Friday, September 28, 2012

West Virginia Being West Virginia

OK folks, pop quiz time - what school needed to produce a PSA to stop people from burning couches? If you needed more than guess, chances are you already live in West Virginia and have flambeed more than your fair share of living room furniture.

H/T - Outkick the Coverage

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Ebay Items of the Week: Faux Jerseys

We dive again into the world of sports memorabilia this week with a look at some Syracuse jerseys that never quite made it onto the hardwood of the Carrier Dome, but nonetheless are being hawked on Ebay.

*First up, what would Todd Bergan wear if he was signed by the NY Yankees?  Probably something like this.

*I absolutely love the old script Syracuse jerseys from the '80s and '90s worn by Sherm, DC, Billy, and the immortal Scott McCorkle.  This thing is a weak knock off attempt.  My son has better handwriting than that script and he is in Kindergarten.

*Let's combine the old Kansas font and add in Princeton's colors and call it a Syracuse jersey.

* I'm not sure who "Record" was, but his #33 Syracuse jersey makes me think Allan Houston-Era-Knicks jersey.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Syracuse - Minnesota Recap

I don't have the mental energy or the emotional investment to do a traditional recap of the crap-fest Doug Marrone's Syracuse football team treated us to Saturday night - besides I vented enough on twitter during the game. All I know is that if you run a toss sweep on the one-yard line, with your slowest back no less, you deserve to lose. Coughing the ball up four times and and forcing zero turnovers against an inexperienced quarterback doesn't help either.

Basically the first four games of the Syracuse season has been one giant Plaxico Burress, this team can't stop shooting itself in the foot.

While I'm venting, I would be remiss if I didn't mention the fact that the two Big Ten Network announcers that worked the game made Pam Ward and Dickey Simpkins seem like Hall of Fame broadcasters. I want my $5.95 a month back Time Warner.

While the team started 1-2, both losses showed some promise and after a decade of really bad football, there was some hope this year's team could turn the corner....and then they took the field Saturday night and did what Lucy always does to Charlie Brown - they pulled away the football. Syracuse fans, no matter how many times we try and convince ourselves the ball won't be pulled away, we end up on our backs staring at the sky...

Sunday, September 23, 2012

This Week In Syracuse Football Through The Music of Bruce Springsteen

Photo: John Berry, The Post-Standard

We stood at the alter
the gypsy swore our future was right
But come the wee wee hours
Well maybe baby the gypsy lied

17-10, bad guys.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Doug Marrone Channels Obi Wan Kenobi

Syracuse Coach Doug Marrone is on Facebook, making a real effort to connect with fans. For the most part, this is a good thing. It gives the school another outlet to promote the team and engage the fanbase. However, Doug Marrone is a football coach, and football coaches like divulging what is going on with their team about as much as the CIA likes giving up informants.

So Doug tried to address a topic on the minds of many SU fans - namely, if we can expect to see more of freshman QB/RB/WR Ashton Broyld in upcoming game plans....

That answer is pretty much the equivalent of Obi Wan Kenobi telling the storm troopers these aren't the droids you're looking for......and since the original scene doesn't appear to be on YouTube, here's the lego version.

You can now go about your business - move along.

Beat Minnesota

Syracuse plays a huge game against Minnesota Saturday night as the Orange look to even their  overall record and their record this year against the Big 10. Minnesota is undefeated at 3-0, but has beaten three cream puffs to start Coach Jerry Kill's second season. All we know is that if your name  is Jerry Kill, you need a much more bad ass look than this:

We took the liberty of kicking it up a notch for Jerry. I mean, he still needs to look professional, but he also needs to tell the world he gets a free pass to bad boy city. This look here is a much better match for Coach Kill's last name.

Now that's a look fit to kill - and in the case of the Sons of Anarchy, you can kill and never go to jail - and not being incarcerated is an important attribute for a head coach.

Go Orange.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Earl Campbell Lives

The football season is just weeks old, but already thousands of games at all levels have been played across the country and the best run from scrimmage has already arrived -- from an 8 year old. Jayden Scott runs through - literally through - the entire opposing team on his way to the end zone.

Being old guys we couldn't help but notice young Jayden has a lot in common with another powerful runner -- former Houston Oiler Earl Campbell. The similarities are uncanny.

1. Both wear number 34
2. Both enjoy running over defenders. Really enjoy it.
3. Both play the game wearing extremely loose jerseys.

