The Syracuse University football team was picked to finish second in the Atlantic Division of the Atlantic Coast Conference preseason media poll released last week, garnering its highest projected finish since joining the conference in 2013.
The recognition highlighted numerous preseason accolades for the Orange, which will hold its first practice of the 2019 season today looking to follow up on the program’s first 10-win campaign since 2001.
SU will kick off its fourth season under head coach Dino Babers with a nonconference game at Liberty at 6 p.m. on Aug. 31.
The ACC Preseason Media Poll was voted on by 173 credentialed media members at the ACC Football Kickoff last month in Greensboro, N.C.
The Orange, which finished 10-3 and won the Camping World Bowl last year, was pegged to finish second in the division to defending national champion Clemson.
SU garnered two first-place votes and 913 points overall while the Tigers tallied 1,209 points and were predicted as the conference champions by 170 voters.
Syracuse and Clemson are scheduled to square off in a nationally-televised clash at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 14 in the Carrier Dome, which will serve as the Orange’s home opener.
Florida State (753 points) was picked to finished third in the Atlantic Division, followed by North Carolina State (666), Boston College (588), Wake Forest (462), and Louisville (253).
Virginia was chosen as the likely winner of the ACC Coastal Division with 1,003 voting points, followed by Miami (992), Virginia Tech (827), Pittsburgh (691), Duke (566), North Carolina (463), and Georgia Tech (302).
Syracuse University head football coach Dino Babers was named to the watch list for the Dodd Trophy.
Babers — the 2018 AFCA Region 1 Coach of the Year entering his fourth season with the Orange — was one of seven finalists last season for the honor, presented annually to the national coach of the year.
Babers is one of 23 head coaches named to this year’s Dodd Trophy Watch List and joined Clemson’s Dabo Swinney as the only representatives from the Atlantic Coast Conference.
SU sophomore safety Andre Cisco was named to the Walter Camp Player of the Year Watch List, an annual honor that recognizes the top overall player in college football.
Cisco is one of 10 defensive players in the country named to the watch list, and is the only sophomore defensive player to be chosen.
Cisco tied for the national lead with seven interceptions as a freshman last year and had previously been named to watch lists for the Bednarik Award, Nagurski Trophy, Lott IMPACT Trophy and Jim Thorpe Award.
He was also selected to the All-ACC Preseason first team and a Preseason All-American by a majority of publications.
Cisco and SU defensive lineman Alton Robinson were each named to the Bednarik Award watch list, which is presented annually to the national defensive player of the year.
Robinson recorded 39 tackles a year ago and had the second highest amount of sacks in the ACC with 10.
SZMYT HIGHLIGHTS GROZA LIST
SU redshirt sophomore Andre Szmyt highlighted the Lou Groza Award Watch List and will look to be the second repeat winner of the honor presented annually to the nation’s top collegiate placekicker.
Szmyt became just the third freshman in FBS history to win the Groza Award last season and is aiming to join former Florida State kicker Sebastian Janikowski (1998-1999) as the only players to claim the prestigious honor multiple times.
Szmyt emerged as a 2018 unanimous All-American and led the nation in field goals made and attempted (30-34), field goals per game (2.31) and points per game (11.6). His 30 field goals were the most in NCAA history by a freshman and his 151 points marked the third highest single-season total for an FBS kicker.
SU redshirt senior punter Sterling Hofrichter was named to the Ray Guy Award Watch List, which is presented annually to the nation’s top punter.
Hofrichter — one of 26 initial candidates — enters the season ranked third on the SU career list with an average of 42.9 yards per punt, and helped the Orange lead the Atlantic Coast Conference in net punting average (39.1) for the second straight season last year.
SU senior wide receiver and kick returner Sean Riley was selected to the watch list for the Paul Hornug Award — presented to the most versatile player in major college football — while senior linebacker Andrew Armstrong was one of 93 FBS players named to the preseason watch list for the Wuerffel Award, which recognizes the player who best combines community service with academic and athletic achievements.
Four SU players were named to the Preseason All-ACC team last week — Defensive end Alton Robinson, Cisco, Szmyt and Hofrichter were each chosen to the 27-man team.