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

Orangeyes Daily Articles for Monday for Football

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Welcome to Lincoln's Birthday!

Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States, was born on February 12, 1809. Over the years, he has become known as one of the greatest American presidents of all time. At the time of his death, in 1865, many saw him as a martyr, and it wasn't too long afterward that his birthday began being observed informally. In the mid-1870s, Julius Francis of Buffalo, New York, began honoring Lincoln on his birthday and petitioned Congress to make the day a legal holiday.

But, as of 2019, Lincoln's Birthday is not, nor has it ever been, its own federal holiday. On the state level, a handful of states celebrate Lincoln's birthday on its actual date. In recent years, it has been celebrated as a state holiday in Ohio, Missouri, New York, Illinois, and Connecticut. It is celebrated as such in California as well, but since 2009, it has no longer been a paid holiday there. Some states, Indiana being one example, have officially celebrated Lincoln's birthday, but not on the actual date of his birth. In prior years, more states officially celebrated his birthday; twenty-four states celebrated it in 1940, and ten celebrated it in 1990.

SU News

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Columbus Dispatch

Three-star RB recruit who rushed for 2,800 yards lists Syracuse football among finalists, plans to visit (PS; $; Carlson)

Kentrell Rinehart, a three-star running back from Ohio, said that Syracuse football is among his five finalists and that he hopes to visit the school as part of his recruiting process.

Rinehart posted the recruiting update on X (formerly known as Twitter). He listed Syracuse among a group of five finalists that includes North Carolina State, Minnesota, Kentucky and Indiana. He said he plans to visit those schools, although he did not set a date.

The five finalists are generally Rinehart’s most high-profile offers, although he has a number of others including Purdue and Maryland.

Blessed and highly favored. These are the 5 programs I’ll be putting my 100% focus on going forward. My recruitment is still open to everyone but these are the 5 that have put it all out there and making sure I know how much they want me. I plan to OV at all of these programs. pic.twitter.com/MQ8eSGajlH
— Kentrell Rinehart (@k_rinehart1) February 10, 2024


The recruiting website 247 Sports lists Rinehart as its No. 51 running back in the Class of 2025 and the No. 24 prospect in Ohio. It lists him as 6-foot-1 and 205 pounds. On Rinehart’s social media, he said he runs 4.44 40-yard dash and has a 3.3 grade-point average.

According to the website MaxPreps.com, Rinehart rushed for 2,837 yards for Bishop Ready (Ohio) last season. He rushed for 42 touchdowns and 236.4 yards per game, leading his team to a 10-2 record.


https://www.si.com/college/syracuse...hart-releases-top-five-syracuse-makes-the-cut (SI; McAllister)

Class of 2025 Columbus (OH) Bishop Ready running back Kentrell Rinehart released his top five schools on Saturday. They were Syracuse, NC State, Minnesota, Indiana and Kentucky.

"These are the 5 programs I'll be putting my 100% focus on going forward," Rinehart said in a social media post. "My recruitment is still open to everyone but these are the 5 that have put it all out there and making sure I know how much they want me. I plan to OV (official visit) at all of these programs."

Rinehart recently took an unofficial visit to Syracuse and it went extremely well. In fact, he put the Orange in his two top afterwards.

"Didn't know what to expect," Rinehart said. "Never really heard of Syracuse until coach Brown got hired and started making big hires and landing some real good players. Then getting to campus and seeing the energy they bring and how much they actually want me to come play there left me in awe."


Syracuse Football: 'We're the main event' and won’t back down to anyone, Fran Brown says (itlh; Adler)


Syracuse football head coach Fran Brown is described by many of his peers, national analysts, recruits and others as no-nonsense, genuine, loyal, real and caring, among other attributes.

He’s confident. He doesn’t talk BS. He wants his players to represent Syracuse University well in the community. He expects his players to excel in the classroom.


Yes, it’s true, that Brown is a first-year, and a first-time, head coach. Most recently the defensive backs coach at Georgia, he was officially introduced by SU Athletics as the Orange’s new head coach in early December, replacing Dino Babers.

In just over two months, he’s assembled a high-quality staff and hit the recruiting trail hard, leading the ‘Cuse to secure an excellent 2024 class that includes numerous four-star high school seniors and college transfers.

Head coach Fran Brown has high expectations for Syracuse football.

As we all know, it remains to be seen how Brown performs as a head coach on the actual field, but one thing is already abundantly clear: Fran Brown works hard, he’s a fierce competitor and he’s not scared of any other college program out there.

In a recent interview with Steve Infanti and Paulie Scibilia on the ESPN Radio Syracuse program “Orange Nation,” Brown said he’s “willing to compete with anybody” on the field and in the recruiting sphere.

“We’re the main event,” he said. “We’re not taking second to anyone.”

Fran Brown (@FranBrownCuse) was named @247Sports National Recruiter of the Year today. He also joined @SteveInfantiNC9 & @pauliescibilia on #OrangeNation LIVE and in-studio.

Watch the full interview ft. Syracuse FB DC Elijah Robinson (@Coach_E_Rob) ⬇️
Fran Brown & Elijah Robinson Orange Nation 2-7-24 pic.twitter.com/nId366ImAf
— Cuse Sports Talk (@CuseSportsTalk_) February 7, 2024

In recent years, roster depth has proven an issue on the Hill, due to injuries and other factors. The transfer portal and name, image and likeness opportunities, among other things, have changed college football.

Brown acknowledges that, saying that he thinks “it’s a struggle everywhere” to build roster depth amid the sport’s evolving landscape dominated by the portal and NIL.
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Syracuse football scores official visit from 4-star RB, a top-150 national prospect (itlh; Adler)
One of the top running backs in the 2025 class plans to make a trip to Syracuse football later this year.

According to his bio on , four-star running back John Forster from New Jersey will officially visit the ‘Cuse on June 7. says that the 6-foot, 190-pound Forster will also officially visit Rutgers on May 31.

He’s rated inside the top 150 nationally by , while other recruiting services also rank Forster as a top-30 running back and a top-10 prospect out of New Jersey within the junior cycle.