You youngsters can learn more about Earl here:

And if  If Jayden ever turns out anything like Earl, when his playing career is over, he can hang out with Guy Fieri.....who may or may not be staring in Roadhouse 2, Pain Still Don't Hurt.

Ebay Item of the Week: Don't Touch Craig Forth or Josh Pace's Balls

Hands off.   And yes, it' suitable for work.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

License to Kill Gophers

If Coach Marrone is looking for a few words before Saturday's battle with Minnesota, we suggest turning to the brilliance of Caddyshack.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Syracuse Football at the Quarter Pole

We are three games into the 2012 Syracuse football season and amazingly that means 25 percent of this year's slate is in the books. Doug Marrone likes to break the season up in quarters so we'll do the same thing. Here are some general thoughts on the team at the end of first quarter and then a few thoughts on the Big East in general.

I'ts been an odd start to the season. The losses to Northwestern and USC almost felt more like wins than the mistake prone victory win over Stony Brook did. That being said, thanks to a tough schedule I feel like we know more about this team now than we did about either the 2010 or 2011 teams at this point in the season.

In both of those years the Orange started out 2-1, but those 4 wins came against Akron, Maine, Wake Forest, and a squeaker against Rhode Island. The losses were both on the West Coast - to Washington and USC, and therefore could be chalked up almost as much to travel as talent. This year, while the team is 1-2, the outlook on the season feels more optimistic, because....


For the first time in the Doug Marrone era, Syracuse can outscore people. The 2012 version of offense, while too sloppy at times, is potent. Ryan Nassib, who by the end of last year looked limited and potentially at the top of his developmental ceiling, has taken his game to a new level. The no-huddle, spread attack is running more plays, keeping opposing defenses from substituting situationally and Nassib is making throws he missed last year.

Having Marcus Sales and an emerging Jarrod West has helped and Prince Tyson Gulley is a great fit for an offense that gets him the ball in space. The new offense also benefits Mackey MacPherson, a smart, experienced center who struggled to blow bigger players off the blocks, but gets the most out of his abilities in the spread.

It hasn't been perfect - as Justin Pugh needs to return ASAP since Lou "the turnstile" Alexander has been awful at right tackle, but there's no denying the fact that the new system is working. Syracuse is racking up yards a pace we haven't seen since Donovan McNabb was under center.


The early verdict on the defense is more muddled. The unit has given up far too many big plays and while it appears that the defensive line has adequately replaced Chandler Jones, small linebackers and problems in the secondary persist.

I like what I've seen out of Sirki Diabate at the middle linebacker spot, you can't coach size and he simply doesn't have it, as evidenced by the fact that he got trucked in the first half against Stony Brook. In the secondary cornerbacks Ri'shard Anderson and Keon Lyn are experienced, have very good size and pass the the look test, but both struggle to make plays on the ball when it's in the air. To be fair Matt Barkley makes a lot of corners look bad, but I was hoping at least of one these guys would make the leap to becoming really good corner. There's still time, but it hasn't happened so far. The bright spot in the secondary has been Shamarko Thomas, who has been a stud.

Special Teams

The special teams has been a dumpster fire plain and simple. Marrone has to get more speed on the punt coverage teams and the almost automatic Ross Krautman is doing his best Billy Cundiff impersonation this season. You don't need to be a genius...or a high school know that until, which is completely under Marrone's purview, needs to make huge strides. Here is actual footage of Syracuse trying to cover punts against Northwestern:

Overall Impressions

The best analogy I can come with for this team is one from the world of golf. I'm a 12 handicap, which isn't bad, but it isn't great. If you're a 12 and you aren't going to win any club championships, but if you can put everything together, you can occasionally break 80 and feel pretty damn good about yourself. Of course you can also spray the driver all over the place, three putt every green and shoot 98 - which is what this team did to close out the 2011 season. So far this year I believe they'll be closer to the low 80s than upper 90s and that's good news because...

Big East Impressions

Big East isn't very good again this year. Right now there's Louisville and everyone else. I've seen every team play (with the exception of Temple) and honestly there's no reason why SU can't go 5-2 in this conference. Louisville is certainly the team to beat and all of a sudden Pitt doesn't look like the worst team in the world - but UConn and Rutgers have issues offensively, Cincinnati is turnover prone and South Florida is South Florida -- a perpetual underachiever. There isn't a game on the schedule the team can't win....of course, they haven't proven anything yet, so the reverse is also true.

