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The more things change, the more they stay the same.


Source of joy or source of an ulcer.

The State of the Orange is on the minds of many faithful Orange fans. In part one of our examination we looked at the top of the food chain at the Athletic Department, a man in the crosshairs of this writer at least. In part two we examined the man that is at the helm of our football club. Part two was not easy to pen after the man chaired the biggest upset in college football history. In part three we take a look at the program as a whole, where we are, and the other teams (I will limit this to the top three) that compose and round out the State of the Orange.

So where do we begin? I think a fiscal analysis would be a good foreground to the current state we find ourselves in. When Kenneth “Buzz” Shaw was running the university he was an extremely talented fundraiser, charismatic leader, and liked by his peers and students alike. The university had a surplus of money that a rapper would clearly call a “stupid fresh” amount. The same was the case with Jake Crouthamel and the athletic department. This number is a little closer to $60 million. Now, while I am not sure the exact number that surplus is today, I know it is vastly less than what it was. It is the price of a terrible football team losing money, combined with an athletic department spending money hand over fist (no JBren I still don’t know where this term came from). Now, we have Nancy Chancy spending $6 million on a wall that has become the world’s most expensive outdoor urinal, and DOCTOR Gross spending money like he still works at USC.

This is the environment that is trying to breed success in a D1 athletic program. Good thing we have two other teams that, by no understatement, are the pride of the program.

We start with what we are known for; basketball. Jim Boeheim has been a fixture at Syracuse for over 30 years. The man is a legend, a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame, and one of the most successful basketball coaches in the history of college basketball. While basketball is approaching fast, and a full preview will be released later, this is not the article to speculate how we will do this year. But one thing is certain, we continue to be an elite team in the nation and the Big East Conference. While the injury of Andy Rautins will no doubt have some impact on the team, we have the number one class of freshmen in the nation, along with Paul Harris and Devendorf. We will finish in the top five of the Big East this season, no question.

Even more so, over the last 25 years, Syracuse has been a lacrosse school. With nine (the NCAA only recognizes eight) national championships and a record of 22 straight final four appearances between 1982 and 2004, this program is one of the elite programs in the lacrosse world. From Roy Simmons, Sr. to Roy Simmons Jr., and finally John Desko, these men have guided this program into a powerhouse of Division 1. With a top five recruiting class, this team is on a big upswing in the next few seasons.

Really however, these teams need to be addressed. For the first time in the history of the Big East, Syracuse achieved ten wins in the league in basketball and failed to make the NCAA Tournament. This was an absolute travesty and Gary Walters should be ashamed for his committee committing such a violation. That being said, had Syracuse won a couple more games, it would have been a moot point.

Lacrosse failed to even make the tournament for the first time in over twenty five years. Getting blown out by teams that Syracuse used to dismantle like Colgate and UMass is disheartening to a team that is usually outstanding. Desko, having last won the championship in 2004, is having a terrible last few years compared to the usual status of the program. Last season was the first year since 1982 that the football team failed to make a bowl game, the basketball team was not selected for the NCAA Tournament, and the lacrosse team did not make the postseason. What happens now?

Well the good news is there is no place to go but up. Jim Boeheim is always doing his part. Desko is an excellent recruiter and his coaching staff is excellent, so they should be doing better. Football is obviously the biggest question. Sadly college football makes the athletic world go around. In 2003, when we won the National Championship in basketball, the university still lost money because of the revenue sharing system that the Big East employs, along with the fact that basketball does not make nearly the scratch that football does.

What then does the program need to do? With season ticket purchases falling in football, the people have stated their vote for the program in regards to their coach and team they are fielding. Is this truly fair. In part two, I talked about the status of Robinson’s job. I believe he should be given the season now that he has managed to win a game with this squad. Depending on how the team does this Saturday is if I will back getting a new coach sooner rather than later. Interesting side note is that Coaches Hot Seat labels UConn’s Randy Edsall as the ideal coach for Syracuse. Interesting concept as he was also an alumnus of Syracuse. The father of D1 football at the U of Conn is not so interested in moving, and frankly, I do not think we want him back.

Clearly, the other programs are fine and consistency and history should carry the day. Boeheim is the longest tenured coach at one school, what is even nicer is that it is his alma mater. Desko also played here and should remain for the intermediate future. Seeing as both other teams have alumni as coaches, is does make an interesting argument for Edsall though.

Currently, the athletic department as a whole is fine. Our major sports should not have trouble bouncing back. The money is there for now. There are a few competent people marketing the university. But when it is all said and done, you need to win. Teams have to bring in fans, get revenue, improve facilities, recruit better players, win more, and repeat. If this does not happen, things will go from bad to worse. The football team will eventually get better. Syracuse is not the kind of school that will be beat up on for long. Moves will be made, people will be fired, buildings will be built (thanks Carmelo!). The question remains what will Gross do to make us better, or will his mishandling of the department continue? I am not sure if anyone knows but Gross and Cantor. We here at Orange::44 will continue to keep on top of the State of the Orange and provide crisp analysis and entertaining commentary that is the continuing daily disaster of Syracuse Athletics.

