Let's face it, Syracuse fans...we have a bug up our ass about Rutgers.
There's something about the current Syracuse-Rutgers football dichotomy that is disconcerting. Rutgers is decent, and has been for a while, and Syracuse is bad, and has been for just as long. Almost as if the football equilibrium always requires the programs to be on opposite sides of the spectrum.
Like Patton Oswalt would say, we've entered in some strange, alternate version of Earth where the world has been turned on its head. In the world I know and grew up in, beating the tar out of Rutgers was an annual tradition not unlike Homecoming or the Mets collapsing. Between 1987 and 2004, the Orange beat the Knights 16 of 18 times, scoring 30+ twelve of those times, including a 70-14 demolition job in '98.
In this wacky world that we now live in, Rutgers dominates Syracuse and has done so for the past four seasons. In each of those games the Knights have put up 30+ points and in each of those games the Orange have failed to score more than 17.
It's not right. It's not fair. This isn't the world I signed on for. We have to go back, Kate. WE HAVE TO GO BACK!
All due respect to Rutgers fans, the balance of the world have been undone. Someone went back in time, stepped on a butterfly and changed everything. Now it's time to go back in time to kill that guy before he kills the butterfly so that Syracuse can reclaim it's rightful place and Rutgers can return to it's doormattery. It's science.
So you can understand if Doug Marrone, as part of his charge to fire up the troops the other night in Boston, apparently worked the Scarlet Pimpernels into an answer about recruiting:
It was also worth noting that he took an implied shot at Rutgers. He said that a lot of the bad press and rumors about players leaving the program was driven by “people scared of the program rising again, especially those in Central NJ.”
Obviously, this is a couple of things. #1, it's Doug putting the kibosh on any kind of mistaken understanding about the players leaving. You and I know there is no bad press and there are no rumors. That's just a savvy attempt to quickly create an issue and then squash it.
And as for the implied shot to Rutgers...well, who knows if that's true. I'm sure Rutgers' coaching staff isn't printing up newsletters all about the Syracuse football program. But if asked by a recruit or high school coach, I'm sure a Rutgers' assistant would point to the defections as a negative, the same way you'd turn any rival school's situation into a negative to look better.
Rutgers fans aren't amused, however. Bleed Scarlet, for one, is taking Dougles to task:
With all due respect, get over yourself Dougie. I fell into a hysterical fit of laughter when I read this comment. Greg Schiano doesn’t stay up at night worrying about a program in upstate New York that hasn’t won much lately. Charlie Weis might, though. Keep it up and you’ll end up a Greg Robinson-level punchline.
Honestly, I don't think it was a comment worth fretting over. This is college recruiting. Lord knows what's said behind closed doors about one another. Any good salesman, and that's what recruiters are, is armed with plenty of ammo about his rivals and uses it all the time. That Doug's apparent comment made it to the outside world is unfortunate but not incendeary.
Too be fair, while Syracuse has indeed been terrible the last few years, I think it should give Greg Schiano pause that the Orange might be back on the road to respectability. There is a direct correlation between Syracuse's lost grip on the NYC-area recruiting base, SU's demise and Rutger's rise. It's not the only reason but it's sure been a lot easier for Rutgers to get better players since they stopped being interested in going upstate. A revitalized SU program would immediately challenge the Knights for that base once again.
And let's not forget that if Paul Pasqualoni remained at SU, Ray Rice would have worn Orange instead of Red.
And God forbid Schiano leaves anytime soon, Rutgers and Syracuse could find themselves swapping spots sooner than anything thought. For now, the balance of power is still in Rutgers' favor. But change is in the air. Hopefully, when our men go back in time to kill the guy who kills the butterfly, they don't accidentally kill a separate butterfly which turns us all into half-man/half-lizard abominations...then we'll never know how this all turns out. Fingers crossed.