The great 2012-13

This isn't an original idea by any means. It's been talked about on this site to some degree, and Brent Axe just posted a piece on that discusses it from the CNY level. But I think it's time we start discussing how this year stacks up among the all-time greats at SU.

Criteria - This is mine, you can have your own

Football and Men's Basketball will always take precedence over sports like field hockey and even lacrosse. And a national title in one of those sports trumps a national title in all the others combined. But for the sake of this argument, let's look at success across as many sports as we can find.

  • Men's Basketball and Football Success count the most. These are the most important sports at SU and set the overall mood for the fanbase. If you fail in one of these areas, that's going to set you back a lot in the overall rankings.
  • Men's lacrosse counts more than everything except FB/MBB. Definitely not as popular as the two heavyweights, but significantly more popular than all the rest of the sports. Women's lacrosse may get here at some point, but not yet.
  • Lacrosse plays on a different scale than everyone else. When you go to more than 20 final fours and win 11 national titles, they mean a lot less overall. It may make us spoiled, but it's true. Final fours are basically a bare minimum requirement.
  • Non revenue sports count when they have great success, but don't matter if they are abject failures. We care about the Field Hockey team going to a final four, but the year won't be ruined if women's volleyball goes 1-29.

The Contenders (note: it's a lot harder to find non-revenue stats for the older teams)


Major Sports: Football - 8-5, Pinstripe Bowl Win, Co Big East Champions, First Round Draft Pick. Men's Basketball - 30-10, Final Four, Big East Tournament runner up, Projected lottery/first-rd pick

Lacrosse: 15-3, Final Four (so far), Big East Tournament Champions, #1 overall seed in tournament

Others: Women's Lacrosse - 18-3, Final Four (so far), #4 overall seed in tournament, Big East regular season champions, Big East Tournament champions -Field Hockey - 20-3, Final Four, Big East Regular season champions, Big East Tournament runner up -Cross Country - Men's Big East Champions, Men's 15th Nationally, Individual Big East Champion on men's side -Women's Basketball - 24-8, #7 seed in NCAA Tournament, AP All American for third time in history -Men's Soccer - 14-6-1, Sweet 16, First ever NCAA Tournament victory


Major Sports: Football - 9-3, Gator Bowl Champions, First Round Draft Pick. Men's Basketball - 29-9, Final Four, NCAA Tournament Runner Up, First Round Draft Pick

Lacrosse: Couldn't find record, Final Four, lost to eventual champion Princeton in semifinals, #5 overall seed

Others: Unknown, help if you have info


Major Sports: Football - 11-0-1, Sugar Bowl tie, Heisman Trophy Runner Up, Maxwell Award Winner, First Round Draft Pick, #4 in Final AP Poll -Men's Basketball - 26-9, NCAA Tournament, 2nd round, one year removed from NCAA Runner Up

Lacrosse: Couldn't find record, National Champions, #1 overall seed, Gait Brothers

Others: Unknown, help if you have info


Major Sports: Football - 7-2, Lost in the Cotton Bowl, Jim Brown, Top 5 in Heisman voting (robbed), top 10 overall pick, #8 ranking in final AP Poll -Men's Basketball - 18-7, First Elite 8 in program history, would have been even better if Jim Brown didn't leave team before the season

Lacrosse: Pre lacrosse dominance. Didn't carry same weight in 1957.

Others: Unknown, help if you have info

Excluded but worth mentioning

1986-87 The 1987 calendar year is likely the best in SU history, with the undefeated season, NCAA runner up for basketball, and Final Four for lacrosse. But the academic 1986-87 season gets wiped out thanks to a 5-6 performance by the football team. Lack of bowl or NCAA tournament appearance is an automatic DQ in my book.

2002-03 The greatest year in SU basketball history also led to a NCAA title in lacrosse. But football went 4-8 and was left out of the bowl discussion.

1959-60 The football team won the 1959 national title behind Ernie Davis. The basketball team went 13-8, which was relatively successful for them back then but not good enough to get into this conversation.

1960-61 Syracuse football went 7-2 with Ernie Davis playing everything. Strangely, they didn't go to a bowl though. No idea why. The baseball team (we had a baseball team!) went to the College World Series in 1961 and had 2 major league pitchers on the team. The basketball team went 4-19, and the lacrosse team had yet to go to an NCAA Tournament.

1961-62 Ernie Davis won the Heisman, and SU went 8-3 with a Liberty Bowl win over Miami and a top 15 ranking to end the season. Syracuse basketball finished its final season that didn't involve Jim Boeheim, 2-22.

Final Verdict
For my money, 1995-96 remains the best academic year for the top sports. The football was a little better, with the better bowl win. The basketball was a little better with a title game appearance vs. a semifinal appearance. Lacrosse is a wash for now, but a national title would make things very close overall. And when you factor in the depth of success SU had this year, it might put 2012-13 over the top.
What do you think?

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