Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Emotional Mind of Doug Marrone

Syracuse football is experiencing a mid season resurgence thanks to a two-game win streak that has positioned the program within striking distance of a bowl game. The turn around is being led by head coach Doug Marrone, who just a few short weeks ago decided it was time to let his freak flag fly  and start wearing his emotions on his sleeve.

As far as we're concerned, if the team is winning games Doug can do double dutch on the sideline with Greg Adkins and Rob Moore for all we care. However, we know you're wondering exactly Doug is suddenly saying down there on the sidelines after being largely stoic for the past three years. Luckily for you, we're here to help.

In a Three Idiots on Sports exclusive, we bring to you the things Doug Marrone is really yelling about on the Syracuse sideline....and it might just surprise you. Doug's not your average football coach.


All original photos from: Frank Ordonez/Syracuse.com

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Al Pacino Explains Life As A Syracuse Football Fan

This Week In Syracuse Football Through The Music of Bruce Springsteen

37-36, good guys.  As usual, be sure to check out our buddy Axeman's recaps.   The first half had disaster written all over it.  But, you've got to prove it all night boys.

Everybody's got a hunger, a hunger they can't resist,
There's so much that you want, 
you deserve much more than this,
But if dreams came true, oh, wouldn't that be nice,
But this ain't no dream we're living through tonight,
Girl, you want it, you take it, you pay the price.

Prove it all night, prove it all night girl and call the bluff,
prove it all night, prove it all night and girl,
I prove it all night for your love.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Ebay Item of the Week: Rejected by Richard Manning

This dude from Colorado State is getting served a Mannwich courtesy of Orange forward Richard Manning in this photo from the second round of the '89 NCAA Tournament.  The picture graces the cover of a Syracuse-Providence program, and it can be yours for a steal.

Bonus mustache points for the Sarunas Marciulionis lookalike in the background.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

This Week In Syracuse Football Through the Music of Bruce Springsteen

Photo: Kevin Rivoli, AP

40-10, good guys.  Goodbye P.

So put your foot to the floor, darling
Tonight we'll blow off the doors, baby
We're gonna even the score
And honey we won't look back

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Syracuse Football Mid-Season Assessment

Orignal Photo: Frank Ordonez/Post Standard
The Syracuse Orange football team has hit the mid-point of the 2012 slate and checks in at a wildly disappointing 2-4. Now in Doug Marrone's fourth season at the helm, SU ditched the pro-style ground and pound offense used in his first three seasons in favor of a no-huddle spread attack that many fans, myself among them, had been clamoring for.

The results of that change have been mixed. The Orange are piling up more yards than we've seen in a long, long time. Unfortunately these yards are paired with a voluminous amount of turnovers and a red zone ineptitude that would make Andy Reid blush....or at the very least fire his defensive coordinator.

Syracuse has played a tough scheduleand been in every game that's been played - but the season has largely been derailed by turnovers, bad penalties, turnovers, questionable situational play calling, turnovers, a lack of forced turnovers on defense, atrocious special teams play and turnovers (did I mention turnovers?). This has doomed a team with some talent and experience and relegated SU to an all-too familiar location -- college football irrelevance.

Halfway through the campaign, the only thing we know for sure is: The 2012 season is guaranteed to be a disappointment. Consider the following:

- If SU somehow manages to get it's act together and runs the table (extremely unlikely) the team finishes 8-4 and we all look back in disappointment at the fact that they gave away the Northwestern, Minnesota and Rutgers games with awful turnovers.

- If the team rallies to finish 4-2, that's a .500 year with a trip to some miserable game like the BVA Compass Bowl. Approximately 23 SU fans will travel to the game, which will reflect poorly on the program, and a loss still leaves SU with it's third losing season in 4 years with Marrone as the head coach.

- If the team finishes 3-3 or worse (most likely) it's another losing season and no bowl game. Clearly, that's a disappointment given where we are in the Marrone rebuilding proces and with the ACC looming next year.

