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Orangeyes Daily Articles for Monday for Football


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

Welcome to World Bee Day!

In 2014, the Slovenian Beekeepers' Association came up with the idea for World Bee Day. A resolution for the day was proposed to the United Nations by Mag. Dejan Židan, Project Manager of the World Bee Day Project and Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia. On December 20, 2017, the UN General Assembly adopted the resolution. All UN countries adopted it unanimously, and 115 countries signed on as co-sponsors. The day was designated "to raise awareness of the importance of pollinators, the threats they face and their contribution to sustainable development." Put another way, according to the UN, the day's objectives are to bring to the attention of those in power that protecting bees is important, to remind us that we rely on bees and other pollinators, to protect bees and other pollinators in order to help solve problems related to the global food supply and the elimination of hunger and to stop the further loss of biodiversity and degradation of ecosystems.

SU News


Malden, MA – May 19, 2024: Players involved in the Elite Football Championship compete at Malden Catholic High School. (Chris Christo/Boston Herald)

MacCormack stars in Elite Football games (; Kurkjian)

Whether on offense or defense, in the spring or fall, or in pleasant or inclement weather, BB&N’s Bo MacCormack is just a football player, and one of the best around, at that.

The Syracuse commit proved it again Sunday, at the Elite League “Championship Sunday” at Malden Catholic. He dominated all facets, and led his Dogs to both 8-man and full-11 titles.

In the latter, MacCormack rushed for three touchdowns and a two-point conversion, with 115 yards on 10 carries. Watch this player long enough, and you almost run out of superlatives.

“Just watching him, it’s fun in the spring to be a fan instead of worrying about things,” his high school coach, Mike Willey, said. “It’s fun to just watch those guys play. Bo’s obviously really, really good. He did a great job today, So it was fun. He’s fun to watch.”

In his third year in the league, MacCormack sees value in spring football.

“For me, just personally, especially if you’re a guy playing between the tackles, you don’t have any of the 7-on-7 stuff you can do, this is the only thing in this area you can do to get better going into the season,” MacCormack said. “I think it’s great for me. You think you are at a certain point, but then when you actually play football, you play in the League you know where you really headed into the fall season. I think it’s great for that.”

It was a unique setup. First, the four teams played 8-man football in a semifinal and final format. The Dogs beat the Maulers in that championship, BB&N quarterback Damon Taylor hit MacCormack for a 23-yard touchdown, and Dane Deveaux of Waltham found BB&N’s Colin Hoffman for another score in the 16-6 Dogs win.

Taylor had a good spring, and enters his junior season as the starting quarterback for BB&N after backing up graduated Henry Machnik.

A Dive Into An Interesting SU Football Schedule (; Horning)
School is out, and the Class of 2024 has graduated. Yes, lacrosse is ongoing in the NCAA Tournament, but aside from that, most eyes are shifting towards the upcoming Syracuse football season.

With significant turnover mixed with a lot of hype, this season could be one of the most exciting or disappointing depending on how the dominoes fall.

SU’s schedule is extremely favorable:

  • Saturday, August 31 – vs. Ohio
  • Saturday, September 7 – vs. Georgia Tech
  • Friday, September 20 – vs. Stanford
  • Saturday, September 28 – vs. Holy Cross
  • Saturday, October 5 – @ UNLV
  • Saturday, October 12 – @ NC State
  • Thursday, October 24 – @ Pitt
  • Saturday, November 2 – vs. Virginia Tech
  • Saturday, November 9 – @ Boston College
  • Saturday, November 16 – @ Cal
  • Saturday, November 23 – vs. UConn
  • Saturday, November 30 – vs. Miami
The fascinating part of the schedule is how the non-conference slates are mixed in with conference games throughout the season. For example, Syracuse gets tested in Week 2 against Georgia Tech but doesn’t play UConn until the second-to-last game of the year.

SU doesn’t face the brutal opponents Florida State, Notre Dame, and Clemson this season, which is why this could be the year that Syracuse could find itself towards the top of the ACC if they can win the games they should win.

Another riveting factor is the two trips out west for SU. The Orange travel to Las Vegas to face UNLV and then venture back out a few weeks later to play in Northern California against Cal.

The ACC signed up for this, so it should be enthralling to see how the travel plays out with the new additions to the conference.

First-year head coach Fran Brown and Ohio State transfer quarterback Kyle McCord have to take advantage of a weaker schedule. If there’s a year for SU to make some noise, it’s 2024.

(youtube; podcast; No Destination)

Episode 11 of NoDestination stars WR and Kick Returner Trebor Pena. They discuss the new era of Syracuse Football, Trebor's Journey, and the keys to kick returning.
30 Minutes in Orange Nation 5-16-24 (ESPN; radio; Orange Nation)
Steve and Paulie reacts to Syracuse’s projected win total increasing, continue the worst song bracket, and react to the full NFL schedule release.

ESPN Radio radio; Orange Nation)
ESPN Staff writer Dan Murphy joins Paulie Scibilia and Steve Infanti to explain the deal the NCAA and its schools voting on the antitrust lawsuit, the state of NIL in college athletics, and more.
Syracuse Football: 4-star edge Fadil Diggs among nation's most impactful transfers (itlh; Adler)
This off-season, Syracuse football head coach Fran Brown and his top-flight staff have put together a tremendous 2024 recruiting class, both at the high school level and via the transfer portal.

With their recruiting efforts in the portal, Orange coaches have landed a bevy of talented college transfers. Understandably, rising senior quarterback Kyle McCord, a four-star transfer from Ohio State, is grabbing a lot of the national headlines, but there are numerous other transfers into the 'Cuse program who are expected to be huge contributors for Syracuse football in the upcoming 2024 season.

At the top of the list, from my perspective, and echoed by various national analysts, is four-star edge Fadil Diggs, who elected to transfer to the Orange after his junior term at Southeastern Conference member Texas A&M.

