So where does this leave you and me. You might be a little sad, upset, maybe even asking “why me?” You could be saying “why did Orange::44 pick like the worst time for they to lose their best talent?” Well fret not. I am still on the job. I will try to carry on the tradition here of chronicling the daily disaster of Syracuse Athletics. I may have to take a sabbatical now and then, as I am still in grad school, but I do not plan on going anywhere. I may even have to pay it forward and see if some of my friends want to play reporter/cynic/Debbie Downer/pundit. Either way, there will be new and traditional content appearing here in the future.
I am declaring a day of mourning for the UMass recap on account of the departed. I will return this Sunday with the Tulane recap. Again, I have several articles rolling around my head and when I have a little time after classes end for the semester (maybe, as I will be studying for finals like a mad man), there will be plenty to chew over and comment on.
Please be sure to select any of the links to Matt’s new site. It will be his glorious return to the stats and crisp objective analysis that he built his reputation on. I know I will enjoy. Until next time, I look forward to your continued comments, feedback, and commiseration that makes us all Syracuse fans.
In his honor, and as a somewhat fitting tribute, one more crying child for the season.
Labels: Goodbye Old Friend
There are a lot of reasons for leaving this notebook, but none need to be discussed in great detail. In short, I need to find my composition voice again, and the only way I think I can find it is to strike out again as a solo artist.
The new project I've decided to pursue is House of Orange. It's old-school Orange:44; chock full of statistical analysis and very few pictures. It's basically every high school student's nightmare -- tons of text with very little distraction. The initiative is obviously in its infancy, but it will allow me to work through things I find interesting without the heavy lifting of managing this space.
Despite my departure, Orange::44 will endure. Even though I never cared whether people read this notebook, it somehow became a sort of institution. For that, I will miss creating and contributing to it. Brian is going to be running this space full-time, and I would appreciate it if everyone allows him the opportunity to grow this notebook into his own.
Otherwise, I am thrilled that I will no longer need to answer emails soliciting me for reciprocating links and syndication offers.
With that said, the keys are officially in Brian's hands. If anyone needs to find me, you now know where to look.
For all your rioting needs, please visit your local home furnishing/gardening supercenter and pick up the following items:
- Yards of rope; and
- Pair of denim overalls.
Without such stereotypical accessories, an angry mob simply becomes a tiresome old man who missed his nap.If you follow the above instructions, your mob will achieve the mild social disorder it seeks to cause.
"We demand three things:
1. No taxes!
Our friend, Brent Axe, the Axeman, is all over the rumor mill regarding Greg Robinson’s job. GRob Watch 2007 is underway going full steam ahead. He states that he received information that the Big East office was contacted by Syracuse and was informed that Robinson would return as the head coach. It also appears that the feelers have been sent around to different coaches and the prime target currently could be Boise State’s coach Chris Petersen. This is a sexy option in my mind. If only the university went with my idea of all orange field turf, Petersen would feel right at home. Of course, this is all moot as, as Axe reports here in this breaking news, Robinson will remain the head coach.
While it got off to a slow start, I have discovered my favorite blog of the week; Get Gross Out. They clearly illustrate in stats just how far the Orange have fallen in the short tenure of the good DOCTOR. Entertaining, informative, and arguments with merit make this the newest blog I’ll check on a regular basis.
Who hates the BCS? A lot of people. Who is very angry? Carl from Aqua Teen Hunger Force. As my usual internet surfing has discovered, the sports blog With Leather has a clip of Carl going off about the BCS, the NY Football Giants, and other assorted things. Very enjoyable, even if you do not like the show.
If reading articles that express similar frustration that you feel often, then read this post on Nick’s 2 Cents. He sums up a lot of what we are feeling about this football season. While I have yet to pen my ultimate disgust and frustration finale for this year, his will do nicely before you get your fill of the Orange::44 orgasm of frustration you have come to expect from our site.
A little while back, our own Matt Glaude answered some questions for State of the Orange and he had some pretty interesting answers as to why he started this whole Orange::44 situation you now enjoy. To know where you are going you have to know where you have been. Learn the mysterious origins of Orange::44 here. Alright, it really is not that mysterious, but Matt is entertaining as always.
Look for another installment of Nunes::44 next Tuesday. I apologize for the answers getting to Nunes a day late, but I had to play catch up from having a week off for Thanksgiving. Look for your regularly schedule collaboration next week. Also, coming up, that special three part series I promised, my football season review, thoughts on keeping Robinson, and of course the usual postgame coverage. Enjoy the UMass basketball game tonight on ESPN Classic at 7:15pm and enjoy immersing yourself in all the ‘Cuse internets you can handle.
The run game was, again, a non-factor. Doug Hogue carried only eight times for a total of 30 yards. Paul Chiara also carried nine times for a total of 28 yards and a touchdown. It was apparent from the get go during this game that the offensive plan was taking it to the air however. Andrew Robinson (29/47, 419 yds, 3TD, 0INT) had a pretty good game, but really Robinson has been unimpressive in the last three games. He had badly underthrown balls, thrown them too far behind the receivers, and generally held on to the ball too long and made bad decisions. Currently I have no faith in anyone named Robinson associated with the football program. The Mike Williams touchdown streak continued and the crowd in the Dome appreciated the effort by Williams. A video of that is below (Hat Tip to John Brennan for filming the video for Orange::44). Taj Smith also had an amazing touchdown catch lofted perfectly by Robinson for 78 yards and a touchdown. JJ Nesheiwat also had a touchdown during his last game in the Carrier Dome. Overall, the numbers and some of the great plays on Saturday gives this offense a pretty good grade, as they kept Syracuse hanging in this game for the most of it. It is just sad that they decided to wait until the last game of the season to hang with some of the more productive teams in the Big East.
