Orangeyes Daily Articles for Wednesday - for Football |

Orangeyes Daily Articles for Wednesday for Football


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

Ben Franklin Statue in Franklin Square Park April 2023 Catherine Stolz

Welcome to Ben Franklin Day!

Founding Father Benjamin Franklin was born on this day in 1706, in Boston, making today Ben Franklin Day. He was a polymath, or expert in many subjects. Some of the titles that could be given to him are inventor, scientist, politician, diplomat, civic activist, printer, author, postmaster, and mapmaker. He also founded or was a part of many organizations and groups.

Franklin was the tenth and youngest son of a soap and candle maker, Josiah Franklin, and Josiah's second wife, Abiah Folger. The elder Franklin wanted his son to follow the path of a preacher, but did not have the money to send him to school. Benjamin only attended school up until the age of ten, when he began working full-time in his father's shop. At the age of twelve he was sent to apprentice his older brother James, who was a printer. James started The New England Courant in Boston when Benjamin was fifteen. Benjamin wanted to be printed in the paper, but James would not allow it. So, he wrote letters under name of Silence Dogood, a fictional widow, and slid them under the print shop door at night. The fourteen letters he wrote were published; they gave advice and were filled with critical observations of the world. Benjamin eventually confessed to writing them, and James was not happy. Later, after harassment and beating at the hands of his brother, Benjamin ended up running away to New York, and then ended up in Philadelphia in 1723.

SU News

Despite lack of offers, the latest Syracuse football commit from NJ has big potential (; $; Bernstein)

If you go by recruiting rankings or offer list, Elizabeth cornerback Ibn McDaniels would fit the definition of an under the radar prospect.

His high school football coach John Fiore doesn’t see that in the recent Syracuse commit. Instead, Fiore sees a future NFL defensive back.

“I told people this whole recruiting cycle, Ibn’s the only other kid I’ve ever said will be drafted in the NFL if he doesn’t get hurt. The only one that I’ve coached (and said that about) was Josh Allen,” said Fiore, recalling his former player at Montclair, now a pro bowl edge rusher for the Jacksonville Jaguars. “This kid’s going to be a big time pick. There’s no doubt in my mind that if he goes up there, listens to the coaches, he could be a starting corner as a true freshman in the ACC this year.

“He’s going to be an unbelievable kid playing in the secondary for a long, long time.”

McDaniels and Allen share similar stories of having minimal recruiting interest after stellar senior seasons. Allen, after an All-State senior season, was set to play at Monmouth University before the University of Kentucky came in and became his only Power 5 Conference offer just days before National Signing Day.

In the case of McDaniels, a 6-foot-3, 191-pound DB who was clocked running a 4.4 40-yard dash at a camp this summer, he was without a scholarship offer before receiving one from Syracuse after the December early signing period. McDaniels officially announced his commitment on Saturday after taking an official visit to campus.

The lack of other offers does not bother him though.

“That’s why I fell in love Syracuse because they actually saw something in and and gave me chance and gave me an opportunity, a full scholarship, all of that,” McDaniels said. “No other school was able to do that. No other school tried to make a play on me. It was just Syracuse.

“It didn’t bother me that much because all I need is one school to fall in love with me, just like all you need is that one girl to fall in love with you. And that was Syracuse for me.”

McDaniels becomes the 20th member of Syracuse’s high school recruiting class under new head coach and South Jersey native Fran Brown. Ten members of that class are from the Garden State for a staff that includes fellow New Jersey natives Nunzio Campanile, Elijah Robinson, Khalil Ahmad and Dennis Thomas.

This fall, McDaniels made 39 tackles with three interceptions, one of them returned for a touchdown. On offense, he caught 44 passes for 744 yards and eight touchdowns, catching a TD in each of his final eight games of the season. An All-Group 5 selection by, McDaniels was recently chosen for the NJFCA Super 100.

It was the only full season McDaniels had as his junior year was limited to just four games due to a broken collarbone. He didn’t play his freshman or sophomore years.

According to Fiore, McDaniels got on the radar of Ahmad, his former player at Montclair during a camp at Penn State when Ahmad was still on the Penn State staff as director of high school relations.

