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An Orgy of Football is Upon Us!

The furure is here. Goodbye Perry!

The eve of our college football season is upon us. The electricity is building in the air. The Huskies are either in route or have already arrived. Destiny is at hand. It is time for one more article before the season begins. Hopefully this will rev you up even more for the college football season close at hand.

Friday Aug. 31, 8pm, Syracuse, NY, Live on ESPN and ESPNHD (awesome)
The Washington Huskies travel to the Carrier Dome, a world away from their campus. Ty Willingham brings his squad, 5-7 in 2006, to take on the Orange, who went 4-8 in 2006. The last time Ty came to the Dome, he was at the helm of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, who lost to a floundering Syracuse team 38-12 in 2003. With two very similar situations, this game should be close, and one Washington blogger gives his team the win. On a night where they will unveil the new statue of Ernie Davis I think the Orange come out guns-a-blazing on opening night and win 27 to 17 on national television. I will be in the Carrier Dome for the game and will have the complete and usual postgame reactions after the long Labor Day weekend, most likely Tuesday or Wednesday of next week. I’d file it sooner but I’ll be enjoying wine shushes and the famous butter sculpture at the Great New York State Fair.

Now, I’m sure you have heard that this game has “almost sold out” and that we have sold between 42,000 and 45,000 seats. Well, unlike these other blogs, I have an inside source in the Athletic Department, who told me that they have actually only sold around 22,000 tickets. Disappointing news for Orange Nation. Disappointing news for Darryl Gross. However, the game still should be great. I just hope the Dome does not look too empty in High Def.

So what should you look for in the Big East this year? Time to do a little conference wrap up to companion my 2007 Football Prospectus.

Best QB – Even though Mr. White at WVU is outstanding, I think I have to give the edge to Brian Brohm at L’Ville. He is exciting and I think just a slightly more talented passer.

Best RB – This is a double dip because both Pat White and Steve Slaton at WVU deserve much credit. Honorable mention to Ray Rice at Rutgers. Too bad he does not wear an Orange jersey.

Best Matchup – Any fool will pick Louisville taking on West Virginia. However, I also think that Rutgers taking on South Florida will be an interesting game, because they could be battling for third in the Big East, or the both could have fallen apart by then.

Easiest Schedule – You have heard it before, but it is clearly Rutgers and UConn. I hate how we give bowl bids to teams with six wins, even if they came against Maine, Army, and 1-AA Norfolk State.

Hardest Schedule – It is probably us, but this does not even deserve analysis because it gets even worse in the coming years.

Team most fun to watch- I think I would say West Virginia. The duo of Slaton and White, plus their improved defense should be extremely entertaining. I will also give it to Pittsburgh, because this may be a train wreck of a season. Like a car accident you can not look away from.

Biggest Questions – Can Pittsburgh actually compete now that they have a new QB and no one outstanding to throw to? Will USF continue their success behind QB Matt Grothe, or will the off season transgressions catch up to the golden boy? Can Cincinnati compete with a new system, new coach, and not a very good squad? Can Syracuse finally start the upswing of rebuilding the program to glory, or will Coach Robinson end his coaching career this season having been a disgrace to the color Orange? Can UConn players actually manage to keep their noses clean, only to beat up on Temple and Akron? Find out these answers and more as the 2007 Big East season continues…

Well there you have it. I’m chomping at the bit to get to the Dome and see some college football live and in person. The Dome on opening night, electricity in the air, and maybe a nice win and a trip down to the Varsity to flip a banner. It could all happen and this Big East season still has some surprises and awesome moments yet to come. If you manage to stay out of trouble that is.

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Breaking News: Scheduling Syracuse Causes Delinquency

Go directly to jail. Do not play Syracuse. Do not collect $200.

Thanks to some handy *cough stealing cough* compiling by our friend at Nunes/Magician, and by the simple fact I just got internet back after moving and could not break the story myself, I urge you to look at the list of indictments against members of teams playing Syracuse this season.

It seems our Big East friends at UConn and West Virgin(i)a, as well as some guys at Iowa have found themselves in trouble with Johnny Law. Charges include transferring and receiving stolen property, unauthorized use of a credit card, and the ever ominous violation of team rules. Isn’t the law/school rules fun. And people wonder why I want to be a lawyer.

Seeing as MariusJanulisForThree did all the work for me you should check out his post. This season has not even started yet and already it is chalk full of delicious drama. I can not wait for the opening game versus Washington.

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Sorry To Be Debbie Downer

Andy knows how to throw a party, doesn't he Jenny?
Terribly sorry to interrupt your college football overload, but it looks like there is some basketball news that needs some attention. Try to peal yourself away from all the Big East Football guides and absorb the news I am going to lay on you.

Andy Rautins may have torn his ACL. Once again, Andy Rautins may have injured his ACL. Now, before you get the gasoline and a match calm down. Even if Andy misses the 2007-2008 basketball season we should still be better than the Connecticut UConn Huskies. Instead of being shit ton good, we will merely be good. The Post-Standard breaks the story as usual.

