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Cal State Los Angeles - Syracuse Preview

Syracuse Students Agree: It's good to be back in basketball season!
The 2011-2012 Syracuse Orange start with a couple exhibition games before officially beginning the regular season next Saturday. First up is tonight's 7pm matchup in the Carrier Dome agaist the Cal State Los Angeles Golden Eagles. Coached by former Orangeman Stephen Thompson, CSULA should be no match for the current Orangemen. This is an experienced and deep squad going to battle for Head Coach Jim Boeheim, and they should easily roll to victory. No more analysis needed. And, well, if we don't like the final score, keep this in mind: this is exhibition so it never really happened. See also Syracuse v. LeMoyne, 2009.

BlogPoll 2011 - Week 10

*Baylor is out. In is the Bulldogs of Georgia.
*Clemson and Sparty drop the most. That's 9 spots.
*Wisconsin also loses, thanks to a hail mary.
*Kansas St. is just hanging on in the poll with only one loss.
*Okey State jumps up to #4.
As always, leave a comment if something jumps out.

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Oh, YOU again! Great...

With the huge win over West Virginia only eight days prior, one would have thought that the Syracuse Orange would be riding that momentum into Louisville. But no. Syracuse played one of its worst games in recent memory, and lost to the Cardinals 27-10. The loss drops the Orange to 5-3 (1-2 in Big East play) and still one win away from bowl eligibility. It also keeps Head Coach Doug Marrone winless against Louisville. Let's break it down to see what went wrong (spoiler alert: everything).
Offense
F
The offense scored 10 points, but really only three since the touchdown was in garbage time with 1:31 remaining in the game. Ryan Nassib, the heart of this unit, was not good. While he completed 22 of 36 attempts (61%) for 162 yards and a touchdown, the passing game really had no positive impact on this game. There were several errant pass attempts which, had they been on target, would have extended drives, accounted for large gains, or even put points on the board. The ground game was just as bad: Antwon Bailey carried 15 times for 70 yards, and his only big play was a 29 yard run; the team only gained 84 yards total on the ground. The dominating offensive line from a week ago decided that was a fluke and went back to their old, ineffective ways. Nassib was either hurried, hit, or sacked nearly every pass attempt, and there were no gaps open for the runners. And while we're on the subject, "The Express" made its debut -- the Syracuse version of the Wildcat formation. I didn't even know this was still a thing? Was Marrone looking at tape from a few years ago and say "Hey, let's try that again!"? I don't necessarily hate it, but on a day when nothing was going right, it's hard to not scratch your head about that. I just can't give a passing grade to an offense which consistently found itself in unmanageable 3rd down situations and only converted three of its 14 attempts.
Defense
F
While the guys up front, led by Chandler Jones, were able to put some pressure on Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater, it wasn't enough to significantly change his stats. This defense gave up 343 total yards (198 passing, 145 rushing). The Cardinals changed their gameplan from a hard-nosed running game to a more balanced attack. And Bridgewater was able to tear up the Syracuse secondary. Pass coverage just wasn't good. Not surprising, but you hate getting beat that way, especially when you know it's been a problem. While the defense did have the second and third quarters where it held Louisville scoreless, it started weak and ended weak. Fail.
Special Teams
D-
The only passing grade goes to a unit that really had very little impact on the game. Ross Krautman hit a 34-yard field goal in the second quarter. Kickoffs are going farther, so that's good. But those are the only positive things to highlight. Syracuse rarely had good field position, while Louisville did. I'm putting a lot of that blame on special teams.
Coaching
F
99 yards. That's what Syracuse gave Louisville due to 12 penalties. All penalties are stupid, but when several of them are personal fouls, that's inexcusable. Sure, it's the players, but ultimately it's the coach; the coach not having control over his team. I don't know what it is, because for these guys to basically act like punks out there is totally uncharacteristic of a Doug Marrone-led team. Unfortunately, Marrone wasn't able to make the halftime adjustments needed to improve the product on the field, and the final score reflects that.
GPA
F (0.18)
Waiting some 30 hours to do this report card didn't soften my anger and disappointment with what I saw out there on the field. It's a loss, and the whole team failed. Maybe we just expect so much more after the drubbing we saw against the Mountaineers. At any rate, if this is something that might rear its ugly head again this season, that might be the scariest thing you contemplate this Halloween weekend.
Intangibles
Pretty good crowd at Papa Johns Stadium. It was homecoming, a fact which was lost on the Big East Network's announcing crew, who were impressed by the Cardinals' alumni who were back in town to watch the game.
It was cold and, at times, windy. Do you reckon that affected the game play at all?
At one point the game was getting so difficult to watch that I thought about that Louisville cheerleading scandal from a few years ago. Not sure what I'm talking about? Google Rebecca Manns.
This officiating crew was the same crew from the Toledo game. They made it their mission to screw Syracuse every chance they had. I'm not saying the penalties weren't earned, but you don't think the Zebras had that missed extra point in the back of their minds?
While the Orangemen fell short of clinching a bowl berth in October, this sets up a pretty interesting storyline heading into the November 5 matchup in East Hartford against former Syracuse coach Paul Pasqualoni and his UConn Huskies. It would be real nice to clinch against him. As a side note, Brian and I will be at Rentschler Field for that game, just as we were at Rutgers last year when Syracuse became bowl eligible. Must be fate.

