I have no idea how it happened, but it has been nearly a month since I posted an article on TNIAAM. Somehow, the beginning of June turned into the middle of August and everything Syracuse Orange sports related is ready to kick into full gear.
Honestly, my schedule for the last month or so has been nothing but work, golf, some sort of event such as a wedding or family event and more work. I guess, that is life living in Central New York, as when the weather is good you better DO SOMETHING because it could suck next week and you will feel really guilty if you don't take advantage of it.
Luckily, I did take advantage of our beautiful, wet and cool summer, but I am ready to hop back into the TNIAAM saddle. But, before I do, I'd like to list out a few observations I had while away and reading TNIAAM that I didn't get a chance to write about.
Doug Marrone Hasn't Changed
Lets get this out of the way considering there's going to be a handful of comments about how nobody cares about HCDM anymore and I should move on. And, I would move on if I, unfortunately, didn't love the Buffalo Bills. But, I do love the Bills and I couldn't help but observe what's going on at training camp with HCDM at the helm. The biggest Syracuse-related takeaway? HCDM hasn't changed one bit since moving from Syracuse to Buffalo.
It all started with the Bills' star defensive end/linebacker Mario Williams getting banged up early in training camp, not practicing and visiting doctors, which HCDM, apparently, KNEW NOTHING ABOUT. HCDM didn't say much about Williams or the injury and the Buffalo media didn't like that very much. This led to some testiness between Marrone and the local media -- which over the last 10-plus years of covering a bad team has become a grumpy group.
Marrone has also stayed true to his true self during press conferences, as Bills fans are catching on quickly to what we all dealt with for four years in Syracuse. And, if you're curious, he still uses standpoint quite a bit.
All-in-all, through training camp and a few preseason games, Marrone and Co. do have the Bills "coached up" as things are a lot more fluid. (And yes, I can tell this from preseason games. This gives one an idea of how sad things have been in Buffalo the past few seasons.) Oh, and if penalties and dumb mental mistakes are a sign of what is to come for the Bills, well, Buffalo is on the right track because there's been plenty of them during the preseason.
Jim Boeheim Doesn't Look Or Sound Like He's Retiring Anytime Soon
Again, hate to bring up a sore TNIAAM subject but am I the only one seeing a rejuvenated Boeheim over the summer?
Now, this may happen every summer and I can't vividly recall it happening, but since the end of the 2012-13 season Boeheim seems a bit more upbeat and seems ready as ever to tackle another season. Sure, there's been a few bumps in the road on the recruiting trail, but with the upcoming trip to Canada ready to tip-off it seems Boeheim is ready to coach'em up like old times.
If there's one thing I've learned about JB, from covering him for two years as a media member and watching his every move as a contributor to TNIAAM, its whatever is coming out of his mouth at an exact moment it needs to be taken with the biggest grain of salt. Boeheim is getting older, and when older people get tired they get less patient and their mouth filter gets warn down. So, unusual stuff slips out on a more frequent basis. However, with a bit of a break and some sleep, the mind gets healed and Boeheim is ready to roll.
I Loved Tracking Tyler Ennis At The World Championships
We have all heard the rumblings from Boeheim and other assistant coaches about incoming freshman point guard Tyler Ennis, who is expected to takeover a starting spot this Fall. However, when I was put in charge of TNIAAM for the months of May and June, one of the funniest things I did was track Ennis at the under-19 World Championships.
Understanding he was playing for Team Canada, which had a very limited offense and depended on Ennis to put the ball in the bucket, Ennis' stat lines were impressive.
The kid can score and pass, and from what we've heard from the local and bigwig reporters, he hasn't missed a beat in the pre-Canada trip practices.
Boeheim on Tyler Ennis "He's as good as any point guard we've brought in here."— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) August 19, 2013
No Love For Syracuse Football In The ACC?
Look, I understand SU is heading into new territory with a new head coach and two new quarterbacks, but the betting odds on the Orange winning a division or overall ACC crown were downright ridiculous.
It began early in the summer with 5Dimes giving SU a +7,000 money line to win the ACC. (For those that have no clue what a money line is, the equation is simple. If one bets $100 on SU to win the ACC and they do, the gambler gets $7,000 in return.)
Then, at the end of July, Bovada gave Syracuse 66/1 odds to win the ACC and 25/1 odds to win the Atlantic Division!
Now, I understand how most of this works, as bookmakers need to create odds to get people betting and losing money. So, actual thoughts on SU could be more positive. But, man. Looking at the Orange's schedule, besides Clemson and FSU, which is known to lose a game they should win, SU can win any of its games.
There's a lot of unknowns on offense, but there's still a lot of talent. Add, the Orange's defense should be in the form it was in 2010-11, this should be a team that, if plays grind-it-out, hard-nosed, smart football, will win a bunch of games in the ACC.
(P.S., my brother was out in Vegas this summer and, yes, I did have him lay down some cash on the Orange.)
Speed Round: Quick Thoughts On The Summer
Dear John Oliver, nice job.
Damn you Leinenkugel for creating the Summer Shandy and making me feel like a terrible beer person. I was doing so good.
Dear The Bridge, I still don't know how to feel about you.
Dear baseball, I am sorry I haven't paid attention to you at all, but, you know, people change and we just need to deal with it.
Dear Avett Brothers, sorry I had to leave your concert at CMAC early. Solid show. I'll see you again sometime soon.
Dear weddings, you're so much fun, but you're bad on my liver and clog up my summer calendar. So, next summer can we just not have so many of you to attend?
Finally: I Am Freakin Pumped And Ready To Roll!
Sean and the rest of the TNIAAM blogger will likely agree with me on this, when you go all Syracuse Orange all the time you get burned out a bit. This is probably why Sean took a small break during May and June, and I decided to drop off the face of the TNIAAM earth for the last 48 days.
However, its time to get back into the swing of things and it starts this Wednesday when SU basketball travels to Canada for four straight games. After that is done, its a build up to the football season opener against Penn State, Saturday, Aug. 31. (That's 11 days away!)
So, if you're like me and took full advantage of our beautiful CNY summer by ignoring Facebook and Twitter. It is time to start paying attention again. Fall is just around the corner -- how did that happen? -- and its time to get ready for the SU sports year.