The 6-foot-5, 260-pound Diggs, as a senior, should prove one of the leaders for the 'Cuse on the defensive side of the field, and just generally speaking.

His national transfer rankings this off-season are impressive. When I wrote this article, 247Sports placed him at No. 56 overall and No. 7 at edge. The industry-generated On3 Industry Ranking, at the time of this writing, had Diggs at No. 69 overall and No. 9 at edge.

An expert names Syracuse football rising senior edge Fadil Diggs as a top transfer.

In recent days, 247Sports analyst Brad Crawford published a piece where he looked at who he believes at the 50 most impactful transfers to shape the upcoming 2024 campaign. In this article, Crawford rated Diggs at No. 38 overall, writing: "A productive pass rusher in College Station, Diggs now heads to the ACC as a featured threat up front."

Syracuse Football: Fran Brown is ranked next-to-last among P4 head coaches - nonsense (itlh; Adler)
CBS Sports has published rankings of the 68 heads coaches in the power-four conferences, and Syracuse football head coach Fran Brown checks in next to last.

The recent article from Tom Fornelli of CBS Sports has Brown, who officially took over the 'Cuse program in early December of last year, at No. 67. The only head coach behind him is UCLA's DeShaun Foster, at No. 68.

This ranking for Brown, candidly, doesn't surprise me. He's a first-year head coach on the Hill, and he's a first-time head coach in college football. Brown, an ace recruiter, joined the Orange after most recently serving as the defensive backs coach at Southeastern Conference member Georgia.

Now, because Brown hasn't been a head coach before, nor served as a coordinator, I get why his ranking from CBS Sports is near the bottom. My issue here, and why I used the word "nonsense" in the headline for this column, is because I think it's unfair to rank a head coach who has yet to coach an actual game.

But these rankings come out year after year, and I'm not throwing shade at Fornelli. Maybe the better thing to do with these sorts of ratings is to not include guys who are first-year head coaches at a new program.

I don't know. It just made me a little bit irritated to see Brown so "low" on this list. Naturally, he'll have every opportunity to show what he can do as a head coach in the upcoming 2024 season.

A national writer has Syracuse football's Fran Brown near the bottom in head-coach rankings.
To be fair, here's what Fornelli included in his story regarding Brown: "This hire is one that I look forward to following. Brown was a good coach and incredible recruiter for Georgia, but will his recruiting acumen translate to upstate New York? It's a very different sell, but Brown is off to a strong start. Now we await what kind of results the Orange can get on the field."

That sentiment is spot on. Brown was a fabulous recruiter at Georgia. He's recruiting at a high level to date with the 'Cuse. But, yes, he's yet to coach a game. So we'll have to wait and see how he fares on the field.

Syracuse Football: National analyst loves upside of 2025 3-star commit Jaylen Pray (itlh; Adler)

A top national analyst recently dished on the upside of Syracuse football 2025 three-star pledge Jaylen Pray.

The 6-foot-7, 265-pound Pray is a talented, fast-rising defensive end/athlete in the high school junior cycle. He verbally committed to the Orange in late March.

Pray attends the Brunswick School in Greenwich, Conn. Recruiting services state that in addition to a scholarship offer from the 'Cuse, he held an offer from fellow Atlantic Coast Conference member Boston College.

Both the industry-generated 247Sports Composite and the industry-generated On3 Industry Ranking had Pray in the top 800 around the country within the 2025 class when I wrote this article. He's also deemed as a top-10 prospect coming out of Connecticut in his cycle.

Syracuse football 2025 three-star commit Jaylen Pray has a lot of promise and potential, an expert says.
Not too long ago, national analyst Adam Friedman was on hand at a multi-day event where college coaches and scouts could check out high school prospects from throughout the Northeast.

On one of those days, Connecticut programs were in the spotlight, and Friedman had this to say about Pray: Syracuse football "took a commitment from Pray back in March but not much was known about his game on the field. During his work out on Monday, the former basketball standout showed he has the requisite combination of size, strength, and coordination to justify a coach taking a shot on him. Pray hasn’t played much football so the learning curve will be steep but, thanks to his athletic profile, the pay off could be immense."

4-star WR from NJ, who had Syracuse football in top 5 and visited, heads to Big Ten (itlh; Adler)
Four-star junior athlete Cameron Miller, who had visited Syracuse football and had the Orange in his top five, is headed to the Big Ten Conference.

Per media reports, including one from 247Sports national analyst Brian Dohn, the 5-foot-11, 165-pound Miller has verbally committed to Big Ten school Wisconsin.

I’m wishing Cameron, who hails from New Jersey like several ‘Cuse coaches, all the best. His pledge to the Badgers didn’t come as a huge surprise. Lately, Wisconsin had been receiving analyst buzz for Miller on various recruiting Web sites.

Miller is a standout defensive back and wide receiver at Winslow Township High School in Atco, N.J. Multiple recruiting services rate him in the top 425 nationally within the high school junior cycle.

Syracuse football has missed on 2025 four-star athlete Cameron Miller.

Miller was originally offered a scholarship by the former Orange staff in September of 2022. In early February of this year, he disclosed a top five of Syracuse football, Kentucky, Michigan, Rutgers and Wisconsin.

The prior month, in January of 2024, Miller reportedly took an unofficial visit to the ‘Cuse as part of one of the team’s junior days.

In his interview with Dohn, Miller noted that the Orange was involved in his recruitment, but ultimately, his recruiting process came down to Wisconsin and Kentucky.

Dohn wrote: “The Badgers gained separation in the late winter and became the program to beat, and the Wildcats were not able to close the gap. It was leaning Wisconsin's way for a few months, so his commitment did not come as a surprise."

