Sunday, October 31, 2010

Turn of the Corner: Syracuse - Cincinnati Observations

Doug Marrone has the Orange 6-2 for the first time since 2001

The Syracuse Orange took revenge on the Cincinnati Bearcats on Saturday, beating a team that had dominated them for the last four years by the score of 31-7. Based on the effort this Syracuse team gave last year, I was optimistic the Orange could put together a decent season this year. Something like 6-6 would have represented real progress and a brighter future ahead.

Well the Orange have 6 wins already - and they got those wins in their first 8 games. Those 8 games happened to include the toughest part of their Big East schedule. Frankly, I'm speechless. It's like I've just seen a double rainbow. How does one react to such a stunning turnaround? If you're Doug Marrone - you forge ahead and act like the win isn't special at all - because that what you did after beating West Virginia and it paid off. For the rest of us, we start dreaming of bowl games and absurdities like a 9 or 10 win season. While we're doing that, let's bang out some quick observations on yesterday's game.

- The announcers on ESPNU brought up something I was completely unaware of, yet highlights just how good the Syracuse defense has been as of late. In 5 of the 8 games this year, SU has shut out their opponent in the second half. Scott Shafer can't get enough credit for the job this unit has done.

- Speaking of ESPNU, here's a picture of the worst two announcers on the planet. Rob Stone and David Pollack really enjoyed calling a game featuring Ryan Nossib, Max Sutter, and Alex Lemon. Here's some advice fellas -- get some Pam Ward game tapes and study them. Even she's better than the both of you.



- Playing an aggressive defensive scheme, Syracuse has done an excellent job of limiting explosive plays against USF, WVA, and now Cincy. Obviously Pitt was the exception, but it's remarkable that a team that's attacking so much, isn't getting beat more down the field. It's a formula for victory obviously.

- This is a different game -- a closer game -- if Zach Collaros plays, but hey, those are the breaks. The Orange have certainly had more than their fair share of injuries over the years.

- Delone Carter is getting better as the season progresses. There have been a few stories noting how he's more patient now waiting to hit the hole and that's true. He's also running with a sense of purpose that makes Jimmy McMillan seem unfocused. No one wants to tackle this bowling ball of a running back right now.

- The offense did enough to win, but certainly lacks explosive play capabilities. That puts an emphasis on not turning the ball over, and while the Orange had two turnovers, neither was a killer.

- I don't know what the ceiling is on Ryan Nassib, he's still in his first year starting and the team is winning which is the only thing that matters, but he is leaving some plays out of the field. He's got a big arm and seems to fit the ball in well on throws between the hash marks. On deep balls and stuff towards the sideline, he's unpredictable.

- While I don't how Nassib's career will ultimately shake out, I know his first name doesn't begin with B.



- With the Orange leading big in the fourth quarter, I was surprised to see so many passes being attempted. That was odd, especially given the situation and the play calling all year.

- Van Chew with another TD. Who DOESN'T love Van Chew? If that person exists, let us know, we'll correct the problem.

- D.J. Woods has a lot of tattoos.

- Chandler Jones and Mikhail Marinovich are playing very well on the edges right now. SU has two great weapons in those two guys.

- Let's take a minute and acknowledge the season Ross Krautman is having. The freshman kicker has been clutch all year. Most of his field goals haven't been long, but they are true. This is college football - kickers are notoriously inconsistent. Not Ross. I'm excited he's going to be here for another 3.5 years.

- I'm sure you've seen the stat a ton of times already -- but Doug Marrone has won as many games in a year and half as Greg Robinson did in 4........and he's already won more conference games. If SU keeps winning, he has to be the national coach of the year. He has to be.

- Go Orange, bring on Louisville.

Greg Robinson Weekly

"Has anyone seen my resume paper?"

Not the worst day at the office for our boy Greg, 41 points and 435 total yards allowed. Let's fire this up for another week:

"Greg Robinson’s future as Michigan’s defensive coordinator is rather bleak." ~ Bleacher Report

"Wolverine defensive coordinator Greg Robinson should be shown the door immediately after this performance. His team couldn't tackle or cover a receiver as Penn State -- hardly an offensive juggernaut -- scored on six of its first seven possessions. " ~ York Daily Record

"Michigan defensive coordinator Greg Robinson declined to speak with the media after Saturday’s game." ~ AnnArbor.com


"I'm 100% behind RR....but now Greg Robinson" ~Michigan Scout.com message board

"Schematically, the 3-3-5 does not fit the personnel we have, yet we continue to use it as our base defense. There is no creativity in play calling. nThis hinges on Greg Robinson. This is his scheme. The scheme and the DC need to go." ~ another thread at the Scout board

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Color Me Chazz

Photo: Frank Ordonez, Post-Standard


Thanks to future PWF (Poncho Wrestling Federation) Intercontinental Champion Doug Hogue and the Syracuse defense, it was a long day for Bearcat QB Chazz Anderson.

We love the name Chaz....with one "Z". In fact, the Idiots adopted former Orangemen WR Chaz Cervino as one of our own.

Chazz with two "Z's?" That's just wrong. If the QB thing doesn't work out, there's always guest star appearances on 90210.




Friday, October 29, 2010

San Francisco Giants Fans and Tim Lincecum are on the Same Page

Dallas reporter Newy Scruggs - not a typo - I repeat, the man's name is Newy Scruggs makes a shocking discovery - San Francisco Giants fans enjoy smoking weed and hanging out by McCovey cove.

After the first two games it appears the Rangers must be following suit. They might want to raid Ron Washington's sugar bowl for a little pick me up if they are going to try and make a series of it. Happy Friday people.

View more news videos at: http://www.nbcdfw.com/video.

Syracuse - Cincinnati: Official Idiotic Predictions

Image and Cincy hating guide courtesy of HoyaSuxa

The Syracuse Orange travel to the Queen City to take on the Cincinnati Bearcats Saturday at high noon. The Orange will try and continue a remarkable turn around and push towards a bowl berth while the Bearcats try and right there own ship and get back on track in the Big East. As we do every week, here are our official idiotic predictions for the contest.

