Sunday, October 30, 2011

Get To Know Terrell Hunt

Via Upstate at the Syracusefan message board, we bring you this video of Syracuse freshman QB Terrell Hunt.  It's quite a story, the young man has lost both his parents in the last couple of years. You have to root for a guy after hearing a story like this.

John McEnroe on the SU-Louisville Game

Syracuse Takes a Step Backward, Gets Pounded by Louisville

Growing pains can be painful -- especially when there's no growth. The still growing Syracuse Orange football program went to Kentucky on Saturday and all they got was a beating from the previously sub .500 Louisville Cardinals, losing 27-10.

The loss was especially bitter for fans who thought last week's huge victory over West Virginia was a watershed moment for a program that is still recovering from the disastrous Greg Robinson era. It turns out the Syracuse performance against the Mountaineers may have been an aberration.

In the face of an aggressive pressure defense, the Orange offense once again folded like a cheap suit, something that has happened far too often with with Doug Marrone at the helm. The offensive performance was reminiscent of the impotent performances the offense had down the stretch last year.

Make no mistake about it, Marrone has done a commendable job so far. He turned around a train wreck of a program, turning in a winning season and bowl victory in year two and barring a complete collapse, the Orange will finish this year with 6 or 7 wins and another bowl trip this year.

The Syracuse program is better in every phase of the game under Marrone. However, the one thing he has not consistently established is an offensive attack that threatens opposing defenses. We've seen flashes, like last week, but it hasn't been consistent enough.

Every time we get an offensive flame-out, the same excuse appears -- that Syracuse doesn't have a game-breaking receiver. That may be true, but I simply don't believe receivers on this team are that bad. Part of it has to be scheme.

Marrone didn't have any problem recognizing the fact that his team would struggle against Louisville's pressure defense, but we was unable to get his players to implement an attack that would beat it. While I have no doubt he's working very hard to get this corrected, I don't understand the refusal to spread the field.

Sure the offensive line was getting beat, but if you go four wide and flex the TE you are forcing the defense to react to that and take those guys into account instead of just bringing heat right up the middle. I'd rather have Nassib hitting a WR on a hot route than have him fire another 2 yard pass into Adam Harris' chest. You aren't going to threaten a defense with Nick Provo and David Stevens running two yard drags all day.

Of course, this week it didn't help that Ryan Nassib missed every single throw he attempted outside of five yards. Ryan admitted as much after the game which is commendable, but he had some killer misses in this one. He has to connect on a few of those.  I swear he missed on every vertical throw he attempted.

So for three years Syracuse has struggled against teams that play aggressive bump and run on the corners and blitz up the middle. And for for three years have haven't seen much deviation in the way the team attacks it. There's an old saying that if the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Marrone and Hackett need to go buy some more tools to and fix this offense.

As to the game itself, here are some quick thoughts:

- The defense didn't play well, but if the offense had helped a little the performance wouldn't have been so glaring. Those guys spent a ton of time on the field.

- There were a lot of bad angles taken and blown coverages in the secondary. This has been a reoccurring theme.

- I really like the linebackers. Probably the biggest question mark coming into the season, this unit has played well, and will only get better. Cameron Lynch, Dyshawn Davis, Marquis Spruill and Dan Vaughan are going to keep getting better.

- Another nice game for Chandler Jones, who was seemingly getting held on every play.

- The officiating was abysmal. The ass-clowns that were working the game threw a flag on seemingly every play. It was a joke. You would have thought they were getting paid based on the number of flags they threw. It wasn't one-sided either, the screwed Louisville a few times and screwed the Orange some as well. No one watches games to see referees.  Someone should tell these guy that.

- Charlie Strong is a really, really good football coach. With him at the helm Louisville is going to dominate the Sun Beast conference.

- We got bad Ryan Nassib yesterday. I still think he's a pretty good QB, so let's just move on.

- The offensive line did a poor job of getting Louisville's middle blitzes picked up. After a masterful game against  West Virginia, the unit struggled something fierce.

- I think Michael Hay gets personal fouls in class as well.  He has to right?  I can just see him slamming into professors after class is over, just to stay in practice.

- It was nice to see Jarrod West with his first career TD. Here's hoping there's many more.

- UConn is up next and that team is terrible. The Orange need to go to Connecticut and take care of business because if they make Johnny McEntee look competent than we should just shut down the season.

Two-thirds of the way through the season SU sits at 5-3. We are looking at another finish in the 7-5 range. At the beginning of the season there wouldn't be many people who would be disappointed with that record, so it's safe to say the program is still headed in the right direct. That doesn't make Saturday's game any easier to swallow, but all we can do now is move.

Go Orange, Beat UConn.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Syracuse - Louisville Prediction

Image and U of L twitter heckling guide via Hoya Suxa

On Saturday the Syracuse football team will try and help it's coach Doug Marrone do something he has yet to accomplish in his two and half years as the head man - beat the Louisville Cardinals. It's ironic really, since Louisville was the only team Greg Robinson COULD beat. Greggers went 3-25 in the Big East, two of those wins came against Louisville.