How should Syracuse’s stars should rate in EA Sports College Football 25 (; Burstein)
After 11 years, EA Sports will return its NCAA college football video game with its 2025 edition in July. This past week, fans got a first look at the game, and the Orange made an appearance in the official trailer. Let’s look at where SU’s stars should rate.

Quarterback Kyle McCord (85 overall)

An Ohio State transfer QB is going to be a hot pick. McCord should have one of the higher arm strength ratings after throwing for 3,170 yards last year. The New Jersey native’s run ability will lower his rating after -65 rushing yards last season. But with good receivers around him, the lack of speed shouldn’t a problem.

Tight End Oronde Gadsen (82 overall)

Syracuse’s top receiver two years ago starts low but could blossom. There are a lot of question marks surrounding the redshirt junior after he missed most of the 2023 season due to a Lisfranc injury. But the skill is there. Gadsden was First Team All-ACC as a sophomore with 969 receiving yards. And with his wide receiver-like speed, if can be lined up as a tight end, he will be lethal in the game.

Defensive Lineman Fadil Diggs (85 overall)

The SEC will almost certainly have the highest ratings, so a Texas A&M transfer like Diggs should get a nice boost. The senior started every regular season game last year and had eleven tackles for loss. A 6-5, 260 frame makes Diggs imposing. But he never was able to break out as a star while the Aggies finished .500 or below in SEC play each of his last three seasons with the team. This keeps him from the upper-80s.

Linebacker Marlowe Wax (86 overall)

The senior has a good chance of starting at SU’s highest-rated player with four years worth of film to show for it. Wax is a magnet to the ball while on the field. The Baltimore native is second in program history for career forced fumbles and has led Syracuse in tackles for two-straight seasons. If the game takes into account leadership, Wax was a captain this past season. EA Sports should have taken notice when Wax decided to return for his senior year.

While Syracuse football has plenty of hype for the 2024 season, the release of College Football 25 may have even more. Fans will get a chance to play around with SU’s roster on July 19 when the game releases.

UGASports - Syracuse Recruiting Roundup: 5/20/24 (; Sen)
Syracuse continues to recruit in the offseason, and earlier in May offered a group of top prospects from around the country.

We've caught up with five of them for their thoughts on their SU offers.


5'10" | 180 LBS | ATH | 2027

After his freshman season, 2027 ATH Kaiden Watkins received his first offer from Middle Tennessee State. Earlier in May, he picked up his first Power 4 offer from Syracuse.


6'3" | 170 LBS | S | 2026

One of the elite prospects in the 2026 class is Winter Park (FL) High defensive back Ayden Pouncey. A four-star prospect and the 145th ranked player in his class, Pouncey holds roughly two dozen offers, with one of his most recent coming from Syracuse.


6'5" | 275 LBS | OT | 2027

Coatesville (PA) Area Senior High's Maxwell Hiller already holds half a dozen offers, with his most recent one coming from Syracuse earlier in May.


6'5" | 230 LBS | WDE | 2026

Temple (TX) High defensive lineman Jamarion Carlton's offer sheet includes Nebraska, Houston, Oklahoma, TCU and Texas Tech. One of the four-star's most recent high-major offers comes from Syracuse.


5'11" | 172 LBS | ATH | 2026

2026 Avon (OH) High ATH Jakob Weatherspoon received his first offer from Michigan in the fall, and once the calendar flipped into 2024, his recruitment has taken off. Toledo, Akron, Cincinnati, Syracuse and Penn State now comprise the half dozen offers that he holds.

ACC News

Sources: Non-Power 5 irked by settlement plan (ESPN; Thamel)

As the NCAA continues to make steps toward the expected settlement of the landmark House v. NCAA lawsuit and other related anti-trust cases, there is pushback on how the NCAA plans to pay the expected $2.7 billion in back damages over the next decade, sources told ESPN.

The NCAA sent out a four-page memo to all 32 Division I conferences this week detailing how the organization plans to cut back on distribution to leagues in six annual payout categories to pay the proposed $2.7 billion in damages.

The memo detailed how the NCAA could split up an expected $1.6 billion that would come from reductions in NCAA distribution, sources told ESPN. The remaining $1.1 billion is expected to come from NCAA reserves, catastrophic insurance, new revenue and budget cuts, sources said.

Of that $1.6 billion, nearly 60% is expected to come from leagues outside the Power 5 conferences that are named in the House lawsuit, sources said. (The NCAA is named, and all of the schools are members.) The other 40% will come from the power conferences.

For example, the cost annually for the Big East is projected at between $5.4 million and $6.6 million over the next decade, according to a source familiar with the memo. The West Coast Conference, another successful basketball-centric league, is expected to annually pay between $3.5 million and $4.3 million. The lowest level of annual payouts expected to be withheld for smaller leagues is just under $2 million, which is estimated to be more than 20% of what those leagues get from the NCAA annually.

This has set off a flurry of upset commissioners and officials in those smaller-revenue leagues, including a series of meetings of the Collegiate Commissioners Association and the CCA22, which are the 22 leagues that don't have FBS football.

Of the $1.6 billion, the NCAA will be withholding distributions from six funds across its 32 Division I leagues, ESPN has learned. Those include the basketball performance fund (via the NCAA tournament), grants-in-aid, the academic enhancement fund, sports sponsorships, conference grants and the academic performance fund.

Three categories of NCAA payments are not expected to be impacted: the equal conference fund, the student-athlete opportunity fund and the special assistance fund.

The NCAA does not plan to take money away from its Division II and Division III distributions, sources said. Sources cautioned to ESPN, however, that the numbers are fluid and could change.

There has been a flurry of meetings of the CCA and the CCA22 in recent days, and the tenor of those meetings has been trying to find whether additional models can be proposed that lessen the financial burden. According to a memo obtained by ESPN, the CCA22 plans to send a letter to the Power 5 and NCAA requesting additional payment models.

