Depending on who you ask, this has either been a very tough or a pretty optimistic offseason for Syracuse football. Coming off a 1-10 season, head coach Dino Babers and his staff remain intact for another go at things this Fall. Here at Fizz, predictions for the year have ranged from negative to cautiously hopeful, albeit with some caveats.
Then again, the Fizz brand might not be as recognizable a brand as Athlon Sports, who released its annual ACC Football preview on June 10th. We’ve already written about the ACC coach who took Syracuse’s program to the cleaners behind a mask of anonymity, so let’s focus on what the writers at Athlon thought.
Long story short, Syracuse got picked to finish last in the Atlantic division and possibly the entire conference.
That designation doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence, but Athlon fairly points out some things SU fans should keep in mind before they resort to gloom-and-doom. It notes that injuries and the bizarre 2020 season didn’t help Dino Babers and company and that “a normal spring and fall should help this program show some improvement”.
The Syracuse offense isn’t given very much benefit of the doubt after its dreadful performance last season, and Athlon mentions Syracuse’s quarterback problem before correctly pointing out that no matter what, SU’s offensive line has to be better.
We wrote last week about what the team needs to do to tighten up on the defensive side, and Athlon brings up some of the same points. It praises the play of linebacker Mikel Jones and suggests a second year under defensive coordinator Tony White should lead to “a jump in production for Syracuse’s defense”.
At the end of the day, there’s just a lot of question marks in the air for Syracuse at the moment. Athlon’s predictions are mostly on the money, but it’s worth noting that, like the rest of us, they picked Syracuse to succeed and go 9-3 in 2019. SU fans should hope they’re as wrong about this year as they were then.