According to his X page, Forster has received nearly 20 scholarship offers from a range of high-major programs. His first offer came from the Orange, back in November of 2021, when Dino Babers was still at the helm of the program.

I am thankful and very blessed to have received my first scholarship offer from Syracuse University #GoOrange
@CoachBabersCuse
@CoachNJ_Monroe@Cusefootball @CoachMarangi @SJRFB pic.twitter.com/uxSB9C5caH
— John Forster (@johnforsterr) November 4, 2021

In early December of last year, former Georgia defensive backs coach Fran Brown was officially introduced by SU Athletics as the Syracuse football head coach. Recently, 247Sports named Brown the country’s No. 1 national recruiter for the 2024 class.

Syracuse football will host 4-star RB John Forster on an official visit in June.

Per his X account, Forster’s full offer sheet also includes college squads such as Liberty, Buffalo, UConn, James Madison, Charlotte, Illinois, Tennessee, Cincinnati, Minnesota, West Virginia, Virginia Tech, Duke, Pittsburgh, Nebraska, Penn State, Maryland, Boston College and Rutgers.
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"Jersey U": The new SU football recruiting pipeline laid by Fran Brown (cnycentral.com; Wenkowski)
"I feel like our region is the best region in the country when it comes to football players."

Marcus Hammond isn't referring to Florida, Texas, or any of the southern hotbeds that are known for churning out five-star football talent. Instead, he's referencing South Jersey and greater Philadelphia- the new stronghold for Syracuse football under head coach Fran Brown.

In just over two months at the helm, Brown has reeled in the best modern recruiting class that SU has ever seen - thanks in large part to his home state.

"The moment that Fran became a head coach, I knew that this area would be a focal point for him," said Hammond.

Marcus Hammond is the founder of Next Level Greats, a New Jersey based 7 on 7 high school football training program that develops quarterbacks, receivers, and defensive backs. Photo: CNY Central

Hammond is the founder of Next Level Greats, a 7 on 7 high school training program for quarterbacks, receivers, and defensive backs. He's known Brown for decades...and SU fans will know the talent that Hammond has produced. LeQuint Allen, Alijah "Cinco" Clark, Duce Chestnut, and incoming transfers Kyle McCord, Fadil and Fatim Diggs are among the names that have gone from Hammond's watch in South Jersey to 'Cuse.
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Dwight Freeney Named To Pro Football Hall of Fame (orangefizz.net; Horning)
Former Syracuse pass rusher Dwight Freeney is set to be enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Freeney spent four seasons with SU from 1997-2001 totaling 34 career sacks, enough for second all-time in Orange history.

Syracuse went 10-3 in Freeney’s final season. He set the single-season record with 17.5 sacks in his senior year. Freeney forced eight fumbles, too.

The Bloomfield, CT native was drafted 11th overall by the Indianapolis Colts in the 2002 NFL Draft. He tallied 13 sacks as a rookie. In 2005, he was named the AFC Defensive Player of the Year.

Freeney won Super Bowl XLI with the Colts in a 29-17 victory over the Chicago Bears in 2006.

He spent 11 seasons with the Colts, two years with the San Diego Chargers, and one season each with the Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Seattle Seahawks, and Detroit Lions.

Freeney ranks 18th on the NFL’s all-time sacks list with 125.5 in a 16-year career.

The defensive end becomes the ninth Orange player to be enshrined into the Hall of Fame. Freeney joins Jim Brown, Al Davis, Marvin Harrison, Floyd Little, John Mackey, Art Monk, and Jim Ringo.

Freeney becomes one of seven inductees into the Class of 2024. He joins Julius Peppers, Patrick Willis, Randy Gradishar, Devin Hester, Andre Johnson, and Steve McMichael.
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ACC News

Friedlander: 5 ACC takeaways from ESPN's percentage of returning production rankings - Saturday Road (saturdayroad.com; Friedlander)


For the 2nd straight year, an ACC team tops the annual list of returning production percentages for the nation’s 133 FBS programs, as compiled by Bill Connelly of ESPN.

Virginia Tech tops the list with 77% percent of its overall production back from 2023.
While the abundance of veteran talent doesn’t necessarily guarantee success on the field, the metric at least provides some statistical insight into how much improvement or regression can be expected in the season to come.

It worked out well for Florida State in 2023. The Seminoles were No. 1 in last year’s rankings and they went on to win the ACC championship with an unbeaten regular season. Connelly’s list also foreshadowed the 4-win improvement by Boston College, which had the nation’s 8th-highest percentage of returning production.

The percentages are calculated using a formula assigning specific values to such things as passing and rushing yardage, offensive line snaps, tackles, sacks and passes defended, among others. Because FBS transfers are proven performers with tangible statistics, their 2023 production is included in their new school’s percentage.

Joining the Hokies in this year’s top 10 are Virginia at No. 5 and Syracuse at No. 10. The rest of the ACC has Cal at No. 14, Wake Forest at No. 36, Stanford at No. 37, BC at No. 40, Louisville at No. 44, Miami at No. 45, Georgia Tech at No. 46, Pittsburgh at No. 53, Clemson at No. 54, SMU at No. 66, NC State at No. 80, Florida State at No. 83 Duke at No. 88 and North Carolina at No. 127.

What does it all mean?

Here are 5 takeaways to help make some sense of it all:

5. Handicapping the newcomers

SMU figures to have the best chance for immediate success among the ACC’s incoming new members after winning the American Athletic Conference championship in its final season in that league. But with the lowest percentage of returning production, the Mustangs might face the toughest task of the 3.

They return only 62% of their total production, 60% on defense and 64% on offense.

By contrast, Cal returns 73% of its production from a team that won 6 games and played in the Independence Bowl – only its 3rd postseason appearance in the 7-year tenure of coach Justin Wilcox. That included 79% of their offense.

Stanford, meanwhile, brings back 69% of its offense and 65% of its defense from a team that won only 3 times and allowed 42 or more points 7 times. But those percentages might not matter that much as coach Troy Taylor works to deepen the talent pool by bringing in plenty of new faces for his 2nd season with the Cardinal.

