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Playin' Genius

I have no crystal ball.

Or Miss Cleo subscription.

Or dog that barks once for a win and twice for a loss.

What I do have is the gunk betwixt my ears and the intuition that has failed me for the better part of my 25 years on this planet. It’s not ideal, but certainly better than flipping coins as a means for prognostication.

Well, maybe.

Anyways, without further ado, I proudly present Syracuse :: 44 :: Orange’s “Preseason Assumptions of How Syracuse Can Find Ways to Underachieve.”

Or, as others may call it, “A Pessimist’s Guide to Hating Your Alma Mater.”

9.04.05: vs. West Virginia
1:30 PM – ABC
Opponent Star Watch: Justin Gwaltney – RB

There is no chance in hell Syracuse wins this game. No chance. It seems like nobody plays as poorly on national television as Syracuse does, and given the Orange’s pitiful record in home openers, there is too much working against Syracuse to overcome a down Mountaineers club. If this game was played three weeks down the line, I’d almost put a Syracuse win in permanent marker. But since this game is stacking itself up as a must-win at the outset of the season, there’s a better chance of Matt Hale waving his Canadian flag on the sideline than Syracuse actually winning.

Final Buzzer Emotional Response: Disappointment tempered by feigned hopefulness.

*Update*: Syracuse dogs it in the opener thereby further emphasizing my genius.

9.10.05: vs. Buffalo
3:30 PM – Time Warner 26
Opponent Star Watch: Nobody

Troy Nunes beat Buffalo 63-7 in 2000. With that said, Syracuse will never, ever lose to Buffalo. Ever.

Final Buzzer Emotional Response: The Syracuse/Buffalo snow accumulation race is more fun.

*Update*: Buffalo dogs it in their 2005 Carrier Dome appearance thereby further emphasizing my genius.

9.17.05: vs. Virginia
12:00 PM – ESPN2
Opponent Star Watch: Marques Hagans – QB

This has all the makings of the yearly “Game Syracuse Shouldn’t Win, And Almost Doesn’t, But the Opponent Was Out Drinking the Night Before and Can’t Manage to Hold Off the Orange Rush.” Virginia embarrassed the Orange last season down in Charlottesville and probably would expect to do the same this season up in the Dome. Unfortunately for the ‘Hoos, it’s time for Coach Robinson’s new attacking defense to smother the snot out of Marcus Hagans and Al Groh’s Wali Lundy-led power running game.

Final Buzzer Emotional Response: If Syracuse runs the table….

*Update*: Perry Patterson's first half incompetence and the defense's second half fatigue ultimately allow the Cavaliers to hold off a classic Orange Rush.

I may have been wrong, but only by the slimmest of margins.

10.1.05: at Florida State
3:30 PM – ABC
Opponent Star Watch: Wyatt Sexton – Savior

Forget about it. Even though Florida State has no idea who will be taking snaps for them this season, Syracuse just doesn’t have enough to walk into Doak and actually push the Seminoles around. With a defense that can still move around the field as good as anyone in the game, Florida State should torture a young Patterson-led passing game.

Final Buzzer Emotional Response: Outright resignation.

*Update*: It didn't take a genius to realize that SU was going to get wrecked. Who would've thought that Syracuse would have actually had the first opportunity to score, though?

10.7.05: at Connecticut
8:00 PM – ESPN2
Opponent Star Watch: Terry Caulley – RB

Quintessential 50/50 game with the game falling on a short week following a Florida State massacre. Syracuse should win this game, but going on the road against an underdog never proves well for the Orange (read: Temple, Rutgers, me and 10 guys named Stephen Hawking). Despite Connecticut’s potentially porous defense and inexperienced passing attack, Syracuse win find a way to grab defeat from the jaws of victory.

Final Buzzer Emotional Response: Wait ‘til basketball sea…oh, crap….

*Update*: Always being right is a difficult pill to swallow.

10.15.05: vs. Rutgers
12:00 PM – ESPN Regional
Opponent Star Watch: Brian Leonard – RB/FB

When Rutgers plays under the bubble, they lose. It’s that simple. With an 11-2 record against the Scarlet Blight in the Dome, there’s no chance in hell Rutgers slips past the Orange this season. Even last year when RU held a two-score lead with under 4:00 to play, Syracuse still dropped the hammer on the Scarlet Blight. The only question will be what stupid things Coach Schiano will say after the game in a vain attempt to salvage the sinking ship that is his coaching career.

Final Buzzer Emotional Response: I pooped my pants.

*Update*: A few years back, Pitt manages to win in the Dome for the first time in 20 some-odd years. Now Rutgers decides it no longer wants to be smacked around under the bubble. This is unacceptable.

