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Nunes::44 - 12/3/09

Paulus was alright, but Nunes would have trippled his stats.
It’s time for another edition of my weekly chat with Sean of Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician fame. It’s been a few weeks, but he’s back chatting with me about football, Marrone and his staff, how awesome our basketball team is, and of course the greatest threat to our national security; the BCS. Check it out y’all.

1. Orange::44: Syracuse finished their football campaign with a loss at UConn. This game was up and down. Thoughts?

Nunes: It was a weirdly reminiscent game from the season-ending loss to Cincinnati two years ago. The Orange looked as good as they've looked all season on offense, scored a lot of points but gave up a ton more points on defense. It would have been the perfect way to end the season if we could have won (five wins, hurt UConn's bowl chances) but the season ended about the way it should have. We're just not there yet...but we're on our way.

Plus, the antics at the end confirmed that we're going to have a bona fide rivalry on our hands. I hope the Big East continues to have Syracuse schedule Rutgers and UConn late in the season because as the Orange improve, those games are going to become big rivalries.

2. Orange::44: Satisfied with Marrone at the helm?

Nunes: From the standpoint of a first-season package, he did a tremendous job. He showed all the signs of being a first-year head coach at times but I think Marrone has us going in the right direction and I have faith in his desire to do whatever it takes to make SU a winner again. The defections and quitting has been disconcerting but I think it's a short-term effect of a coach who is fiercely loyal to "his guys." For better or worse. I fully expect the Orange to improve from here on out and be back in a bowl game within two years, if not next year.

3. Orange::44: There were recently some staff changes made by Marrone. Agree? If not, who would you have kept or fired?

Nunes: Tough to agree or disagree since we know so little of the internal goings-on. It sounds like Derrick Jackson was just kept around to maintain the status quo for Arthur Jones. As for Elizondo, not sure what else he could have done with that unit, especially once Williams quit. And as for Spence, if it's true that Marrone took over playcalling duties in the last two games, the two games that happen to be SU's best offensive performances of the season, then I completely understand the move.

I think Marrone has an extremely clear vision of how the team should run, especially offensively. He's not going to waste time with anyone who doesn't fit that design.

4. Orange::44: Basketball keeps rolling. Is it even fair playing Colgate and Columbia right now?

Nunes: Sure doesn't seem like it. And to be honest, I'm not even sure it's fair to Syracuse. The Orange actually lose RPI ranking because of these games. I know Jimmy likes them because it gives the team a chance to gel, work out the kinks and get bench experience. But I wonder if there's one too many of them on the schedule. It's easy to complain about that stuff in a year like this and not a year when the team is struggling and needs every W it can muster, but I would like to see more semi-interesting games soon. That Colgate game was downright boring, Wes Johnson dunks or not.

5. Orange::44: It is still very early, but do you think Wes Johnson is really a one and done?

Nunes: I have to think so. I mean, he's six games into the season and he's already projected to be a top seven lottery pick. Jonny Flynn jumped for less. Donte Greene jumped for WAY less. We're past the point of expecting these guys to stay at SU and play for free when they've got guaranteed millions staring them in the face. I think a smart Syracuse fan accepts that Wes is going pro, appreciates him for this season and what comes of it and then in the off chance that he returns for another year, we can all cream our pants in excitement.

6. Orange::44: Besides Johnson, who impresses you the most on the hardwood so far this season?

Nunes:
To be honest I've been impressed at some point by just about everybody. Andy Rautins just continues to become a better all-around player and not just a three-ball shooter. Scoop Jardine has improved leaps and bounds and Brandon Triche has proven he can come right in and lead the offense. Kris Joseph may be the forgotten guy because he gets overshadowed so much but he's really proving himself this season and setting himself up to be a leader next year. I'd like to see more rebounds come from the big men but Rick Jackson and AO have performed well otherwise.

7. Orange::44: Finally, The BCS sucks. It's no mystery. I've laid out my plan for fixing it. What is your solution?

Nunes: Obviously a playoff is the answer. I know most folks go with 8 teams but I would actually go with 6. When you think about it, anyone past the top six teams in the nation probably doesn’t deserve to play for the national title to begin with. So I would give the No. 1 and No. 2 teams a bye and then play out from there. That's five games, which could all be hosted by the BCS bowls followed by a title game. Then for everyone else you just do the usual bowl system to appease the old guard. Everybody wins.

Editor’s Note:
This is another installment in the ongoing collaboration between Orange::44 and Nunes/Magician. Usually every other week Nunes::44 will appear here, while the following week Orange::44/Magician will appear on his site. Until then, enjoy excellent Nunes/Magician articles as always and stay tuned to Orange::44 for complete postgame coverage from every Syracuse game.

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