Orange Watch: ACC bowl game lineup works in Syracuse football’s favor

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Syracuse head coach Dino Babers coaches from the sidelines. Mandatory Photo Credit: Kicia Sears, The Juice Online.

Item: The ACC released its 2019 football media guide this week, including the conference bowl protocol for selecting teams to play in which postseason games following the upcoming season. After last year when the Orange Bowl hosted a College Football Playoff semi-final matchup, the game is back in play for the ACC champion in 2019 (although a top four ranked ACC title team goes to the CFP), giving Syracuse a goal to shoot for after a decisive Camping World Bowl victory last season.

Dino Babers has been talking about winning national championships as a Northeast-based program this summer, raising eyebrows amidst his tour of football camps around the fertile recruiting territory that makes up an approximately six hour driving distance radius from Syracuse.

Heck, teams from the south have won 12 of the last 13 national titles, so in year four of his rebuild from scratch, Babers is raring to keep constructing a program that can contend with the Clemson’s, Florida State’s and Miami’s and their winning traditions and warmer climates.

» Related: Previewing Syracuse football’s matchup with Duke

With that in mind, there’s no place to go but up for the ‘Cuse in the ACC bowl game pecking order for 2019, after finishing as the only team besides national champion Clemson in the final 2018 Top 25 poll. That would mean a couple of scenarios:

  • A dream (undefeated) season finishing as a top four ranked team and making the CFP semifinals to play in either Atlanta (Peach) or suburban Phoenix (Fiesta).
  • Securing the Orange Bowl bid as conference champion to play a team from the SEC, Big Ten, or Notre Dame (ugh) in sunny and warm Miami.
  • Ranked high enough to grab the ACC-eligible, at-large Cotton Bowl bid at Jerry’s World in Arlington among the “New Year’s Day Six” games.
  • Have the ACC opponent in the Orange Bowl be a Big Ten team, opening up the Citrus Bowl game in Orlando on New Year’s Day afternoon on ABC. Yes, it’s the same locale/stadium as last year, but a bump up in prestige.

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Brad Bierman
About Brad Bierman 588 Articles
Now in his fifth decade of covering SU sports, Brad was sports director of WSYR radio for eight years into the early 1990s, then wrote the Orange Watch column for The Big Orange/The Juice print publication for 18 years. A Syracuse University graduate, Brad currently runs his own media consulting business in the Philadelphia suburbs. Follow him on Twitter @BradBierman.