Editor’s Note: This is part three in a three part special report on the State of the Orange. Part one can be found here. Part two can be found here.

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The State of the Orange: Part 2, Sins of the Son

Football genius or worst coach ever?
The State of the Orange has a much sunnier outlook as I write this. Syracuse is coming off a big time upset of #18 Louisville, and quite frankly has re-energized Orange Nation. There is excitement and talk after this major statement win. But one game does not define a coach, so I will write this assessment with the bitter disdain and cold hart I wrote Part 1 with.

In this installment of our special three part report we focus on the current coach of the Syracuse Orange Football club, one Greg Robinson. Robinson has been at the helm of this storied football program since 2005. Since then, the man, to date, as achieved a record of 6-21. For those of you keeping track at home, that is a .222 win percentage. Not something to write home about. For a coach with so much potential and hope for something different, most fans of the Orange would say we were not delivered what was promised. We will start by looking back at what Mr. Robinson had accomplished before arriving in the Salt City.

Robinson started his football playing career at the University of the Pacific. It is slightly ironic that they have since ended fielding a team in football. He played linebacker for the squad before beginning his coaching career at his alma mater. Making stops at Cal State Fullerton, NC State, and UCLA, he then entered the coaching ranks of the National Football League. He then spent four years with the New York Jets before moving on to the Denver Broncos for five years as Defensive Coordinator. He proceeded to win two Super Bowl rings there (f’ing awesome). Then he moved on to the KC Chiefs for two years, before jumping back to college coaching at Texas. From this illustrious resume he was selected to be a head coach for the first time by Daryl Gross to lead the Syracuse Orange football team.

The real question with this gentleman is can he recruit people to bring the glory and prestige back to Syracuse Football? So far the answer is… undecided. Do I think it is too early to decide if he can bring this program back from death’s doorstep? Most likely.

After seasons only containing one and four wins respectively, and then beginning this season dropping three games by a lot, I was ready for the man to be fired. I was like many people in Orange Nation. At the beginning of the season I was willing to give the man a break. After a season with four wins, a vast improvement from only one, I simply asked for improvement. If Robinson could not deliver five wins with his boys, I was just fine with him getting fired.

So, let’s address some of the rumors that are currently out there. Until the big Louisville win Saturday, there was much talk about us not winning one game this season. The prevalent talk and desire was that Robinson would be fired in the middle of the year, there would be an assistant taking over the balance of the season, and then getting a jump on hiring a new coach for next season. Now, frankly, after Saturday I’m not sure where the hot seat is on Coach Robinson. The Axeman seems to think he has gone from the hot seat to an uncomfortably warm seat.

So who would be the front runner for the job? Obviously, as an average member of society I am not privy to all the people that would apply. But here are some rumors that are floating around, as well as some I am creating which would be interesting to think about. First candidate: Lloyd Carr. Yes, the current coach of Michigan is probably out at the end of the year, especially after he loses to THE Ohio State again. He could come in, he’s obviously a good recruiter (hello, he stole Mike Hart from our back yard), and I just think it could be a nice fit. Candidate number two: Bill Cowher. This Super Bowl winning coach, who was with the Pittsburgh Steelers for 15 years. Some say he wouldn’t come to Syracuse. I say I am totally making this up and just think it would be the shit if Bill Cowher did come. Frankly, there is no pressure. He was a 15 year NFL coach with a Super Bowl ring and a team that could only go up. He has never coached in college so why not try to join the ranks of coaches that have won the BCS and a Super Bowl ring. Candidate number three: Paul Pasqualoni. After getting three seasons under his belt in an NFL system, why not come back. Who knows Syracuse better after all. He could come in, pick up all those recruiting pipelines that he had before (what the hell am I saying?!?). At this point, who knows who would want the Syracuse job, let alone succeed in? No one.

Now, that Greg has won, arguably the biggest upset this season, let alone ever (it is true if you go by point spread), what happens now? I think this win has bought Robinson some time. I am all about taking the wait and see attitude and taking a look at how the team does at Miami of Ohio, and then see how they fair against WVU and Rutgers on Homecoming. Then I can either get on the bandwagon and give Robinson another season to show some improvement and get to a Bowl Game, or call for his firing.

The State of the Orange at this very minute is not so bad. We have won a major victory in the conference placing us tied for first place with lowly UConn. We have a winnable game next week. Things are not so down for the Orange currently. This could all change after next week, but for now there is slightly renewed hope and content. I hope this feeling continues all the way to at least five victories, three of which come in the Big East.