4. Elliott’s last stand

After winning only 3 games in each of his first 2 seasons at Virginia, 2024 is likely to be a make-or-break proposition for coach Tony Elliott.

If it is, he’ll have a veteran roster with which to sink or swim. The Cavaliers rank 2nd in the ACC and No. 5 among FBS programs with 76% of their overall production back. That includes 85% of their offense.

Even though they lost Malik Washington, the ACC’s leading receiver, they return both quarterbacks that took snaps last season – graduate Tony Muskett and sophomore Anthony Calabria – along with New Mexico State transfer Gavin Frakes.

Defensively, 1st-team All-ACC Jonas Sanker, who led the team with 114 tackles and 11 pass breakups, is among the 68% of UVa’s defense from 2023.

3. Unfamiliar Heels

It can be argued that North Carolina underachieved over the past 2 seasons with soon-to-be 1st-round NFL Draft pick Drake Maye at quarterback. After losing Maye and several other key performers – including leading receiver Tez Walker and top tackler Cedric Gray, Mack Brown team will be in a position to overachieve in 2024.

The Tar Heels return only 36% of their defensive production, which considering how poorly that unit has performed could be addition by subtraction.

But newly-hired coordinator Geoff Collins isn’t the only one who will be working with almost a completely blank slate. Although they return the ACC’s leading rusher, Omarion Hampton, their offense will also be in rebuild mode with only 37% of its production from last season.

2. Dabo’s dilemma

We all know that Clemson’s Dabo Swinney likes the transfer portal as much as kids like vegetables. But if ever there was a year in which the Tigers coach would be advised to dip his toe in the water and bring in a few veteran free agents, this would be it.

His team ranks only 12th in the ACC in returning production at only 64%. Even more concerning is that most of the experienced talent is on the wrong side of the ball. While it’s helpful that quarterback Cade Klubnik and top rusher Phil Mafah and leading receiver Tyler Brown are all back, the defense that carried Clemson for most of the season – including its 5-game winning streak to end the season – returns only 49%.

Swinney is fiercely loyal to the players he recruits out of high school. With so many holes to fill, he’s going to have to hope a lot of those players are ready to step in and produce to have any shot at avoiding a 4th straight season without a playoff appearance.

1. Trending up, trending down

Virginia Tech is clearly set up for success in 2024 with virtually every key performer on both sides of the ball deciding to run it back. That includes dynamic dual-threat quarterback Kyron Drones and star edge rusher Antwaun Powell-Ryland, who was 2nd in the ACC with 9.5 sacks.

The percentages are impressive – 95% returning on offense and 86% overall from a team that rebounded from a 1-3 start to fashion a 4-win improvement and its first bowl win since 2016.

Still it’s a stretch to assume that Hokies will be next season’s version of Florida State based solely on all the talent it has returning.

Speaking of the Seminoles. …

It would be just as much of a mistake to expect Mike Norvell’s team to suffer a significant dropoff just because it lost a significant portion of the talent that led this last season’s success.

There’s no question FSU will face a decidedly more uphill climb in its quest to win a 2nd straight conference title with only 58% of its total production back (56% on offense, 60% on defense, 15th among ACC teams).

How steep of a climb it is will likely depend on how well Norvell works the transfer portal after spring practice. And if his Seminoles will get the Washington State version of transfer quarterback DJ Uiagalelei rather than the one that struggled with his consistency for 3 seasons at Clemson.


The Best Era For Every ACC School (saturdayblitz.com; Perez)

Boston College Eagles: 1999-2010


Believe it or not, Boston College has had several eras with plenty of success. The most obvious and famous era of Eagle football was the early 1980s years with Doug Flutie and head coach Jack Bicknell. The most well-known moment in that run was the 1984 season which culminated with the "Hail Flutie" miracle against #12 Miami and a top-five finish in the AP Poll after a Cotton Bowl win over Houston.

The Eagles also had a four-year run from 1939 to 1942. Under head coaches, Frank Leahy and Denny Myers, Boston College enjoyed an 11-0 finish in 1940 and an appearance in the Cotton, Sugar, and Orange Bowls, respectively. In the early 1990s, future Super Bowl-winning coach Tom Coughlin had two amazing years in Chesnut Hill. In 1992, Boston College enjoyed their first winning year since 1986. In 1993, they shocked Notre Dame en route to a 9-3 finish. Dan Henning took over the next year and had the Eagles finish 23rd in the final AP Poll.

However, in my opinion, the best era of BC football was undoubtedly from 1999 to 2010. This is by far the most consistent era in their football history. This era saw three coaches, Tom O'Brien, Frank Spaziani, and Jeff Jagodzinski. While the aforementioned runs came and went, this run kept Boston College at a respectable level for a long time. After back-to-back 4-7 finishes in '97 and '98, Boston College made an impressive turnaround in 1999, finishing 8-4.

Then, starting in 2000, Boston College would win eight consecutive bowl games, tied for the third-longest streak in college football history. Boston College enjoyed twelve straight trips to the bowl season during this stretch. The Eagles also had five finishes in the AP Poll in 2001 and 2004 to 2007. The ladder was a top-10 finish. They also earned the honor of being Big East Co-Champions in 2004 and played in the 2007 and 2008 ACC Championship Games. The Eagles were in AP Polls for 57 weeks in this stretch.
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Syracuse Orange: The 1990s

Syracuse is historically a basketball powerhouse, which is a theme in the ACC. However, their football program has had its amazing moments in the sun. To me, I had two legitimate options. I could've gone with the Ben Schwartzwalder days from 1949 to 1973. His Orane squads went to two Orange Bowls, two Cotton Bowls, and a Sugar Bowl. They also had legendary players like Jim Brown during that time. However, the true golden era for Syracuse on the gridiron was during the 1990s.

