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Odds on First ACC Coach Fired Favor Syracuse’s Dino Babers

Blair Johnson

by Blair Johnson in College Football

Updated Sep 24, 2020 · 1:00 PM PDT

Dino Babers shaking hands with a player
Syracuse head coach Dino Babers is the favorite to be the first ACC head coach to be fired this season. Photo by cuse.com
  • Syracuse head coach Dino Babers is the favorite (+160) to be the first ACC coach fired this season
  • Babers is currently in his fifth season and has led the Orange to just one winning season (2018)
  • Syracuse is off to an 0-2 start in 2020 with road losses to North Carolina and Pittsburgh

Dino Babers has emerged as the favorite at +160 to become the first ACC coach to be fired this season. He is currently in his fifth season with the Orange and owns only one season with a winning record. Syracuse is off to an 0-2 start this season after suffering road losses to North Carolina and Pittsburgh.

Closely trailing Babers is NC State boss Dave Doeren at +200. As shown in the table below, the odds get much longer after the first two.

First ACC Head Coach Fired

Coach School Odds
Dino Babers Syracuse +160
Dave Doeren NC State +200
Justin Fuentes Virginia Tech +600
Pat Narduzzi Pittsburgh +600
Manny Diaz Miami (FL) +1000
Mike Norvell Florida State +1000
David Cutcliffe Duke +1200
Geoff Collins Georgia Tech +1600
Dave Clawson Wake Forest +2000
Jeff Hafley Boston College +2000
Scott Satterfield Louisville +2000
Bronco Mendenhall Virginia +2500
Brian Kelly Notre Dame +3300
Dabo Swinney Clemson +10000

Odds as of Sept. 24.

Babers came to the Syracuse campus five years ago as a highly-touted offensive guru. Prior to coaching Jimmy Garoppolo at Eastern Illinois for two years and earning a pair of FCS playoff appearances, Babers was a well-respected offensive assistant at a variety of Power 5 schools — including Texas A&M, Baylor and UCLA. He then parlayed that opportunity into his second head coaching gig at Bowling Green, where the Falcons captured the 2015 MAC title in his second season.

But now in his fifth season coaching the Orange, a consistent offensive product has been lacking for the program. Sure, Babers’ team knocked off Clemson back in 2017 in his signature victory — a team firmly entrenched at the top of the ACC title odds — but Syracuse is 23-28 overall under Babers. And, perhaps even worse, they’re 12-22 in conference play since 2016.

Is Babers the best value on the board?

Opportunity Ahead

While Babers’ big win over the Tigers three years ago and a 10-3 campaign in 2018 gave him some equity, that goodwill might be gone after going 5-7 last year and starting out winless this season.

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The Orange have scored only 16 points combined against the Tar Heels and Panthers — but those games were on the road. Syracuse will play its first home game of the season in a renovated Carrier Dome. Will being at home matter?

No fans will be in attendance, and the Orange offense has struggled with Tommy DeVito and Rex Culpepper both handling quarterback duties. Meantime, Georgia Tech comes into the contest as 7.5-point favorites and freshman quarterback Jeff Sims has played well beyond his years. Sim has totaled 521 passing yards and two touchdowns in two games.

If Syracuse loses this one and moves to 0-3, rest assured Orange fans will be clamoring for a move. Babers is the no-doubt chalk to get the hook first.

Cut It Out

While Babers is a deserving favorite in this prop, the better value may reside in Durham, North Carolina.

Duke head coach David Cutcliffe is the longest-tenured coach in the conference and, at 13 seasons, has been at the same spot longer than most coaches in all of college football.

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Following three straight winning seasons from 2013-15, the Blue Devils have gone 24-28 from 2016 onward — including an 0-2 start this season. Duke looked bad in its first home game in Week 3, losing to Boston College 20-6 (in an upset predicted here).

Cutcliffe turned 66 earlier this month and is considered one of the game’s offensive gurus, mentoring Peyton Manning once upon a time in Knoxville. But this might be the end of the line for “Cut”. At +1200, he’s a decent longshot.

Next Manny Up

Which coaches should bettors avoid? Second-year Miami (Fl) head coach Manny Diaz at +1000 is not a smart wager. There’s no way Diaz, who has the Hurricanes at 2-0 and coming off a big road win at Louisville this past Saturday, loses his job in 2020.

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Houston transfer D’Eriq King looks like the real deal at quarterback, throwing for 325 yards and three touchdown passes in the 47-34 victory over the Cardinals, briefly putting himself in the top-three in the Heisman odds.

Football is all about offense these days — and the ‘Canes had ten plays (seven in the passing game) of 18 yards or more. Those “explosion” plays keyed a huge win that moved Diaz’s team up five spots in the AP poll to No. 12.

Next up for Miami is a home game with in-state rival Florida State, a team it has beaten three straight times.

Fade Diaz leaving South Beach. The ‘Canes are rolling.

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