EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 8: Head coach Doug Marrone of the Syracuse Orange talks to his team during a timeout against the USC Trojans in the second half during a game at MetLife Stadium on September 8, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. USC defeated Syracuse 42-29. (Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images)
Look, when Bud Poliquin writes a column about Doug Marrone that references Ali Baba, Rick Dees and salt potatoes, it's something we need to discuss.
Bud actually reminds us of a pretty interesting milestone that Marrone met this past weekend. SU's 28-17 win over Stony Brook was Marrone's 40th as head coach of the Syracuse Orange.
Ten coaches have made it to the 40-game mark in the history of Syracuse Football and Marrone's 18-22 start, which doesn't sound great on paper, is still good for the sixth-best start in school history ("Buck" O'Neill coached 40 games but during two different stints).
Of course, that list includes a lot of old-timey coaches like "Chick" Meehan, Vic Hanson and "Ossie" Solem (One thing the early days of SU football had that we don't now? Great coach nicknames). If you're just counting everyone Ben Schwartzwalder-forward, then Marrone trails Coach P (30-9-1) and Ben (22-17-1). Marrone did slightly better than Coach Mac (15-24-1) and much better than Frank Maloney (13-27) and, thank the Lord, Greg Robinson (8-32).
Bud does point out one fact that needs to be noted when you're comparing these First 40 stats. Bud makes note of the 40 games prior to each coach's tenure and shows us that the 40 games before Marrone got here was the worst stretch of any of these coaches (.225). Only Ben Schwartzwalder came into SU on the heels of an era quite as bad (.288). Bud also notes that Schwartzy was +11 win turnaround while Marrone has the second-best boost with a +9.
What does all of this prove? Whatever you want it to prove, I suppose. I think for those who want to put Marrone on the hot seat, it's important to look at the Pre-40 that Marrone followed, literally making his the toughest job of any SU coach who made it this far. Also fair to note that Coach P, for all this early success, also took over a program at one of it's highest points.
Bud also mentions that only three SU coaches have made it to their second 40 (Schwartzwalder, MacPherson & Pasqualoni). Of the three, the worst winning percentage over games No. 41-80 is .638. You could argue the First 40 was when these coaches were building their program and the Second 40 is when it became what they wanted. If Doug Marrone can complete his Second 40, that is where its fair to compare him to those who came before him.