Kudos to Syracuse Alums Helping Flint’s Water Crisis

Eric Devendorf had some great on-the-court moments as a Syracuse Orange, as well as some questionable off-the-court moments.  Most Syracuse fans “liked” Eric, but most opponents certainly did not.  There was nothing about Devendorf’s on-the-court persona that endeared himself to others.  But, Syracuse fan or otherwise, one has to be proud of what he (and other Syracuse alums) are doing to help Flint, Michigan, with its water crisis.

Syracuse’s Eric Devendorf is one of many former college basketball players to lend their names to a charity game to support Flint, Michigan.

Look, there is nothing particularly notable about playing in a basketball game.  That is what basketball players do.  But Devendorf is also promoting the game–making stops on sports radio and promoting the gofundme page.  For a guy with a questionable reputation, good for him.

Kudos to Mookie Jones for also agreeing to participate.  Frankly, kudos to ALL the former players who are donating their time and name (with ranges of value) to the cause.  Mateen Cleaves and the other Michigan “Flint-stones” will certainly be a big draw too.  Even Derrick Coleman and Mark Ingram (NFLer) will be participating.  Let’s hope that the event is a success.

Naturally, if you want to help or donate, the above gofundme page is a good start.



ACC Recruiting Recap

With another football letter of intent signing day passing by yesterday, the analysis begins.  The major outlets take their subjective weight given to players and look at how those players accumulated at schools.  If there was ever an example of “garbage-in, garbage-out,” it would be this task.  Nevertheless, throwing out all the subjectives, there is certainly some sort of correlation between “good recruiting classes” and results (except at Texas and Miami).  So here is what folks think of the 2016 football recruiting classes.


Here is the overall top ten listed at Rivals.  As you can see, Florida State and Clemson crack the top 25.

Rank School Total 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars Avg Points
1 24 5 10 9 3.83 2885
2 25 1 18 4 3.72 2816
3 24 2 15 7 3.79 2704
4 28 1 15 12 3.61 2603
5 22 3 10 6 3.59 2530
6 23 0 15 6 3.57 2515
7 24 2 10 12 3.58 2507
8 20 2 11 7 3.75 2429
9 21 2 11 6 3.62 2403
10 20 3 10 6 3.75 2387

As for all the ACC schools:

  • #2  Florida State-twitter seems to suggest a disappointment that this is not deemed the #1 class.  But the Seminoles would certainly prefer a national title over a recruiting rankings title.
  • #5 Clemson–in-state rival South Carolina was way down at #26.
  • #12 Notre Dame–between UCLA, Texas, and Florida makes sense.  Behind Mississippi does not.  And rival USC is a few spots up at #8, while Stanford is a few spots down at #18.
  • #22 Miami–Miami has never had trouble getting talent and this is a decent class for Mark Richt in just a few weeks.
  • #24 North Carolina–ahead of historical blue blood Nebraska, neighbor South Carolina, and current elite school Oregon.  Good things happening in Chapel Hill.
  • #30 Pittsburgh–Pitt has had good recruiting classes year after year–the benefit of being located in Pennsylvania, adjacted to Ohio, and next to both New Jersey and the D.C. Corridor.
  • #31 Duke–we are used to top classes in hoops, but the Blue Devils on-field success is translating into better football recruiting classes, including a class better than football stalwarts Wisconsin and Arkansas… and a top half class within the ACC.
  • #37 Louisville–a decent class, but Cards fans cannot like seeing Kentucky up at #28.  There is an SEC bias, to be sure, but who would have expected that?  Still, #3 in the Atlantic.
  • #43 NC State–squarely in the middle of the Atlantic at #4.  Ahead of Wake Forest, but behind Duke and UNC.  Ahead of Syracuse in the division, but behind Louisville.  Not good, not bad.
  • #49 Virginia Tech–as a ranking, this must be disappointing.  Houston, Northwestern, and Brigham Young should generally not out-recruit the Hokies.  Chalk it up to a new coach.
  • #57 Syracuse–being behind Washington State, Iowa State, and Indiana is ordinarily disappointing, but new coach Dino Babers worked some magic to get Syracuse above four other ACC schools in just a few weeks.
  • #62 Virginia–former coach Mike London was a good recruiter, and the coaching switch seemed to cost Virignia slightly.  Not much of a new coach bounce.  UCF, Temple, Vanderbilt, and Colorado State were among the schools to have better ranked classes.
  • #63 Wake Forest–hey, anytime the Demon Deacons avoid the basement, it is a good thing.
  • #68 Georgia Tech–having only 18 recruits hurts, but should Georgia Tech EVER be below Western Michigan in recruiting?  They do recruit for a system, though, and the system players usually suffer in the rankings.
  • #82 Boston College–sigh.  Only Kansas has a worse recruiting class among P5 schools.  Miami of Ohio has a better class.  But better than neighbors UConn and UMass.  And similar classes did not prevent BC from having a great defense.

