conference team during the 2023 regular season.

Boston College

The Eagles rallied from a 1-3 start to win 5 straight and earn bowl eligibility. So at least from that standpoint, the season can be considered a success. But after 3 straight losses to finish the schedule, including 2 by double-digit margins, it doesn’t exactly feel like it.

Coach Jeff Hafley did, at least, find a quarterback around whom he can build for next year. UCF transfer Thomas Castellanos took over from Emmett Morehead midway through a season-opening loss to Northern Illinois and lit a spark to an offense that ranked dead last in the ACC in 2022. Castellanos led the team in rushing with 957 yards and 11 touchdowns while also throwing for 2,146 and 15 scores.

But with the departure of star guard Christian Mahogany and transfer Kyle Hergel, Hafley will have some rebuilding to do on his offensive line. That is, if it’s still Hafley’s job to do. No matter what happens in the bowl game, this will be the 11th time in the past 13 years that the Eagles have lost at least 6 games.

With the athletic director that hired him now at UCLA, Hafley’s job security is anything but certain. We’ll have to wait to learn if he did enough this season to earn at least another year in Chestnut Hill.

Clemson

The Tigers’ season got off to a self-destructive start with an opening week loss at Duke and was all but over after falling in double overtime at home to Florida State 3 weeks later. Sure, they finished strong by winning their final 4 games, including a revenge victory against rival South Carolina on Saturday. But when you’re Clemson and you’re used to contending for championships, simply beating the Gamecocks doesn’t make for a successful season.

This marks the 3rd straight year Dabo Swinney’s team has been shut out of the College Football Playoff. It’s the 2nd time in the past 3 seasons that it has failed to qualify for the ACC Championship Game.

Those trends, along with the recurring offensive mistakes that helped this current team back, have become a cause for concern in the land of orange tiger paws. Just ask Tyler from Spartanburg, the fan who sparred with Swinney publicly on his radio show after a loss to Miami that dropped the Tigers to 4-4.

Though Swinney’s program is far from falling off a cliff, it’s clearly at a crossroads. In order for Clemson to keep up with its fellow national powers – let alone the rest of the ACC – the stubbornly old-school coach is going to have to make some difficult decisions this offseason, especially when it comes to loyalty and his disdain for transfer portal.

Duke

The lasting theme for the Blue Devils’ season, once all is said and done, will almost certainly be “What if.”

What if they would have stopped Notre Dame’s Sam Hartman from gaining 17 on 4th-and-16 in the final minute? What if quarterback Riley Leonard hadn’t gotten hurt a few plays later? And again with Duke leading after 3 quarters at Florida State?

A season that began with such promise and a nationally televised upset of Clemson on Labor Day night quickly faded once a defense that led the ACC – and ranked among the top 5 nationally for a large portion of the season – began wearing out.

Despite a rash of injuries and a couple of close losses, including a heart-breaking double-overtime setback to rival North Carolina, Duke still managed to win 7 games and go .500 in the ACC against a killer schedule. And the biggest victory may not have come on the field. The Blue Devils got good news earlier this week when we learned that coach Mike Elko has informed his school administration of his intention to return next season rather than seek other jobs.

Florida State

We knew the Seminoles were talented. Not only did they return 87% of their offensive and defensive production from a 10-win team that finished 2022 on a 6-game streak, but coach Mike Norvell added to his arsenal by bringing in the nation’s best transfer class.

What we learned as the season went on is that in addition to all that star power, FSU possesses several other important elements all championship teams possess. Things such as poise under pressure, confidence, depth and perseverance. They’ve been instrumental in helping the Seminoles stay on track to accomplish their goals of an ACC championship and Playoff berth.

The depth and perseverance have become especially apparent during the past week since Travis was lost to a season-ending leg injury. With playmakers Trey Benson, Johnny Wilson, Jared Verse, Kalen DeLoach and others rallying around Travis’ replacement, Tate Rodemaker, FSU was able to grind out a win at Florida on Saturday to complete the 7th undefeated regular season in program history and officially welcome the Seminoles “back” as one of college football’s elite.

Georgia Tech

The Yellow Jackets opted for substance over salesmanship when they chose no-nonsense offensive line coach Brent Key to replace Geoff Collins midway through last season, then gave him the job permanently after a strong finish.

Now that Key’s first full regular season is in the books, it appears as though it was the right decision. Tech has become a much more organized, disciplined and competitive team in winning 6 games and earning bowl eligibility for the first time since 2018.