The decade started okay. 1990 was the final season that Syracuse would be led by head coach Dick MacPherson. After almost a full decade of mediocrity in the 1980s, the Orange would go 11-0-1 in 1987 and 10-2 the next year. By '90 Syracuse was still respectful. Although not being ranked all year, the school would still finish with a decent mark of 7-4-2. The two ties came in back-to-back weeks in mid-September to #19 Michigan State and #25 Pittsburgh. They also had two quality wins against Temple and then Arizona, winning that Aloha Bowl 28-0.

After the year, Coach Mac would leave for a head coaching position with the New England Patriots. In MacPherson's place stepped Paul Pasqualoni. Pasqualoni was an assistant for Syracuse from 1987 to 1990. His first major division one head coaching position also came the same year the Orange moved into the Big East for football and they started with a bang. In '91 and '92, the Orange would go a combined 20-4. 1991 would see Syracuse start and end a season ranked in the top 25 for the first time since 1960.

Key wins over #5 Florida on September 24th, #20 Pitt on October 19th, and #25 Ohio State in the Hall of Fame Bowl, jumped Syracuse up from #25 in the preseason poll to #11 in the final poll. The next year, Syracuse had their first top-10 preseason ranking since 1971. Although Syracuse would suffer a bad defeat in the third week to #21 Ohio State after a 2-0 start, they would win their next seven contest by an average margin of nearly 20 points. Despite a close but heartbreaking 16-10 loss to #1 Miami, Syracuse would end 1992 with a win over #10 Colorado in the Fiesta Bowl to end up at #6.

The 1993 and 1994 seasons would be the opposite as they would miss the bowl season both years, finishing with mediocre 6-4-1 and 7-4 records, respectively. Pasqualoni would get the program back to being a top team in the Big East in 1995 with the arrival of quarterback Donovan McNabb and a breakout year from wideout Marvin Harrison. The first game of McNabb's college career was an upset win over #20 North Carolina. Despite getting upset themselves the next week against East Carolina, Syracuse would win six of their first seven games.

The Orange would end the regular season at 8-3 and would earn a trip to the Gator Bowl, where they would face Clemson. Because of a 41-0 romp of the Tigers, Syracuse would rank 19th to end the year. Despite starting 0-2 and losing a national ranking early in 1996, an eight-game win streak would propel them to a share with Miami and Virginia Tech for a Big East Co-Championship. This was their first-ever conference title. In 1997, the school would make it back to the Fiesta Bowl for the second time in the decade. After a 1-3 start, Syracuse would string together eight straight wins to claim their first outright Big East title.

In Donovan McNabb's final collegiate year, the Orange wouldn't be as great. However, they did upset #13 Michigan early in the year. They also defeated #16 Virginia Tech late in the year and smoked #19 Miami in the regular-season finale, 66-13. Their 8-4 overall record and 6-1 conference mark was good enough for Syracuse to earn another Big East Conference title. They would play in their first Orange Bowl since 1958. Unfortunately, they would lose to #7 Florida 31-10.

McNabb graduated and got drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles during the April draft. As a result, Syracuse would regress to a 6-5 record in the regular season. The last time the schools finished a regular season just one win over .500 was in 1984. Fortunately, Paul Pasqualoni's squad was still able to get invited to the Music City Bowl, where they would take down Kentucky. Pasqualoni would coach for five more years after '99, however, the lone bright spot for that remaining time was a 10-3 campaign in 2001.
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Miami leads the 2024 ACC's final recruiting rankings (usatoday; Moreno)
The ACC’s 2024 recruiting class rankings have crystallized following National Signing Day, showcasing a league brimming with talent and ambition. Miami commands the spotlight with a top-tier class, while Clemson and Florida State keep the pressure on with their impressive hauls. Florida State has revitalized its program in recent years, leveraging the transfer portal to great effect. It was a perfect 13-0 season that propelled the Seminoles to secure their most impressive recruiting class under the guidance of Mike Norvell.

From SMU and Cal’s foundational efforts aimed at future competitiveness to the intrigue of coaching changes at Boston College and Duke. This year’s recruitment efforts set the stage for a fiercely competitive landscape season in a conference ripe for the taking. Below are the final recruiting rankings for the ACC per 247 Sports.

1 Miami Hurricanes

The Hurricanes led by Mario Cristobal, nabbed the top spot with 27 commits, including three five-stars. Their class, highlighted by a strong defensive line, aims to elevate Miami back to national prominence. Headlined by defensive stars Justin Scott, Armondo Blount, and Marquise Lightfoot, this class boasts seven top-100 talents, with an impressive average rating of 91.01.

2 Clemson Tigers

Dabo Swinney’s Tigers focused on revamping their offense, adding two top-50 wide receivers. Their class of 22 commits includes two five-stars, with the addition of five-star TJ Moore and four-star Bryant Wesco, alongside standout linebacker Sammy Brown, Clemson’s recruits are poised for early impact.
Get more Clemson coverage on Clemson Wire

3 Florida State Seminoles

Despite losing KJ Bolden to Georgia and five-star edge Armondo Blount to Miami during the early signing period, the Seminoles secured a robust class with 16 four-stars, showcasing their continued appeal to top talent.
Get more Florida State coverage on FSU Wire

4 North Carolina Tar Heels

The Tar Heels’ 27-man class lacked a blue-chip quarterback but added depth across other positions, maintaining their explosive offensive reputation.

5 North Carolina State Wolfpack

Focusing on future stability, NC State’s class is highlighted by four-star quarterback Cedrick Bailey, signaling potential growth under Dave Doeren.

6 Stanford Cardinal

The Cardinal’s class is marked by resilience and talent, in highly touted QB Elijah Brown who led the Monarchs to their second state championship in three years and finished off a remarkable four-year run as a starter. Also in four-star defensive lineman Benedict Umeh, who battled through Hodgkin lymphoma.

7 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

With a focus on tapping into Georgia’s rich talent pool, the Yellow Jackets’ class includes key four-star prospects, aiming to elevate the program’s profile. Wide receiver Isiah Canion from Warner Robins High and tight end Luke Harpring from Marist School in Atlanta, whose father is basketball player Matt Harpring, are notable additions.

