The story is old news by now. Longtime Princeton coach Bill Tierney left his comfy confines to take over powerhouse-in-the-making Denver across the country. It was shocking but it was also great for the sport. Denver is almost certainly always going to be nationally-ranked and competitive under Tierney. And they certainly can't be overlooked by anyone, least not the No. 1 Syracuse Orange.
In theory, it should be a pistol-whipping. The Orange boast 9 All-Americans, the Pioneers have "only" 2. The game will be played in the Carrier Dome where SU topped Denver 15-9 last season. The Orange are ranked No. 1 or No. 2 by every notable ranking in the nation, Denver is ranked No. 12 or so, which is like being ranked No. 25 in college football.
And yet...there's a lot of uncertainly out there. On paper the Orange look loaded. Even if the starters are slow out of the gate, there's a whole 2nd wave of players ready to make their case. Still, don't blame John Desko for being concerned about the imminent threat:
"They’re a team that’s in their second year with their coach and his staff. We know they’re well-coached, and I would imagine the Dome will be a little more comfortable for them," he says. "I think they’re going to be a better team. They finish the ball well."
Tierney knows his Pioneers are going to have to play a great game if they want any shot:
"We were trying to show the guys we could get a game like that. Going into it, I’m not really sure we knew who we were at all. We found out right away, but our players learned what it’s going to be to compete with those guys. During our nine-game winning streak, we feel that probably helped us.
"This year we’re going in with a completely different mindset. We’re going to go in there and try to compete and make it a great game."
This season is Jojo Marasco's time to shine. Scott Grodsky from CitrusTV spoke with Marasco and got an inside look at what it's like up close and personal when he dodges from the X. Here's Part 1 of 4. Check CitrusTV for more.