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Nunes::44 - 12/5/08

Troy knows how the team felt after that last game.
It has been too long since Sean from Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician and I have chatted one on one. Therefore I threw some questions at him regarding some things that have occured over the past several weeks since we last talked. Although he did fantastic during our first Big East Blogger Roundtable, Sean is back with even better answers here.
1. Orange::44: Last week Syracuse handed Notre Dame a huge upset loss on Senior Day in South Bend. General reactions from the game?

Nunes: That was fun. I watched the entire game start to finish, with sound...a luxury I don't usually get here on the West Coast. It was an entertaining game as a Syracuse fan and a fantastic finish. It was nice to be reminded that watching Syracuse football can be an enjoyable experience.

It's also nice to beat Notre Dame and their smug coach...nice to know we single-handedly swung the entire Notre Dame alumni base against him in one fell swoop. Dude went from a Gator Bowl berth and good momentum for his program to waiting until Brian Kelly decided to stay at Cincy before knowing if he gets to keep his job.

Also a nice win for the Big East. Sorry Notre Dame, we don't like that you get grouped in with us in bowl situations and we don't like that you refuse to play nice with us for football. Glad we could help the Big East get better bowl games in the process.

2. Orange::44: What did you think of Greg's move during the Notre Dame Alma Mater? Do you think that he is a hypocrite for not staying on the field with the team at home for the Syracuse Alma Mater?

Nunes: Well, I'm no psychologist, but...

If everyone calls you a jerk for long enough, eventually you'll become a jerk just because subconsciously you want to live up to their expectations. Conversely, if everyone is constantly applauding how nice you are, and that's the only thing you have to cling to, that's probably what you'll end up being like whether you mean to or not.

I think it's subconscious but Greg feels like he has to "the nice guy" at all times. He's decided that for himself. And the worst the situation is with coaching and the wins and losses, the more he clings to the nice-guy routine.

Stopping the interview to respect the alma mater was a fantastic deflection technique, wasn't it? Greg got to hold off on answering any "negative" questions and came off looking like a classy guy. I don't doubt that Greggers is indeed a nice guy but to the extent that he pulls that routine, there's got to be something going on underneath that drives him to do it so much.

3. Orange::44: He then turned around and the team played terrible at Cincinnati. What were your thoughts of the game and does this mean anything for the future of the program?

Nunes: I had no illusions about this one. I knew we were gonna get crushed. We used up all our good mojo and momentum against Notre Dame. You heard the players before that game...that was their "bowl game." Cincy had too much on the line (even if they already clinched the conference) to lay down to SU.

And just like every other nice win in the Greg Robinson Era, the Notre Dame win was proven to be a fluke determined more by the play of the other team than by anything we did. And although Greg loves to talk about all the steps the program took to get better, we once again wasted the momentum.

I said after the Cincy game that the Greg Robinson Era ended exactly how it was supposed to. With a disappointing game in which Syracuse never stood a chance and refused to learn from it's mistakes in order to win the game.

4. Orange::44: Syracuse beat #18 Florida, #23 Kansas, and Virginia last week, as well as destroyed Colgate on Monday. How impressed and/or enamored are you with this team?

Nunes: I'm very impressed. I've been saying all season that they're going to be a good team but this is definitely beyond my expectations. I would have been happy with 5-2 right now. And to be honest, last year's team would probably be 4-3. No way they win the Richmond, Kansas or Virginia games.

It feels like the most complete team we've had since...I don't know...since 2003? So many complimentary players, so many different ways to beat a team. And the fact that they're getting experience playing man defense as well as zone is only going to make them that much more formidable come Big East play and beyond.

Oh and look out for Paul Harris...Flynn's getting all the attention but Harris is about to blow up. Excuse me...'fro up.

5. Orange::44: Syracuse stumbled against Virginia. Was this simply because of the schedule, or do you see a weakness in this team that could hurt them again before the Big East?

Nunes: It's hard not to overreact in November and December but that's what I'm trying not to do. Louisville lost to Western Kentucky but that doesn't mean they're not one of the best ten teams in the nation. Things happen that defy expectations this early in the season. On paper, there's no reason Virginia should have been able to hang with us. Was is the hangover of the CBE? Was it a classic letdown game? Was it just dumb luck that the Cavs caught us on a bad night? Who knows...but I don't think I can really say this is a game you need to worry about in the longterm. What we did against Cornell might be more indicative.

6. Orange::44: Clearly defense is an issue for the Orange. Do you like the new situation of playing mostly man-to-man, would you like to see more zone, or is this zone not good enough to run as much as we usually do?

Nunes: If nothing else, I like the idea of this team being adept at playing both kinds of defense. When Notre Dame comes to town and starts chucking up three-pointers, I want to know that SU can drop out of the zone and start challenging the shooters rather than just resting and hoping ND will start missing. All of a sudden the game is 110-85 and we're all wondering what just happened.

I just hope Jimmy B is keeping an open mind. There's no award at the end of the season for the team that plays the best zone defense. But the team that plays the best defense period, well, they usually do end up an award.

7. Orange::44: Big East Grab Bag: Cincinnati won the Big East. If the Big East had a Championship Game, what two teams would you like to see in it and what do you think would happen?

Nunes: Well 8-3 Pittsburgh is clearly the most deserving team to play Cincy in the Championship Game. The two teams played a solid game a few weeks back with the Bearcats winning 28-21 and I think the rematch would be just as good a game. Cincy seems to be in "head down and do the work" mode so I feel like, despite a big game from LeSean McCoy, they'd probably win that one as well.

Regardless of what you think of Cincy as a program historically, they're clearly the best team in the Big East this year. Take away that SNAFU game against UConn and they're probably ranked around #10 right now, with their only other loss to #3 Oklahoma. I have faith in them to beat whichever mediocre ACC team they play in the Orange Bowl and with Brian Kelly returning and an off-season to rest their injured players, expect them to remain near the top of the conference for at least another year.
Editor’s Note: This is another installment in the ongoing collaboration between Orange::44 and Nunes/Magician. Usually every other Wednesday 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.

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