When discussing Syracuse Orange football on September 6th, 2011, there are two very distinct trains of thought emerging.
No. 1 - Marrone and the Orange should be commended for their furious rally and comeback victory over Wake Forest. They showed a never-say-die resilence and, although there were a LOT of issues early on, this is a team that's going to fight.
No. 2 - Syracuse didn't deserve to win the game and they are terrible.
That's certainly the feeling of D.O. writer Michael Cohen, who went scorched Earth on the Orange in the student paper today. While he does make solid points and many of the deficiencies he points out are critical areas that need work, it's also a little too simplified for my taste.
Yes, the game's momentum completely flipped when Tanner Price went down, but how did that affect the Syracuse offense and Wake Forest defense? Would the Wake Forest defense have turned into the '86 Bears defense had Price stayed in the game? Those guys looked gassed in the fourth quarter, not sure how a guy who's on the sidelines anyway while they play would have changed that.
Anyway, I'm not here to firebomb that article. Like I said, there's merit to the claims. However, if the point is that, "Syracuse won when it shouldn't have," isn't that a good thing?
I survived the Paul Pasqualoni Era and I barely survived the Greg Robinson Era and let me tell you, the Syracuse football team played in a lot of football games it shouldn't have won and, more often than not, they didn't.
I was listening to the local radio folks out here in Seattle this morning talking Washington football. The Huskies just barely survived against FCS Eastern Washington this weekend and the local fans find themselves in the a similar predicament as Orange ones. Are we excited that we won the first game of the season when it seemed like a lesser team would not have or do we get upset with all of the in-game issues and problems that surfaced? I liked what the radio host (who might have been SU alum Mitch Levy) said.
"I'd rather play bad and win than play good and lose."
I'm not saying you should be thrilled with the win and forget about the rest. No way. But at the end of the day, it couldn't been a helluva lot worse. We could have been the only Big East school to lose last week. We could have lost in the Dome yet again. We could have lost our season-opener once more. We could have lost to an ACC team. We could be 0-1 with an upcoming schedule that includes a pissed-off USC team and a sneaky Toledo squad.
Instead, we're 1-0, we did it against a BCS conference school and we did it amid a flurry of coaching adjustments and player determination. I'm not going to sit here and complain about that win. Doug Marrone and the coaches certainly saw what we saw and they're working it out. For now, we're undefeated and I'm fine with that.
Syracuse No. 5 in SB Nation Big East Rankings
Syracuse No. 4 in ESPN Big East Blog Rankings.
Syracuse No.4 in Athlon Big East Rankings