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

Orangeyes Daily Articles for Friday for Football

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No recent Cali or Iggy awards; Mr Irrelevant
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Welcome to John Parker Day!

John Parker, born on July 13, 1729, was a farmer, mechanic, and had fought in the French and Indian War. He was selected as the militia captain in his hometown of Lexington, Massachusetts, and it was on one fateful morning in April 1775, when events transpired that set a group of colonists on an inexorable path towards freedom or defeat, and gave Captain John Parker a spot in the history books, and his own day.

In the Spring of 1775, British General Thomas Gage had orders to seize the stores of weapons that were accessible to colonists. On April 18, he directed the weapons in Concord, Massachusetts, to be taken, and for Samuel Adams and John Hancock—who were thought to be in Lexington—to be captured. John Parker received warning of the British approach, after Paul Revere and William Dawes had stopped in Lexington during their midnight ride.

Early on the morning of April 19, Parker brought together about 70 volunteer militiamen on the Lexington Green. He told his men to let the British pass, and not to fire on them unless they themselves were fired upon. He reportedly said, "Stand your ground. Don't fire unless fired upon, but if they mean to have a war, let it begin here."

SU News

SU football expects spring game crowd to be largest in school history (PS; $; Carlson)

Syracuse fans have claimed more than 10,000 tickets to the first spring game of the Fran Brown era, a number that should make it the most well-attended spring game in program history.

According to Syracuse.com | Post-Standard records, the school’s high-mark for spring game attendance came in 2005, when 6,029 fans attended amid the buzz and excitement heading into Greg Robinson’s first season.

Syracuse will hold its spring game at 7 p.m. Saturday in the JMA Wireless Dome. It will be streamed on ACC Network Extra.

The team is expected to begin playing actual football promptly at 7. In previous years the team began stretching or going through individual drills at the announced time.

The event is expected to include live football, including portions when the team’s starters compete against each other.

Tickets to the game are free but Syracuse is requiring fans to claim them through its website. Free parking will be available in the school’s West lots.

“We didn’t have 10,000 people saying they wanted to come our spring game when I was here,” said Ball, who played for the Orange from 2009 to 2011. “That’s really exciting for us. I would love it. It would be an amazing turnout for us.”

The number of ticket claims is another indication that excitement for the football program continues to swell under Brown, who has injected energy by bringing in Ohio State starting quarterback Kyle McCord as a transfer and quickly putting together the school’s highest-ranked recruiting class in the rankings era.

Ball said the school will have ticket representatives located in Club 44 during the game to meet with fans who are interested in buying tickets and with returning season-ticket holders who want to discuss the school’s re-seating plan and seat selection process.

The building is set to experience another facelift this offseason, this one involving the removal of the Dome’s uncomfortable silver benches and their replacement with individual seats with chairbacks throughout the building. The improvement has been requested frequently by fans over the years.

Ball said Syracuse will begin the process of removing and installing seats after commencement is held on May 12. He said the new seats will be installed before the start of the football season. He said the school is hoping the work will be done in time to hold an open house in August.

The improvements will shrink the number of seats in each row and section of the building. Because of that, returning season-ticket holders won’t be able to purchase the same seats and the school will re-seat all season ticket holders.
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Spring Football Notebook 2024: OL starters, Syracuse’s new GM (DO; O'Brien)


Kyle McCord, a New Jersey native, said he didn’t even know Bruce Springsteen was coming to the JMA Wireless Dome tonight. He only realized it when quarterbacks coach Nunzio Campanile mentioned Springsteen in a meeting.

While McCord was unaware of Springsteen’s presence in the Salt City, he has seen how his receivers have improved over the course of spring football practices. He specifically mentioned Zeed Haynes, Trebor Pena and Dan Villari as players who have improved. McCord said Villari has really come around to growing in his first full offseason in the position.

Along with improving receivers, McCord said the intensity has improved, creating better competition. But he got more specific for his side of the ball.

“And for the offense, (it’s about) just getting the timing down the communication, I think was a big piece of it,” McCord said. “And I think right now, we’re getting to a point where we’re rolling and things are going pretty smooth. But obviously, it’s still a lot of room for improvement.”

Here are some more observations about the last spring football practice available to the media:

Offensive line starters for the spring game

New offensive line coach Dale Williams had an immediate answer when asked who would be the starting five on the line for the spring game. Williams said Da’Metrius Weatherspoon, Mark Petry, Jakob Bradford and J’Onre Reed will all start on Saturday.

As for the last position on the offensive line — right tackle — Williams said it was between previous starter Enrique Cruz Jr. and redshirt freshman Joshua Miller. Williams said both players know he can pull them out at any moment. The coaching staff has emphasized competition throughout spring football, and Williams is no different.

In fact, Williams went further with the idea of competition and how the bench could be a great motivator for not just Cruz Jr. and Miller, but for the whole line.

“The greatest motivator is ‘Your ass is on the bench,’” Williams said. “Then the bench transmits a signal to your ass, which transmits a signal to your brain. Then all of a sudden it’s a great process because then they play better. So I think the bench is a great motivator.”

Introduction to Syracuse’s general manager

Syracuse hired Nate McNeal, who was previously the director of player personnel at Illinois, as its general manager back in December, representing another change in the Fran Brown regime. McNeal said he first met Brown in 2019 while the two were at Temple. Brown was the defensive backs coach and McNeal was the director of player personnel, saying the two men worked well together.