The defense was just atrocious against Cincinnati. Another quarterback had a career day against Syracuse as Ben Mauk passed for 431 yards on 29 completions with four touchdowns. Syracuse allowed Cincinnati to gain 544 total yards. I think it was a fitting game to end on, as it was pretty well known that any team can do a lot against the Syracuse defense, if they are the least big competent. This team could not stop a high school quarterback with the space they gave the receivers. Defensive Guru Greg Robinson has some major explaining to do.
Max Suter became the NCAA leader in kickoff return yards. This kid is exciting to watch. On his seven returns in this game he amassed 172 return yards. Patrick “Fat Ass” Shadle will have plenty of time to consume burritos of varying styles and sizes during the off season, but before then he hit a field goal from 43 yards out and hit all four extra point attempts. Rob “Heisman” Long also punted well punting seven times for a total of 256 yards, two of which were behind the 20 yard line. The limited most returns as well, only letting Cincinnati good field position on a couple of kicks. A solid day for the Special Teams unit.
They made some pretty good calls on offense. Brian White and his staff saw the defense Cincinnati was playing with, made some good play calls, and we ended up hanging in the game. The same cannot be said for Defensive Coordinator Steve Russ. I do not know how, in playing man coverage, the cornerbacks and safeties are not playing closer to the receivers. That is the point. Not to give them a cushion of seven yards so they can make a big play. We again managed to burn a couple of time outs early, which has pretty much happened every game. Really, this game was terrible because, pretty much before every play happened, my friends and I in our Section 213 “Luxury Box” could tell what was going to happen before every play. One of us would say “this will be a sack” and sure enough it would be. If we as average fans can do this, and pick apart the schemes being implemented by the Syracuse staff, it must be a cake walk for the opposing coaches and teams. That simply cannot happen. Bad coaches do not magically get better, despite what kind of talent they have on their team. Eventually bad coaching will show itself. I think it has shown all season, despite having great games, and great moments.
This team played a great game. Well, half the team at least. The offense stepped up and tried to compete against a team they were clearly overmatched by. The defense did not allow this to happen, as every time we scored, so did Cincinnati. Thus, while it was probably the most entertaining home game all season, it still managed to disappoint in ways other games wished they could. I would gladly take a blow out, over giving me false hope for a win any day. Disappointment is the enemy of ticket purchasers. Greg Robinson and DOCTOR Gross are the enemies of Orange Nation. The season is over, but chances are, the heartbreak will continue. Good effort by the kids Saturday though, and congratulations and good luck to all the outgoing seniors that have tried their best over the last four years.
With the disaster of the football season behind us, we can mainly focus on basketball for the next few months. However, with Greg Robinson still being an employee of the university, it will be hard for some fans to ignore the fact that this man has only won seven games in the last three seasons. I have my thoughts on the matter, and they will be coming out shortly. As for this season, I would like to forget it, as my prediction of seven wins has greatly disappointed me. A team with so much potential and supposed improvement did nothing but disappoint in the worst way.
Thanks again to John for the game film. Also a special thanks to everyone that has shared in the misery and heartbreak with the postgame reactions all season. While you may not always enjoy the outcomes I hope these articles have better informed you of the football situation at Syracuse. I really started writing for this blog to help deal with the bad feelings I got from SU Athletics in the past few seasons and sometimes it has helped, but other times the disappointment is so great that all you can do is shake your head and say why did I bother watching that? For all of you die hard Syracuse fans out there, thanks for sticking with me and the team all season. Join me in saying “thank god that’s over”.
Donte Greene again had an outstanding night with 25 points, ten rebounds, and shot 9-15 from the floor. This kid hit a big shot whenever a momentum shift occurred away from Syracuse. This is the kind of player you want on the floor. Greene seems to not make that many mistakes, has a pretty complete skill set in that he has an outstanding mid range jumper, and can stroke a three ball. He even managed to block three shots. Now that is an excellent night for the kid. If he continues to play like this, his game will have no ceiling at Syracuse.
The folks over at Cuse Country correctly assessed the problem during the Ohio State game. While I mainly sighted turnovers, they broke down the fact that the defense was about as good as an average NYS high school team. They stepped it up Friday, forcing a lot of turnovers against Washington. I have believed, and will believe in the reasonable future, that the key to victory for Syracuse is always winning the turnover battle. We all know that basketball is a game of runs, and Syracuse last Friday had several that helped us hold on and win. Turnovers help create these runs, and, while Syracuse had a number of turnovers as well, Syracuse created enough defense to seal a win with only a few minutes remaining.
This was especially key because of the lack of free throw success. Syracuse only shot 65.4% from the free throw line. To be successful in the Big East conference, it is crucial to hit free throws down the stretch of any given game. Being that the conference is so physical fouls will happen because teams will become more aggressive on defense. To win the game, you have to hit free throws. To borrow from some wise people, it ain’t rocket science. If we can get better at free throw shooting, I see this team as a top five Big East team.
Another troubling portion of the game was our lack of outside shooting. I suppose we cannot read so much into this because when your team is finding success in the transition and fast break games you go with it, but only sinking three three point shots is slightly worrying. I suppose that this will again improve as the season progresses.