Syracuse Football: 4-star New Jersey talent coming for official visits this weekend (itlh; Adler)

Syracuse football is planning to welcome numerous four-star targets who hail from New Jersey to the Hill this coming weekend on official visits, according to recent posts on X by the analysts at The Juice on Rivals.

Recently, The Juice on Rivals noted in articles and in a chat forum that at least seven prospects from New Jersey are eyeing official visits to the ‘Cuse this weekend.

However, those stories and the chat forum are subscriber-exclusive items, so out of respect for our friends at The Juice on Rivals, I’ll only discuss here those official visits that have been noted in publicly available social media posts.

Those planning to officially visit Central New York on or around January 20 include 2025 four-star cornerback/safety Deshawn Stewart, 2025 four-star wide receiver Dez Jones and 2025 four-star wide receiver Michael Thomas III.

Syracuse football continues to recruit New Jersey hard.

Orange head coach Fran Brown, most recently the defensive backs coach at Georgia, is from Camden, N.J. So, too, is new ‘Cuse defensive coordinator and assistant head coach Elijah Robinson.

Other Syracuse football coaches, including associate head coach for offense and quarterbacks coach Nunzio Campanile, are from New Jersey. The new Orange staff, as a whole, has deep recruiting connections to the Garden State and along the Northeast corridor.

As such, Syracuse football coaches are making New Jersey a big-time focus, whether it be in landing commitments, welcoming targets on visits, and making scholarship offers to new recruits.

Syracuse football could be ACC title contender ‘in the next year or two,’ expert says (itlh; Adler)

A recruiting expert says that while the Syracuse football 2024 class has flown a bit under the radar on a national scale, this Orange cycle could have a high ceiling.

‘Cuse head coach Fran Brown, the former defensive backs coach at Georgia, officially took the reins of the Syracuse football program in early December.

In a short period of time, Brown and his top-notch coaching staff have assembled a stellar 2024 class, comprised of talented high school seniors and college transfers.

For some context, this ‘Cuse 2024 cycle isn’t among the elites in college football, but it is rated significantly higher than other recent Orange classes under former head coach Dino Babers.

The Syracuse football 2024 cycle may have a high ceiling, an expert says.

In a recent article, Cory Lemer, the associate editor of, looked at several college squads whose 2024 recruiting classes weren’t super highly ranked but hold a lot of promise.

One of those schools, I’m pleased to say, is the ‘Cuse. As Lemer noted, the Orange’s 2024 cycle includes numerous four-star prospects, both among high school seniors and college transfers.

Lemer writes in part that Brown “will have to continue stacking talent from the prep levels in future classes, but between their early prep recruiting, and their loaded transfer portal class, Fran Brown’s new-look Orange program could be primed to compete for ACC titles in the next year or two.”

I totally agree with Lemer’s assessment. In fact, I wrote an article not too long ago where I opined that Syracuse football – based on the guys returning, the team’s 2024 recruiting class, the newly assembled coaching staff, and the squad’s manageable schedule for next season – could potentially make a run at the top tier of the Atlantic Coast Conference standings in the 2024 term.

I know, I know. I’ve got Orange-colored glasses on. All good. I also said I think that if things fall into place, perhaps it’s not out of the question that Syracuse football could contend for a spot in the College Football playoff, which in the upcoming stanza will expand from four participants to 12.

Naturally, that’s somewhat of a bold statement, given that the ‘Cuse is a combined 13-13 over the past two terms, although the Orange has made consecutive bowl games for the first time in more than a decade.

On Saturday night, fast-rising 2024 defensive back and wide receiver Ibn McDaniels from Elizabeth High School in Elizabeth, N.J., pledged to the ‘Cuse. Then on Monday, former four-star Alabama defensive lineman Isaiah Hastings said he would transfer to Syracuse football.

Keeping Up With The 315 1-16-24 (ESPN; radio; the 315)

Brian begins the show recapping another strong recruiting weekend for Fran Brown and Syracuse football. Then, a caller chimes in with his thoughts on how the team has played compared to preseason expectations. That leads Brian into going through the remaining schedule and trying to figure out how many wins SU needs to make the tourney.

