I understand that a co-Big East championship doesn't get Syracuse back to the glory days of McNabb or McPherson, let alone Ernie Davis/Jim Brown territory. But I think it's important to note that SU football has officially crossed an important threshold.
We're back to where we started before Greg Robinson.
To be honest, I wondered if Syracuse would ever be able to recover from the worst stretch in it's program's history. The fact is, with or without Robinson's ineptitude, the game has changed a lot since the 80s and 90s, and it's nearly impossible for a competent northeastern private school to compete. Robinson's scorched earth tenure could have been the nail in the coffin.
Obviously we still want the program to improve, and a .500 record with minor bowl appearances isn't the end game here. But just getting back to the early 2000s was always the first step in a long recovery process.
Don't believe we're back yet? Let's take a look at Marrone's last three seasons when compared to Pasqualoni's final three years at SU ...
Overall Record - 16-20 (4-8, 6-6, 6-6)
Conference Record - 8-12 (2-5, 2-5, 4-2)
Bowl Appearances - 1 (0-1 record)
Conference Titles - 1 co-championship in 2004
Overall Record - 20-17 (8-5, 5-7, 7-5)
Conference Record - 10-11 (4-3, 1-6, 5-2)
Bowl Appearances - 2 (1-0 record so far)
Conference Titles - 1 co-championship in 2012
In a lot of ways, the last three years have been significantly better than Pasqualoni's final three years. The overall record and conference record is better. There was one extra bowl appearance, and one extra bowl win (so far). But even more important, is how the team is trending.
While Pasqualoni's teams were underachieving and trending down to mediocrity (down from a 10-3 season in 2001, and not far removed from the McNabb years), Marrone's teams are generally overachieving and trending upward (from a 4-8 2009 season and not far removed from G-Rob's hell).
As much as we're having some fun with the co-Big East championship not really being a big deal, it's hard to argue with the fact that this program is moving in the right direction.