The improvement in the program was most visible on offense thanks to the play calling of offensive coordinator Buster Faulkner, who came over from rival Georgia, and the passing of Texas A&M transfer Haynes King. The next step in the building process will need to come on the defensive side of the ball, where Key switched coordinators after a disappointing performance against Bowling Green on Sept. 30.

Louisville

Brohm exceeded all expectations in his 1st season back at Louisville. The former Cardinals quarterback produced only the 2nd 10-win season in school history, scored an epic upset of Notre Dame and has his team headed for next week’s ACC Championship Game.

He did it with a mix of returning talents, including league sacks leader Ashton Gillotte and ace running back Jawhar Jordan, and an influx of impact transfers. Brohm and his team also showed a versatility that enabled them to win games in different ways – through the air against Boston College and Miami, on the ground against Notre Dame and Virginia Tech and with defense against NC State and Duke.

And yet, despite all the positive things the Cardinals accomplished and still have a chance at accomplishing, we learned that even with a new coach and a roster full of new players, they still can’t figure out a way to beat rival Kentucky. Saturday’s loss was Louisville’s 5th straight in the Governor’s Cup rivalry.


Miami

Mario Cristobal almost completely overhauled his roster through the transfer portal and replaced both coordinators in his 2nd season back at his alma mater. The improvement it produced, however, was only modest.

Cristobal shoulders some of the blame for that. Had he and his offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson called for their quarterback to take a knee in the final minute against Georgia Tech, the Hurricanes would be 8-4. And maybe we’d be looking at the season in a little bit more positive light.

So did Miami underachieve?

If we’ve learned anything since the Hurricanes joined the ACC, it’s that their expectations always exceed reality. And that no matter how badly their fan base and some in the national media want them to be “back,” they’re still not there yet.

Expect Cristobal to hit the portal again hard this offseason. Maybe it will finally happen next year.

North Carolina

Mack Brown is good at recruiting future NFL quarterbacks. That much is indisputable. But as we learned with Sam Howell and now again with Drake Maye, he doesn’t have a great track record for taking full advantage of their talents once he gets them into Carolina blue.

The Tar Heels are a pedestrian 38-26 in its 5 seasons with Howell and Maye running its offense. And in each of the past 2 seasons, they’ve squandered promising starts that put them squarely into the College Football Playoff conversation by stumbling to the finish line.

While many of the causes were the same – a defense that couldn’t stop anyone, a once-potent offense that inexplicably lost its rhythm and never got it back and losses to double-digit underdogs – this latest collapse was even more spectacular than the first. At least in 2022, UNC ended up with something to show for its efforts by winning the Coastal Division and advancing to the conference championship game.

This year’s team will simply go quietly into the night, or more accurately to a forgettable mid-tier bowl, after losing 4 of its last 6 punctuated by Saturday’s 3rd straight loss to rival NC State. Brown, who is 72, has already said he plans on returning next year. But it’s almost certain that his long-time friend and defensive coordinator Gene Chizik won’t be back. It’s just one of the many changes that are likely to be made during what promises to be an eventful offseason.

NC State

The Wolfpack were picked to be one of the top teams in the ACC and they fulfilled that promise by going 9-3 overall and finishing tied with Louisville for 2nd in the league at 6-2.

They just didn’t get there in the conventional way.

Dave Doeren’s team was foundering heading into their early October open date. They were 4-3, they’d benched graduate transfer quarterback Brennan Armstrong and were coming off a shutout loss at Duke that was so embarrassing that star linebacker Payton Wilson felt the need to publicly apologize for his team’s effort.

But as we’ve learned many times in the past, Doeren and State are usually at their best when they’re forced to make chicken salad out of chicken droppings. And they did it again.

Challenged by their coach to treat the final 5 games as a separate new season, the Wolfpack responded. They won all 5, including the final 3 after Armstrong returned to the starting role after his replacement MJ Morris decided to preserve his redshirt. In the process, they helped Doeren become the all-time winningest coach in school history and posted a 4th straight season of 8 or more wins for the first time ever. That’s a remarkable record of consistency, especially considering that this one was anything but.

Pittsburgh

A lot of the blame for the Panthers’ dismal 3-9 season will inevitably be placed on the quarterback situation, where coach Pat Narduzzi swung and missed with a transfer addition for the 2nd straight season. But after closer inspection, we learn that the real culprits were breakdowns in the 2 areas that have become Pitt’s trademarks during Narduzzi’s 9 seasons at the helm.