On a day-to-day basis, McNeal manages the roster and determines who the program wants on the roster for fall ball in August. McNeal doesn’t have any role in the name, image and likeness collectives surrounding the program, instead focusing on the large number of recruits and commits. McNeal said he wants to get the brand out to the public with the large number of recruits, but it’s still a balance with finding the talent that can actually play at SU.

“If they’re here, they’ve been identified by the scouting department,” McNeal said. “Whether they got to come to camp or they might have years, senior year or junior year, where they explode. So we just want to get them here, and then we’ll continue to evaluate.”

Talking with scouts, support staff

The media also had the chance to speak with members of Syracuse’s scouting and recruiting department: Tommy Caporale, Tony Giovagnoli, Alberto De La Guardia, Alex Kelly, Aaron Mannicci and Emmanuel Marc.

With various commits and recruits visiting SU, even from the classes of 2026, 2027 and 2028, Kelly, who came to Syracuse with Brown from Georgia, said he still thinks good football players are good football players and their scouting department can identify that. For De La Guardia, it’s not about just recruiting the 2025 class.

“You got to be thinking multiple years ahead,” De La Guardia said. “…It’s good to get them on campus early, get verified measurables on them and start that process with them as early as possible.”

Unlike Kelly, De La Guardia and Giovagnoli mentioned how they spent time under the Dino Babers era and now see the immediate difference in the Fran Brown era. De La Guardia said the difference in energy level was evident, seeing that with the players as well. He added it creates a whole different type of competitive environment at Ensley Athletic Center.

But along with the scouts, the media talked to on-campus recruiting assistants like Cami Pasqualoni, daughter of former Syracuse football coach Paul Pasqualoni. Pasqualoni said the staff has had ideas like having Hibachi food in the JMA Wireless Dome in their back pocket, so finally getting to implement them and have them trend on social media was gratifying to say the least.

“That was really fun because that was right when they got here in December, we went into the Dome and did all those fun things,” Pasqualoni said. “So that was really exciting and it was fun to see everybody rally behind us.”
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Syracuse football lands Class of 2025 WR Terrell Wilfong (TNIAAM; Ostrowski)
From West Orange to the Syracuse Orange... that’s the plan for Class of 2025 WR Terrell Wilfong, who just announced his commitment to SU:

Words can’t explain how blessed I am to be in this position to be become apart of the historical Syracuse university, i am beyond grateful and blessed @FranBrownCuse @RossDoug21 @CoachNixon_Cuse @WestOrangeHSFB pic.twitter.com/61MWClhJWG
— terrell_wilfong (@TWilfong7) April 18, 2024

Wilfong took a visit to Syracuse last April but did not receive an offer until December when Fran Brown had taken over. He made a second trip two weeks ago.

The 6’5”, 175 lbs. receiver is a consensus Top-25 prospect in the state of New Jersey and carries a three-star rating. On3 had him leaning towards Penn State, another school that hosted him multiple times. Wilfong also had offers from Tennessee, Boston College, Cincinatti, Maryland, Pitt, Vanderbilt, West Virginia, and others.

‘Cuse now has 14 commitments from the Class of 2025. On3 currently rates it the 6th-best group among ACC teams.

Here’s a look at Wilfong in action:

The Juice Online - 4 observations from Syracuse Football's 4/18 practice (r1vals.com; Giancola)
Overcast skies greeted the Syracuse football team for their penultimate spring practice session.
Here are four observations.

Pound the rock

Throughout his interviews, Fran brown emphasizes his desire to run the football. Today at practice, the players worked on an outside run drill. The quarterback would pitch the ball out to the running back. Then, the wide receiver's job was to create a running lane by making solid blocks.

Routes, Routes, Routes

The receivers and tight ends showcased their routing running skills to the media today. First, the receivers worked on their hitch route. In this route, the receivers had to sprint vertically and quickly turn around and catch the ball. Up next, the tight ends had to run a deep post route. The player would run a deep vertical route in this route and then suddenly break to the right.

Trebor Pena (@PenaTrebor) showing some crisp route running. pic.twitter.com/irXIiPL5oQ
— The Juice on Rivals (@TheJuiceOnline) April 18, 2024

Tough Love

Offensive line coach Dale Willams is a new addition to Fran Brown’s coaching staff. He talked to the media today about his process for coaching his group. He described how he is not afraid to sit players down if they are not meeting his standards. “To get better, you need competition, and with that being said, I have to create it,” Willams said.
âTo get better, you need competition. How do I create it? If you screw up, Iâm going to pull you out.â âDale Williams (@drwilliams131) discusses the development of his offensive line. pic.twitter.com/Fjqakk4zwP
— The Juice on Rivals (@TheJuiceOnline) April 18, 2024

Recruiting Surge

It is no secret that the recruiting at Syracuse has seen a significant uptick since the new staff has taken over the program. On Thursday, the media heard from the scouting department about how the staff is so effective in convincing players to dawn the orange.
Tony Giovagnoli, a scouting assistant for the team, laid out a few key attributes that this staff has “Passion, energy, urgency,” he said. “It’s been key here with (the) new staff coming in and it’s just been a great environment to work with these individuals.
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Newsbreak

Justus Ross-Simmons is one of transfer portal's most coveted receivers, will visit Syracuse this weekend (247sports.com; McAllister)
The spring transfer portal window opened this week and one of the most coveted names to enter was Colorado State wide receiver Justus Ross-Simmons. Ross-Simmons was a very under the radar high school recruit who started at East High in Rochester (NY) before transferring to Inglewood High in California. He ultimately signed with Colorado State over an offer from Nevada. This time around, however, his recruitment is much different.

