Here’s hoping for a rewarding 2017 for the Syracuse Orange football squad

Root, root, root for the home team.

Not to wish the warm season away, but we’re only five months out from the start of the 2017 college football season.

Yeah, my dear wife Karen and I like our fall Saturdays in our season seats up high in the Carrier Dome following the Syracuse Orange.

Saturday we took our annual April peek at Coach Dino Babers’ squad during the traditional close of spring practice. The scrimmage doesn’t reveal much. In his second year guiding the Orange of the Atlantic Coast Conference, Babers is not going to unleash many state secrets as he tries to up the ante from last year’s 4-8 record.

Dino Babers, far right, surveys his kingdom.

His format of choice pitted the first-teamers vs. the second-teamers.

Hover over a gallery photo for a description. Click on an image for an enlarged slide show.

It was comforting to see starting quarterback Eric Dungey back taking snaps. He missed the last third of last season after taking another hit high. He also ended his freshman season on the bench with concussion worries. The hope is that this coming junior season will be head-injury free. Dungey didn’t look great Saturday, but everybody knows he’s a gamer.

Three quarterbacks took turns with the orange-jerseyed squad. The play of Rex Culpepper perked my interest. As a freshman, the recruit from Florida took his redshirt to heal form a knee injury suffered his senior year in high school and learn Babers’ fast-paced offense. Now he looked ready to roll. He’s got an NFL pedigree. His dad, Max, played in the big league. You can also see Max now for his second stint on the CBS show Survivor. His mom, Monica, was on that show a few seasons ago. They both stood on the sidelines Saturday.

Rex looks mobile and has a nice arm.

Rex Culpepper throws one deep into the end zone.

The only touchdown of the game came on a nice throw in the fourth quarter by Dungey. We can say that means the porous defense of 2016 has been shored up. Maybe. The 2017 schedule includes 11 teams out of 12 that played in bowl games last season. A challenge awaits.

Do you care about college football in the spring? If you do, what’s the prognosis for your favorite squad for 2017?

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