Editor’s Note: This is part two in a three part special report on the State of the Orange. Part three will be released Thursday focusing on the other teams at Syracuse and recommendations for the future reguarding the entire Athletic Department. Part one can be found here. Part three can be found here.

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BlogPoll Ballot: Week Four

Pick apart as you please. Comments will be considered, but likely derided.

1 Southern Cal 25
2 LSU 24
3 West Virginia 23
4 Florida 22
5 California 21
6 Oklahoma 20
7 Ohio State 19
8 Texas 18
9 Rutgers 17
10 Boston College 16
11 Wisconsin 15
12 Clemson 14
13 Georgia 13
14 Oregon 12
15 South Florida 11
16 Kentucky 10
17 Missouri 9
18 Virginia Tech 8
19 South Carolina 7
20 Penn State 6
21 Alabama 5
22 Cincinnati 4
23 Hawaii 3
24 Arizona State 2
25 Michigan 1

Dropped Out:

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One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces

I'm figuring that the respective catalogues of Reel Big Fish and Ben Folds Five should carry us through the season as barometers of hopefulness/disdain. I have nothing to buttress such logic other than the fact that I like these bands and listened to them a lot in college when Syracuse fielded a pretty respectable gridiron squad.

Today's "Song of Perfect Application" is One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces by Ben Folds Five:


That's how ARob does it. Crab cakes and football.
I must have received around seven calls from friends. They could not believe what they just saw. The other few calls I got could not see the game and wanted to know what happened. They could not believe what I told them. I stayed at a friend’s house on Saturday night and they asked me again, did last night really happen? Was that real? Yes, it was real… and it was spectacular. The thing that real Syracuse fans have believed about the team for years happened. On any given week we can lose to Temple, or beat #7 Virginia Tech. Sure enough the latter happened on one magical day in Kentucky. Let us go to the report card.

Andrew Robinson is an absolute magician (Hat tip to Nunes/Magician for changing the banner for one day). He was simply off the chain (17/26, 423yds, 4 TD, 0 INT). Taj Smith was stunning with two major, big time plays (4 rec, 173yds, 2TD). He made the freaking Sportscenter Top Ten. The rest of the receiving core was finally playing like they look on paper. And by God, the offensive line protected Robinson like a group of Secret Service Agents. The only weak spot was the running game, which has been bad all season. But really, who cares when we are making it rain out there. ARob is the real deal, even if the receivers are not sometimes.

We had some big stops. Correction, huge (HUGE Tom. HUUUUUUGE.) stops. Also Jameel McClain proved once again that he is an All-Big East defensive player with a big interception. However, the secondary left much to still be desired as Brian Brohm passed for 555 yards and four touchdowns. That being said, the boys up front finally did a nice job of making some tackles for losses, wrapping up the running back, and generally looking fired up, which is something they have not done all year. A solid effort.

Special Teams
Stunning. Max Suter with a 93 yard kickoff return is probably the single most unexpected thing that happened on the field Saturday. That kid may be small but he is fast. Pat “Fat Ass” Shadle did his part chipping in a 26 yarder and five extra points. Rob “Heisman” Long had a solid day punting for a total of 248 yards on six punts. But really, the story here is Suter running like he had herpes and there was a fresh Valtrex script sitting in the end zone. You gotta stop that itching and burning somehow.

Way to open up the playbook boys. My theory for the season so far, and really the only explanation I can come up with is, the team was watching L’ville film for the past three weeks getting ready for this game, ignoring the team they were actually facing. There was a clear adjustment on the part of the coaching staff early in the game after seeing Louisville stack the box against the Syracuse (lackluster) running game. L’ville obviously had no faith in ARob, and they paid dearly on several occasions. Greg Robinson gets a hat tip from this observer for this game.
B+ (3.4)
On a day when we could have very easily lost this game, we did not. Bottom line, the team looked fired up, excited, and playing to a level that we had yet to see this season. The offense was clicking on all cylinders, the defense worked hard, and special teams were special, but not in a short bus kind of way. Both Robinsons deserve much credit. Taj Smith was crazy delicious. I mean really, seriously, we beat fucking #18 Louisville at Louisville. If you did not celebrate in some way you were a fool.

