Sep 1, 2012; Syracuse, NY, USA; Syracuse Orange safety Shamarko Thomas (21) and defensive end Micah Robinson (back) celebrate a defensive stop during the second quarter against the Northwestern Wildcats at the Carrier Dome. Northwestern defeated Syracuse 42-41. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-US PRESSWIRE
The Syracuse Orange faithful were gutted after watching their team claw their way back into the game against the Northwestern Wildcats, take the lead, get called for a shady penalty and then lose the game in heart-wrenching style. It's the kind of game you need a few weeks or at least a game against a cupcake to recover from.
Sorry Doctor Jones, no time for love, the USC Trojans are coming.
Saturday's meeting with the Trojans was primed to be a showdown with the No. 1 team in all the land. However, after the Alabama Crimson Tide put a hurting on Michigan, they usurped USC's spot atop the AP Poll. Instead, we'll have to settle for shocking the No. 2 team in all the land.
It's hard to find advantages for the Orange but one of them could be the fact that they played this team last year. Doug Marrone was on the 1984 team that got drilled by Nebraska in 1983 and then upset the No. 1 Huskers in 1984. So he knows...
"I think our players understand the situation. They know who we’re playing. They know the stage we’re playing them on," he said.
"Playing them last year gives us a very familiar feel for a good team," junior linebacker Marquis Spruill said. "I think we’re going to be very prepared."
Another slight or possible advantage? Not playing the game in the Coliseum.
"Especially since we are now playing them on the East Coast, at a field that we’re a little more familiar with," Nassib said. "There is a little less intimidation in the fact that they are USC. Playing in the Coliseum definitely was a little intimidating."
The Trojans recently banned opposing teams from doing walk-throughs of the Coliseum for some bulls**t reason. However, that won't stop them from making one in MetLife Stadium this week.
In fact, part of the appeal for USC is the fact that they're traveling to the outskirts of New York City and, one would presume, visit NYC as well. The team says they're going to stay as focused as possible:
"I can’t wait for this weekend," Barkley said, looking ahead. "Week one is in the books. We’ve moved on. We’re ready for Syracuse. It’s a great weekend for our fans. I know we have a lot of East Coast fans as well. For us, it’s all business."
"It’s really more for our fans and our players’ families to be able to travel, make a great weekend of it," Kiffin said of the decision to head east. "It’s not about the exposure (for the program). It’s more about the experience."
Barkley had some very diplomatic things to say about Syracuse's linebacking corp, all of whom got a chance to meet him last year and would the opportunity for more meet-and-greets Saturday.
"They get after it," he said. "They play really fast downhill. Their linebackers remind me of our own. It’s good to notice that going into the game. They play with great speed."
Lane Kiffin has seen what Ryan Nassib can do and he is concerned:
"We're going to need to play better and make more plays on the ball, in the secondary specifically," USC Coach Lane Kiffin said.
Now get to know Lane Kiffin...