Champ

The good guys are back in action this Saturday as they invade Nippert Stadium for a date with the Cincinnati Bearcats.

Let's get down to business. This one is simple math:

Cincy Backup QB + Cuse Defense = Orangemen Win

I'm expecting just enough from the Cuse offense to "hold serve" and let the defense win this one for us.

The highlight of the game occurs at halftime when Doug Hogue announces he's challenging Auburn's Cam Newton to a steel cage match for the Heisman trophy with special guest star Van Chew in his corner.

Final

Syracuse - 17
Cincy - 14

Poncho Sinatra

This Syracuse squad has quietly made a statement this year during opponents homecoming games. We like the carnival like atmosphere and shenanigans that accompany a homecoming festival. We also like running extremely hard and fast at opposing quarterbacks. Whether it's Collaros or Anderson, I believe Doug Hogue and company will continue with this insane attack scheme and limit this Bearcat teams options with Schafer's multiple blitz and confusing defensive sets.

The Orange will come out of this at (6-2) (3-1) and have a huge opportunity to jump into the Top 25 if some teams ahead of us struggle this weekend. (Did I just say that? Are we in a parallel universe? Am I in the Syracuse Matrix?) I'm surely going to knock back a few cold ones this Saturday and I hope the Orange faithful follow suit.

Final

Syracuse - 23
Cincinnati - 17

Rush

The transition from Brian Kelly to Butch Jones has not been a smooth one. Even though he's a jazzy coach, since taking over the program, Cincy has been more up and down than a hooker's head in Eliot Spitzer's hotel rom. Inconsistent offense and a defense that's suddenly allergic to stopping people will do that to a team.

However, the Bearcats are explosive and there's a lot of talent on the team, even if many of the guys are young. There's no real way to know what team will show up to face SU. Will it be the team that almost beat Oklahoma or will it be the team that lost to a not very good USF squad? Toss in the fact that I'm not 100 percent sure Butch Jones knows what he's doing (and I'm guessing most Cincy fans agree) and there's no real way to predict what will happen at Nippert tomorrow.

On the flip side, I am convinced Doug Marrone and Scott Shafer know exactly what they are doing. The SU defense, while inconsistent, can be dominant and is getting better. The offense knows their limitiations and isn't turning the ball over. Right now the Orange are less talented, but better coached. I think SU goes after the Bearcats and attacks from every angle tomorrow, forces a couple of turnovers, and grinds out a win. And since the Cincinnati defense is so bad, the Orange crack the 20 point mark against a Big East foe......barely.

Final

Syracuse - 20
Cincinnati - 17

Mr. T

Mr. T is here to talk about a real problem in Cincinnati. These fools don't know how to dress. They don't look like real men. They look like they be shopping at the Salvation Army. I pity OchoCinco for being forced to wear this.


It's no better for the bearcats. Why do all these fools have to have Tiger stripes on their football clothes? This is terrible. You'd never see something like this in the 80s....


If there's one thing Mr. T knows, it's fashion. If Cincinnati would lift the city-wide restraining order they have on me -- which was over a silly misunderstanding between me, a priest and and a bowl of Skyline Chili - then Mr. T would give some sound fashion advice. Advice like this:


And if you can't wear good clothes, Mr. T recommends wearing nothing more than a vest and a Syracuse hat. Interesting story, I was wearing this very outfit when I got into the incident I described above.


Mr. T could never pick a team that looks like the bearcats.

Final

Syracuse - Mr. Blackwell's Best Dressed List
Cincinnati - Mr. Blackwell's Worst Dressed list

Bonus prediction -- don't gamble kids, but if you do, take Syracuse and the points.

Idiot Pigskin Recipe: Week 8



Well, I've missed a few weeks bringing you my favorite culinary delights. I'm back this week with one of my favorite Saturday traditions. When you play anyone from the state Ohio, you have to go cheap and stingy. That's where the fine folks over at Hamm's Steakhouse come in.


Hamm's Over Easy

Prep Time: 3 minutes
Ingredients: Hamm's Special Light

(1) Sit down on a curb outside of your favorite Sports Bar and open a can of Hamm's Special Light
(2) If the cops come over and ask if you're drinking a beer, tell them no "I'm drinking something special"
(3) Sing the Chorus from Bad Company's "Feel Like Making Love" to every women that walks by
(4) When finished with first can, crush it over your forehead and throw it into oncoming traffic and walk away giving the finger to everyone
(5) Self Hi-Five

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Ebay Item of the Week: Cuse Dazzled

What do you get when someone combines a Syracuse tanktop with their BeDazzler skills? You get our dazzling Ebay Item of the Week.

What I Learned From The Dukes of Hazzard

Little Champ and I enjoyed tonight's episode "Return of the Ridge Raiders." Break it down wiki:

Uncle Jesse and surviving members of the Ridge Raiders declare war on Boss Hogg's old moonshine stills after learning that Boss misappropriated funds earmarked for seniors into his new nightclub.

What I learned from the Dukes:

Driving on two-wheels is apparently an intregal part of the Hazzard County High School driver's education curriculum. Everyone does it here.




Getting to Know Chazz Anderson

Syracuse and Cincinnati fans are anxiously awaiting official word on whether or not starting quarterback Zach Collaros will play Saturday. Mr. Collaros ripped through the Syracuse defense last year like Charlie Sheen rips through through furniture at the Plaza, so if he can't go, I don't know too many SU fans who will miss him.

Collaros' back up is the uniquely named Chazz (two Zs) Anderson. With the distinct possibility he may be leading the Bearcats (not to be confused with the ManBearPigs) we've done some serious investigative journalism (Google) in order to learn more about Chazz. Let's get started.

Full Name: Timothy Chazz Anderson. Tim's a respectable name, interesting name choice on his part, but hey, to each his own.

Career Stats: 56-93, 611 yards, 2 tds, 3 ints

Record as a Starter: He's won both games he's started in his career. Uh oh.