Syracuse football adds new nonconference opponent for 2025 (PS; Leiker)

Syracuse football will play Colgate in 2025, according to an upcoming schedules release shared on the Raiders’ website.

The Orange will host the game Sept. 13, 2025, at the JMA Wireless Dome, though the release states that game dates and locations are subject to change.

SU played Colgate in its 2023 season opener, shutting out the Raiders 65-0. The two programs’ 2025 meeting will be the 69th in its series history.

Syracuse already had four nonconference opponents set for 2025: Tennessee (in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game), Connecticut, Notre Dame and Army.

It’s likely Colgate will replace the matchup with Army.

The Black Knights are joining the American Athletic Conference in 2024, forcing them to restructure their football schedules to meet requirements for conference games while still retaining rivalry games with the other military academies.

Syracuse is still looking for a replacement for Army on its 2024 schedule.

The Orange and the Black Knights signed a four-game home-and-away deal in 2016, the first game of which was played this past season. Syracuse beat Army 29-16 in the Dome.

The series’ final game was set to be played in 2026.

Syracuse had been in talks with Kansas to fill Army’s spot in 2024, a source told in December. Those talks fell through.

Dates for ACC games on the 2024 schedule should be announced near the end of January. That announcement could provide clarity to SU’s final nonconference opponent for the year.

Former Power Five assistant heading to New Jersey football parochial powerhouse (; Dyer)

Bobby Acosta will take over a New Jersey parochial program that is loaded with the potential to become a national powerhouse.

On Monday, it was announced that Acosta will be the next head coach at St. John Vianney (Holmdel, New Jersey).

The well-traveled Acosta is best known for his two years as the wide receivers coach at Syracuse, ending in 2015. From there, he was an offensive coordinator at Cornell and Then Bucknell before taking over as head coach at IMG Academy in 2020.

Last year, he was the offensive coordinator at FCS program Arkansas-Pine Bluff.

St. John Vianney has announced that former Marlboro and Monmouth Regional head coach Bobby Acosta has been hired as its head football coach. Acosta was an assistant coach at Arkansas Pine Bluff last season and has had several collegiate stops
— Steven Falk (@smfalk) January 16, 2024

He knows his new turf well. Born in New York City, Acosta played his college football at Rowan University (Glassboro, New Jersey). At his time at Rowan, the program was a Division III powerhouse that regularly made the NCAA Tournament.

At Syracuse, Acosta was known as a strong recruiter who made good local ties.

Last season, St. John Vianney went 3-7.

Located near the Jersey shore, St. John Vianney is well-located to draw talent from the central part of the state as well as the region along the shoreline. If Acosta can attract top talent, something that the former Power Five recruiter knows full well, there is the potential for St. John Vianney to turn things around and become a powerhouse program.


Quinn Ojinnaka in 2005 when he was with the Syracuse University football team. File photo | Frank OrdonezFrank Ordonez | File photo

Former Syracuse football player wins pro wrestling world championship (PS; Owens)

While a handful of former Syracuse University football players are chasing a Super Bowl title in the NFL right now, another former Orange player took home a different type of championship over the weekend.

Former SU offensive lineman Quinn Ojinnaka, now making his living as a professional wrestler known as “Moose,” won the TNA Wrestling world championship on Saturday at the promotion’s “Hard to Kill” pay-per-view event.

Ojinnaka pinned Alex Shelley in the main event to become the promotion’s world champion for the second time in his career. He also held the title from October 2021 to April 2022, when the promotion was known as Impact Wrestling. TNA has a weekly show Thursday nights on AXS TV.

#ANDNEW TNA World Champion!@TheMooseNation #HardToKill
— TNA Wrestling (@IMPACTWRESTLING) January 14, 2024

Ojinnaka played for Syracuse from 2002 to 2005, appearing in 44 games and starting 23 during his four seasons with the Orange, before embarking on an NFL career.

Selected in the fifth round of the 2006 NFL Draft by the Atlanta Falcons, he spent four seasons with that team before he was traded to New England. He spent a season with the Patriots and a season with the Colts before finishing his career with the Rams in 2012.

