Does every fanbase go through the same roller-coaster ride that Syracuse basketball fans seem destined to go through every season?
All fanbases are convinced that, at some time or another, the Gods that watch over their sport, single them out for bouts of suffering.
Take "The Randon Guy Who Suddenly Can't Miss From Three-Point Range Against Syracuse." Every Syracuse Orange fan knows what I'm talking about. It happens at least four or five times a season (Providence's Bryce Cotton was the latest). Somehow, someway, TRGWSCMFTPRAS always finds us and there's nothing we can do to prevent him from putting us on high alert.
We like to think that this phenomenon happens exclusively to Syracuse fans. The truth is, every fanbase must feel this way. We just assume they don't because we spend so much time focused on SU games and graze over everyone else. On the court and off the court. If you can think of a thing that happens "only" to Syracuse, I guarantee you it happens to everyone else.
And yet, that still doesn't change the feeling that it always seems to be something with SU hoops, doesn't it?
Look at the last three seasons along.
2010-11: An 18-0 start was undercut by the usual "wait til they play someone" rhetoric before a four-game losing streak saw the creation of a Scoop Jardine point shaving rumor.
2011-12: What should have been one of the most fun seasons in SU history was also one of the most miserable, between the Bernie Fine Scandal, a Drug Testing "Scandal," Fab Melo's first suspension, Mookie Jones leaving the team and Feb Melo's second suspension.
2012-13: Halfway through another solid season, we've already heard the usual "they don't play anyone/road game" stuff, seen Michael Carter-Williams get embroiled in a shoplifting brouhaha and now James Southerland turns academic suspensions into a yearly tradition for SU.
What are the details of Southie's suspension? Don't know and it doesn't matter. Perception is reality. It's basically become my mantra on this site and when talking about national perspectives.
You and I know that Syracuse played the No. 15 team in the nation in their hometown and an SEC team on the road this season, but perception is that Syracuse doesn't play anyone good on the non-conference schedule, and so that's what people believe.
The Bernie Fine scandal was, at best, overblown, and at worst, completely made up. But 90% of America still probably thinks he's Jerry Sandusky II.
That "drug scandal" was a complete screwjob predicated on a false premise and shoddy reporting. But it doesn't matter. All people remember is the report itself.
Maybe there's a reasonable explanation for why two (as far as we know) Syracuse basketball players have been suspended mid-season for academic issues. But the fact of that matter is, it doesn't matter. "Jim Boeheim Has No Control Over His Players." That's the perception.
The most frustrating thing sometimes is how many of these issues are easily changeable. Not that Jim Boeheim cares at all, but if we wanted to shut people up about our scheduling, we could throw another game or two on the schedule against Top 25 teams. We don't schedule as weak as people think we do, but we also don't go out of our way to schedule tough either.
And as for academic issues so bad they lead to suspensions, well, that's certainly avoidable. Especially when you're talking about a VPA major and whatever cockamamie classes Fab took last year.
Alas, the right of passage that comes with being a Syracuse fan seems to continue. We will win, we will put together great seasons and we will give fans a reason to get excited. But we will also have something happen every couple months during the season that makes fans look at one another and say, "it's always something."