As I sit here writing this report I cannot help but think of all the hateful things I was going to write had we lost this game big. As I try to pen my State of the Orange: Part 2 report I cannot help but think how am I supposed to go and bash the shit out of Greg this week? I shouldn’t really. But here is the real situation; we were good on Saturday. We can be good next Saturday. Will be go on to beat Rutgers and West (Fuckin’) Virginia? Probably not, but frankly, who knows? Anything is possible after pulling, arguably, the greatest upset in a Big East game in the history of the conference. Do not expect a four TD day from Robinson soon, but at least he has made the statement. This game was Robinson telling us to stop the hating on ‘Cuse. This guy is a star and a winner and could lead this team to greatness in the near future. Only time will tell. I’m not on the Syracuse running the table bandwagon yet, but if we take it to Miami (OH) next weekend, I could be getting my bandwagon ticket punched very soon.
Special H/T to our friend Dianne for watching her first Syracuse Football game with us this weekend. What a start. She now has to watch every game for the rest of the season. Thanks D!
Editor's Note: Due to the fact we won, and also that I was late in returning home this weekend, State of the Orange : Part 2 will be released Monday evening. Thanks for the understanding.

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Cue the Happy Child

Happiness is spelled:


State of the Orange: Part 1, Sins of the Father

DOCTOR or the Devil?
The State of the Orange is not something easily discussed these days. While Syracuse is one of the few schools that has enjoyed success in all three of the top three sports in the NCAA, Syracuse Football, and yes athletics as a whole at Syracuse, have taken a sharp and historic turn for the worse. Who is behind this, what does this mean, and what will happen now? These are the questions that many of the Orange faithful have been asking these days. This three part essay will attempt to discuss the major players in the fall of the Orange, address the current rumors regarding our football program and the athletic department, and give some insight as to what the hell happened.

In this special report, we start with the man behind the curtain presently at Manley Field House, Dr. Daryl Gross. Everything rests with the man at the top. The buck does stop somewhere, and in every case, it has to stop with the man upstairs. Since winter of 2004 my opinions of Gross have greatly changed. He was hired to replace grizzled veteran of the department, and a founding father of the Big East Conference, Jake Crouthamel.

Crouthamel had his problems and criticisms like every AD that comes through the door, but he was mostly liked and extremely well respected by his peers. After the university changed its logo and went from “Orangemen” to “Orange” many students and alumni thought that it was time for Jake to leave. This was only solidified when he again refused to fire Coach P. Gross was hired shortly after the Champs Sports Bowl blowout in 2004 and on December 29th, he proceeded to fire Coach P. While most saw this as the right move for the football team at the time, I am sure we all yearn for a six win season again. Crouthamel was not the most popular, but at least he was respected and helped the university weather some rough storms. A former football coach himself, I believe he probably knew exactly what was best for the university at the time.

Then the Gross era in Syracuse began. With a flashy start, he proceeded to shake up the Athletic Department. By shake up, I mean bring in people extremely unqualified to do their jobs. Let me explain. You see, it all starts back in USC. Gather around for story time kids.

At USC Daryl had a graduate assistant named Lael. She worked in the athletic department after graduation for three years, babysitting Daryl’s kids. Daryl then takes the job at Syracuse, and what do you know, she comes with him. She even gets the job of Assistant Director of Athletics for Marketing. Which, I think everyone thought was kind of funny for someone with only three years experience and no Masters Degree. Surprise surprise, Daryl gets a divorce. Not that this was not already the talk of the athletic department. Sure enough Lael now has the last name of Gross. Funny how things work out like that.

While the above is a funny aside, and while we at Orange::44 condemn adultery all the while finding it hilarious, this is merely meant to illustrate the simple fact that there are not enough competent people at the athletic department. A good university athletic program starts with the top and filters down. Competent people must be in place to provide a basis for success. I have always respected the Edson’s, and Pete Sala, and even Barbra Henderson, those people, coincidentally hired during the previous administration, are not the majority in the athletic department these days.

Since the start of the 2005-2006 school year, the football team has gone won only five games, and only one of which was a Big East victory. In the 2006-2007 school year the lacrosse team failed to make the postseason for the first time in about 25 years, and Syracuse Basketball became the first team in the history of the Big East to get 10 wins in league play and not make the NCAA Tournament. This is obviously grossly (no pun intended) underachieving as compared to the previous history of the programs.

Along with underachieving teams, there is the issue of disbanding the swimming and diving program. I have been privy to some documents which have chronicled some meetings within the closed doors of the athletic department regarding Daryl Gross, Assistant AD Henry Wildhack. In these meetings, which are most likely referenced in this article from Phil Whitten, Executive Director of the College Swimming Coaches Association of America, it is evident that Gross made this decision based on criteria in his own head, along with misinformation. By now you have surely heard the arguments based on this, therefore assuming you know the facts, you know Gross acted completely in haste and without fully analyzing the athletic department for the best possibility. That is if you believe Whitten, which I mostly do.