Commitment to the Mustache: High. You don't rock the stache in your official photo if you don't believe in the magical ability of the upper lip warmer.

Unfortunate Similarly Named Person in the News: Another Chaz Anderson was shot in the face and died in St. Louis earlier this year. Ouch. Apparently the name Chaz Anderson drives people to violence. Be careful should you meet any other Chaz Anderson's out there. Speaking of which:

Other Chazz Andersons: There's race car driver Chazz Anderson, body builder Chazz Anderson, and photograher Chazz Anderson. Chazz Anderson, a more popular name than you thought.

Cincinnati Fan's Confidence in Chazz: Moderate. Down the Drive has some confidence in Anderson, Butch Jones says he's doing well, and at least one fan is on board with the Chazz.

So there you have it, consider yourself up to date on Chazz-related matters.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Eagles QB Situation - Set to Autotune

What do you get when you add Andy Reid's waffling over his quarterback situation + outtakes of Michael Vick interviews + outtakes of Kevin Kolb interviews + autotune + some sweet editing? The answer - pure genius. I starts a little slow, but let it build, you won't be disappointed.



Via Ted Williams Head via the 700 Level.

Andrea Adelson Still Does Not Think Highly of Syracuse


The Syracuse Orange are the highest ranked team in the Big East. They have a higher national ranking than Florida right now. While that's insane, and probably not an accurate reflection of where they should be slotted nationally, this much is clear -- the 2010 Syracuse football season has already been a rousing success. The Orange have defied expectations and while there's much work to be done, it already feels good to point out just how wrong some of the preseason predictions already are.

The one particularly egregious prognostication came from the Orlando Sentinel, which prior to the season ranked the Orange as the 104th team in the FBS -- 13 spots below Akron. At the time I did a lengthy rebuttal as to why this ranking was complete and utter crap, and everything in there still stands.

Go ahead and read the Sentinel's story again. The bitter tone and lack of analysis is amusing, especially when you compare it to Akron's preview. You could see the Akron trainwreck of a season coming a mile away. Jeff Sagarin currently has them as the 216th team in the FBS/FCS combined. Hell, I told you Akron would be terrible and worse than the Orange, and I'm a well documented idiot.

So, in spite of the current success, the writer who did the rankings, Andrea Adelson, hasn't yet recognized the prowess possesed by the mighty men of Marrone. Adelson, who has since moved on to ESPN, doesn't have SU in her current bowl projections.

As I said in May, it's easy to understand why people have undervalued this team -- after five years of putrid play, SU earned their spot at the bottom of the rankings. However, it's clear that some people still aren't paying attention to just how much the program has changed under Doug Marrone. It's clear they haven't seen how hard the Orange play, and how the corner is being turned.

There will undoubtably be more rough spots before the program is back on top. Rough spots like the Pitt game a couple of weeks ago, but as long as Doug Marrone is in charge, the days of triple digit ratings are over -- so pay attention Andrea -- you'll be preaching Orange soon enough. You won't have a choice.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Heat is on Butch Jones

In a video exclusive, the idiots were able to secure footage of an emergency meeting between Cincinnati Director of Althletics Mike Thomas and first year football coach Butch Jones. Thomas is concerned about the direction of the program and Jones tries to put him at ease, and provide some insight into his strategy to defeat the Syracuse Orange on Saturday.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Greg Robinson Weekly


With a bye-week, this week's episode of "Greg Robinson Weekly" is getting pre-empted for something we find far more interesting: random TV themes from the '80s we really enjoy.

First up, the legendary Ponch and John of "CHiPs:"



Tom Selleck knows sandwiches and kick-ass theme songs:


The 1980's NBA on CBS theme ruled:


You don't mess w/ Rick Hunter:


Shatner + Locklear + Adrian Zmed = TJ Hooker Gold


Since this is a supposed sports blog, I couldn't find the actual intro, but here's the song that used to play during the credits of This Week In Baseball, put together by a big Dale Murphy fan:


Oh well, this post is going to heck in a handbasket, let's toss out a 1987 Yankees on WPIX promo featuring Bon Jovi:

Don't Worry Stewart - We're on it

I'm a big fan of Sports Illustrated college football writer Stewart Mandel. In his College Football Overtime column, he correctly points out what a suck-fest the Big East is this year. However, he does give a nice shout out to the Orange for the team's big win on Saturday, and notes that the Big East's spot in the BCS is safe until 2013 -- when he mentions in a sort of tongue-in-cheek fashion that by then SU may be national title contenders. With this guy as a coach - we're confident the Orange will be there.....and besides, the BCS is a giant fraud to begin with.

Thank You West Virginia

The wonderful state of West Virginia gave us many smiles over this past glorious weekend. But, nothing gave me more joy than this little video filmed in Morgantown. It truly makes you realize the significance of this past weekends big win.

You're Welcome...

Syracuse "Out-Physicals" West Virginia

Before we move on to our regularly scheduled programming of bad jokes, life lessons from Dukes of Hazzard and picking on Butch Jones and the Cincinnati Bearcats, let's bask in the big Syracuse win over West Virginia with this video report courtesy of the Smoking Musket. The highlight, a WVA player admitting Syracuse "out-physicalled" the Mountaineers. Doug Marrone will be pleased with that assessment. Coincidentally, Syracuse now leads the league in winning categories named after made up words.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Pollin' and bowlin'



We are among "others receiving votes" in the AP and the Coach's polls. Meanwhile, CBSSports.com has us in the Pinstripe Bowl taking on the Aggies from Texas A&M.

The Rebirth - Syracuse - West Virginia Observations


Doug Marrone - Celebrating the Rebirth of SU Football


The Syracuse OrangeMEN -- and there's no other description for this team right now but MEN, shocked the 20th ranked West Virginia Mountaineers on Saturday, winning 19-14. In the process, Syracuse put the rest of the Big East on notice that its five years of doormat status are officially over. Those who underestimate this team, and it's coaching staff so ably led by Doug Marrone, do so at their own peril.

