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Cue the Crying Child...

It was winable for Syracuse, but the better team clearly won.

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Clemson Quick Predictions

Clem(p)son. Death Valley. Great.
Syracuse had a nice win last weekend in a confidence building game at Wake Forest. Syracuse is again on the road to take on the Tigers down in Clemson. This is a tall task, but stranger things have happened.
Clemson's best offensive players are the tandem of QB Cole Stoudt and WR Mike Williams (how many receivers that play football are named Mike Williams?). Williams has 30 catches and 671 yards on the year, along with his four scores. Stoudt started the first three games for the Tigers, but was benched in favor of a freshman. But now he's back. You can't get much more of a pure pocket passer than Stoudt. Which means, if the Syracuse defensive front can get through the Clemson offensive line, they could be in real trouble. Clemson isn't a team that will pound the ball, so Syracuse has a chance to force some fumbles and make life difficult for Stoudt and the Clemson offense. That being said, the Clemson defense is very good and Syracuse itself will probably have a hard time running the ball, putting a lot of pressure on Freshman QB AJ Long to make a lot of plays with his arm. He'll make some, but he'll probably miss a lot more and manage to throw an INT or two this week as well. Clemson won't lose this game, but I think in the first half it will be closer than they'd like. Clemson over the Orange 38 to 27.
This game is available nationally on ESPN U / WatchESPN at 7:00pm. John and I are in the respective home office so we'll be with you to make light of all the calamity that could occur in this game. Have a nice Saturday and Go Orange (but not Clemson orange).

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AJ Long had a great start to his starting QB career.
Syracuse needed a bounce back game, and a win on top would be necessary to say in the Bowl race. Playing the worst team in the ACC surely would help. But what was not known was whether AJ Long would play well enough as a first time starting true freshman to earn the win. Syracuse soared and beat Wake Forest 30-7.
Offense
B
AJ Long (22/32, 171 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT, 1 rush TD) had a nice day. He didn't turn the ball over and was able to sustain drives. Syracuse was 9-19 on third downs, earned 17 first downs, and had 370 total yards of offense. Devante McFarlane was the workhorse on the ground with 114 yards on 10 carries. Steve Ishmael continues to be a stellar and crucial part of the Syracuse offense, and with six receptions for 72 yards, he and AJ Long are becoming quite the pair. A great day for the SU offense.
Defense
A
You can't have much of a better day for your defense than with a #PickSix and a #ScoopAndScore. One defensive score is a bonus. Two is almost unheard of. Wake was limited to 12 first downs, 3-15 on third downs, and only 170 total yards. Additionally, the defense knocked out the Wake starting QB with a legal hit for the entire second half. Can't have much of a better day. The secondary is still shit though.
Special Teams
A
Good coverage, Cole Murphy was perfect on the day with three field goals (long of 41) and three XPs. A solid day for the special teams unit.
Coaching
B
While the play calling got much better, they still called too many screen passes for not much gain.
But overall, you have to like how the offense has responded to a new OC and with a new starting QB. And the defensive play calling got to the Wake QB and forced turnovers. A little bit of improvement is possible, but not much.
GPA
A- (3.5)
A lot was on the line for Syracuse and there were tons of questions going into this game. But Wake Forest was a team Syracuse definitely had a chance to beat, and they answered the call handily. Other than maybe not allowing Wake to score the touchdown they had on a 91 yard drive, Syracuse couldn't have played much better. A very good day indeed.
Syracuse had a great day. There won't be many easier opponents on the schedule so to get a nice convincing win like this against a beatable team was good to see. Syracuse will have more difficult games left on the schedule, but this one was nice to savor.

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Back to the Future: Davis & Lang vs. Boeheim

The Boeheim defamation lawsuit has been resurrected

Editor's note: The following is a quick post about today's Court of Appeals decision while I'm on an extended lunch break during a jury trial. Yeah. That's how much I care about you people!

Today, New York's highest court -- the Court of Appeals -- issued a decision reversing the lower court's finding affirming the trial court's order of dismissal. In layman's terms: back on.

Procedurally, we know this case never went to trial. Boeheim's lawyers filed a notice of appeal very early in the process -- even before discovery. The trial judge dismissed the suit, ruling that the suit filed on behalf of Bobby Davis and Mike Lang did not allege facts sufficient to meet the legal threshold. That dismissal order was appealed to the mid-level appeals court in New York -- the Appellate Division -- which upheld the dismissal in a close 3-2 decision. The Court of Appeals took the case, and after oral arguments last month, considered arguments of both sides and determined, based on the law, that the lawsuit should be reinstated.