Schools such as Florida, Syracuse, South Carolina, USC, Washington, Cincinnati, Michigan State, Arkansas, Florida State and others have been in contact. He has quickly become one of the portal's most coveted wide receivers. Florida is trying to get him to visit next week, and the other schools who have reached out would love to get him on campus as well. One school has a visit set, and that is Syracuse. Ross-Simmons will be on the Syracuse campus this weekend for a visit.

The Orange reached out immediately after he entered the transfer portal and immediately prioritized him this window. Still, there is a lot of competition.

During his two years with the Rams, Ross-Simmons become a key, productive member of the passing attack. With his combination of size, speed and athleticism, Ross-Simmons saw the field consistently as a true freshman and then took on a larger role as a sophomore. During his freshman season, he accumulated 26 catches for 424 yards and three touchdowns. As a follow up to that performance, Ross-Simmons had 45 catches for 724 yards and three scores last season. During his two years, he averaged over 16 yards per reception.

"I would like to say thank you to all of CSU and the entire Rams community for accepting and supporting me as one of your own," Ross-Simmons wrote in the social media post when he announced he would enter the portal. "The time I had at CSU was wonderful and I'll never forget it. I'd like to thank Coach Norvell and Savage for giving me the opportunity. I'm forever thankful for each and everyone that was apart of my process in Fort Collins. With that being said, I'm entering my name in the NCAA transfer portal."

As a high school recruit, Ross-Simmons was rated a three star prospect and given an 86 grade. He was ranked the 152nd best wide receiver in his recruiting class. As a transfer, he is also rated a three star prospect by 247Sports and given an 87 grade. However, the list of schools in pursuit seems to outpace that ranking.

Syracuse Football: 4-star edge rushers, including country's No. 1 edge, visiting SU (itlh; Adler)
Two four-star edge rushers, one of whom is the country's No. 1 edge in the 2025 class, are visiting Syracuse football, according to media reports and social media posts.

On April 17 and April 18, 2025 four-star edge and top-150 national prospect CJ May will be on a visit to the Orange, he said via his X page.

Additionally, per 247Sports analyst Mike McAllister and other recruiting experts, 2025 four-star edge and top-40 national prospect Javion Hilson will visit the 'Cuse this weekend, and he will be in attendance for the team's annual spring game on Saturday, April 20.

I’ll be at @CuseFootball with my guys @CoachNickWill, @FranBrownCuse, and @Coach_E_Rob April 17-18!! #CUSE pic.twitter.com/4lELw3U2a8
— CJ “Slim Reaper” MAY (@CJMAY0) April 16, 2024
The 6-foot-4, 225-pound May from Alabama had previously given a verbal commitment to Notre Dame. He received a scholarship offer from Syracuse football on January 21 of this year.


The new Orange staff offered the 6-foot-5, 235-pound Hilson from Florida in January of 2024. He is verbally committed to fellow Atlantic Coast Conference school Florida State.

Two elite edge rushers in the 2025 cycle are visiting Syracuse football.

May, a standout at the Highland Home High School in Highland Home, Ala., has secured more than 20 scholarship offers from a range of high-major programs. He verbally committed to the Fighting Irish last September but then de-committed and reopened his recruitment in early February of this year.

Within the 2025 class, May's highest rankings come via 247Sports, which places him at No. 138 overall, No. 16 at edge and No. 12 in Alabama. He is rated in the top 300 nationally by both the industry-generated 247Sports Composite and the industry-generated On3 Industry Ranking.
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Three Players to Watch in the Syracuse Spring Game (orangefizz.net; Aitken)
This Saturday marks one of many beginnings in the Fran Brown era: the Syracuse Spring Game. After a hectic offseason of transfers and recruiting, followed by spring practices, Orange fans get to see what the on-field product looks like. And, reports indicate that there’ll be more SU fans than normal.

Many are excited to see Kyle McCord throw in an Orange uniform, while Duce Chestnut’s return is also a key storyline. However, there are plenty of other players to keep an eye out for.

Yasin Willis – Freshman RB

While LeQuint Allen is the star of the backfield, there’s plenty more talent there, namely freshman running back Yasin Willis.

Originally committed to Pittsburgh, Willis changed course once Fran Brown took over the Orange. That’s quite the score, too. Willis is a three-star recruit, and was the top rated player in his class in the entire state of New Jersey.

He enrolled early, in January, to participate in spring practices and the Syracuse Spring Game, and he’s been turning heads already. That’s partly due to his 6’1”, 215 pound frame.

