Every week, some or all of the Confidential’s correspondents will “roundtable” issues regarding the ACC, as well as recapping the week that was and previewing the week to come. As we are still in the preseason, we are looking forward exclusively this week.
Q1: OK, with the football season right around the corner, who are the 5 best teams in the ACC (including Notre Dame) in order? Which two are playing in the ACC Championship Game? And who, if anyone, from the ACC will make the playoffs?
Steve Callahan (Notre Dame): The Clemson Tigers are the best team in the ACC. Following them, is Florida State, Notre Dame, North Carolina, and the Miami Hurricanes. ACC Title Game: FSU vs UNC. Playoffs: FSU
Harrison Huntley (NC State): Clemson, FSU, Miami, UNC, Louisville. Clemson and Miami playing in Charlotte. I think any ACC champ would make the playoff assuming they only have a loss or two
Anthony Caffrey (Syracuse): 1, Clemson; 2, FSU; 3. Notre Dame; 4. Miami; 5. Louisville. Clemson vs Miami, with Clemson in the playoffs.
Q2: Looking objectively at your team, which team is your team most likely to upset? And which team is most likely to upset your team?
Steve Callahan (Notre Dame): With an early home game and the Spartans having holes to fill in their starting offensive line, the Irish have a very good chance of beating Michigan State at home in the third week of the season. Since the Fighting Irish’s schedule doesn’t give them many opportunities to pull off an upset, Michigan State would be my choice, even if they are close in the rankings. With only three away games this season, Notre Dame will avoid hostile environments and be less likely to get upset. I will pick the Miami Hurricanes as one team who can upset the Irish this season. Quarterback Brad Kaaya is special and will be looking to increase his draft stock with a big win in South Bend.
Harrison Huntley (NC State): That’s easy: FSU. It’s in Raleigh, and for whatever reason, NC State always does well against the Noles at home. I think Syracuse has the best chance to pull an upset, just because it’s on the road. Normally I’d say BC or Wake, but both are at home this year so State SHOULD be ok against these guys.
Anthony Caffrey (Syracuse): Most Syracuse fans will say Virginia Tech because it is a home game. But in Week 2, Louisville will have very little film to scout (and Colgate may not provide a preview of the entire offense), a Syracuse team without depth may be as healthy as it will be for any game all year, Louisville will still be “green” on its own, Syracuse is at home, etc. I would not bet your kids’ lunch money on an upset, but it is my pick. As for upsetting Syracuse, it is difficult with so few games to choose from. UConn is likely to be an underdog if Syracuse starts strong, so look for that as a potential loss in the same spirit as the USF win over Syracuse last year. Sadly. Frankly, it would be better for the ACC if B.C. or Wake Forest is the answer to this question–but both may be favored.
Q3: Who is one offensive player from your school for fans of other schools to keep an eye on in 2016?
Steve Callahan (Notre Dame): I know it may be cliché to choose the starting running back, but Tarean Folston is ready to be the star of the Notre Dame offensive attack. Folston was all set to be the starter last season but tore his ACL after three rushing attempts in the season opener. In 2014, Folston had four 100-yard rushing games, including 120 yards and a touchdown at #2 Florida State. Keep an eye out for the senior running back, who will be playing with a chip on his shoulder.
Harrison Huntley (NC State): You won’t see Jaylen Samuels on many watch lists, but that’s because he has no position. He can play RB, WR, TE, and anywhere in the backfield. He’s big and fast, a great combination.
Anthony Caffrey (Syracuse): In this Dino Babers system, gotta go with the QB: Eric Dungey. If he stays healthy and grasps the system, Dungey could put up huge numbers. But those are some big “ifs” to watch for. With a fairly decent compliment of skill players (relative to past seasons), we really may see Syracuse play fast and be fast.
Q4: Who is one defensive or special teams player for fans of other schools to take notice of?
Steve Callahan (Notre Dame): Cole Luke will be the leader in the secondary. The senior is coming off a little disappointing season after his breakout sophomore season. Luke only had 6 passes defended last year meanwhile he had 11 in 2014. Watch the 5’11” senior come back to form in his last year with the Fighting Irish.