The gist of the Court of Appeals' decision is that Davis & Lang sufficiently alleged that the statements of Boeheim in the hours and days after the Bernie Fine allegations were made public, were of such a nature that they constituted "mixed fact and opinion," which makes it at least sufficient to survive a motion to dismiss. Boeheim making statements that "they had done this before" in regards of Davis & Lang making these sex abuse allegations, as well as Boeheim's reference to the investigation that found no proof of the abuse, are what did Boeheim in. Those facts were special facts that the public -- the reasonable listener/reader of Boeheim's statements -- had no knowledge of prior to Boeheim stating it. Because Boeheim's statements of opinion are based upon those special facts not previously disclosed, the Court found they were mixed fact & opinion, which are the proper basis of a defamation lawsuit.

But wait, this isn't the end of the road. The Court of Appeals is merely stating that the allegations in the lawsuit are sufficient for the case to move forward. That means, the case can proceed through the discovery process, depositions of witnesses, other legal wranglings, and ultimately a jury trial. A jury could still find that those statements were not defamatory. A jury could find that the statements of fact upon which Boeheim made his opinions were actually true -- and most of us know that the truth is a defense to defamation.

So, Boeheim could still walk away from this unscathed. Or, a jury could rule against him and find that he did defame Davis & Lang. Or, maybe this doesn't even get that far -- maybe all the parties reach a settlement, the terms of which we'd probably never know. Stay tuned, we'll walk you through any future developments.

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Cue the Smiling Child!

Great to be back in the winning column -- calls for a double thumbs up!

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Wake Forest Quick Predictions

So angry.
Fresh off a loss to the best team in the nation, Syracuse is looking to send a message that they can at least take care of business against the bottom of the ACC. And Wake Forest fits the bill. Can Syracuse rebound and earn a much needed win?
Wake Forest is dead last in the nation in rushing yards with 31 per game. They have a tragically ineffective rush offense which means that Wake will have to get the job done in the air. That's where Syracuse has traditionally struggled. While Syracuse should have it's best defensive day of the season against the rush, that will mean that Wake Forest will throw the ball more. I don't like having to rely on a secondary and/or linebackers in coverage to stop a team. Luckily the Syracuse pass rush is also pretty good. But that still means that the Syracuse offense needs to move the ball and put points on the board. Sometimes the game comes down to chewing the clock and hoping the other team makes the mistake that ends the game. Wake Forest's offense is even worse in the Red Zone oddly enough. So really, whoever wins the time of possession and the turnover battle. On paper, Syracuse is the better squad, despite starting a freshman QB. After last week I'll give them the benefit until he really blows the game by throwing into coverage. I'll take Syracuse in an grinder. 20 to 13.
This game is available regionally at 12:00pm on various local channels (listing here) and on Watch ESPN everywhere else (subject to blackout if the game is on TV in your area). Both John and I will be watching from home. If things go south we'll be cranky as always.

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The game was better. Not great but better.
A new offensive coordinator and a new starting QB was a recipe for a brutal viewing experience when facing the #1 team in the nation. But it actually wasn't so bad. And Syracuse covered the spread, if you're into being a degenerate gambler. Either way, there were some terrible things to watch, but mostly it was a good effort against a far superior team. FSU wins again 38-20.
Offense
C+
Syracuse was 7/14 (50%) on third downs, earned 20 first downs overall, and they racked up 412 total yards. The fact that they scored a touchdown was a minor miracle. Red Zone issues continue for the Orange however. AJ Long (16/27, 167yds, 2 TD, 2 INT) had an average day, and there were a few throws that should have never been made. But I'd rather he make the mistakes against FSU than a team that is beatable. Could have been worse, but could have been better.
Defense
D
Granted this was Florida State, but there were some coverages that were blown. There were either miscommunications or just stupidity. Either way, the defense couldn't stop much of anything.
Special Teams
B
A muffed punt was recovered. AMAZING. Granted the offense threw it right back to the other team on the next play, but hey, it was a good play. Cole Murphy was perfect on the day with 2 XPs and 2 FGs with a long of 32 yards. Also Riley Dixon was solid again.
Coaching
B
Good play calling and play calling that didn't hurt the team's chances of advancing the ball at a good rate. I liked the call to go for it near the goal line in the first half as well. It's FSU and the #1 team. If you want to upset them and you're within five yards of the goal line, why wouldn't you go for it? That's just smart, ESPN.
GPA
C+ (2.33)
Not a great game to see, but considering they were going against #1 and performed the way they did, it wasn't a bad effort. It was a nice scrimmage to get ready for Wake Forest this week.
Syracuse didn't have an awful outing. I'll take it for now. But this week against Wake Forest is a true test. Syracuse should be able to scrap out a win. If not, we have serious issues.

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Cue the Crying Child...

Can't say the result was that surprising. But it was still a loss.

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