However, I doubt that is going to happen. Ryan Nassib, Marcus Sales and company have been too good against good competition so far. At the quarter pole, the Orange are still in position to do good things  in 2012.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

This Week In Syracuse Football Through The Music of Bruce Springsteen

One for the good guys after 11 months of waiting.  Be sure to check out the Axeman's recaps.

34k announced attendance?  Hmm...

Photo courtesy the TV in my living room

" Empty sky...empty sky... I woke up this morning to an empty sky."

What I'll Miss About Jim Calhoun....

I'll keep thinking.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Lane Kiffin: An All Around Good Guy

Syracuse takes on arguably the best college football team in the land on Saturday when the Orange face USC in MetLife Stadium. As you are aware, USC is coached by Lane Kiffin, a guy whose known mainly for the following things:

1) Having a smoking hot wife.

Lane Kiffin's greatest accomplishment to date - Layal

2) Having Al Davis call him a liar (this probably wasn't a bad thing)

3) Leaving Tennessee after a year -- and turning the program over to Derek Dooley - a gentleman that's not real popular with the fan base.

Well we can add one more thing to Lane's list of accomplishments - taking scholarships away from a walk-on who presumably earned it, and giving it to a convicted felon. The blog No Guts, No Glory points us to the LA Daily News, that reported on the situation and noted Kiffin said "he doesn't go out of his way to inform walk-ons when their scholarship is not renewed."

We get that college football is about winning and that walk-ons are just that, walk-ons, but for the love of God, he could have at least told the guy. You stay classy Lane:

Monday, September 3, 2012

Quick Thoughts: Syracuse Gives One Away Against Northwestern

The Syracuse defensive line gets penetration on a 4th down stop against Northwestern Saturday afternoon

Syracuse lost to Northwestern more than 48 hours ago, so I won't bore you with a detailed recap of a game you've already watched and read about. Here are a few thoughts from my vantage point in the stands -- a view I won't get much this year thanks to having an 8 month old, living a 150 miles from the stadium and having a job where we actually work on Fridays.

- The no huddle spread was an offense many of us have been lusting after for years -- and since it racked up almost 600 yards and 41 points, it's pretty fair to call it a success.

- I thought the new offense was well suited for Mackey MacPherson. He's smart, experienced, he handled the line calls with aplomb and he's not required to blow 330 pound nose tackles off the ball in order to be successful. He played well.

- Likewise Ryan Nassib took to the new scheme like a competitive eater takes to a gravy boat. We know enough about Nassib to know that while he has his limitations, this wasn't an Andrew Robinson v. Louisville fluke performance. Barring an injury, he'll most likely hold almost every Syracuse passing record when the graduates.

- Marcus Sales had good numbers, but he had a bad drop followed by the ball that was thrown behind him that he popped up in the air and resulted in an interception. That sequence will mar an otherwise nice return to action.

- When he wasn't jumping off-sides Lou Alexander alternated between getting beat badly and getting beat worse tha badly. At one point my step-father swore he went out and ran an actual pass pattern. Luckily for SU, once Justin Pugh gets healthy they can plug him in at left tackle, flip Sean Hickey to right tackle, and sweet Lou can head back to the bench where his Michael Hay impersonation will do less damage.

- Raise your hand if you thought  SU would rally back and take the lead after being down 35-13......if your hand is up and you aren't named Orange Chuck, you are a liar.

- Jerome Smith is going to have to be more decisive and bang it upfield quicker if he's going to have success in this scheme.

- Hello Jeremiah Kobena.

- We are 3.1 years into the Doug Marrone era, the team is on its third special teams coach (this year its Marrone himself) and we have witnessed 3.1 years of awful special teams. At this point it's fair to call him the anti-Beamer.

- In terms of the roughing the passer call at the end of the game, it obviously hurt, but you have to acknowledge that last year this team caught some breaks early. These things have a way of evening out.

- The students showed up - no one else did. While we all want to see the building full, there are advantages, I didn't have to wait once  to get a beer or take a leak.

Other than the student  section there were no lines and no waiting in the Dome

- With two minutes left the defense has to come up with a stop. In that situation it's understandable to play coverage and make the opponent work down the field - but as my Uncle pointed out yesterday, would it have killed them to rush the passer with 4 guys?  Of course not. Then again, on Monday everyone is a genius....still Shafer and the defense played not to lose, that usually gets you beat.

- It was a wildly frustrating game, but I'm actually optimistic about the year ahead. If you can score points you're never out of a game, even if you're pointing automatic weapon at your foot and never taking your hand off the trigger. Syracuse pulled a Tony Montana on itself Saturday and still almost walked out alive.