Times are tough for Syracuse Orange football.
We're coming off a bad year and some think this season might be just as bad, if not worse. We're shorthand for "can you believe they used to be good?" Our head coach may or may not be coaching for his job.
But things haven't always been bad. Even recently, there have been games and moments that have given us excitement, even if it was fleeting. Moments that we got to share even if we weren't at the game because we were tweeting about it or sharing our excitement on Facebook with fellow Orange friends.
In his weekly Mailbag article a few weeks back, Stewart Mandel of FoxSports proposed five past games that would have been even more (or much less) enjoyable with modern social media. Earlier this week, College & Magnolia applied that idea specifically to Auburn Tigers football. I noticed it because one of the games they mention was the infamous 1988 Sugar Bowl, which ended in a tie between Syracuse and Auburn.
I'll give you a second to collect everything you just threw across the room.
And so, I thought I'd give it a go for Syracuse Football. The only rule? The game had to occur before 2007 when Twitter came into existence. Sure, Twitter really didn't come into it's own for another year or two but it's not like there were many SU football games worth mentioning in that timeframe anyway. Thanks, Greggers.
5) 1987, Syracuse vs. West Virginia
You've got the perfect recipe for a social media meltdown. There's 49,866 packed into the Dome (49,866!!!) Syracuse comes into the game undefeated with a potential National Championship opportunity on the line. West Virginia had the game in hand and only needed to shut down SU deep in their own territory to win. Instead, Don McPherson leads SU on a seven-play, 74-yard touchdown drive capped by a 17-yard TD pass with ten seconds left. The Orange could have settled for a hard-fought tie but instead they go for two and Michael Owens (a #44? Whaaaa?) scampers into the end zone off a option pitch. Syracuse, McPherson and Owens would have all been trending within minutes.
4) 1998, Syracuse vs. Virginia Tech
While the stakes weren't quite as high, the outcome had much the same impact. Syracuse needed a win to secure the Big East title. Virginia Tech presented a stout challenge. The game went back and forth all night, neither team able to put the other away. Virginia Tech took a lead late and it was down to Donovan McNabb to lead SU down the field before time expired. It came down to the final seconds and a broken play turned into one of the program's most iconic passes, McNabb to Brominski, who fell in the end zone as he caught the game winner. Cue field-storming. The GIFs of that moment would have dominated your Twitterfeed for hours.
3) 1984, Syracuse vs. Nebraska
It might not have had the shocking final moment of the previous two games but the outcome of this game would have sent shockwaves across social media when it went down. At the time Nebraska was to college football what Alabama is today. Syracuse was...okay, but had yet to become the program that would finish 1987 unbeaten. 25-point underdogs, Syracuse smothered the mighty Cornhusker offense en route to a 17-9 shocker. Throw in the fact that players from the 1959 National Championship team were in the building, it was a perfect storm for social media domination, locally and nationally.
2) 1960 Cotton Bowl
I mean, let's not get into the logistics involved with how social media could have existed and/or worked in the world of 1960. But just think about what happened. Syracuse went into the Cotton Bowl and beat mighty Texas, doing so while led by African-American RB Ernie Davis in a time when that wasn't exactly smiled upon in parts of the country, especially this one. Given the liberal leanings of social media, Twitter and Facebook would have been full of tributes and hashtags and images of Davis scoring touchdowns and dominating the line of scrimmage. Of course, there also would have been a whole bunch of racist tweet Storfiy posts the next day as well. Come to think of it, that probably would have been every day.
1) 1988 Sugar Bowl
Can you imagine? Seriously, CAN YOU IMAGINE. A bowl game with undefeated records and national title implications. The game on the line in the closing moments. Auburn lines up...and kicks a field goal to tie the game rather than go for the win. CAN YOU BELIEVE HOW INSANE TWITTER WOULD GET? The Photoshops of Pat Dye. The GIFs. The hashtags. #PatDyeIsAPussy trending. It would go on for daaaays.
I honestly think that someone from the future saw what was coming and went back in time to make sure college football didn't have ties anymore by the time social media kicked in. Because oh my God, this game would have broken it.
Can you think of any games I missed? Anything else that should be considered? You can go back as far you want...we're in hypothetical land...