A Preseason Look at Syracuse

Dino Babers enters his sixth season at the wheel of the former juggernaut steamroller – THE Syracuse Orange. Babers, in his time at the ‘Cuse, is 24 – 36 (13-29 conference (C), 10-7 out of conference (OOC) and 1-0 in bowl games). His high-lite season was 2018 – 10-3 (6-2 C. 3-1 OOC & a bowl win over West Virginia). Do the math. His other four years is nothing to write home about. But it was the first 10 win season since Paul Pasqualini coached the Orange to a 10-3 season in 2001.

I was in Heinz Field for the thrilling Pitt victory in 2018. (Thanks Ike) Of course, the Orange were overrated and Cuse QB Tony Dungey was hung over after spending the prior night drinking under the Tarentum bridge. I can see the allure of drinking under a bridge. I spent the vast majority of my Friday and Saturday nights high school years drinking under the Emsworth bridge. Good times. Life was good.

Babers was one of four ACC coaches hired in  2016 – Fuente at Virginia Tech, Mark Richt at Miami, Bronco Mendenhall at Virginia (VA) and Babers. Mendenhall is secure. Richt is gone. But Fuente and Babers are on the hot seat. Both have two years remaining on their contract. If neither does well in 2021, Fuente is probably gone but Babers may get another year due to the contract buyout.

There were 13 Power5 (P5) head coaches hired in 2016. Only six are still at the school that hired them. Smart (Georgia), Campbell (Iowa State) and Mendenhall (VA) are safe. I do not know enough about Clay Helton at Southern Cal to say if he stays or if he goes.

On to the schedule:

Pitt plays Syracuse during Rivalry Week aka Thanksgiving weekend. Due to the four ACC/SEC match-ups and the Virginia/Virginia Tech, North Carolina/NC State rivalries, the remaining six ACC play a rotating schedule of “rivals”. Since Pitt entered the ACC in 2013 (excluding the 2020 covid year), this is how the ACC has scheduled the “rivalries”.

NCAA team and individual stats for the 2020 season. The names that are color coded have left the program.

Less than stellar recruiting. An across the board Numerical Rivals Ranking (NRR) of a 5.5 – 3*.

Any Transfer Portal (TP) pickups?  Yes, two.

Shrader started seven games as a true freshmen in 2019 under former HC Joe Morehead. When Mike Leach became head coach at Mississippi State in 2020, Shrader never saw the field. He entered the TP and may be the Syracuse starting QB either this year or next. Here is Shrader’s 2019 stats and the 2020 Syracuse QB snaps.

Here are the players to know – returning 2020 All ACC and Athlon 2021 preseason picks.

LB Mikel Jones is good. Sean Tucker is not a bad running back. That wraps up the recruiting, TP entries and names to know portion of my review. On to the player losses.

Who did Syracuse lose to the NFL?

Two Defensive backs drafted and a third signed as a free agent. Makes you wonder why they were ranked 11’th in the ACC defense passing stats (95’th in FBS). Maybe something to do with Cisco opting-out late in the season.

Any losses to the TP? Yes, 16 in total.

Based on 24/7 TP activity, only four have found a new home. The most interesting is 2021 signing recruit Landon Morris. (Morris is the second 2021 recruit to leave an ACC team. Louisville has the other.)

Morris believes he was misled by the Syracuse recruiting staff on his use as a tight end. He was under the impression that he would be more of a wide receiver.

Syracuse freshman TE Landon Morris enters transfer portal, says role didn’t align with SU’s recruiting pitch (247sports.com)

So, if you are looking for a TE who is not interested in blocking , Morris may be someone up your alley.

That is all I have on Syracuse.  Sorry for not having this earlier. I spent three nights at my local casino. Then I found out as I was driving home Thursday that my grandson was named the starting QB for his defending Class 4A state champions high school team –  AC Flora. He has not played a down of HS football since ninth grade. He started on his JV team but as the upback in an I-formation on offense and as a linebacker on defense. (Flora lost their #1QB to graduation and back-up to relocation.)

