The Syracuse Orange will start a new era under Dino Babers in 2016. A member of the Art Briles coaching tree, Babers heads to Syracuse after two years spent at Bowling Green, where he went 10-4 in 2015. Coach Babers looks to bring a heretofore unseen style of offense to the ACC, which SB Nation's Ian Boyd detailed.
Last year's contest at Doak Campbell saw the Seminoles notch a 45-21 victory on Halloween. The 'Noles pulled away from the Orange in the second half behind Sean Maguire's strong day, featuring 23 completions on 35 attempts for 348 yards and three touchdowns. The victory also produced the highlight of Travis Rudolph's career to date.
2015's edition of the Orange finished 61st in the nation on offense and 70th on defense, and the 4-8 campaign prompted a regime change in Central New York. The 2016 roster features plenty of experience returned at the offensive skill positions, but the offensive line will essentially be starting from scratch. New defensive coordinator Brian Ward, who followed Babers from Bowling Green, inherits plenty of returning experience towards the back end of his unit. For the Orange, it's all about how quickly the new staff can get its system to take hold. While they're faced with the unfortunate task of hosting Louisville in a week two Friday night contest, most of their more difficult games do take place in the back half of the season, including the one against your Florida State Seminoles the weekend before Thanksgiving.
SB Nation's Bill Connelly dropped his big Syracuse preview this week. The entire article is a must-read, as the following are brief excerpts.
Here's Bill on why he's quite high on the 2016 Orange's potential for improvement:
Weighting returning production where it seems to matter the most, Syracuse returns more of last year's production than anyone in the country not named LSU or UCF (so basically, anyone above the 31st parallel). The receiving corps and secondary are wonderfully experienced, and the quarterback has upside.
Because the likely improvement is pretty extreme with this level of returning talent, Syracuse is projected to immediately become a top-50 team under Babers.
The schedule will impact the level of growth in the win column, though.
Our friends in Orange enter the season as quite the unknown, but FSU fans will have a much better idea of what to expect by the time late November rolls around. The introduction of a Baylor-esque offense to the Atlantic could prove to be both a benefit to FSU in a future post-season, as well as a thorn in its side if and when Babers gets his system rolling.