8 Syracuse Orange

Fran Brown’s impact on recruiting at Syracuse is immediately evident, as the team secured four four-star recruits under his tenure-surpassing the total from the last four years combined, with three committing after Brown took the helm as head coach

9 Pittsburgh Panthers

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College Football Odds: Ranking the ACC with Las Vegas 2024 win totals from top to bottom (on3; Schultz)

Spring ball is coming quick, and the preparations are underway for the 2024 season. The win total odds are now for ACC teams, and some could make some noise in college football this coming season.

Three ACC programs – Clemson, Florida State and Miami – are all projected to win 9.5 games, according to FanDuel. The Seminoles had the best 2023 season of the group and are looking to repeat as conference champions. They rattled off a 13-0 record to win the ACC Championship before falling to Georgia in the Orange Bowl.

Here’s how Las Vegas projects each team’s win total this year.

Clemson – 9.5 (over +116, under -142)

Clemson had an up-and-down year in 2023 en route to a 9-4 record. That meant Dabo Swinney’s streak of 10-win seasons came to an end, and the Tigers will look to get back to that mark in 2024.

Cade Klubnik is back for another go-round as Clemson’s starting quarterback as he looks to find some more consistency in his second year in Garrett Riley’s scheme. Last season, he threw for 2,844 yards and 19 touchdowns in his first full season as the starter.

Florida State – 9.5 (over +120, under -148)

Mike Norvell and Florida State loaded up prior to the 2023 season, the Seminoles turned it into an ACC championship. While they didn’t make the College Football Playoff in a highly controversial decision, they still orchestrated an impressive 13-1 season to create momentum going into 2024, and they have strong odds to find similar success.

With Jordan Travis off to the NFL, FSU dove into the transfer portal to find his replacement, landing DJ Uiagalelei to take over at quarterback. The oddsmakers have high hopes for Florida State once again, and the quest for a repeat is on.

Miami – 9.5 (over +116, under -142)

It’s been an interesting first two years for Mario Cristobal at Miami, but the Hurricanes showed improvement in 2023 en route to a 7-6 record. They’ve been hot on the recruiting trail, though, and that’s a reason why there’s so much optimism around the program this year.

Miami’s most notable addition comes from the portal in quarterback Cam Ward, who initially declared for the NFL Draft before deciding to return to college. Add in a highly touted recruiting class filled with impact talent, and the Hurricanes could have the makings for a big season in 2024.

Louisville – 8.5 (over -118, under -104)

It would’ve been tough to script a better first season at Louisville for Jeff Brohm. He turned his alma mater around immediately, taking the Cardinals to the ACC title game just one year after a 7-5 record in 2022.

Louisville was a big winner in the portal last year, and that’s the case again this year. The Cardinals currently rank No. 1 in the On3 Team Transfer Portal Index, meaning Brohm is again bringing big-time talent to town in hopes of replicating last season’s success.

NC State – 8.5 (over +102, under -128)

NC State won five straight games to end the 2023 season to finish with a 9-4 record. Then, the Wolfpack dove into the portal and landed Grayson McCall to come in at quarterback, and the oddsmakers say NCSU can repeat last year’s success.

Dave Doeren has now led NC State to three straight eight-win seasons, and the college football odds suggest he could find himself in line for a fourth amid his reload. The Wolfpack will start the 2024 season Aug. 31 against Western Carolina.

North Carolina – 8.5 (over +132, under -162)

North Carolina is going to start a new chapter in 2024. Drake Maye is off to the NFL and Max Johnson is in at quarterback, meaning Tar Heels fans are going to see a new look under center.

UNC is coming off two straight eight-win seasons, although Mack Brown addressed his desire to get over that hump this year. The Tar Heels haven’t won 10 games in a season since 2015, and the oddsmakers say they could be in that conversation in 2024.

SMU – 7.5 (over -115, under -105)

One of three newcomers to the ACC, SMU is coming off another American Athletic Conference title in its last year in the league. Now, the Mustangs will be jumping up to the Power Four level, and they’ll try to make some noise in their new conference.

Rhett Lashlee is off to a hot start to his tenure at SMU, including an 11-3 record a season ago to get to 18-9. The Mustangs are going to see a step up going to the ACC, but the oddsmakers suggest they could still hang around that eight-win mark.

Virginia Tech – 7.5 (over -130, under +106)

After a tough first season under Brent Pry, Virginia Tech found its groove in 2023 en route to a 7-6 record to get back to a bowl game. Now, it will be about keeping that momentum going, and the oddsmakers suggest Pry can do just that.

Virginia Tech has some opportunities early in its schedule to keep things on the right track as Pry enters Year 3 at the helm. The Hokies kick things off Aug. 31 against Vanderbilt.

Cal – 6.5 (over +116, under -142)

Another ACC newcomer, Cal put together a solid bounce-back in 2023. The Golden Bears went 7-6 after dropping the Independence Bowl – their first bowl game appearance after three straight absences.

Justin Wilcox has some momentum as his team heads to its new league after a groundbreaking wave of conference realignment. Cal will kick off the season Aug. 31 against UC Davis.

Duke – 6.5 (over +108, under -132)

After working as Penn State’s defensive coordinator, Manny Diaz is back in the ACC as a head coach. He’s taking over for Mike Elko and will try to continue what he started at Duke the last few years.

Diaz quickly made a splash in the portal after arriving in Durham. He brought in former Texas quarterback Maalik Murphy as one of the most notable transfer additions this year, giving Duke its quarterback for the 2024 season.

Syracuse – 6.5 (over -112, under -108)

With multiple high-profile additions this offseason, Syracuse is emerging as one of the more intriguing teams in college football, and the Orange’s odds of making a bowl game are strong in the eyes of Las Vegas. Syracuse is coming off a 5-6 record a season ago, but Fran Brown is already overhauling the roster.

