1. Well, we have hit rock bottom. 3 straight losses. 5-5. We haven't had this many losses in a season since... well, last year... and the year before... and the year before... and the year before... and the year before... and the year before... and pretty much every year back to 2001. And then the two years before that. And even during the McNabb era, we averaged 3.5 losses per season. So I guess we are simply regressing to the norm.
2. In other words, I should be negative, but I am really just not feeling it. Maybe spending too much time analyzing the Penn State crap has softened me, but I look outside and just don't see the sky falling. Now I don't live in CNY anymore, so y'all will have to let me know if it is different there. (Not sure why I said y'all.... I am in Michigan... taking this ACC thing to heart, I guess).
3. I should be maud (mad, angry, upset, disappointed) in the offensive coordinator. I remain perplexed that we fail to try to go to deep on downs where teams can safely go deep, such as 2nd and 3. You know... like the second play of the game. We just ran for 7 yards, why not try a little play action there? I get that we have decided to waste portions of every game trying to "establish the run." After all, at the end of every season, a team is measured by its devotion to the run... not wins, losses, points, etc. And I also get that it is important for our undersized RB to do most of his damage when the other team is physically strong. And I get that it is better to be predictable and run straight up the middle as many times in a row... at least until the game reverts to "oh crap, now we have to pass every down." But, at the end of the day, you can only have some many dropped passes in the end zone or for first downs where it begins to shift back to... well, maybe our offensive coordinator is playing chess after all. I'll go from maud to numb.
4. I should be maud at Nassib. He's the leader of this team and seems to be coming up short lately. But I saw him tuck it and run with all disregard for his safety several times last night. It's not his fault that he does not have Daniels' speed. I saw him slowly pull himself off the carpet and pretend that he was not hurt. Yeah, some of those passes had some zip on it. There were enough drops that weren't caused by the zip. And when it is zipped into your hands, really not much of an excuse.
5. I am trying not to be maud at the receivers. Lemon had an outstanding game. Had he caught that TD pass when we were down by 13, it's a whole different game. As is often the case in life, you can do as much as you can, but people will remember the bad one. And Van Chew needs to be on a milk carton. After 8 games last year, he was a star. What happened? Dorian Graham is now officially rattled. It's one thing to miss a catch, it's another to be avoiding the passes like they have Ebola virus on them. Ah well.
6. I am trying not to be maud at the offensive line. It's not their fault that they are playing a more athletic team and don't have BJ Daniels to run away from pressure so easily. It's not their fault that Bailey is an inconsistent blocker in passing situations. We lost two third-down opportunities because Bailey decided to dive at someone instead of slowing him down. Of course, most of us his height would have turned and run in the opposite direction. So there's that. Our offensive scheme of run, run, run.... pass, pass, pass....bomb, pass, pass.... run, run, pass... doesn't seem to be doing them any favors.
7. I am trying not to be maud at the defense. Heck, we knew this was going to be our weakness. We have ONE defensive lineman who can get pressure on the QB... Chander Jones. That's just not enough. Not sure what happens when Jones leaves, but this is a problem. And then we have green all over the rest of the field. I come away being so impressed with Spruill every game. If our defense can make as much of an improvement next year as he did in this offseason, good things will happen.
8. Defense continued. I like Philip Thomas. But spare me the celebration after every tackle. The guy runs for 8 yards on first down, there is nothing to celebrate. Same with the other DBs. You barely got away with pass interference and you are celebrating? There is just too much of that. We didn't see that last year. And yet our defense was far more suffocating. Exuberant youth, I suppose. But save the celebration for moments when your team has more points than the opposition. Or at least is dictating the game.
9. I am trying not to be maud at Marrone. I liked that we went for it on 4th down at the 2 yard line. I didn't like that we didn't try play action on 1st and goal. We just ran the ball effectively. We have Provo and Lemon. Just saying. But, hey, I agree with going for it. A field goal is not going to help us against a team that has put up 70 points in a game this season. I like that he went for it again. Screw what the TV commentators were saying in between discussions of the Pac-12 and Boise St., a TD is what is needed there. A field goal would have just made the loss look closer.
10. Here is the deal though. South Florida had a game where they put up 70 points. We scored 21 against Rhode Island. That's all you need to know about our season. Our offense--fully healthy--could only score 21 points against an FCS team. Meanwhile... USF got the ball inside their own 20 with less than 2 minutes to go and decided to drive the field for a FG. We would have run the ball a few times and sat on it. We would not have scored the TD to go up 37 to 17. Syracuse University Football is NEVER going to be nationally relevant with a team that scores 25 points per game. It's a new era. 3 yards and a cloud of synthetic turf residue is not going to win games. We need a dynamic offense and then have to hope to heck that our defense is at least average. We are going to need a QB that can beat you with his legs, as well as his arms. That dual threat screws up defenses at this level. And we are going to need to play for points from minute 1. Not try to establish the run. What did we run for against West Virginia? WHO CARES!!! We won. It doesn't matter HOW you do it. It only matters THAT you did it.
So there it is. It was cathartic for me. As there is good news sprinkled above, no need to separate it out. This team can still make a bowl game. Heck, if G-Rob could win @ Notre Dame, I don't think we can ever chalk anything up as a certain loss ever again.