Countdown to Football Frustration

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BlogPoll 2011 - Preseason Ballot

* First and foremost, welcome back to college football. I'm excited and looking forward to another great season, not only in Syracuse but everywhere.
* I have Alabama in my #1 slot, but really I think, especially this time of year, the top 5 are completely interchangeable.
* I hate the fact I have Ohio State as high as I do. But I do.
* Most people have LSU in their top 5. I'm not convinced yet.
* TCU repping the future Big East at #14.
* West Virginia repping the current Big East at #23.
* Notre Dame is completely unproven at this juncture, but I'll give them the #20 spot for now.
*Any big problems, as always, let me know in the comments.
A few housekeeping things. This year's BlogPoll will be slightly different. The official ballot will be out Monday mornings and will be official then. In the past, it would appear Monday, allow time for corrections, and post Wednesday. Not the case anymore. I will be fairly regular this season in posting my usual postgame reactions for Syracuse games, but also my BlogPoll ballot on Sunday evenings all football season to the best of my ability.
As for us, we fire back up this week to get you ready for the season with our annual Big East Football Prospectus. They will appear Tuesday evening and Wednesday afternoon. Four teams a day. Also Wednesday afternoon we will post our usual quick preview and predictions for the upcoming week's Syracuse game. Odd that it's posting on a Wednesday, but I guess this stuff will be posting before Friday a few times this season. Welcome back, we look forward to a good season and a good time here at Orange::44, on the Twitter Machine, and in the Carrier Dome with you all.

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Ready Yourselves for Football!

Are you ready for some football?
The "Countdown to Football Frustration" at the top of this page is now reading in the single digits for days. As in, less than ten days remain until the Syracuse University Orangemen begin its 2011 football campaign. I'm starting to get pretty hyped and, since you're reading this, I'm assuming you are too. But are you truly ready? Here's a partial and incomplete list of things you need to do before the season begins on September 1, 2011:
  • Check out the schedule. Seems elementary, but if you don't know when the games are played, it'll be hard to be a true Orange fan. Here's a hint: the first game is at home against Wake Forest on September 1. It's a Thursday. 8pm. Carrier Dome. Be there. Or watch on or Time Warner Cable Sports. Check out the rest of the schedule, along with game times and TV coverage, at the SU Athletics website.
  • Evaluate your gameday apparel. Is it orange? Good. You're on the right track. For me, I have an orange 44 jersey from a couple seasons ago. Some may prefer an old Donovan McNabb jersey from 15 years ago, or something crazy along those lines. The more orange, the better, whether you're watching inside the Dome, have a table at Chuck's, or have a 13" tube in your parents' basement. Preseason is also a good time to make sure said apparel is clean. I think my orange 44 jersey has been wadded up in a ball on my bedroom floor since I unpacked from NYC after the Pinstripe Bowl. I need to fix that.
  • Make plans with friends to attend games. I said games, plural, because you should attend as many as possible. You don't all have the luxury of living close to Syracuse and having season tickets, I get that. With such a big definition of "east" in the Big East, chances are the team will visit an area close to you. Plus this year's schedule features non-conference road trips to such exciting destinations as Los Angeles and New Orleans. Fun for the whole family!
  • Learn about the team. We're all fans of "Syracuse" -- collectively, a group of large athletes that perform a function on a gridiron. And there is no I in team. But without players to make up that team, there is no team. Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician has put together the most comprehensive player by player profile available on the web, in the series Get to Know an Orange Man. Go school yourself. You'll be a better fan for it. Plus, you know, you'll really get to appreciate these hard-working student-athletes.
  • Plan your tailgate. So you've decided to go to a game. And you're not going by yourself. So you and your cohorts decide to hang out before the game starts. It would suck if you were just standing around with your hands in your pockets. This down time is much better spent grilling, eating, drinking, sharing a laugh, and maybe even harassing opposing teams' fans. Don't be an amateur tailgater; be sure to plan ahead. Assign tasks to people within your group. Make sure you have the essentials, but don't be afraid to splurge from time to time. It's advisable to plan your particular food/drink theme for the date/time of the game you're attending. You'll tailgate much differently for the 9/1 8pm game at the Dome (i.e. burgers, brats, beers) than you will for the 12/3 nooner in Pittsburgh (i.e. breakfast sandwiches, hot drinks, mimosas). If purchasing supplies on the Hill, I suggest the Tops on East Colvin & Nottingham (formerly P&C, formerly Peter's). The official supermarket for Syracuse Athletics (or something like that), this store underwent an Orange Transformation last year and is branded Syracuse up and down. It's like Otto went in there and vomited. If that's a bit much for you, or you just prefer the tried & true, you can't go wrong with Wegmans.
  • Purchase your tickets. Maybe this should have gone before "Plan your tailgate," maybe not. Either way, you can't get into the game unless you have a ticket (or a field/media/etc. pass, or a marching band instrument, or a roster position). If you're not a season ticket holder, your safest bet is to purchase through the Carrier Dome box office. You also might want to check out your favorite online ticket exchange brokers (i.e. stubhub) for good deals on good seats. But of course, it never hurts to just hop on twitter and put it out to the masses: "I need 4 tickets to the Rhode Island game in the Dome. Can anybody help me out?" Believe me, you'll get a lot of responses on that one! But maybe you find yourself on the Hill and still without a ticket. Fear not! The sketchy underbelly of ticket scalping has a vibrant economy on the Hill. During prime tailgating hours, you'll find a variety of people in the Marshall Street area buying and selling tickets (yeah, the same guy will buy and sell tickets! Amazing!). Keep a $5 or $10 bill in your wallet, give the rest to a friend, and go find yourself a deal. Don't be afraid to walk away if the price isn't right; they'll come around to see things your way. LEGAL NOTICE: be on the lookout for counterfeits and don't buy too close to the Carrier Dome. The cops can and will bust you for a sale within a certain distance from the Dome. You're fine down on M-Street.
  • Plan other activities while you're in town for the game. Are you going to Faegans? Sure you're going to Faegans! Say hi to Guy, tell him John sent you. You'll probably want to hit up your favorite Syracuse eateries, such as Dinosaur BBQ, Tully's, Zebb's, etc. There's a new sports bar opening downtown called the Saltine Warrior Sports Pub, at the Amos Building near Clinton Square (214 W. Water St.). And of course, the Great New York State Fair is in town August 25 through September 5.
As for me, I'll be rolling into town around 2pm on September 1, wearing my orange 44 jersey and tailgating in the city lot next to the Hoople building by Marshall Street. After some food and what I will only describe as several beers, I'll make my way up with my friends to the quad to check out the Marching Band's show, then head into the Dome to Section 215 where I'll watch magic happen. If all goes well, it's back down to Faegans to partake in $2 night (I've been told inflation has bumped it up to $3... oh well). Friday I'll be viewing the Butter Sculpture, drinking wine slushes, and eating way too much fried food while mullet-watching at the Fair. Make your plans now, because all the fun begins next Thursday!
Oh, one more thing. You might want to keep reading Orange::44 as we'll hopefully continue to prep you for the upcoming season. The summer hiatus is over. Brian needs to start writing content again!