Got some 1-on-1 time with Juwaun Price, discussing his role as a mentor, Yasin Willis, and more pass-catching opportunities with McCord at the helm. pic.twitter.com/kzk4VhTuG6
— Josh Crawford (@JCrawford5656) April 4, 2024
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Biggest Question Syracuse Fans Need Fran Brown to Answer in His First Season (orangefizz.net; admin)


The excitement around Syracuse football couldn’t be much higher since Fran Brown arrived as the program’s new head coach. Brown’s prowess as an elite recruiter has immediately paid dividends both in the transfer portal and with the Orange’s 2024 recruiting class. But there are still questions that Brown will have to answer during the 2024 season. The biggest question is what kind of in-game coach will Brown be.

Talent-wise, Brown has upgraded the Syracuse roster more than anyone could have hoped. He’s brought in potential difference-makers on both sides of the ball, most notably quarterback Kyle McCord. Brown also helped to persuade some of the Orange’s top players with remaining eligibility to stick around for the 2024 campaign. But every team in the ACC has talent. What is Brown going to do with that talent?

What kind of in-game coach is Brown going to be? Will he be aggressive or conservative with play-calling and fourth-down decisions? Can he build an organized and disciplined team that limits the type of dead-ball penalties that plagued the Orange throughout the Dino Babers era? Has Brown created a staff that can create game plans week after week as well as they recruit? Amidst all of the excitement that Brown has brought to the program, these are still unanswered questions that will need to be answered in 2024.

To be fair, these questions aren’t specific to Brown. These are questions that need to be asked of any first-time head coach. After spending the last two years with Kirby Smart at Georgia, not to mention previous experience under well-known names like Steve Addazio, Matt Rhule, and Greg Schiano, nobody should doubt that Brown has been well-schooled. However, in-game decisions that he’s never had to make before are now on his shoulders. As much as Brown has excelled as a recruiter, he still has much to prove as an in-game coach.
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Syracuse football: following conference re-organization, is a ‘Super League’ on the horizon? (TNIAAM; Lincoln)
In a report released by Sportico journalists Daniel Libit and Eben Novy-Williams, revealed more detailed plans to divide the top teams in college football into a seven-division Super League.

EXCLUSIVE: CFB "Super League" proposal from College Sports Tomorrow:

- Broadcast rev share with players
- 40 game spring football "festival"
- 7 Geographically aligned leagues
- 8th "Under League" with relegation

Full Story from @novy_williams & @DanielLibit ➡️pic.twitter.com/G211l8ggZn
— Sportico (@Sportico) April 16, 2024

This report comes on the back of recent coverage surrounding Syracuse Chancellor Kent Syverud’s involvement in these conversations around a college Super League that would directly pay players.

This new proposal would see the Syracuse Orange lose matchups such as Clemson and Florida State from their conference schedule while gaining new and exciting yearly opponents such as Notre Dame and Penn State.

It was reported by multiple outlets that Syverud was involved in pitching a proposal for a Super League to College Sports Tomorrow, which is a think tank dedicated to shaping the future of college sports for the better.

Other reports on College Sports Tomorrow dealing with similar plans have also been covered in the last few months by The Athletic, ESPN, and Sports Business Journal.

The conference would include all teams from the former Power-Five conferences, as well as Notre Dame. According to other reporting, the main goal of this Super League would be to replace the current college ‘FBS’ system with a new and more interesting version that takes inspiration from European soccer.

This new format would see a second tier under the Super League, where the best teams would be promoted up each season, but the 70 power teams would not face relegation.

Syverud explained to ESPN that this new Super League would generate more overall revenue to all teams involved due to its marketability and revenue-sharing upsides. He added that this will allow for increased pay for players and increased revenue that schools can use on other sporting projects.

Additionally, a smaller and more cohesive division from the current model would allow for the likes of Super League player unions and NIL collectives.

The pitch deck obtained by Libit and Sportico allegedly claims that the new regular season proposal would have 14 regular season games across 15 weeks. The season would then end with a 16-team playoff for the National Championship.
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Syracuse Football: Kyle McCord on how Orange are coming together and spring practice superlatives (youtube; podcast; Syracuse Orange)
On the latest episode of Syracuse Sports, Brent Axe, Emily Leiker and Chris Carlson offer some final Syracuse football spring practice observations before the Spring Game at the JMA Wireless Dome. Brent, Emily and Chris also hand out some spring superlatives including media MVP, the spring standout and most exciting addition. You'll also hear from Syracuse quarterback Kyle McCord and new offensive line coach Dale Williams.
Get your free tickets to the Syracuse Football Spring game at Cuse.com/Tickets. Don't miss the action on Saturday night at 7 p.m.

David Hale "The 315" 4-18-24 (ESPN; radio; The 315)

ESPN ACC writer David Hale joins Brian Higgins in studio. David & Brian talk about the Bruce Springsteen concert happening later today, they discuss Fran’s Brown performance so far, go over other ACC news and more!

ACC News

How Florida State vs. ACC lawsuits could reach the Supreme Court (tampabaytimes.com; Baker)


An attorney for the Atlantic Coast Conference had a word for the next stage of litigation between the ACC and Florida State.

Chaos.

As if a nine-figure legal fight that could reshape the entire college football landscape wasn’t wild enough, the initial rulings make it even wilder. That’s because judges have allowed dueling lawsuits about FSU’s future in the league to proceed in two separate courtrooms 400 miles apart. The sides have a hearing set for Monday in Leon County (where Florida State sued the ACC) and on May 2 in North Carolina (where the ACC sued Florida State).