The NCAA determines championship participation in sending one or more swimmers to the NCAA finals in swimming. Syracuse has sent one or two members at least 75% of the time for the last 25 years. Therefore this argument of not being a championship caliber team is false. Also, many parents have offered to apply for grants and donate money totaling one million dollars to run the swimming and diving program. Gross has not commented on this. The only assumption to draw is that this decision was based on some notion of Title IX, which as we all know is supposed to provide equality, but really gets rid of men’s teams at Syracuse (see baseball, wrestling, gymnastics). In addition to this, the Tennity Ice Skating Pavilion was purposely built before the 2001 school year to be too small to support a Division 1 Ice Hockey team. Gross suggests that cost is the real reason, citing that to have the swimming team compete they would need a $25 million upgrade to the facility. Well, upgrading the ice hockey facilities will cost something as well.

The moral of the story is Gross is handling our (yes, as a student or alumni you have a stake in the AD, therefore it is yours) athletic department poorly. Therefore, we have to decide if it is the time to fire Gross at the end of the year, give him another year, or fire him after the football season. I have heard a completely unsubstantiated rumor that Gross’ contract is up at the end of this school year, and he has tried to renegotiate but the school has refused, thus basically giving him a no confidence vote. However, others have told me his contract goes two more years. I am still checking on this angle of the story.

So where does this leave the Orange? Continuing to operate status quo will no longer suffice for the fan base. Especially when the fans of the Orange (I love you but it is true) are so “fair weather” that the money and season tickets will continue to evaporate in the path of an apathetic or unresponsive athletic director.

It is pointless to predict what actions Gross would do in the future, and I will specifically address the football situation with Greg Robinson in Part II of this article, but there is one rumor which I have heard that could be interesting to throw out. Jim Boeheim retires as coach in two years, when Gross’ contract is up. Then he becomes AD for as long as he wants the job. He could be with his family, he knows the school better than most, and fans of the Orange everywhere would rejoice.

Most people are focused on the present however. With quotes like "You've just got to keep watching to see if this team shows some signs of progressing. I'll keep watching, keep listening, keep watching, keep listening . . . and see where we go" and "We're gonna get his thing fixed, and Greg (Robinson) wants to get it fixed, and he's telling me, 'I'm gonna get it fixed’”, I’m afraid that nothing will happen for the better. With losing and incompetency the hallmarks of the Gross Era in Syracuse Athletics something has to change. That needs to be a football coach, athletic director, chancellor, or all three.

Editor’s Note: This is part one in a three part special report on the State of the Orange. Part two will focus on Greg Robinson and the football team, found here.

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The Dome is sad about it too.
It is about the time of the football season when you really have an idea of how your team will do. Some teams are sitting pretty. LSU comes to my mind. Other teams are not. Notre Dame rings a bell. But one other team on our minds is clearly bad enough to register with our souls. Team number 118 out of 119. That team would be Syracuse. Nothing good happened in the Dome on Saturday. The grades are in so let us get to the report card.

We scored a touchdown, so therefore the F is not warranted. However, only rushing for 63 net yards and our Offensive Line being manhandled like a stripper at a bachelor party, this was a performance with much to be desired. The wide receivers performed alright, but they certainly did not perform to the level they appear to be able to on paper. Andrew Robinson had a somewhat productive day (17/26, 208yds, 0 TD, 0 INT) but with no scores on the board, and only one score the season, he remains the QB that has not reached any notion of potential. A typical 118th team effort.

They could not stop a group of third graders from scoring last Saturday. How many times did Illinois run a RB/FB draw and ran for a gain of 15-20 yards. Too many to count without having the game film. Our run defense is a joke, and thus, not only was Illinois in an excellent position to score the ball, clock management was on the side of Mr. Zook. Either way, allowing 378 net rush yards is pretty much the worst position you can put yourself in to try to win a game. Just awful.

Special Teams
I was actually impressed with kickoff returns. This could just be a fluke and a result of the new kickoff rule, however I think we have talented return men. Patrick “Fat Ass” Shadle contributed by being accurate on his field goal attempts and extra points. There were a couple quality punts from Rob “Heisman” Long as well. A decent effort on special teams.

What is the most widely heard criticism of Greg Robinson and his staff? Not adjusting at half time. Gee coach, maybe after getting run all over in the first half, you might decide to implement some defenses that stuff the box (haha, he said stuff the box). I do not have a Super Bowl ring or anything, but it is just a thought. Offensive play calling I was pretty happy with, which I honestly cannot say I have said in probably four or five seasons. Not calling a run on third and forever, and punting on third down, is a recipe for me being fine with the offensive play calling.

D (1.45)
While we have improved form the Iowa debacle, it is still an effort that all but screams we will not be winning one game this season, and if we do, it will be a complete fluke and that the other team had the worst game of the decade. I am glad the team is providing enough fodder for me to follow the Orange::44 credo; to chronicle the daily disaster that is Syracuse Athletics.

Some other random thoughts on the game are in order. In the middle of the game Illinois was kicking off to Syracuse and the Illinois kicker actually missed the ball. It rolled about six yards and he fell on it. Thus they received an illegal procedure penalty. I never in my wildest dreams would think I would see a kicker miss the ball on a kickoff. Awesome.