Meanwhile the Cards look to do something the program hasn't accomplished since 2006 - win back to back Big East games. Take a bow Steve Krapthorpe and Greg Robinson - you each have a legacy that lives on to this very day.

This is normally the point where we'd turn to "Andy Rooney" and have him break the game down for us. However, Andy is in the hospital in serious but stable condition, so having "him" predict the game is a little too crass - even by our standards.  We are wishing Andy a speedy recovery so we can go on mocking him with a clean conscience. In his place, we've asked deceased Chicago Cubs broadcaster Harry Carray to pinch hit....because picking on dead people is much more classy.  You remember Harry.

Hey everybody, it's Harry. Theo Epstein's now running the Cubs and ordered me back from the grave. It's OK by me - it's cold down there.  Hey, don't worry, I wasn't in hell, I was a basement bar in Topeka Kansas.  Well maybe that was hell, all they served was warm Schmidt's and cottage cheese - but I ate it anyway.  I mixed them together sometimes. You ever been drunk on cottage cheese beer?  It's not as bad as you think -- if fact it's better than watching UConn try and play offense.

Hey gang, Louisville Kentucky is a great, great place.  One time I was at Churchill Downs quaffing Shafer tall boys and playing the ponies and I ran into Steve Kragthorpe.  Krags and I got to drinking and I bet him he couldn't shove a live a panther down his pants.  He was going to do it too but on the way over to the zoo a cop stopped me for DWI.  I got out of it by offering to let him sing take me out to the ball game at a September Cubs game.  Don't drink and drive kids, you can't get out of that like old Harry can. Hey, I miss Krags.

But hey folks, Syracuse is a great place too.  Bob Costas went there. I was drinking with the little guy once at the Cubby Bear. We went over for a few pops in the 4th inning of a game Steve Trachsel was pitching. The Trachmeister was throwing meatballs and working slower than a mexican bob sledder, so we ducked in for a few during the game. Buy hey, wouldn't you know it, Bob couldn't see the taps at the bar so they gave him a booster seat. What a great place the Cubby Bear. Don't you think Bob Costas looks like a Dunkin Donuts munchkin?

But hey, I think the game is going to be a doozy. The odds seem off to me -- kind of like a hot dog that's not perfectly straight.  I'm not sure why Louisville is giving 3 points, considering their offense is 114th in the country in scoring.  Hey, I scored more than that for last decade and I've been dead.  Liz Taylor still gives it up in the after life. Hey everybody -- you need to score to win - that's science. My prediction:

Syracuse - 24
Louisville - 16

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Ebay Item of the Week: SyrACCuse Gear

Are you looking for some new Syracuse gear that reflects the Orange's soon-to-be move to the ACC?  Well, if so, don't look here.

But if you are looking for a really bad 90s era hat that some guy stitched "ACC" onto, well then you've come to the right place.

Oh, what the heck.  I'm sending one to Oliver Luck for Christmas.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

DeJuan Coleman Highlight Videos

By now you surely know Jamesville-Dewitt star DeJuan Coleman has decided to play college basketball at Syracuse.  As one of the highest rated recruits in the country, it is another great get for Jim Boeheim and his staff and it will add to a huge and deep front line that Syracuse could potentially have in in the 2012-2013 season.

What's even better is that Coleman spurned John Calipari's Kentucky program to stay home.  Calipari loves to operate on the fringe of the NCAA rulebook and the guy just reeks of used-car salesman, so seeing him come up on the short end of things makes us smile.

However, if there's one thing we've learned over the years its that recruiting hype is just that -- hype. Remember that for every Carmelo Anthony that is landed there are plenty of Paul Harris' and Fab Melos.  Harris wasn't a bust, but couldn't live up to unrealistic expectations  and while Melo has plenty of time to prove he's the real deal, last year was rough. Annointing teenagers as saviors rarely works out for anyone -- at least until all of Will Smith's kids come of age -- and the expectations are aren't really fair to the player either. So we'll be rooting hard for DeJuan, but not expecting miracles.

With that said, let's watch a few videos and learn a little more about SU's newest big man.

Here's DeJuan doing work on the court.

DeJuan's story, which highlights the challenges of growing up in a tough neighborhood.

DeJuan at the Boost Mobile 24 Event - talking the difference between east coast and west coast hoops. news story on the announcement.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Has Anyone Seen Tfburgess?

A few weeks ago we made a little video poking fun at Oliver Luck's statement that he would trade Air Force and Navy for Syracuse any day of the week.

That solicited a comment from reader tfburgess that claimed Syracuse lacked West Virginia's marketing savvy because Brad Pitt was once photographed wearing a West Virginia hat. He went on to claim that he'd heard "the ACC was already regretting" the decision to invite Syracuse.  You can read all of his comments, and our replies in the comment section of this post.

After the ass-beating Syracuse administered to West Virginia on Friday, tfburgess, who left the same comment on a post over at the Orange Fizz, seems to have disappeared. We'd like to hear back from him and not because we're vindictive. We are actually here to help. After all Brad Pitt is getting a little long in the tooth and it's clear the Mountaineers need to kick that marketing machine back into high gear.  We've got a few suggestions:
Tfburgess doesn't need to thanks us, giving back is what we do.  Although for the record we agree with Sean McDonough's assessment of Luck.....and if you're keeping track at home, Air Force is 3-4 this year and Navy is 2-5.