Kyle McCord is now in as quarterback after a solid season at Ohio State, and former Texas A&M EDGE Fadil Diggs is in to anchor the defense. All eyes will be on Syracuse this year to see if the Orange can not only reach bowl eligibility, but also hit their win total.
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ACC recruiting roundtable: Biggest winner, impact players, QB most likely to start (theathletic; $; Staff)
The 2024 recruiting cycle is all but complete. Six teams in the ACC — including newcomer Stanford — finished with a top-30 ranking.

Ari Wasserman, Grace Raynor and Manny Navarro of The Athletic’s recruiting staff share their thoughts on some of the most intriguing storylines in the ACC.

Biggest winner

Navarro: Miami. The Hurricanes are the only ACC program to sign top-10 classes in each of the last two cycles (Clemson signed five top-10 recruiting classes in a row from 2018-22). The Canes, who also had the best average player rating in the league, flipped five blue-chip recruits from other Power 5 programs down the stretch, including five-star defensive linemen Justin Scott (Ohio State) and Armondo Blount (Florida State). UM not only reeled in the best defensive line class (four top-100 recruits among eight signees) but also landed two top-100 receivers in Joshisa Trader and Ny Carr and a top-100 safety in Zaquan Patterson.



Raynor: This might be a hot take considering what happened down the stretch, but give me Florida State. The Seminoles fell out of the top 10 after five-star safety KJ Bolden flipped to Georgia and Blount flipped to Miami. And yet they still managed to finish with four top 100 players and an average player rating of 90.9, good for second in the conference behind Miami and 12th nationally. For Mike Norvell to have such a high average player rating despite losing not one but two (!) top-30 players in the final hours, shows just how well-built this group was.

Wasserman: It’s hard to think it’s anyone other than Miami. As Manny pointed out, that’s consecutive top-10 classes for Mario Cristobal. The hope, of course, is that those recruiting wins will finally start turning into wins on the field. But it’s impossible not to fall in love with the class the Hurricanes put together with big additions late, including flips of two five-star defensive linemen. Cristobal did a great job building the lines of scrimmage at Oregon, and he’s doing that again at Miami. That should pay dividends in the ACC down the line.

2024 ACC recruiting (247Sports Compsite)

Miami42791.01
Clemson112290.64
Florida State122390.90
UNC262787.84
NC State272487.66
Stanford302587.14
GT332387.39
Syracuse402287.19
Pitt422286.93
VT461688.14
WF522186.22
Cal552086.21
UL581587.16
Duke621686.65
UVa861485.91
BC941385.28
SMU1051086.5

Most surprising development

Navarro: Florida State slipping out of the top 10 in the team recruiting rankings. The Seminoles had an incredible 13-0 run to the ACC championship before they were screwed out of a College Football Playoff spot by the selection committee. On the trail, FSU lost Bolden (Georgia) and Blount (Miami) down the stretch, knocking them behind Clemson in the ACC pecking order. At one point, I thought Norvell could shock the recruiting world and finish with the No. 1 overall class. I was dead wrong, but it’s still a very good class. The 16 blue-chippers are the most signed by any ACC school this cycle. I just thought the program’s tremendous season on the field was going to translate to more recruiting wins.

Raynor: I’m pleasantly surprised at how quickly Fran Brown turned things around on the recruiting trail for Syracuse. The Orange have had just one winning season since 2018 and — entering the 2024 cycle — hadn’t signed a blue-chip prospect since 2019. Brown, who was hired in late November, just signed four. This was a program that didn’t have much to be excited about just two-and-a-half months ago. We’ll see what Brown does on the field in 2024, but his early recruiting for the Orange has been remarkable, even by his standards.
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(youtube; podcast; Voice of College Football)

ACC TV Ratings BREAKDOWN

2024 Pro FB HoF ACC Alumni (RX; HM)

2024 Pro FB HoF ACC Alumni

From the official ACC release of Friday, February 9, 2024...

Freeney, Hester, Johnson, and Peppers Elected to Pro Football Hall of Fame
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (theACC.com) — Four of the seven members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2024 hail from an Atlantic Coast Conference school, the Hall announced during the NFL Honors program on Thursday night. The 2024 Class includes Dwight Freeney of Syracuse, Devin Hester of Miami, Andre Johnson of Miami, and Julius Peppers of North Carolina. The four are joined by Randy Gradishar, Steve McMichael, and Patrick Willis.

The Class of 2024 presented by Visual Edge IT will be enshrined Saturday, Aug. 3, at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton. Enshrinement tickets will go on sale in the coming weeks. Packages are available now from On Location; see below for more information.

A total of 52 former greats from the ACC’s current 14 schools as well as two other players who played in the conference, have been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Miami leads all ACC schools with 11 selections.

Dwight Freeney, DE/OLB, Syracuse

Freeney, who was enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame earlier this year, was drafted in the first round as the 11th overall pick of the 2002 NFL Draft.

Freeney, who is 18th in NFL history with 125.5 career sacks, spent 11 seasons (2002-12) with the Indianapolis Colts. He also played for the San Diego Chargers (2013-14), Arizona Cardinals (2015), Atlanta Falcons (2016), Seattle Seahawks (2017) and Detroit Lions (2017) during his career.

Freeney made an instant impact for the Colts after they selected him with the 11th overall pick in 2002. He recorded 13 sacks as a rookie, the first of four straight seasons with at least 11 quarterback takedowns. In 2004, he led the NFL with 16 sacks. The next season, Freeney totaled 11 more sacks and six forced fumbles on his way to AFC Defensive Player of the Year honors.

In 2006, Freeney helped the franchise capture its second Super Bowl title, beating the Chicago Bears 29-17 in Super Bowl XLI. He appeared in two more Super Bowls during his career, one with the Colts after the 2009 season, and another with the Falcons.

At Syracuse, Freeney was just as dominant as he was in the pros. The Bloomfield, Connecticut native racked up 34 career sacks from 1998-2001 and set the Orange single-game record by sacking Virginia Tech's Michael Vick 4.5 times in 2000.

