Brent Axe, he of the ESPN 1260 sportstalk program On The Block from 3-6PM EST during the week, is a friend of the blog (or am I a friend of his show?) and I thought it might be a good time to check in with Brent, see what he's up to and get his take on Syracuse-sports-at-large. Check out Brent's thoughts on Doug Gottlieb, David Oku and the state of SU's basketball, lacrosse and football teams:
You recently had noted "SU-Hater" Doug Gottlieb on the show. How do you feel like that interview went and what did you learn from him? What did you learn from SU fans' reaction to the piece?
I think it went well. I took some heat for "not being tough enough" on Gottlieb, whatever that means. The point of the interview was to get his side of the story on why he is hated so much by SU fans. I just wanted to get out of the way and hear his theory on that, not get him on and attack him for "hating SU". I don't agree with everything the guy says, but he took time out his incredibly busy schedule, 20 minutes before his own ESPN Radio show began, to come on my show. There is a time and a place for things. This was not a time for attacking Gottlieb for past stances on Syracuse. I had bigger issues in mind.
I learned a lot in that interview. I bet most Syracuse fans, as I didn't, had no idea that he had a ton of relatives that went to SU, including his mom! I learned that Gottlieb is very much aware of the criticism out there in Orange nation about him and has an answer for anything you throw at him about that.
What I learned from the fans is that a lot people hate Gottlieb and nothing he says will ever change that. But I also learned he has a lot more supporters out there than you think.(Listen to the interview here)
How important was that Georgetown win for Syracuse? What happens if Syracuse loses that game?
The Georgetown win was HUGE. Jim Boeheim admitted in that Sports Illustrated article that it "would have been the worst loss in SU history" had they blown it. Now, I would tend to think the 1987 National Title game still qualifies for that title, but the guy has a point. Blowing a 16-point lead, at home, to your biggest rival would have been devastating.
Had they lost that game, I think it would have destroyed their confidence. This is a team that has been trying to find its way in a rough Big East conference and losing that game would have caused more finger pointing and in-fighting that I care to think about. Especially with a week to think about it.
ESPN's been doing a lot with the Sports Mount Rushmore topic. I did my own version of the Syracuse Mount Rushmore. Who would be your four heads of Mount Cusemore?
Funny you should ask that. I talked about this on the radio and did a blog post about it recently. Here are my four.
- Jim Brown-Greatest Football Player Ever. Syracuse or otherwise.
- Jim Boeheim-The biggest name of the biggest sport at Syacuse
- Gary Gait-The Michael Jordan of his sport.
- Bob Costas-The greatest broadcaster of his generation and the inspiration for many, many young men and women to attend Syracuse, the greatest sportscaster factory in the country.
The 2009 football schedule is set and SU will have eight home games. Based on what you know right now...what is SU's best-case scenario? Most likely scenario?
Best case? 6 wins. Mike Williams and Art Jones are back and they have all those home games. Fan support will be back with Doug Marrone getting everyone all fired up. That said, they still have to learn an entirely new offensive and defensive system, find a QB, find a competent offensive line, and learn how to tackle again. Rome wasn't built in a day and Syracuse Football won't be re-built in one season.
Most likely? They will win 4 games and threaten to win two more they weren't supposed to compete in.
Recruit David Oku continues to take his time deciding where he wants to go to school. At this point, is it already a win for SU because they're part of the discussion for top national players again or do we really, really need this guy to sign on the dotted line?
Its already a win for a couple reasons.
1. The fact that the # 1 all-purpose running back in the country was asked to visit Syracuse and he didn't die from laughter, that is a sign of progress.
2. It shows this new coaching staff has serious connections and may know what the hell they are doing.
The lacrosse season is underway and SU's expectations are back to where they should be...Final Four and beyond. How do you see the season shaping up?
Syracuse will be in the hunt for the Final Four again. They still have some serious offensive talent in Matt Abbott and Kenny Nims, a great defender in Sid Smith, the best longstick middie in the country in Joel White, and a guy I think could be the greatest goaltender Syracuse has ever seen in John Galloway. But there are two big things on my mind.
1. Faceoffs. This is a serious, serious issue. I don't think people realize just how good Danny Brennan was. To win 67% of your faceoffs is just insane. To hear John Desko rattle off a laundry list of potential candidates to replace Brennan in the few times I have asked him about this isn't very encouraging.
2. Cody Jamieson. He is a filthy player. If the NCAA clears him, this team goes to another level. He is that good. He could easily win the Tewaarathan (someone spell check that) if he is cleared in time. (Ed Note - Tewaraaton. Close...)
Thanks for taking the time, Axe. For more SU talk, be sure to listen to On The Block during the week at 1260AM on your radio dial. And if you're in the SU area this weekend, be sure to tune in to CBS-5 at 12pm on Sunday for an SU-Villanova pre-game show live from Tully's featuring Brent and CBS' Kevin Maher. Or I guess if you're really motivated you can go to Tully's and be there yourself. Tully's Tenders, you guys.