I’m not worrying about this for now because football is around the corner. But, come the end of October I may have at least some turpentine and a lighter nearby.

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Help Me Punch My Mealticket



Sir Mottram requires your readership.

If you're interested -- and you better be -- Chas Rich, John Radcliff, and I are rolling out our Big East Conference preview this week. Starting today, you can get your M.A. in Big Eastology over at the sports blog overlord, FanHouse.

Ideally, we'll be pimping four essays a day through Saturday. The material is wide in scope and should prove to be more than an exercise in prose.

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Grass Hurts. A Lot.

Somewhere a mustache is crying.
One of the best receivers in the Big East conference is out for the season. ESPN.com reports that Derek Kinder has torn his right anterior cruciate ligament (ACL to you kids out there). This means that he is out for the entire 2007 football season. The ironic part, as Coach Wannstedt reports, is that he did it by hitting the ground, not another player. Nice job.
I’ve updated my Pittsburgh report in the 2007 Prospectus here. More detailed analysis found there. Finally, in honor of that TV revolutionary Merv Griffin: this league is crumbling everyday the closer we come to the start of the season. What is the Big East Conference?

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Tommy, Can You Hear Me?

At least you quit because you wanted to, instead of selling drugs or something.
Tight End, and leading receiver for the Orange, Tom Ferron has quit the team. The Post-Standard has reported that Coach Robinson stated his heart just was not into playing anymore. First off, do not panic. Our wide receivers are all healthy, and the overall core is very talented. Taj Smith is healthy again and Ferron's backup, J.J. Nesheiwat, will do just fine. For analysis and a slightly more detailed report, I have updated my Syracuse preview penned earlier this summer here.

At least the players are not getting arrested, right?

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Change is the Only Constant

Matt Glaude just stole my thunder by breaking this first.
I for once admit that I was unaware that they were going to, yet again, change the uniforms. I was caught. I am usually very well versed in what is going on at Syracuse when it comes to football, basketball, and lacrosse. I try to be in the know so that you are in the know. So I was stunned with a friend sent me the link to the SU Athletics web page and I saw the new helmets above. It has been a while since I penned an angry note here so let us get at it.

First off, these helmets are kind of ugly. I am all for having uniformity in the colors that the university uses. But really, this dark navy blue looks like ass on these helmets. It almost looks black. With all of our modern technology they can not actually make it look like it is the right color?

From the years 1977 until 2005 Syracuse had no logo or number on their helmets. The helmets and uniforms had subtle changes over the seasons, but no major differences. Then for the 2005 season the university decided to go with a retro, throwback look ala the Ernie Davis/Jim Brown era. Among the calamity of about five different logos for the university in as many years, the goal was to be uniform in the university’s application of the college nickname and logo. Changing from Orangemen to Orange was supposed to show unity and it has ended up being a mash of logos and heartbreak. As many Orange faithful have ascertained; how can we build traditions if we keep changing them every year?

If you go to the link and look at the view from the back, you will notice an NY on the helmet. This is to further connect Syracuse as New York State’s team, and more importantly New York (City)’s team. While the “Orange in the Apple” marketing campaign is a worthy endeavor, putting an NY on our helmet is wrong. Syracuse is not New York. Syracuse is Syracuse. The uniforms are supposed to represent Syracuse and nothing more. The helmets should not be part of a marketing scheme. The uniform should be a sacred thing, and outside of a small Nike swooshes I have no tolerance for anything other than something that represents Syracuse. NY does not represent Syracuse even if Syracuse represents NY.

Just when we get used to something DOCTOR Gross changes it. I am getting a little sick of this guy. At least with Jake Crouthamel we had many years of consistency. About 25 to be exact. Although he would not fire Coach P, and I disliked several decisions he made over the years, I certainly did not realize how good we all had it. That era was certainly better than the mash up of logos, nicknames, colors, and changes. Consistency in excellence is something every program strives for. We have the flashes of excellence, but have failed to achieve the consistency in the past few years.

Additionally, I am not sure if Nike has anything to do with this decision or not, but commenting on Nike in total is never bad. Nike should never, under any circumstances, have control over what uniforms this or any other team wears. That should be the decision of the school’s athletic department and hopefully booster club as well. The biggest killer of consistency is impulsiveness, and Syracuse has had a big fit of impulsiveness since 2005. Hopefully this will change soon.

You can judge for yourself about the new helmets. They certainly are not the worst change the team has had in the past few seasons. But really, at this point, other than a change in the number of wins the team earns, it is sort of a moot point.
Unrelated to Syracuse, I sadly learned that George (Skip) Prosser, coach of the Wake Forrest basketball team passed away recently. He was known as a gentleman and a scholar, among being one of the best coaches in a top notch league. The college basketball landscape will miss him, but more importantly the world as a whole. Men like Prosser that exudes excellence are few and far between. Orange:44 sends its best wishes to Wake Forrest and his family.

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Yikes



Just like Jim Brown. Except totally different.

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Dome, Sweet Dome

The fake moon is a nice touch.