Here's our video one more time for good measure.

Syracuse West Virginia Observations

I can guarantee you Oliver Luck wasn't smiling Friday night.  There's always been Navy and Air Force Ollie.
For the first time in what seems like a million years, the Syracuse Orange took the Carrier Dome turf and kicked the living hell out what was thought to be a superior opponent, crushing the 15th ranked West Virginia Mountaineers 49-23.

Coming into the game West Virginia was the class of the Big East. They are still the soon to be dead conference's only ranked team -- and Syracuse took them apart. It was the most raucous I've seen the dome in years, and it felt great. Let's do some quick observations.

What We Thought: West Virginia was a better team and there was no way SU could keep it close.
What We Know: If you give Doug Marrone two weeks to prepare, you are probably going to lose. Marrone is 3-0 in games after bye weeks, including wins against USF and WVU. The odds makers missed the point spread by 40.

What We Thought: The offensive line, while experienced, hadn't lived up to expectations.
What We Know: The entire offensive line played spectacularly. Ryan Nassib had a clean, clean pocket all game line. In the run game they battered the 3-3-5 Mountaineer set and Antwon Bailey, Jerome Smith and Adonis Ameen-Moore took advantage.

What We Thought: Ryan Nassib, after a quick start, was in a little bit of a funk.
What We Know: He could start his own band - Funk No More (sorry, that was a terrible joke). Nassib played a brilliant game, accounting for 5 tds (4 passing, 1 running). He was especially sharp on 3rd down. When you convert 12-17 third downs, you will win games.

What We Thought: The defense struggles to stop anyone.
What We Know: Chandler Jones returned, the defense was more healthy than it had been all year and holy hell, what a performance by that unit, and Jones in particular.. He was a beast and dominated from start to finish. If he can stay healthy he will be the best defensive lineman to wear Orange since Dwight Freeney. The rest of the unit rose to the occasion. Geno Smith and the Mountaineers accumulated yards, but not enough points -- and SU forced a couple of key turnovers.

What We Thought: Dorian Graham is getting better.
What We Know: Dorian Graham is getting better. A lot better. He made a couple of great grabs and to extend drives and he could the be X-factor the offense needs to stretch the field. You always hear how he's the fastest guy on the team and he really showed it on the kick off return for a touchdown when he was even with a defender and then turned on the jets and ran away from him.

What We Thought: Syracuse fans are terrible.
What We Know: We aren't so terrible anymore. Maybe it was the Friday night start or people used the bye week to re-charge their batteries, but I was pleasantly surprised to walk into the building before kickoff and see it more full than it had been in years. Once the Orange got rolling, so did the fans. When the Dome is close to full and the fans are into the game it is a very, very hard place to play. I was getting flashbacks to the McNabb years,  It's an awesome advantage to have and I'm glad it's coming back.

Here's a shaky video I shot with my Droid of the crowd. It hasn't been that electric in the building in a long time.

What We Thought: Most people wouldn't notice or talk about this game after it was over.
What We Know: This win was big enough for to get my 90 year old grandmother's attention. On Sunday we celebrated by beloved grandmother's 90th birthday. She's a remarkable woman. She's kind, intelligent, loving and raised 5 kids under less than ideal circumstances. The whole family is blessed to have her. She is also a big SU fan and used to gently chastise me for being so mean to Greg Robinson....until he got fired and made the dumb little engine that could speech. After she heard that, she conceded I was right and Greg was in fact a dope.  She liked him because he seemed like a nice man.

However, he main interest is in the basketball program. She's never been much for football so when I walked in the restaurant and sat down next her, the first thing she said to me was "Andrew, did you see that football game Friday night?" I sure did grandma -- and so did a lot of other people. At 90 she's still as sharp as a tack and her party was lovely bookend to a very good weekend. Here's hoping we've got 5 more of those coming.

Go Orange.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

This Week In College Football

49-23 good guys.  The Ben trophy stays home.  While you're waiting for the Russianator's game recap, check out some other stuff:
Axe, Nolan, Bud and the rest of the crew

The Democrat and Chronicle's Bob Matthews saying SU's record isn't a fluke

Here's what we picked up on over the weekend:

*  Clemson, this tease continues...

* In this week's future Big East Big Mountain West Conference USA East Game of the week: East Carolina got by Navy

* does that happen?

*  Big hiccup for Oklahoma as well

*  Boise vs. LSU/Alabama winner for the BCS title?

*  Seriously, how did we lose to Rutgers?

*  About that "Notre Dame could get into a BCS Bowl game" talk...

*  Great news for Louisville CB Anthony Conner; get well soon.

*  Overall, this was just a very "blah" weekend for games.

*  No seriously, how did we lose to Rutgers?

A Nelson Muntz Moment

"In fact, I would trade Air Force or Navy for Syracuse every day of the week in terms of the quality of the football program. No disrespect, but that's just an observation I think most would agree with who understand football."  