According to a source, one smaller non-power football league was told in the NCAA memo that it would be expected to pay more than $2.5 million per year to help cover the costs of the settlement. A source in that CCA22 league said that amount is approximately 25% of the annual NCAA revenue for the schools in the league.

"We're not named in the lawsuit," said a source in a smaller league. "We don't have a voice in any of this. We're just being told what our taxation is."

Added another source in a CCA22 league: "This is incredibly unfair and has a dramatic impact. I'm losing about 10% of my operating budget. Do I cut two staff members in order for money to go to Zion Williamson? Ninety percent of the money in the suit projects to go to Power 5 football and men's basketball players. The 40% payment for the power conference isn't proportionate."

There's a counter to those numbers, as nearly 300 schools would be paying for 60% of the settlement, whereas 68 power conference schools from the four major football leagues in 2024 would pay for nearly 40%.

Is ACC football underrated? Yes and no (; $; Baker)

A consistent theme hummed around The Ritz-Carlton during the Atlantic Coast Conference’s spring meetings: ACC football is underrated.

Commissioner Jim Phillips said his conference “sometimes doesn’t get the attention that it deserves.” Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi used the word “disrespect.”

If the league had a better reputation, it’s fair to wonder whether 13-0 Florida State still would have missed the playoff.

“What happened last year is tragic and spoke volumes of the perception, I believe, of this league when it comes to football specifically,” Seminoles athletic director Michael Alford said.

Alford and his peers believe that perception is worse than reality. Are they right?

Why ACC football might be underrated

The ACC led major conferences with 11 bowl teams last season. That stat reinforces FSU coach Mike Norvell’s belief that the ACC is deeper than most people think.

“When you look at the ACC against some of those other conferences the last few years — especially last year — it was very, very competitive,” Norvell said.

More competitive than anyone; the average margin of victory in ACC games was the lowest of any league.

Another way to look at it: FSU outscored its opponents by 136 points in ACC games, while Syracuse was outscored by 113. That’s a spread of 249 points from worst to first. That’s 100 points tighter than the SEC and 169 points closer than the Big Ten.

In the regular season, the ACC went 6-4 against the SEC and 4-3 against the Big Ten. FSU’s 21-point win over LSU held up as one of the best non-conference results of the season. Miami’s 15-point victory over Texas A&M was strong, too (advanced metrics viewed the Aggies as a top-25 team).

The ACC recorded three regular-season, non-conference victories against teams that finished ranked: FSU over LSU and wins by Louisville and Clemson over Notre Dame. That’s the same number as the Big 12 and SEC. The Big Ten had one (Ohio State at Notre Dame). The Pac-12 had none.

Why ACC football isn’t elite

Three teams lost regular-season games to mid-majors who finished outside the top 90 in SP+ advanced metrics: Georgia Tech to Bowling Green, Virginia Tech to Marshall and Boston College to Northern Illinois. The other power conferences had only two such defeats combined (and one was Houston’s double-overtime loss to Rice).

Those performances weaken arguments for the ACC’s depth. It’s hard to be impressed by FSU’s 31-29 win at Boston College when the Eagles barely beat Holy Cross a week earlier. Virginia Tech’s home loss to 4-8 Purdue also hurt the Seminoles’ resume. And topping Louisville for the ACC title would have looked better if the Cardinals hadn’t lost at home to 7-6 Kentucky a week earlier or needed a late goal-line stand to beat 3-9 Indiana.

Advanced metrics seem to agree. The ACC’s average ranking in SP+ analytics was 54.9 — last in the Power Five and 23 spots below the SEC. The ACC also was worst among major conferences in ESPN’s Football Power Index, the Sagarin ratings, the Massey ratings and the Colley Matrix.

Though Phillips brought up the ACC’s 11 bowl participants, he left out their 5-6 record. The league’s top three teams all lost by at least two scores, lowlighted by FSU’s 60-point shellacking by Georgia. Syracuse’s 45-0 loss to USF was the third-biggest bowl blowout.

NFL draft picks are one final, imperfect measurement. The ACC’s 41 picks ranked fourth in the Power Five; the SEC had 59.

The bottom line

The ACC has improved and (to some degree) shed its reputation as a basketball league that dabbles in football. Duke and Wake Forest are no longer pushovers. FSU and Miami are investing. Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech are on the rise.

But if the ACC does have an image problem, it deserves some blame. One of the SEC’s worst teams (Mississippi State) beat an Arizona team that finished 11th; one of the ACC’s worst teams (Pitt) lost to Notre Dame by 51. LSU had a top-three pick at quarterback and won 10 games; North Carolina had a top-three pick at quarterback and went 8-5 with a home loss to three-win Virginia. The Big Ten’s No. 3 team (Penn State) beat top-40 West Virginia by 25; the ACC’s No. 3 team (North Carolina State) lost at home to top-20 Notre Dame by 21.

Turn more of those results around, and the league’s perception will turn with it.

Ranking the expanded ACC by expected EA Sports College Football 25 rating (; Haley)

The EA Sports College Football 25 trailer shook the college football world on Thursday, finally giving a glimpse into what the franchise’s return will look like.

SEC powerhouses like Alabama and Georgia of course featured prominently in the trailer, but ACC schools like Clemson and Duke made appearances, too. Even Syracuse showed up in a brief shot of quarterback Kyle McCord, who transferred from Ohio State this offseason.

One of the most enjoyable parts of the NCAA Football video games is seeing which teams and players earned the highest overall rating. It’s an easy way for rivals to gain bragging rights over the other or for fans to complain that their team is underrated and disrespected.

With the ACC expanding to 17 teams this offseason, welcoming Stanford and California from the Pac-12 and SMU from the AAC, how will the teams of the conference compare to each other?

We’re not smart enough to give an expected overall rating, but here’s a breakdown of how we think the football teams of the ACC will be ranked when the game drops in July.

