Syracuse will open its football season this Saturday at 6pm when they travel to Akron to take on the Zips. Usually when it comes to opponents like this, it's hard to find a link or subplot to get fans interested beyond the usual "we want to win" excitement.
In this case, there seems to be way too many links between SU and a MAC team. There's just something about Syracuse and Akron that gives this game more subplots and interesting twists than it could possibly deserve.
- Most notably, there was Akron's 42-28 win over Syracuse in the Carrier Dome two years ago. It was the nadir of the Greg Robinson Era. A week before the eventual loss to Penn State, this was supposed to be the sure win that kept us afloat for bowl consideration. Instead, it was possibly the worst home loss in the Carrier Dome Era and led to the infamous "If Syracuse plays Akron 1,000 times, how many times do you expect to win?" question posed to DOC Gross ("1,000") and Greg Robinson ("StammerstammerstammeruhuhuhIdontknow"). The only good thing to come out of that game? It assured us that Greg Robinson would be fired soon.
- Akron's current coaching staff consists of two guys who might have a personal interest in beating Doug Marrone. The Zips OL coach Mitch "No Fatties Please" Browning was let go when Marrone took over the program two years ago. Last season, D-Line coach Derrick Jackson was fired by Marrone before taking up the same gig at Akron.
- The weirdest connection seems to be the never-ending list of recent recruits who were looking at both Akron AND Syracuse. Donnie Simmons, Dale Peterman, Prince-Tyson Gulley, Louie Addazio, Cameron Lynch and Micah Robinson just to name a few. It got to the point where we were surprised when Akron DIDN'T pop up on the school list for a possible recruit.
- Jose Cruz, Syracuse's newly-minted started tight end transferred to us from Hofstra. But he didn't start at Hofstra. He started at...you guessed it...Akron.
- Syracuse's star player is Delone Carter. Carter was the 2005 Mr. Football in Ohio. His hometown? Akron. Oh and for good measure, Syracuse's No. 3 RB, Prince-Tyson Gulley, hails from just outside Akron. Chances are good someone from Akron will be scoring TDs against Akron on Saturday.
- Akron DE Deni Odofin played high school football at Union-Endicott in Endicott, NY. The same high school and town that current SU DE Chandler Jones is from, as well as older brother Art Jones.
- Akron's new head coach Rob Ianello was briefly linked to the Syracuse job opening before Doug Marrone swooped in.
- Akron and Syracuse are currently tied 1-1 in the overall series. The scoring in the series is tied at 56 apiece.