Defense and the running game.

Pitt was still able to put pressure on opposing passers, though not as often as in the past, by recording 31 sacks – a figure that ranked 5th in the ACC. But there was a significant drop-off in virtually every other area. Offensively, the Panthers were dead last in the league in rushing at only 101 yards per game after averaging 183 per game a year ago. Some of that disparity can be traced to the loss of Israel Abanikanda, the ACC’s leading rusher in 2023. But injury issues along the offensive line were also a major contributor.

Narduzzi has already fired offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti Jr. Other changes are likely to come. Narduzzi is fortunate that his athletic director Heather Lykes has shown patience with her coaches, because the Panthers have taken 2 consecutive steps backward since winning their first ACC title in 2021.

Syracuse

We learned that a 2nd straight 6-win bowl season wasn’t enough to keep coach Dino Babers from losing his job. The end, which seemed inevitable after a 5-game midseason losing streak that negated the first perfect 4-0 nonconference record in program history to start the season.

We also learned that the Orange’s offense is a lot better when it has an actual quarterback playing quarterback. They were reduced to having running back LeQuint Allen and tight end Dan Villari take direct snaps over the past few weeks because of injuries to starter Garrett Shrader and backup Carlos Del Rio-Wilson.

Shrader was healthy enough to throw the ball in Saturday’s regular season finale against Wake Forest and he completed 3 touchdown passes in leading Syracuse to 35 points, its highest-scoring effort since Week 3 against Purdue.

Although Saturday’s win means that the Orange will have another game to play this season, Job 1 for athletic director John Wildhack will be finding a new coach capable of getting the program over the just getting bowl eligible hump.
...


Is Louisville the best team in the ACC? - Week 14 Football Power Rankings (wsaz.com; Skrive)

Ahead of Week 14 of the college football season, let's take a look at our newly updated power rankings, which dissect how each team in the ACC stacks up against the competition.

Watch college football all season long on Fubo and ESPN+!

ACC Power Rankings

Projected records only reflect games against FBS opponents.

1. Florida State

  • Current Record: 12-0 | Projected Record: 11-0
  • Odds to Win ACC: -400
  • Overall Rank: 9th
  • Strength of Schedule Rank (FBS): 64th
  • Last Game: W 24-15 vs Florida

Next Game

  • Week 14 Opponent: Louisville
  • Game Time: 8:00 PM ET on Saturday, December 2
  • TV Channel: ABC (Watch on Fubo)

2. Louisville

  • Current Record: 10-2 | Projected Record: 9-3
  • Odds to Win ACC: +300
  • Overall Rank: 19th
  • Strength of Schedule Rank (FBS): 59th
  • Last Game: L 38-31 vs Kentucky

Next Game

  • Week 14 Opponent: Florida State
  • Game Time: 8:00 PM ET on Saturday, December 2
  • TV Channel: ABC (Watch on Fubo)

3. Clemson

  • Current Record: 8-4 | Projected Record: 6-4
  • Odds to Win ACC: +50000
  • Overall Rank: 22nd
  • Strength of Schedule Rank (FBS): 34th
  • Last Game: W 16-7 vs South Carolina

4. Duke

  • Current Record: 7-5 | Projected Record: 6-5
  • Odds to Win ACC: +30000
  • Overall Rank: 30th
  • Strength of Schedule Rank (FBS): 44th
  • Last Game: W 30-19 vs Pittsburgh

5. NC State

  • Current Record: 9-3 | Projected Record: 7-3
  • Odds to Win ACC: +20000
  • Overall Rank: 36th
  • Strength of Schedule Rank (FBS): 56th
  • Last Game: W 39-20 vs North Carolina

6. Miami (FL)

  • Current Record: 7-5 | Projected Record: 6-5
  • Odds to Win ACC: +2000
  • Overall Rank: 38th
  • Strength of Schedule Rank (FBS): 49th
  • Last Game: W 45-20 vs Boston College

7. North Carolina

  • Current Record: 8-4 | Projected Record: 7-3
  • Odds to Win ACC: +10000
  • Overall Rank: 41st
  • Strength of Schedule Rank (FBS): 62nd
  • Last Game: L 39-20 vs NC State

8. Virginia Tech

  • Current Record: 6-6 | Projected Record: 6-6
  • Odds to Win ACC: +15000
  • Overall Rank: 48th
  • Strength of Schedule Rank (FBS): 69th
  • Last Game: W 55-17 vs Virginia

9. Georgia Tech

  • Current Record: 6-6 | Projected Record: 5-5
  • Odds to Win ACC: +50000
  • Overall Rank: 58th
  • Strength of Schedule Rank (FBS): 57th
  • Last Game: L 31-23 vs Georgia

10. Syracuse

  • Current Record: 6-6 | Projected Record: 5-6
  • Odds to Win ACC: +100000
  • Overall Rank: 79th
  • Strength of Schedule Rank (FBS): 67th
  • Last Game: W 35-31 vs Wake Forest
...

