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Greatest. Oranges. Ever. (Or At Least The Aughts)

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via is surely just getting started with it's Decade in Review but they've already got a couple articles up that try to tell the story of 2000 - 2009.

First up is Bud Poliquin's SU Athlete of the Decade piece.  After some careful consideration between Carmelo, Mikey Powell, Water Reyes and others, Bud lays that honor at the feet of Gerry McNamara.  Rightfully so.

But nobody dominated this fading Orange decade in the fashion of McNamara, who, between 2002 and 2006, started 135 consecutive games, scored 2,099 points, won the 2003 national championship (with some assistance from Carmelo Anthony and others) and earned two Big East Conference tournament crowns, one in legendary fashion.

And, of course, there is this: McNamara’s Syracuse teams attracted the three largest basketball crowds in Carrier Dome history, and five of the top nine. If you don’t think there was some cause-and-effect at play in all of that — if you don’t believe McNamara was a rubber-necker’s delight for four years — you must have missed those caravans of buses rolling along Interstate 81 from the kid’s Scranton hometown.

Bud doesn't even mention the Big East Tournament performances, the big game shots and any other number of clutch performances.

Meanwhile Donnie Webb lays down the five biggest stories of the decade for Syracuse football.  Almost all of them revolve around the three head coaches who led SU during the last ten years.  In what seems like no particular order, they are the firing of Paul Pasqualoni, the Greg Robinson Era, Doug Marrone: Year One, The ACC flirtation and the Greg Paulusination of Syracuse Football.  I can agree with just about all of those, though I take a slight issue with one note about the post-ACC raid Era:

However unlikely, the Big East emerged as a stronger, more powerful football and basketball league.

A stronger basketball conference?  Absolutely.  But a stronger football conference?  You could say that the Big East is more competitive than it was at the beginning of the decade...but stronger?  Not when Miami and Virginia Tech were yearly members of the National Title discussion before they left.  Guess it depends what you consider better...balance or championships.