As a life-long Syracuse fan - and that life is quickly approaching four decades (shudder) - this has been a brutal, brutal stretch for the program. The decline under Pasqualoni was slow, disappointing, and torturous, especially considering the heights the football team reached in the late 80s and early 1990s. The disaster that was the Greg Robinson era burned down an old house that needed some TLC and not a blow torch - and now four years into the Marrone era, you have to wonder if the program will ever get it together and you have to wonder if Doug is the guy that can do it. The first half of the 2012 season has left us with more questions than  answers. Questions like:

- Why do his teams consistently turn the ball over?

- Why hasn't,  after four years, his teams EVER been able to even reach competence on special teams? It is astounding that this unit has been this bad for this long. All you have to do is look at Rutgers to see how good special teams play can change a program's fortune. This year, in particular, has been a dumpster fire with this units mistakes costing the team the Rutgers and Northwestern games.

- Why haven't we seen him bring in any true game breakers at the skill positions?

We all want Marrone to succeed. He's a Syracuse guy. He's built the program the right way, with integrity and accountability. You can tell from the look on his face and the words that come out of his mouth he wants to succeed more than anyone. Yet, with the exception of 2010, he fields teams that play sloppy, undisciplined football.

On the plus side, there are six games remaining and we know this squad is certainly better than UConn, Temple and USF (although its capable  of losing to all three). If the Orange win those three and steal a game vs. Louisville, Cincinnati or the mess of a team that Missouri is turning into, at least that "disappointing" bowl game, and the extra practices it affords, is still attainable.

However to make this happen Marrone is going to have to wave his magic wand and make Ryan Nassib less shaky under pressure, make the receivers magically faster, more sure handed and better at shedding press coverage, get every player on the team some Lester Hayes style stickum, and become less than horrific on special teams to save the season - and maybe his SU head coaching career.

The time is running out for Doug Marrone to make the magic happen. Four years ago he told us he was going to win, and win now. We're all still waiting.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Coach P Bowl

Damn't Paul, maybe I am going to go on a hayride and pick apples come Friday night.  Don't judge me.


Saturday, October 13, 2012

This Week In Syracuse Football Through The Music of Bruce Springsteen

Photo: Rick Schultz, Getty Images
23-15, Jersey Boys.

When your best hopes and desires
Are scattered to the wind
And hard times come and hard times go
Hard times come and hard times go and
Hard times come and hard times go and
Hard times come and hard times go 
Yeah, just to come again
Bring on your wrecking ball

Thursday, October 11, 2012

T3I Presents: Great Moments In Rutgers Football History

Rutgers fans are right, this doesn't compare at all:

Ebay Item of the Week: The Ugliest Lamp Ever Made

Trying to figure out where I'd put this week's Ebay Item of the Week.   The problem is that it only shined once, November 9, 2006.  Otherwise it consistently flickers out, never seeming to live up to its hype.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Since It's Rutgers Week


Contrary to Reports, Syracuse Earned its Win Against Pitt

Pittsburgh quarterback Tino Sunseri is sacked by Syracuse's Brandon Sharpe during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game in Syracuse, N.Y., Friday, Oct. 5, 2012. (AP Photo/Kevin Rivoli)

Syracuse beat Pittsburgh 14-13 Friday night behind a ferocious defensive effort -- an effort that is being discounted in some circles. As Syracuse fans, we come from a decidedly pro-Syracuse point of view and we make no bones about that. We also understand perspectives on sites that cover other teams will be colored in a similar fashion - and that's equally fine.

However, we couldn't help but notice that more than a few people were eager to NOT give the Orange credit for a win they absolutely, positively earned.

The first example was from the Pitt Blog Cardiac Hill (a site that in general is really good). In a post that went up shortly after the game concluded, the author stated:

Now, I'm all for giving credit where it's due, but in all honesty, even the most ardent Syracuse supporters would know that the team did absolutely nothing in the second half to win the game.

I wholeheartedly disagree and I'll explain why below, however, in the aftermath of a tough loss I can see where the author is coming from.

However, it's not the only instance of this refrain being muttered, as the Post Standard's Bud Poliquin, a guy who lost his fastball sometime during the Jimmy Carter administration, offered this little nugget in yesterday's column:

Because SU won.

Oh, it won ugly. In fact, it may have won undeservedly. And, truth be known, it likely won because the other team simply wasn’t good enough to win, itself.

