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The Best Quest Since The One Starring Jean Claude Van Damme

It wasn't long ago that Syracuse fans took bowl appearances for granted. So much so that the team's inclusion in the 2004 Champs Sports Bowl was looked on as an unjust result for such a storied program. For our insolence, punishment was swift and it was mighty. And ever since that fateful day the Orange have not sipped from a bowl, be it Peach, Orange or Poulon Weedeater.

Many have called for a return to glory, a return to a bowl game. Easier said than done. Some want to set their sights high, with visions of Gator Bowls dancing in their heads. But that takes 9-10 wins. Others would be happy with a trip to sunny Birmingham for a Bowl stage. But even that asks for 7-8 wins. Remember who you're dealing with and what schedule they're dealing with. It's not fair to ask for that many wins from this team.

But what about six wins? That's not asking too much, is it? That's how many we've won in the last two season, surely we can speed up the timeline just enough if we try. And six wins is all you need to become bowl eligible. Sure, six wins won't get you to Florida. It won't get you to Alabama. It won't even get you to Kentucky.

But it can get you January.

And what if I told you that you wouldn't even have to get on a plane to get there? And to be honest, you wouldn't even have go digging through your drawers for a pair of shorts. And you'd still get to visit a foreign country. Isn't that something you'd be interested in?

And so, I give you The Syracuse Orange and the Quest For Toronto. Take Two.

The International Bowl. The only bowl played outside of America's borders, and hence, outside of the laws of America, nature and Jesus. Anything can happen. No late hits. Spike-embedded shoulder pads. Impromptu cockfights. It's like playing a football game in international waters. Except on land.

Plus, you know, we probably won't have much of a choice if we are bowl eligible. You really think the St. Petersburg Bowl is itching to try and sell tickets to the SU fanbase for a match-up with a 6-6 Conference USA team? (Is it me or do they have their sights set on West Virginia-Southern Miss?)

That said, the International Bowl would be a shining culmination to a season of redemption for the program:

For a football team ready to re-emerge into the national spotlight and prove to the country, nay, the world, that they are once again a force to be reckoned with, there is no better litmus test than a 6-6 MAC team.

For a team that spends all season inside a dome to protect itself from the harsh condition outside, there is no better way to let loose and take in nature's glory than play...inside another dome.

For the long-suffering fanbase, there is no greater reward for the snowed-in people of Syracuse, NY than the chance to spend their hard-earned vacation time in a city even further North during the dead of winter.

International Bowl, thy name is redemption. Syracuse football, thy quest is clear.

Last season, the Quest was derailed early on, brought back to life miraculously, only to be stomped to death a few weeks later. And some might ask, why not scale back and make this year's quest The Quest To Make It To Week 7 Before Ending The Quest? Well, that's not really catchy, so we're gonna stick to what works...mediocre yet still unrealistic expectations.

You may also notice that the Quest-O-Meter is back. Last seen at the lowest possible point, it's been rebooted to "middling." Take notice of it now, that may just be the best it gets all season long.

The Q-O-M will be there on the right side of the page all season long. It replaces the ad widget, which I'm fine with. Clearly, I overestimated your interest in Syracuse-themed novelty lamps. Also, the Q-O-M will return next week for the first edition of "How Fucked Are We 2008," which previews our upcoming opponents based on records and recent games of their own.

Prepare thineselves (word?), the quest does not suffer fools gladly. Then again, maybe it does...