Opponent: Louisville Cardinals (6-4, 3-4 ACC)
Location: Louisville, Ky.
The Swofford Family Thanksgiving
The humiliation of last weekend was a total gut punch to our Band of Brothers and Sisters who love Syracuse Orange football. The glory of our victory over Clemson seems like ages ago, and I (like many of you I’m sure) am back to that familiar place of hoping for victories rather than expecting them.
I’m accustomed to that mid-November feeling of watching leaves fall and losses rise, but being familiar with the feeling doesn’t make it any less unbearable. Truth is, I’m having a hard time feeling good about the program right now, and it sucks.
But mid-November also brings the prospect of happiness. Of togetherness! For this time of the year provides the opportunity for families to gather together and share in our common bond. To eat a crap ton of turkey and dodgy appetizers, drink too much, root against the Dallas Cowboys, and direct our attention to our December holiday of choice!
And it got me thinking about our own special #goacc family. What if our schools were the ones getting together at John Swofford’s palatial estate in Greensboro? What would we be like? Who would we sit with? Who would make the most offensive joke? And who would end up nearly coming to blows for getting too personal about politics???
I’m glad you asked. LET’S MEET THE FAMILY!!!:
Duke and North Carolina: The Patriarchs
Duke and North Carolina are the silver-haired septuagenarians who appear to have it all. The well-preserved good looks, the nice cars, and the family home in NC, the 4-bedroom beachfront home in Naples, and the pied-à-terre in the mountains west of Asheville (where they expect everyone to f#ck*ng visit in the summer, and are always annoyed when no one actually does).
Duke and North Carolina also are the ones who assume that their age and wealth gives them the authority to dictate how the rest of the family (and the world) should act. They are the annoying ones who insist that everyone should wear white shirts and khakis for the family holiday photo. And offer a non-stop stream of unsolicited advice at the Thanksgiving table that is mostly condescending, but get away with it because suck-ups like Wake Forest eat it up as gospel!
But behind the facade, Duke and North Carolina are miserable. They hate each other! Duke spends his entire day at the all-men’s country club with his smug buddies comparing investment portfolios (and creep all over the Drink Cart Girls out on the course). He’s blissfully unaware that North Carolina is cheating with 3,100 different people (and completely getting away with it!). They’d have killed each other by now if they didn’t need each other to preserve their social status.
Wake Forest: The Kiss-up
Wake Forest leads a pretty charmed life. Blessed with good looks and given a privileged lifestyle off the back of Duke and North Carolina, Wake has no reason to rock the boat. Indeed, Wake feeds the narcissistic Duke and North Carolina to earn favor from the patriarchs, and spends most of Thanksgiving siding with them on everything from politics to sports just to ensure that she gets that gorgeous Irish Sport Horse that she’s had their eye on since last spring.
It’s not to say Wake is a bad person. Quite the contrary. It’s just that they were born into this game on the right side of the gene pool, and understand that they can coexist with everybody quite nicely just so long as they stay on the good side of “Mommy and Daddy.”
NC State: Daring to Be Different. Sort Of.
Yeah, he’s royalty by blood, but by blood only. While Duke and North Carolina focused on their social circle and keeping enough lawyers on hand to keep North Carolina out of trouble from her various “fraudulent business interests,” NC State was kind of left to fend for himself. Sure, life was far from hard, and he enjoyed the entitlement being a part of the inner circle, but he kind of had to just figure things out on his own. Over time, he grew resentful, and started to do things just to be different... even if he still wasn’t all that different:
- Duke and North Carolina own several Mercedes? NC State’s got a hybrid.
- Duke and North Carolina golf recreationally, and listen to Neil Diamond? NC State smokes pot recreationally and travels around the country watching the Tedeschi Trucks Band.
- Duke and North Carolina know how to diversify an investment portfolio and read a wine list? NC State knows what sauce to put on pulled pork and has 20 different craft beers in his backup fridge in his garage.
At the Thanksgiving table, NC State is among the most fun to sit next to, ‘cause he knows all the inside s#*t on Duke and North Carolina, doesn’t hold anything against the cousins, and is generally welcoming toward the members of the family who married into this crap!
Plus, that pot sure comes in handy on Black Friday.