None of the people that write in this space thought SU had a shot. Coming off a beating at the hands of the Pitt Panthers, all we were hoping for was for SU to keep it close and leave with their heads held high. Well being wrong never felt so good. Behind a tenacious defense and an offense that was just good enough, the Orange knocked off a ranked opponent for the first time since 2007.

The win as all the more remarkable when you consider the following facts:

- Ryan Nassib completed two more passes to SU players than Geno Smith did.

- Doug Hogue tied Van Chew and Antwon Bailey for the most receptions in the game with two - and he was SU's leader in receiving yardage. Not too bad for a linebacker who didn't take a snap on offense.

- Delone Carter was injured in the first half and never returned.

If I would have told you all those things before the game, and then told you SU would win, you'd call me an idiot and demanded I take a drug test. With that said, let's get to some extremely happy observations.

- The aforementioned Doug Hogue had been having a quiet, solid season. He hadn't played poorly, but he he just hadn't kicked it up a notch from a good junior year. Well Mr. Hogue picked a fantastic day to put together an NFL highlight reel, and we'd like to thank West Virginia for providing the venue. Two interceptions, 10 tackles, 1.5 of them for losses, the creator of general mayhem and a national defensive player of the week honor -- yeah, that'll do.

- Give Scott Shafer a TON of credit. West Virginia's first two drives cut through the Syracuse defense like Joey Chestnut cuts through hot dogs. Shafer made some adjustments, kept attacking and got his blitzers in spots to harass Geno Smith. The result - a shut out the rest of the way. The turn around was simply amazing. Especially given the performance against Pitt the week before.

- Speaking of Smith, it was clear the Orange had him rattled. The constant pressure and changing looks they presented took him out of his game. I think this kid is going to be really good, but yesterday an aggressive defense and really smart defensive coordinator figured out how to stop him.

- Likewise, the performance was equally admirable as the Orange contained Noel Devine. With a 5 point lead all second half, raise your hand if you were expecting Devine to make a back-breaking run and take it all the way to the house. If your hand isn't up, you're lying, or delusional.

- Phillip "Michael" Thomas changed the momentum of the game with the end zone interception of Smith late in the first quarter. The Orange were reeling, and Tubbs came in and saved the day. Crocket would have been proud. It was a different game after that pick.

- I love the athleticism and relentless attacking style Sharmarko Thomas and Jeremi Wilkes bring to the back 4.

- Rob Long might have truly saved the game for the Orange - and not with his foot. He made two great holds on shaky snaps on SU's first two field goals. In a game SU won by five, he saved two field goals - you the math. He had a good day punting as well, as he really changed field position several times.

- Delone Carter was rolling towards a 100 yard day when got injured in the first half. Antwon Bailey stepped in for him and almost put 100 up himself. We already know the Orange have two talented running backs, it was fun to see them both at their best, against the league's best.

- Van Chew ran a nice route on Syracuse's only truly successful passing play of the game.

- West Virginia's last drive down the field was so slow Andy Reid called Bill Stewart and told him to hurry up. That was really odd.

- While the game plan wasn't exciting, it was clear that the Orange thought they could run on the mountaineers and run they did - to the tune of 183 yards. As the game progressed and it was also clear the passing game wasn't going to get much done, the staff chose to grind it out -- and it worked.

- Speaking of which, Ryan Nassib and the Orange aerial attack had a rough, rough day. Nassib didn't play particularly well, but you can't put it all on his shoulders. He never had a clean pocket or any time to throw all day. The line did a terrible job at identifying pressure and getting it blocked. One positive though, no turnovers, which was huge in a game like this.

- The good news for the Orange is that next week's opponent, the Cincinnati Bearcats, have been a mess defensively and this game will give the SU a chance to get back on track, and establish some confidence in the passing game.

- Doug Marrone has won as many Big East games in a year and half as Greg Robinson did in four.

- After 8 long years, the Schwartzwalder trophy is back where it belongs -- in Syracuse, in the arms of Chandler Jones.



- There's only one way to feel after a program-changing win like this - good. James Brown good.



Saturday, October 23, 2010

Country Roads...

Photo: Jeff Gentner, AP

The Captain's Fantasy

Back like a case of herpes - it's the Captain's Fantasy

Hello again to the dozens (singular form probably) of readers of this fine ass sports blog. Its the Captain, and I'm back after a brief hiatus, (PEE WEE Football Season). I am trying to develop a DI receiver here folks, the Captain needs to get paid later in life.

Here are the picks for this week's match ups. We are going to focus on bye week / injury replacements and of course the dreaded gonna suck list as well.

Need a wr/rb/flex player?
Danny Woodhead - NE - RB/WR - Reminiscent of classic Jim Kleinsaser, DW has the dual rb/wr availability. Why does that work to your advantage? Simple - you can get some one who gets RB2 touches and are able to place him in a wr slot. DW is at a 60/40 split in carries with Ben Jarvus Green-Ellis ( Best name in footbal ) and he works out if the slot as well. ( great if you get bonuses for PPR).

Tony Moeaki - KC - TE - If you have Dallas Clark on your roster, go get Moeaki. The chemistry that Cassell has with this rookie is great, and a cupcake end of year schedule helps too. While we are on a KC Chiefs roll....

Matt Cassell - KC - QB - Matt Schaub/Peyton Manning owners are salivating on this weeks bye plug in with Matt Cassell. They get the Jags and their pass defense is turrible ( I didn't misspell that ). Also see above about a cupcake schedule, if you have an Elite Tier QB that locks up an early playoff spot, Cassell will help you bring home the gold this year.

BONUS PICK(s) - MIKE WILLIAMS - TB/SEA - WR - Rush thinks he's screwed, I dont see it like that. I think both his Mike's get good points this week, double digits for both in fact, great bye week plugs.

GONNA SUCK LIST
MIAMI RBs - One word - PITTSBURGH. Moving on.