1 Florida State Seminoles

Yes, the Seminoles lost a lot of talent this offseason. With standouts like Keon Coleman and Jared Verse now in the NFL and the loss of Jordan Travis under center, it’s no guarantee that this Florida State team can rival last year’s 13-0 record. However, with head coach Mike Norvell compiling a 23-4 record over the last two seasons, it’s safe to say the team in Tallahassee will get the benefit of the doubt.
Florida State will likely be the only team in the conference with an overall above 85, and they might be one of the top 10 teams in the game.

2 Clemson Tigers

There are more questions than answers about Clemson’s place in the college football world. Head coach Dabo Swinney seems to be digging his heels in about the transfer portal, and the four losses in conference play last year might be a harbinger if he doesn’t adapt. After six straight ACC conference titles from 2015-20, the Tigers have only won one of the last three.
However, this is still one of three schools with multiple titles in the College Football Playoff era, and Swinney’s one of two active head coaches with multiple rings. They have a while before the benefit of the doubt runs dry.

3 Miami Hurricanes

The Hurricanes have one major advantage in these ratings: teams are graded on their talent. If head coach Mario Cristobal can do anything, it’s amass talent. The Hurricanes had the seventh-ranked recruiting class in 2023 and they have the No. 4 freshman class inbound. Pair that with Washington State transfer Cameron Ward at quarterback, one of the most prolific dual threats in the country, and the Hurricanes will likely be a preseason top-25 team again. What they do from there, who can say, but the hype will come.

4 Louisville Cardinals

Last year’s ACC runner-up suffers from two things in these rankings. First, they built their 2023 squad off the back of some transfers who won’t be back in 2024. The offense ran through running backs Isaac Guerendo and Jawhar Jordan and wide receiver Jamari Thrash last season, and all three got drafted. That trio accounted for more than 56% of their yards from scrimmage last season! Second, unfortunately, college sports are a world of tradition. Non-powerhouse programs that overachieve are almost never given the benefit of the doubt to be back. The Cardinals earned more than 30 transfer commitments this offseason, but I doubt it will be enough to move them ahead of the three teams higher on this list before Week 1.

5 North Carolina Tar Heels

The Tar Heels won eight games last season, and they’ve been one of the few teams in the conference to reach six wins in each of the last five seasons. Between running back Omarion Hampton and defensive pieces like Kaimon Rucker and Alijah Huzzie, talent abounds in Chapel Hill.
However, quarterback Drake Maye, the No. 3 pick in the NFL draft, covered up a lot of inefficiencies on the North Carolina roster last season. Between him and Sam Howell, who started in the NFL, it’s been half a decade since Mack Brown didn’t have one of the three best quarterbacks in the ACC to rely upon. Can quarterbacks Max Johnson and Conner Harrell fill the big shoes under center?

6 NC State Wolfpack

If you asked the average college football fan to name the ACC football teams with 17 wins over the past two seasons, almost all of them could pick out Florida State, North Carolina, and Clemson. How many could remember the Wolfpack? Dave Doeren’s team has won at least eight games in four consecutive seasons, and they might be even better in 2024. NC State got quarterback Grayson McCall from Coastal Carolina, one of the best available signal callers, and Duke running back Jordan Waters.
The Wolfpack might not have the reputation to get ranked above Miami and UNC in the preseason, but they’d be my pick for the third-best team in the ACC in 2024.

7 SMU Mustangs

The Mustangs could end up anywhere on this ranking. They won 11 games last season en route to an American Athletic Conference title, beating a ranked Tulane team in the championship game. No other team in the new ACC won more than nine games last season. However, they played three Power Four programs and went 0-3 with a combined score of 85-42. Granted, one of those losses was to Oklahoma, who spent much of the season in playoff contention, and another came in a bowl game without quarterback Preston Stone. How seriously will the EA Sports team take the conference title and weigh the nuances of their losses? Time will tell.

8 Virginia Tech Hokies

Thanks to quarterback Kyron Drones, the Hokies will be everyone’s favorite sleeper pick to win the ACC. The 6-foot-2 sophomore took over the Virginia Tech pocket in mid-September, and the Hokies won six of their last nine games with him leading the way. Those losses came against some great teams, too, with only Florida State, Louisville, and NC State getting the better of them. Drones ended the year with 17 passing touchdowns, five rushing touchdowns, and three interceptions.
Virginia Tech still seemed inconsistent, losing the Louisville game by 31 points, but with two 100-yard rushing games and a cannon of an arm, Drones will quickly become one of the country’s favorite players to use.

9 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

Another team with massive inconsistencies to iron out, the Yellow Jackets went through one of the weirdest four-game stretches in the country last season. They defeated North Carolina and Miami within three weeks, both of whom were ranked. Fans will remember they benefitted from the Hurricanes’s strange decision to not kneel out the clock. However, Georgia Tech also lost to Bowling Green and Boston College, both by two scores, the week before both wins.
Haynes King will surely be one of the more productive quarterbacks in college football, compiling more than 3,500 total yards and 34 total touchdowns last season. Combine that with 1,000-yard rusher Jamal Haynes, and the Yellow Jackets might be ready to truly contend in 2024.

10 Duke Blue Devils

The Blue Devils have won 17 games over the last two seasons, including a season-opening win over Clemson in 2023, to recapture form the program hadn’t seen in a decade. However, the foundation of that success won’t be back in Durham next season after head coach Mike Elko and quarterback Riley Leonard both left for other programs.
Based on CBS Sports’ recent ranking of the Power Four football coaches, new program leader Manny Diaz seems solid but uninspiring to most, and new quarterback Maalik Murphy remains unproven. Combine that with Waters and edge rusher RJ Oben also bailing to the transfer portal and the loss of three starting offensive linemen and two defensive linemen to the NFL, and it seems like Diaz’s rebuild might be a multi-year job.

