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Oh Right, The Syracuse Football Spring Game is Tomorrow

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There's not a lot of excitement and fanfare surrounding the spring game, from the fans or the program.

Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Kinda feels like that sometimes, doesn't it?

It seems like it was eons ago that the Syracuse Orange basketball team was battling for No. 1 rankings and tournament 1-seeds while the football team was winning bowl games at a consistent clip.

Amazing how one bad year can completely change the outlook for a fanbase. I know it because I've been covering SU sports for close to a decade now (yiiiiikes) and based on what I've seen (and not seen) in the comments and on social media, it's been a long time since I've seen the fanbase this checked out.

(And by the way, this is why SU's recent Olympic sport success ultimately comes with a footnote. Because at the end of the day, our happiness rides largely on the backs of men's basketball and football. Sorry. I don't make the rules. Just how it goes.)

All of that brings us to tomorrow's spring game for the Syracuse Football team. Syracuse fans have never been "Alabama-esque" when it comes to supporting the spring game, but, there is a definitive lack of interest and pomp in this year's version that's hard to ignore.

Maybe it's because the team is coming off it's worst season since a certain GERG roamed the sidelines, a 3-9 campaign that sucked the life out of the program and raised questions about Scott Shafer's future. Maybe it's because we've been told the game won't actually be a game but a glorified practice session, reminiscent of everyone's least favorite band, Greg Robinson & The Thud Drills.

Scott Shafer says he doesn't put a lot of stock in the spring game. As for the play on the field, that's fair. I don't think anyone should read much into what happens and doesn't happen. Who even remembers the actual spring gameplay by September?

But what I'd like to think he'd be concerned about is the atmosphere around the spring game. There is no call for action. There are no excited declarations or hopes for a high attendance (which, to be fair, would be folly). Instead, Shafer has taken last year's criticisms and hardened around them, turning things into a "you're with us or you're against us" showdown.

"Hopefully the naysayers will stay at home and the ones that support the program will show up and see a kick-ass Orange team come the fall."

Like everything in football (and sports, really), we'll judge Shafer's sentiments based on whether or not he wins or loses. If Syracuse rebounds and goes back to a bowl game this season, we'll appreciate the #HardNosed approach all over again. If Syracuse turns out another stinker, we'll attack Shafer for closing ranks as the program faltered.

Like Brent Axe says in his column, there are a million fun things Shafer and Syracuse could have planned for this weekend. They could have turned the whole thing into a big skills competition. They could have turned it into a mini-camp for young kids to "play" against their heroes. They could have turned it into a giant carnival.

Instead, the message is, "we're showing up to do whatever. You can be there or not. It's up to you. Whatever." Guess the fans aren't the only ones feeling a little checked out.

At least the #InflatableJumpies will be there.

We preview the spring game in this week's podcast. Give it a listen and try to get excited, will ya?