The football coach asked the baseball coach if he had anyone on his team to come in and back-up the remaining QB. Grandson won the starting job and did OK. One TD pass and did a good job of handing the ball off on the other scoring drive. Flora won and while I have reasons to complain, life is still good. (Actually, a pretty sloppy game for both teams.)

72 thoughts on “A Preseason Look at Syracuse

  1. Perhaps slightly off topic, but I just saw this on PGH SN:
    “The Pitt head coaching position will permanently be named the Chris Bickell ’97 Head Football Coach after Bickell decided to donate $20 million to the Pitt football program. This is the first time that a Pitt coaching position has been named. That gift is the largest single donation in the history of Pitt Athletics.
    Bickell enjoyed success as he previously was founder of Liberty IT Solutions. Today, he is CEO of WellHive, a firm that seamlessly connects military veterans with healthcare services.”

    Which POVert will be first to call Mr. Bickell to ask him to fire Narduzzi?
    Before you do, his statement was “I believe the leadership is in place to take Pitt Athletics and our football program to the next level. I hope my gift inspires others to do their part in making that happen”

    And his company, WellHive is doing great work for our vets!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks, Richard. Loved the scratched out “juggernaut!” And congrats to your grandson on winning the QB job! Cool.

    I remember being down on the field at Pitt Stadium in the mid 90’s after the Orange had beaten Pitt. I remember being impressed by how athletic-looking the Syracuse players were compared to the Panthers…

    Go Pitt.

    PS: What’s remarkable about the 20 million buck donation is that Mr. Bickell graduated from Pitt in 1997. Not exactly the glory days of Pitt football. Thank you to Mr. Bickell.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Syracuse was pretty good in the 90s. Graves and McNabb were both four-year starters at QB.

      Maybe you were at the 1995 contest? A 42-10 drubbing. So unfair how BC, WVU and Cuse were all competitive that decade and Pitt didn’t give a hoot about football.


  3. Congrats to your grandson, should be fun times for you and your family.

    While it does seem odd to name a coaching position after a donor it isn’t odd in academic circles.

    Anyway, a great day for Pitt Football, many thanks to Mr. Bickell and congrats to the fund raisers who assisted in making it happen.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The POV has started the monthly “Best POV Commenter (enter donor’s name here) Monthly Award”..

    For only $5,000 per month you too can have your own name on something important. Plus, because I’ll be getting the money you can say you also are “helping a veteran”.

    Btw, as nice as that donation is his company isn’t really helping the veterans per se; it provides contracted for profit technical support to the VA agency itself.. Just like all the other contracted businesses.

    But that $20M is certainly generous. Think of how many HS freshman football players Pitt can buy now!


  5. Turns out Mr. Bickell is from Philly and grew up in a PSU house. I like this guy!

    On the radio just now, Mr. Bickell said some nice things about Pat Bostick’s role in this donation, along with HL and Coach Duzz…

    Go Pitt!

    Liked by 3 people

  6. A fan of the volleyball team tweeted that he’d make a $100 donation to the team if they would name the libero position after his twitter handle. Done. Then another offered to do the same for the setters -$150. Done. Look at the vb twitter feed. Pretty funny.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Is it safe to go to a packed stadium even if you are vaccinated? The public health experts said, “Not now, no way.”

      Then why the F did anyone get vaccinated, LOL. Public health officials are rejects that couldn’t make it in the corporate world so they work in government. They have flip flopped on so many issues that their opinions are now irrelevant.


  7. does HL earn any kudos related to the 20M donation?

    if head coach naming is 20M, maybe I can buy naming rights for the right shoe of a 1st year grad assistant 😦

    Liked by 3 people

  8. What I remember from the 2018 game

    1. Pitt was down 10 in the 4th quarter and drove the ball right down the field twice, all runs, for a Touchdown and a last second FG (What a difference a year makes)

    2. a DB from Pittsburgh, Therran Coleman, made the clinching OT interception in the end zone. He has since transferred but glad he got his moment

