Syracuse Football by the Numbers: New York's College Team

WARNING: This fanpost his heavy on facts, research, logic and reason. Light on fluff, speculation, perception and nonsensical hooey. If you don't like that stuff, turn away now go back to playing NCAA 12. And don't say I didn't warn ye, ya hear?

(Ok maybe I sounded kinda mean there. But sometimes the truth is just hard to hear.)

In sorting through a sea of speculative talk as we anxiously await the upcoming football season, I thought I'd take some of my time and research some of the more commonly held beliefs regarding our beloved football program, and see how the hold up against some cold hard facts and figures. I don't claim to be an expert on the subject, and did this mostly for my own enjoyement/information. But I found some pretty interesting stuff, IMO. Feel free to let me know what you think...this fanpost is dedicated to the great state of NY.


MYTH #1: New York State doesn't have enough good HS players to support a high-profile college football program


In a word: Bullshit.

Or is that two words? Either way, I pulled up the rosters of the last 25 Syracuse Football teams, starting with the upcoming season going all the way back to the undefeated 1987 team. I chose this sample for the following reasons:

- 4 different coaching regimes are represented, who were all distinctly different: One was a HOF coach, one sorta-ok-but-not-really coach, one God-awful coach, and one whose legacy is still TBD.

- Some (but not all) of the very best Syracuse teams and also very, very worst are represented, as well as everything in between

- This is the most relevant era of Syracuse Football to ME personally as a fan. This isn't to say pre-1987 Syracuse Football is irrelevant, rather, my very earliest memories of Syracuse started with the 1988 Sugar Bowl. So I assume (and quite correctly, I might add) that's when dear ol' dad began the process of brainwashing.

- I'll also assume many of you don't remember much regarding SU football prior to 1987. For those of you who do remember, don't worry, I'll focus on those days in a later post.



ENOUGH ALREADY, you say?!?! Okay, onto the results. Here we go:

- Syracuse placed 65 players in the NFL Draft during this time, bookended with NYS boys Ted Gregory in the first round of the 1988 Draft and ending with Doug Hogue in round 5 of the 2011 Draft.

- Of those 65, 25 (38.4%) were products of NY. More than twice as many as any other state, and more than the next leading three states (NJ, PA and FL) ...combined


- Of course, NY players also accounted for the greatest prentage of players on the during these years as well, making up an average of 27.6% of the rosters during this time, followed by PA (13.6%), NJ (12.5%) and FL (9.7%).

- Never were there a greater number of players on the roster from a single other state than NY. There was one tie at 18 in 1996. 

- Of the 5 best teams during this sample (1987, 1988, 1991, 1992, 2001), there were an average of 5 more NY players on the roster than over the entire 25 year period.

- Of the 6 worst teams during this sample (2002, 2005-2009), there were an average of 4 less NY players on the roster than over the entire 25 year period.

- 1987 was the high mark for NY players at 37 on the roster. This was also Coach Mac's best season, and best season overall during this sample period.

- 2002 was the low mark for for NY players at 16 on the roster. This was also Coach P's worst season (4-8).

- Coach P's best seasons were 1991 and 1992, finishing at 10-2 both years. He also had the most NY players of any of his teams those years with 29 and 28, respectively. Those numbers took a dive by about 31% (average) thereafter and remained relatively low compared to the rest of the sample.




- Greggers 2nd 'best' team in 2008 featured the most NY players he had at 34. His worst team in 2005 had the least NY players at 25.

- 34 NY players were on the roster in 2008, cut down to only 23 the following year. HCDM increased that number to 30 in 2010, and brought Syracuse it's first winning season and bowl win since 2001.





- Make fun of it all you want, but there's something to being "New York's College Team". There's a clear connection between Syracuse most successful seasons and maximizing the number NY players.

- Coach P clearly had his sights set outside of NY from day 1 as HC. He managed to bring in some NFL talent from NYS during his time, but as his successes diminished, so did the numbers of his NY players

- Coach Mac found a way to win using a solid base of NY talent. The dynamics of football and recruiting are different today than they were in the late 80's, but clearly he did a better job of bringing in and developing NY players than his successor.

- HCDM is still unproven as an NY recruiter and head coach, but his focus on building a strong base of NY players is spot-on. That's what made Coach Mac successful, and straying from that is one of the things that eventually doomed Coach P.



 - You'd never hear me call Greggers a terrible recruiter, the numbers here don't support that here (or elsewhere for that matter). He probably was just too focused on building that wall to pay attention to the petty things, like winning football games.

I plan to do more of these types of posts and expand on out of state players next. I have the data ready to go, but it's a crapload of info that's worthy of it's own fanpost rather than cramming it in as an afterthought.

Thoughts? Comments? Have at 'er.

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