Ojinnaka began training for a pro wrestling career in 2011 under longtime pro Curtis “Big Cat” Hughes. He has performed for the last decade for promotions including TNA/Impact and Ring of Honor. He announced on social media in June that he had signed a long-term deal with TNA/Impact.

5 players with Syracuse ties advance in NFL playoffs (SU, CNY in NFL) (PS; Herbert)

Five football players with Syracuse ties advanced to the next round of the 2024 NFL playoffs.

The Buffalo Bills beat the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday with a roster that includes former Syracuse University defensive end Kingsley Jonathan and former Onondaga Central High School running back Latavius Murray. Murray caught two passes for 13 yards and helped Bills quarterback Josh Allen on short runs against Pittsburgh, much to the chagrin of defensive coordinator Teryl Austin, also an SU alum.

The Bills will next host the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday for a chance to reach the AFC championship game.

Former Syracuse cornerback Ifeatu Melifonwu recorded three tackles for the Lions in Detroit’s first NFL playoff win in 32 years. The Lions, who beat the Los Angeles Rams 24-23, will next face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday for the NFC divisional round.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, whose lineup includes former SU running back Sean Tucker and former Christian Brothers Academy linebacker SirVocea Dennis, advanced out of the wild card round with a 32-9 win over the Philadelphia Eagles, which featured CNY native and former Syracuse University assistant Matt Patricia as senior defensive assistant coach. Facing the Lions means at least one Syracuse alum will appear in the NFC championship next week.

Here’s how football players with Syracuse and Central New York ties did in the first round of the 2024 NFL playoffs:

Latavius Murray, RB, Buffalo Bills

The former Onondaga Central High School football star caught two passes for 13 yards and helped QB Josh Allen on short runs.

Last game: Bills 31, Steelers 17
Next game: Chiefs at Bills, Sunday at 6:30 p.m.

* * * * *

Kingsley Jonathan, DE, Buffalo Bills

Jonathan, a second-year defensive lineman out of Syracuse University, saw limited action on defense this season and was inactive for Buffalo’s playoff win over Pittsburgh.

Last game: Bills 31, Steelers 17
Next game: Chiefs at Bills, Sunday at 6:30 p.m.

* * * * *
Ifeatu Melifonwu, S, Detroit Lions

The former SU cornerback, who moved to the safety position last year, recorded 3 tackles in the Lions’ first NFL playoffs win in more than three decades.

Last game: Lions 24, Rams 23
Next game: Bucs at Lions, Sunday at 3 p.m.

ACC News (; Lassan)

The ACC is bigger and better than ever with expansion to 17 teams with the addition of California, SMU, and Stanford in the 2024 college football season. Although a couple of the new teams have a chance to make some noise next fall, the favorites in this league remain the same: Florida State and Clemson. The Tigers get the early nod as the '24 favorite in the way-too-early ACC power rankings, but the Seminoles aren't far behind as they look to go back-to-back as conference champions.

Depth should be a strength for the ACC in '24. Outside of the top two, there's a handful of intriguing teams in the mix, including Miami, North Carolina, NC State, Louisville, and Virginia Tech. And at the bottom of the league, Pitt and Wake Forest hope to rebound after disappointing '23 campaigns.

It’s never too early to think about predictions or rankings for the 2024 college football season. With that in mind, Athlon provides its very early power rankings for the ACC for 2024:

Early ACC Football Predictions for 2024

1. Clemson
It's a close call between Clemson and Florida State for the top spot in the way-too-early ACC power rankings, but a slight nod goes to the Tigers. Coach Dabo Swinney's team won its final five games to close '23 and returns quarterback Cade Klubnik and a standout defense. Developing more weapons at receiver for Klubnik and improving the offensive line remains a priority for play-caller Garrett Riley.

2. Florida State
The Seminoles lose several key pieces off the '23 squad, including quarterback Jordan Travis, running back Trey Benson, receivers Keon Coleman and Johnny Wilson, and end Jared Verse. However, expect coach Mike Norvell to find a way to keep this team in the mix to win the ACC once again. Oregon State transfer quarterback DJ Uiagalelei headlines a deep group of incoming transfers that also includes all-purpose threat Jaylin Lucas (Indiana) and edge rusher Marvin Jones Jr. (Georgia). End Patrick Payton is one of the ACC's top returning defenders.

