Syracuse, Pitt ready for ACC Challenge

Ken Cross

July 22, 2013 at 12:42 pm.

Syracuse DT Jay Bromley speaks to the media during ACC Kickoff Day in Greensboro, North Carolina. (Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports)

As the 2013 ACC Media Days opened at the Grandover Resort in Greensboro, N.C., two columns on the front of the sprawling fortress welcomed the the Syracuse Orangemen and the Pitt Panthers to the league.

Wide receiver Devin Street and defensive tackle Aaron Donald of Pitt and Syracuse defensive tackle Jay Bromley and center Macky MacPherson all agreed on one thing – the talent upgrade as far as opponents are concerned would make for more of a challenge on a week-in, week-out basis.

“The biggest difference is competition,” said Bromley a 6-4, 285-pound anchor of the Syracuse defensive line. “Going up against marquee opponents and then being able to beat these teams will help a lot in winning big games.”

Bromley noted that teams in the ACC are markedly faster than those that Syracuse was familiar with in their old Big East digs.  That said, the style is going to change and create an adjustments for the Orange.

“The ACC has better skill position players and returners,” Bromley said. “In the Big East, you had the athletes that were more ground and pound.  There were not as many pocket quarterbacks. The ACC will mix ground and finesse.”

Street, who was second team All-Big East a year ago and had three 100-plus receiving yards, echoed Bromley’s sentiments.  He noted that the speed and overall talent and depth in the ACC would be two of the biggest adjustments that the Panthers would have to endure.

Street’s hypothesis will be tested immediately when the Panthers host Florida State at Heinz Field on September 2 for their ACC opener.

“We’re honored to go play against the defending ACC Champs,” Street said. “We won’t overlook our opponent or think people will come in and run over us.  I’d rather open up with an FSU with where we are as a program coming into the ACC. “It’s an honor for the ACC to put us up against the ACC champions to open the year.”

Street likes the idea that Pittsburgh can develop an identity right away in a home game on national television.  He talked about the pride that this would bring to a Panthers program that was inconsistent a year ago.

“The fan base is ready to go,” explained Street. “They are ready for us to go out and play in ACC.  From our standpoint, we have to go prove it.  Everyone is embracing the ACC and I think we will see that Sept. 2 at 8:00.”

Meanwhile, the Orange opener on Aug. 31 will be played against Penn State in Metlife Stadium under new head coach Scott Shafer, who moves into the position after Doug Marrone left for the Buffalo Bills. Syracuse’s first ACC tilt is Oct. 5 at Clemson.

“Transition is not something we really thought about,” Bromley said. “As a football player, we just want to be better as a team.  We have to prepare to win and treat every game as the next game is against the best in country.”