For only being on the floor for 21 minutes, Jonny Flynn contributed with 16 points, ten of which were on free throws. Rick Jackson played a lot off the bench for a total of 20 minutes. The most interesting storyline of the game is the fact Syracuse had ten blocks and 11 steals. Syracuse traditionally has made steals, but blocked shots is something that Syracuse does not do too often, especially since the only real shot blocking threat from the previous season in Watkins has graduated. However, is this indicative of a team that is more active on defense, or simply a team that matched up well against a smaller team? We shall see
I think this game is good because it shows that they can correct mistakes. After an atrocious defensive night last Wednesday, the team has come back and recovered and left New York City with only one loss. This shows clear improvement and a willingness of this team to put in the work needed to have a successful season. While the team is now currently unranked, this team will be tough in the remainder of the non-conference schedule and hopefully will not lose another game until they reach the Big East Conference slate.
I apologies for this article coming out late, but coming off vacation it was necessary. The Cincinnati report card will be out early tomorrow. Later this week we will have another special three part series with a guest author or two, and we will further weigh in on the whole Robinson issue. Until then, hopefully getting back to school/work was not too unbearable today.
Syracuse University -- the idealistic realization of John Winthrop's "city upon a hill" -- traditionally maintains the ability to operate in such a vacuum. It is, however, unable to do so when reality requires its immediate participation, requiring action rather than measured contemplation.
While abstract in nature, the above preface briefly outlines the circumstances controlling Greg Robinson's fate as captain of the Orange football enterprise. Syracuse University, through its representatives Nancy Cantor and Doctor Daryl Gross, must make a decision within the next several days as to Robinson's current position and the direction of the institution's flagship athletic program. The decision is not one that is rife with simple solutions; rather, complex issues reign supreme, with definitions as to those very issues necessitating prefatory resolution.
As an interested observer, I have not formed an opinion yet as to whether Robinson should or should not maintain his position. Subjective narratives are not my forte; objective reasoning premised on sound statistical or empirical evidence is the avenue to which I choose to traverse. Others, contrastingly, have already etched their opinion into stone, confirming that the Robinson-era was more error than restitution. Despite my personal indecision, I respect such opinions, yet caution that such conclusions may find error in foundational principles or deductive/inductive reasoning.
For the record, there are three absolute truths governing Robinson's tenure:
1. 2007 saw Syracuse accumulate a 2-10 record, with a 1-6 conference effort;
2. 2006 saw Syracuse accumulate a 4-8 record, with a 1-6 conference effort;
3. 2005 saw Syracuse accumulate a 1-10 record, with a 0-7 conference effort.
Are such incidents of reality significant enough to terminate Robinson's employment? Many argue in the affirmative; I argue that those simple cumulative incidents are significant only if underlying premises are also treated as absolute truths. The difference between my paradox and others' immediate reaction is that I am not sure if the underlying premises are absolute truths; others have already inferred absolute truth from these yet-to-be-determined underlying premises. This is not to say that such inferences are incorrect or inappropriate. Rather, I am just unsure whether I have fully considered the scope of such premises and the consequences stemming therefrom.
To be sure, Orange football is in a sad state. At only one other point in Syracuse University's history has the Orange football program accumulated fewer than eight wins over a three-year span (1944-1946; the Orange went 7-15-1 over those three years). This fact, however, is without context and should only find consideration through pragmatic research and discussion.
Accordingly, I urge all other interested observers to consider the following:
1. What is the proper measure of success and progression? Should an analysis consider more than won-loss percentages and raw data comparable to Syracuse University's peer institutions?
2. Are secondary parties as responsible for the current state of Syracuse football as the program's navigator?
3. Is the Ed Koch-ism of "Are you better today than four years ago?" appropriate in this context? If it is, than what constitutes "better"? If not, then what is the proper scope of review?
Goal for 2008: 70% Less Suck.
Eric Devendorf, who I fully believed to be a more mature team player, had a very, very bad night for Syracuse. Only shooting two for nine on three point shots, six for 17 on field goal attempts, and committing six turnovers and a technical foul, his 15 points and five assists were little consolation. Thanks for making sure we could not make a comeback. You coughed up the ball quite a lot, making me drink my pre-Thanksgiving beer faster than I would have liked (ok maybe that part isn’t true, I would have drank that fast anyway).
News flash; our freshmen are human after all. Greene chipped in 21 points and nine rebounds. That is nice but not enough for us to get a win. We need both our freshmen to chip in, and Jonny Flynn had a very off night. Flynn shot zero for six on field goal attempts, got zero points, and only two assists. The kids did not have fun in the Garden, where Syracuse is supposed to be amazing in.
The really big story of this game was how well THE Ohio State Freshman Kosta Koufus, the ugliest player I have seen in the NCAA since Kirk Heinrich, played. Apparently Ohio State was more prepared than we were.
Jim Boeheim was cussing like a sailor. Do not tell Channel 9. I can only imagine what kind of practice the kids will be having come next week. However, just looking at Jim Boeheim, he did not have control of his team last night. It was clear that we lost the team concept that ruled the day at the St. Joe’s and Fordham games. This was not Jim’s fault, but a team that was cocky, arrogant, and distracted by the stage they were on. Sadly, this showed, and the Orange faithful in the Garden paid for it.
All in all, Syracuse did not play a terrible game. But Syracuse did play a bad game that they could not overcome. Ohio State had a chance in this game, and they took it on a very poor shooting night for the Orange. 36% for field goals, to Ohio State’s 49%, the outcome is pretty expected.
The Orange will have their chance against the other Huskies Friday, and I hope after a nice Thanksgiving dinner, some relaxing, and some mental preparing, this situation will not happen again. The freshmen, and the 07-08 Orange basketball squad, have had their one defining loss on a big stage. They will either choose one of two roads for the remainder of the non-conference season; play like a team, or let the wheels fall off. Let us all hope they choose the former.
