As always, it was a busy, BUSY year in Syracuse Orange fandom. We were with you every step of the way here at TNIAAM, for better and for worse (but actually, a lot of worse this year...).
But to end 2015 on a high note, we're doing some things to look back on the best things that happened on the site. We start with the most-popular/commented articles of the year. They exclude gamethreads because we all know that would be cheating.
TNIAAM's Most-Commented Posts of 2015
For Syracuse fans, this was a pretty miserable day. We'd already dealt with a self-imposed postseason ban and a lackluster on-court product that would've made a probable NIT trip tough to watch. Then this bomb hit and we melted down as a group, to the tune of 426 anger-filled comments. The bitterness and rancor over the NCAA's overreaching punishments have continued since, and likely aren't going away until we serve out the string of these scholarship-reduced seasons. At least we had/have each other?
Told you these weren't all that positive this year... After a season full of hashtags, finger pointing, frustration and more, things had reached their boiling point following SU's eighth straight defeat. And then right as the fan base looked like it was about to pop, Orange AD Mark Coyle made the decision that sort of had to happen by that point. It was a quite a way to start Thanksgiving week, and sent us on a several-week search for the NEXT SU coach.
Following a closer loss to Clemson than many would have figured, there was a fervor of "one more year" talk for Scott Shafer. But Brian Tahmosh issued a rude awakening for all of us: that wasn't an available option. Either you believe and extend, or you don't and you fire, as he argued in the piece. And then many of us did in the space below. Ultimately, we know how this worked out. Coyle had to make one decision or the other, and couldn't risk losing the fan base to uncertainty. Now we wait to see if it was the right call.
We won't get into the "good guy" narrative that provided the background for this conversation. But it did help turn this conversation -- whether or not whatever 5-star tight end transfer Chris Clark did was bad enough to pull his offer -- into a minefield. Clark ended up at rival Pitt, which makes this burn a whole lot more. Consider the TNIAAM staff among those who are wondering if Clark becomes a Syracuse target once again for Dino Babers and his staff.
Oh, we talked about this initial act earlier. When the season was still filled with some promise, hearing that Syracuse would be willingly taking the postseason off the table (in Rakeem Christmas's final season!) was a huge blow to already nervous Orange fans. Everyone outside the fan base said this was a cop-out and absolute bull, of course. But who really cares about those opinions? Now that we have our punishment, I think we'll end up suffering enough.
Before things truly turned south, Sean spelled out why the Scott Shafer job security conversation was starting to stir up. He didn't take a side, and neither did TNIAAM's editorial staff for weeks beyond this. But it was a rational look at the factors that were going to weigh against him in any conversation around his success or lack thereof. If you want to revisit, they all ring true now a month after his dismissal, just as they did then.
You know our stance here. We're the "schedule easier" crowd and that's not changing until we're in a position where the stakes task Syracuse to schedule tougher. And as the Orange were about to embark on a critical (ultimately unsuccessful) season -- the news came out in August -- it was not at all welcome to hear that past strategies would continue. This is one of a few big issues with Orange athletics that typically divides TNIAAM's community down the middle, and that showed again here.
Prior to truly learning our fate, we learned WHEN we'd learn it. And that anxiety spilled over to a whole lot of bargaining with ourselves about what might happen next. You all got some time to digest things before you woke up/got to work that way. This West Coast resident envied you that day and then spent the rest of the day spiraling with minimal warning.
Before Dino-saur Babers-que officially started. And before we all marveled at Syracuse making one of the offseason's best hires, we sat around with uncertainty imagining if it was actually happening. Just days before, we'd heard that Babers was headed to UCF. Then suddenly Orange "frontrunner" Scott Frost was headed to the Knights. And we thought the worst. But as we discussed in this post and many times since, Coyle and Chancellor Syverud have our backs as SU fans. That optimism's kept up ever since this one was published.
We talk about ways Syracuse Athletics can improve its marketing a lot, and this ended up being the most popular one. An impassioned, slightly inebriated former Otto was tired of seeing empty Carrier Dome crowds and lackluster promotions and was openly pleading with SU to fix it. We all are, of course. But Andy's comments rang the loudest in a year when we were already pretty loud as a group.
Like I said: Not all happy memories. But times we shared over the last 12 months TOGETHER, with hundreds of comments to show for it. So go read them again. Or if you don't want to revisit the news, go laugh at the gifs, schadenfreude and more in the comment section, just like you did then. As always, thanks for reading.