If you’re wondering how this parallel litigation is going to play out, you’re not alone.

“I’m even scratching my head,” said Scott Jeeves, founder of the Tampa Bay-area based Jeeves Law Group. “I can’t give you a set answer.”

We can’t, either. But conversations with a handful of attorneys provide a few scenarios — including one that goes to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Why this is rare and complicated

Federal courts resolve separate lawsuits routinely by combining them in one district.

Lawsuits filed in separate state courts (like these) are trickier. There’s no set way to consolidate them. They can’t move them to a neutral state. One judge isn’t necessarily bound by the opinion of another — if that opinion is even relevant.

“Different states can apply different laws, right?” said Robert Chapman, a commercial litigation partner at Tampa’s Brick Business Law.

The easiest solution is for one court to punt or postpone its case until the other is resolved. That’s what happened a decade ago when the University of Maryland and the ACC sued each other as the Terrapins left for the Big Ten. A Maryland judge paused the school’s complaint until the ACC’s suit in North Carolina finished to “avoid unnecessary expenses and the potential for inconsistent determinations of fact and law.”

That hasn’t happened in the FSU-ACC dispute. Texas A&M law professor James P. George understands why.

“If somebody comes to (your court) seeking relief, it’s your job — if they’ve got a claim — to give it to them,” George said.

Both judges have initially said the claims are worth hearing. And complex factors from sovereign immunity to state public records laws could keep them on separate, parallel tracks heading toward at least four end games.

Scenario 1: Consolidation

Having two cases doubles the number of filings, which are complicated by distinct laws. Perhaps both sides agree it’s easier to focus on one venue by dropping a case. Or they could split it; a Florida court decides the confidentiality of the ACC-ESPN contracts while the North Carolina court rules on the rest.

But this requires one party to surrender home-court advantage.

“It seems unlikely so far either side would be willing to bend,” said Kevin Paule, a commercial litigation attorney at Tampa’s Hill Ward Henderson.

Appeals could also lead to consolidation. Florida State is appealing its initial loss in Charlotte to the North Carolina Supreme Court. If that court sides with FSU, the ACC suit could end while the Florida case proceeds.

Scenario 2: The Supreme Court

Let’s say the North Carolina Supreme Court rejects FSU’s attempts to dismiss or pause the ACC’s case. Suppose the same thing plays out in Leon County. Judge John C. Cooper rejects the rest of the ACC’s initial arguments, and the league eventually appeals to the Florida Supreme Court.

If both home-court advantages hold, then the state supreme courts disagree. Disputes between states are decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

“I have a feeling this case is going to the Supreme Court, one way or another,” Chapman said.

In this hypothetical, the timeline gets stretched out for years.

Scenario 3: Race to judgment

Both parties have accused the other of a “race to the courthouse” to try to secure their preferred venue. Our third end game, then, would be a fitting conclusion.

“This is the perfect setting for the race to final judgment,” said Texas A&M’s George.

Fast-forward through all the motions and appeals until one court issues that final judgment. That’s when the Constitution’s full faith and credit clause comes into play. The clause, generally, means one state must abide by (give full faith and credit to) the final judgment of another state. If the ACC wins in North Carolina, that ruling applies in Florida — even if the FSU suit is ongoing.

Game over.

Attorneys could try to win this race by slowing down parts of the process, but the timeline depends more on each court’s schedule than procedural tactics.

Scenario 4: Settlement

The drama, stakes and circumstances of these dueling lawsuits could be a fascinating legal case study. Except James F. Haggerty expects it all to become moot.

“The whole notion that there will be two verdicts at some point or even one verdict is probably far-fetched,” said Haggerty, an attorney, author and communications consultant. “It’s likely something will bring the two parties together, and that tends to be money.”

FSU wants to be able to leave the ACC for $0 but said it could cost $700 million in fees/withheld TV money. Somewhere in the middle is a number that might work for everyone.

Until then, both sides have an incentive to keep their suits alive. The end of the North Carolina suit hurts the ACC’s negotiating power, just as the dismissal of the Leon County case weakens FSU’s hand.

Which means the future of FSU football and the next round of conference realignment will remain ongoing in two separate courthouses in two separate states under two sets of laws.

Chaos.


More on The ACC’s Lawsuits (bullcitycoordinators.com)

More on The ACC’s Lawsuits
My friends over at Saturday’s Warrior asked me to stop by and talk about FSU-Clemson-The ACC, which is what I call the unholy triangle of sadness. Take a look at my interview with Trevor. I hope you’ll learn something. Or at least be mildly entertained by the Blues Brothers reference. The bar is kind of low at this point.

This was another appearance on a podcast that is part of The College Huddle Network. This has been a lot of fun and reminded me that I’m due for another post on the site about the litigation that is still ongoing.

As always, Go Duke!


ACC football 2024: Toughest non-conference games for each team this season (247sports.com; Hughes)

ACC expansion is here, and we poured through all 17 league schedules, game by game, to determine the toughest non-conference matchup for each league member. The 2024 schedule ACC includes several résumé builders and must-see games both before and after the conference slate begins.