3. Louisville
Coach Jeff Brohm returned home to guide the Cardinals to 10 victories and an appearance in the ACC title game in his first season. The bar is set high for '24 and beyond, but Louisville has the pieces in place to return to the top 25 (and potentially more). Brohm landed a standout haul of transfers to reload the roster, including quarterback Tyler Shough (Texas Tech) and receiver Caullin Lacy (South Alabama). Getting cornerback Quincy Riley and lineman Ashton Gillotte (14.5 TFL in '23) to return and pass on the NFL Draft was a big win for the defense.

4. NC State
A 5-1 finish over the team's last six games should give the Wolfpack momentum headed into the '24 campaign. The strong end to the season was also boosted by a standout group of transfers arriving from the portal, including quarterback Grayson McCall (Coastal Carolina) and receiver Noah Rodgers (Ohio State). Receiver Kevin Concepcion (1,159 total yards) is back after a dynamic freshman season. However, the Wolfpack have a few holes to fill on defense, including All-American linebacker Payton Wilson.

5. Miami
The 'Canes are accumulating plenty of talent under coach Mario Cristobal but will it translate to on-field success in '24? A question mark loomed over quarterback position in early January, but former Washington State signal-caller Cameron Ward opted to pass on the NFL Draft to transfer to Coral Gables. Ward's arrival solidifies the quarterback spot and should give Cristobal one of the ACC's top passers. The offensive line should be among the best in the ACC, and coordinator Shannon Dawson has standouts at running back (Mark Fletcher) and receiver Xavier Restrepo to deploy again in '24. Retooling the secondary is a must for a defense that allowed 22.8 points a game last year. Lineman Rueben Bain Jr. (7.5 sacks) returns after a breakout freshman season.

6. Virginia Tech
Last year's 7-6 record was a big step forward for coach Brent Pry in Blacksburg. The Hokies won five out of their last seven games to finish the season on a high note and three of the team's losses came by one score. The bulk of the roster is slated to return next year, including quarterback Kyron Drones, running back Bhayshul Tuten, and receiver Ali Jennings. Pry's defense finished third in the ACC in fewest yards per play (5.2) in '23 and brings back standout lineman Antwaun Powell-Ryland (9.5 sacks) next year.

7. SMU
Of the three newcomers - Stanford, California, and SMU - to the ACC, the Mustangs are the one built to have the most success right away in '24. Coach Rhett Lashlee's squad returns a healthy chunk of the group that won 11 games and the American Athletic Conference last season. Quarterback Preston Stone is back after missing the final two games of '23 with a leg injury. After allowing 33.8 points a game in '22, SMU's defense showed marked improvement last fall by cutting their points allowed to just 17.8 a contest.

8. North Carolina
With Drake Maye off to the NFL, settling a quarterback battle between Conner Harrell and Texas A&M transfer Max Johnson tops the list of priorities for coach Mack Brown and coordinator Chip Lindsey. But the news on offense isn't all bad, as whichever quarterback wins the job can lean on running back Omarion Hampton (1,504 yards and 15 TDs) and a solid group of weapons at receiver. The Tar Heels could use more from their defense to offset some of the growing pains on offense. New coordinator Geoff Collins has a tough task ahead to generate major improvement, especially with standout linebacker Cedric Gray (121 tackles) off to the NFL.

9. Georgia Tech
Brent Key's first full season in charge was a successful one, as the Yellow Jackets upset Miami and North Carolina and beat UCF in the Gasparilla Bowl to finish 7-6 - the program's first winning mark since 2018. A breakout season from quarterback Haynes King (275.3 total yards a game) was a big reason why the offense showed marked improvement to finish fourth in the ACC in scoring. With King's return and few departures, this offense should once again be one of the best in the conference. Georgia Tech's defense struggled (29.5 points a game in '22), but Key took steps to fix this group with a revamped staff, including hiring former Duke coordinator Tyler Santucci taking over the play-calling duties.