ALEX SMITH - QB - SF - The preseason darlings of the west are sucking big time, there is more turmoil in SF this year than in my stomach after eating 15 taco from the Bell. Look else where ( Sam Bradford / Josh Freeman )

LEE EVANS - BUF -WR - He plays for Buffalo - nuff said.

GOING FORWARD-

*Start to plan for the end of the season. Start researching who has cupcake schedules for the remainder of the season.

TE Dallas Clark - Out for season. Look towards Tony Moeaki ( see above ) OR Marcedes Lewis for help here. Also, Ive noticed Owen Daniels hangin on some waiver wires.

Vincent Jackson - should be reporting, does he justify a roster spot? I'm not sold yet.

Best of luck this week!

Not So Funny Now is it Scooter?

Nunes unearthed this video of West Virginia defensive lineman Scooter Barry laughing at the prospect of playing Syracuse...



Something tells me Scooter isn't laughing right now.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Syracuse - West Virginia Official Idiotic Predictions


The Syracuse Orange take on the West Virginia Mountaineers at high noon on ESPN2 tomorrow (apparently every Big 10 team that wears red uniforms was booked) and try to bounce back from big loss versus the Pitt Panthers. As we do each week, here are our predictions on the game.

Poncho Sinatra

Ain't nuttin' to talk about here.....

West Virginia is too damn good.



West Virginia - 49
Syracuse - 17

Rush

Last week I espoused the unbridled enthusiasm of a young Billy Mumphrey, and like Billy, that enthusiasm was my downfall. This week I'm not feeling so optimistic. I've come to begrudgingly respect Bill Stewart and this year the Mountaineers are the class of a weak Big East. While West Virginia certainly has weapons on offense, it's their defense I'm most concerned about.

So far this year the Mountaineers are giving up 12.3 points per game. Conversely the Orange offense has struggled against the best three teams on a weak schedule. As much as I want the Orange to win, I just don't see how they can move the ball effectively. I think the defense bounces back and plays much better, but eventually wears down because they'll be on the field all damn day. Your final:

West Virginia - 27
Syracuse - 10

Mr. T Puppet


We've got a confession to make - Mr. T hasn't been making picks this season (shocking I know). It's actually been a Mr. T Puppet, who coincidentally is a huge SU fan who hates that the 44 is retired. He wears his 44 jersey constantly. It's actually starting to smell. Here's how the Mr. T Puppet sees the game.

West Virginia doesn't understand Mr. T. It's a scary place if you're not a white fool who likes roadkill and muskets. Plus, did you know the po-lice will stop people in West Virginia for DWM? That's right - driving while mohawked. A man can't even drive in that state. So yeah, Mr. T doesn't like West Virginia or anything that goes on down there. Mr. T does respect coal miners though - they are real men, and also the only people in West Virginia the same color as Mr. T. However, there's no way the team from Syracuse can concentrate in such an environment.

Prediction

West Virginia - Pain
Syracuse - Even More Pain

Thursday, October 21, 2010

When Doug Marrone Loses, He Loses Big

SEATTLE - SEPTEMBER 11: Head coach Doug Marrone of the Syracuse Orange looks on during the game against the Washington Huskies on September 11, 2010 at Husky Stadium in Seattle, Washington. The Huskies defeated the Orange 41-20. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

Under the leadership of Doug Marrone, Syracuse football has improved. The man inherited a mess. The program went 10-37 in the four years prior to his arrival and has gone 8-10 since he took over. That's tangible progress. The team plays harder and the product on the field is far better than anything Greg Robinson ever trotted out. Even a blind man can see the difference he's made.

However, there's still a long way to go, and it starts with breaking a disturbing trend that's hard to miss. When Marrone's team loses, they almost always lose big. Seven of Marrone's 10 losses have been by 21 or more points. Only two of his 10 losses has been by single digits. SU's two losses this year have been by a combined 52 points -- to Washington and Pittsburgh clubs that are combined 6-6 this year.

The average margin of defeat in Marrone's 10 losses has been 18.5 points. By comparison, Greg Robinson's last 10 losses were by an average of 21.3 points per game. Obviously there are a lot of factors that go into those numbers -- opponents, injuries, home v. road games, etc. -- so straight numbers aren't always the best barometer to measure progress, but it does clearly illustrate the program has a long way to go.

Under Marrone, the Orange are now beating the teams they should beat. Robinson didn't do that. However, to date he has not been able to keep games against better opponents and traditional rivals close. More often than not, when SU is trailing in the fourth quarter, the game has already been salted away. So while we all want a quick turnaround, the next step Syracuse may have to take before the program starts winning meaningful games may simply be keeping games close.

Once they prove they can do that, we'll know they are close to turning the corner. It's fun to watch a team that has a shot to win a game in the fourth quarter. Over the last five plus years we haven't had much fun. Here's hoping close games, and the fun that comes with them, starts happening sooner, like this week against West Virginia, rather than later, because blowouts are less fun than Kathy Bates nude scenes.

Ebay Items of the Week: Ron Washington, Through the Years

We find Rangers manager Ron Washington to be a fascinating character. With that in mind, we thought we'd take a look back at how the world of sports memorabillia has treated Ron over the years.

First up, a baby-faced circa 1978 Ron:


A couple of years later, Ron took his act to Venezuela:



Mid '80s Ron:



Stache and sideburns, killer look:



That demotion to the minors has Ron looking really upset:

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Nexus of the Fantasy Football Universe

Quick question for you -- what do you get when your starting fantasy football wide receivers are DeSean Jackson and Malcom Floyd? Well considering DeSean nearly had his head knocked clean off his body and Floyd tweaked a hamstring on Sunday, you get trouble. And thanks to a late round draft choice and a trip to the waiver wire, you also get to start Mike Williams and Mike Williams. That's right, both my receivers have the same name, play the same position, yet they are on different teams. It's like the nexus of the fantasy football universe. Check it out....and yes, I did steal my team name from the Howard Stern show. We keep it classy around here.


The only thing that's comparable is when Kramer found himself at the corner of first and first.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Syracuse Football: Where Do We Go From Here?