The team still came out with their uninspiring “walk on” “Haka”. I still do not like it and I still think it is ridiculous and goes against everything college football stands for. Sorry no new video this week. I'll see what I can do the next time I'm in town. Mike Veley still sucks!

I think, again, most of Orange Nation has already resigned ourselves to the attitude of “here we go again”, and with good reason. I am on board with that assessment as well. Remember when I predicted seven wins? Ever the eternal optimist, I have now become Debbie Downer. The death of a salesman subtitle is a direct reference to Gross and Robinson trying to keep us optimistic. None of us are buying it anymore. Over the next week I will pen a three part series dealing with the current state of the football squad, address the current and imaginary rumors floating around Orange Nation, and where we go from here, along with my personal recommendations. This will be an exhausting and mentally challenging read for Orange faithful, as I have already been pained in knowing how bad the team has turned out to be. All I can say is stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the e-mail retrospective of DOCTOR gross over at Nunes/Magician found here. More material on the Orange to be released soon.


Everything Sucks

From one of my favorite bands, Reel Big Fish:

Sobbing may recommence . . . now.


Cue the Crying Child

Embrace the suck.


Super Secret Game Plan: Illinois

Pulitzer Prize, here I come!

Last week -- through supreme clandestine activity -- I uncovered Greg Robinson's gameplan for Iowa. This week, with razor sharp wit and cunning guile, I managed to recover Robinson's Syracuse gameplan against Illinois.

The document can be viewed here. (Once again, you're going to need Adobe to read the .pdf file.)

Methinks that the third-year head coach pursued a minor in Art while enrolled at Pacific.


Syracuse Football: Taste the Terrible!

Well guys, I guess this means we suck, huh?
I'll be honest with you. I did not watch this game. I do not have DirectTV, nor could I go to a bar that did. I was relegated to "watching" the game on ESPN Gamecast. But frankly, it may have been for the best.
F - Terrible O Line+ SUcking = crying children. Box score here.
F - See opposing team's score. Joe 5 Fields with an INT. Woop-de-doooooo!
Special Teams
F - See deez nuts.
F - I can not wait for more meaningless quotes, nonsense phrases, and crazy excuses at the Tuesday presser.
F - Failing.
Needs to stay after class for the next three years to make up missed classwork. See teacher for swift kick in the balls. Repeat.
When does the list of nominees come out for the 2007 College Football Job Award? I'll again have postgame coverage from the Illinois game, and maybe another awesome video of the amazingness that is SU Football 2007. Until next time remember: winning isn't everything, but it sure as hell feels better than this.


Cue the Crying Child

Three years of crying children.
Internet, I salute you!


Super Secret Game Plan: Iowa

If I'm anything, it's that I am a non-stop investigative journalist.

Honest to goodness; I have a trenchcoat and everything. I'm like John Stossel except without the moustache and unmitigated sense of self-worth.

Through my heroic efforts, I have uncovered Greg Robinson's gameplan for Syracuse's tilt against Iowa (you're going to need a .pdf reader to view it). If I do say so myself, it's pretty full-proof and the native Californian has excellent penmanship.


Washington - Syracuse Postgame Reactions

The Dome was Orange. The scoreboard was not.

So it is Thursday. And we’re already thinking ahead to the next game. But seeing as I was actually at the Carrier Dome last Friday for the exercise in futility, I thought I would fill the readers in on what you maybe did not see on your HDTV, as well as comment on the game and situation overall.

The Uniforms
Now, I am all for showing off the Orange. It is our one official color (colour for you British out there) and I am fine with showing it off. Frankly, we get hated on a lot for the navy uniforms and the retro look, but I think they are nice and Ernie Davis would approve. However, the orange on orange look was ill advised. I used to love the all orange uniforms. We would crack them out, the crowd would go crazy, and we beat Boston College on Homecoming. That was how it was. They were saved for a special occasion or a huge game. Not for Washington. Moral of the story… until we are great again, or we have an absolutely huge game, like to win the Big East, leave them in storage.

The Run On
By run on, I mean when the players run out of the tunnel before the game starts and gets everyone jacked up to see the game. Yeah… they did not run. Which did not get me fired up, which did not make the dome ELECTRIC as it is supposed to be opening day. Nice choice GRob/Joe 5 Fields.

The Crowd
I was pleasantly surprised when the Dome got somewhat full looking. That is always a plus. But the crowd, other than the student section, was pretty mellow. I am sorry, but there are certain moments when you need to stand up and cheer for your team, wave your keys, and so on. With the crowds in the dome they way they are, the same fair-weather problem we have always had, I’m not surprised the team does not do better. It is totally sad.

