Monday, July 1, 2013

the school: Syracuse

Today is July 1, 2013.  If you've temporarily forgotten the importance of the day, it's the first of a Brave New ACC that includes three new members: Syracuse, Pittsburgh, and Notre Dame.  (If you wanted to forget, apologies.  Understandable, but realities demand that a Brave New World requires a Brave New ACC.)

Since recruit profiles are a standard around here, I thought it only fitting to do the same for the new conference recruits as well.  This week, we'll take a detailed look at each of the new additions to the conference and how well they'll compete in each sport that they sponsor.  And since we always do the recruit ones in order that they committed, the same is true of the schools.  Syracuse and Pitt "committed" on the same day, but then, Syracuse actually was set to join eight or nine years ago, when the ACC "pulled their offer" and invited VT instead.  So we do the Orange first.

Overall profile

 Enrollment (undergrad):

1. Florida State: 31,800
2. Maryland: 26,800
3. NC State: 26,200
4. Virginia Tech: 23,900
5. North Carolina: 18,600
6. Pittsburgh: 18,400
7. Clemson: 16,600
8. Virginia: 15,800
9. Syracuse: 14,800
10. Georgia Tech: 14,500
11. Miami: 10,300
12. Boston College: 9,100
13. Notre Dame: 8,400
14. Duke: 6,500
15. Wake Forest: 4,800

Academic rank (USN&WR):

1. Duke (#8)
2. Notre Dame (#17)
3. Virginia (#24)
4. Wake Forest (#27)
5. North Carolina (#30)
6. Boston College (#31)
7. Georgia Tech (#36)
8. Miami (#44)
9(t). Syracuse (#58)
9(t). Maryland (#58)
9(t). Pittsburgh (#58)
12. Clemson (#68)
13. Virginia Tech (#72)
14. Florida State (#97)
15. NC State (#106)

Director's Cup average:**

1. North Carolina: 6.2
2. Florida State: 9
3. Virginia: 10.6
4. Duke: 12
5. Notre Dame: 18.4
6. Maryland: 28.8
7. Virginia Tech: 40
8. Clemson: 50.8
9. Syracuse: 54
10. Miami: 56.4
11. Georgia Tech: 59.6
12. NC State: 60.2
13. Boston College: 67.6
14. Wake Forest: 70.8
15. Pittsburgh: 115.6

**average finish in the last five years, including 2013.

Overall, Syracuse fits very neatly into the average ACC profile, which is likely part of the reason they were originally a prime candidate for invitation in the first round of expansion.  In terms of size, UVA is the median school in the conference; Syracuse is just slightly below.  They're also just slightly below the median in the academic rankings, a spot of no shame really, and the same is true for their Director's Cup placement.  Come to think of it, these guys are 9th out of 15 in all three categories, which should hold roughly true when Maryland is swapped out for Louisville as well.  They're sort of the like the least-interesting-number paradox in their rankings here.

Sports we play that they don't





Sports they play that we don't




Ice hockey

Men's rowing isn't really an NCAA sport, but the Cuse does lend more support to their men's club than UVA does.  At least as far as giving them a space on the official website.  Syracuse is quite a bit Title IX-skewed, with only seven men's programs and eleven for women - and really, six men's programs because rowing isn't NCAA-sponsored.

In particular, there are three things that we do particularly well that they don't at all: baseball, swimming, and men's tennis.  The women's ice hockey program is fairly new, despite the fact that upstate New York is as much a hockey hotbed as a lacrosse one.  Anyway, hockey isn't an ACC sport.

Common sports

(The number after each year shows how many Director's Cup points were earned by that sport in that year.)

Men's basketball

2008-2009: 64 (UVA 0)
2009-2010: 64 (UVA 0)
2010-2011: 50 (UVA 0)
2011-2012: 73 (UVA 25)
2012-2013: 83 (UVA 0)

Total: 334 (UVA 25)

Syracuse's hoops team needs little introduction.  Under Jim Boeheim, who's coached there since 1976, that's been one of that school's major calling cards.  Actually, the five-year cutoff here just misses out on a two-season NIT run, but whatever.  Since then they've earned two #1 seeds in the tournament and made the Final Four this year - ironically, in their worst-seeded year of any of these five (a 4 seed.)  Their addition makes the ACC significantly tougher.  The Orange are simply on a higher plane here than UVA is, until proven otherwise.

Women's basketball:

2008-2009: 0 (UVA 50)
2009-2010: 0 (UVA 25)
2010-2011: 0 (UVA 0)
2011-2012: 0 (UVA 0)
2012-2013: 25 (UVA 0)

Totals: 25 (UVA 75)

On the other hand, the women's teams ought to compete on a much more even keel.  Perhaps to drive home the point, UVA and Cuse played in San Juan, PR, this past season, and the final score was a one-point Cuse win.  UVA hasn't sniffed the NCAA tournament in three years, while Cuse just got there for the first time in quite a while this season.  Before that they were WNIT-level, though almost always with a strong performance there.  It's fair to say, though, that the Syracuse team is on the upswing while UVA's has some recovery work to do, as the Hoos didn't play after the ACC tournament this year.