The Syracuse Orange football team had a bad day on on Saturday. A really bad day. An Andy Reid at a clock management convention type of day. Expectations, which were moderate at the start of the season, had soared based almost solely on a victory over a South Florida team that had historically dominated the Orange.

While there's a lot of season left, it's pretty clear those high expectations we out of whack -- because South Florida couldn't score against a Greg Robinson coached defense and Syracuse has a ways to go before they can establish themselves as a real threat in the Big East.

So where does this SU team go from here? A winning season and a bowl game is still obviously the goal, but how do they get there? Can they still get there? I think they can, but only if they can survive the next two weeks.

The loss to Pitt hurt. Not so much because the Orange lost a game few expected them to win at the start of the season, but rather they got dominated at the hands of a conference foe. A conference foe that was struggling. For a team that has lost so much over the past five years, and often lost by vast margins, doubt can creep into a player's mind quickly. Doug Marrone has worked hard to eradicate a culture of losing, but that doesn't go away over night.

So how will SU respond? The bad news for the Orange, the next two games are against the best the Big East conference has left to offer - West Virginia and Cincinnati. And they happen to be on the road.

Both games will be quite a challenge for an Orange team that's averaging less than 16 points a game against the three opponents its played with a pulse (Washington, South Florida and Pitt). Betting men will tell you that two more losses and a three game losing streak are on the way.

However, November sets up a lot better for SU. The Orange have home games against Louisville, Connecticut, and Boston College and a road trip play a decidedly average Rutgers team as their last four games. SU can win 3 of those last 4 and get to a bowl IF they can accomplish two things against WVU and Cincy:

1) Compete hard and keep these games close
2) Avoid major injuries

The first point is crucial because regardless of what any player or coach will tell you, if SU goes on the road and gets their teeth kicked in the next two games, there's no way in hell this team will have the confidence and swagger it needs to close out the season with three wins in 4 tries. There's too much water under the bridge - too many blow out losses in the memory banks, and too much bad momentum to overcome. Three straight blow out losses will awaken the ghosts of Robinson and could very well shatter the confidence of the younger members of team.

However, if SU can come out, establish some offensive rhythm and get back to being disruptive on defense, and keep these games close going into the 4th quarter of each of them, then the Orange don't NEED to win these games. They'll know they are getting better and fell short to two good teams in hostile venues.

The second point is obvious, this team is too thin to overcome any more key injuries.

So while I'll be rooting for wins in the next two games, what I'll really be hoping for are competitive games and health. If the Orange can do that, a bowl trip is still possible, regardless of the next two final scores.

Sports Fixing


Matt McClusky was kind enough to once again have me as a guest on his radio show. The entire show is here. I come on at about the 1 hour 50 minute mark for my two relatives who get a kick out of these things. Matt and I hit on the hot topics of the day - SU football, poor beer vendors at the Dome, and the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback situation. Thanks again to Matt for having me on.

What I Learned From The Dukes of Hazzard

Tonight's episode, "Duke of Dukes:"

Gaylord Duke, the British third cousin of the Hazzard County-based Duke clan, visits. He asks Uncle Jesse for help in paying off a $30,000 tax bill for a parcel of land he claims he inherited. But is Gaylord really a Duke or a con man? (Thanks wiki)

What I learned from the Dukes:

Daisy doesn't get out much. She ends up falling for a guy she thinks is her third cousin. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Greg Robinson Weekly


38 points and 383 yards allowed, not exactly Greg's worst performance. Nonetheless, here's what's up with our boy GRob:

"Michigan's defense can make an average offense look good...Greg Robinson might not be the answer at DC." ~Bleacher Report

"Michigan's defense clearly has many issues this season, resulting in one of the worst units in the nation. The Wolverines have allowed 107 points in Big Ten games. Minnesota has allowed 98. No one else is above 80." ~Detroit Free Press

"Vince Lombardi could come, too, and it's not going to fix some of the problems we have on defense," Rodriguez said Monday before adding "maybe" the late, great coach could help the unit." ~Chicago Tribune

The next Michigan DC? ~Michigan Scout.com board

Monday Morning Laugh Track

Let's all get our minds off the debacle in the Dome on Saturday. It will be a long week if we dwell on a getting blown out by a guy named Tino coached by a dude with a porn-stache.

To start - go to Unathletic and check out Awesomely Bad Outfits of the 90's WWE. Here's a taste.


Then, get a work out in. Exercise is a great stress reliever. Bob's Blitz brings us a video of PGA Golfer Ben Crane getting after it.




Feel better? Yeah, we don't either, but it's a start.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Paper Tigers - Syracuse - Pitt Observations


As Champ has already told us, Saturday's Syracuse - Pitt game was rough. Really rough. It's been about 32 hours since the debacle ended and I think my head is clear enough to write about it. There's no pretty way to do this - so let's get to the observations.

- When assigning blame for this debacle, let's start with this space. All three of us, like most SU fans, put way too much stock in the win over South Florida. I was the moron who, just one week ago, ploclaimed that Syracuse has arrived. The lesson - we are idiots, but you already knew that.

- It's clear after having watched South Florida for a couple of weeks in a row, they simply aren't very good. However, Louisville is clearly better than they initally appeared to be. Conference wins are going to be tough, even in the crappy Big East.

- I should have known the game wasn't going to go well when the beer stand outside our section ran out of beer - BEFORE KICKOFF. Then they didn't know how to change the keg. Amateurs.

- Words can't decribe how much I hated the offensive gameplan. Syracuse tried to "out Pitt" Pittsburgh. The problem - the Orange tried to do with less talented players. I get the fact that Marrone wanted be "be physical" with Pitt and pound the ball at them. When the game was close (which wasn't much of the time) Syracuse was very conservative and didn't challenge Pitt vertically. Pitt struggles with teams that spread the field and stretch a defense, SU did neither. They didn't even try to do either.

- I only remember two real shots down the field - the first one Alec Lemon made an amazing catch and lead to SU's first TD. The other was incomplete.

