I saw this question posed Thursday over on Reddit. It was a fun window into the minds of other college football fans and how they viewed the crossroads their universities took.
Georgia Tech: "What if we never left the SEC?"
Alabama: "What if Rich Rodriguez's wife had been fine with living in Tuscaloosa?"
Auburn: "What if Bo Jackson had taken Bear Bryant's offer?"
Georgia: "Where do I start?"
SMU: "What if Craig James never killed 5 hookers?"
I didn't see anyone talk about the Syracuse Orange program and what decision could have changed the face of the program had it happened differently. But that's why we're here.
Off the top of my head, I'm thinking...
What if Jim Brown doesn't come to Syracuse? That means no Ernie Davis, no Floyd Little, no Legend of 44, no 44 committees...
What if Ernie Davis doesn't win the Heisman Trophy? How does that change the history of the trophy? What's Ernie's legacy? Do we still remember him the same way?
What if Syracuse beats Auburn in the 1988 Sugar Bowl? They still wouldn't have won the National Title but does that have an impact on the way the program is perceived? Does it change anything?
What if Syracuse beats Tennessee in 1998? Not only does that change the outcome of the entire season (Tennessee probably doesn't play for the title) but perhaps that sends SU down a very different path that year. They win games they ended up losing. They end up with one or no losses. Their momentum carries them to a height far beyond what they actually reached...
What if Michael Vick chooses Syracuse over Virginia Tech? Syracuse goes right from Donovan McNabb to Vick, maintaining their nationally-ranked status. Recruiting responds in kind and Syracuse competes for the National Title for at least one year. Maybe? Also, this blog is probably called something very, very different.
What if Syracuse doesn't fire Paul Pasqualoni in 2004? Syracuse fans never know the human horror that is Greg Robinson. Coach P probably still gets fired after 2005 and maybe we end up hiring someone amazing coach who turns Syracuse into a National Champion within two years. We never know Doug Marrone and Scott Shafer but we don't care because Billy Whatshisname is our lord and savior.
That's just a start. Now it's your turn. No wrong answers, at least, I don't think. What's your big "what if" that could have changed the course of Syracuse football for better or worse?