The esteemed Mr. Bud goes on to further elaborate:

And there is this to consider, too: Friday night’s Syracuse cause was helped by the Panthers, themselves, who – trailing by only a point – had a first down at the Orange 17-yard line with some six minutes to play. All it had to do was go conservative and manage the situation by running three times into the belly of the SU defense . . . by then kicking a field goal (dead center on dry ground against no wind) from, oh, 30 yards . . . and by then continuing to hold the Syracuse offense that had sputtered all night.

Look, Pitt didn't help itself by melting down twice in scoring range against the Orange, but the reason they melted down had a little something to do with the guys lining up across the ball from them. In fact it had everything to do Scott Shafer's unit.

Consider the facts:

* Pitt could not run the ball against the Orange. In the previous two weeks, the Panthers had racked up 254 yards and 229 yards respectively. Against Syracuse they managed 27.

* While Pitt managed to move the ball through the air, the Orange also sacked Tino Sunseri five times and limited them to 13 points. Pitt players weren't out there tackling themselves. They didn't make unforced errors or run the wrong way down the field. They were limited to 13 points because Syracuse stopped them. The last time I checked, playing defense was something that still counted when evaluating football games.

* To further break this down - the penalties that hurt Pitt were forced by the Orange. When you sack the opposing QB five times, the offensive line gets twitchy and jumps off-sides. Quarterbacks don't get called for intention grounding when they are standing alone untouched in the pocket. Those are penalties that are forced by an opponent.

* The other problem I have with Bud's assertion is that even if the  Panthers had gone conservative and run it up the gut 3 times and played for a field goal:

A) There's no guarantee they don't lose 5 yards;
B) There's no guarantee their kicker, who'd already missed one field goal would make it; and
C) There was still a substantial amount of time on the clock. It wasn't a two minute situation where they were trying to run down the clock.

* Since Pitt was moving the ball efficiently through the air and going backwards on the ground, why wouldn't they throw it? A TD leads to a likely win, whereas a field goal means SU might only need 40 yards to get in range to kick a winner themselves. Pitt was playing to win and it made sense to put the ball in the air. When they did, the Orange rose to the occasion and got the better of the them. That's called earning a victory.

* Lastly, we seem to be glossing over the fact that the Orange offense, which really struggled all game, didn't struggle when it mattered most. It's not easy to chew up the last 5 minutes of game play when your opponent knows exactly what you're going to do - yet the Syracuse did just that. Ramming in down the Panther's throats with a running game that salted away the victory.

I don't know what Bud calls it, but when you beat another team physically in the trenches and make plays at the most crucial times of the game - to me, that's earning a win.

We are the first to call the team out when things go awry - and God knows they've gone awry plenty over the years - but let's give them credit when they've earned it. Friday night was one of those times.

Syracuse is Geno Smith's Kryptonite

West Virginia's Geno Smith is having the type of year other players dream about, and is now one the leading contenders for the Heisman Trophy. He's thrown 24 TDs and no interceptions so far this year and he's operating Dana Holgerson's offense with a Joey Chestnut at a hot dog eating contest like efficiency.

So how do you slow down Geno? It appears the only way to do so is to somehow get Syracuse back on the WVU schedule.

We say this based on the fact that one-third (5) of Smith's 15 career interceptions have come at the hands of the Orange. Coincidentally, Geno lost to SU in both of his career starts and since the Mountaineers are now in the Big 12 and not playing for the Schwartzwalder Tropy anymore, it's fair to assume he'll never throw another pick or lose another game in his college career.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

This Week In Syracuse Football Through The Music Of Bruce Springsteen

Photo: Kevin Rivoli, AP

14-13, good guys.

Your FIRST PLACE Orangemen ended their 12 month, 8 game losing streak to FBS Division 1 opponents.

Tonight I'm gonna get birth naked and bury my old soul
and dance on its grave...
It's been a long time comin', my dear
It's been a long time comin' but now it's here

Thursday, October 4, 2012

That didn't last long...

In related Boston news, is anyone interested in a used sock that was dipped in red paint?

Ebay Item of the Week: Richard Manning Is Up for the Pitt Game

Let's go boys, beat Pitt in this future ACC Game of the Week.

By the way, the old Pitt script logo is so much better than their current one.

Monday, October 1, 2012