College football is a weird animal. Syracuse Orange football fans lost their s*** this weekend when the team won its sixth game of the season (out of 12). We went nuts in celebration. We cheered the team and the coaches. We shouted our support for Coach Shafer to the Dometops.
For a 6-6 record.
But of course, given what we know about the sport and the situation that Shafer walked into in his first season at the helm, you start to understand why 6-6 is deemed a success. Besides, as SMFS would say, stats are for losers.
DOC Gross, the man who ultimately gave Shafer the promotion from DC to HC, is nothing but pleased with his third football coach.
"We were coming off a successful season and weren't looking to fix something. To be in a bowl game three out of the last four years, and that 5-2 season we started (2011) it really should be four in a row. This shows there is some sustainability now in the program. We had to fight and claw to get to bowl eligibility, but this guy (Shafer) led them to it. He can build off this."
"This was his rookie season as a head coach and he's be the first person to tell you he learned a lot as a head coach," Gross said. "I saw progress from the first game against Penn State to this game (Boston College). Great command and composure. He is a "Braveheart" kind of guy.
Let's just hope his time at Syracuse doesn't mirror the end of Braveheart. Could get messy.
Gross also talks about how Doug Marrone empathetically backed Shafer as his replacement (something we all assumed but don't think was ever officially stated).
So, everyone loves Scott Shafer. Except...
Shafer is a fiery guy. He's prone to outbursts and curses and react-before-he-thinks moments. That's the kind of thing the home team eats up. And it's also the kind of thing the opponent usually points to and says, "what a jerk."
Exhibit A: Boston College
Exhibit B: Florida State
Exhibit C: Clemson
I don't know if Doug Marrone pissed off three teams/fanbases in his entire tenure at Syracuse and Shafer hit the trifecta in one season.
I'm not complaining, mind you. Let people think he's a jerk. It fuels the rivalry and proves he/we are getting under their skin. So long as he keeps the Orange winning (or close to it), it's a fun, new feature to have a football coach that inspires disdain from an opponent.