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Slack-ing Off With Sean & John: Is This a "Bachelor in Paradise" Season for Syracuse Football?

We take you behind the curtain to see how the TNIAAM sausage gets made...

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Every day, the TNIAAM staff uses real-time messaging service Slack to make up for their lack of geographic proximity. This can result in conversations that have a lot to do with Syracuse... or little to do with Syracuse. When we actually get around to it, this feature, Slack-ing off, captures those conversations so you can relive every moment. Sorry in advance.

Sean Keeley (2:37 p.m.)

"Bachelor in Paradise" returns. Excited? Terrified? Horrified that an SU grad features so prominently in weepy promos?

John Cassillo (2:45 p.m.)

So much to unpack there already, just from a small promo. Ashley I. may be devaluing my degree by the day, and her presence on that show is both needed and unnecessary at the same time. What's always been addicting about Bachelor in Paradise is that it's the show's best trainwrecks assembled in one place. Still, you have to think that this Chris Harrison enterprise is seeing diminishing returns since there's little in terms of reason anymore. We've gone full-bore crazy (similar to what's happened on "the Bachelor" and "the Bachelortte" in recent seasons). Nothing will ever top the original "Bachelor Pad" dream team of Kovacs, Dave Good, Elizabeth, Natalie, etc. who were vicious instead of insane, balancing out the crazies incredibly well. I loved that season. You can't tell me I'm wrong.

Though there's a lot going on in that trailer, there's also nothing going on at the same time, because producing. What's your biggest teaser moment that ultimately amounts to nothing?

smkeeley (5:36 p.m.): First of all, I kinda admire the fact that "woman being taken away on a stretcher" is now a necessary element to every season of "Bachelor in Paradise." My first thought on seeing that wasn't "oh my God I can't believe that," it was "Yeah of course, and...?" Especially considering who that is, I'm going to guess that's not even remotely close to as bad as they want it to seem. Also, Claire saying "I generally came here for love" might be the most unintentionally-honest statement anyone has ever made on any of these shows.

Can we talk about the fact that Marcus and Lacy are the odds-on favorites to be the most successful couple in Bachelor franchise history? There's got to be some kind of perfect irony in that.

johncassillo (6:08 p.m.): It's the best thing about this franchise right now, especially as post-divorce Chris Harrison becomes more cloying and overall, extremely unlikeable. This may have nothing to do with the divorce (actually -- it almost definitely has nothing to do with the divorce). But the timing of the franchise's heel-turn toward not even attempting to find a real relationship is an underrated, entertaining subplot of all of this.

Speaking of subplots, might as well get to Syracuse football before everyone clicks off the page. Is this season looking like "the Bachelor"/'Bachelorette" (everything in front of you looks nice, shiny and full of potential) or "Bachelor in Paradise" (a trainwreck from the start) right now?

smkeeley (6:54 p.m.): I feel like I'm a pretty optimistic guy. I'm usually the one who writes the "Why Syracuse Will Go 9-3" post every preseason. I like to buy in and hope that my team will be better than expected. But, man...I can't help but feel like we're in for a Bachelor in Paradise-type trainwreck this season. I hate to say it because I really like Scott Shafer and I really want to see his 2016 recruits make it here, but, it's hard to find a lot of good on paper right now. Obviously there's some clear losses ahead (Florida State, LSU, Clemson, Louisville). As for the rest, I feel like way too many SU fans are putting games like Wake Forest and Virginia in the "Obvious Win" category. You have no right to say Syracuse can obviously beat ANY ACC team right now. I feel pretty confident of a 2-0 start and after that I'm not willing to put anything in stone. How about you?

johncassillo (8:03 p.m.): I know I fill the gloom-and-doom role more often than not, but I'm oddly optimistic, to the point of this being the first episode of "the Bachelor"/"Bachelorette." Everything seems new and shiny, but with a significant amount of fear and risk involved at the same time. Sometimes, "the Bachelor"/"Bachelorette" is a laugher against Central Michigan, and others it's a hideous loss to LSU. That person you give the first impression rose to could be a comeback season for Terrel Hunt or a disappointing end to a career for Julian Whigham. You just don't know until you dive in, but you have to see these things as positive until they prove otherwise. I understand this sounds clinically insane coming from me.