10. Boston College
Jeff Hafley's tenure at Boston College seemed in jeopardy after a 1-3 start, but the Eagles rallied behind quarterback Thomas Castellanos to finish 7-6 after beating SMU in the Fenway Bowl. Castellanos' is back to headline the Eagles' offense and landing Vanderbilt transfer Jayden McGowan at receiver is a big boost to the passing attack. Replacing guard Christian Mahogany won't be easy in the trenches. Boston College's offense will have to carry this team early on, as the defense has plenty of room to improve after giving up 28.3 points per contest in '23.

11. California
The Golden Bears are headed into the ACC with a little momentum after earning the program's first bowl trip last year since '19. Dynamic running back Jaydn Ott (1,315 rushing yards) returns, as does quarterback Fernando Mendoza (14 TDs to 10 INTs). However, Mendoza will be pushed by North Texas transfer Chandler Rogers for the starting job. The offense has a new play-caller (Mike Bloesch) after Jake Spavital left for Baylor, and transfers Mikey Matthews (Utah) and Tobias Merriweather (Notre Dame) arrive to restock a receiving corps that lost No. 1 option Jeremiah Hunter. California's defense struggled in '23 after giving up 5.71 yards a snap and allowing 32.8 points a game. Top tackler Kaleb Elarms-Orr hit the transfer portal in favor of TCU.

12. Syracuse
New coach Fran Brown has made some early waves at Syracuse on the recruiting trail, landing former Ohio State quarterback Kyle McCord to direct the offense in '24. McCord will be aided by the return of 1,000-yard rusher LeQuint Allen at running back and tight end Oronde Gadsden II (missed most of '23 due to injury). Texas A&M transfer Fadil Diggs is an impact addition on the defensive line for new coordinator Elijah Robinson.

(youtube; podcast; ESPN)

On the Always College Football podcast, Greg McElroy breaks down former Washington State QB Cameron Ward committing to Miami.

Transfer Portal Rankings 2024 Jan 16 (RX; HM)

Transfer Portal Rankings 2024 Jan 16

It used to be that the best teams recruited the best players and kept most of them locked up for 3 to 4 years - and everybody else had to make do with whatever talent they could find. But no more! Now there's the Transfer Portal, which allows you to skip the "draft" and build faster through "free agency"!

Top-10 Transfer Portal Team Rankings, according to @On3sports2024 College Football Team Transfer Portal Rankings
— Transfer Portal (@TransferPortal_) January 16, 2024

Three Observations:

First, why is Coach Prime pictured instead of Coach Brohm? Prime is #2 -- segundo, not primero!

Second, I see a lot of ACC teams there! Counting newbie Cal, I see five teams:

1. Louisville
4. Florida State
6. California
7. NC State
10. Syracuse

Third, these teams made themselves better through the portal. For instance, Louisville lost 21 players with an average performance score of 63.95, but the Cardinals signed 23 players with an average score of 79.13 - an increase of over 15 points!

ACC SHOW EPISODE 98 | EARLY OFFSEASON HYPE (youtube; podcast; the ACC Show)


Pitt football: How will potential new offensive hires fit? How will Panthers do vs. new ACC foes? (youtube; podcast; P-G)

In their weekly Pitt football mailbag podcast, Post-Gazette insiders Noah Hiles and Christopher Carter answer reader questions. Among them: How will the potential new hires fit on the offensive coaching staff? How will the Panthers do against their new ACC foes from the West Coast? And will any quarterbacks currently on the roster transfer? Our duo tackles those topics and more.

Top 2023 Party Schools (RX; HM)

Top 2023 Party Schools

Previously today we told you about the top schools for donors, but we know that's not what you guys want to know, so from a website called "World Travelling", here are...

