Heading into year two of the Scott Shafer era, the question has to be, what are the expectations for the Syracuse football team this season? The Orange is coming off a 7-6 season, highlighted by a 21-17 win in the Texas Bowl over Minnesota. That was a surprising finish to some, who picked the Orange to finish at the basement of the ACC at this time last year.
If you check some of the early season prognosticators and the best college football lines at Sportbet.com, not much has changed.
When Phil Steele released his preseason All-ACC Teams last week, he only listed five players on that team. Earlier this week, Athlon followed suit, naming just four Syracuse players to the All-ACC Team.
Left tackle Sean Hickey, who has emerged as one of the top NFL prospects on the Orange, was named to the second team. He was joined by linebacker Dyshawn Davis and safety Durell Eskridge. The other other player selected was linebacker Cameron Lynch, who was named to the third team.
The only discrepancy between Athlon and Phil Steele was over Ross Krautman. The SU kicker was named to Steele’s Fourth Team unit, but was left off of Athlon’s team all together. Krautman made 3 of 4 field goals and 13 of 14 extra points before suffering a season ending lower body injury.
The Orange finished second to last in the conference in Athlon’s preseason honorees, tied with Pitt and North Carolina State. Defending national champion Florida State led the conference with 18, while Miami (13) and Duke (12) rounded out the top three.
Perhaps the biggest snub was Terrel Hunt, who was beat out on the Fourth Team by Clemson QB Cole Stoudt. Hunt threw for 1638 yards and 10 touchdowns last year, while rushing for 500 yards and seven touchdowns after taking over the starting job for Syracuse in a 54-0 win over Wagner. Stoudt threw for 415 yards and five touchdowns, mostly in mop up duty of lopsided games. He takes over for Tajh Boyd, who was drafted in the sixth round of the 2014 NFL draft by the New York Jets.
But past performance is only one factor that Athlon used in arriving at their preseason teams. Here is how Athlon describes its formula:
An important note on the all-conference teams: These are based on how players will perform in 2014. Career statistics and awards matter in the evaluation, but choosing players for the 2014 all-conference team is largely based on predicting and projecting the best for the upcoming year.