Item: A most noticeable element to this week’s release of the All-ACC preseason team and predicted order of finish was certainly not that Syracuse, coming off successive 4-8 seasons, was picked to finish last in the seven team Atlantic Division by the 148 media members who participated in the voting, but the rise to prominence of a similar program to the Orange’s makeup, longtime rival Boston College.
We remember at the 2013 ACC Kickoff event in which Syracuse was in its initial season as a conference member, overhearing rookie Orange coach Scott Shafer talking recruiting budgets with fellow first year coach Steve Addazio, the former Paul Pasqualoni tight end/offensive line assistant from 1995-98, one morning over the breakfast buffet.
“For a buck fifty ($150,000) we get X amount of hours of the charter air service and it’s been really helpful to get to see many kids in the same day,” we caught Addazio saying to Shafer who was nodding his head in agreement, referencing the arms race of wooing Power 5 football talent to private schools in the cold northeast climate.
We thought about that moment this week when analyzing the ACC preseason voting.
Six seasons later Shafer is beginning his second year as the defensive coordinator at Middle Tennessee, and Addazio (with a little career return help from Coach P between 2016-17), has elevated the Eagles program and recruiting to a level that produced four All-ACC picks led by preseason player of the year running back AJ Dillon, a number four slot in the Atlantic behind Clemson, Florida State and N.C. State, all four of whom received at least one vote to win the ACC title, and will produce multiple NFL draft picks next April.
Shafer went 2-1 against Addazio, and Babers has split his first two games winning on the road in 2016. Thumbs up to the conference for making this the annual season-ending rivalry game, to be contested this year at BC on Nov. 24.