This is the third Syracuse Orange Football head coaching change I've covered since starting the site. While there have been differences for all of them based on circumstances and expectations, there always seems to be one thing that's universal.
The What-If principle.
What if we'd hired that other guy we were supposed to hire? What if the first guy had said yes? What if the other guy were available?
Invariably, the person who becomes head coach is measured against that would-be coach to determine whether or not we got it "right" or "wrong," as if that were a reasonable measurement to make.
Doug Marrone had Skip Holtz, who was offered the gig and turned it down to take a job in Florida.
Scott Shafer had Steve Addazio, who had just taken the Boston College job before the SU one became available.
Doubling up the comparison is the fact that Babers was originally-linked to UCF while Frost was linked to Syracuse. Then, they swapped. Whether or not everything that came out along the way is true, it's what we'll remember.
I think it's fair to say that Marrone "won" his battle and you'd have to give Addazio the nod in his just based on the fact that he's still employed.
As for Babers and Frost, of course they're both walking into very different situations. Frost is doing a total rebuild in a mid-major conference while Babers is going to try to rebuild an ACC program. A six-win season means different things to both of them. Ultimately, it's probably very unfair and very impractical to hold Dino to any kind of bar of comparison.
And yet, you know you will. It won't be something you think about all the time. But it'll linger there in the back of your mind. If Frost gets UCF to 9 or 10 wins in a couple seasons while Syracuse is still struggling to break even, you'll notice. If Babers takes SU to the promised land while Frost bombs out, you'll notice that too.
Ultimately, what they do at their own schools is what'll define them. But two or three years from now, don't be surprised if we meet back here to compare notes. We'll either snicker at UCF for taking Frost or we'll sigh deeply wishing we'd offered him more money. Or maybe the jury will still be out.
Right now you'd be hard-pressed to find many Syracuse fans who aren't happy with the Dino Babers hire. But ask Doug Marrone and Scott Shafer how long that honeymoon lasts. From here on out, we'll be watching the results. And we'll be keeping an eye on Frost's results, too.