ACC kickoff 2013: Syracuse football picked to finish 6th in Atlantic division

A group of 120 members of the media voted the Syracuse football team to finish 6th in the Atlantic division in its first year of ACC play.

The Syracuse University football team took part in its first Atlantic Coast Conference Kickoff this week, a two-day media event held in Greensboro, N.C.

It was also a first for new head coach Scott Shafer, who takes over this season for Doug Marrone. Shafer said the rest of the conference has been very welcoming to him and his team.

“It’s really interesting for me to meet different people,” he said. “There are a lot of good ball coaches in this conference, a lot of guys passionate about where this conference is and where it needs to be. What a great time for Syracuse to jump into the conference.”

Senior center Macky MacPherson reiterated his coach’s sentiments, saying it’s been fun getting to know everyone in the new conference.

Senior defensive tackle Jay Bromley said he felt welcomed as well and looked forward to the new challenges the team faces in the ACC. “These conference games mean everything,” he said. “We accept the challenge that the Clemson’s and Florida State’s bring.”

Looking at the new competition, the two linemen agreed that their opponents’ speed was something they’d have to get used to, especially at skill positions.

“That is the biggest difference between the two conferences: the game is played a lot faster,” Bromley said, comparing the ACC to the old Big East.

“All these teams have speed up and down the field,” MacPherson added. “You have to account for that every play.”

In a poll of 120 members of the media, Syracuse was predicted to finish sixth out of seven teams in the Atlantic division. Bromley said the league will provide the team an opportunity to outperform expectations.

“The competition level is great. As a true competitor you look forward to this and having a chance to prove the world wrong.”

Moving forward, Shafer described the strong identity of the team he hopes to develop. “It’ll be a Syracuse team from a town that’s a tough town, a hard-nosed town,” he said. “We want to be an outfit that’s fun to watch because we’re physical.”

MacPherson also said the team’s toughness will come across in their style of play.

“Syracuse is a team that’s going to be blue collar, intense. We’re going to fight you to the death. That’s been the Syracuse way ever since I can remember.”

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