Update on Marcus Sales

Yesterday brought news that Marcus Sales appeared with his lawyer in Syracuse City Court, and his case was adjourned to February. February? What about swift justice, a speedy trial? What does this all mean?!?
Bear with me, this takes a short lesson in criminal procedure. Currently, Sales has pending against him a felony complaint, a few misdemeanor informations, and traffic tickets. The felony is the most serious. A felony complaint is a written sworn document alleging a defendant has committed a felony. The purpose of this document is to bring the defendant to court, apprise him of the crime, and have the court determine if there should be bail placed on him and, if bail is set, whether the defendant should be held in jail (in lieu of bail being posted) pending action by a Grand Jury. You see, a "local criminal court" such as Syracuse City Court, has very limited jurisdiction when it comes to felonies. Felonies ultimately must be prosecuted in a superior court (i.e. County Court or Supreme Court) upon a felony indictment. That's where the Grand Jury comes in. The prosecutor must present evidence to the GJ, and then the GJ votes on whether or not to indict the defendant. It is that indictment that becomes the formal charge(s) upon which the prosecution may proceed to trial.
But, at this point, Sales' charges are still pending in City Court. The Grand Jury hasn't heard his case or indicted him. And since no bail was set (Sales was released to a pre-trial release program) there was no need to determine if there was enough evidence to hold him in jail pending GJ action. He's sort of in a legal limbo right now.
But February. Why February? Good question. From a court standpoint, City Court has no need for Sales to keep coming to court, since that court has little to no power to do anything with his case at this point. There's also constitutional and statutory speedy trial requirements that must be met in a prosecution of the case. Generally, the prosecution has six months from the filing of a felony complaint to have the case indicted. That time can be waived or extended due to delay not caused by the prosecution. Here, it seems like Sales' lawyer may have waived that time, as it seems (according to the media reports I'm seeing) that his lawyer was the one who asked for the adjournment. That could just be the way it's done in Onondaga County, as a showing of good faith to the prosecution.
So, during the time between now and February, a number of things could happen. Sales' lawyer and the DA could negotiate a plea and resolve the case. The DA could present the case to the Grand Jury, obtain an indictment, and then the case would be transferred to Onondaga County Court for formal arraignment on the new indictment, motions, and plea/trial if necessary. However, if nothing happens and the February court date comes for City Court, then the case might be dismissed for speedy trial violations. This is no certainty, again, for if the attorney waived speedy trial that could leave us right back where we are now.
But in all likelihood, especially with a case where it's getting media attention, there will be some sort of action between now and February. I would imagine some sort of negotiations and dealmaking. That would be in everyone's best interests.
While Marcus Sales remains innocent until proven guilty, through this whole procedure, the University and surely Doug Marrone will look at things through glasses other than a defense attorney. There's the integrity of the educational and athletic realms that need to be protected, and with reports from Colorado that yet another SU football player is in trouble, Marrone I imagine will be quick to pull the trigger and issue suspensions, if not dismissing them from the team altogether. Though the legal process may take months to get worked out, I expect Marrone to hand out that swift justice. I'd be shocked to see Marcus Sales suit up for the Orange this season.
Stay tuned to Orange::44 for further updates/analysis on this situation as they become available.

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