What do you think?  Are you happy with your school’s class? Disappointed?  Dispute these RIVALS rankings?  Let us know.

2016 ACC Football: Games of the Week

The ACC released the football schedules for all schools earlier this week.  By now, fans have had their first thoughts on how positive and negative the specific schedule will be.  From an ACC fan perspective, the schedule analysis is broader–for example, what is the “must see” game of the week.  Here is the Confidential’s early prediction on what will be the games to watch each week:

  1. Week 1… with all due respect to Florida State and UNC, who are coming off great 2015 seasons, it was Clemson that carried the ACC in 2015 and the Tigers open Week 1 against Auburn.  If they can pull of that road win against a tough SEC foe, it will be a good omen.
  2. Week 2… with apologies to Virginia Tech and Syracuse/Louisville… Pitt hosting Penn State gets the nod.  These two Pennsylvania rivals have not faced each other often of late, but it will be ACC vs Big 10 in week 2.
  3. Week 3… no real contest here… if Louisville and Florida State are both 2-0 at this point, it will be all the more important to the Atlantic/ACC race.  And if either school has lost heading into this one, there could be desperation.
  4. Week 4… Duke vs. Notre Dame has historically been more interesting in basketball, but these are different times and the Blue Devils are quite competent.  They will give the Fighting Irish something to think about.
  5. Week 5…  a fair amount of good conference games, but the slight edge goes to Clemson-Louisville.  If Clemson is a top ranked team, the Cardinals will either be rolling or desperate.
  6. Week 6… Florida State traveling to Miami should be interesting.  Miami under a new coaching staff needs to start taking advantage of its talent.  An upset win over FSU would be a big momentum boost.
  7. Week 7… Virginia Tech and Syracuse used to play annually in the Big East.  While Frank Beamer coached all of those games for the Hokies, these two former rivals play as ACC foes in 2016, in the Dome, with Syracuse under a new coaching staff as well.
  8. Week 8… Speaking of new coaching staffs, Virginia has one as well.  In Week 8, rival North Carolina will come to Charlottesville.  Keep an eye on this one.
  9. Week 9… The biggest ACC game of the year in recent years has not been the conference championship game, but Clemson-FSU.  This year, Clemson will travel to Florida State.  Circle this one on your calendar for sure.
  10. Week 10… a difficult week to know which game will be the most important.  Will Clemson have looked past Syracuse in a post-FSU matchup?  Florida State has struggled at NC State recently.  Pitt-Miami is a Coastal clash, as is Georgia Tech-North Carolina.
  11. Week 11… with apologies to Duke-UNC, the Confidential ponders whether Pitt traveling to Clemson may feature the top teams in each division.
  12. Week 12… while many teams are slowing down to prepare for ACC/SEC rivalry games, a Northeast rivalry between BC and UConn will resume.  This game may feature less than 10 total points, but both schools detest each other.  Tune in.
  13. Week 13… of all the rivalry games, chances are that Florida State/Florida will be the best combination of high ranked teams and great teams.  South Carolina should struggle this year.

What do you think?  How do you rank the games of the week for each week?  Let us know.

Syracuse & Zack Mahoney

It is amazing that Syracuse fans are so quick to turn on Zack Mahoney and conclude that he is incapable of playing QB for Syracuse.  On what basis can any Syracuse fan make that statement?

Mahoney’s first game experience came against Central Michigan, where Mahoney ultimately led Syracuse to the overtime win in his first game action.  While offensive coordinator Tim Lester showed little confidence in him in regulation, overtime went well for the Orange–resulting in a victory.  In his next outing, all Mahoney did was overcome a terrible start to keep Syracuse competitive against then-#2 Louisiana State.  In his next outing, Mahoney kept Syracuse competitive against #1 Clemson.  While the passing was not good, Mahoney’s legs kept Syracuse close.

