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Syracuse Football: It Doesn't Matter Who Wants the Job, Only That They Do a Good Job

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A lot of people seem to be telling head coaches not to take the Syracuse job. That's okay because we know better.

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

You can excuse Syracuse Orange football fans if they suddenly felt like nobody out there really seems to think much of their head coaching position.

Last week, the guy who actually holds the title, Dino Babers, told an NBC Sports radio show that "a lot of people" told him not to take the job when it was offered.

"A lot of people told me not to take the Syracuse job. Only one person told me to take it and that's a person I listen to as lot. That was Art Briles."

In Thursday's's profile of new Rutgers head coach Chris Ash, fans also learned that when faced with a decision between pursuing the head coaching gig at Syracuse or Rutgers, Ohio State boss Urban Meyer pointed him in the direction of Rutgers based on the idea that it would be easier to recruit and convince kids to play there.

The idea seems clear. When presented with the opportunity to become the head coach of the Syracuse football team, a decent percentage of people in the industry think you should pass.

"Perception is reality" is one of my favorite (re: overused) sayings but its hard for me to think of another one that fits here. Regardless of what we think, and what the reality might be, the Syracuse gig is seen as a place where college head coaching careers go to die. Since Paul Pasqualoni's tenure ended, two of the three SU head coaches have seen their high hopes bottom out along with their prospects. Greg Robinson never became a head coach again (for the best, really) and Scott Shafer has to do some reputation rebuilding if he wants another shot down the line.

That leaves Doug Marrone, who provides a fascinating quandary for this discussion. As we all know, Marrone called the Syracuse head coaching gig his "dream job." And while we can debate the truthiness of that statement, there was no denying that he viewed it as an opportunity few others would run towards. He then parlayed a modicum of success at Syracuse into an NFL head coaching job. Outcome-aside, that's not a common thing. In fact, two of the last five head coaches rode this job right into the NFL, which is not exactly something many programs can boast.

Of course, Marrone was also "a Syracuse guy" and even though we've put that qualification on the backburner when it comes to the position, its something we cared very strongly about with the hiring of our new AD. It would be easy to look at Marrone as the exception to the rule. He went to Syracuse. He dreamed of coaching at Syracuse. Most people don't see it that way.

And that's true. Generic College Football Coach probably doesn't look at Syracuse as a required destination. Bless Dino Babers but I'm pretty sure, deep in his heart, he doesn't view it that way. That's fine, to be honest. Because while it would be easy to get all bent out of shape by this discussion about the role's undesirability, it doesn't actually matter.

Doug Marrone "dreamed" of having the gig and he was gone in four years.

Dino Babers probably never dreamed of becoming the head coach at Syracuse and probably has his sights set on bigger things, but if he turns the Orange into an offensive juggernaut in the meantime...who cares?

Give me a mercenary who takes a 3-9 team, turns them into a 9-3 team, and then leaves after three years. Give it to me any day of the week and any week of the year.

I'll take that over a guy who dreams of the Syracuse job but can't hack it. I'll take it over a guy who truly wants to put down roots but never quite gets SU back over the hump.

Syracuse fans old enough to remember a time when our football program was consistently-compeptive know that building a winning program is possible here for the right person. We also know just how loud the Carrier Dome can get and how desperately-excited we are to scream that loud again.

We don't need other people to decide our worth as a program or destination. Let them underestimate Syracuse. Let them choose Rutgers or a directional Florida school over us. It is ultimately of no consequence. We feel pretty good about the guy currently wearing the headset and the future of the program. If and when we get there, we'll know this was possible all along. And if it doesn't work, we'll simply try again.

Either way, it would be wise for Orange fans to focus their energy on the guy who is right here, right now, rather than worrying about the guys who'd rather be someplace else. We know better.