New Manley Field House
I took a tour of the newly designed Manley Field House with most of the NCAA Championship Trophies on display so that you can actually touch them. It is pretty cool to touch one of them. I am glad Syracuse is serious about showing off the hardware, and the display cases for the team sports were nice as well. My photo album of the new Manley can be found here. A display case for the swimming program… too soon Daryl, too soon.

Ernie Davis Statue
Being that I was born in Elmira and grew up 15 minutes away, I used to pass the statue of Ernie Davis there quite a lot. It looks just like him. Wearing a varsity jacket, holding books in one hand, and a football in the other. It is classy, and a great tribute. This new statue does not look like Ernie Davis, nor was it even done. Well done SU. I am confused as to why you did not use the same artist that did the last one, as he has been approaching you over and over for the past few years about making an Ernie Davis statue for the University. Well done.

Night Games
We do not have them that often, but damn they are fun. It makes me wish we were a way better team so we could have more of them. I tailgated from about 2pm on and had a blast in the Hoople Parking lot across from the V. If you were there I hope you enjoyed it. You are not seeing another night game this year. If you missed it, you should try to get back for one sometime.

Report Card - Washington
Now onto my game report card. It is a couple of days late but hey, at least we are not Michigan. Since Matt Glaude already put out a report card, I will give my grades then average them next to mine.

D (D)
Our offensive line is just as bad. How is that even possible? Andrew Robinson was sacked seven times and had no time to look for receivers. When he did find them they had a case of the dropsies. Andrew himself looked pretty good, but the kid cannot run. Stop calling QB Draw plays please. And having no run game is fun. We’re only SYRACUSE. Jim Brown… HELLO!?!?! Eight rush yards. Really?! Really?! I could get eight rush yards if I just pretended there was another beer in the end zone.

D- (D)
It has been said before, but why does our defense give up for a man that is supposed to be a defensive guru. Where is the guru? Anyone? Hello, is this thing on? Letting Washington’s RB and QB run all over us was fun to watch too.

Special Teams
C (B-)
I’m sorry, you can kick all the field goals you like, run back a shit ton of touchdowns on kickoffs, but when you miss an extra point, I am sorry, but I wont give you better than a C. The kickoff units were fine, and the new punter looks decent. Matt will keep his #47 Heisman T-Shirt and we will hopefully see it cracked out at Homecoming and The Rent.

D (D)
See Matt Glaude’s assessment. It is not all GRob’s fault. When you are not able to run the ball it is hard to open up the playbook. However, then you adjust. You call different pass plays. You do anything to try to win the game. Not give up in the third.

1.45. On probation. We’ll see what they can do next week, but I fear it will be a similar result.

Moving On (already?)
For those of you ready to take the next step, the full Syracuse Basketball schedule came out yesterday. Take a look for yourself here. It is about as expected. I enjoy the non-conference travel to Virginia and the fact we are back in the NIT again. I just wish the Georgetown away game was on a Saturday, making it easier to go to. I’ll probably still be there anyway. The Connecticut game is on a Wednesday which is odd, but acceptable. 18 Big East games is a lot of delicious conference action as well. Very enjoyable.

Ok so there we go. I can be done with talking about Washington. So sorry about calling a win on that one. I almost entitled this entry “I Don’t Know Shit, Don’t Listen To Me”, but I thought that was a bit much and over dramatic. I still think we can get a few wins this year, maybe even five still, and a few in the Big East. Time will tell however. At least we looked good on paper. I am sure we will see some more crying faces yet to come.

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A Picture is Worth Eight Words


BlogPoll Roundtable: II

Despite Brian Cook's descent into kitten affinity, the BlogPoll endures. The host for this week's BlogPoll Roundtable is Doug Gillett, proprietor of Hey Jenny Slater. The extended pigskin discussion can be found here.

I. By the end of the season, some previously unheralded teams' bandwagons will be so full they'll be having to bump passengers and offer them free vouchers and first-class upgrades; others will have emptied out in a big way. On whose bandwagon are you already scrambling to save a seat? Conversely, which team's bandwagon is being driven by Toonces the Driving Cat, prompting you to leap off now before it careens over a cliff to its fiery death below?

Bandwagon of Love: California

Color me smitten with DeSean Jackson and Nate Longshore. The Bears do not look like they want to play any defense in 2007, but with the amount of points Tedford's charges are expected to drop this season, that shouldn't matter much. California will probably not win the PAC-10 (USC could probably win the NFC West), but they will finish somewhere in the 10 to 11 win mark.

Bandwagon of Hate: Auburn

I am stunned how inept the Auburn offense looked against Kansas State. Everyone knows that Brandon Cox is not a national championship-caliber quarterback, but a team can only gut out so many victories. If the Tigers' newly fashioned offensive line continues to allow Cox to get sacked half a dozen times and continually run from pressure, Auburn fans are going to break out the pitchforks and lanterns and begin their ritualistic "Fire Tuberville!" campaign.

