What if Syracuse Football Was on "Hard Knocks": Some Hypothetical Highlights

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

College teams don't participate in Hard Knocks... But what if ours did?

Two former Syracuse football players -- newly minted NFL players, Jerome Smith and Marquis Spruill -- will be on HBO's "Hard Knocks" series this summer. Both Orange standouts will likely hold some key narratives too, as they attempt to make the Atlanta Falcons' roster (of particular concern for Smith). In its eight seasons thus far, "Hard Knocks" has given us some highly entertaining and compelling television, and it's likely the Falcons provide more of the same this offseason.

But what if college teams were able to be on "Hard Knocks?" Or, better, what if OUR college team was able to be on the show?

(Slight update: This show would obviously have to be renamed):

Below is a hypothetical episode-by-episode summary. This wil never happen, but it's fun to imagine what it would look like just the same:

Episode 1

  • Head Coach Scott Shafer is introduced to the audience with his confident, positive attitude and hard-nosed mantra. Everyone else falls in line, and this becomes a topic of fodder on Twitter for the rest of the offseason... until the Orange beat those fans' teams (save FSU and Clemson) later on in the season.
  • Kicker Ryan Norton is pressed about his "history of misbehavior." He runs away from the camera while cracking open a Bud Light man can.
  • Quarterback Terrel Hunt is seen at his locker listening to Aloe Blacc's "The Man" on his Beats by Dre. This will be a common theme for every player at training camp.
  • Offensive tackle Ivan Foy is pressed by the camera crew to reenact his end zone dance. He happily obliges. In every episode.

Episode 2

  • Scott Shafer is asked about the "soft-nosed" comment from last year. Again. SU Twitter goes bananas, while the rest of college football Twitter decides to rehash for a week.
  • "Hard Knocks" gives an extensive look into Julian Whigham's recovery from last year's injury in the Florida State game. Whigham talks about what he went through and the support he got from fans. And then he retells the story of Jimbo Fisher visiting him in the hospital. We all sob, and the weird friendship between FSU and Syracuse fans gets even closer and weirder.
  • Adonis Ameen-Moore talks about re-establishing himself in the backfield after the "tank package" was scrapped last season. Inadvertently, this ends up leading to a conversation about weed, since he's from Colorado. Moving on...
  • Someone brings up the Georgia Tech game. Everyone at home puts their fingers in their ears and yells loudly until it passes.
  • Kicker Ryan Norton is pressed about his "history of misbehavior." He runs away from the camera while cracking open a Bud Light man can.

Episode 3

  • Offensive Coordinator George McDonald celebrates more big recruiting gets by tweeting in all caps about "another one" and talking around names in the best way possible while the camera's on. We all know it's yet another kid from the Miami area.
  • Giving us a dose of sadness for the second straight week, the cameramen talk to John Raymon about missing more time with an injury. It's downright heartbreaking, and the audience latches on to him and his recovery. #Play4John becomes a thing on Twitter.
  • While looking at position battles, the crew hones in on the middle linebacker spot, and whether the job goes to Marqez Hodge or Luke Arciniega. Both seem very cordial with one another and playful about the competition. When asked about who will win the job, veteran starting linebackers Dyshawn Davis and Cameron Lynch both give vague answers about both being great.
  • Punter Riley Dixon is spotted on the quad wearing a "Riley '44' Heisman" t-shirt that he made himself. The Syracuse wing of the internet goes nuts. Syracuse temporarily posts their own version of the tee on the bookstore website, and then takes it down once they're called out again by that pesky blog, NunesMagician.com.
  • Kicker Ryan Norton is pressed about his "history of misbehavior." He runs away from the camera while cracking open a Bud Light man can.

Episode 4

  • The gang takes a trip up to Fort Drum, giving a great glimpse into the relationship forged between that base and the team. We also hear an extended explanation of the new Nike uniforms -- with a lot of effort put into the interlocking '44' as a tribute to Fort Drum. A link to buy the jerseys is shared on-screen and by the HBO Twitter feed. Jerseys sell out in seconds, despite costing over $100 apiece.
  • Joe Nassib is asked about his cousin (and former SU starting QB) Ryan, and he doesn't have much to share. So instead, they end up telling the story of how Jim Boeheim was Tom Coughlin's RA back at SU. Jim Boeheim pays a visit, because the internet needs to explode with a picture of Jim in a tank up at Fort Drum.
  • Scott Shafer awards scholarships to running back Greg Tobias and wide receiver Franklin Santos. Everyone cries and the seniors get to talk about what all of this has meant for them. We are genuinely happy as an audience.
  • An impromptu a capella session breaks out amongst the wide receivers and offensive linemen. We're all mesmerized. Then Jarrod West nails a high note on John Legend's "All of Me" and once again, SU figures out how to blow up Twitter for an hour.
  • Kicker Ryan Norton is pressed about his "history of misbehavior." He runs away from the camera while cracking open a Bud Light man can.

Episode 5

  • Starters are announced, putting an end to the speculation around several key position battles. Everyone shakes hands and acts happy about the outcome, but the show also teases some conflict.
  • Running backs Prince-Tyson Gulley and George Morris II talk about the importance of the number '44' and we get our first real appearance from Floyd Little, who adds a whole lot more back story to it. Clips from "The Express" come on, leading to a perfect segue -- all of the players watching the film after practice.
  • Coach Shafer talks about the Villanova season opener, and the show insists on talking about the Big East's breakup too. John Thompson appears out of nowhere to add his own two-cents. He's swiftly carted off by security.
  • "The Man" plays one more time, with an image of the Syracuse players running out of the tunnel at the Carrier Dome. It's officially football season.
  • Kicker Ryan Norton is pressed about his "history of misbehavior." He runs away from the camera while cracking open a Bud Light man can.

***

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