The Rest of the Family
Virginia: Can’t play for full 40 minutes
Virginia is a relative of Duke and North Carolina and for all intent and purpose is a decent person. Perhaps the smartest member of the family, Virginia works hard, has a broad world view, and has her s#*t together. She would totally be the most liked person at Thanksgiving if for not two really annoying character flaws:
- She is obsessive about architectural and interior design — constantly droning on about Neoclassical and Palladian architecture and talking about some stupid cello player named Monte.
- She is an amazing post-Thanksgiving dinner trivial pursuit player, building an insurmountable lead until she has all but one plastic slice of pie left... AND THEN COMPLETELY POOPS THE BED BY BECOMING UTTERLY UNABLE TO CLOSE THE DEAL AND ANSWER ANY QUESTION ABOUT SPORTS AND LEISURE.
To be on Virginia’s team completely sucks!
Virginia Tech: Cut you in line once
Look, Virginia Tech is a totally decent guy. He’s kind of introverted and outdoorsy with some interesting traits (e.g. bargain shopping at Bass Pro Shop and an odd fetish for Metallica), but there’s nothing really objectionable to him other than the fact that Virginia didn’t really like you at first. So much so that she lobbied to let this guy to marry into the family over a decade ago at your expense.
Can we be honest though? The thing about Virginia Tech is that when you really break it down, you have nothing to say to each other. He’s the “I’m a Little Bit Country” to your “I’m a Little Bit Rock-n-Roll”. You don’t see eye-to-eye that often, and aside from that one year when a discussion about Michael Vick turned ugly and you threw scalding hot mashed potatoes at each other, you can’t really be bothered to invest in the relationship. As such, most of the family weekend is spent in different rooms...
Unless you want to talk about fishing or Metallica.
Clemson: The Attention-Seeker
Every Thanksgiving, you tell yourself “things are going to be different with Clemson this year.” After all, Clemson’s kind of charming, pretty, and always seems really happy to see you when you first arrive at the family home in Greensboro. Each year, you decide to invest yourself in trying to get to know her better because, well, Clemson’s attractive (that, and you have previously suspected she really doesn’t like you — and being from Syracuse, you have a insecure desire to be liked).
But when you do start talking to her, it becomes clear that you have fallen into a trap... again. She’s not interested in you per se. Rather, she’s just looking for attention -- from someone who will listen to her talk about her boyfriend “Mike Slive from Birmingham,” who is apparently tall, handsome, and rich, but simply won’t commit to a long term relationship with her. You try to extract yourself gracefully, but being from Syracuse, you suffer from an inability to do things subtly, and your inevitably sarcastic exit line leads to a reaction that confirms your suspicions:
Clemson really doesn’t like you.
Pittsburgh: There’s No “There” There
You’ve known Pittsburgh all your life, and there’s never been a reason to dislike one another. It’s just that Pittsburgh and you have always been. Well. Different.
When you were listening to punk rock and early rap, Pittsburgh was into Van Halen. You loved chicken wings, but Pittsburgh had an allergy to tomatoes and peppers. Pittsburgh liked the Pirates, and you liked teams that played baseball well...
It just never gelled for the two of you, and though Duke and North Carolina always sit you next to each other because you are from the same neighborhood growing up and they assume you are close, you just don’t have much to say.
And it always leaves you looking for:
Florida State: The Kindred Spirit
Prior to joining the family, you didn’t really know Florida State, and had no clue whether you would like each other at all. I mean, you’ve never been to each others’ home, and culturally/geographically, the Florida Panhandle and Central New York are like Venus and Mars
But Florida State seems to get you. Florida State actually uses sarcasm in conversation! Who knew??? Florida State never puts up with Clemson’s crap, and loves to push her buttons at the Thanksgiving table by telling her that Mike Slive’s NEVER going to commit. Like you, Florida State doesn’t pretend to be the smartest or the most successful member of the family, but doesn’t take themselves too seriously, and is TOTALLY down with binge watching “Stranger Things” with you over the weekend so long as there is plenty of booze on hand.
...and they stole a copy of the key to Duke and North Carolina’s basement wine cellar. Victory!!!
Louisville: The Dodgy Uncle
Louisville is the uncle who you love or hate at Thanksgiving... often both over a four-day weekend! Independently wealthy as a result of inheriting a fortune from a successful fast-food franchisee, Louisville likes to flash his success in Duke and North Carolina’s face, and isn’t afraid to call out the patriarchs for the frauds they are in front of the others. Fun!