II. What do you think was opening weekend's biggest mirage -- either a "big win" over a team that isn't really as good as everyone thinks, or an embarrassing loss (or embarrassingly close win) that won't seem quite as embarrassing by season's end?

Biggest Mirage: Wisconsin over Washington State.

The Badgers are pretty good, but one must consider that Wisconsin was in a dogfight for much of the afternoon with a pretty average (at best) Cougar squad. Bill Doba will find a way to move Washington State to the PAC-10 cellar, with only Jim Harbaugh's Stanford charges ensuring something greater than a winless conference campaign.

III. Compared to how you felt Friday night, how do you feel now about your team's chances this season? I'm not just talking about your impressions of your own team -- also take into account their prospects relative to this year's opponents, whom you've also gotten a little more acquainted with after this past weekend's action.

Considering the fact that I only anticipated a three-win campaign for the Orange, the fact that Syracuse got shellacked by a pretty mediocre Washington team cements my prophetic intelligence.

The saddest aspect of this assessment is that it need only consider Syracuse's complete lack of football competency. The Orange is going to stink something terrific this year, and may be staring down another historic one-win campaign.

Syracuse's frustrating 2007-2008 basketball season cannot start soon enough.

IV. Looking at how those future opponents performed this past weekend, which developments are you most excited about? Which of your opponents' performances have you a little worried?

Excitement: Buffalo looking as if it is allergic to the endzone is a fun development. That should ensure at least a three-point victory for the Orange. Miami (OH) slipping by Ball State is also exciting, especially considering the fact that Ball State is to football what Hillary Clinton is to hip-huggers. Both opponents pose winnable contests, assuming, of course, Syracuse finds two serviceable offensive tackles and a rushing attack that can generate more than eight yards on the ground.

Endless Worry: Louisville, Cincinnati, West Virginia, Connecticut, and Rutgers combining for 277 points. Granted, the offensive explosion came against some of the worst teams in college football, but Syracuse isn't exactly going to finish the season in the "Others Receiving Votes" category.

V. There are now 32 bowls in D-IA football, meaning 64 bowl teams, meaning any given team now stands a better-then-50-percent chance of going to a bowl. To get that number under 50 percent, we'd have to eliminate three bowls. Which ones would you get rid of?

International Bowl: American College Football + Toronto + January = No fucking way.

GMAC Bowl: Seriously, does anyone want to see Conference USA's second-place squad square-off against a forgettable MAC opponent? Unlikely. Plus, Mobile is not the balls.

Texas Bowl: Sportsline tentatively predicts this game as featuring Texas Tech against Central Florida. Accordingly, I'd rather drink bleach.

VI. And finally, in 50 words or less, how happy are you that it's finally football season again?

I'm thrilled; my employer and clients (who connectively count on my productivity), not so much.


Stuff to Read

FanHouse: Your College Football Overlord
We're all pimping tons of material over at the FanHouse now that college football season has begun. If you're curious to see my pointless contributions, you can check out my catalogue here. (And yes, the moustache photo is in jest; if it were for realsies, Chris Hansen would be knocking on my door.)

Nunes/Magician: Toronto or Bust!
The goal for this season, at least according to Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician, is for Syracuse to secure a bid to the International Bowl. Given the Orange's effort last night, however, that might be setting the bar six wins too high.

I'll say this: If Syracuse gets invited to the International Bowl, I will go to Canada to watch the game dressed in a gorilla costume. This is my pact with you, America. Matt Glaude in a gorilla costume. In Canada.

Make it happen, Greg Robinson.

Report Card - Washington
An extended report card is usually in order, but given the piss-poor effort from the Orange last night, I will, in turn, half-ass my way through an assessment

Offense: D-
The offensive line hates football. Curtis Brinkley is not, in fact, the balls. Taj Smith and Mike Williams are good, but the offensive line does not give Andrew Robinson the time to throw them the ball. Speaking of Robinson, he looks not terrible, which should inevitably lead to a mid-season injury cementing Syracuse's cellar dwelling position.

Defense: D
Jake Locker is not Superman. Neither is Louis Rankin. But the Orange defense made them look superhuman Friday night.

Nice job, dopes.

Special Teams: B+
Patrick Shadle is fat. Not chubby, not jolly. Fat. F-A-T. And yet he is the balls at field goals.

The kickoff unit did not ruin my life. That, in and of itself, requires parades and prolonged feting.

Rob Long -- he of a 48.5 yard punting average -- is this year's new man crush. There is a good chance that he out-punts the Syracuse offense this season.

Coaching: D
Pop Warner Offense + Halftime Adjustments that Adjusted Negatively = Academic Probation.


Cue the Crying Child

For shame, Syracuse. For shame.



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