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Pittsburgh 33 - Syracuse 20: A Long December

As it turns out, we wouldn't have played in the Beef O'Brady Bowl anyway. So, no big whoops, right?

The Syracuse Orange Pittsburgh Panthers defeated the Syracuse Orange 33-20 on Saturday to end the season on a five-game losing streak. After a 5-2 start, the Orange end the year 5-7. No bowl game. No winning season. No fun at all.

The theme that you can take away from the Pittsburgh game is the same theme you can take away from the entire second-half of the season. Inconsistency. Lack of fundamentals. The same mistakes over and over (and over).

I don't know what happened to this football team during the season. I know that's a simple statement but it's true. You can make up stupid things that announcers say like "they lost the will to win" or "they simply didn't want it as bad as the other team" but that's all nonsense.

Those guys out there today wanted to beat Pitt. They wanted to win. They just couldn't.

Literally from the opening kickoff, they could not get out of their own way. Ten seconds into the game they were already down 7-0 and never led at any point thereafter. They mounted a few comebacks along the way but always seemed to find a way to screw themselves over just before they could make it serious.

For Doug Marrone, it's a serious crossroad for him as a coach. No, he will not be fired and you're a lunatic for thinking he should. The day Greg Robinson gets more years than Doug Marrone is the day I stop writing this blog. However the truth is that Marrone's flaws have been revealed.

He lost this team. I'm not sure how or why but at some point in October he lost this team. The penalties, the turnovers, the miscues...these are coaching problems.

The Nate Hackett Issue is going to have to be dealt with as well. Hackett's move to the sidelines last week reeked of desperation. A change for the sake of change without actually changing anything. If Mr. Tecmo Bowl returns next year, Marrone is going to have to do some serious explaining to the SU fanbase on why.

Year One of the Doug Marrone Era was a write-off and doesn't count.

Year Two of the Doug Marrone Era went way beyond our expectations but exposed an inability to close late in the season.

Year Three of the Doug Marrone Era saw a severe drop off in quality of play and a massive November freefall.

Year Four is going to be the truly critical season for HCDM. Can he rebound from such a disappointing finish? Can he do it with a team almost entirely made up of his guys? Can he do it with a senior QB that has played in his system for thee years? Can he win in November (2-10 so far)?

These are the questions. And we've got a long time to wait for the answers.


FYI: I'm giddy for the Jerome Smith Era.