Harrison Huntley (NC State): Nyheim Hines is a guy that’s so fast, he lines up at RB and WR. This speed is what makes him a great option when returning kicks and punts
Anthony Caffrey (Syracuse): After 7 years of Scott Shafer as defensive coordinator and head coach, and with a very inexperienced and not-so-deep defense, this could be a struggle. All the more reason that Syracuse will need to score a lot and actually convert turnovers (however many) into points. With linebacker perhaps the area with most returning depth, and Zaire Franklin the junior that was a captain last year as a sophomore MLB likely to anchor that unit, watch Franklin.
Well, that is what these correspondents think. What do you think? Please feel free to share below. And if you are interested in being a correspondent, see here.
A Sad State of Affairs: Jim Boeheim & Politics
This author grew up in the shadow of the Carrier Dome and has defended Jim Boeheim for years. When he was getting unexpectedly bounced from the Big Dance, this author defended him. When Keith Smart hit that jumper, this author defended him. After forty years of sharing Syracuse basketball together, there have been few instances of criticism. When the Bernie Fine saga broke, it was suggested that perhaps the “all-in” strategy was risky, calling victims liars and resulting in a lawsuit against him. So take this next criticism for what it is–a rarity.
In his report from the Olympics, Jim Boeheim strayed from the expected topics–you know, basketball, the Olympics, and Rio–to discuss American politics. He specifically stated the following:
Boeheim did not just express a “preference,” he came right out and criticized Donald Trump, belittled Trump’s followers, insulted those who think our country can and should be doing better, and went beyond “all-in” with respect to Hillary Clinton.
Look, Boeheim can do what he pleases. He can stay 1,000 miles from politics. He can ride in Hillary Clinton’s campaign bus and get a tattoo of her logo on his face. It is his life to do what he pleases.
However, he has clearly and intentionally insulted a significant portion of his fan base and the country. He has insulted this author. Though this article is written from the sun belt, it is written by a Syracuse fan from birth that has lived most of his life dealing with lake effect snow and scarves. Relative to substance, although the writer of this article seriously questions the direction of our country socially, politically, and religiously… it is with good reason and far from “without reason.”
To be sure, the fairest characterization is that both candidates are demonstrative of a “sad state of affairs.” While Donald Trump is a poor candidate, Hillary Clinton is an equally poor candidate. The former says some really dumb things, while the latter has done some really dumb things. And vice-versa. Neither inspire confidence, which makes their respective nominations all the more disconcerting if you really think about it. Although the Justice Department punted–or perhaps even “quick kicked” when comparing the explanation with the result–on the investigation into Clinton’s emails, has there ever been a major party candidate with such a history of scandal leading up to and including an FBI investigation during the campaign?
But Jim Boeheim did not say that or anything similar. Instead, he took a clear, specific position that just so happened to insult a portion of his fan base and the country. And, without even getting to whether he is “right” or “wrong,” Jim Boeheim has his own history of improper statements and behavior that make him a poor spokesperson on politics or morals. Want to investigate? How about these “sad states of affairs” involving Syracuse basketball under Boeheim:
Given the sexual scandals at Syracuse involving players and assistant coaches, and given Bill Clinton’s history, perhaps Boeheim and Hillary do have something in common.
Regardless, Boeheim has criticized the NCAA for sanctioning him for not knowing what was going on within the Syracuse program academically. Boeheim has claimed to not know what was going on inside his program relative to Bernie Fine and alleged molestation of children. Boeheim seems to have a lot on his plate keeping him from already doing his job to the fullest. In the meantime, there is no need for him to do a “bull in the china shop” routine in the delicate, political landscape. (Parenthetically, what did he mean by Trump “could be” running for President? Was this article written in early 2015?).
And do we really need entertainers using their cult of personality to influence politics? That seems to be an even sadder state of affairs. Americans should know who to vote for without knowing how any other famous person is voting.
For now, there is no protest or significant backlash. Boeheim has a long history of dumb statements that will cause many of his critics to move on quickly. Many Boeheim supporters will shrug off or rationalize these comments with the same vigor that Trump’s supporters shrug off or rationalize Trump’s ill-advised statements. The funny thing is that, in the end, isn’t this a pot criticizing a kettle? Another sad state of affairs.
What do you think? Regardless of whether you agree or disagree with Boeheim, do you find it in poor taste for him to include that political opinion in his report from Rio?