Looking back on your college experience at Syracuse, or even if you are just a fan of Syracuse sports, if you had to pick your top five best moments, at least a few of them would have taken place in the Carrier Dome. Other than possibly the Hall of Languages, it is the most recognizable building on campus. People pass it on the way to class, or back home to Saddler Hall. Folks drive by on I-81 and see it in all its splendor. Everyone can see it on ESPN several times a year. But what really makes this building so great? To add to the glorious football countdown, as well as take a break from the crazy Big Ten talk, below are my top five reasons why the Carrier Dome is so damn spectacular.

5. Beer
I put this at number five because it is so trivial. No one needs beer (alcoholic jokes aside). Beer really is not the be all end all for me, or most of my friends for that matter. However, when you are an adult, sometimes a beer is just what you want when watching an athletic competition of the highest magnitude. So therefore I appreciate the fact that even though the stadium is on campus I can still get a cold one, unlike most of the college facilities that are on a campus. If you ask me $4.50 is a bit much, but at least it is not the $7.00 they charge in East Hartford. And really, it is delicious. After all, I did say Syracuse basketball is best enjoyed with a cold beer and a bitter heart.

Editor’s Note: Beer is just dandy but liquor is quicker. My personal favorite is just bringing in a flask of delicious boozy booze and adding it to the old 44 ounce Pepsi, or my personal favorite Dr. Pepper (he did not go to school eight years for you to call him Mr. Pepper).

4. Versatile
What other college arena hosts football, basketball, lacrosse, and field hockey, as well as a multitude of other events like concerts, high school championships, and even marching band rehearsal? Dare I say none. Well there are probably others, but we were there first. Approaching the 27th year of Carrier Dome operation, they have hosted concerts ranging from U2, Billy Joel, and the Rolling Stones, to Wyclef, George Clinton and P Funk, and Kanye West.

3. On Campus
The Carrier Dome is still the largest on campus domed facility in the nation. Looking back on it, we were really spoiled. Being able to get up and roll to the Carrier Dome on a Saturday morning or afternoon drunk, hungover, or otherwise occupied was a luxury most college sports fans do not enjoy. Take Pittsburgh or UConn for example. Both schools used to play their games on campus. When the Steelers started playing in Hines Field the Panthers joined in, having to bus their kids from up on the hill in Oakland all the way downtown. The University of Connecticut Huskies similarly used to play at Alumni Stadium on campus behind Gample Pavilion. Now, with the advent of Rentschler Field (“The Rent”), the kids have to be bussed or drive the 30 plus minutes down I-84 to get there. Granted they have a good deal with tailgating, but I would much rather take my leisurely stroll from Ackerman Ave., head to the quad, enjoy some pre-game festivities, take a short walk to the Dome, enjoy the game, and take a stroll back home. Ah, those were the days my friends.

2. Dome
Being that Syracuse is the snowiest city in America, I greatly appreciate this one. Just down the road in Hamilton, New York, sits the educational institution of Colgate University. The Raiders are only a 1-AA school, but they still garner a lot of football fans. They sit in the bleachers and endure massive cold and ice, much like we do. While they are freezing their asses off however, we are toasty warm in a 79 degree dome. Now I am not saying that I would not be able to handle the cold and snow, I just appreciate the fact that I do not have to. Added bonus: no rain! Some football purists will say that a dome ruins football. I say those people have never had to be at a game in Upstate New York in late November. Oh sure, there are some days that were perfect football weather in September and I would have loved to tear the roof off and enjoy the sun with some football, but really those days were few and far between. So appreciate the fact you can enjoy a game, rain or shine, snow or sleet, and not have your ass freeze or get soaked.

1. Nothing Else Like It
Some call it “The Dome”, others call it the “Do Me”. I called it my second home during my college career. I saw it go from having Astroturf to FieldTurf (and subsequently was the first person outside of Dome staff to walk on it. Also, I wanted to go Boise St. style orange turf, but upon review it is perfect the way it is). I have seen an undefeated home basketball season, the only advanced Dome sellout of a basketball game, College Gameday twice, a few records get broken, and many overtime wins. From court rushes, to field rushes, every moment was great. There are plenty of college stadiums in this fine nation of ours, but no stadium offers what the Carrier Dome does. I have always said, especially in regards to football, that in the Dome, on any given day, Syracuse can play like the number one team in the nation, or play like the worst. I think we have all seen both. What is so great about the Carrier Dome is that any given day when you walk in, you have the chance of seeing the best game ever. When you are in the Dome, you can feel the sense of greatness and the ghosts of great players that have come and gone, leaving their mark. Although attendance is down the last few seasons (with good reason) there are still plenty of fans who pack the dome every game believing that something magical could happen. Something like this. Also, jumping out of an air lock is by far the best thing ever.

Some A/C would be a nice addition though.

So there you have it, the top five reasons why the Dome is so great. Do I wish that the dome was like THE Ohio State or Penn State with 100,000 plus people? Sometimes. But I would never trade the moments I have had with my friends in the Carrier Dome for all the gold in your Ft. Knox. Enjoy the continuing countdown to the upcoming season and all the Big Ten conjecturing you can handle.


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