As a senior in 2001, Freeney turned in one of the finest campaigns by a defensive player in program history. He led the nation with a school-record 17.5 sacks. He also forced eight fumbles. For his efforts, Freeney was named a consensus All-American and the BIG EAST co-Defensive Player of the Year. He was also a finalist for the Lombardi, Nagurski and Bednarik Awards.

Devin Hester, KR, Miami – Courtesy of Miami

Selected by the Chicago Bears in the second round of the 2006 NFL Draft, Hester would become the greatest returner in NFL history, setting records for most punt returns for touchdowns with 14, and total special teams touchdowns with 20 (5 kickoffs, 14 punts, 1 missed field goal).

Hester was a four-time Pro Bowler in his 11 seasons with the Bears, Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, and Seattle Seahawks. Among his most dominant campaigns was his rookie year of 2006, when he had six kick return touchdowns.

During his time with the Hurricanes, Hester finished with six return touchdowns – including a career-high three during a breakout 2004 campaign when he was named a first-team All-American by Walter Camp and The Sporting News. Hester also won the BIG EAST indoor long jump title as a member of the Miami track & field team.

Hester finished his three seasons at Miami with 41 punt returns for 638 yards, 40 kick returns for 1,019 yards, 24 carries for 160 yards, 10 receptions for 196 yards, 11 tackles, 1 sack, and five interceptions.

Andre Johnson, WR, Miami

Johnson, who was selected as the third pick of the first round of the 2003 NFL Draft, had a dominant career with the Houston Texans.

A seven-time Pro Bowler during his professional career, Johnson totaled over 1,000 catches and 14,000 receiving yards and had 70 touchdowns over his illustrious career. He was a two-time First-Team All-Pro selection, two-time Second-Team All-Pro pick, and twice led the NFL in receiving yards.

After redshirting in 1999 and seeing limited action in 2000, Johnson claimed the starting job in his third campaign and proved to be one of the most dominating receivers in UM history. He finished 2001 with 44 receptions for 881 yards (20 yards per catch) and 10 touchdowns. Johnson was named co-MVP, with UMS HoF member Ken Dorsey, of the 2002 Rose Bowl National Championship game where he caught 7 passes for 199 yards, a UM Bowl record, and two touchdowns as the Canes claimed their fifth National Championship with a 37-14 rout of Nebraska.

Johnson ended his Miami career with 92 catches for 1,831 yards, the fifth-highest career total at the time of his departure, and a career average of 19.9 yards per catch. His 20 receiving touchdowns were tied for third-most in school history. In 2002, Johnson won the Big East 60-meter dash (6.83 seconds) at the BIG EAST Indoor Championship and followed that up by winning the 100-meter dash (10.59) at the BIG EAST Outdoor Championships.
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ACC Bowl Revenue, 2014-23 (est) (RX; HM)

ACC Bowl Revenue, 2014-23 (est)

How much has the ACC received over the years in bowl payouts? Here's a summary of the last 10 years, with links if you care to see the details:


season$tot(M)bar graph
2023$64.7M$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
2023-24 Bowl Payouts
2022$64.4M$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
2022-23 Bowl Payouts
2021$42.8M$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
2021-22 Bowl Payouts
2020*$55.7M$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
2020-21 Bowl Payouts
2019$32.2M$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
2019 vs. 2020 Bowl Payouts
2018$34.8M$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
2018-19 Bowl Payouts
2017$68.5M$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
2017-18 Bowl Money
2016$52M$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
2016-17 Bowl Money
2015$23.1M$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
Bowl Payouts 2015-16
2014$49M$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
Bowl Payouts 2014-15

OBSERVATIONS and CONCLUSIONS:

1. There doesn't really appear to be any clear trend; the lowest total was 2016, the highest was 2017, and the second-highest was 2023.
2. In general, the ACC gets more bowl revenue when its football teams have quality depth (duh).
3. Years when the ACC did not receive contract money from the Orange Bowl (2021, 2018, and 2015) tended to be lower than other years (again, duh).
...


Last-Minute Links 2024 Feb 9 (RX; HM)

Last-Minute Links 2024 Feb 9

From the Boston Herald:




Boston College is set to hire Massachusetts native Bill O’Brien as its next head football coach. O’Brien will replace Jeff Hafley, who departed after four seasons to become the defensive coordinator of the Green Bay Packers. O’Brien was the New England Patriots offensive coordinator under Bill Belichick last season... O’Brien was hired as the head coach at Penn State in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal. He also served as an offensive coordinator at Georgia Tech, Duke and under Nick Saban at Alabama.
It's official! From Boston College Athletics (BCEagles.com):
Worst-kept secret in the ACC!
__________

SMU

SMU has a 12th football game this Fall. From FBSchedules:


SMU to open 2024 season at Nevada in Week Zero
By Kevin Kelley - February 8, 2024

The SMU Mustangs will open the 2024 season at the Nevada Wolf Pack in Week Zero, it was announced on Thursday.

SMU previously announced its 2024 football schedule in conjunction with the ACC football schedule release, but it was short one game [because Vanderbilt backed out - HM] while the Mustangs searched for a final opponent. The Mustangs have now completed their schedule with the addition of Nevada.

SMU will travel to take on Nevada on Saturday, Aug. 24, 2024, which is Week Zero that season. Nevada is eligible to play in Week Zero under NCAA bylaws due to playing at the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors in 2024.

The 2024 SMU-Nevada game will be the first of a home-and-home series. The Mustangs will host the Wolf Pack in the return game at Gerald J. Ford Stadium in Dallas, Texas, on date to be determined during the 2028 season.

Week Zero will have a definite ACC flavor now with this game and the FSU/GT game in Dublin, Ireland.
__________

One of the 2024 Pro Hall of Fame inductees is Miami Hurricane product Devin Hester, who was selected to the HoF as a kick returner. How good do you have to be to get into the Hall as a KR? Check out this highlight video to see for yourself...
...


Other

Proposal to expand tax breaks for new housing in Onondaga County receives pushback (PS; $; Moriarty)


A proposal to expand tax breaks for new rental housing developments in Onondaga County has run into opposition from the county’s biggest town — and a government watchdog says the plan is not legal.