- I know he played quite a bit yesterday I don't know what he's doing in practice - short of flipping Marrone off every other play - but can we please use Marcus Sales at the third wide out all the time? Nick Provo is a good guy and all, be he's not putting the fear of God in anyone when he's split wide in that spot. Neither is Ant Bailey for that matter. We've got a decent receiver, let's use him.

- Second straight bad game from Ryan Nassib. He's really starting down his primary receiver right now. We're talking sex offender at a play ground type of staring.

- The defense was so bad I don't even know where to start. OK, I know where to start - Tino Sunseri didn't get touched out there yesterday. No need for any post-game ice for Tino. If you play press coverage and try and get after QBs and you don't get close, you make an average QB look like Johnny Unitas.

- Nolan Weidner has a story about Doug Hogue and Derrell Smith leading the way for the defense. Custer also lead the way once.

- Pitt was clearly the more desperate team on Saturday. They played like they needed the game. They got it.

- What part of Orange out don't you understand CNY fans?


- The best part of the day might have been this homemade monster of a breakfast sandwich invented by our tailgating friend Joe. What you're looking at is a croissant, a sausage patty, and a french toast/egg casserole concotion fashioned into a heart stopping sandwich to start your day. Yes, I am a fat bastard.


- This was the most important game SU has played in 5 years - and easily the most disappointing. The season isn't over and it's just one game, but the Orange are going to have to figued out where they are headed - and fast. Because 4-4 is just around the corner.

Unacceptable

Photo: Nicholas Lisi, P-S
To say Saturday's debacle was a kick-in-the pants is obvious. However, I've got to take a moment to get something off my chest that was completely unacceptable from yesterday.

How does the concession stand in my section run out of soft pretzels? Don't they know it's my "go-to" 2nd half snack? Completely unacceptable. I'm blaming the loss on that.

I'll leave real analysis of the the game to my fellow Idiot Russianator, who I'm sure will over up his observations.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Pitt Fans are Terrible

Reason number 2,367 why Syracuse needs to beat Pitt tomorrow - their fans sing Sweet Caroline - and it apparently makes them happy.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Syracuse - Pitt Official Idiotic Predictions

Image - Hoya Suxa

The Pitt Panthers invade the Carrier Dome Saturday at high noon to take on a surging Syracuse Orange team. It will be cold and wet outside, while inside the mustache jokes will be flowing like the blood from Brett Favre's nose after his wife kicks his ass. As we do each week, here are the predictions:

Champ

Your first place Syracuse Orangemen (yes, you are reading that correctly) are back home in the Carrier Dome for another high noon battle against the Pittsburgh Panthers. Coming off last week's gutsy win in Tampa, the Dome should be packed with 49K screaming fans. In reality, 37K strong will show up, arriving late and leaving early. For those of you attending, remember this isn't rocket science, it's called an "Orange Out," our nickname is the Orangemen (I refuse to acknowledge any other)...in other words wear some damn orange, alright?

Let's get down to business. Syracuse's biggest advantage when playing Pitt remains the same this year, Dave Wannstedt. He'll always keep us in the game.

Final

Syracuse - 21
Pitt - 14

Your highlights:

- The hardest hitting defense in the Big East keep back at it. Expect Tino Sunseri to spend a lot of time on his back.

- Delone finds the endzone twice in between a few 3rd and long draw plays.

- Our idiot tailgating crew will manage to find a way to have fun, even with crappy weather forecast and a noon start.

- Van Chew makes the nation forget Shoelace Robinson.

- Expect a big week from the blue Subway sub.

Poncho Sinatra

Probably the most anticipated Syracuse football weekend in the last 5 years. A 4-1 Syracuse squad that is "on fire" getting ready to host a Pitt team that is underachieving this year. With a team hosting 4-5 NFL potential first and second round draft picks, they should not be struggling as they are. Has Wannstache lost control of this team? I hope the struggles continue this weekend and I think they will against an attacking Orange defense. Pitt has two strong running backs, but I believe our guys up front can contain them if they play the "crazy dude on crack" style they sported last week down in Tampa.

Unfortunately, I will not be attending the game due to previous obligations to family. I'm predicting a big, loud, lewd crowd that will remind everyone of the days of yore in the Orange House. This will be a big win for Syracuse and I will be celebrating in the Green Mountain state by churning some Orange Maple syrup.

Syracuse - 27
Pittsburgh - 20

Let's win one for Tim Lane!

Rush

Last week I didn't think the Orange were ready to make the leap and win a road game in Tampa. I was wrong - and couldn't have been happier. I spent all week pumped over the quality of the win, and then I watched B.J. Daniels against West Virginia tonight. Holy Hell he's terrible. He sucks more than Sasha Grey on Entourage -- or Sasha Grey at her day job for that matter. So while the defensive performance last week was commendable, the Orange didn't exactly stop the 2008 Patriots last week.

However, the good news is that the Pitt Panthers don't exactly define offensive precision. Tino Sunseri, while improving, is shaky at best and the vaunted Pitt ground game hasn't really clicked despite the fact that they have 2 outstanding tailbacks on the team. Add in the Wannestedt factor - the man plays not to lose rather than to win, and we're looking at a close game.

The crowd might not be as big as we would hope for, but the people that will be here - like us - are diehards. We will be loud and into the game. It's not going to easy for Pitt. Last week I doubted -- this week I believe -- prove me right fellas.

Syracuse - 17
Pitt - 16

Mr. T

Dave Wannestedt isn't doing a good job this year. Mr. T. could get more wins with this group of players, because Mr. T has confidence and the motivational techniques these Pitt players need. Mr. T knows what a winner's like and Mr. T doesn't see it in this Pitt coach. Mr. T's advice for Pitt - get a coach that follows Mr. T's Commandments.





I pity the fool that doesn't follow these - and Dave Wannestedt won't.

Syracuse - 23
Pitt - PAIN

Ebay Item of the Week: Trick or Treat


Quiz time this week boy's and girls. The above picture of our Ebay Item of the Week is a Halloween mask of:

A) Former heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali
B) Wonder-twin "Zan" of SuperFriends fame
C) Musician Dave Navvaro

Well if you picked "The Greatest," you are correct.