~ WVU Athletic Director Oliver Luck

Ollie, this one's for you buddy:

John Marinatto's Plan to Supersize College Football

So the ACC goes to 14.  Talk of 16-team super-conferences continue.  Big East commish John Marinatto apparently sees strength in numbers.  I give you the 32-team merged Big East-Conference USA-Mountain West.

I haven't heard an idea this good since...well...I'll let Bill remind us:

Friday, October 21, 2011

Syracuse West Virginia Official Prediction

Picture and West Virginia heckling guide via Hoya Suxa
The West Virginia Mountaineers and Dana Holgerson's hair travel north to take on the Syracuse Orange Friday night at 8 pm in the Carrier Dome. ESPN will be televising the game nationally for the seven people that are home on Fridy night and the four people that are sober enough in bars to notice. As you know by now, recently retired pain in the ass Andy Rooney is doing the predictions this year for us.  Take it away Andy.

Did you ever notice that the state of West Virginia is really more north of Virginia than truly west?  I have.  If anything, it should be called North West Virginia, but people don't seem to care about maps any more and that's a shame.  Because if the people in West Virginia could read, I think they'd be upset.  No one gets upset in West Virginia these days.  Don Nehlen used to get upset, but he's not there any more.  At least I don't think he's there any more.  Once the next issue of Sport magazine shows up in my mailbox I'll check. 

West Virginia's mascot wears a coonskin cap. I like that. I bought my first coonskin cap at an C.G Murphy's five and dime in McKeesport Pennsylvania in 1947. I still have it and it looks great. The only problem is I can't figure out how to wash it.  It's got 60 years of sweat and old man smell just baked into it. A few years ago I wore it a West Virginia game when that Mexican guy was coaching them. I got a chance to trade hats with the the WVA mascot and his hat actually smelled worse.  How do you like that??? It just goes to show that no matter how much stench it has, you can never beat a coonskin.

I've also heard West Virginia is selling beer at their stadium now.  I've seen West Virginians drunk and I don't think that's a good idea. It seems to me that if a person is too drunk to stand in a parking lot, that same person is going to be too drunk to make out with his mother when he's shown on the kiss cam.

As for the game itself, I don't think Syracuse can slow down West Virginia's offense. They are using this new thing called a forward pass, and it seems pretty effective. I think Sport Magazine is doing a feature about it next month.


West Virginia - 41
Syracuse - 24

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Ebay Item of the Week: Ice Ice Baby

It's West Virginia week, so for our friends from Morgantown:


Now that we've gotten that off our chest.  Let's talk about the Marvin Graves-led '92 squad that defeated Colorado in the Fiesta Bowl.    Our Ebay Item of the Week is an official championship ring from the game that we fondly remembered back in 2009, and for a cool $1K, it's yours.   But cubic-zirconia?   Really?

Marvin Graves wore a ring like this.

Big East All Conference Team is Better Than Any Other in the Nation

The Big East pre-season all conference team is out and it the first team is stacked.  UConn's Jeremy Lamb has remarkable talent that was on display during UConn's national title run. Pitt's Ashton Gibbs is a lethal scorer who shares a first name with a guy named Kutcher and a shooting motion with a guy who has involuntary muscle spams. SU's Kris Joseph is healthy and is ready to lead one one the deepest teams in the country while simultaneously raising awareness about how delicious poutine is. Notre Dame's Tim Abromaitis can shoot the rock better than Mike Brey can model turtlenecks.  Kevin Jones from West Virginia can out-generic name anyone in the land and Darius Johnson-Odom is explosive off the dribble and his use of hyphens fills up highlight reels on a nightly basis.

Sure the group is small -- consisting of 2 guards and 4 wing players, none of whom is taller than 6'7", but that is irrelevant.  This is the best basketball team on the planet and it's not even close.  This fact is not up for discussion - if you put this team on the floor they'd beat any other team in the country and here's why -- there's six of them.  You play 6 on 5 and you've got yourself quite an advantage there.  That's just science. Check it out.

Obviously the league did this because they decided not to name a second or third team and had to properly honor the 6 best perimeter players in the league.  Without second or third teams it wouldn't be right to slight of one of these guys.....unless in fact there were second and third teams, which curiously consist of just 5 guys each.  Second and third teams must not be that special. 

Clearly this is the type of out-of-the-box thinking that the soon to be formed SunBeast Conference will embrace.

Dana Holgorsen: Brilliant Offensive Mind, Terrible Hair

The Syracuse defense will have its hands full when the high-powered West Virginia offense comes to the Carrier Dome this Friday night and as such, we fired up the Google-machine to do a little research for the game.  The thought was to compile and break down some stats and talk intelligently about the contest. However that became impossible because we were getting continually distracted by one thing that cannot be ignored -- Dana Holgerson has some terrifying hair.

We certainly aren't the only ones to notice.  Do a google image search for "Dana Holgorsen Hair" and this is your first page -- we highlighted a few things you need to see:

This is just a fantastic cornucopia of inexplicable images.  Any time the first page of an image search turns up various bad pictures of the subject, a random Chris Berman shot, a picture of a woman that looks near death, a Gene Chizak afro picture and the star of the Pacifer, that's a winner.

