As usual, Brian over at Orange44 answered some questions I posed and the answers are below. One note, Brian answered them a little over 24 hours ago so a couple of the topics have shifted...but the answers are nonetheless informative and entertaining, Go!
The SU football coaching search seems to be heading towards it's conclusion. Skip Holtz, Turner Gill, Doug Marrone and Al Golden are the only real contenders at this point. Which one would you like to see get the job? Which one would you least like to see get the job?
I suppose my leading candidate would be Skip Holtz. He turned the East Carolina program from relative obscurity (despite what Danny from The Sport Hump says) to a championship team (conference championship that is). I like him, I like how he can recruit, and I like the fact that he can win games. This seems like basic stuff, but obviously the last guy could not handle this. I enjoy the fact that he seems like an upstanding guy who can get good players to play for him. He also has shown that his teams can at least compete and seem to have a chance against teams ranked far ahead of them. Plus, it seems like he is the leading candidate so I think I have to be on board at this point right?
My least favorite candidate out of the four would be Doug Marrone. (Ed. Note: Uh-oh) He has not been a part of the college game since 2000. Pretty much the only thing he's got going for him in my mind is that he's an alumnus. While I always appreciate someone that knows the program and will respect and appreciate it, to be out of the recruiting game that long frightens me. I think it is a mistake just to give someone the job just because they are a former Orangeman.
Did Syracuse wait too long on Turner Gill?
Syracuse waited too long on a lot of things this year. However, I'll be honest, I've never been too enamored with Turner Gill. Buffalo, despite winning their conference, is not a good football team. One year does not make a program good or great (see Rutgers). It is obvious that Auburn is courting him though. I wouldn't be unhappy with Turner Gill, but I still do not feel as if he is the guy for Syracuse. Either way, after announcing that Greg would be fired after the UConn game, it seemed like Syracuse did not much of anything for the next couple of weeks. Granted, it was just this past week that Buffalo beat Ball State, cementing Syracuse's interest in him, however they should have had more contact with him earlier if they were in fact serious about him.
Is there a candidate out there you wish was still in the running that isn't or never was?
A little part of me wishes Randy Edsall was still a prime candidate. While he has been tainted by the State of Connecticut, and he clearly has discipline problems a plenty with his players, he is a decent football coach who took a middle of the road 1-AA school and made them competitive in the Big East (although if I got $90 million from Connecticut for new facilities I'd win some games too). Plus, he is an alumnus of Syracuse, which is always a plus. For someone that has seemed to not be included at all is Norm Chow. He has a ton of college experience as an offensive coordinator, did a two year stint in the NFL, has been proven to be successful running offenses, and is a buddy of Darryl's from his USC days. The big downside of him is we are not sure his recruiting abilities and he has never been a head coach. However, he is surely a sexy, big name pick. It would be interesting if he was in the mix, as he definitely was four years ago.
Syracuse basketball is #13 in the AP, 8-0 and has a reasonably good chance to be 9-0 heading into the big match-up with Memphis. Is this all a little too-much-too-soon for a team that hasn't been this successful in a few years?
I think Memphis is a great final early test for Syracuse before the grueling Big East Conference starts. One of two possibilities will happen at Memphis. First, they could win, which gives them one hell of a resume heading into the Big East, and if they are a marginal Big East team, their non-conference schedule will get them into the tournament. Or, what could happen is they lose, bringing them back down to reality, they recommit to practice and the team mentality, and they go and kick a bunch of ass in the Big East and earn about 12 wins in the conference, guarantying them a spot. Either way, the outcome is acceptable to me, as they have already gotten through a tough non-conference slate already, so having one loss going into the Big East will not make or break this team in the least. It might give them a wake up call though, as they need much more intensity, especially on defense. Additionally, if they do manage to beat Memphis, they will surely rise in the rankings, as well as have a lot of momentum for the conference slate.
With a month on NCAA basketball under your belt, give me an honest guess at how Syracuse will fare in the Big East. Who will win the conference?
I think Syracuse is definitely a top five Big East team, which is much more credit than the eighth spot that they were voted in during the preseason poll. What remains to be seen is if they can play one of the tough Big East teams and end up in a position to win. I'm not sure that anybody knows the answer to that now. One thing we can gleam from the early goings is that both Notre Dame is vulnerable, and Louisville is as well. Plus, Louisville was overrated from the start. I still feel the same way about UConn. Now, this is not me being bitter, but this is the same historical complaint I have always had with UConn every year they are ranked so high. They play one or two tougher non-conference games, and even those games are versus lesser opponents, and they stay ranked so high. Meanwhile, they play the likes of Bryant, SoConn, Sacred Heart, and Quinnipiac every season. I think the team to beat right now in the conference is Pittsburgh. They seem like a real deal, they have great personnel, and they are tough as hell to play in The Pete. They are always a dangerous team come the Big East Tournament as well. I think Pittsburgh will probably win the regular season and possibly the tourney as well.
What will the loss of Devo for an extended period of time (or the entire do to this team?
First off let me say, especially as a law student/lawyer, what an absolute fucking joke the "judicial process" at Syracuse is. It is not just, nor does it really afford to anyone the protection and resource of a lawyer. Everyone deserves representation, and this is coming from an individual who is the most pro-prosecution you can get, who plans to spend most of his adult life doing that kind of work. Also, in my experience is it arbitrary as hell.
That being said, I'll move on to the actual question. I think it totally depends on how long the loss would be. If it is for three to five games, I think the impact would be marginal at best. Especially, since there are five games before the Big East even starts. Syracuse would find other ways to score, and there is enough talent on the team that I think we could be just fine. Plus, Devendorf sitting out for a bit might not be a bad thing as he has been forcing a lot of drives lately causing turnovers. It could do him some good to study what is going on during the games. However, if the team is without him for let's say ten games, that could be a problem as he is missing out on that experience, he would be getting even more rusty, and the team would clearly miss his shooting and passing ability in the Big East. It could also put the team in a situation where they lose a couple of games by a close margin that they probably would have won with him contributing offense in the line up. This would then put them behind the eight ball come Selection Sunday. I think this possibility is unlikely, but it is certainly present. Either way, only time will tell and the decision would have a huge impact on the team depending on the length of the suspension, if any, but it is never good when you are dealing with discipline problems, and depending on the length, those seem to be the most likely possibilities.
Don McPherson was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame on Monday. Who's the next Orangeman (if any) who deserves induction?
Probably no one that is not already inducted should go. However, there is a case to be made for Donovan McNabb to get the call. Although he only compiled a total record of 35-14, he was named Big East Offensive Player of the Year 1996, 1997, and 1998, as well as being named the conference's offensive player of the decade. He still holds several conference and Syracuse records, and anyone that saw him play, especially the Virginia Tech game in 1998, and sever other big time games, can tell he was an outstanding and special player. If anyone else from Syracuse is close to getting in, it is certainly Donovan McNabb.
Thanks as always to Brian and if you're not already checking Orange44 daily, you should be.