It seems as though everyone thinks the Southeastern Conference is the greatest and it’s better than everyone else. The SEC rules football, and football rules college sports, so while the ACC and Big Ten may be good at basketball, that doesn’t matter as much. And while the stats and the wins do back that up, there’s more to sports than the SEC. Even in football.
I’m talking about the ACC, SU’s conference for the last year. The years of being in the Big East are fading away. The ACC is here now. And while many would argue the ACC is still behind the SEC, Big Ten, Pac-12 and Big 12, I don’t think it’s that far behind many of those. Each conference has top-heavy teams and bottom feeders. The SEC just has a lot more trophies as of late.
In addition to Florida State’s championship win over Auburn last year (proof the SEC is mortal), Clemson also beat Ohio State in the Orange Bowl. And Duke (Duke football!) nearly beat a Johnny Manziel-led Texas A&M team in its bowl game.
The ACC has a secret weapon this year that no other conference has—FSU’s Jameis Winston. This bodes well not just for the ACC but for Syracuse too. There is added attention on the ACC. The defending champs FSU are in the ACC. The SEC’s stranglehold on national championships was broken last season.
It’s time for SU to step up to the plate in year two of the ACC. There will be tough games against Notre Dame, Louisville, FSU and Clemson. SU can win one of those. It has to win games against the likes of Maryland, Wake Forest, NC State, Duke, Pitt and Boston College.
This isn’t just Year 2 in the ACC. Terrel Hunt is in Year 2. That is supposed to be better than Year 1. Scott Shafer is in Year 2, too. Consistency and familiarity will be key. The Orange must pick up on the momentum of last year’s bowl win.
Writer David M. Hale said this on ESPN.com this week: “Of course, 2013 was about testing the waters for Hunt, Shafer and Syracuse offensive coordinator George McDonald — all in their first year on the job. Now, the hope is that the process is more refined, and experience will benefit everyone. That’s certainly what Shafer saw this spring from his quarterback.”
College football is an offensive game. SU and Hunt must keep up.
I know I said the ACC can stand on its own two feet against the SEC. But the SEC is still the conference to fear. The Orange must hold its own against its ACC foes. If SU can’t handle the ACC, ‘Cuse will never be able to handle the SEC, or get the opportunity to.
But I won’t look too far ahead. For now, the squad is coming off a 7-6 season and a bowl win. The ACC added Louisville and now also requires Notre Dame to play games against ACC foes. The conference provides a challenge just right for ‘Cuse. It’s up to the Orange to take that challenge and run with it.
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- Syracuse faces key test against North Carolina on Feb. 29 - February 24, 2016
- Syracuse must fight to continue momentum after Duke win - January 22, 2016
- Remembering my interview with Syracuse legend Dolph Schayes - December 11, 2015