Do a general google search and your top three results are:

As someone who is cursed male pattern baldness, there are a few basic things you need to do to get the situation under control --keep the hair short, avoid combovers and try not to look like a rapist.  You take care of those three basic things and everything else is cream cheese.  Holgorsen's offenses may score a ton of points, but his hair is close to triggering amber alerts.

The good news for Dana is that unless the Ty Willingham wind is blowing the Dome Friday night, he doesn't have to worry about his creepy locks getting blown out of place.  Then again, with this guy we're not sure how you'd actually define out of place.  What we do know is that the Tiger Droppings site summed up the Holgerson hair situation:

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Seinfeld Analogy on the Current State of the SU-Big East Relationship

Photo: AP, Stew Milne

So if you conduct a conference call and don't say anything, is it still a conference call? 

My favorite part about John's eloquent talk to the media today is the nugget that he's determined to hold Syracuse and Pitt to the 27 month waiting clause, even if they get up to 12 other football playing schools because:

"We’ve modeled a 14-team football division so if that came to that, we would employ that if it was to 
our membership’s advantage.”

To illustrate the ridiculousness of this notion, we offer up the wonderful world of Seinfeld.  (Excuse the link, but embedding was not allowed)

Monday, October 17, 2011

John Marinatto Announces the Future of the Big East

Big East Commissioner John Marinatto is having call with reporters on Tuesday and it is expected he will announce higher exit fees -- with contingencies of course -- and since Missouri appears headed to the SEC, all hell is going to break loose once again.

However, what you don't know is this -- the Big East Commissioner has been hampered by an impossible situation.  Evil forces have Big John over a barrel. Space Warlord Dark Helmet has taken his beloved Prince Vespa Tranghese hostage and now with the Prince's life in peril, Marinatto has finally agreed to announce the secret combination to saving the Big East.  We present it to you exclusively.  Enjoy.

John Marinatto on the Future of the Big East

Inspired by the fantastic 1-2-3-4-5 scene from Spaceballs.

Random Rants and Ramblings

LeSean McCoy Gut Punch Andy Reid GIF on Twitpic

GIF via - Via Jose303

I'm not sure there's anything better than LeSean McCoy drilling Andy Reid after locking up a desperately needed win and watching the big man howl, which makes the GIF above so damn awesome. What is going on people? While the Syracuse football spent its bye week getting ready for the second half of the season and and basketball team was over taken with midnight madness, I was swamped with work and other family obligations, which is why it's been slow around here.

So, let's get caught up on some of the happenings in a busy sports weekend with some random rants and ramblings.....

- The best tweet after LeSean McCoy smacked Andy Reid on Sunday was something to the effect of "LeSean just did to Andy what every Eagles fan has wanted to do all year." I was too lazy to document who said it, but rest assured it wasn't me. I just read it and nodded.

- What a tragic day for racing with the loss of Dan Wheldon. It's certainly not the way that sport wanted to get back into the national consciousness.

- The Syracuse basketball team is practicing and judging by Mike Waters glowing practice report, we could be in for a special season.  I say this because  Mike Waters does not glow. Even though he writes for the hometown paper, he is a straight-shooter who tells it like it is.  The fact that there are exclamation points and proclamations about the second team being able to make noise in the Big East is telling to me.

- So two coaches get into a near-fight at the end of a game and Rex Ryan wasn't involved?  I find that hard to believe.  Then again, I don't think Rex could have kept up with Jim Harbaugh or Jim Schwartz if either were sprinting down the field.

- Rex Grossman did something the Juan Castillo could not -- he figured out how to make the Eagles defense look good. Thanks Rexy.

- The Syracuse football team is 4-2 at the halfway point in the season. SU has been outscored by its opponents, is 96th in the country in total offense, 86th in pass efficiency defense -- and they could still win 5 of their last 6 games.  Why? The Big East is TERRIBLE.  The conference should just rename itself West Virginia and the Seven Dwarfs.  Other than the Mountaineers, there's not a single game the Orange can't win and with the way this team has played so far, that says volumes.

- And we'll leave you with some deep thoughts from Lovie Smith, courtesy of the Heckler.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

This Week In College Football

The good guys were off this weekend.  Be sure to get caught up on a couple of must reads:

First, Dave Rahme looks what needs to be corrected in the second half of the season.

Next, Bud catches up with former Orangeman Chris "2 More Yards" Gedney.

Meanwhile here's what caught our eyes during this "ho-hum" off weekend:

*  Get used to this UConn fans, winning games you shouldn't and losing games you absolutely shouldn't

* In this week's "Future Big East Game of the Week,"  SMU rolled over UCF

*  Best text message I received this weekend, courtesy of our fellow idiot Boss, "Syracuse wouldn't get a first down against LSU."