Men's cross country:

2008-2009: 0 (UVA 48)
2009-2010: 48 (UVA 45)
2010-2011: 48 (UVA 40)
2011-2012: 45 (UVA 0)
2012-2013: 60 (UVA 61.5)

Totals: 201 (UVA 194.5)

This is one of the sports that the NCAA sets up with regional qualifiers (golf being another example) and Syracuse is in a different one than UVA.  So, while they'll be new faces at the ACC meets, the road to NCAA qualification is different.  Syracuse won the Big East championship here in their final year and went on to finish 15th at the NCAAs; UVA was a place above them at 14th.  Like UVA, the Orange should be a tough competitor in the ACC, but again like UVA, might have trouble getting over the hump to earn a conference championship.

Women's cross country:

2008-2009: 18 (UVA 22)
2009-2010: 38 (UVA 45)
2010-2011: 60 (UVA 32)
2011-2012: 40 (UVA 34)
2012-2013: 0 (UVA 0)

Totals: 156 (UVA 133)

Similar to UVA, the women's program is a little less strong than the men's.  Both teams can usually send runners to the national meet, but not as many as the men do, and both failed to make it there this year.

Field hockey:

2008-2009: 83 (UVA 60)
2009-2010: 60 (UVA 83)
2010-2011: 60 (UVA 83)
2011-2012: 60 (UVA 0)
2012-2013: 83 (UVA 60)

Totals: 346 (UVA 286)

In terms of Director's Cup points, field hockey is typically a cash cow sport for both schools.  Syracuse's addition makes this a seven-team conference, added to UVA, Wake, BC, Duke, Maryland, and UNC.  The latter two are the thorn in our side, having shared most of the recent national championships between themselves, while Wake had a three-year run from 2002-2004.  UVA typically always makes the four-team ACC tournament and then loses to either Maryland or UNC, having never won an ACC championship.  Syracuse will join the conference at just about that level, and while that'll make it hard for Wake, BC, and Duke to find their way into the tournament, UVA will find the tournament an even tougher road than before.


2008-2009: 0 (UVA 0)
2009-2010: 0 (UVA 0)
2010-2011: 45 (UVA 0)
2011-2012: 0 (UVA 25)
2012-2013: 45 (UVA 0)

Totals: 90 (UVA 25)

Part of the reason football is so frustrating is that it's not that hard to earn Director's Cup points.  All you have to do is make a bowl game.  You don't even have to win it.  Half the teams in the country are earning a cool and easy 25 points and half of those teams are breezing their way to 45 points and we're playing in la-la loser land.  The other thing is, though, that making a bowl might be harder for Syracuse now that their schedule will get a degree of difficulty boost.  Tying for the Big East title this past year was worth the Pinstripe Bowl, which is a pretty good indicator of the conference's quality, Louisville aside.  The Pinstripe, in fact, is where the Cuse has gone in the two recent years they've been to a bowl - the fruits of Doug Marrone's efforts in reviving the program after the disastrous Greg Robinson tenure.  With Marrone off to coach the Buffalo Bills, though, the program under Scott Shafer may or may not continue to gain ground.  It'll be tough, playing FSU and Clemson every year.

Men's lacrosse:

2008-2009: 100 (UVA 83)
2009-2010: 25 (UVA 83)
2010-2011: 60 (UVA 100)
2011-2012: 25 (UVA 60)
2012-2013: 90 (UVA 0)

Totals: 300 (UVA 326)

I mean, do you really need this part explained to you?  The only thing worth mentioning here that you shouldn't already know is that UVA was the only ACC team to put Syracuse on their regular schedule, so as good as Syracuse is at this stuff, their addition is actually a net plus for us, since we're the only team that doesn't have to add them to the schedule.

Women's lacrosse:

2008-2009: 60 (UVA 25)
2009-2010: 83 (UVA 60)
2010-2011: 0 (UVA 25)
2011-2012: 90 (UVA 25)
2012-2013: 83 (UVA 70)

Totals: 316 (UVA 205)

They're almost as good at this, too.  And the gap between our men's team and our women's is larger than theirs.  DC scores of 83 represent years a team went to the final four, and 90s mean they lost in the championship game.  So other than the one year where they klutzed out of the NCAA tournament without an invite (which can happen to anyone amirite?) the women's team at Syracuse is a formidable opponent with a formidable history.


2008-2009: 0 (UVA 80)
2009-2010: 0 (UVA 100)
2010-2011: 0 (UVA 63)
2011-2012: 0 (UVA 100)
2012-2013: 0 (UVA 75)

Totals: 0 (UVA 418)

Syracuse crew is not a major player on the national scene, having last been invited to the NCAA championships in 2005.  They're not a threat to UVA's ACC dominance in this sport.