10.22.05: at Pittsburgh
12:00 – ESPN Regional
Opponent Star Watch: Greg Lee – WR

This is going to be bad. Real bad. I have no faith in Anthony Smith or any of the other jamokes Syracuse is throwing into its back four to stop Greg Lee or Joe DelSardo. Tyler Palko will have a field day carving up the Syracuse defense, despite the null value that is Pittsburgh running game. In the end, Dave Wanndstedt wins Round 1 of the Robinson/Wanndstedt Battle Royale in fairly convincing fashion.

Final Buzzer Emotional Response: I never thought cold steel would feel so warm on my temple.

*Update*: Yup. I'm a bona fide super-genius.

10.29.05: vs. Cincinnati
12:00 PM – ESPN Regional
Opponent Star Watch: Mark Dantonio – Head Coach

Cincinnati graduated just about its entire starting roster last season and has far from reloaded. Granted, the last time Syracuse walked into Cincinnati the Bearcats managed to wax Troy Nunes & Co. But Nunes isn’t running the Syracuse offense into the ground anymore. Perry Patterson is. And he won’t lose to these ‘Cats this season.

Final Buzzer Emotional Response: Light sobbing leading to acceptance of the state of Big East football.

*Update*: At this point, it may just be easier to start ranking which teams are worse than Syracuse rather than going through the arduous task of figuring out how far the Orange is from USC.

As for the game itself, it was nice to hear about a Syracuse performance reminiscent of the Troy Nunes era. Makes me feel like I'm back in college again, pissing away my future.

11.12.05: vs. South Florida
TBA – None Currently
Opponent Star Watch: Andre Hall - RB

Even with Syracuse’s panache for losing to the dregs of college football, SU will not lose this game. There is no way that Syracuse can lose on the day of 44’s retirement. If by some heroically ironic twist of fate the Orange did manage to lose, the City of Syracuse would burn at the hands of a Simpsons-style lynch mob.

Final Buzzer Emotional Response: I think Syracuse just swept D-1A’s roster of “Bulls.”

*Update*: If anyone has a noose, I've got a large tree we can start hanging members of the coaching staff from.

This performance wasn't just bad, it was just horrific. I'd rather give myself dental care than have to watch that game again.

11.19.05: at Notre Dame
2:30 PM – NBC
Opponent Star Watch: Regis Philbin – Professional Yakker

This could be the season’s worst game to be viewed by a national television audience. I have no reason to believe Notre Dame will be any better than a .500 club this season and by the time these two clubs square off, Syracuse will have already resigned itself to looking ahead to next year. While neither team should be allowed to win this game, I think Syracuse might pull out the victory, if only because I look forward to hearing Irish Nation calling for the head of another head coach.

Final Buzzer Emotional Response: So, which one of these teams is going to the Big Ten?

*Update*: Syracuse won the 1st quarter, so that's nice. Of course, Notre Dame pistol-whipped Syracuse for the other three periods, but that means very little.

11.26.05: at Louisville
TBA – None Currently
Opponent Star Watch: Brian Brohm – QB

The last time Louisville squared off against the Orange they won 30-20 and the game probably shouldn’t have been that close. Now, loaded with talent and national title hopes, Louisville is primed to lay a record-breaking offensive ass whooping on the Orange. If Syracuse wins this game, it’s only because a) Louisville sent their flu-ridden JV squad; or b) Syracuse has an undefeated season on the line and interim Head Coach Easter Bunny refuses to let the Orange lose.

Final Buzzer Emotional Response: Wait ‘til next ye… oh, crap….

*Update*: Worst. Season. Ever.

Final Record: 6-5 (3-4)
Final Assumptions:
· Damien Rhodes has a remarkable season.
· No bowl.
· Doogie Howser’s new television show gets cancelled within four weeks of its premiere.
· Fields v. Patterson debate rages.
· Disappointing basketball season erases disappointment of Syracuse football ’05.
· Uneventful recruiting season.

*Update*: The final assumptions ending up being about half right and about half wrong.
  • Damien Rhodes actually accumulated a pretty pedestrian season.
  • There was no bowl (and if there were, the bowl system would collapse upon itself in horror).
  • How I Met Your Mother is still on TV, and I actually like it a little bit.
  • It wouldn't be Syracuse football post-McNabb if there wasn't a QB battle. Predicting this controversy is like shooting fish in a barrell.
  • Syracuse is well on its way to a disappointing hoops year (damn you, Bucknell).
  • Well, the recruiting picture is still fuzzy, but the lack of big names giving oral committments should be an indication of a poor season on the horizon.

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