11 Syracuse Orange

The Orange finished the 2023 season with a losing record, the fourth time that’s happened in the last five seasons. Syracuse also fired head coach Dino Babers, opting for Georgia assistant Fran Brown. The addition of McCord, a former Buckeyes quarterback, will generate excitement. Enough excitement for the Orange to vault the teams who finished 2023 on the right side of .500? I don’t think so.

12 California Golden Bears

Running back Jaydn Ott is one of the best players in the conference, rushing for 1,305 yards and 12 touchdowns in just 12 games. The Bears came just one point from upsetting USC last season after the star tailback raced for 153 yards and three scores. Quarterback Fernando Mendoza offered a mercurial resume in 2023, throwing for 14 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in nine games, but he was just a freshman. If he takes an expected step forward as a sophomore, the Bears could be exceptionally annoying for their opponents. I just think the EA Sports ratings team won’t lose sleep over being a year behind on his development.

Thoughts + Ideas About the Look-In (2024) (RX; HM)

Thoughts + Ideas About the Look-In (2024)

Today, I thought I'd share some ideas I found on CSNBBS...
From the CSNBBS thread "About the ACC ESPN tv contract look-in in Feb 2025…", here are a couple of comments you may find interesting:

From bryanw1995, a professed Texas A&M fan:

If the ACC remains completely intact then the Big 12 is not and never will be a threat to them. If the ACC loses just FSU and Clemson then they'll be worth roughly the same as the Big 12, perhaps +/- $5m, and neither will likely be willing or able to raid from the other. However, if the ACC loses 3+, and the first 3 losses are FSU, Clemson and UNC as seems highly likely...they don't want to go toe to toe with the Big 12 now, tomorrow, in 2030, or ever. The Yormarks will take what they want and leave the rest for dead.
This is why I keep advocating for an unprecedented but potential quite lucrative merger between the Big 12 and ACC. Let anybody with a P2 invite out the door during the merger, the rest get an average of the ACC and Big 12 payouts, all ~ 30 of them. With the lure of the ACCN, 5/9 of ND, Insane Academics reputation enhancement, nearly 100% long term stability/safety, and basketball dominance on an unprecedented scale, the Yormarks would have to look long and hard at this, and they're most likely to consider it now while they're still unsure of how the pecking order will sort out between the Big 12 and ACC. ie, even though it would be a seismic move, it would actually be the safest play for both the Big 12 and ACC due to the incredible uncertainty hanging over both. There are lots of ways it could go wrong ofc, starting with buy in from ESPN and Fox, but they would be able to achieve better cost certainty through 2036 and insulate themselves from the growing threats from the streaming giants if this were to happen...

From LeeNobody, a respectable Georgia Tech fan:
Why adjust the ACC contractunless ESPN is getting more out of it and ESPN is giving more. The ACC gave ESPN late night content to fill 2 networks with Stanford, Cal, and SMU (get used to 9pm CT kickoffs.
ACC could offer:

  • 10 am kickoffs
  • streaming on ESPN+
  • Monday Night Football lead in Games (5:30.ET Kickoff)
  • A 9th conference game
  • More western and central expansion after the B12 contract ends
Each would have a value to ESPN. This is what would actually happen in the lookin.

KFord Ratings Avg, 2020-23 (RX; HM)

KFord Ratings Avg, 2020-23

Recent conference depth. What have you done lately? This tweet from KFord Ratings of weighted average percentile over the last 4 seasons shows as well as anything why the perception of the ACC is (a) not good, but (b) also misleading. What do I mean? Read on!

One of the first things you may notice is that there are only 3 ACC teams in the top 30. Meanwhile,
...the new-look SEC has 11 teams in the top 30
...the new-look Big Ten has 9 teams
...even the new-look Big XII has 5 teams
So, is this proof that ACC football is weak? Not necessarily (but it's not a good look for sure!). What am I talking about? Let's break it down:
The ACC has one team (Clemson) in the top 10 - the Big XII has none. True, the SEC and B1G both have more Top 10 teams (4 each). The other top 10 team is Notre Dame - you know their relationship with the ACC by now!
All 3 of the aforementioned ACC Top 30 teams are actually in the top 21.

KFord Ratings also published #31 through #133:

So, the new-loook ACC has #31 UNC, #32 NC State, and #34 SMU. The Mustangs are the lowest-ranked team with at least 70% average. Make that the cut-off, and now the ACC has 6 of the top 34, which matches the Big XII and is only 3 behind the Big Ten.
... (; Thomas)

College football is changing a lot this season with conference realignment, but many analysts think that the sport isn't too far away from even more significant shifts in the near future.

On his show today, Josh Pate says that he believes the ACC is "cooked." The ongoing lawsuit being driven by Florida State and Clemson attempting to leave the conference will leave the rest of the teams behind.

“The ACC is cooked. It just feels cooked. It feels like the stove is on. It feels like everything’s in the pan and you just gotta slide it in at this point," said Pate.

After the 2023 season when Florida State was left out of the playoff, the motion for them to leave the conference began. They blamed the lackluster competition in the ACC for making their resume weaker than other playoff contenders and also wanted more revenues that the ACC just couldn't afford to provide them.

And it didn't take long for Clemson to follow suit in search of higher revenues and better competition that they would get from playing in either the Big Ten or the SEC.

It feels inevitable that these two schools will no longer be in the ACC after a few seasons. And when that happens, the rest of the conference may no longer be able to stay afloat.

ACC just ADMITTED Something about FSU, Clemson, & ESPN Agreement (youtube; podcast; Double Fries)

After the ACC Meetings wrapped up, some comments have come to light that we need to discuss. (; Westfall)

Momentum is building in the ACC to fire “lesser” programs to give raises to its marquee brands. Reformation is perhaps the only way for ACC commissioner Jim Phillips to keep Florida State, Clemson, Miami, and North Carolina in his league. Thus, castoff programs may form a quiet but frequently discussed proposed league focused on service academies and strong academic schools.

