TNIAAM: Due to vacation plans, I was unable to watch the Syracuse-Pitt game. How lucky was I?
Brian: Well, in all honesty, because it was two teams of somewhat equal skill sets, it was a decent football game if you have no emotional stake in it whatsoever. Because you are a fan of the Orange, you were lucky to not witness it.
The team overall really is not that bad. Granted, on any given week, some facet of the team that had been consistently good will, for lack of a better and more accurate term, shit the bed. However, like many of us have said before, any rational person would have expected some improvement in our offensive line. This was anything but the case this season, and no game was a better example of this than the Pittsburgh contest.
With a new quarterback that had played pretty well in the second half, driving with less than a minute, in enemy territory, only down by three, you get really excited and hopeful your team can pull off a win. Then that old familiar song started playing again as our offensive line decided to play "Let Pittsburgh Win the Game!" All in all, I would take a wedding with any bar and maybe getting text messages about a game over watching it these days.
TNIAAM: That was probably our last, best chance to get a win this season. Assuming we lose out, honestly, is Robinson out?
Brian: I would like to think that Syracuse could pretend to be good and play the spoiler for UConn later this month. Assuming this does not happen and we lose the remainder of our schedule, I would at least think the University would take a long and hard look at firing the man.
I've heard several rumors from more reliable than not sources that the Board of Trustees members have been independently raising the money to buy out the remainder of the man's contract. To which I say "YES!" Something has to change immediately. Frankly at this point I do not care if it is Robinson or Gross first, but one or both need to leave and go far, far away.
The team needs instant improvement, and therefore firing and replacing someone is a must. I think that Gross probably has a little more security on the hill at this point, therefore the only logical conclusion is to fire Robinson. That will have to look bad for Gross as Robinson was Gross' big hire.
TNIAAM: Switching gears as quickly as possible, what are your first impressions of the SU basketball team after a tighter-than-expected exhibition win over Division II St. Rose?
Brian: First off, I have to state that this was an exhibition. Therefore the game was not coached as if it was a real game. Therefore, I don't think it is valid to make any legitimate conclusions based on how close this game was. Did it suck that it was so close? Yeah, it kind of did. Being in the dome, there was a clear sense of "here we go again", but I think that is just the nature of a fan base that is used to being competitive.
That being said, I liked a lot of what was shown on the court. Clearly Flynn and Green will be contributors on the floor. You can tell that Flynn and Harris played before because they have a lot of fun out there together. Kristof Ongenaet was the biggest surprise I thought. He can shoot, take it to the basket, rebound, and generally knows what to do on the floor.
Moral of the story, I really wouldn't put any stock in the game they played. At one point Boeheim just had all freshmen in the game. He was not coaching it like an actual contest, so we should not make assumptions like it was.
TNIAAM: Way-too-early prediction on how SU will fare this season?
Brian: Syracuse is winning it all baby! Woooooo! Na, I'm joking. It is even too early for ridiculously awesome predictions as well. I do think we will do well though. I think the Big East coaches are correct in that we will be a top 5 Big East team. Now that Rautins is sidelined for the season, the biggest question is will Syracuse still have enough legitimate scoring threats from the outside to spread the floor and truly succeed? I think so. Flynn was looking sharp out on the floor and he is a shooter. We always get three pointers from random people here and there as well. I think that if we continue to improve on the season and are competitive when Big East play starts, the team will be in good shape.
You have to think that the head of the selection committee will select us as a makeup call if we are on the bubble. I predict a nice sweet sixteen appearance. Anything after that I will not wager a guess until later this season.
TNIAAM: How soon before Jim Boeheim and Daryl Gross have a public spat and what circumstances do you foresee?
Brian: Oh man… how awesome would that situation be? Dare I say Legen… wait for it… dary. Legendary! The most revered coach in the program's history and the upstart AD that thinks he knows it all, battling it out over something. What would that something be? My first thought is that it would be over some facet of the basketball program, be it men's or women's. We all know Jim Boeheim knows what he is doing. By all indication Quentin Hillsman does as well. If DOCTOR Gross tries to interfere with these programs other than in a strictly supervisory aspect related to cost of the program or something like that, there will be a public outcry starting with one Mr. Jim Boeheim. You know damn well the public will be on Jimmy's side as well. The most obvious circumstance has to be the Hopkins issue.
I doubt a public spat would happen this season after Mr. Boeheim and his staff landed the #1/2 Recruiting Class in the nation. Plus, Boeheim is not going anywhere until 2010 at the earliest. However, if the Hopkins situation is not set in stone by next season, we could see Jimmy make a statement in the media to put some pressure on the good DOCTOR, DOCTOR Know-It-All.
TNIAAM: Finally, the lacrosse the schedule has been released. Thoughts?
Brian: I love me some lacrosse. Not as much as basketball, mind you, but I have grown to appreciate Syracuse Lax over the years. It looks like we have another Independent Caliber schedule for the Orange this season. Of the 14 opponents the Orange will play in the regular season, seven of which were NCAA tournament teams last season. This is not an easy slate, but it never is.
Interestingly, nine of the 14 games will be played in the Carrier Dome. I think this is less us being afraid to play elsewhere, but rather that the Carrier Dome continues to average a high attendance for lacrosse. We continue to average around 7,000 people for games, which is on the high end for the game.
Highlights of the season include, for the second straight year, a meeting with Virginia in the Inside Lacrosse Faceoff Classic in Baltimore. This is an early test of the Orange, and will be a good litmus test for how the team is. Syracuse has its traditional fare of NYS teams including Colgate, Cornell, Binghamton, Albany, and the rival Hobart. We play Villanova for only the second time to start the season. The last meeting Syracuse won 19-8. Syracuse will of course play Princeton, which will also be a good test late in the season. Syracuse will then play two road games in a row with Cornell and Rutgers. Another good test of preparing for a (hopeful) tournament run.
It should be a fun season with plenty of ups and downs. Thus, it should be a typical season for the Syracuse Orange. Look for Matt Glaude to be bringing the pain with some solid lax previews closer to the season.