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 1 person

  9. 2021 Pitt Win Total Predictions
    Dave Wannstedt (Fox Sports): 10
    Paul Zeise (PG/93.7 The Fan): 11 (Paul has Pitt winning the Coastal)
    Chris Mack (93.7 The Fan): 9
    Bob Pompeani (KDKA-TV): 9
    Chris Mueller (93.7 The Fan): 7
    Joe Kaap (93.7 The Fan): 8
    Mike Asti (Steelers Now): 8
    Rich Walsh (KDKA-TV): 8
    Chris Peak (PantherLair): 9
    Joe Starkey (93.7 The Fan): 9
    Mike DeCourcy (Sporting News): 9
    Josh Taylor (KDKA-TV): 8
    Brett McMurphy (Action Network): 8
    Andrew Stockey (WTAE-TV): 8
    Bill Bender (Sporting News): 7

    Queue Tex’s nervous breakdown, lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can see the ‘others’ wanting to make Pitt look bad….if we only win 6 or 7.

      But even ‘Pitt Man’…..Wanny….has Pitt winning 10. Yes that’s ten !

      Unless he hates Narsnoozy ! lol


  10. What would/could really help out the ACC is: if the schools in the big media markets would dominate the conference in football.

    So Pitt & Syracuse or Boston College must start winning their Divisions and meeting in the ACC Championship game.

    Pitt has the most storied program in the ACC and Syracuse is probably No. 2.

    This would also, I think, bring Notre Dame into the ACC football fold as well. Since the majority of their
    ‘subway’ alumni live in NYC & Boston & the east coast.

    The Big 10 generally stinks but since the conference includes several major media markets like Chicago,
    they get the ‘kit glove care’ treatment by the national fraud media.


  11. Watching the Minnesota/OSU game where Minn is up 14-10 at the half. Minn scored on a great full house backfield play with what appeared to be a big OL doing the blocking. I hope Narduzzi was watching! BTW, great to see a full stadium again!


    1. Would be nice to see the Suckeyes be out of the playoff/NC picture immediately.

      Clearing the way for the Pitt Panthers !

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Not much of a passing game….run up a Nardoozy defense’s alley. Tenn QB only 11/23 for 140…40 of those came on the one pass, when the game was on Cruise Control 38-6.


  12. This is a test post. My posts seemed to have stopped going through. The posts were actually complements on how well Pat Bostick is doing in his career. Hopefully this one shows up.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ryan Day is 16-0 in conference play starting his third year. I don’t think you can do better, lol.


  13. I will be away from computers/Internet for the weekend but #7 Pitt Volleyball has a decisive early season match against #9 Baylor on Saturday at 4 PM. This will be a litmus test on if Pitt has what it takes to make a deeper run in the NCAA tournament this year. Baylor is lead by two great outside hitters which will test our outside hitters defense. Lockwood, Ndee, Lund, and Gomez need to at least hold the pin match up to a draw. This is probably Pitt’s weak spot. Up the middle Pitt is now very tough and deep. with Gray and Starks. Unfortunately the match is not televised by but you can follow the stats on your phone while watching Pitt football pummel UMass.

    Pitt plays Tennessee on Sunday in what is going to be comedown after Saturday. Pitt may play several second team players in the match. Pitt should handle Tennessee.

    Liked by 3 people

  14. Minn getting jobbed on a few PI non-calls then a targeting non-call at the end even on review

    IMO the targeting was borderline but the PI’s were not

    pathetic officiating that without a doubt if Pitt everything is call against us

    Liked by 2 people

  15. PG sports writer amplifies Reed’s criticism of Narduzzi’s secrecy: John McGonigal: For full transparency, we didn’t see any spring practice, and the spring game draft split up what would’ve been the starting o-line. And in fall camp, reporters weren’t allowed to sit in on scrimmages. In that sense, we’re going off what coaches and players say about the OL, which naturally is going to be positive. I do think Abanikanda is legit. It’ll just be a matter of if the OL opens holes for him. Re: Whipple, he’s definitely a pass-first guy. No question. But he also had no reason to trust the running game last year. Maybe it’ll give him more confidence this go-around.


    1. Narduzzi saying the offense will not be vanilla for the opener is the biggest lie. He does it every year.

      I read Franklin won’t even release a depth chart. These coaches crack me up.

      Hope you are correct about the run game or it is going to be a long year.


