While Jim Phillips’ address to the media and the four Syracuse representatives were the marquee events of the day for Orange fans, there was still plenty to take in from the ensuing press conferences. Three opposing ACC schools took to the podium, and once they were done there was a special fireside chat with a new conference higher-up. Here’s a synopsis of the big notes from each session.
Miami was the only one of the so-called “Magnificent 7” schools to speak today, but you wouldn’t have been able to tell given its press conference. Yes, Mario Cristobal acknowledged the transfer portal and how ways to build a roster are changing, but the main emphasis in the Hurricanes’ words was bouncing back. Many pegged Miami to win the ACC Coastal last season, some the conference title game. Those expectations sunk faster than the Titanic after a 5-7 record, including a loss to Middle Tennessee at home. Cristobal was a game-changer at Oregon, the Hurricanes hope he can be one in Coral Gables too. The only time Syracuse would see Miami is the ACC Championship.
Out goes Scott Satterfield, in comes Jeff Brohm, whom SU fans are plenty familiar with. The former Purdue head man saw his team kick off from the 10-yard line, commit consecutive penalties on 3rd-and-10, and allow a game-winning touchdown with under a minute to go in the fourth quarter of last season’s clash between the Orange and Boilermakers. Brohm inherits a Cardinals team coming off a Fenway Bowl victory, but one that will have to find a new identity this year. Dynamic QB Malik Cunningham is gone. It will be tough to build on last season’s success without their best player from a year ago, but Brohm took a once bottom-feeder Boilermakers team to the Big Ten Championship within a few years. SU does not have a regular season game with Louisville, they could meet in the conference title game.
The Yellow Jackets are the only one of Syracuse’s ACC opponents that spoke today. A 1-3 start sank Georgia Tech’s hopes last season and sparked a head coaching change. Brent Key took over and oversaw some improvement during a 4-4 finish, which included a pair of ranked wins over Pitt and North Carolina (both of which were on the road). The Yellow Jackets lacked consistency, but Key acknowledged their goal is to take another step forward, a la be more consistent. Georgia Tech will be no slouch for Syracuse come the penultimate game of the regular season.
This was pretty unique. Alberto Riveron, who was previously the NFL’s Senior Vice President of Officiating, is serving in a new role as the ACC Supervisor of Officials. He went in-depth about how the job of an official does not boil down to just three and a half hours a week on Saturdays, and how there’s a lot of film study as well as plenty of Zoom calls involved. Riveron also broke down some new rule changes in college football, specifically the decision to keep the clock running after first downs except for the final two minutes of either half. It was a fascinating discussion- one in which Riveron managed to compare instant replay review to a court of law. It made officiating seem a lot harder than we think.
That does it for day one of the ACC Kickoff. Stay tuned tomorrow for more content- three Syracuse opponents in Pitt, Virginia Tech, and Florida State will speak, along with Duke and Virginia.