Hearing opposing ACC coaches speak after Syracuse’s conference yesterday is certainly interesting. Regardless of whether they’re on the Orange’s schedule, one way or another they’re going to impact Dino Babers’ bunch. Five more schools addressed the media on Wednesday, each with a unique perspective on the season.
Start spreadin’ the news about the Panthers, because they are excited to play the Orange at Yankee Stadium this November. The game will mark the 100th anniversary of the first-ever college football game played at the House That Ruth Built, which also featured SU and Pitt. All four members of the Panthers’ traveling party raved about the opportunity playing in such a game provides. This won’t be the last time the two schools meet- Pitt is one of Syracuse’s three permanent rivals they’ll see every year under the new ACC scheduling format. As long as the Panthers don’t abandon their blue-collar mentality Pat Narduzzi talked about a lot, it’ll be a tough test.
The Orange haven’t seen a ton of the Blue Devils in the past, and that will remain the case this season barring a matchup in the ACC Championship. However, it’s not entirely out of the question that Duke finds itself in that game. The Blue Devils experienced somewhat of a renaissance in Mike Elko’s first year at the helm- they won nine games after combining to win 10 over the previous three seasons combined. Syracuse and Duke are scheduled to meet in 2024- if the continued growth Elko preached on Wednesday becomes a reality, the Blue Devils could be a force to be reckoned with in the ACC for years to come.
After beating the Hokies with Old Dominion in 2022, wide receiver Ali Jennings changed course to Blacksburg this offseason, citing the raucous Lane Stadium environment as part of the reason why. SU will experience that fully come late October, on a Thursday night nonetheless. Syracuse’s traveling party expressed particular excitement for that game Tuesday, and Virginia Tech followed suit. 2022 was an unsettling season for the Hokies- they went 3-8, including four losses to Old Dominion, Miami, NC State, and Georgia Tech by a combined 11 points. If the ball bounces a different way, it could have been a completely different season. Expectations won’t be sky-high for Virginia Tech, but Lane Stadium will always be loud. Especially when the Orange roll in on that Thursday night.
Can they live up to the hype? That’s the question surrounding the Seminoles, and Head Coach Mike Norvell acknowledged that there is a ton of potential that is yet to be met. QB Jordan Travis has received a lot of Heisman hype as the season draws nearer, but stated that individual hardware was the last thing on his mind. Team hardware isn’t such a lofty expectation- many preseason polls have FSU close to the top after winning six straight by an average of 24 points (including a 38-3 drubbing of Syracuse). But how far can they go? Regardless, SU has its work cut out for it when it visits Tallahassee in mid-October.
You hate to be pessimistic, but the odds that the Orange renew acquaintances with the Cavaliers are not high. It would only happen in the ACC Championship game, and after a 3-7 campaign in Tony Elliott’s first season as head coach, that seems like a tall ask. But, if you’re looking for an ACC team to root for other than Syracuse, UVA would be a very good pick. The Cavaliers’ traveling party all talked about resilience after the senseless tragedy from a few months ago and coming together. That’s difficult to not root for.
Two days down from Charlotte, one to go. Tomorrow should be an intriguing day for SU fans- four opponents on the 2023 schedule in North Carolina, Clemson, Wake Forest, and Boston College will speak. NC State will also take the podium, and though old friend Robert Anae won’t be there, plenty should be said about him. Stay tuned for our last day of coverage.