247Sports' Brad Crawford wrote that the "ACC is undoubtedly the toughest Power Four league to handicap following conference expansion," and many of the games we selected could provide clarity for a wide-open conference race. There's also the handful of teams projected to finish in the bottom half of the conference, and their seasons will be determined by rivalry matchups and outings shadowed by big storylines.

"The 2024 ACC Football schedule is significant for so many reasons," ACC commissioner Jim Phillips said in a release. "Between first-time matchups, meaningful rivalry games and once again playing arguably the toughest collection of non-conference opponents – there will be no shortage of interest in ACC Football throughout the season."

Here is a look at every ACC team's most difficult non-conference game during the 2024 season:

STANFORD CARDINAL

Toughest Non-Conference Game: at Notre Dame (Oct. 12)
Stanford stunned Notre Dame in South Bend in 2022, but the two programs are trending in opposite directions. The Fighting Irish checked in at No. 7 in our updated way-too-early top 25 after a 10-3 finish last season bled into a strong offseason. Notre Dame returns a handful of key pieces from a defensive unit that ranked No. 7 in scoring last season and brought in former Duke quarterback Riley Leonard and new coordinator Mike Denbrock to bolster the offense.

BOSTON COLLEGE EAGLES

Toughest Non-Conference Game: at Missouri (Sept. 14)
Boston College is one of the few teams with multiple non-conference games against Power Four opponents. The Eagles travel to Missouri on Sept. 14 and host Michigan State a week later. The Tigers went 11-2 last season and are a candidate to stir things up in the SEC in 2024. Missouri returns one of the nation's top wide receivers in Luther Burden. He'll be a handful for the Eagles' defense.

VIRGINIA CAVALIERS

Toughest Non-Conference Game: at Notre Dame (Nov. 16)
The Cavaliers have a tough non-conference slate in what could be a pivotal year for head coach Tony Elliot. Early games against Maryland and Coastal Carolina are easily losable games for a Virginia team projected to finish at or near the bottom of the ACC next season. However, the late-season trip to Notre Dame is the toughest. The Cavaliers are 0-4 against the Fighting Irish all-time and lost the last matchup, 28-3, at home in 2021.

CALIFORNIA GOLDEN BEARS

Toughest Non-Conference Game: at Auburn (Sept. 7)
Auburn made the trip out west last season and eeked out a 14-10 win at Cal. The Golden Bears get their shot at revenge at Jordan-Hare Stadium this fall. The Tigers have 16 returning starters from last season and made major upgrades at several key positions via high school recruiting and the transfer portal. Five-star receiver Cam Coleman has earned rave reviews from camp and should be a tough matchup for a Cal secondary that ranked second-to-last in the Pac-12 in passing yards allowed last season (298.0).

WAKE FOREST DEMON DEACONS

Toughest Non-Conference Game: Ole Miss (Sept. 14)
Wake Forest gets an early visit from one of the SEC's best in Week 3. Ole Miss won 11 games last season, returned its starting quarterback and added the No. 1 transfer portal class in the nation. The Rebels' 2024 roster is likely the most talented the program has ever assembled. Lane Kiffin and the Rebels are poised to be a strong contender in th
e SEC and won't want a pesky Demon Deacons team to foil their College Football Playoff hopes.

GEORGIA TECH YELLOW JACKETS

Toughest Non-Conference Game: Georgia (Nov. 30)
Georgia Tech has a brutal non-conference slate that features two clashes against college football elites, Notre Dame and Georgia. The Fighting Irish will present the Yellow Jackets with a ton of problems in Atlanta on Oct. 19, but Brent Key and Co. won't be a bigger underdog in any game than at Georgia in the regular-season finale. The Bulldogs are a bonafide College Football Playoff contender and have won six straight over their in-state rival.


PITTSBURGH PANTHERS

Toughest Non-Conference Game: West Virginia (Sept. 14)
Neal Brown got off the hot seat at West Virginia with a nine-win season in 2023 and has a long list of returning starters for this season. The Mountaineers are expected to compete for a Big 12 title next season and are easily the toughest out on Pitt's non-conference schedule, which features matchups against Kent State, Cincinnati, and Youngstown State. West Virginia has won four of the last five against Pittsburgh, including last season's game in Morgantown.

SMU MUSTANGS

Toughest Non-Conference Game: TCU (Sept. 21)
SMU gets its non-conference games out of the way early, starting the season with games against Nevada, HCU, BYU and TCU. Sonny Dykes needs a bounce-back year after failing to take TCU to a bowl game following a national runner-up finish in 2022, and the in-state matchup against SMU will be high on his early-season priority list. The Horned Frogs have the talent and returning experience to beat just about anyone on its schedule, and Dykes won't want to drop an early one against his former school.

SYRACUSE ORANGE

Toughest Non-Conference Game: at UNLV (Oct. 5)
Syracuse is rebuilding under Fran Brown, and the new head coach has plenty to be thankful for after getting a favorable non-conference schedule for his debut season. No one is confusing Holy Cross, UNLV, and UConn for college football powerhouses, and the Orange should have a good chance of going 3-0 in the non-conference. UNLV will be the toughest test. The Rebels are coming off a 9-5 season but went 1-2 against Power Four opponents last year. The lone win was against a lowly Vanderbilt team.
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Quarterback battles in spotlight for UNC, Duke football spring games (fayobserver.com; Baxley)

UNC and Duke football will play their annual spring games on Saturday.