Stanford football: Wreckage behind, Stanford looks ahead to ACC (mercurynews.com; Gutmann)

Fans were still streaming out of Stanford Stadium after the final game of the season, but sophomore receiver Elic Ayomanor was already looking ahead.

“For me, the off-season has already started,” Ayomanor said after the Cardinal completed a 3-9 season with a 56-23 loss to Notre Dame on Saturday.

“I’m already evaluating myself, seeing what I need to improve on. You see exactly where you had missteps and you make sure those things don’t happen again. Although the season is in the past, you can’t forget those emotions you had when things didn’t go your way, and you use those emotions to fuel you in the future.”

Stanford coach Troy Taylor said a $3-million facelift to the weight room will start immediately, along with meetings with current players. Though the team has 26 seniors and fifth-year players, everyone on the roster except for former walk-on linebacker Spencer Jorgensen is eligible to play next season.

And since Stanford’s academic requirements and lack of a large NIL collective doesn’t lend itself to adding talent via transfers, Taylor must also focus on recruiting before the Dec. 20 early signing day.

Stanford’s 2024 class currently ranks 27th nationally by 247Sports. Five of its 24 commits are ranked as four-star players, led by QB Elijah Brown, who is 42-2 as the starter of Southern California power Mater Dei.

“We will get bigger, stronger, faster, and we’ll improve as a coaching staff,” Taylor said.

There is plenty of room for improvement. Without the ability to generate pressure or force turnovers, Stanford finished 129th out of 130 teams in points allowed (37.2), yards allowed (461.7), and passing yards allowed (298). The offense was slightly better, ranking 110th in points (20.6) and 92nd in yards (351.4) despite not having a consistent running game.

The 3-9 record — same as the previous two seasons under coach David Shaw — surpassed expectations in some ways.

The Cardinal was picked to finish last in the final year of the Pac-12 and was only favored in two games, against Hawai’i (a win) and FCS-level Sacramento State (a loss). But Stanford won road games at Colorado and Washington State to escape the bottom of the conference.

While the season will always be remembered for the 29-point comeback at Colorado, the fourth-biggest comeback in Pac-12 history, there was also plenty for Stanford fans to forget. The Cardinal was the only team in the country without a home win – including the second loss in program history to an FCS team – and lost five games by 33 points or more.

Now Stanford will prepare for its first season in the ACC. In addition to the 127th Big Game, which will be at Cal, will travel to North Carolina State, Clemson, and Syracuse. The home schedule includes games against Wake Forest, Virginia Tech, Louisville and SMU.

The dates for those matchups, including Stanford’s first-ever ACC game, have yet to be determined. But the non-conference schedule is set – Stanford will open by hosting TCU on Aug. 31 and Cal Poly on Sept. 7, play at Notre Dame on Oct. 12 in the last scheduled meeting of that series, and finish at San Jose State on Nov. 30.

“I haven’t really been keeping up with any of the teams in the ACC,” Ayomanor said. “But like I said, the off-season starts right now, so I’m looking forward to just seeing what those teams bring to the table and how they’ll challenge us and how we’ll be able to attack them.”

Ayomanor is one of the reasons for optimism in 2024. He finished with 1,013 receiving yards, the eighth-most in program history.

“That’s an amazing accomplishment, getting over the 1,000-yard mark, and his better days are ahead of him,” Taylor said.

Stanford should also benefit from stability this offseason after one of the most tumultuous years in program history. Seventeen players who were expected to be significant contributors left the program after Shaw resigned, and Taylor installed completely new offensive and defensive systems when he arrived from Sacramento State. And then the Pac-12 dissolved, leaving Stanford without a conference home in 2024 until the ACC eventually offered a spot.