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Cue the Crying Child...

We all want to throw a temper tantrum right now.

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Louisville Quick Predictions

Lemon should help spoil the L'ville party.
Syracuse has played Louisville twice under Doug Marrone. Twice they have been the loser. Syracuse looks to end that streak Saturday.
Syracuse comes in off a massive victory over #15 West Virginia, the heavy favorite to win the Big East. And on paper, it looks possible they could earn another victory and become bowl eligible. Ryan Nassib is coming off a masterful performance, where he finally looks like he is reaching full potential. Additionally, Syracuse is a much healthier game then they were a few weeks ago, especially with the way Chandler Jones played against WVU's Geno Smith. While Syracuse has the better offense, Louisville's strength is their defense. They have a tough defensive line that has only allowed one 100+ yard rusher all season. Despite having a good defensive line, Syracuse's offensive line has been excellent the last several games. This will be the match up to watch. If Syracuse can create lanes for Antwon Bailey to run in, this game will be over early. Once Bailey gets going, Nassib will find open receivers. Syracuse made a conscious effort to go to tight ends against WVU. I think the wide receivers will get the same treatment in this game, as well as Bailey earning some reception yards out of the back field. Either way, moving the ball will be key. If Syracuse can sustain drives and get a stop here and there, Syracuse will be in control. If Syracuse allows big plays and continued gains of 7 yards or more on rushes, this will be a dog fight. I just can't see how Syracuse regresses so far past last week that they lose this game though. Under Coach Strong, Louisville has never won back to back league games, and they beat Rutgers last week. I think the Orange will shine again. Syracuse over Louisville 31 to 17.
This game will be your nooner on the Big East Network, so check it out on TWCS, SNY, and ESPN 3 (Watch ESPN). John will have your complete postgame analysis again, and check him out on the Tweets as well. Enjoy your weekend. Hopefully all Syracuse fans will.

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Marcus Sales: No True Bill

Will we see Marcus Sales back in action soon?

For you non-legal-types out there, "no true bill" is the term for when the Grand Jury chooses to not indict someone on felony charges. Those were Marcus Sales' three favorite words, as The Post-Standard reports that all charges have been dropped against Sales from the traffic stop over the summer.
While this wasn't entirely a shock -- in fact, I mentioned in my original article that this could be a potential outcome -- it certainly wasn't expected and not something you see all the time (or even often enough to say that it happens). But it seems like all the blame is being placed on Sales' brother. It could be because that's where the evidence led the police; or it could be because Sales' brother took all the blame for it. See, the thing about the Grand Jury is, it meets in private. Its proceedings are private. So we may never know what was presented to the Grand Jury, how they viewed it, and why they reached the decisions they did.
What is shocking to me is that the Post-Standard story quotes Senior Assistant District Attorney Michael Ferrante as saying all other charges against Sales have been dropped and sealed as well, not just the felonies for which he faced indictment. So that means the open container, misdemeanor possession charge, the marijuana charge -- all gone. As if none of this ever happened. I figured the open container and marijuana charges could stick, at least, along with the other traffic infractions. It seems, however, that this was just prosecutorial discretion in choosing to not move forward on those charges.
The other theory here is that Marcus and his attorney reached an agreement with the District Attorney's Office to grant him immunity on all these charges in exchange for his truthful testimony against his brother. In that case, Marcus could have testified before the Grand Jury in the case against his brother, and would also be forced to testify at any jury trial against his brother. This, of course, is just conjecture at this point, but it certainly would explain why no charges are being pursued against Marcus. If this is the case, I would certainly also expect that Marrone & Co. were part of negotiations with Marcus & his lawyer to work out an arrangement for him to rejoin the team. Evidently we'll hear from Marrone after practice today, so that may clear up some of my hypothesizing.
Still, though, a very interesting turn of events. If Marcus does return to the team, let's hope he's been staying in game shape. He'd certainly be a great readdition to this offense!

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Orange Tip Off 2011-2012 Now Available

This cover may look a little familiar.
The newest edition of Orange Tip Off is done, thanks to Editor Sean Keeley of Nunes/Magician. All the details of the articles, authors, and how to purchase can be found here. It can be a printible PDF, or get it for your Kindle, iPhone, or other media consuming device. Trust me, you won't regret it. PS - All the proceeds go to the authors and editors, all Syracuse people. So feel good about that. It just goes back into giving you more great content.