The Tar Heels kick things off at 3 p.m. inside Kenan Stadium and the Blue Devils will get things rolling at 6 p.m. inside Wallace Wade Stadium.

Admission is free for both scrimmages, but UNC’s spring game won’t be televised. The Blue Devils will be featured on ACC Network.

The Tar Heels were 8-5 in 2023, including a 4-4 record in the ACC, under head coach Mack Brown. Like UNC, Duke finished with an 8-5 record, but the Blue Devils are entering their debut season under head coach Manny Diaz.

The defenses will look different with former Georgia Tech coach Geoff Collins taking over for the Tar Heels and Diaz, known for his defensive background, leading the Devils.

But most of the attention this weekend will be on the quarterbacks at each school.

With Drake Maye gone, who will be UNC football’s quarterback?

Conner Harrell vs. Max Johnson. Both players will get the opportunity to show they’re capable of being the quarterback to follow Drake Maye, who is expected to be a top-five pick in the NFL Draft.

Johnson, who arrived in Chapel Hill via the transfer portal after four seasons in the SEC, has compiled 5,853 passing yards, 47 touchdowns and 12 interceptions across 30 games. The lefty has experience on his side, but Harrell has shown flashes of his skill and potential.

A redshirt sophomore, Harrell made his first start for the Tar Heels in the final game of the 2023 season, finishing with 270 yards and a touchdown. All eyes will be on Johnson and Harrell this weekend at Kenan Stadium.

Will Grayson Loftis or Maalik Murphy replace Riley Leonard as Duke’s quarterback?

It’s a battle of the sophomores under center for the Blue Devils. Texas transfer Maalik Murphy, along with returners Grayson Loftis and Henry Belin IV are fighting for the right to be Duke’s starting quarterback in Diaz’s first season with the program.

A 6-foot-5, 238-pound quarterback, Murphy didn’t play much for the Longhorns. In seven games, the former four-star recruit completed 56.3% of his passes for 477 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions. Still, Murphy's arm strength and athleticism are reasons to be excited about his potential in Durham.

Following Riley Leonard’s injury in the 2023 season, Grayson Loftis and Henry Belin IV each saw some time at QB. In six games, Loftis finished with 1,008 passing yards, eight touchdowns and four interceptions. Belin appeared in four games, logging 232 yards with three touchdowns and an interception. It seems likely that Murphy or Loftis will get eventually get the starting nod.
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Est. 2024 Revenue by Realigned Conf. (RX; HM)

Est. 2024 Revenue by Realigned Conf.


The EADA revenue numbers for 2022-23 have been making the rounds, so I thought I'd play with them... First, I realigned the power teams according to their 2024 conferences. Then I made adjustments based on known revenue sharing amount changes (these are just best guess at the moment). Finally, I sorted each of the P4 conferences in descending order of total revenue...

Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC)
Notre Dame$227,191,928
Stanford$179,645,688
Florida State$173,434,508
Miami$162,633,958
Louisville$158,191,814
Duke$155,509,818
Clemson$155,093,316
North Carolina$140,918,817
Pittsburgh$139,704,076
California$134,872,865
Virginia Tech$132,705,818
Virginia$128,968,540
NC State$124,444,506
Boston College$121,430,392
Georgia Tech$118,654,077
Syracuse$116,510,249
Wake Forest$100,298,475
SMU$89,044,162
Based on this (admittedly rough) estimate, it looks like Stanford will jump into 2nd place despite only getting a partial share of the T1 television revenue. Cal falls in the middle, while SMU brings up the rear for now (but once we get 2024 donations and ticket sales numbers, and once they start receiving a full share, they should move up several places).
Big Ten Conference (B1G)
Ohio State$249,698,974
USC$232,013,703
Michigan$206,514,688
Penn State$201,533,972
Nebraska$197,009,548
Wisconsin$190,554,690
Iowa$166,886,577
Washington$154,849,477
UCLA$159,254,610
Michigan State$149,254,610
Indiana$143,221,485
Minnesota$136,614,891
Illinois$134,767,269
Oregon$132,359,145
...

2024 Stadium Expansion - SMU (RX; HM)


2024 Stadium Expansion - SMU
CORRECTION: I'm now told only about 1,000 to 1,500 seats are being added.

After posting about SMU's season ticket sales, I received some additional information from the PonyFans.com webmaster... I missed the fact that Gerald J. Ford Stadium is set to expand just in time for the ACC football season. While no official capacity number has been released yet, my PonyFans source estimates it will put SMU at approximately 45,000 seats (although others are saying more like 33,000). He adds that the vast majority of these new seats will be "premium seating and luxury boxes" so "even though the number of seats is relatively small, the additional revenue generated will be tremendous."
Here's a video posted by the school on YouTube which gives a little background on this expansion.

Expanding SMU’s Gerald J. Ford Stadium

Expanding SMU’s Gerald J. Ford Stadium

A $50 million commitment from the Garry Weber Foundation, established by former Mustang football letterman Garry A. Weber ’58, is the largest gift in the history of SMU Athletics and supports a $100 million drive for a new 192,500-square-foot Garry Weber End Zone Complex at Gerald J. Ford Stadium.
...