From all of us at Orange::44 we wish you and your family a very Happy Thanksgiving full of turkey, joy, and GT’s (good times). Until next time, Go Orange and go turkey coma!
Off to the Mecca.
I'm off to New York City to watch Syracuse throttle Ohio State's latest incarnation of almost-student-athletes. Essays may appear over the Thanksgiving Holiday, but it is highly unlikely.
As always, I wish everyone an dangerously alcohol-fueled Thanksgiving. May your days be punctuated with drunken claims and relationship-crashing banter of self-proclaimed "wit." And, most of all, may you be blessed with the splendid glory of a cable system that does not carry ESPNU so as to not watch the culmination of Syracuse's vomit-inducing football campaign.
Scoring a touchdown when it was not quite garbage time is admirable I suppose. The only thing my friends and I cheered for all day was the fact that Mike Williams kept his consecutive games with a touchdown streak alive. Even then he did not have a good day with six receptions for a total of 24 yards. Biggest disappointment of the day award goes to Mr. Andy Robinson, for playing like absolute garbage at the quarterback position. Regardless of how this shakes out stat wise, just watching him, he played his absolute worst game of the season. Robinson (8/21, 59 yds, 0TD, 1INT) made some terrible decisions. Early on in the game, while running for a first down, instead of sliding, he took the hit, fumbled, and lost the ball on the Syracuse 35 yard line. He threw an interception directly to a UConn player in the end zone from inside the red zone. He made several horrifically underthrown balls. He played like an eighth grader making his first start, not a starting quarterback with a season of experience. Absolutely dreadful performance. His backup, Cantley, at least looked like a quarterback with some zip and some accuracy on every pass, however his day was not much more productive (7/17, 64 yds, 1TD, 1INT). Smith and Moss were really non-factors in this game. The Syracuse run game looked halfway decent, despite common knowledge that we have no run game. Doug Hogue led the effort with 12 carries for a total of 65 yards, one of which was for twenty. That being said, the effort was no better than an average high school team. The offense looked the worst it had all year, a fitting end to a pitiful showing on the road all season. Enjoy it now Connecticut. I fear you are the Rutgers of this season.
I feel bad being so harsh on the defense during this game because they were ALWAYS on the field. They did their best, and in a lot of series, managed to break up or stop some big plays. However, when you get beat by a screen play every single time it is run by the opposing team it is kind of hard to feel good about the situation. The defense gave up 398 total yards, and made Tyler Lorenzen look like a master of the quarterback arts. It felt like any time UConn wanted a first down, and they were passing, there was no question they would have it. Syracuse failed to force UConn to commit any turnovers, and failed to stop the run, pass, or a combination therein. Lackluster results, although the effort was there. For that, I give them something.
After having several amazing games this season, the last three for Syracuse have been subpar for the Special Teams. Kicker and burrito enthusiast Patrick “Fat Ass” Shadle missed a field goal attempted from 40 yards out. Max Suter put in a decent day of four kick returns for a total of 85 return yards. Rob “Heisman” Long had another busy day punting seven times for 278 yards, one of which was behind the 20 and the longest was 51 yards. They did a nice job of limiting the UConn return men however, and for that effort, and nothing horrific going wrong, they get an average grade that any SOM kid could pull down.
I am hesitant to give the F because I believe it is reserved for the worst of the worst days. However, it is very hard to quantify in words how awful I think this team is and how fed up I am with Greg Robinson, his excuses, his lies, and his ineptness. Winning only two Big East games in three years is not even bad, it is just simply unacceptable. He should be fired, the majority of his staff should be fired, and a new coach, that can recruit, that will bring a competent staff that will accept responsibility when they do bad, and will tell it like it is during press conferences should be installed at Syracuse. The time for Robinson to turn the program and his losing ways around has ended. The time for losing to mediocre teams should end. The time for losing to Rutgers, Connecticut, and South Florida should end. The time for a change is here. The fact that I was more excited to be in Connecticut than the team directly reflects the ability of a coach to fire his players up. Sure you are out of bowl contention, yes you are playing a ranked team on the road, and yeah there is a 19.5 point spread. Irrelevant. A good coach would have had his players believe, at least at the start, that they could win that game. You could tell the sparkle in the eyes of Syracuse had long faded out. These players do not seem to want to even play for Robinson anymore. They have phoned in the rest of the season. Sadly, I have too much respect for the readers out there, and Syracuse fans as a whole, to phone in this article and the remainder of my season. So kudos to you Greg Robinson. Thanks for stopping by, thanks for doing your best. Please leave with some dignity and grace and resign during the post game press conference after next Saturday’s Cincinnati game. I will thank you, and Syracuse will thank you.
Connecticut was not an unreachable game. We have seen flashes of greatness from Syracuse Football this season. We have seen superhuman effort, amazing plays, and tough defenses. We have now also seen what can happen when teams that are too far out do not seem to care. While I always enjoy going to a Syracuse game with friends, enemies, and I generally like watching college football, sometimes even the best situation in the world cannot make up for what transpires on the field. To anyone out there that saw the game, and is not familiar with the history of the Syracuse program, allow me to apologies to you for having to watch an inferior Syracuse product. Know that it has not always been like this, and know that it will not always be like this in the future.
Good news everyone! The team had fewer turnovers than Fordham. Harris and Onuaku each had three turnovers, but frankly if no member of the team has no more than three turnovers I think the team is doing well and improving. Limiting turnovers is key to a good season. They took a big step tonight to showing some growth as a squad.
