Syracuse vs. USC: 'Home' Field Advantage?

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - FEBRUARY 07: Fans lines up at a rally to celebrate the New York Giants' Super Bowl victory at MetLife Stadium on February 7, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Giants defeated the New England Patriots 21-17 in Super Bowl XLVI at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 5, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

If there are two weather conditions you don't normally associate with Syracuse Orange football home games, it's heat and wind. And yet one of them had an affect on last week's game and the other will have an affect on this week's.

The heat was on when the Northwestern Wildcats visited the Carrier Dome with temps reaching as high at 91 degrees inside the building. This week, when the Orange "host" the USC Trojans in their "home" at MetLife Stadium, they'll trade the secure Dome for a stadium whose fore-bearer had a history of windy affairs.

Doug Marrone doesn't think the windy advantage is quite as much as it used to be in the Meadowlands:

"The only people that were really concerned about the stadium were the kickers and the punters," Marrone, who served as the Jets' offensive line coach from 2002-05, said during a conference call. "Obviously the old stadium … anyone who is a fan knows the conditions, how they could get, as far as the wind."

"I guess I am giving an advantage now, to the opposing team," Marrone said, "but (the streamers on) both poles, field goal posts, whichever way they’re blowing is a pretty good indication of which way the wind is blowing. That wasn’t necessarily the case in the old stadium."

The Orange will welcome back a couple injured players this week. David Stevens will be on the field and there's a chance Sir Alec Lemon will be there as well. Another critical player who could be making a return is Steve Rene, the team's top punt returner. According to Dave Rahme, Rene has been working out on coverage teams this week but not on the kick fielding side. It remains to be seen how the RB/PR will be used on Saturday.

Part of the reason Ryan Nassib was able to put together an award-winning, record-breaking day last week was because his offensive line gave him a chance to do it. How good of a job did they do? They got the ultimate in high praise out of Doug Marrone:

"I thought they did a nice job," Marrone said. "I thought Sean Hickey did a great job with having the blind side of the quarterback there (as Pugh’s replacement at left tackle). They have some pretty good rushers on that team. They were mixing it up pretty good, inside or outside. He didn’t play like a guy playing his first game from what I saw on the sideline."

They'll have to play even better this week when the talent level lining up across from them improves exponentially.

  • What Will Have To Go Right For Syracuse To Upset USC Saturday...Inside The Loud House
  • USC Football: Trojans’ Young Defensive Line vs. Syracuse’s Offensive Line...Reign of Troy
  • Syracuse has tall task vs. No. 2 USC...ESPN
  • Just Being In It Wins It: Why Syracuse Has Already Won vs. USC Saturday...Orange Fizz
  • Syracuse looking forward to home field advantage...The Juice Online

USC WR Marqise Lee talks about the upcoming game against Syracuse:

Matt Barkley talks about the upcoming game against Syracuse:

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