“These guys that stayed, they gave us every single thing they had from day one,” Taylor said. “I’m indebted to them, and I told them we will be champions here. It will happen. Obviously didn’t happen this year. Some of them won’t be here physically when it happens, but they are a part of it.

“You know, when you give everything you have and put everything into it, you’re not guaranteed a tangible reward. That’s just not how life works. These guys continued to do it each week. A lot of respect for them, and excited to get moving forward.”
...


https://www.si.com/fannation/colleg...ootball-acc-championship-game-odds-prediction (SI; Parks)

Down to its backup quarterback after a shocking injury but still riding an undefeated record, Florida State comes into the ACC Championship Game looking to make another statement for the selection committee and prove it belongs in the College Football Playoff as it lines up against challenger Louisville on Championship Saturday.

The Cardinals dropped a surprise decision against rival Kentucky in the regular season finale, dropping to 10-2 on the season, and eliminating any of the very slim chances they had to get within reach of the playoff. Those chances never really existed based on the teams ahead in the rankings, but Louisville can still have a direct impact on the playoff if it can pull off the upset here.

Florida State vs. Louisville game odds

Courtesy of SI

Line: Florida State -3.5
Total: 51.5 points
Moneyline: FSU -175 | UL +138


Early computer predictions

Most analytic simulations favor the Seminoles to take care of business this week.
...


Bowl projections: Michigan creates distance in College Football Playoff bid as Florida State avoids upset (cbssports.com; Palm)

Barring something very unexpected, we now have one spot locked up for a specific New Year's Six game slot. This as Louisville was upset at home by in-state rival Kentucky, ruining the slim chances the Cardinals had of climbing into the College Football Playoff. Because the Orange Bowl will get the ACC champion -- if it is not in the CFP -- or the highest-rated conference team outside of the playoff, Louisville will be that team.

If Louisville wins the ACC crown over Florida State next Saturday, the Cardinals will go to the Orange Bowl as the league champion. If not, the Seminoles are in the playoff and Louisville will be the highest-rated ACC team available.

So, what could happen that falls into the "very unexpected" category? (1) FSU wins the ACC, but the CFP Selection Committee decides for the first time ever to leave an undefeated major-conference team out of the playoff. (2) FSU wins and advances into the CFP, but the committee drops the Cardinals below NC State despite Louisville having one more win and a road victory over the Wolfpack.

We will break down each team's path to the College Football Playoff later this week, but there are still eight teams in the running, four of which control their own fate: Georgia, Michigan, Washington and Florida State. It is not a coincidence that all those teams are currently undefeated. We have never had a CFP with four unbeaten teams, but then again, we've never had four undefeated teams this deep in a season during the CFP era.



College Football Playoff

DATEGAME / LOC.MATCHUPPREDICTION
Jan. 8National Championship
Houston
Title gameSemifinal winners
Jan. 1Sugar Bowl
New Orleans
Semifinal(1) Georgia vs. (4) Oregon
Jan. 1Rose Bowl
Pasadena, Calif.
Semifinal(2) Michigan vs. (3) Florida State

New Year's Six bowl games

DATEBOWL / LOCATIONMATCHUPPREDICTION
Jan. 1Fiesta Bowl
Glendale, Ariz.
at-large vs. at-large Texas vs. Tulane
Dec. 30Orange Bowl
Miami
ACC vs. SEC/B1G/NDLouisville vs. Ohio State
Dec. 30Peach Bowl
Atlanta
at-large vs. at-largeMissouri vs. Penn State
Dec. 29Cotton Bowl
Arlington, Tex.
at-large vs. at-largeAlabama vs. Washington
We will see some shuffling of bowl-conference pairings next season with the demise of the Pac-12 and expansion in the other major conferences. The Pac-12 has contracts with six bowls outside of the CFP. The Big Ten and Big 12 will probably end up with some of those spots next season.

The race to 82 bowl-eligible teams came to a reasonably satisfying end Saturday. We only ended up with 79 teams at 6-6 or better, but that left room for James Madison and Jacksonville State to get to the postseason when they would not have otherwise been eligible while making the FBS transition.

With JMU added as a fill-in, the Sun Belt will have 12 of its 14 teams in bowl games this season, half of those with 6-6 records. There are 12 bowls where a Sun Belt team could play, so that doesn't sound like a problem, except that the New Mexico Bowl usually gets a Conference USA team for its spot opposite the Mountain West and New Mexico State is eligible for the second straight season. Last year, the Aggies wound up in the Quick Lane Bowl filling in for the Big Ten, but ESPN gave the New Mexico Bowl a pretty good non-standard matchup instead. It would be a tough call to move New Mexico State out again this season.