Sure, Louisville can be a blast to be around, and has all of the best dinner jokes... dirty and otherwise. But he doesn’t have the same level of subtlety and class as Duke and North Carolina, which turns out to be a blessing and a curse during family gatherings.
Blessing: He loves taking the family out to a steakhouse over the weekend and ALWAYS pays.
Curse: The steakhouse is actually a strip club.
Blessing: He has a magnetic personality, and seems to bring a different girlfriend to Thanksgiving dinner each year. And each year she seems really interesting.
Curse: The girlfriend is always 35 years younger than him, and is still in college.
You can’t live with him, and you wouldn’t want to live without him! Just don’t introduce him to your college-aged friends.
Miami: Despacito? No, despótico!
He’s colorful, charismatic, and smells of cigars. He has very different political views from most of the family, and can really get under Duke and North Carolina’s skin, which is a blast! But he smells of the same Drakkar Noir cologne that he wore back in the 80s, and resorts to making the same f#ck*ng hand signal in the shape of moose antlers every five minutes!
He’s been lying low over the past 10-15 years due to getting KILLED in the housing bubble, and for a time he really seemed like a much more humble and approachable guy. But a recent business venture just started taking off and he’s back on top. And it took you and the rest of the family about ten minutes to realize why you hated this guy in the first place!
There’s a reason you NEVER tell him you are in Boca to visit your grandmother on the other side of your family every March...
Georgia Tech: The Genius Loner
I’ve never actually seen this person sit down at the dinner table on Thanksgiving. This pasty dude heads straight into the basement to play World of Warcraft and doesn’t come out until Sunday afternoon. He claims he has started and sold three cloud companies in the last four years, and has amassed a net worth of about $35M.
On the plus side, he did figure out a way to illegally stream Netflix at the family home AND set up the entire house for Sonos during a 5-minute WoW break back in 2014, so there’s that!
Boston College: Separating The Awkwardly Masculine From The Possibly Canadian
Boston College married into the #goacc family a while back when he and Maryland hooked up following an NCAA sailing regatta in Boston Harbor. Duke and North Carolina were thrilled at the time as they felt BC could be a “Big City” addition to the mostly small city family. It became very apparent early on, however, that he really wasn’t a great fit. BC had a weird fixation with boats and alternative winter sports that weren’t basketball. When Maryland ran off to join the B1G family following money troubles at home, BC was sort of the odd man out... err, in.
BC is a bit of an outcast these days and no one expects him to come to Thanksgiving, but he always seems to show up anyway. He says the food’s decent, and it would be crazy to skip out on a free meal and good booze. BC spends his time at the far end of the dinner table checking fantasy football on his iPhone to see what New England Patriots RB he will start, and ends up spending hours upon hours looking at used sailboats online and Facetiming his buddies back home to endlessly drone on about the five greatest goals ever scored by Brian Gionta.
Notre Dame: Absent
(Notre Dame sends his regards, but as he is only obligated to come to dinner five times in every twelve years per his agreement with the family, he will not be attending Thanksgiving dinner this year. He wants to keep his options open as an independent in the event that he gets a better dinner option from NBC.
Or the B1G.
He doesn’t apologize for the inconvenience and says “you’re welcome” for revolving around his world.)
Coach's Film Study
Today's Film: Secretariat
What is commonly referred to as: “The Fastest Two Minutes In Sports?”
Syracuse Football! Or Wake Forest’s offense... you take your pick.
What is also commonly referred-to as “The Fastest Two Minutes in Sports?” The Kentucky Derby, baby! And in the history of the Kentucky Derby and horse racing’s triple crown, perhaps no story captured the imagination of the sporting world quite like that of Secretariat.
Director Randall Wallace brings the story of this great horse to life, featuring an incredible story of how a Denver housewife Penny Chenery (played by the always excellent Diane Lane) returned to her native Virginia to take over her ailing father’s failing horse farm, won the rights to Secretariat in a coin-flip, and figured out how to raise and race a champion with the specter of foreclosure bearing down on her. The film also features one of film’s most unpredictable and interesting actors, John Malkovich, as eclectic trainer Lucien Laurin.