  16. Looks like the TN and WMU games are on ESPN. So without ACCN on Comcast, you only miss UMASS and NH games and we should easily beat them unless we are really bad. All games on 93.7 Fan Internet.


  17. Johnny Mac on The Fan says Pitt will again have the QB run to the sideline for plays! He says Picket really likes it. Says O Line Pitt’s biggest weakness…. duh! Can’t wait for the prediction thread.


    1. Hilarious how people trash running to the sidelines yet Kenny loves it and he and Whipple communicate about how they will be going for it on fourth, etc.

      People act as though they have to run to the sideline. If they aren’t complaining, they’re not happy I guess.


      1. I don’t think Kenny’s the type of kid who is going to say something bad about the coaches or complain,
        Even if he is gimped up and banged up and has to hobble over to the sideline.

        Besides that…..
        If it’s so great, why isn’t one other team doing it ?


  18. 1st Prediction.

    Pitt 50
    Umass 10

    Pitt could have scored more, but Charmin has mercy on his Minutemen and calls all Running plays in the
    4th Quarter.


    1. It would be better for the conference if the Tarholes win. We need some schools other than Clemscum in the Top 10 and they are No 10 now.

      Also we don’t want VT thinking they have some sort of Shutdown Defense….we do have to visit Hooterville in Game 6.

      Hokies vs Holes….dislike em both !


    1. Since 2016, two guarantees from Pitt fans:

      Fuente is going to get fired because VTech is a sinking ship.
      Franklin is looking to get out of PSU and has his eyes on USC.


  19. Wow….13 minutes to go…only down 2 scores and Brown goes for it on his own 43….giving VT a short field to possibly put the game Out of Reach.

    Let’s see if that bites him in his arse.


  20. Did I miss something? Where’s Tex? Has he given up on the hapless Panthers?

    Is he on sabbatical?

    Go Pitt.


  21. From a Chris Dokish tweet last night:

    “If Sam Howell is a top 5 pick, it’s going to be a really bad draft”


  22. Well, I guess I’ve become the type of POVert Reed really dislikes, that is a daily reader but very infrequent poster. Just haven’t felt I had anything to add.
    Game day, getting ready to fight the crazy traffic and wild crowds to see us vs the fighting Bostonians. Hope we can get through the rib festers.
    Some things I think and my season predictions:

    1) I look at our season record a little differently. Most first look at potential wins and set a number. Well, if one thing is fact, it’s that the Duzz will lose at least 5 games this year. Yup, he’s always lost AT Least that many every year. Good team, bad team, tough schedule,easy schedule, it hasn’t mattered, and that’s fact, not subjective.
    2) For the life of me I can’t figure how he lost 5 games in 2016. If I would have given you the PSU win and beating Clemson there probably wouldn’t have been one of us that would have bet we’d loose 5 games that year.
    3) I thought maybe it was bad luck and he lost a lot of close games, somI looked it up. ( I defined close as 4 points or less, my definition only) . He lost 10of these games over the years which is a pretty healthy number. But he also won 10 of these games, hummm.
    4) I have no idea which games he’ll win or lose, but given 5 losses from the start that means 8 wins is the limit. My gut says 7-6 or 6-7. I will be optimistic and say 7-6. Until he loses less than 5 in a year that’s my prediction.
    5) On a side note, I was explaining the 20 mil donation to Mrs. JoeKnew, she goes to all the games, roots like crazy, but sometimes does know what shares yelling about. She loves the Panthers. Well, after the explanation she looks at me with that quizzical expression and says” Why don’t they just use the money and hire a good coach”? Out of the mouths of babes…. Enjoy the game !


  23. PITT has to win 9 regular season games this year or what? It would take a complete disaster of a season for Narduzzi to lose his job. BUT! PITT will have a good season and people will still bitch.

    Narduzzi put three or four players in the pro’s from last years team and has a team this year jacked up with good recruits and everyone expects them to win 9 regular season games this year. Narduzzi was hired to not have a football program embarrass the University. Having football teams that are also thought of as “competitive” on the field, is a bonus. Narduzzi is doing a good job under the PITT administrations expectations. Deal with it.

    Don’t just there sitting on a flag pole, put your predictions down on paper with a pen.

    Liked by 3 people

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