If you're not up to being a boxer for Halloween this year, there's always 80s Phillies' pitcher Larry Anderson.

What I Learned From the Dukes of Hazzard


Tonight's episode, "Granny Annie" per wiki:

Bo and Luke learn that a family friend, seemingly innocent little old lady Granny Annie, is operating a small-time counterfeiting ring. Boss Hogg has Granny Annie arrested and confiscates her engraving plates, and sells them to a no-nonsense mobster for $25,000. Bo and Luke set out to clear Granny Annie's name by stealing the plates back and throwing them into a lake ... unaware that the mobster has found out about the theft, assumes Boss is responsible, and plans to kill him.

Here's what I learned from the Dukes tonight:

Apparently The Oak Ridge Boys' 1979 World Tour included a one-song set at the Boar's Nest bar in Hazzard County.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Sexting with Brett Favre


As this whole sexting accusation with Brett Favre and the very young and attractive Jets sideline reporter gets blown across the media landscape, I can only imagine some of the things Mr. Mississippi would have sent to this lovely dame. Favre, with his long-windedness and his ability to periphrasis the most tranquil aspects of life most surely has sent a manuscript for the "sexting" generation.

So, here are a few texts I would have loved to hear from this most beloved Viking. Of course, in a non-gay way.

(All texts said in a strong Mississippi drawl while eating catfish and slurping down Natural Light)

"Hey, in the hotel room and guess what...Real.Comfortable.Jeans.On.The.Floor"

"Why don't u come to my room so I can give you a Lambeau leap"

"Right now my room smells of denim and Jockstrap...I need u"

"I wanna give you a Dorsey Levens"

"I want u right now, my arms is to strong for the in-room movies. Dont' want to hurt myself"

"Can you believe I play for the fuckin Jets?"

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Much Has Changed in the Past 69 Days


As you are well aware, the Chilean miners are being rescued after 69 days of being trapped underground. While the 69 days for those amazing survivors must have seemed like an eternity, in wacky world of sports, it really is forever. Consider that just 69 days ago:

- Ron Washington was more famous for being a guy who claims he used cocaine once in his life - at age 57 - and got caught. Now he's a manager who has won an playoff series and has a winning record in post-season play. Ron Gardenhire should start doing blow.

- The Syracuse Orange football team hadn't won a conference road game since 2007 (not a typo).

- The Dallas Cowboys and Minnesota Vikings were favorites to go to the Superbowl.

- The only over-exposure Brett Favre had was media coverage of his many retirements.

- A.J. Burnett was considered a viable starting pitcher.

- Turner Gill was still considered somewhat sane.

- People had no McRib certainty.

In all seriousness, the rescue is an amazing story and shows just how strong the human spirit really is. Our best wishes go out to the miners and their families.

Jim Calhoun is a Political Football

Jim Calhoun has had a rough year. Health problems kept him off the bench for part of a disappointing UConn season. Then we found out the Huskies were cheating -- yet Big Jim claims he's innocent in the whole matter (having more than one compliance officer would probably help)......And now, the guy who questioned his salary in a press conference a few years ago is running for office in Connecticut and cut a politcal ad featuring Jim being less than polite to him. Now in all fairness, the guy seems like a communist and this is obviously a cheap publicity stunt but you know what -- it works, because it's Calhoun.


What I Learned From The Dukes of Hazzard


Fatherhood has produced some very special moments for me. My son's baseball swing is developing nicely, and he's able to complete the Yankee roll-call before every playoff game. But this week we stumbled upon another special father-son moment as my three year old has become hooked on Dukes of Hazzard re-runs airing at 7pm on CMT. I know my fellow idiots that grew up in the 80s also hold a special place for "Dukes" in their hearts.

Now explaining the plot of the night's episode to a three-year old can present a few problems. Last night it took me 20 minutes to explain to him and my non Dukes-fan wife, that it makes perfect sense for NASCAR legend Cale Yarborough to be practicing for the his next big race in the outskirts of Hazzard County. However, as I've explained to ChampWife, this time is actually research for this crappy blog as we're kicking off a possibly regular (depending on how lazy I get) feature titled "What I Learned From The Dukes of Hazzard" where I'll attempt to share a lesson or two I learned from the night's episode. With this being a sports-blog (albeit a crappy one), we'll try for an appropriate sports connection here and there.


I'll let wiki set the stage and explain the plot of tonight's episode "Hazzard Connection"


"The operator of a traveling demolition derby plans to hide stolen race car engines beneath the hoods of old jalopies. Naturally, Boss Hogg points the finger at Bo and Luke, after they help Cooter haul some old cars to the demolition derby. Bo later goes undercover as a race car driver to expose the con man."

Cmon, talk about "must see TV."

So, here's what I learned from "Hazzard Connection:"

Forget Robert Duran, Bo and Luke have hands of stone. One punch from each of them left the bad guys out cold. Seriously, this was like Tyson-Spinks.

Stay tuned for more life lessons courtesy of The Dukes of Hazzard.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Greg Robinson Weekly


It rolls on....34 points and 536 yards allowed by the Greg Robinson led Michigan defense.

"For the third straight week, Michigan defensive coordinator Greg Robinson chose not to speak to the media - although this time at least he said “we’ll see” when asked if he’d talk this coming week." ~AnnArbor.com

"The Wolverines rank 119th out of 120 teams in pass defense." ~Detroit Free Press


"Michigan defense: Every week it seems it can't get worse, yet it does. The yards were the fifth worst in program history and the repeated big plays were demoralizing, especially because they came in the pass and run games. " ~Detroit Free Press

Syracuse - USF Animated Drive Chart

From the the USF blog the Voodoo Five, here's the animated drive chart from Saturday's game. The 98 yard drive looks pretty sweet in a variety of forms.

FULL SCREEN VERSION





Animated Drive Chart brought to you by Gameday Depot.