In case you forgot, let me introduce you to the Donte Greene Show. In 34 minutes of play Mr. Greene earned 25 points, went 10-14 from the floor, had nine rebounds, earned the first 12 points of the game for Syracuse, and had a damn impressive dunk in the game, bringing the ball up and in while he was falling. This kid provided the spark needed to again get the offense working at the start of the game. I would like to see any team try and stop this kid.
Speaking of kids, how about Jonny Flynn. While only earning six points, Flynn passed his way to eight assists. Without question, this is the first time in a mighty long time that Syracuse has a point guard that would rather make a great pass to a teammate then hit a shot.
Devendorf contributed with 17 points. Paul Harris, while not contributing too much to offense, had one hell of a defensive game. Onuaku also did not put that many points on the board, but did about 15 things to help the game that will never appear on a stat sheet. To me this looks like more of a team effort that Syracuse has seen in the last five years. There is a real sense on the floor that no one cares who scores as long as somebody does. I think we are seeing an older and wider Eric Devendorf that is the… voice of reason? What? Yeah, I think so.
The only points of concern, provided that the team continues to limit the turnovers, is the three point percentage and free throws. In the Big East conference you have to be able to hit free throws. If we continue to only hit 70% of our free throws it will not bode well for Syracuse down the stretch. As for the three pointers… eh, we will all see what the kids can do about that.
Our other good friends over at Cuse Country have done a little transcribing, so you can not only read, but follow along with the lunacy. Some choice quotes from podcasters Galen Clavio and Sean Bartel of The Meaningful Collateral are as follows:
On Jim Boeheim: He has been the classic coach of “win all these games at home against mediocre squads, go .500 in your conference, be on the bubble every season, make it three out of four years, miss it one year and you complain, you whine and you bitch like crazy in the year that you don’t make it.
He had one great player in Carmelo Anthony that led them to a dream season, a Danny Manning-type season, but he’s come back to where he is, which is a good, but nowhere near fantastic coach who’s going to win a lot doing what he needs to do: Winning at home against bad teams, going .500 in a tough conference then getting a win here or a win there to move on into the NCAA Tournament with a good seed, maybe make the Sweet 16 here and there, but that will be his legacy.
On the Big East: You’re redefining these teams in the Big East and I just don’t see any way that Syracuse can compete year in and year out against so many schools like Louisville, like Georgetown, like Marquette, like some of these bigger schools. And they are a big school, but I just think basketball-wise I just have trouble seeing Jim Boeheim being able to compete year in and year out.
Ok, first off, last time I checked, enough people in Springfield, Massachusetts, thought that Jim Boeheim was good enough to be put into the Basketball Hall of Fame. I really do not think you can get put in for being just a great recruiter. You cannot make it to the Final Four, let alone the championship game, without being a good coach, understanding how to prepare your players, and being able to be a floor general during games. I’m sorry, but that just does not happen if you do not know what you are doing, no matter who is on your team.
Second, I really do not think they understand what the word remote means. From Dictionary.com, the second definition reads “out-of-the-way; secluded”. The last time I checked, which was about a month ago when I was there, Syracuse is in Central New York. How can something be secluded if it is in the middle of one of the biggest of the 50 states?
Third, a little fact checking might be in order for these gentlemen. These guys simply jumped on the ESPN (not this year but last year and many before it) Bandwagon of calling on the veracity of our non-conference schedules. While in the past this may have been true, the last several non-conference schedules have showcased many NCAA Tournament teams, and several more which you could have made a case for. In addition, Syracuse has only been at .500 or below four times since Syracuse became a founding member in 1979. Syracuse was the only team from a BSC conference in the history of the NCAA Tournament (with a 64/65 team field) with 22 or more wins, and ten conference wins, to not make the NCAA Tournament. If there was ever a time for Syracuse (Jim Boeheim) to bitch, last year was it.
"Mr. [Clavio and Mr. Bartel], what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response[s] were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul[s]."
L-R: Glaude (The Older), Sasquatch, Glaude (The Younger).
Remember when Syracuse-Connecticut mattered?
Also, I have no idea why I have the neck of a stork and the profile of a younger, trimmer Fred Flintstone.
While Jonny Flynn was the big star last night with 28 points, he only had one basket tonight. More on that later, but there are several stories which are interesting in this game. The first was Paul Harris looking mighty fine on the floor. Paul had a night we all wished he would have had last year (18pts, 14reb, 6ast). This kid’s game from last year is like night and day. At one point, St. Joe’s failing to respect his shooting, paid after leaving him wide open for a three, and Paul drained it. We all knew Paul was athletic, but he was lacking a shot component to his game. I think last night we all learned that his shooting was much improved.
Donte Green had his coming out party tonight. While he had 14 points the previous night, his performance was greatly overshadowed by Jonny Flynn’s. However, tonight, with 18 points, most of them off assists from Flynn and Harris, Green looked like an elite forward in the Big East. Playing all 40 minutes, he was an integral part of the Syracuse offense. While he showed his youthful inexperience with five turnovers, he played like a true star.
Speaking of turnovers, Syracuse was, yet again, a leader in turnovers. They had 17 to St. Joseph’s 14. Yet, Syracuse outlasted Phil’s team by three points. The freshman showed their inexperience, contributing five from Green, one from Flynn, two from Ongenaet, and one from Scoop. Devo and Harris each chipped in four a piece. This team needs to learn how to slow down and take a deep breath. While the fast break game was damn exciting to watch, and efficient in scoring at times, sometimes it just contributes to turnovers. Occasionally it contributes to a streak of turnovers. For us to be successful this year, as I said all last year, it is absolutely key to limit turnovers and the points off them.
