Believe it or not, there's still football going on. No, the season didn't end when the Syracuse Orange wrapped up a win over Boston College. Nor did it conclude when Alabama beat Clemson last Monday night. For those that care about this sort of thing, the NFL's conference championship games are still coming up this weekend, with the winners heading to the Super Bowl.
Many of you have a team already. But for those who don't, or whose team is not playing this weekend, perhaps you'd like a Syracuse football rooting guide to help dictate your opinion. No? Well, you're getting one anyway...
First, the AFC Championship Game:
Denver Broncos (0)
NOT A SINGLE DAMN SYRACUSE PLAYER. Not only that, but the Broncos also lack any Syracuse grads on the coaching staff. Now, the Broncos do wear orange just like us, so perhaps that earns them some points with those that identify with team colors over school loyalty. But overall, it's an uphill battle for Denver to win over 'Cuse fans wondering what to do on Sunday.
Just one Syracuse player for the Pats, in former Orange standout Chandler Jones. Since leaving SU, Chandler's been a force of nature in the pros, and earned his first Pro Bowl nod after racking up 12.5 sacks in the regular season this year. But New England also has Matt Patricia too. The former Orange offensive grad assistant serves as Bill Belichick's defensive coordinator. So it doesn't "count" but...it sort of counts.
AFC Championship Game: You're (ughhhhh) rooting for the Patriots. Sorry.
And now, the NFC Championship Game:
No one on Carolina's active roster has a Syracuse tie, unfortunately, but the reserve/futures contract list includes former Orange nose tackle Eric Crume. He's yet to accumulate any stats as a pro, but the Panthers could change that fact next year for the so-far journeyman. No coaches went to Syracuse.
Arizona's the most Orange team of the NFL's final four group. First and foremost is SU alum Dwight Freeney. At 35 years old, the Syracuse legend has been an ageless wonder this season, grabbing eight sacks -- his highest total since 2011 -- while leading the Cardinals' strong defense. Along with Freeney, the team also has safety Durell Eskridge on its practice squad. Eskridge bounced around a little after going undrafted this past spring, but could possibly find a home with Arizona. No former SU coaches, but we can forgive them in this case.
NFC Championship Game: Cardinals for the win, by a 2-1 margin.
So there's your unscientific guide to which teams to root for on Sunday. If Syracuse is the only team in your world, you want a Pats-Cards Super Bowl. If you have NFL rooting interests like I do, perhaps you're making a very different decision.