If there's one player who could surprise on this year's roster and get themselves to the hometown dates (to continue this "Bachelor" metaphor readers are begging for us to stop), who might that be? Or if you choose to stay in the "Bachelor in Paradise" mindset, who's the figurehead of that major alliance that controls the ebb and flow of the show this season?

smkeeley (8:44 p.m.): I feel like there's always a defensive player who comes out of nowhere and becomes a legitimate force each season. In keeping with the dreaded "Bachelor" metaphor, it's usually a quiet person who comes out of their shell after sharing a "very emotional secret" like their last breakup was really hard. Unlike that metaphor, this person is probably going to making a lot of noise from the get-go. I'm going with Luke Arcienega. Feel like he's due and his new-found eligibility should hopefully be a shot in the arm to his motivation.

Usually with the "Bachelor(ette)," you get a pretty good sense of who will be there in the end (especially if you read spoilers). This season, it was pretty obvious that Sean, Nick and one or both of the Ben's would go far and it would have been a shock for any of them to exit early. Who's the Syracuse player you would be shocked to see have a terrible season? I suppose this is a backwards way of asking who you think will be really good.

johncassillo (9:03 p.m.): There are a few candidates that come to mind, but I think I'm going with Ron Thompson above the others. He's improved progressively throughout his time with the Orange, and now that he's the main attraction on the defensive line, he has the chance to shine. There are a lot of players with promise on the roster. But very few with the talent to make an impact all on their own each and every week. Thompson's one of those -- and in my eyes, the only one that you can feel incredibly confident putting your money on (figuratively, of course).

Switching gears, where's our turning point in the season? The one that either says "hey, we're going to be alright" or "oh, this again?"

smkeeley (9:18 p.m.): October 10 at South Florida. We'll know what we need to know about this team after that game. They should, and that's a scary should, be 3-0 headed into LSU. While we hope with all our hearts, no SU fan honestly thinks we'll win that game. So how will they bounce back? They'll be traveling on the road for the first time against a beatable USF team. It's a challenge and it'll be interesting to see how the team answers the challenge. If they get back on track and win, we could seriously be talking about an Orange team that can get off to a 5-1 start. If they lose, well, it might be the beginning of the end.

Agree? Disagree?

johncassillo (9:28 p.m.): I don't disagree with you. But do have a different perspective on the same concept. Syracuse could start 3-2 or 4-1, but the season really hinges on what happens vs. Pitt. Beat Pitt, and BC and NC State victories are suddenly on the table. Beat Pitt, and if you started 5-1, that's win number six (and a likely top 25 ranking). Even if they started 4-2, that's win number 5 with a ton of possibilities ahead of them, especially in those final two games. So to me, this Panthers game is where everything will either rise or fall.

smkeeley (9:53 p.m.): Yeah I can see that. I think it depends on what happens before that. I know we're all supposed to assume those first three games are wins, but, haven't we been down this road with Syracuse enough times. We've had a few close calls with FCS teams and probably should have lost to Villanova last year. Wake Forest isn't good but it's not like we're miles ahead of them. I actually weirdly feel best about Central Michigan. But seriously, we gotta win those three games. It's not really a question. We're going to do that, right???

johncassillo (9:57 p.m.): If this team wants me to live long enough to break down the play-calling of the USF game, then yes. They are... or at least we hope they are, and think they should based on what we know (which can mean nothing in college football sometimes). For all the negativity around this team sometimes (especially from the fan base), it's still amazing how there are few seeing us as anything but 3-0 entering the LSU game.

smkeeley (10:15 p.m.): It speaks to the eternal hopefulness of Syracuse fans. As dour and negative as we can get, we still think there's a chance this could be the year we turn it around. Despite all the evidence to the contrary. At the very least, we think we might have a team that wins the games they're supposed to win and then steals one or two they're not. I'll take that. I'll take that all day. Get me 6-6 and get me to a bowl game in Tennessee or Idaho and I'm just happy.

Come to think of it, it's a bit like "the Bachelor" after all. So much hope despite all the evidence to the contrary...