Big Dogs Seek to Consume the Small Pups

In his regular Friday appearance on the Bill King Show, Pete Cordelli revealed his sources are telling him that the ACC is seriously considering the firing of low-revenue programs that are a financial drag on the league in order to free up much-needed cash currently going to those programs. Instead, that newfound revenue would be diverted to ACC power brands such as Florida State, Clemson, North Carolina, and Miami.

Clemson and Florida State are aggressively looking for legal loopholes to get out of the ACC because of a terrible TV deal that runs through 2036, contingent on ESPN continuing the contract at its option in 2027.

ACC football programs are estimated to receive $20 to $30 million less in TV revenue than the SEC and Big Ten in the 2024 season. Thus, the ACC football powers argue they are falling behind the mega brands of the Big Ten and SEC to the point of not being able to compete for national championships.

The current conventional thought on realignment is that Florida State and Clemson would move either to the SEC or Big Ten. But an older alternative plan long discussed is regaining steam.

Instead of losing Florida State and Clemson, the ACC would potentially fire programs such as Duke, Wake Forest, Boston College, and Syracuse, which are either not serious football schools or simply not able to generate enough revenue to compete legitimately with power brands.

Next, after whacking its low-revenue schools, the ACC would renegotiate a new TV contract that would enable it to give Clemson, Florida State, and other big brands a massive raise, keeping them in the ACC and saving the league.

This plan immediately raises the question of where the discarded programs would go. According to Cordelli, another intriguing idea has also been frequently, though quietly, discussed among insiders for several years.

Top ACC Coaches for 2024 (CBS) (RX; HM)

Top ACC Coaches for 2024 (CBS)

From CBS Sports: Top 25 P4 Coaches (I'm just showing the ACC-related ones)

#24 Notre Dame
Marcus Freeman: Another one of our climbers. Freeman had his first 10-win season with the Fighting Irish last year and is now 19-7 over his two full seasons. Most importantly, last year didn't include any odd losses to teams like Marshall. Freeman and his staff have built a lot of positive momentum on the recruiting trail and landed a top transfer quarterback each of the last two seasons; ex-Duke QB Riley Leonard was this year's get. Next on the list? A College Football Playoff appearance. 2023 rank: 38 (+14)
#19 Louisville
Jeff Brohm: Few coaches are as consistent across multiple spots as Brohm, which indicates how good he is. Brohm went 17-9 in his final two seasons at Purdue, winning the Big Ten West in his final season. He then returns to his alma mater and immediately leads Louisville to a 10-win season and the ACC Championship Game. Some will point to Louisville's schedule last season, but plenty of teams catch "breaks" in their schedule every year; most don't take advantage, however. Brohm's teams always squeeze every ounce of potential out of themselves. 2023 rank: 33 (+14)
#16 NC State
Dave Doeren: The NC State coach finally gets some overdue credit. He's always hovered around the bottom of our top 25 or just outside it, and now he finds himself firmly entrenched in it thanks to all the changes at the top. Coaches who take mid-tier programs and overachieve never get enough credit, in my estimation, and the consistency Doeren has established at NC State -- where he spent most of his time in a division with Clemson and Florida State -- is one of the most impressive things any coach in the country has done. I'm glad to see Doeren getting closer to the top 15. 2023 rank: 25 (+9)
#8 Florida State
Mike Norvell: I wonder where the College Football Playoff Selection Committee would have Norvell ranked? I am firmly on Team Florida State Should've Been In The Playoff, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't bothered by how the Seminoles approached the Orange Bowl afterward. It didn't affect how I viewed Norvell in these rankings; he climbed from the top 20 to the top 10 this year. Norvell has put together a masterclass in the transfer portal the last couple of seasons and reinvigorated a Florida State program that desperately needed a jolt. 2023 rank: 19 (+11)
#3 Clemson
Dabo Swinney: Dabo stays at No. 3 this year, but the spot feels tenuous. Had Nick Saban and Jim Harbaugh stuck around, would he still be in the top three? I'm skeptical. Swinney does things his way, and I don't blame him because when you've had as much success as he's had doing it his way, it's natural to resist change. That refusal to adapt, however, played a role in Clemson failing to win at least 10 games last year for the first time since 2010. There are four teams who have yet to accept an incoming transfer this offseason. Three of them are service academies. Clemson is the fourth. 2023 rank: 3 (0)



PJ Zoccolillo enjoys the 2024 Battle of the Wings in Syracuse's Inner Harbor on Saturday. (Charlie Miller | Miller |

Here are the winners of CNY’s Battle of the Wings (and how I voted) (PS; Miller)

Chicken wings sure have evolved since they became Upstate New York’s favorite bar treat in the 1970s. The once-inexpensive poultry served with a basic red-hot sauce is now high-priced fowl doused with everything from sweet-and-sour bourbon glaze to dill pickle seasoning and different fruites in between.

Say what you will, but thousands flocked to Syracuse’s Inner Harbor this weekend to taste traditional and cutting-edge recipes at the annual Battle of the Wings.

“Man, you guys really like chicken wings out here,” said Andrew Millsaps, half of Neon Union, the touring country music duo that performed on the main stage Saturday night. “And man, these are really good. Is there anything you don’t put on wings?”

Before he and Leo Brooks performed, they joined 10 locals in picking their favorite wings created by 16 competing restaurants and bars. Among this disparate ensemble of judges were a City Court judge, Onondaga County’s comptroller, a donut store owner, a car dealer, a young restaurant entrepreneur and an old food writer.

The public also got to pick its favorite wing of the weekend. Home Team Pub in Liverpool edged Ale ‘n’ Angus for the people’s choice trophy with their Mexican Street Corn wing.