Rebounds are key as well. We were continually outrebounded last year, especially against inferiorly talented teams. This game we outrebounded 38 to 31. Now that Arinze Onuaku is back on the floor, we have a rebounding presence again. However Arinze only had four rebounds in 30 minutes of play. He did contribute a career high 17 points though. Good enough for me for this game.
But how about that Jonny Flynn! He only made one basket after contributing 28 points the night before. It was the one basket that really mattered in the game. With five seconds remaining on the clock he stuck a three pointer from NBA range to put Syracuse ahead in the game by three points, a margin of victory the Orange would not relinquish. Flynn did contribute six assists, some of which were damn spectacular and made the ESPN highlights, including number five on the top ten. He also showed tremendous poise in my mind by hitting two clutch free throws late in the game. This kid, if he stays around for a couple years, will be a superstar.
This team will be an enormous amount of fun to watch this basketball season. I have no doubt that, at times, they will also be extremely frustrating to watch as well. The deal at this point in the season is limiting turnovers and playing an active Syracuse Zone. Offense puts people in the seats, but defense wins games. This was most evident tonight. We held on, won a close, exciting game, and I had a lot of fun watching. All in all, a good day for the Syracuse program. Next up in the NIT? THE Ohio State in Madison Square Garden. I will surely enjoy that while at home on Thanksgiving break (people with real jobs are suckers!!!).
This team should be a great team this season. How great is up to them and them alone. The ‘Cuse will be back in action this Friday evening against Fordham. I myself will be heading to Storrs Friday night and then East Hartford Saturday to view the Syracuse/UConn football contest (UPSET ALERT), so don’t expect posts on the two games until late Sunday night or Monday morning. Rest assured, the postgame reactions will be there though, win or lose. The only variable is whether they will be excited in nature, or full of Debbie Downer statements. Time will tell. As always, stay tuned.
1. Orange::44: I'm not sure if you actually got to watch the South Florida game or not, but I'm sure you are aware of what transpired on the gridiron. Thoughts?
Nunes: I didn't get to watch it, for better or worse. For those kinds of games I usually rely on Axeman's liveblog and a gamecast from either ESPN or the SUAthletics site, which is surprisingly good (and more surprisingly free). I don't know if there's anything I can say about the game that hasn't already been said. I was much more interested in that post-game press conference, which was a perfect storm of Greg Robinsontude. It had everything...excuses, desperation, thinly-veiled digs at players, empty promises, more excuses and sad pleas. It was the defining press conference of the era, an absolute trainwreck. As much he frustrates and infuriates with his bullshit, you just wanted to go over to him and give him a hug and ask him to stop talking. Wrap a blanket around him and tell him it’s all gonna be okay. Then tell him to tell me about the rabbits. Tell me about the rabbits, Greg...
2. Orange::44: Is the season lost? Should we ignore the remaining games? Can we assume that Greg Robinson is gone, at least if money is no object?
Nunes: I don't know why but I'm starting to warm up to the idea that we'll beat UConn. We're back to where we were before the Louisville game, at rock bottom with nothing to lose. There's something about players playing for a lame duck coach, they either give up totally or they play inspired and for some reason I could see them being inspired to make something of this game. UConn is wounded, they're not as good as people think and there's something about Syracuse-UConn that makes me think anything can happen.
Watch us get beat by 50 and I look like a jackass, but oh well. What else would be new?
If money is no object, absolutely, he's gone. The entire community has turned on him and Daryl Gross. Gross will throw Robinson under the bus in order to save face and to get a high profile hire in here ASAP, before the Michigan and UCLA jobs get their hooks into the top candidates. And assuming they don't win another game this year, you can't come up with one good reason to keep things the way they are. Not one.
3. Orange::44: Basketball started Monday. Impressions of the team after seeing the stats from the first game?
Nunes: Definitely two sides of a coin. Offensively, we're loaded. Jonny Flynn has marked his territory, only a matter of time before Donte Greene matches him. My fear is that we have too many alphas on this team. Devo and Harris had to expect coming into the season that they were in charge. But their leadership is being usurped by Flynn and you can expect all the freshman to cut into their points and stats. I hope we don't end up having an All-Star team mentality out there, where everyone needs to get their stats. My other fear is that there's not going to end up being room for everyone next year and one of the high profile guys considers transferring.
Defensively, yikes. Shades of last year. Unfortunately, this is gonna bite us in the ass, at least in the foreseeable future. I don't like the idea of being a run and gun team that has to score 80-90 a night cause we're giving up 85. Not sure we're equipped to match that every night.
I see lots of positives from the Siena game but I see a lot more questions. I am hopeful though, that's more than I can say about some recent seasons.
4. Orange::44: Larry Csonka's number was retired at the USF game. Your thoughts on retiring numbers for football? Should we have retired 44?
Nunes: I wrote a whole thing on this a while ago. I think the whole system is flawed, from who we let into our hall of fames to who qualifies for a number retirement. Since we're just retiring jerseys and not the actual number, I suppose it’s harmless. But I think it’s gonna catch up with you. Since you're not bound by the limitations of retiring an actual number (of which there is a finite supply), you could literally just keep retiring jerseys until the end of time. Who's to say where you draw the line? Today it’s the Larry Csonka's and Floyd Little's of the world. But pretty soon you'll be making distinctions between David Tyree and Quentin Spotwood (he was an All-American, after all). Maybe I'm being unrealistic but I just think it’s a fine line you need to walk carefully.