Instead, I'm guessing that ESPN will ask the AAC to give up its spot in the Hawaii Bowl for the 12th Sun Belt team. With the SEC short a couple of eligible teams this season for its games, SMU is projected to fill in at the Liberty Bowl.

Minnesota will be the only 5-7 team in a bowl game this season. The Golden Gophers are just the second 5-7 team to play in a bowl for reasons not related to COVID-19 since the number of bowls expanded in 2017. Rice in 2022 is the other team, so this will be the second consecutive season with a 5-7 team.
...


2023-24 Bowling, by Conference (RX; HM)

2023-24 Bowling, by Conference

College football is, essentially, over, which means now we know which teams are bowl-eligible and which are not...
2023-24 bowl-eligible teams, by 2023 conference:

ACC: 11[12]* - Boston College, Clemson, Duke, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Louisville, Miami, NC State, North Carolina, Syracuse, Virginia Tech (Indep.: 1* - Notre Dame)
American: 6 - Memphis, Rice, SMU, South Florida, Tulane, UTSA
Big Ten: 9 - Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota*, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State, Rutgers, Wisconsin
Big XII: 9 - Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas Tech, UCF, West Virginia
C-USA: 4 - Liberty, Jacksonville State*, New Mexico State, Western Kentucky
MAC: 6 - Bowling Green, Eastern Michigan, Miami-OH, Northern, Illinois, Ohio, Toledo
MWC: 7 - Air Force, Boise State, Fresno State, San Jose State, UNLV, Utah State, Wyoming
Pac-12: 8 - Arizona, California, Oregon, Oregon State, UCLA, USC, Utah, Washington
SEC: 9 - Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Missouri, Ole Miss, Tennessee, Texas A&M
Sun Belt: 12 - Appalachian State, Arkansas State, Coastal Carolina, Georgia Southern, Georgia State, James Madison*, Louisiana, Marshall, Old Dominion, South Alabama, Texas State, Troy

Total teams: 82 (enough for 41 bowls)

The ACC leads all power conferences with 11 bowl teams (out of 14). If we include Notre Dame - which also counts toward ACC bowl tie-ins - it's 12 teams. The next highest P5 conference is a 3-way tie between the Big Ten, Big XII, and SEC (9 teams each). The Pac-12 has 8 bowl teams.

It's worth noting that SMU is not only bowl-eligible but also still in contention for the American Athletic Conference Championship and, possibly, the G5 auto-bid.
...

Biggest Losers 2023 Nov 26

Ranked Losers

#1 Ohio State lost at #3 Michigan, 24-30
In a year with this many undefeated teams, one loss almost certainly knocks the Buckeyes out of the playoffs.
#10 Louisville lost at home to Kentucky, 31-38
The Cardinals led 3/4ths of this game, but a pair of fumbles in the 2nd half turned the tide... well, that and having an SEC officiating crew that called zero penalties against Kentucky.
#16 Oregon State lost at #6 Oregon, 7-31
Sorry, Beavers - the Ducks are forever champs of the Civil War.
#19 Kansas State lost at home to Iowa State, 35-42
People in Kansas fear cyclones for good reason.


Ranked team that should've lost, but somehow didn't:

Alabama had a fork stuck in them already at Auburn. It was 4th and goal from the 31 yard line, trailing by four with 43 seconds to play. Auburn had a 99.9% chance of winning that game... and choked. No, Bama didn't win it - Auburn lost it, plain and simple.

Other notable losers:

BYU need to win to go to a bowl, and the Cougars led the Cowboys 24-6 at halftime. Then they got outscored 34-10 the rest of the way.
Nebraska only scored 10 points in a home loss to #17 Iowa, 10-13, which also keeps the Huskers home for the holidays.
Illinois was denied bowl-eligibility by Northwestern, 43-45.
Minnesota needed to beat Wisconsin to go bowling; maybe next year.



BREAKING: Texas A&M to Hire Mike Elko (RX; HM)

BREAKING: Texas A&M to Hire Mike Elko

The Duke Blue Devils are about to lose another good football coach. Second year Head Coach Mike Elko went 9-4 last year, 7-5 this year, will become the next head coach of the Texas A&M Aggies, according to ESPN [LINK].