* Those Michigan State uniforms?   Yuck

* The 'Canes topped UNC in the Butch Davis Bowl.  Congrats to Miami for winning the Old Broken NCAA Rulebook Trophy

*  Folks, not to press the panic button, but UTEP blasted Tulane this weekend 44-7

* Hat tip to Darren Rovell's Twitter feed on this one.  Awesome work here by Hawkeye fans at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday:

* Falling back to Earth:  Illinois, Ga. Tech and Baylor

* Clemson?  You're teasing of us continues

*  We'll find out if Kansas State is for real with Oklahoma (10/29) and Oklahoma State (11/5) looming on the schedule

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Nelson Muntz Moment

Good times in Boston.  Let's review:

Francona gone, Theo gone, fried chicken-gate, and BC Athletic Director Gene DeFilippio throwing the ACC and ESPN under the bus

Boston, this one's for you:

Ebay Item of the Week: Perhaps The Ugliest Piece of Syracuse Gear Ever

Yikes.  This week's Ebay Item of the Week is not exactly pleasing to the eyes.  Let's just say I'd rather be caught wearing David Puddy's man-fur or his Magic 8-Ball jacket.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

This Week In College Football

37-34 good guys.   To quote Apollo Creed in Rocky II, "Damn't I beat him but I didn't win."  Your must reads:

1.  An Idiot's Recap
2.  Axe's Sunny Side and Dark Side posts

What else caught our eyes this weekend?  Glad you asked:

*  What the heck got into Pitt?

*  Here's an interesting nugget on something that hasn't happened in the state of Florida since 1982

*  In this week's "Future Big East Game of the Week," Houston rolled over ECU

*  Oklahoma State....yamma hamma, if I didn't know it Coach Gundy, I'd say you have a team full of men this year

*  I love listening to Lou Holtz explain how Notre Dame will be in line for a BCS Bowl appearance...that makes me laugh

*  While I despise both teams, that Va. Tech/Miami ending was great

*  The whole "half the stadium one color thing" is pretty darn cool in Dallas, I'm putting that game on my bucket list

*  Clemson, you're teasing me

*  Illinois is undefeated, no I'm serious

I Want My CSTV!

Tremendous production work by the boys down South with the Syracuse game Saturday night.   It's got me singing "I Want My CSTV."

Syracuse Loses to Tulane, Wins 37-34

Photo: Frank OrdoƱez / The Post-Standard
Like Doug Marrone, we are wondering what the hell happened too
The Syracuse Orange went down to New Orleans and beat a terrible Tulane team 37-34.  The game should have never been that close.  The Orange raced out to a 31-14 lead and then stopped executing on both sides of the ball.  The game was played in front of approximately 12 fans and 9 of them were wearing Orange. You have to give SU fans credit for turning out - on TV all you could see were empty seats and Orange shirts.  Let's get to some observations and then put this piece of garbage performance in the rear view mirror.

What We Thought: Deuce McAllister was a retired running back who had a nice career in the NFL.
What We Know: Deuce McAllister is a 400 pound, 65 year old football analyst working for Cox Sports.  Seriously, Deuce looked really old, really fat and I'm pretty sure they passed a mirror under his nose at halftime to see if he was still breathing. Deuce was less than animated doing color commentary, although he did set the record for saying "you know" in a broadcast.  Oh we know Deuce, we know.

What We Thought: Football television broadcasts have made quantum leaps forward over the past 10 years, with the exception of the Fox Robot.
What We Know: While we were happy to be able to watch the game, we learned Cox Sports laughs at new fangled things like "High Definition," "first down lines," "replays," and "down and distance graphics."  There was a high school football game on another channel at the same time -- it was in HD and it was better produced.  If Cox Sports was a dog, it would be put down for humane reasons. Champ said it best - Cox Sports in the John Marinatto of regional sports networks.

We We Thought: The defense had turned the corner with a strong performance  last week against Rutgers.
What We Know: The defense has major, major issues.  There's no way to sugar coat this - the performance  Saturday night was  abysmal.  Tulane had 471 yards of offense.  SE Louisiana held them to nearly a 100 less yards than that.  Army held them to 199 yards -- and Army gave up 503 yards to freaking Miami of Ohio yesterday. It was a comedy of errors that included missed tackles, defensive backs being totally lost in coverage, and a complete lack of pressure on the quarterback. If the D repeats that performance against West Virginia, they will give up 800 yards. 

What We Thought: The offensive line would be the strength of the team.
What  We Know: The offensive line isn't that good.  My senior year of high school I had a history teacher ask me how our basketball team was looking.  We had went 3-17 the year before but I thought we'd be better.  I responded that we had a lot of experience coming back and we'd be better.  He looked me in the eye and said experience is nice, but experience alone doesn't always help.  He was right, we went 4-16.  The point is this SU line is experienced,  but they are far from the dominant group we were hoping for.  They are adequate in the run game and still struggle in pass protection.  And Michael Hay had a particularly brutal game.  We'd be willing to bet that if Sean Hickey hadn't blown out his knee in pre-season camp, he'd be playing right tackle now.

What We Thought: The offense was going to carry the team.
What We Know: The offensive scheme is unimaginative, conservative and when there is an opportunity to make a big play, the players aren't executing. Antwon Bailey bounced back with a solid game, beyond that I don't know what Hacket and Marrone are trying to do.  The passing game consists almost exclusively of TE drags, shallow wide receiver crosses and roll outs that result in 2 yard passes to the fullbacks.  Marrone challenged his receivers to step up this week and other than Dorian Graham, no one did.  On the play on the last drive when Tulane was called for roughing the passer, Nassib threw a beautiful ball that sailed clean through Van Chew's hands.