You can't possibly give me one good reason for retiring the number 44. That was our calling card. It was an identity. It was a powerful recruiting tool. It stood for something that is so hard to quantify in college athletics. That one piece of identity specific to your school that is special to you because of that. The "Play Like A Champion" sign at Notre Dame, the 12th man at Texas A&M, Howard's Rock at Clemson. People identify Syracuse University with the number 44. To remove it from the equation is to remove part of what makes the university special.
Of course, that's a decision we've come to expect from Daryl Gross. I suppose the reason was that it made us live in the past, which is asinine since he's spent the entire season honoring the very people who wore 44. I guess I just don't see what is gained by retiring the number.
5. Orange::44: What is the one thing that upsets you most about the current state of Syracuse Athletics and what is your solution to make it better?
Nunes: I actually had to take a walk and think about this one. To say the football program would be too easy. If Malcolm Gladwell taught us anything it’s to look for the Tipping Point, the tiny decision or way-of-thinking that is causing things to head downhill so fast.
I started thinking about Syracuse's current campaign to raise a billion dollars. I don't know all the specifics behind this, and it makes me wonder where all the money I gave them went if they feel the need to do such ludicrous fundraising, but perhaps this is part of a bigger picture with the university.
Is it all about the money right now?
Is that why Syracuse football games feel less about tradition and pomp and more about gimmicky halftime shows and sponsored events? Is that why Midnight Madness wasn't actually held at midnight but rather at 7pm and heavily sponsored? Is that why we're now beholden to the Nike overlords when it comes to uniforms and the many changes therein? Is that why we're so concerned with pleasing people in New York City that we don't seem too concerned with pleasing the people of Central New York?
I'd just like to see a return to "innocence" if that makes sense. Rather than handing out corporately-sponsored t-shirts to the students, why not organize an "orange-out." Stop fiddling around with the pre-game entertainment and start encouraging fans and students to tailgate together and build camaraderie. Start traditions in the vein of the Cameron Crazies rather than relegate traditions like "44" to the rafters. Make appearances by famous alumni feel like events, not weekly publicity grabs.
Maybe I'm being naive but what was so great about college sports when I was there was the sports and the atmosphere around it. Not the fancy uniform, not the special guests and certainly not the sponsorships. I see their place and necessity but not as the lead story.
6. Orange::44: UConn lost this past weekend to Cincinnati. How good does that feel, and does it mean anything for this coming weekend?
Nunes: Thank God. They'll lose to West Virginia as well, ensuring that they'll be relegated to a December 30th bowl where they can't hurt anyone.
Yeah, I think you're right that the timing is right for an upset. Of course, I'm basing this more on UConn looking past us more than anything Syracuse has shown me, but this is our last shot at a win. Besides, it's UConn...I know it’s a young rivalry but this should be one of those "throw out the records" kind of rivalries. I'm hesitantly hopeful...how's that for being a fan?
7. Orange::44: Finally, what is your favorite distraction from the Syracuse Football team? No, you can't say the basketball team.
Nunes: When I'm not obsessing over the shortcomings of Syracuse football, I'm obsessing over the shortcomings of New York Giants football. I have to say though; I think they got a raw deal. I think the Giants were getting way too much credit during their win streak and now they're taking too much heat after losing to the Cowboys.
During their run, they were never really dominant and they didn't exactly play a murderer's row. They did what the Giants do...they played just better than their competition but they never exuded any kind of killer instinct. All of those experts who were pegging them in for the Super Bowl couldn't have been watching the actual games.
So now they lost to the Cowboys and everyone's saying they're gonna fail again. Dudes, it’s the Cowboys, the best team in the NFC. Sure, the Giants should have taken one from them but if you're gonna lose to anyone, it’s not a bad loss in the big picture. Now if they lose to Detroit this week, it'll be time to panic again. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. Giants fans always have plenty of panic ahead of them; I'm in no rush to start yet.
So there you have it. Our boy comes through in dropping some Orange knowledge on you like Flynn dropping a trey. Until next time, I’m Brian, he’s MariusJanulisForThree, and we’re out. Look for my answers next week on his site.
Editor’s Note: This is another installment in the ongoing collaboration between Orange::44 and Nunes/Magician. Every other Tuesday Nunes::44 will appear here, while the following week Orange::44/Magician will appear on his site. Until then, enjoy Nunes/Magician articles and stay tuned to Orange::44 for complete postgame coverage from every Syracuse game.
South Florida - Syracuse Postgame Reactions OR Syracuse Sucks So Much I Can't Think of A Funny Title1 Comments Published on 11.12.2007 by Brian Harrison
Because a touchdown was scored the offense avoids the dreaded and confidence shattering F grade. They have only received this high distinction once this season, during the Iowa game. That Cantley sure has a hell of a rocket arm. He played well for making his first career start (21/38, 276 yds, 1TD, 2INT). The same old song and dance happened with the rushing attack of Syracuse. The team managed to only gain a dismal 15 rush yards, with the leading effort of 11 yards on three carries coming from Max Suter. However the 11 yards came on one play, while the other two carries were for no gain. Paul Chiara also took one snap for three yards. The offensive line put in another pedestrian effort in a pedestrian season. Actually, pedestrian is too generous. Mile Williams extends his streak of games with a touchdown to seven. He had a pretty good day with 99 yards on eight receptions. Taj Smith had a solid day as well with three receptions for 64 yards. Other than those bright spots, offense in the first half was basically absent. Terrible production. Oh, and how about we get a shit ton of false starts too. Great! Thanks!