Men's soccer:

2008-2009: 0 (UVA 50)
2009-2010: 0 (UVA 100)
2010-2011: 0 (UVA 25)
2011-2012: 0 (UVA 25)
2012-2013: 64 (UVA 50)

Totals: 64 (UVA 250)

Historically, Syracuse's soccer team has been from mediocre to total garbage.  From 2009-2011, the team amassed an 8-37-6 record.  Awful.  Then this year, they went on a surprise NCAA tournament run, upsetting 15-1 Cornell in the first round and 14th-seeded VCU in the second before losing to eventual national runner-up Georgetown on penalty kicks.  Whether they can continue that kind of showing remains to be seen, but this is really the reverse of basketball: until Cuse proves otherwise, UVA will be the higher-echelon team.

Women's soccer:

2008-2009: 0 (UVA 64)
2009-2010: 0 (UVA 64)
2010-2011: 0 (UVA 64)
2011-2012: 0 (UVA 73)
2012-2013: 0 (UVA 64)

Totals: 0 (UVA 329)

The ACC is a quality conference in both the men's and women's version of this sport, and at present, the top of the conference is viciously competitive on the women's side.  Seeds 2 through 5 in the women's ACC tournament had conference records of 6-3, and seed 6 was 5-3.  Syracuse women's soccer, which is slowly clawing its way from lousy to medium-lousy, is walking into a lion's den.  They won't be tipping the balance of power in the ACC any time soon.


2008-2009: 0 (UVA 0)
2009-2010: 25 (UVA 25)
2010-2011: 25 (UVA 0)
2011-2012: 50 (UVA 0)
2012-2013: 0 (UVA 0)

Totals: 100 (UVA 25)

They're better than UVA, usually, and get to the tournament more often than not, but it's going to be hard for them as a northern team to walk into a mostly southern conference (after playing in an almost entirely northern one) and compete immediately for championships.  They'll be another hurdle for a UVA team that doesn't usually perform very well, though.

Women's tennis:

2008-2009: 0 (UVA 50)
2009-2010: 0 (UVA 50)
2010-2011: 0 (UVA 64)
2011-2012: 0 (UVA 64)
2012-2013: 0 (UVA 64)

Totals: 0 (UVA 192)

Cuse tends to perform very well in conference tennis play but has been decent at best outside of Big East opponents, and usually not quite decent.  They often got steamrolled by ACC opponents whenever they met.  While the women's tennis team at UVA isn't the powerhouse the men's team is, they're a higher-level team within the ACC and good enough that Syracuse won't be a major obstacle.

Men's track and field (outdoor):

2008-2009: 5 (UVA 24.5)
2009-2010: 0 (UVA 49.5)
2010-2011: 0 (UVA 46)
2011-2012: 15 (UVA 15)
2012-2013: 13 (UVA 0)

Totals: 33 (UVA 135)

Women's track and field (outdoor):

2008-2009: 0 (UVA 36.5)
2009-2010: 0 (UVA 0)
2010-2011: 0 (UVA 44)
2011-2012: 0 (UVA 0)
2012-2013: 9 (UVA 0)

Totals: 9 (UVA 80.5)

The men's track team can usually scrape together a couple qualifiers for the NCAAs; the women usually cannot.  Neither are threats to win the ACC championship any time soon, and UVA, despite this being one of our more up-and-down sports, will almost always be a better team.

Women's volleyball:

2008-2009: 0 (UVA 0)
2009-2010: 0 (UVA 0)
2010-2011: 0 (UVA 0)
2011-2012: 0 (UVA 0)
2012-2013: 0 (UVA 0)

Totals: 0 (UVA 0)

Our volleyball team is typically awful, and the Director's Cup goose eggs that Syracuse puts up right next to ours shouldn't be construed as them being just as bad.  They're better; just never, it seems, quite good enough to get an NCAA bid.  The top of the ACC has some good teams, but Cuse should be able to find their way to the upper half of the standings in this conference.

Syracuse celebrated their first-ever finish in the top 40 of the Director's Cup standings this year.  They're highly competitive in a few sports (hoops and lax coming to mind, as well as field hockey) but only marginally competitive at best in others, and their soccer and rowing programs are lame.  Fielding only six NCAA men's sports hurts them in the standings, too.  About two-thirds of the difference between UVA and Cuse in the Director's Cup is accounted for by us being good to great in several sports they're missing.


Were there going to be a weekend review this week, this item would've been there, but since there isn't one, Mark Bernardino's retirement will have to crowd this space a little.  That is a huge bummer for one of UVA's elite programs.  The swim team hasn't won any national titles under Bernardino, but that's sort of praise by faint damnation.  They've owned the ACC for over a decade now.  Possibly the best line I saw in the article announcing his retirement is that UVA has sent a swimmer to the Olympics for every Olympics since 1996, four of them gold medalists.  Craig Littlepage has done a nice job selecting coaches for the most part, but whoever replaces Bernardino has some enormous shoes to fill.


pezhoo said...

Wow, I lost track of how big UVa has gotten. IN MY DAY, there were only about 11,000 undergraduates. I really liked that, how small it was a the flagship school for the state. Even 15,000 is small, but it's not as intimate or unique. Excuse me, I have to go talk with some other '92 graduates about how much better things were when we were there.....

Anonymous said...

I'm also class of '92. How about you, me, and Bryant Stith get together and discuss old times...