The county Industrial Development Agency has scheduled a special meeting for Thursday to consider changing its tax exemption policy to allow the granting of property tax exemptions for market rate and low-income multi-unit housing, and senior “lifestyle” communities.

Currently, the agency’s policy says only that it will consider tax breaks for apartment projects “based on the need in our community for affordable housing,” but that has not stopped it from approving exemptions in the past for market-rate housing.

The proposed exemptions would cut the amount of property taxes paid by the developers of new multifamily housing to schools, towns, villages and the county. It would leave other property taxpayers to cover the breaks.

The proposed change is being driven by County Executive Ryan McMahon, who has called for more housing construction to get ready for the thousands of people who are expected to come to the county to work at Micron Technology Inc.’s planned semiconductor plant in Clay or one of the multiple supply chain companies it would attract.

Micron has said the project would create up to 9,000 jobs over the next 20 years and more than 40,000 additional jobs at associated companies drawn to the area.

But McMahon said that without tax incentives, developers will be reluctant to make major investments to build housing until Micron’s plant is up and running in a couple of years.

“When you look at workforce housing, senior housing, mixed-use housing, the stuff that’s going to last generations, really significant architectural development, you’re going to have to incentivize it,” he said. “If we want to get ourselves prepared for the housing piece, you need to be more aggressive.”

He acknowledged the tax breaks may not be needed once Micron opens its first memory chip fabrication facility.

“Will we need to do this in five years?” he said. “Maybe not, because then you have the market drivers already here. But people aren’t here yet to go sign up for leases.”

The county agency’s governance committee discussed the proposed changes at a meeting Jan. 18. An agenda posted on the agency’s website listed “possible changes” to the agency’s uniform tax exemption policy for discussion, but a copy of those changes was not included in the meeting materials posted on the site.

The agency sent a copy of the 17-page document (the changes start on Page 10) to local taxing jurisdictions for comment following the governance committee meeting. But as of Friday, the proposed changes still had not been posted on the agency’s website for the public to see.



Officials in Clay, the county’s most populous town and the municipality where Micron plans to build its giant plant, are opposing the change.

Town Supervisor Damian Ulatowski said the Clay Town Board supports the construction of new housing to meet current needs and the expected rise in the town’s population after Micron’s arrival.
...


RCLKAP3NWBAGXBROUJVEYRJNIQ.jpg

Post Malone speaks during a news conference ahead of the Super Bowl 58 NFL football game Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

Who is ‘America the Beautiful’ singer Post Malone? 5 things to know about Super Bowl performer (PS; Herbert)

Who is Post Malone? The Grammy-nominated musician is set to perform at the Super Bowl for the first time in his career.

Malone, also known to fans as “Posty,” will sing “America the Beautiful” during the pre-game ceremonies for Super Bowl LVIII. He’ll be part of the 2024 NFL championship’s music entertainment, along with Super Bowl halftime show headliner Usher, national anthem singer Reba McEntire, and “Lift Every Voice and Sing” performer Andra Day.

Here are five things to know about Post Malone:

1. He’s a Syracuse native.

Post Malone was born Austin Richard Post on July 4, 1995, in Syracuse, N.Y. He lived in Central New York until he was 10, when his family moved to Texas because his father was offered a job working for the Dallas Cowboys. He currently lives in Utah, but his family still owns a home in Baldwinsville.

Malone tells fans he “comes from/reps” Dallas — he even has a tattoo of President John F. Kennedy, who was assassinated in Dallas — but his musical roots still began in Syracuse.

His father, Rich Post, told syracuse.com that he was a heavy metal/hair band fan but he also worked as a disc jockey for CNY weddings with Whirlin’ Disc DJs, so he was constantly listening to popular tunes and other genres that couples requested. That meant his son Austin was also hearing a wide range of music, including country, grunge, modern hip-hop and classic rock.

2. He’s a music superstar.

Malone, 28, is a Grammy-nominated singer and rapper known for hits like “Circles,” “Better Now,” “Rockstar,” “White Iverson,” “Psycho,” “I Fall Apart,” “Chemical,” “Sunflower” and “I Like You (A Happier Song).” He’s released five albums and collaborated with big names like Justin Bieber, Tiesto, Lil Wayne, Noah Kahan, DJ Khaled, Ozzy Osbourne and Hardy’s Hixtape — plus he’ll be a guest on Taylor Swift’s new album, “The Tortured Poets Department.”
...


PK2JI4SVEFDXVDNXQZJTXZKMIY.jpg

A coastal storm is expected to drop heavy snow Monday and Tuesday in the southeast corner of New York state.National Weather Service

After a surge of record warmth, parts of Upstate NY could see ‘significant snowfall’ (PS; Coin)

Put away the shorts and bring out the down coats: After two consecutive days of record warmth in Upstate New York, winter roars back with colder temperatures and the likelihood of heavy snow on Tuesday.

A foot or more of snow is expected in the Catskills and eastern Southern Tier on Tuesday, and Albany could see 10 inches. Totals drop off sharply to the west and north: Syracuse is likely to get just 3 inches; Buffalo an inch.

“Confidence is increasing that much of the area will see some significant snowfall out of this storm,” said the National Weather Service office in Binghamton, which issues forecasts for the Finger Lakes, Central New York, Southern Tier and Catskills regions.

Snow could fall at blinding rates of 2 to 3 inches per hour in the regions hit hardest, the weather service said.

Winter storm watches are in effect as far north as Cortland County. The storm is still developing, so it’s possible the weather service will expand those watches into Central New York over the next day. Stay tuned to our weather page for updates.

While the odds favor low snowfall totals in Central New York, there’s still a 10% chance of Syracuse getting 10 inches of snow.

This winter has, so far, been Syracuse’s least snowy on record. Just 28 inches has fallen this season, 60 inches less than normal through Feb. 11.

Regardless of how much snow falls, this week marks a return to winter after temperatures hit 60 degrees Friday and Saturday. Highs this week won’t crack the low 40s. That’s still warmer than the normal high this time of year, which is about 33 degrees.
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