The defense played about as well as we could have hoped as South Florida is a pretty powerful offense. However, giving up 582 total yards is a huge amount. Syracuse made the South Florida running back look like a friggin’ genius. Joe 5 Fields contributed his share of effort with an interception of Grothe, however one man cannot win a war. While it appeared that the defense tried its hardest, and the front four pursued the best they could, the effort produced little results. It is always a big morale booster when you can make an opposing player bleed however. While I never wish injury on anyone (with a few certain exceptions [I still hope Ken Dorsey is shot and dragged through the streets of Miami]), it is a part of football, and if someone is going to get hurt, you hope it is the other team. In this one instance we made the USF player bleed, and for that effort and hard hitting, they are rewarded with the grade.
Oh Max, why did you had to muff a kick? Why did you take my heart and stomp on it with so little time ticked off the clock? Special teams had some highs and lows this week. Max Suter was the low, dropping the opening kickoff and allowing USF to start at the 26 yard line. The high was Pat “Fat Ass” Shadle hitting a career long 50 yard field goal to end the first half. He also hit his one extra point try. Rob “Heisman” Long punted seven times for a total of 307 yards. Two were behind the 20 and his longest was 73 yards. They managed to limit kick and punt returns in stark contrast from the Pittsburgh game. An average day for the special teams. Kudos to Shadle for eating those 12 extra burritos before this week to hit a 50 yarder. Drew Bledsoe likes cheeseburgers, Shadle likes burritos. Deal with it.
How many false starts do we suffer through before someone on the staff is held accountable? I understand that there are injuries to our team, but reacting and adapting to injuries is part of the game and the job of the coaching staff to prepare the team in that way. Once again, the staff has let us down. This undisciplined squad could barely put a drive together in the first half because we would take one step forward and two steps back. The team also had to use time outs, which possibly could have been needed later. Again, these were coaching mistakes that could have haunted us, had the score not been at a ridiculous point in the third quarter. A bad week all around. How are these guys supposed to prepare for Connecticut?
Once again Syracuse manages to get a team that had been struggling of late and manages to cure them of all their ails. Syracuse Offense played the second worst it has all season. The defense gave up plenty of yards on the ground. The coaches have once again decided that a mediocre performance is acceptable. Syracuse again manages to disappoint and underwhelm all at the same time. If Orange::44 does not win the job award this year, no one deserves it. I mean one year of terribleness at ND does not even compare with the last three years we have had to endure.
Normally I do not put a lot of stock into this man, but I am always willing to listen to him. Recently on his insider blog on ESPN.com Mel Kiper selected our kicker, Patrick “Fat Ass” Shadle, as the second best junior kicker in the nation, only behind Sam Swank of Wake Forrest. While Shadle did not crack the overall top five, clearly Kiper respects his kicking game, as well as the fact he can probably win in an eating contest. The complete top five junior kickers are below:
Junior Place Kickers
The wise and powerful douchebags at Maxim Magazine online have stated that Syracuse has the third most annoying fans in the NCAA. They say NCAA but I assume they really mean basketball, as those are the only pictures they have. The picture is from, I assume, the 2002-2003 season in which we were undefeated at home. I think this is a joke.
I would love to know the criteria that they judged any of this on. Frankly, I do not think Maxim is even remotely qualified to judge any of this and I am guessing that there is some disgruntled Kansas alum on the writing staff there. It is just an unfounded attack on the Big East and ACC. Either way, I know other schools have way worse fans than us. Syracuse is too “fair weather” to be as bad as they allege. I will give them slight props for having Duke at number one and two, but that in and of itself invalidates the whole exercise. That top five is also below:
NCAA’s Most Annoying Fans
5. Boston College
While this is not my actual basketball preview (that will come out later) ESPN.com and Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook have released their team preview of Syracuse. They talk about how we got snubbed and how the Orange will be ready to take on the Big East this season. If you are an ESPN.com Insider you can view that story here. If not, don’t waste your money and just look for our preview here. It will be out soon.
A little self love for us here at Orange::44. Brent Axe of The Axeman Bloggeth on Syracuse.com picked up our little Jim Boeheim Press Conference Drinking game and added it to his “12 Days of ‘Cusemas” series. His post is here. Thanks for the love Axe. We heart your work too.
To wrap up this hodgepodge, I got into the interrogation room ("The Box" for you Homicide fans out there) and let MariusJanulisForThree of Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician grill me. We continue our series started last week when he dropped by our site for a little Nunes::44. He, of course, asked some tough and interesting questions and my responses are here. Enjoy a little Orange::44/Magician.
With football still looming, the reprieve of basketball quickly approaches. We have our final exhibition contest versus the Dolphins of LeMoyne on Wednesday. The real basketball season begins on November 12th, and the UConn football game in East Hartford, CT, will be on Saturday November 17th at Noon. Look for coverage of varying degrees of depth on these games, and be sure to keep checking out our cohort over at Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician. I hear he can play wipeout on the drums and his mix tape is a masterpiece. Also, he is one sharp fellow when it comes to SU Athletics.
Connecticut: I still have no respect for the Huskies. Deal with it. So far this season, Connecticut's "marquee" victory is against a Rutgers team that should be in no ballot's top 25. I am not buying into the Huskies until a real, actual victory appears on the team's kill list (the aforementioned Rutgers, South Florida, and Louisville do not count).
Oregon: I believe! In fact, I believe so much that this sentence will end in two exclamation points!!
Hawaii over Southern California: That just looks wrong. Kind of like a peanut butter and tuna fish sandwich.
Spots 20-25: I just as much drop these spots from the ballot altogether. Florida State is a dicey selection, but as everyone liked the Eagles so much, the Seminoles' win -- in shitty Boston conditions -- merits inclusion.
Syracuse: Once again, the Orange will not find its way onto any ballot. Congratulations, lustrous history; you have been tarnished yet again.