I was struck with a strange sense of deja vu this week when I realized the Syracuse Orange would be playing the Louisville Cardinals around the time of Yom Kippur. I coulda swore that's something we've done before.
In fact, it was. In 2007. And I'm gonna guess you remember what happened that year.
Rather than recount the entire story, I decided to take a look back through the TNIAAM archives to see what it was like first-hand. What I found was a collection of pain, misery, shoddy writing, sweet surprise and then more misery and pain when it was all said and done. Come with me on a magical memory tour so that we can remember what it feels like to love again...
We'll start with the week leading up to the game. Syracuse was 0-3, with three miserable performances to their credit (or lack thereof). A 42-12 loss to Washington, a 35-0 drubbing by Iowa and a 41-20 beating by Illinois. With No. 19 Louisville looming, it seems legitimately possible that this team was going to finish 0-12.
I think its officially past the point of no return, we are not going to win more than two games this year and both of those are in serious doubt as well. I think we can all cut to the chase when it comes to the architect of this team as well, Greg Robinson. The term "hot seat" has been thrown around a lot lately and if there is such a thing, Greg's tuchus would have been planted firmly upon it by now. But we're past that. Greg Robinson will not make it to Season 4 and I think there's no denying that at this point. The only question that remains is, will he make it to the end of the season?
It's only the third week of the season and we are officially retiring the Quest-O-Meter. Along with New Coke and Crystal Pepsi, the Meter will go down as one of the great blunders of pop culture history. When people look back on this Syracuse team and realize that there will people out there who thought them bowl-worthy at one point...well...I can only pray that they assume it was Orange44's idea.
Coming off of an upset loss to Kentucky, I pondered what kind of hell the Cards would unleash upon us...
Ohhhh boy. Vegas currently has us as 36 point underdogs, what does that tell you? The Cardinals are embarrassed, they're angry and they need to take it out on someone. Also, short of changing his name to Brian Brohmeisman, Brian Brohm is going to have to put up redonk stats the rest of the season to salvage his Heisman campaign.
God, I miss Greg Robinson press conferences. I'm sorry, but, I really do...
Robinson: "With Louisville, I think I see where there are a whole lot of points being scored and a whole lot of yards being gotten. Shoot, they must be licking their chops right now. Anyway, we're working hard and looking forward to getting started in the Big East and seeing if we can get things going in the right direction."
How bad had things gotten for SU Football?
"A ticket scalper told The Syracuse Post-Standard that business outside the Carrier Dome was the worst since he started in 1984."
Meanwhile, Louisville had their own head coach problems to deal. The funny thing is that, while Steve Kragthorpe sounds like a lunatic by saying the following on September 19 (SU had given up 35 or more points in all three games), he was 100% right.
"We've got to get back off the mat and get ready to play a Syracuse team that is very, very dangerous and very sound on the defensive side of the ball. They bring pressure from a lot of different angles and they have a variety of fronts. On the offense side of the ball I think the QB is playing more efficiently every time he plays, and they have some big-play guys on the outside. So, we've got a challenge."
Prediction time. And, as you might imagine, I did not expect too much from our boys in orange.*
*We wore orange in those days. It's true. Look it up.
Expect the Cardinals to use and discard Syracuse like Senator Craig throwing away a used three-pack of condoms in a bathroom stall at the Minneapolis-St Paul airport (What? too topical?).
Prediction: Louisville: 51, Syracuse 13 (missed extra point, natch)
And then it happened. 38-35. It was all a bit too much to believe...
Welcome your new overlord. We will be distributing literature and cyanide-laced orange juice on Monday.
Not everyone was excited by the Syracuse victory.
What did it all mean? Was Greggers actually sending us in the right direction? Was Andrew Robinson the real deal? Were we going bowling after all? We let visions of plum fairies dance in our heads and, oh, it all made sense in the moment. It really did...
Assuming that the Orange can beat Miami U and Buffalo, the Orange will need to split the rest of their Big East schedule. Unfortunately, the Orange chose possibly the worst time in the history of the conference to rebuild. As we saw last weekend, anythings possible, but let's not get ahead of ourselves just yet. Let's beat Miami U, then we'll talk hotel reservations in Toronto.
We even brought back the Quest-O-Meter. 1-3, the thinking was that we'd parlay that into being 2-3 and then 3-3 and then, well...Toronto here we come! The Miami RedHawks hardly seemed the challenge...
The RedHawks got blown out by a Colorado team that can't be that much better than us. Their lone win was over frisky Ball State but against BCS opponents (Minnesota, Cincy, Colorado) they've underperformed and done worse with each successive game. Between their sagging energy and our newfound sense of "actually doing things right", we've got a good shot here.
You know how that turned out...
Living on the West Coast, I didn't get to see the game on TV. I do, however, have Sirius and was in my car during the 4th quarter. With a little bit of time left I had to make a quick stop. I got out, ran my errand and got back in. When I turned the car and radio back on, the display read SU 14, Mia 14 and there was about a minute left. The Orange were faced with a 4th down situation in their own territory and they were going for it. I was beside myself. What the hell are they doing? The score is tied! If they mess us, Miami has an easy field goal for the win.
Syracuse didn't convert on the 4th down and I threw my hands up in the air. That was it. I was done dealing with this horribly-managed team.
Turns out, the display was wrong. It was actually 17-14 Miami and going for it was all SU could do to try and win. There was a weird serenity to the truth. I said to myself "Thank God we're not THAT big a group of idiots."
That's what it comes down to, really. Being thankful our football team isn't run by people, or a person, who isn't a bigger idiot.
No matter, we still have the 2007 win over Louisville to forever be a reminder that any given Saturday, or Friday in this instance, anyone can beat anyone. Thanks, GERG.