The judges sampled 16 wings in 25 minutes on Saturday. Here are the top three top finishers:

Gold Wing: Pizza Cutters for their Whiskey Apple Bourbon wing. The wing is coated with a bourbon glaze with bits of a fresh apple. It’s dusted with Dan-O’s chipotle seasoning. “We live for this contest,” said Pizza Cutters owner Sal Mere. “We’re tired and defeated everyday, but this keeps us going.” Pizza Cutters won trophies last year, and they were invited to compete in next year’s national Wing King festival in Buffalo.

Silver Wing: Shifty’s for their Frankenstein wing, a longtime favorite among patrons of this Burnet Avenue bar.

Bronze Wing: Original Italian Pizza for a chargrilled honey garlic wing. This was one of few vendors who took the extra step to toss the sauces wings over an open flame.

Each judge submitted a ballot listing their top three. It was obvious we didn’t agree on many of the wings. We tried to limit the infighting and name-calling on Judges’ Row.

Here are my top five:

Gold: Shifty’s (Frankenstein wing). This has a mild base with a little honey, hot sauce, taco seasoning and ranch dressing mixed in. City Court Judge James Cecile compared this wing to the chewing gum Violet Beauregarde ate in the original “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.” You know the candy that has the flavors of a three-course meal. “Hey Charlie, look. This wing just tasted like a bowl of soup, and now I think it’s time for dessert.”

Silver: Pizza Man Pub (Irish Breakfast wing). Now, this would have been the perfect chicken wing for Green Beer Sunday. Katie Demperio, the bar manager at this Baldwinsville restaurant, turned a popular barroom shot into a wing sauce. It has Jameson Orange whiskey, some brown sugar and bits of bacon to create a marmalade-like glaze. The only thing missing was an imperial pint of Guinness. Sláinte.

Bronze: Nibsy’s Pub (Nashville Bourbon wing). The guys from Neon Union laughed when I put this on my ballot. “If you’re going to call something Nashville hot, it has to be hot. This is too sweet,” they said before we all did what they call a “redneck handwash” by pouring their bottled water over our fingers and drying off with table napkins. These guys are right; the sauce was not hot. The wing’s skin shell, though, was crispier than many of the competitors. Kevin Harrington, the architect of this not-so-spicy wing, admitted he had to tone it down a bit. “I would love nothing more than to make this hot enough for you to really catch on fire, but we are cooking for the masses,” he said. It still tasted great.


Expanding homegrown biotech company to make $2.8 million move back into city of Syracuse (PS; $; Racino)

A local biotech company that focuses on fighting age-related diseases is growing, moving from LaFayette to downtown Syracuse with the aid of roughly half a million dollars in New York state grants and tax credits.

Ichor Life Sciences began out of a Tipperary Hill apartment living room in 2013 and has since expanded to three locations in LaFayette and one in Potsdam, Ichor CEO Kelsey Moody said.

“I was always really interested in the idea of building drugs,” Moody said. “I raised about half a million dollars when I was in medical school and had a go at it.”

Today, Ichor both develops its own drugs and operates as a contract research organization, providing research and testing for other pharmaceutical companies. Over the years, it has acquired several companies, and it now employs almost 50 people, according to Moody.

The company is working on several breakthrough drugs, including a gene therapy for age-related macular degeneration and Stargardt’s disease (another vision condition), and a drug that would eliminate the need for reading glasses, Moody said.

In an effort to consolidate and expand, Ichor is investing $2.8 million into buying and renovating a building at 831 James St. in Syracuse.

New York’s Empire State Development has pledged a $200,000 grant to the company, in addition to a $250,000 Excelsior Jobs Tax Credit – describing the business as “a key component to the region’s innovation ecosystem.”

“It’s definitely an efficiency move, and this will also increase our square footage,” Moody said. “We also incubate several other biotech companies that are developing their own therapeutics, so we want to have extra space to incubate those companies as well as have space to expand our service offerings.”

Syracuse is “actually a very ideal location to do this sort of work,” Moody said. The biotech scene is bolstered by intellectual capital from local universities, and real estate is relatively inexpensive compared to other U.S. hubs, he said. Central New York is also close enough to other biotech centers, like Boston or Toronto, to make it attractive.


New 11-day festival to celebrate Grateful Dead’s music in Central New York (PS; Herbert)

Calling all Deadheads: There’s a new music festival in Central New York for you.

“Grateful Getaway: An Enchanting Cosmic Odyssey Through the Grateful Dead’s Musical Wonderland,” is an 11-day event set to take place Aug. 1-11 at Wonderland Forest near LaFayette, N.Y. Each night will feature performances of the Grateful Dead’s music by tribute bands and artists with ties to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame group, including the Sam Grisman Project and Melvin Seals & JGB.

Sam Grisman is the son of bluegrass musician David Grisman, also known as “Dawg,” who played mandolin on Grateful Dead’s “American Beauty” album and collaborated with bandleader Jerry Garcia many times. Seals was a longtime member of the Jerry Garcia Band and kept the music going as “JGB” after the death of Garcia in 1995 and bandmate John Kahn in 1996.

Other performers include Dark Star Orchestra, which has performed as a Grateful Dead tribute band for more than 25 years; Pink Talking Fish Are Dead, a “fusion of Pink Floyd, Talking Heads and Phish”; Steely Dead, which combines Steely Dan’s musical precision with the Grateful Dead’s free-flowing improvisation; and Grateful For Biggie, a live hip-hop mashup of the Grateful Dead’s music with Notorious B.I.G.’s raps.

“This captivating event promises to be a euphoric celebration of the band’s timeless tunes, where the melodies of the past intertwine with the boundless energy of the present,” an event description says. “Imagine yourself immersed in a veritable wonderland, where the soulful strums of the guitar and the hypnotic beats of the drums beckon you to lose yourself in the moment. From sunrise to sunset, the Grateful Getaway will transport you to a realm where time stands still, and the only thing that matters is the pure, unadulterated joy of experiencing live music in all its glory.”

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