2018 season: 10-3, 6-2 in the ACC
Head coach: Dino Babers (4th season)
Following four years straight of winning less than five games, the Syracuse Orange took a big step forward in 2018. After being picked to finish last in the ACC in the preseason media poll, they shocked the college football world, finishing second in the Atlantic Division of the Atlantic Coast Conference and achieving their first 10-win season since 2001.
While Syracuse looks like a possible playoff contender for the first time in recent memory, they will have some big personnel changes to contend with. The Orange have to replace two starting linebackers and three offensive linemen, but perhaps the biggest change will be under center. Syracuse lost the playmaking Eric Dungey to graduation, leaving pocket-passing sophomore Tommy DeVito in-line to step in and replace him.
Despite the losses, Syracuse is returning players that are ready to make an immediate impact. Senior edge rushers Alton Robinson and Kendall Coleman are ready to build off double digit sack seasons. Furthermore, standout sophomore safety Andre Cisco—who tied for the national lead in interceptions last season with seven—is primed to put the pressure on opposing quarterbacks.
Syracuse enters the season ranked No. 22 in both the AP Poll and Coaches Poll. The Orange's season begins against the Liberty Flames in Lynchburg, Va., but it’s their third game of the season when they face Clemson that is turning heads, as the contest will likely have tremendous playoff implications. They won’t face Duke until their 10th game, after the team's second bye week. Duke hasn’t played Syracuse since the 2014 season, when the Blue Devils won 27-10.