Other

Bruce Springsteen plays loose in hits-packed Syracuse concert (review, setlist, photos) (PS; Herbert)


Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band made up for lost time at Thursday night’s concert.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame group played more than two dozen songs in a hits-packed performance at the JMA Wireless Dome in Syracuse. The show was originally scheduled for September and postponed when Springsteen was diagnosed with peptic ulcer disease.

The wait was even longer for some fans, as this was Springsteen’s first Central New York concert in more than a decade and his first time playing at the Syracuse University stadium with the E Street Band since 1985. He breathlessly played two hours and fifty minutes with virtually no pauses throughout the set. He sang the hits — including “Born to Run,” “Thunder Road,” “Dancing in the Dark,” “Hungry Heart” and “Glory Days” — but also sprinkled in a few more surprising songs like “Darlington County” (from his 1986 album “Born in the U.S.A.”) and chose “Night” (from “Born to Run”) over “Prove It All Night” (from “Darkness on the Edge of Town”).

He even played “Growin’ Up” for the first time on his tour after a young fan held up a sign requesting it. Most of the crowd grew up with Springsteen’s music over the past five decades, but he clearly appreciated parents who brought their little ones to the show. He hugged one kid who said he skipped school to attend the concert and traded a harmonica for a bag of Skittles with another youngster.

“I --ing love you,” said one child, who was definitely too young to be using such language. But that’s rock and roll.

Stadium shows are often very rigid due to video and light synchronization requirements. Before his illness, some Springsteen fans complained last year that too many shows were following the same setlist. But at least eight songs were completely different from Monday’s MVP Arena concert in Albany and last week’s performance at Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut.

According to a setlist that was printed out before the show, Springsteen and the E Street Band kept the whole Syracuse show loose, sometimes swapping songs out spontaneously. He chose “My City of Ruins” over “Racing in the Street” and “Growin’ Up” replaced “Letter to You,” while tracks like “I’m On Fire” and “Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)” were scrapped altogether.
I was most impressed how Springsteen could shout out song names from the edge of the pit and his famous backing band, 20 to 30 feet away from him, could immediately jump into them. It felt well choreographed and rehearsed, but you could tell they were still improvising at times. They just happen to be very, very good at their jobs.

They also happen to love the music, which is why fans want to see Springsteen over and over again. The people on stage are having just as good of a time as the people watching it, which makes the whole thing feel like a party.
...

President Joe Biden plans Syracuse trip to announce historic Micron deal (PS; Weiner)

President Joe Biden plans to visit Syracuse next week to celebrate the deal to provide Micron Technology with $6.1 billion in federal aid for a massive complex of computer chip plants in Clay.

Biden’s White House is scouting locations for a possible event April 25 in Syracuse, according to two sources briefed on the early plans.

The sources stressed Biden’s visit is in the planning stages and could change depending on developments in the U.S. or overseas.

A White House spokeswoman said Thursday she could not confirm that Biden plans to travel to Syracuse next week.

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer and a senior Biden administration official said Wednesday that federal officials reached a preliminary agreement with Micron to provide the funding from the CHIPS and Science Act.

Schumer, D-N.Y., said the $6.1 billion grant would be one of the largest single direct federal investments in New York history.

The administration official told syracuse.com | The Post-Standard that a formal announcement with more details about the subsidy package would follow next week.

Biden visited Syracuse in October 2022 shortly after Micron selected Central New York as the site of a planned $100 billion mega-complex of four computer chip plants.

Micron said it planned to build out the complex over the next 20 years. When fully built, the company said it would directly employ 9,000 people and create about 40,000 spinoff jobs at suppliers and other companies.

In his 2022 visit, Biden joined Micron CEO Sanjay Mehrotra, Gov. Kathy Hochul, Schumer and U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand at Onondaga Community College to celebrate the agreement.

Biden, a 1968 graduate of Syracuse University’s law school, talked about his love for Syracuse and what the Micron project might mean for the region’s future.
...


Rapper Lil Yachty to perform at Syracuse University Block Party (PS; Herbert)


Grammy-nominated rapper Lil Yachty is set to headline this year’s Syracuse University Block Party.

The “One Night” hitmaker will perform at the 2024 SU Block Party at the JMA Wireless Dome on Friday, April 26, along with Teezo Touchdown and ISOxo. Syracuse student group FEEM will open the concert with a DJ set.

Tickets are currently on sale to SU and SUNY-ESF students and faculty through Ticketmaster for $15 each. (Students must use college emails to purchase a ticket and present college ID upon entry.)

Tickets are not available to the public, but students/faculty are permitted to bring one non-SU/ESF college student as a guest, who must be enrolled in a college or university and have a valid college ID upon entry.

The JMA Dome, formerly known as the Carrier Dome, will be enforcing its clear bag policy. Backpacks and other large bags will not be permitted; professional cameras, alcohol, drugs and re-rentry are also not permitted.

Lil Yachty is a rapper-singer from Georgia known for songs like “One Night,” “Peekaboo” (featuring Migos), “iSpy” (with Kyle), “Oprah’s Bank Account” (with DaBaby and Drake), and the Grammy-nominated “Broccoli” (with DRAM). He’s also appeared in movies and TV shows like “The Long Shot,” “How High 2″ and “Grown-ish.”
...
 

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