At this point, we all know it's probably asking too much to expect the Syracuse Orange to blowout the Tulane Green Wave this weekend. It might even be too much to expect a win at all, given the last couple weeks. If we're supposed to use the season-to-date as a guide, the Orange will win, but not by much.
However, if the team was waiting to have a statfest kind of game, this is probably the last chance to do it (well, maybe UConn). And what would it mean for this team and this fanbase if the Orange could return from New Orleans with a 20-30 point win under their belt?
It's pretty simple, really. Syracuse isn't as bad as a lot of folks (maybe even you) think they are. They just make a lot of mistakes. They almost made one too many mistakes against Toledo and they made ten too many mistakes against Rutgers. Cut down on the mistakes and this is a team with potential.
"We talked about keeping your head up and being a man and recognizing the mistakes that were made that were critical," Marrone said. "You can't win football games when you make those mistakes. The way to overcome things is to work hard, and the message that I told the players is that you can't let one loss lead to another."
The Orange are desperate for an offensive spark. Be it in the form of a player, or just an overall explosion of yardage and scoring. Statistically, for all its bells and whistles, this year's offense doesn't look much different than its predecessors:
In the 18 games in which the offense has been employed the Orange has a better record – 11-7 entering Saturday’s 8 p.m. game vs. Tulane at the Superdome in New Orleans – but not better production. Spence’s 2009 offense ranked No. 94 in the nation among 120 FBS teams. The 2010 attack under Marrone ranked No. 97, averaging 322.9 yards and 21.0 points per game. Through five games this season it is No. 99, averaging 329.0 yards and 24.6 points per game.
Marrone said "It’s an open audition" in terms of the wide receivers right now. Anyone who wants to step up can do so this week and prove themselves. Keep an eye on who gets on the field and who stays there.
Not sure how we overlooked it, but this game could provide a little demon exorcizing. We're returning to the scene of the crime: Pat Dye's ill-fated decision to go for the tie in the 1988 Sugar Bowl that blemished SU's otherwise unbeaten season. I know we're not playing Auburn, that we've played in the SuperDome since and that this game doesn't mean 1/100 of what that game meant, but we've got a reputation to keep.
Syracuse's Doug Marrone recalls Superdome reopening in 2006...NOLA.com
SU's Vaughan making most of opportunity to start...YNN
Dave Rahme talks Syracuse vs. Tulane football with Gomez & Dave...Syracuse.com
The Axepress Lane: SU-Tulane Mini-Preview...Brent Axe
Syracuse needs to beat Tulane to gain momentum before bye week...Daily Orange
Tulane running back Orleans Darkwa had a good start in the Army game, rushing 16 times for 138 yards and scored one touchdown. He sat down with beat writer NOLA.com Tammy Nunez to talk about that and the upcoming Syracuse game.