The Aggies are at risk of being relegated to second class status in the SEC, especially with the Longhorns and the Sooners joining the conference next season.
Meanwhile, the Blue Devils don't really have much of a fan following for football even when the team is good - Duke fans prefer their "ball" to be round, brown, and played indoors on a wooden floor.


2023 ACC vs SEC: 6-4 so far (RX; HM)

2023 ACC vs SEC: 6-4 so far

The regular season is over (except for the conference championship games and Army/Navy). ACC and SEC football teams played each other in a total of 10 non-conference football games this season. Here's how those 10 contests turned out:


ACC 6-4 SEC
Florida State 24 @ Florida 15
Clemson 16 @ S Carolina 7
Vanderbilt 20 @ Wake Forest 36Kentucky 38 @ Louisville 31
Texas A&M 33 @ Miami 48Georgia 31 @ Ga Tech 23
N Carolina 31 vs S Carolina 17Ga Tech 23 @ Ole Miss 48
Florida State 24 vs LSU 24Virginia 13 vs Tennessee 49
ACC WinsSEC Wins


All of which prompted Danny Kannell to ponder...


...


AP Poll 2023 Nov 26 (RX; HM)

AP Poll 2023 Nov 26

The new AP poll is out. Here are the rankings (including others receiving votes):

AP Top 25
RKTEAMPTSTREND
1Georgia12-0-
2Michigan12-0up1
3Washington12-0up1
4Florida State12-0up1
5Oregon11-1up1
6Ohio State11-1dn4
7Texas11-1-
8Alabama11-1-
9Missouri10-2up1
10Penn State10-2up1
11Ole Miss10-2up1
12Oklahoma10-2up1
13LSU9-3up1
14Arizona9-3up2
15Louisville10-2dn6
16Notre Dame9-3up1
17Tulane11-1up1
18Iowa10-2up2
19Oklahoma St9-3up2
20Liberty12-0up2
T21NC State9-3up6
T21Oregon State8-4dn6
23Toledo11-1-
24James Madison11-1-
25SMU10-2up4
Others receiving votes:
26Tennessee8-4dn1
27Clemson8-4up4
28Kansas State8-4dn9
29Utah8-4NR
30Troy10-2NR
31Kansas8-4up1
32New Mexico St10-3up2
33Kentucky7-5NR
T34Memphis9-3NR
T34Miami (OH)10-2up2
T34N. Carolina8-4dn4


Shocking news: The AP voters dropped an SEC team (Tennessee) out of the Top 25 without that team losing -- Imagine that! Of course, Georgia and Alabama both struggled mightily to beat 6-win teams, yet neither of them fell, so don't think SECBias is a thing of the past - at least, we still appear to have bias toward the top SEC teams.
...


Other

Syracuse city officials to seek bold new powers to promote more and better housing (PS; Breidenbach)


Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh wants to create a new arm of government that would allow the city to own and manage apartment buildings and help private homeowners fix up their homes.

Walsh has asked the city council to create a housing trust — a separate public authority with its own board and mission, and the power to issue bonds, make loans and award grants.

The goal is to boost quality, affordable housing in a city in crisis.

It would give the city game-changing powers to take on long-neglected housing problems that don’t fit the molds of other government programs. It comes at a time when quality housing is scarce and an increase in demand is imminent.

A study released in March exposed two related problems in Syracuse: Most residents can’t afford market-rate housing. And the cost to rehabilitate existing homes often exceeds their worth.



A survey of the more than 35,000 residential properties in Syracuse found that one-third showed signs of “chronic disinvestment,” syracuse.com | The Post-Standard reported in March.

Many of the existing nonprofit housing agencies and streams of funding are too specific to fix the problem — focusing, for example, on homelessness or lead paint remediation in homes with children, said Michelle Sczpanski, the city’s deputy commissioner of neighborhood development.

A housing trust could be flexible enough to build new housing and to encourage private landlords and homeowners to make improvements, city officials say.

The first step is to create the trust and accept a $5 million grant already awarded in last year’s state budget.

The next steps, defining the mission and identifying specific projects, are still in development.

City officials are looking to Montgomery County, Maryland as one model.
Congratulations to the Syracuse Orange Football Team on becoming bowl-eligible!
 
Congratulations to the Syracuse Orange Football Team on becoming bowl-eligible!
Congrats to VT for making it to a bowl as well.

I hope you didn't kill the UVa football program with that epic beatdown. The Woos seem like nice fellows...
 

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