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Early Love: SI Tabs Syracuse As Preseason Favorite to Win Rugged ACC

Andy Glockner at SI.com penned a piece previewed the new-look ACC. And there’s some tidbits that definitely stand out:

“(Once UofL joins next season) either Duke, North Carolina, Louisville or Syracuse will finish, at best, in fourth place. Those are all top-10 national programs in terms of prestige, history, current capabilities, etc. Inheriting the old Big East’s spot on Big Monday is the icing on the cake in terms of national positioning.”

It is pretty devastating to the rest of the middle class in the ACC that it will now have to run through those four schools just to crack into the top seedings of the ACC tourney and regular season standings. Also, interesting how Glockner labels SU a top 10 program for prestige and history. The nation usually looks at Kansas, Kentucky, UCLA, Indiana, Duke, and North Carolina as the blue bloods of the NCAA college landscape in that discussion. But it’s exciting to have a respected national writer put the Orange in that same breath. The ACC’s ability to swoop in on the Big Monday TV window is also absolutely enormous.

His favorite to win the conference:

“After changing my mind somewhere between 20 and 100 times, I’m going with Syracuse, in large part because I think the Orange have a more favorable unbalanced schedule than Duke. On a neutral floor, I’m probably taking the Blue Devils head-to-head and Duke may be the “better” team, with ample perimeter quality and depth being supplemented by athletic wing slashers in the frontcourt, but Duke has difficult road games at Notre Dame, Pitt, Syracuse and North Carolina in league play. The Orange don’t play at UNC or Notre Dame, although they do have a road tilt at Virginia, too. Mix in the unfamiliarity with the Syracuse zone, and I’ll take the Orange, barely, to win the league, with the caveat that Trevor Cooney has to find his jump shot and Tyler Ennis is solid as expected at the point.”

What a statement it would be if the Orange wins the ACC and topples the Heels and Devils in its first season in the new conference. SU has lost some major leadership and scoring in Triche, Southerland and Carter-Williams’ departures. I’m excited about the new, young faces. I’m intrigued by the hunger of a fresh recruiting class. But I’m a little concerned whether SU can put it all together in Year 1 of the ACC enough to win the conference. Then again, getting UNC and Duke at the Dome are going to be as deafening as any games this season anywhere. So, SU has some bullets in its chambers.

The best part of the new ACC?

“As good as Syracuse-Georgetown rivalry games like that could be, stylistically they (and the Big East, in my opinion) had grown stale. Now we get annual (almost) round-robins between Duke, North Carolina, Louisville and Syracuse, with Notre Dame, Pitt and others providing additional foils, especially at home. You have four of the game’s legendary coaches all in one conference. It should be spectacular, at least as long as K, Jim and Roy want to stick around.”

I disagree that stylistically there was anything stale about SU/Georgetown. There’s nothing like the intensity and passion that poured out between the two schools. Same went for SU/UConn and even when schools like Nova were winning. But it’s a new day, and the matchups against Duke and UNC annually will be great theater as well. It’s the games against Clemson, Wake, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, and others that have no juice is what I’m worried about.

But it’s clear: SU is well positioned to make major waves in its first year in the ACC.

Posted: D.A.

The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.

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