We don't have access to the coaches tape so I have no idea if WRs aren't open or if Nassib isn't throwing to them, but there's virtually no pass plays outside the hash marks.  Everything is either a crossing route or a TE in the seam.  In the first half the Orange tried to test Tulane deep, but miss fired on about about 4 go routes.  After that, I don't think Nassib threw a pass over 15 yards.

What We Thought: Ryan Nassib was having a great junior year.
What We Know: Last week he struggled against Rutgers, but those things happen.  This week he didn't turn the ball  over against Tulane, but Ryan missed a bunch of open guys and was trying to throw fastballs on every play.  He seemed too pumped up.  With an offense that is this conservative, he needs to be more accurate.

The Bottom Line: At the halfway point in the season, Syracuse is 4-2 and headed into a much needed bye week.  The win over Wake Forest looks more and more impressive, the win over Toledo will look very good at the end of the year and the loss to Rutgers is more understandable. The Orange now have two weeks to try and get their acts together and prepare for West Virginia.  The  good news is that the tam's best defender Chandler Jones should be back and the week off will give a banged up team time to get healthy.   Marrone and Scott Shafer will have two weeks to game plan for the Big East's best time.

The second half of the season has winnable games against Louisville and UConn, plus games against unpredictable Pitt and USF. There are plenty of opportunities ahead to get to second consecutive bowl game, but it's up to the Orange to seize them.  They certainly didn't seize anything Saturday night.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Syracuse - Tulane Prediction

We've given up predicting the outcomes of Syracuse football games ourselves around here, frankly it's too much work.  Luckily, recently retired Andy Rooney needed something to do and is serving as our pinch hitter.  Here are Andy's thoughts on Saturday's game.

Syracuse plays Tulane this weekend.  Tulane is coached by a nice man named Bob Toledo.  Like me, his best days were years ago, and like me, he continues to work.  I like that.  It also makes me think of Ohio.  Toledo is a wonderful city.  I used to drive my Studebaker into town and go window shopping for wainscoting in Toledo. They always had the best wainscoting there, but of course these days no one values a good piece of paneling. What I don't understand is without wainscoting, how are people going to cover up the lead paint and asbestos in their homes? We'll all rue the day we ignored wainscoting. Mark my words.

It's too bad this game isn't being played in Toledo.  Instead it's in New Orleans.  I don't like New Orleans. It's rowdy, it smells, and its so loud it blows my ear-hair out of place.  Plus, there's a lot of African Americans down there and I hate the using the term African American. It puts me in a bad mood.

Plus, did you ever notice in New Orleans they call donuts beignets?  I have.  If people in New Orleans don't have enough common sense to call a donut a donut, I don't see any way the University of Tulane can field a competent football team. People that don't understand pastry don't understand life. If Syracuse loses to this bunch of beignet lovers, I'll eat my hat.

Syracuse - 38
Tulane - 23  

Thursday, October 6, 2011

TCU Leaves the Big East

Well, that didn't last long. TCU did the sane thing and announced it was leaving the sinking ship that is the Big East (before it even got there) and will instead join the Big 12.  In breaking up with John Marinatto and the Big East, TCU sent a very simple message.

RIP Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs is gone, but his legacy will live forever. Take 10 minutes and read this powerful, insightful obituary from Wired and then watch the iconic ad that introduced the Macintosh computer to the world. It ran during the the 1984 SuperBowl.  The Raiders blew out the Redskins almost as badly as the iPod blew out the Zune.

You really can't put into words what Jobs meant to a technology obssessed world, but when you're checking your fantasy football scores on your phone this weekend and then tweeting your friends from a bar, take a second and thank Steve. He made it possible.  Rest in Peace.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Oliver Luck Explains His Comments About Syracuse

West Virginia Athletic Director Oliver Luck is not shy.  When he's not naming coaches-in-waiting, teaching morons about proper t-shirt etiquette, or trying like hell to get West Virginia out of the Big East, you can find Luck speaking his mind any place there's a TV camera or tape recorder.

The other day, when discussing the Big East and it's plans for the future, Luck stated that he would trade Navy and Air Force for Syracuse any day of the week - given the current strength of each school's football program.  Now, in an effort to clarify those remarks, Luck decided to give an interview you Syracuse Newhouse School of Public Communications student Amanda Huginkiss.  That interview is below.

Oliver Luck on Syracuse and the Big East
by: Russianator

Ebay Item of the Week: Dooley Womack Will Take You High Enough

With baseball playoffs in full swing, we thought we'd honor some Yankee legends with this week's collection of items from the world of online sports memorabilia.  Move over Ruth, Gehrig, Mantle and Jeter, this week we're honoring former Yankee hurler Dooley Womack.  For $5.59 his 1967 Topps card can be yours.

Sporting a career 15-16 record in the Bronx, Dooley spent three years in New York before stops in Houston, Seattle and Oakland.

