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Absolute Magicians make it rain out there.

I said to myself, why are two of the most popular Syracuse Blogs not doing a little joint awesomeness? MariusJanulisForThree from Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician and Orange::44 have decided to join forces to cover the world of SU Athletics. He will still be doing his thing over at his site, and we will also be doing ours, but at least starting on a weekly basis we will have joint content appearing on one of our sites. We kick it off with questions I sent to Nunes and were sent back with his answers. Even though he put UConn in his Top 25, I suppose I can forgive him for now and enjoy another thoughtful bloggers responses.

1. Orange::44: We find Syracuse a little more than halfway through their season and the team happened to be much worse than anyone anticipated in terms of games won. What are your thoughts on the team’s performance so far this season?
Nunes: Can you believe as recently as August, we all thought this team would win 6-7 games? We didn't even consider that they could be as bad as they have looked. Not sure if that means we're irrational, the team is terrible or a little of both.
Even if the team hadn't made a bowl game but still finished 5-7 or even 4-8, I would have been happy with that. As long as showed some kind of progression. But clearly that's not gonna happen. We have one, maybe two winnable games left but that doesn't mean anything. Winnable games are still a crapshoot for us.
I've seen the flashes of brilliance that this offense can possess, but that's made it all the more frustrating when they don't have it. Sure, Andrew Robinson's gonna throw some INTs and make some bad decisions, he's a first-year-starting sophomore, that's what first-year-starting sophomores do. It's was always going to be a learning year for him, even if we were better. But you HAD TO think the offensive line would be improved and able to protect him. And you HAD TO think we would have some semblance of a running game. And you could assume that wide receivers would hold onto the balls thrown to them.
As for the defense...well I guess we didn't expect too much there so it is what it is.
Maybe in retrospect we expected too much to improve. But it’s not wrong of us to assume SOMETHING would have improved. Never has a football game been such a sobering experience than that Washington game. I joked beforehand about what it would be like if we lost by 40...and then we almost did.

2. Orange::44: Who is to blame for the football team’s underperformances? Is it DOCTOR Gross with his mismanagement of the department, Greg Robinson for being a bad coach and recruiter, Nancy Cantor for being a terrible Chancellor, or is it a combination therein?
Nunes: In theory you could trace the blame all the way up. Robinson for being a bad coach, Gross for hiring Robinson, Cantor for hiring Gross, Cantor's mother for giving birth to her, Cantor's grandmother for giving birth to Cantor's mother, and so on until, ultimately...the blame falls to God (however you describe him/her/it).
In practice, I think you have to look at Gross. If it’s true that he only interviewed two people for the head coaching position and then decided his search was over because by the grace of God, Greg Robinson appeared before him on a diamond-studded chariot, heralded by angels, claiming that rapture and/or national titles would befall Syracuse upon his hiring...well then its Gross who needs to answer to why that didn't happen. (The national titles, I mean. The rapture didn't happen cause we're all sinning masturbators, obviously)
No matter what you think of Coach P, it was a bad move to fire Pasqualoni and have no clear successor in mind. It was a bad idea to hire a lifetime coordinator and not interview other applicants as well, including ones with a history in the program and at the university. It was a bad idea to invest so much money into the state of the current program as it continues to underachieve. And it will ultimately be a bad decision to continue letting Robinson coach the team as the program and the school lose money, fan support, money, national appeal and money.

3. Orange::44: How crazy is the Big East football conference where UConn is currently #1 and what does this mean for that program and the conference in the future?
Nunes: On one hand, I love the whole "any given Saturday" feel of the conference and of college football right now. On the other hand, we can't have this UConn team representing us in a major bowl. We just can't. No self-respecting football fan can honestly say this is a top caliber team. They should have lost to Temple, for God's sake! That's not to say they won't beat us, especially with that defense.
I think what it ultimately means for UConn is that continue to build their recruiting base in the Northeast and Randy Edsall gets his name back to the top of the list for up and coming coaches. And most likely, that includes Syracuse's list.
I do love that the conference is so competitive. But I definitely don't want to become known for sending teams to BCS bowls and getting clobbered. Seasonal success is important but what you do in those big, nationally-televised games is very important as well.

4. Orange::44: Syracuse returns to the field this Saturday at Pittsburgh, a team that is also performing well below expectations. How do you see this game going for Syracuse?
Nunes: There are four potential teams for this game. Competent Syracuse, Crappy Syracuse, Competent Pittsburgh and Crappy Pittsburgh. No one knows which two teams will show up but that will make all the difference.
I don't believe the bye week will give the Orange any great developments or improvements and that's mostly a reflection of how I feel about the coaching staff. To be honest, we might get blown out in the end or we might keep it close, I'm not really sure. Like I said, all depends which teams show up.
But I do believe the losing team's coach can officially start printing those resumes.

5. Orange::44: Finally, switching to basketball, the Big East coaches have selected Syracuse to finish 5th this season. Is this correct? Where do you see us finishing?
Nunes: Sounds about right. We were a decent team last season and we lost our entire starting frontcourt and senior leadership. We gained a fantastic array of backcourt weapons and extremely youthful growth. As far as Flynn and Greene go, we've seen Carmelo and we've seen Paul Harris. Both had huge expectations as freshman and both had extremely different seasons. Not to say Paul had a bad year, but it just went to show you never quite know how potential plays out once the season starts.
We may not know how good this team is until February, once they've been battle-tested and played together for a while. The big questions I see are, who is our go-to scorer, who is our three point threat (Damn you Leo Rautins! Damn you Canada!) and how are we gonna bang bodies with some of the more physical Big East teams? I'll take a 5th best in the Big East and a ranking just outside the Top 25 to start the least that takes a little pressure off us to live up to some kind of win-loss expectation.
I'm gonna say we finish right around 4th or 5th in the conference and make it into the tourney as a 6 seed. And I have no evidence to back any of that up.

I hope you feel more informed and your special parts are tingling with anticipation at the next joint effort. Look for more collaborations from the fine folks that brought you such favorites as “Orange::44 Jumps the Shark!” and “The Octonion”. Until next time, remember that if it is happening with Syracuse, and you want to cry about it, tune into Orange::44 and Nunes/Magician to commiserate with us.

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8 Responses to “Nunes::44”

  1. # Blogger Adam Gerard

    Sweet sassy molassey, what an excellent interview.

    Glad to see two of my favorite Syracuse blogs working together. And maybe you can become an unbeatable triumvirate next year when the out of work Coach Robinson devotes all of his time to blogging on 'Cuse.  

  2. # Blogger Russianator

    Well done fellas, well done indeed. Roundball can't get here soon enough.  

  3. # Blogger MariusJanulisForThree

    Speaking of my Top 25, why didn't anyone tell me Virginia lost last weekend! Oy...  

  4. # Blogger Brian Harrison

    what a coincidence! Matt and I are also extremely well-spoken and ruggedly good looking Syracuse pundits.  

  5. # Blogger MariusJanulisForThree

    Join me at my new blog  

  6. # Anonymous BobbyK

    On the other hand, we can't have this UConn team representing us in a major bowl. We just can't. No self-respecting football fan can honestly say this is a top caliber team. They should have lost to Temple, for God's sake!

    Not sure when this interview was done but UConn should have lost to Louisville also, that game was a travesty.  

  7. # Blogger Johnny

    Nice job guys. Something the rest of the cfb blogosphere should copycat.  

  8. # Blogger MariusJanulisForThree

    You're right, Bobby. Just mentioned the Temple game cause its TEMPLE. At least Louisville is a somewhat respectable program.  

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