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Hyperbole, Thy Name Is Buffalo

"The head coach of the Syracuse Orange is facing the biggest game in his three seasons with the Orange." -John Kekis, The Associated Press

That's the story currently making the rounds of newspapers around the country. Even
Rochester D&C columnist Bob Matthews feels that even if the game this weekend isn't "a must win or can't lose proposition for Syracuse Orange coach Greg has to be close."

Greg Robinson has had a few "biggest games of his career" this season. Washington was the first one, as it was Robinson's chance to set the tone for his vastly important third season as head coach. Syracuse was obliterated. Miami University was the second one. This was Robinson's chance to prove the Louisville win wasn't a fluke and that he could snowball the emotions of the victory into another one. He could not.

And so, here Robinson is. Biggest Game Of His Career III. Against mighty rival West Virginia? Or is it South Florida, the #2 team in the country? I know, it's gotta be Rutgers, the team Syracuse is battling for NYC marketing bragging rights. That's gotta be it, right?

Nope. It's Buffalo.

Yep, that's Buffalo. The Buffalo who was so bad two years ago, they were the only team we defeated and we did so soundly. The Buffalo who didn't play Division 1-A football ten years ago. The Buffalo that was thought to replace Temple as the red-headed stepchild of our schedule.

Buffalo (3-4)
has never been in a better position to beat Syracuse, and we know it. Looking at their schedule, sure they're under .500 but you have to look closely. The Bulls have lost when they were supposed to lose. Rutgers, Penn State, Baylor and Ball State are all either BCS teams or have winning records. But looking at the wins (Temple, Ohio, Toledo), you realize that when faced with an equal or lesser opponent, they get the job done. This is not the pushover from two years ago.

Much of the thanks has to go to head coach
Turner Gill, whose name is now starting to come up for the soon-to-be-available Nebraska job. If Gill does end up going to Nebraska at the end of the season, it will be just one more in-state resource that the Orange weren't able to capitalize on. Not that I think Gill is the official answer for Syracuse at head coach, but if we find ourselves in a situation where we need a new one (cough, cough), he's certainly on the list.

The truth is, it doesn't matter who wins this game. Syracuse has already lost. No offense at all to the fans of the Bulls but the mere fact that we are having this conversation is ground enough to realize that the current edition of the Syracuse program is beyond repair. I have no problem living in a world where Syracuse loses to Buffalo and its considered a huge upset. I do have a problem living in a world where Buffalo and Syracuse are considered equals on the football field. As bad as things got for Miami in the 90's, if there was ever a point where FIU was on a level playing field with them, you're telling me they wouldn't blow up the program?

We play in the Big East Conference, we are a BCS team, we have been playing football since 1889, we are home to a national championship and a Heisman Trophy winner whose life is about to be made into a movie. Buffalo has...
Victor E. Bull.

Ultimately I think its wrong to call this a "must-win" game for Greg Robinson. If Syracuse wins this game, does that really make you feel any better about things? Is that gonna make you write the owner of and tell him to cool it? If a home win over a MAC team is your definition of a "career-saving victory," I don't know what to tell you other than you need to realize how far your expectations have fallen.

I'm less concerned with how this game affects Greg Robinson than how it affects DOCTOR Daryl Gross. The man behind the "New York's College Team" campaign that plastered cabs in Manhattan and billboards all over the state. Well, Doc, if we lose to Buffalo, that will mean that "New York's College Team" will have lost to Rutgers (closer in proximity to NYC than us), lost to in-state team Buffalo, have an extremely tough match-up upcoming with UConn (who is no farther away from NYC than we are) and will have a worse record than both the Bulls and Army, the only other 1-A teams in the state. Even if we beat Buffalo...does that make this situation any more tenable?

Sorry to be the broken record today, I meant this to be a post about Buffalo and somehow I ended up here. I guess I just realized that I was falling prey to this "biggest game of Greg Robinson's career" talk when the mere fact that we are discussing the Buffalo game this way proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that we have fallen too far too soon for us to be sated by a victory on Saturday.