The Top 50 Party Schools in the U.S. Ranked

Some schools have mastered the art of the perfect party, earning them an A+ party grade from Niche, but more than a few are far from there. Based on access to bars, athletic culture, Greek life, and student feedback, this ranking celebrates these party schools...
50. UCLA (B1G)
49. University of Virginia (ACC)
Location: Charlottesville, VA
Number of undergraduates: 15,766
Student-to-faculty ratio: 15:1
Median earnings six years after graduation: $61,200
Overall Niche grade: A+
The University of Virginia in Charlottesville stands out with its vibrant varsity sports culture, deeply ingrained in the student experience. UVA’s campus life is also known for its unique traditions, including the legendary and cheeky practice of streaking across the lawn, a rite of passage for many students.
48. Florida (SEC)
47. Ohio State (B1G)
46. University of Miami (ACC)
Location: Coral Gables, FL
Number of undergraduates: 10,216
Student-to-faculty ratio: 12:1
Median earnings six years after graduation: $60,100
Overall Niche grade: A+
The University of Miami, located in picturesque Coral Gables, offers a unique blend of beach access and a vibrant athletic scene. The university is often described as a “tropical paradise” by its students, as noted on Niche. The sun, sand, and sea are the perfect backdrop for a dynamic college experience. The university’s strong varsity sports programs add to the allure, providing students with ample opportunities for entertainment and school spirit. The combination of stunning natural beauty and a robust sports culture creates an environment for study and leisure.

[NOTE: I've added a bunch of conference affiliations in brackets - but not all. You get what you pay for! - Hokie Mark]
45. Michigan (B1G)
44. Penn (Ivy)
43. USC (B1G)
42. Penn State (B1G)
41. UC - Santa Barbara
40. Southern Methodist University (ACC)
Location: Dallas, TX
Number of undergraduates: 6,240
Student-to-faculty ratio: 11:1
Median earnings six years after graduation: $60,700
Overall Niche grade: A-
Southern Methodist University in Dallas is renowned for its dynamic nightlife, earning accolades for its vibrant party scene. Described as a continuous house party, SMU hosts events like the “Heaven or Hell” Halloween party, a city-wide known extravaganza. This social vibrancy is a hallmark of SMU, reflecting the lively spirit of Dallas itself and providing students with a memorable and enjoyable college experience.
39. Texas (SEC)
38. Illinois (B1G)
37. Wisconsin (B1G)
36. Georgia (SEC)
35. Tulane (AAC)
34. Vanderbilt (SEC)
33. Temple (AAC)
32. Dayton
31. UMass
30. George Washington
29. Arkansas (SEC)
28. Delaware
27. South Carolina (SEC)
26. Rutgers (B1G)
25. Colorado (XII)
24. Michigan State (B1G)
23. Missouri (SEC)
22. Kansas (XII)
21. Syracuse University (ACC)
Location: Syracuse, NY
Number of undergraduates: 14,675
Student-to-faculty ratio: 15:1
Median earnings six years after graduation: $62,100
Overall Niche grade: B-
Syracuse University stands out as a top party school despite its snowy locale. The university’s vibrant social scene is fueled by a passionate commitment to basketball, a thriving Greek life, and hallmark events like Juice Jam and Mayfest. These elements combine to ensure that Syracuse students have a rich and engaging college experience full of academic rigor and fun and socialization opportunities, regardless of the weather outside.
20. Miami, OH (MAC)
19. Iowa (B1G)
18. Florida State University (ACC)
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Number of undergraduates: 29,286
Student-to-faculty ratio: 22:1
Median earnings six years after graduation: $46,400
Overall Niche grade: C+
Florida State University, located in Tallahassee, competes with New York City as a “town that never sleeps.” The university’s social life is vibrant and non-stop, offering many bars, clubs, and restaurants that keep the city alive at all hours. Student house parties are a staple of the weekend scene, contributing to Tallahassee’s reputation as an exciting college town where the fun never ends. FSU students enjoy a social atmosphere that is as diverse as it is dynamic.
17. Alabama (SEC)
16. Indiana (B1G)
15. Florida A&M (FCS)
14. San Diego State (MWC)
13. LSU (SEC)
12. Ole Miss (SEC)
11. Ohio U (MAC)
10. West Virginia (XII)
9. NC A&T
8. Morehouse College
7. Albany
6. Bowling Green
5. Texas State
4. College of Charleston
3. Loyola, N.O.
2. Howard
1. Clark Atlanta

Most Alumni Who Donated, 2022-23 (RX; HM)

Most Alumni Who Donated, 2022-23

Donations have always been important to colleges and universities. Here's an article from USNews that shows which ones get the most alumni involved...

