The ACC’s head coaching vacancies have all been filled.

On Saturday, just hours after Virginia hired Bronco Mendenhall as its new head coach, Syracuse made its move. The Orange hired Dino Babers to be their next football coach.

Babers succeeds Scott Shafer, who had been the Orange’s head coach since 2013. In his three seasons as the head coach, Syracuse went 14-23 overall and 7-17 in Atlantic Coast Conference play. He also led the Orange to the Texas Bowl in 2013.

Babers, 54, comes to Syracuse after a successful stint at Bowling Green. In two seasons there, he guided the team to two straight appearances in the Mid-American Conference Championship Game. The Falcons captured the MAC title on Friday evening, defeating Northern Illinois, 34-14. Bowling Green also posted two wins against Power 5 conference teams this season, beating Maryland and Indiana early in the year.

Prior to his time at Bowling Green, Babers was the head coach at Eastern Illinois. Inheriting a team that went 4-18 in the seasons before his arrival, he guided the Panthers to two straight Ohio Valley Conference titles and two appearances in the FCS Playoffs. His 2013 squad made it to the quarterfinals, and finished fourth in the final poll.

This record of achievement at two separate coaching stops shows that Babers can quickly fix a program (Eastern Illinois) and then sustain a good program (Bowling Green). The potency of Bowling Green’s offense — which ranked third nationally in passing offense, fourth in total offense, and fifth in scoring offense — made Babers a very attractive candidate for a Syracuse program that plays at least half of its schedule in a domed stadium.

The Orange are counting on Babers to field a team whose offense can succeed against Clemson’s and Florida State’s defenses in the ACC Atlantic Division. Syracuse hopes that Babers can match wits with Louisville’s Bobby Petrino, and that he’ll be able to win crossover games against an ACC Coastal which has improved over the past week.

One of the bigger challenges for Babers will be the ACC he’s entering. The conference just brought Mendenhall to Virginia; Mark Richt to Miami; and Justin Fuente to Virginia Tech. Critics of this hire could point out that former MAC coaches Dave Doeren (now at North Carolina State, formerly at Northern Illinois) and Steve Addazio (formerly at Temple when it was in the MAC, now at Boston College) are struggling to move their teams into the upper half of the ACC Atlantic. Babers will try to prove them wrong.

Meanwhile, Bowling Green will search for a replacement. Given the Falcons’ successful track record with offense-minded coaches (Urban Meyer, Dave Clawson, and Babers), BG will probably stay on that side of the ball when choosing its next leader. Don’t be surprised if Baylor’s Kendal Briles, Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley, or Notre Dame’s Mike Sanford top the Falcons’ wish list. Naturally, those coaches might seek bigger jobs, but Bowling Green could certainly give each of them a call. Considering that the Falcons have played for the MAC championship in each of the past three seasons, there should be plenty of quality coaches interested in this opportunity.

About Terry P. Johnson

Terry Johnson is the Associate Editor for The Student Section. He is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and the National Football Foundation.