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A Day of Reflection

The last two years I have felt obligated to post something on this day. This day is always a day of reflection and assessment. This year is probably one full of a little more assessment than the last few. Today screams the question “are we better off than the year before?”

I am, of course, talking about the firing of Coach P from the Syracuse Head Coach position. On this day in 2004, days after a blowout loss to Georgia Tech in the Champs Sports Bowl in Orlando, Florida, new AD DOCTOR Gross fired the man, satiating the masses who had been calling for his head on a pike for the previous couple of years. This ended a 14 year coaching career with Syracuse that saw us win several conference titles, bowl games, and BCS appearances. So was it the right move?

I still maintain yes. Sometimes, different is all you need. Does it suck that we have not gone to a bowl game since then? The answer is not even a question. It is a resounding yes. Orange Nation feels the pain every December that the team fails to qualify for the postseason. If I asked a similar question of if we are better off last month I would have said no. Clearly 2 wins is a joke. It is an utter abomination with an elite program like Syracuse, with its rich history. Now, with the commitments of two of the top high school football players in New York State, I have to say that, as always for me, hope springs eternal, even in the dead of winter. While I sat and watched UConn break the Big East bowl victory streak, I could only imagine what would lay ahead for them once Syracuse managed to recruit some quality players. Syracuse, even if saddled with an AD that is incompetent, will not stay terrible forever. Sometime we will be back. To paraphrase an old joke, yes Syracuse is terrible, but one day we will be good, and UConn will still be UConn.

It was also on this day six years ago that Syracuse won its last bowl game. In Phoenix, Arizona, Syracuse beat a great Big XII team in Kansas State, avenging an Orange Bowl loss in years previous, by an unquestionable 26 to three victory. It was my 19th Birthday. I was there. I saw it live. I celebrated, with so much optimism in my eye my freshman year, thinking that that would be how I would spend the next three Decembers. Well I was wrong. I only went to two bowl games in my time, winning only that one. But I would always rather go to a bowl game and lose than not go at all.

Times have been tough the last few years for all of us that are fans of Syracuse. This, there is no doubt. As another year in my life begins, and shortly another year completely turns over, I think of the good times that I have known and enjoyed from Syracuse. During my time at SU, the Athletic Department boasted a National Championship in some sport three out of my four undergraduate years. That is not bad at all. So are we better off? Despite the fact that I was not attending a bowl game with Syracuse in it for my 25th Birthday, yes we are. The lady ballers are rolling, the lax team is poised to try to gain the respect of the program back, the future of the basketball team is bright and damn enjoying to watch, and football… well football is football. It will come again in the spring. Frankly, that is enough for me right now. After a quarter century, most of which I was a Syracuse fan, I can think of no more interesting time to be a Syracuse fan, nor can I think of a better way to spend some of my free time than to write about it here for you fine folks to read it. In that regard, as I have always thought, makes me better off than the year before. Another year for me has come and gone, and I still cheer.

Also, a special congratulations goes out to Jackie and Tom, a great pair of Syracuse Alumni who are getting married on this day. Congratulations from Orange::44 and best of luck in the future.

Enjoy the picture I’ll continue to post on this date if it is still relevant. Myself (pictured left) and some of my friends in my old apartment on this day in 2004, with the front of the sports page of the Post Standard with the headline “Dismissed”.

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2 Responses to “A Day of Reflection”

  1. # Blogger MariusJanulisForThree

    The embarassing BCS bowl loss to KSU was in the Fiesta Bowl. The embarassing BCS bowl loss in the Orange was to Florida. Understandible, they all seem to blend together.  

  2. # Blogger Brian Harrison

    Embarassing is embarassing. Especially when you have Donny Football at the helm.  

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