Between the LSU and Clemson games, Eric Dungey was given five games at QB for Syracuse.  Syracuse lost all five games–South Florida, Virginia, Pitt, Florida State, and Louisville.  All good opponents, but certainly not LSU or Clemson.

In the final two games, Mahoney and the Orange were defeated soundly by North Carolina State on the road, which ultimately was the end of the Scott Shafer era.  However, in the final game under Shafer, Mahoney led the Orange to the win.

The numbers are Mahoney on the season are not great.  Dungey completed 59.7% of his passes, while Mahoney only completed 46.2%.  However, Mahoney was 24 for 59 against LSU and Clemson, Syracuse’s two toughest opponents.  This certainly helped drag down Mahoney’s numbers.  Also, Mahoney did not play against Rhode Island or Wake Forest, and was only allowed to attempt 4 passes against Central Michigan (all 4 of which were completed).  Three of Dungey’s four best QB rating games were against Rhode Island, Wake Forest, and Central Michigan.  Dungey’s two worst games were at Florida State and Louisville.  Good opponents make QBs look worse than bad opponents.

None of this is to suggest that Mahoney deserves to start over Dungey.   Dungey certainly throws a better deep ball and has that certain intangible quality that you look at in a QB.  The mobility is a huge plus.  But the idea that Mahoney cannot be a 2nd or 3rd string QB on Syracuse moving forward is a bit absurd.  Not many QBs in Syracuse history have kept the Orange competitive against top 5 opponents–even in the Dome.  Mahoney did.  In his first year for Syracuse, without a ton of reps before the season due to his depth chart status.  Let’s not give up on the kid just yet.


Hyperbole Alert, But Duke Win “Saves” Syracuse Season

Syracuse Confidential

At the risk of drifting well into hyperbole, last night’s Syracuse win over Duke has saved the season for the Orange.  With a 4-5 swoon under interim coach Mike Hopkins, and then a loss to North Carolina in Jim Boeheim’s return, Syracuse stood at 0-4 in conference play.  With a win over hapless Boston College and not quite there yet Wake Forest, Syracuse was still only 2-4.  Now, with a win over Duke–at Duke–Syracuse stands at 3-4 and 13-7 overall.  This is a record that will allow Syracuse to control its destiny–saving the season.

If Syracuse had lost, they would be 2-5, 12-8 overall.  To get to 20 wins, Syracuse would have to find 8 wins out of a remaining schedule that has 11 games left in the regular season, including trips to Virginia, UNC, and Louisville, as well as home games against Notre Dame.  Not much margin for error. …

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Greg Robinson? Greg Robinson.

“one can only imagine how much money could be raised for the University if G-Rob agreed to sit in a dunk-tank for $20/3 balls. That would be worth a trip to the ATM, that’s for sure. “

Syracuse Confidential

The folks over at TNIAAM did a nice write up on the Daily Orange’s interview/article with former Syracuse disaster of a head football coach Greg Robinson.  Check it out.  For any Syracuse fan that was following the football team from 2005 to 2008, the absurdity of what Greg Robinson had to say… it is really shocking.

Perhaps there is no need to nitpick with the idea that he is a nice guy.  However, one can only imagine how much money could be raised for the University if G-Rob agreed to sit in  a dunk-tank for $20/3 balls.  That would be worth a trip to the ATM, that’s for sure.  As profitable as that would be, it would be equally damaging for this delusional failure of a head coach.

An argument (albeit unsound one) could be made that Scott Shafer deserved a 4th year. No argument can be made that Greg…

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New Year, New (Old) Coach, Same Result: L

“Expect more losses and a colder/longer winter for Orange fans in Central New York.”

Syracuse Confidential

Syracuse welcomed Jim Boeheim back into the fold on Saturday against #6 North Carolina.  If it seems like the Tar Heels were toying with the Orange, it was not just you.  Marcus Paige was a non-factor.  Brice Johnson did more passing than scoring/rebounding.  UNC could get easy baskets at will against the 2-3 zone.  And, in the end, a Trevor Cooney-led Syracuse performance fell well short.

To be sure, the Orange were competitive most of the game.  And a large part of that goes to the great game by Cooney, as well as a very good game by Malachi Richardson.  But with Michael Gbinije very “off” and little other production elsewhere, there was no real sense of urgency on the North Carolina sideline that this would be a loss.  Of course, even if there was an upset, it would have been attributed to the emotion of Boeheim’s return anyway.  So…

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