Do not gaze directly into Paul's eyes.
Syracuse lost last week on the road to Rutgers putting them at 1-1 in conference play. Syracuse now is backed against the wall in terms of earning wins that can keep them in a bowl hunt. Can Syracuse finally get a win against UConn in Coach P's return to the place he coached for many years?
I have a confession to make. I used to love Coach P. Growing up Syracuse's worst season would have been around seven wins. I arrived on campus at Syracuse for the 2001 season, ending up with 10 wins and a huge bowl win against Kansas State in the Insight.com Bowl in Phoenix. Then things began to slide and never got better. It was in 2004 that I started the Facebook group "I Fucking Hate Coach Fucking P". The websites popped up asking for his firing. Despite what happened under the next guy, firing Coach P was still the right move. The guy lost his recruiting edge. Syracuse slid to below average, especially offensively. He refused to fire his good friend and OC George DeLeone, who's patented "run, run, pass, punt" offense was pretty tired after all those years. P then bounced around the NFL between Dallas and Miami. I actually met him once when he was the Defensive Coordinator of Miami and he said he didn't really think about Syracuse anymore but when he did he thought about his time fondly. It was like hanging out with your favorite grandpa. I still agree he is one of the nicest coaches out there. But nice doesn't win games. And he's still hitched his offensive success to George. UConn fan tweets from this season look like what we were all saying to each other on campus in 2003. It was like a weird time warp back to my undergrad days. Stagnant offense is a pretty big feature of UConn this season. QB Chandler Whitmer has done not much in the way of impressing on opponents he is a major threat to light up the field. RB Lyle McCombs has found more success, but this is an offense that really struggles, even against just better than average defenses. It's also worth mentioning that their kicker probably should be sent to Shawshank. He missed a critical field goal in overtime against Temple last week. Yes, that Temple. That allowed the Owls to kick one for the win and they drilled it. It's also worth noting that UConn has allowed every opposing team's trip to the red zone to result in at least some points. Syracuse can only really beat themselves in this game, on paper. We all know Syracuse has had some offensive struggles of their own. If UConn can get some pressure on Nassib, he can rush throws and is not interception proof. Syracuse needs to just run the ball and then hit Marcus Sales or the Alec Lemon. It's Friday night in primetime. Syracuse loves Friday night games. If you can't get excited to be playing UConn in your last time in the Big East on a Friday night at 8:00pm you might as well hang up your pads. I think the defense will again play stellar. Ryan Nassib will manage to play well enough. But the running game should provide the key to Syracuse's success getting big gains on early downs for quick and short completions for Ryan Nassib. Pending some unbelievable mistakes like dumb turnovers and fumbles, I, for once, actually love Syracuse in this game. Syracuse should cruise in this one, but I think it will be a little close for comfort most of the game. Either way, Syracuse wins this one. 27 to 17.
Syracuse plays this one tonight in front of a national television audience for a little FNL on ESPN at 8:00pm. It should be available online as well. Should be a fun one. We're gonna be tailgating most of the day and then staying out right after so that should be some Twitter gold. We'll be in the Dome during the game tonight so that will also be fun. Stop by and stay hey. And do whatever you want with Coach P. Boo or cheer. I don't think he cares much either way.