15 Colleges Where the Most Alumni Donate

Below are the 15 schools with the highest average percentage of alumni donors in 2022-2023. Only ranked National Universities and National Liberal Arts colleges with at least 25,000 legally contactable alumni were considered for this report.

15 Colleges Where the Most Alumni Donate
School%Donors*Rank and Category
Princeton University (NJ)46%1, National Universities
Dartmouth College (NH)36%18 (tie), National Universities
College of the Holy Cross (MA)35%27 (tie), National Liberal Arts Colleges
United States Military Academy
at West Point (NY)
34%8, National Liberal Arts Colleges
University of Notre Dame (IN)33%20, National Universities
Carleton College (MN)32%9 (tie), National Liberal Arts Colleges
Middlebury College (VT)29%11 (tie), National Liberal Arts Colleges
Duke University (NC)28%7 (tie), National Universities
Mount Holyoke College (MA)28%34, National Liberal Arts Colleges
Colgate University (NY)25%21 (tie), National Liberal Arts Colleges
Wellesley College (MA)25%4 (tie), National Liberal Arts Colleges
Rice University (TX)24%17, National Universities
Massachusetts Institute
of Technology (MA)
23%2, National Universities
Trinity College (CT)23%39 (tie), National Liberal Arts Colleges
Virginia Tech (VA)22%47 (tie), National Universities

... (; Springgate)

The college football transfer portal can be a treacherous place. It’s hard enough as a fan to emotionally prepare yourself for a college football season that can be derailed by one loss (or no losses in the case of Florida State). It’s even harder when your star player leaves the team for another school at the end of an unsuccessful season.

The Alabama Crimson Tide might be one of the best football programs in the country, but they’re not immune to losing players in the transfer portal. The combination of the coaching change and the fluidity of college football talent has lost the Tide a significant number of players.

While they’ve certainly brought in some great players through the transfer portal, the Florida State Seminoles might be the biggest winners of the Bama sweepstakes. They’ve landed five former Alabama players at key positions according to On3.



Burger King to buy Syracuse’s Carrols Restaurant Group, its biggest U.S. franchisee, for $1 billion (PS; $; Moriarty)

Burger King’s parent company announced Tuesday it has reached an agreement to buy out Syracuse-based Carrols Restaurant Group, its largest U.S. franchisee, for $1 billion.

Restaurant Brands International Inc. said it will acquire all of Carrols issued and outstanding shares that are not already held by RBI or its affiliates for $9.55 per share in an all-cash transaction.

The deal has a value of approximately $1.0 billion, representing a 23.1% premium to Carrols 30-day average price as of Jan. 12 and a 13.4% premium to Carrols’ Jan. 12 closing price, the company said. Burger King already owned about 15% of Carrols.

The transaction is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2024 and is subject to approval by the holders of a majority of common stock held by Carrols stockholders. Affiliates of Cambridge Franchise Holdings LLC, who own or control approximately 17% of Carrols, have agreed to vote in favor of the transaction, according to RBI.

RBI said it expects to significantly accelerate Carrols’ current rate of restaurant remodels to bring its acquired portfolio to “modern image” over the next five years. The company said it plans to eventually refranchise the vast majority of the portfolio to new or existing smaller franchise operators who live in their local communities.


Food from Baghdad Restaurant in downtown Syracuse's Salt City Market.

l (PS; Cazentre)

After three years as a mainstay of the Salt City Market in downtown Syracuse, the Baghdad Restaurant will expand to a second location later this month.

Owner Firas Hashim plans to open the new location on Jan. 30 at 2204 W. Genesee St. (in the Westvale Plaza). Hashim is familiar with that location: He was a partner in an Iraqi restaurant called Sumer that operated there a few years ago.

He later opened the first incarnation of Baghdad adjacent to a car wash at 3512 W. Genesee St. before moving to the Salt City Market as one of its original vendors in January 2021. Its stand is near the main entrance and has a menu featuring shawarma, kebabs, gyros and saj (dishes served on grilled unleavened bread).

Baghdad also serves a variety of appetizers and salads, plus sandwiches and burgers and a kids’ menu.

The new location will expand on those offerings.

“We have the same menu, but we have more room, more space to add items,” Hashim said. “We will be adding some stews.”

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