You know the drill by now. Brian Harrison of Orange44 and I take turns asking each other questions about Syracuse sports. Insight is provided. Jokes are made. Life is shared. It's matzo ball soup for the Syracuse fan's soul.
This week Brian and I recap the Maine game, talk about the USF game, ponder the fate of Devo & Harris and wonder aloud if the Yankee Bowl sounds like a good fit for the Orange.
The Maine win was sloppy and frustrating at times. Do Orange fans have the right to complain about their wins or should we just be happy to get them?
We probably should all be happy that we are winning games, but that being said mistakes and underachievement are still mistakes and underachievement. I myself gave two failing grades to the team in my postgame reactions. When you take a step back, or are surprised by things like say a punter that is actually a quarterback AND the fans notice and the team doesn't, then you deserve some criticism. That is fair, and so a little criticism is warranted until this team is performing at the level they should be, or even overachieving, which is the standard Doug Marrone himself has set for his players. Therefore I don’t feel bad calling them out on it here or anywhere.
What's the #1 thing Syracuse should take away from the Maine game?
That special teams needs to take a long, hard look at what they are doing. Specifically I am talking about the kick return and punt return formations. Losing some possessions against a 1-AA team is all well and good, but if we do that this week it is going to be hard to get out of that hole, and the entire fan base knows it. I’m sure the team and coaches know it as well. And much like ball security from the Northwestern game, you can be sure that Doug Marrone and staff are working on special teams this week to correct those mistakes or lapses. Therefore, I’m not really worried about it. They definitely took care of the ball security issue. Will USF need to go for broke like USF? Probably not. But it is nice to know SU can stop it if they do.
We're .500! It's only been three years but it feels like an eternity. Looking ahead, can the Orange actually turn this into a bowl-eligible season?
It is certainly possible. But I, much like several of the other bloggers, think this will be a five win season. However, rather than being realistic Debbie Downer in this answer I’m going with bright and uplifting. If Syracuse can get to five wins before that Connecticut game, the sheer desire and will of this team attempting to get to six wins may carry them over Connecticut. However, the team will need a lot of luck and weather on their side as Syracuse has never won in East Hartford. We need a nice road win in the conference, and if it is somewhere besides L'ville it is a nice step forward. Oh and for the record, UConn... U SUCK!
South Florida's defense looks about as tough as any we'll face this year. Does our offense stand a chance?
Two words: Mike Williams. Syracuse will have a chance because of Greg Paulus’ evasion ability, as well as Mike Williams. If the other receivers get hot as well, we have a real shot of shocking the Bulls, who may just underestimate Syracuse and be already looking past the Orange. What will be key on the day is Delone Carter finding some moderate success on the ground. Syracuse will no doubt fail to protect Paulus on every snap, but if the offensive line can win some battles up front in terms of the run, then Syracuse could really have something that could snowball and catch fire. Wait… what? You know what I mean. That will be the key to Syracuse pulling the upset. With Mike Williams the offense always has a chance to get a game breaker.
Which player can Syracuse least afford to lose...Greg Paulus, Delone Carter, Mike Williams or Arthur Jones?
At this point you have to say Arthur Jones. While no starter would be good to lose, Syracuse could sub in competent people in all of those positions. However, Jones is the leader of the defense, the first line of defense, and has the resume of a genuine playmaker. He has the ability to make offenses key on him by taking up two offensive linemen. While Williams has similar ability on the offense, he still needs Paulus to deliver the ball to him, where as Jones is responsible for his own destiny. And as we all know, the Syracuse rush defense and defensive line is pretty good. The secondary is not so much. Losing Jones means that all of the defense would be just pedestrian, and that would spell trouble for the team as a whole.
What is the marquee Big East football game shaping up to be this season? Cincy-USF? Cincy-Pitt to close it out?
Pitt is still lacking that marquee win, especially after losing to the ACC last week. Right now the game has to be either Cincy/USF or Cincy/WVU. Because of the big win over Florida State, you have to think right now it is Cincinnati and USF. Cincinnati is simply dominating right now, and until they lose I will assume they will be far and away the outright Big East Champion. While West Virginia is a good team, they did lose to Auburn. Right now USF and Cincinnati are perfect, so that has to be your marquee matchup, that will most likely decide the league championship. Next week may be a completely different game though.
Where willand Eric Devendorf be six months from now?
Handing me a combo meal? ZIIIIIIIING!
Just kidding. I imagine that Eric Devendorf will have exhausted all of his NBA attempts and will be playing in Italy or some other European country, earning thousands of dollars, and supporting his family well. Similarly, I believe Harris, especially with a recent setback of a sprained ankle, will fizzle out with all of his NBA leads. He is probably heading to the AAU or semi-professional route. Maybe he can catch on in Europe as well and get a nice pay day, but I have not heard anyone that interested in him from the other side of the pond. Who knows? I’m sure his agent, both their agents, are on the phone trying to get these guys signed somewhere that will benefit from their experience and can pay them handsomely for it. Obviously I wish them both the best of luck though. Hopefully they will both find a position playing basketball being well compensated somewhere they enjoy.
The Yankee Bowl is happening, possibly next year. Would you rather see the Orange play in that or the International Bowl?
Speaking from personal experience, back in the day (specifically 2001), and even in 2004 when we still went to Bowl Games, the entire point was to get to go to a place that was not balls cold like Syracuse was and is in the month of December or early January. I went to both of those Bowl Games, in Phoenix and Orlando respectively, and let me say that a big part of the Bowl Game affair would have been sullied had those not been warm weather locations.
Similar to the first questions however, at this point beggars can’t be choosers. If we go to a Bowl Game we should be extremely glad because that means we won six games and will be making a bowl appearance for the first time since 2004. Kudos and huzzahs all around. However, in picking between those two locations, most Syracuse fans when looking strictly at their own personal comfort in watching the game, will pick the International Bowl. As prestigious as it would be playing in Yankee Stadium (and keep in mind I am a huge Yankees fan saying this) I would rather go to Toronto because that stadium has a dome. While I myself have gone to several outdoor football games in the last few years, admittedly the Carrier Dome has spoiled me. Plus I enjoy the Sky Dome (yes, I still call it that). Also, I get to Toronto far less than the City of New York, so to have a good reason just to hang out in Toronto isn’t a bad thing.
So for me, I guess I’d rather go to Toronto. But honestly, anything south of Maryland is clearly preferred. Out west is fine too. It is ridiculous when I agree with Bud Poliquin. Although to be fair, the last time we played a game on my birthday, December 29th, was in 2001 and we won 26-3. Maybe that Yankee Bowl wouldn't be such a bad idea after all.