As the Syracuse Orange get ready to host the Stony Brook Seawolves, I wanted to find out the answers to some lingering questions. How does Stony Brook have such a potent running attack? Will their success translate to a victory over a FBS squad? And just what in the hack are Seawolves and/or a Seawolf?
When I was eight years old, I created my own pro football league and I gave every team what I thought was a really cool-yet-nonsensical animal-themed name. It included the San Francisco Bayhawks, the Toronto Snowcats and the Charlotte KnightMares (works on multiple levels). Eight-year-old me LOVES the name Seawolves. Thirty-four year old me is confused. What happened?
Stony Brook's teams used to be called the Patriots. Like many SUNY schools, they were a lower-division athletics program. They underwent a brand change in the mid-90s in advance of their move up to Division I. Why they chose Seawolves is uncertain. Stony Brook is relatively close to the northern shore water on the East end of Long Island, but a Seawolf is a mythical creature hailed by the Tlingit tribe, which is from the Pacific Northwest. There is some alliteration value, which is always a plus.
Between the baseball team's Cinderella run and the football team's recent run of success, this feels like the golden era of Stony Brook Athletics. Can you sum up Stony Brook's athletic history up until now and confirm that this indeed the dawn of a New Seawolf Order.
This is clearly the apex of SBU athletics. The football team has became a legitimate playoff-quality team in FCS and is heading to the very good CAA, the basketball team under Steve Pikiell is now a regular contender for the America East title (and they recently renovated their arena) and the baseball team's run was fantastic. The university president, like many others, thinks branding through athletics is a strong way to build the SBU name, and with Hofstra getting out of the football game, Stony Brook is "the" sports university on Long Island now.
Miguel Maysonet and Marcus Coker ran for approximately 10,000 combined yards last season. The Stony Brook running game has racked up over 700 yards so far in two games. What makes this team such a RB haven?
Well, Coker did it at Iowa last season before transferring, but he replaces graduated Brock Jackolski in a really potent 1-2 running attack. SBU head coach Chuck Priore was the offensive coordinator at Penn when I played there in the early '90s, and we had a very strong running attack at that time. I'd imagine he's stuck to those principles as he's worked his way up the ladder, and has molded SBU sort of in the same way that Stanford grew -- with a physical approach and a power running game. Less Andrew Luck at QB, of course. The level of competition SBU plays is wildly variable, but they have moved the ball on the ground against the good teams they have faced, too (UTEP, Sam Houston St, etc).
I don't know if you've seen any taxis in Manhattan recently but we're New York's College Team. Is that something that bothers Stony Brookers? Is there any kind of rivalry or hatred for that upstate school that keeps talking about how they own New York City?
I don't really know that many Stony Brook grads, but I don't think anyone would be bothered by that or consider Syracuse a rival institution. Despite 58% of all Long Island HS grads enrolling at Syracuse, there's really nothing that connects the two schools in any significant way. Since NY is essentially a pro sports market anyway, that whole brand campaign for Cuse falls a bit flat for me anyway. Their alumni in the City clearly care, but I doubt anyone else really does one way or another, similar to Northwestern being "Chicago's Big Ten team." Yeah, OK. Whatever.
Who are the great Stony Brook alums of all-time and can we expect to see any of them in the Dome Saturday? Can we expect ANY Stony Brook alums in the Dome on Saturday?
Joe Nathan (MLB reliever) would be the name most of your readers would probably recognize. Joy Behar got a master's degree at the school. Here's the list, per Wikipedia. I doubt SBU will have much of a crowd presence at the Dome. That's a long trek from campus.
Since I have you, couple quick questions about the 2012-2013 Syracuse basketball team. Whatcha think? How they looking? When they're 20-0 in January, will you be among the many, many national sportswriters going out of their way to talk about how they don't deserve to be No. 1?
Well, it's definitely going to be different. I wish Waiters had stayed to have a monster season, but can't nitpick being taken 4th in the NBA draft. There are some good pieces left. I like the potential of Christmas and Carter-Williams to really emerge. Louisville appears to clearly be the best team in the league, but no reason Cuse can't be in the mix after them with Marquette, Georgetown, ND and maybe Cincinnati.
Gun to your head...do the S'Wolves have a real shot here? What percentage chance are you giving them?
Shrugs. Maybe 10%? Most likely result is you and your buddies are sweating things midway through the 3Q when it's like 20-14 or something and you've made a couple sloppy turnovers. I'd imagine size/talent will win out over 60 minutes, but an outright upset would not be a miracle. They'll be able to move the ball some and won't be awed by the atmosphere.
Thanks to Andy for taking the time to answer my smarmy questions. Check him out over on Twitter.