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More Legal Troubles: Kevin Drew's DWI

On a day when all the buzz at the Hill was supposed to be over the good news of Dejuan Coleman committing to play basketball for Syracuse University, our attention is now focused on a current student-athlete finding himself in trouble. The Post-Standard reports that lacrosse player Kevin Drew was arrested early yesterday morning on numerous charges, including Driving While Intoxicated, Resisting Arrest, and other traffic infractions. As we've done in the past, Orange::44 breaks down the charges and what legal ramifications to expect.
The charges of DWI and Resisting Arrest are the most serious of the charges Drew faces. Each are misdemeanors. If convicted, he in theory could face a year in jail. However, that's not likely here. First, with the DWI, New York has two different sections of the law under which Drew could have been charged. There is per se DWI which is based on the blood-alcohol content (BAC) being 0.08% or higher, such results coming from a breath analysis or a blood sample. The law presumes that one is intoxicated if the BAC is 0.08% or higher. The other section of the law is referred to as "common law DWI," which is basically based upon the facts and circumstances of the case, i.e. the smell of alcohol, failure of field sobriety tests, slurring of speech, admissions from the defendant, witnesses who saw him consume, etc. Basically, proving that he was intoxicated based on how he acted, as opposed to a scientific measurement. Often times this "common law DWI" is charged along with the BAC results; so that even if the BAC results are thrown out because of irregular testing procedures or something of the like, the defendant can still be prosecuted for DWI based on all the facts and circumstances of the case. I haven't heard which Drew has been charged with as of yet, but his admission that he had "a lot of beer" certainly doesn't help his case.
Resisting arrest is one of those charges that, as a defense attorney, I hate. I have a lot of respect for the police and what they deal with on a daily basis, but too often I see trumped up charges of resisting arrest for some BS reason just because the cop was on a power trip. I also see resisting arrest used almost as a cover when the police use force against the defendant -- something has to justify why the guy's face is all scratched up, or why he had to be tasered, or in this case, why Kevin Drew received a boot to the chest. Here the police alleged that Drew took an aggressive stance after exiting the car (which, evidently, was a chore in and of itself). I don't know exactly what an "aggressive stance" is or how, once he's in it, the way to subdue him is to kick him in the chest, but I wasn't there.
As for the speeding, running a stop sign, leaving the scene, failure to comply, and unlicensed operation, those are traffic infractions for which Drew faces fines, surcharges, and points on his license/driving privileges. In comparison to the above, not a big deal.
While the resisting arrest is the misdemeanor that carries the potential of a year in jail, it's more so the DWI that will have Drew facing more serious consequences. Even if it's ultimately reduced to a DWAI (Driving While Ability Impaired), Drew faces lots of fines & surcharges, a revocation of his license/driving privileges, mandatory attendance at a Drinking Driver Program, mandatory attendance at a Victim Impact Panel, and the installation of an ignition interlock device into "any vehicle which he owns or operates." The ignition interlock is a component of the relatively new Leandra's Law enacted last year; it's a device that prevents the car's ignition from being started until the driver blows into a machine and doesn't "blow numbers" (has no alcohol on his breath). This is costly because there may be an installation fee, and there's also a monthly usage fee as well. In Drew's case, while the law might be construed to mean that since he has access to Tim Desko's car (owned by John Desko) that the ignition interlock must be installed on that car; however, many lawyers (and judges, thankfully) are recognizing that such an interpretation would basically be a government taking of private property and thus would not mandate the installation in such a case. However, if Drew owns his own vehicle (or if his parents have given him the use of one), then it would need to be installed in that. The length of time the device must remain in the vehicle(s) varies depending on DWAI vs. DWI, but suffice to say he'd be looking at a solid six months in all likelihood. The law provides for a minimum time, but its ultimate uninstallation would be up to the judge.
Kevin Drew is in some pretty big trouble legally, which doesn't put him in a good position athletically or academically. Coach Desko has already announced his indefinite suspension from the lacrosse team. Where that goes I assume will be determined by what happens on the criminal side of things. Again, I doubt much if any jail time is on the table here, but Drew will certainly be hit hard with fines, restitution for damage to the car that was hit, and have to enter into these alcohol rehabilitation programs.
Girlfriend problems or not, a taxi is WAY cheaper than what Kevin Drew will have to pay. But most importantly, let's all be thankful for the fact that nobody, including Drew, was injured in all of this.

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BlogPoll 2011 - Week 9

*Big Loser: West Virginia. Thanks to the Syracuse Orange, #15 in the real polls, #13 in my poll, falls 10 spots.
*Biggest Loser: Oklahoma. Red Raiders pull off the upset in Norman.
*Sparty pulls off another big one, this time with a hail mary. Wisconsin falls. Sparty moves higher into my top ten.
*I'm keeping Stanford at #3 for now, but Clemson is moving up my radar quickly.
*GTech and the Illini fall out. Penn State and Houston are your newcomers.
As always, leave a comment if something is really wrong.

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