Since we're on the subject of Yankees, time for a little Nugent-infused '90s power ballad:

Too Much Moneyball

As you know, we're Yankee fans around here and last night pretty much sucked.  However, just because we love the Yankees, it doesn't mean we don't have a sense of humor and it doesn't mean we can't laugh at our own team.  So, via Midwest Sports Fans, we bring you a funny spoof of the Moneyball trailer. I will probably watch this and cry a little more with every bomb A.J. Burnett gives up tonight.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

This Week In College Football

19-16, bad guys.  Be sure to check out my fellow Idiot Russianator's game thoughts, and as always give Axe's posts a read.  Here's what I picked up on while watching some college pigskin this weekend:

*Wisconsin-Nebraska...that was a lot of red out there

* Speaking of that game, Badger QB Russell Wilson is really fun to watch

* If you had Week 5 as the first "I Can't Believe They Lost That Game" matchup in the Coach P. UConn Era,'re a winner

*  Really weird scene at the Swamp, with about 9 minutes left, CBS showed an overhead shot of Gator fans doing their best Syracuse fan was a full on bomb scare at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium

*  One of my favorite trophy games is the "Battle for the Iron Skillet" between TCU and turned out to be a huge win for June Jones and the Mustang program

*  In this weekend's "It Might Be a Future Big East Game of the Week," Air Force bested Navy

*  My past horrible "recreational purposes only" pick history with Clemson is making it hard for me to accept the Tigers as legit this year, although not many teams go into Blacksburg and dominate

*  November 5th can't get here quick enough....LSU-Alabama

* Welcome to the SEC Aggies

* I'm sorry Rutgers, but you're really not that good of a football team

Stand Back

From Yahoo, "The presidents and chancellors of the 14 remaining Big East members and TCU have authorized Commissioner John Marinatto to “aggressively pursue discussions” with certain schools interested in joining the league."

 Let's join some '80s WWF Superstars and WWF owner Vince McMahon in warning conference commissioners everywhere to "Stand Back" from John Marinatto now that he is "aggressively pursuing discussions."

Syracuse Pukes on its Own Shoes, Gives Game to Rutgers

Syracuse went to overtime for the third time this season and for the first time did not emerge victorious, fumbling away what should have been a win and losing to Rutgers 19-16.  It was easily the most disappointing loss of the Doug Marrone era, as SU outplayed the Scarlet Knights for 60 minutes and kept inventing new ways to literally give the game away.

Since Marrone took over, the only game I think of that was even close to comparable was the loss to Louisville in 2009.  That game has a few similarities to this one in that each game was almost unwatchable, and each game had a brutal ending.   The biggest shame in the whole thing is the beleaguered, battered SU defense rose up and had its best performance of the year, only to have the offense  and special teams piss the game away.

The loss hurts even more because Syracuse really needed it to stay on track for a second consecutive bowl appearance.  At this point, the only team in the Big East the Orange are definitively better than is UConn.  Frankly, they are better than Rutgers, but that won't be reflected in the standings and it's an opportunity lost in a season where the margin for error is razor thin.  Let's get to what we know.

What We Thought: The Syracuse special teams would be better in 2011 than 2010.
What We Know: Not so much.  Ross Krautman had an extra point and a field goal blocked and the Orange were bailed out on what would  have been a return TD by penalty.  The short snapping is inconsistent and Krautman also missed a FG.  It almost makes you long for the days of Bob Casullo.  Almost.

What We Thought: Antwon Bailey was finding his stride and becoming a true feature back.
What We Know: At this point Antwon Bailey is mid-career Tiki Barber.  He can get you yards, but he can't secure the football.  Bailey fumbled on the first play of the game and the last play of the game.  He's lost 3 fumbles in 5 games.  Frankly that should earn a player a trip to the bench. I don't give a rats ass that there isn't a viable alternative. If you consistently put the ball on the ground, you shouldn't consistently touch the football.

What We Thought: Ryan Nassib was getting better every week.
What We Know: Not this week.  Three picks were obviously bad, but the fashion in which he threw them was really tough to watch.  It's tough to throw interceptions on screen passes, it's not like defensive lineman have the hands of Jerry Rice.  He wasn't helped by another heaping helping of ultra-conservative play calling.

What We Thought: Syracuse was going to have a dynamic, multiple offense
What We Know: Regardless of personnel, Doug Marrone is going to run the ball and work the short passing game.  By the end of the game Rutgers was sitting on short slants and jumping routes left and right.  The couldn't, or wouldn't, test them by pushing the ball  down the field. Teams watch film, expect more and more teams to focus on taking away the short passing game.

What We Thought: The defense wasn't very good, and doesn't force turnovers.
What We Knew: The entire unit proved that statement wrong.  Dyshawn Davis was a beast this game and the entire unit gave the SU offense multiple opportunities to win this game.  The defense forced 4 turnovers, scored a TD and forced Rutgers to switch quarterbacks.  They held the Scarlet Knights to 5 yards rushing, This loss is 100% on the other two units .  It was an especially impressive performance given the fact that the unit played without its top two players in Chandler Jones and Sharmarko Thomas.

The Bottom Line: Syracuse was the better team and Syracuse pissed away a win. There's a good chance it will come back and haunt them as the season goes on.  There's 7 games left and all we can hope is that the team uses this performance as motivation - because good God we could all use some motivation after that mess.