The story of how Secretariat won the first triple crown in 25 years and shattered course records in the process would make for a spectacular 30 for 30 all on its own. But the backstory of Chenery’s gamble, and the endearing relationship between owner and horse (that is in Disney’s wheelhouse) make ‘Secretariat’ a true winner in motion picture entertainment.
Rating: Four oranges (out of five)
The #FakeNunes Statistical Index (#FNSI)
F&B: (Food and Beverage). I’ve always held Syracuse’s food scene is one that is underrated and above average, but you have to be a local to really uncover the best spots. Louisville doesn’t require quite the insider’s knowledge, and given the size of the city and metropolitan area, has a wide range of really excellent restaurants and solid breweries. But what makes Louisville (and Kentucky) extra special is THE BOURBON!
Yeah, Mila Kunis wants you to go to the Jim Beam distillery to check out some bourbon, but if you are at the Sundance Film Festival, do you go straight for “Fast and The Furious??” Hell no! Go deep and hit Angels Envy, Kentucky Peerless Distilling, and many others that you may or may not find in the stores.
They’ve even got Moonshine University. MOONSHINE UNIVERSITY PEOPLE!!! My Lord, why have we not scheduled an annual home-and-home with these guys?
Tailgate Efficiency: Louisville tailgating is a bit like Papa John’s pizza. You don’t have to work hard to find it. There’s enough of it to satisfy your hunger. And it’s cheap. ADVANTAGE: Louisville
Adj. Uniform Coolness: SU was hitting it’s stride on the uni front all season long, and a uni matchup with Louisville “the kings of the dodgy alternate” boded extremely well for Syracuse. But then they had to break out the Georgetown look... and defile the incredible Fort Drum Logo to boot!
I hate you Nike, and I place the blame for last week’s defeat squarely at your logo-infested feet.
Never again. ADVANTAGE: Louisville
4th String F.I.: Meh. ADVANTAGE: Louisville
Hot Seat: Look, I think everybody is disappointed that we couldn’t do anything with the momentum from the Clemson victory. But Dino Babers isn’t going anywhere (And perhaps that is the best result of all for our program).
I doubt Bobby Petrino is going anywhere either, though this is Louisville. I am sure there’s always a salacious scandal always looming right around the corner. ADVANTAGE: Louisville
FACEPALM: Yeah, Louisville has been a major disappointment, but damnit, my forehead still has the imprint from last week’s game, and frankly it’s still too tender to touch. But I expected bowl eligibility, and still expect it. To have the chance to take down BC next week and go bowling (like 2013) is all that’s keeping me going at this point, so a seventh loss at the weekend would be too much to take. ADVANTAGE: Syracuse
Grandpa Edgar: "You still want me to comment on this crap? You just gave up twenty touchdowns to Wake Forest. Sorry, twenty-one! They just scored another touchdown in the time it took you to read this. ADVANTAGE: Louisville
Swift/Perry Index: I think there are definitely more bad feeling toward Louisville than some of our other traditional opponents such as Pitt and even BC. Rick Pitino always seemed to have our number. Greg Robinson always seemed to have theirs. But both are long gone, and we need a meaningful football contest to make this anything more than a run-of-the-mill conference matchup. ADVANTAGE: Syracuse
Iso #DISRESPEKT: Early on, Louisville and Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson was squarely seen as the third leg of the nation’s toughest football division table-thingy. But like FSU, Louisville has struggled to find their 2016 form, and is a talented but wounded animal heading into the final games of the regular season. ADVANTAGE: Louisville
Narcissism+: Clemson seems SOOO long ago. At least we didn’t get too used to the admiration. ADVANTAGE: Louisville
EDSBS IJ Factor: (Every Day Should Be Saturday Inside Joke Factor).
The Dungey Train left the tracks last week when he was shelved against Wake Forest. We’ll look to those karate kick gifs to keep us warm this winter. Meanwhile Louisville always has a crap alternate home uniform at the ready that will get the EDBS crew excited. This one is almost too close to call. ADVANTAGE: Louisville
East Coast Bias +/-: Syracuse’s losing streak has bored the East Coast Media, who are now fawning over AL Rookie of The Year and strikeout king Aaron Judge. ADVANTAGE: Louisville
Tradition/Culture Index: One school has built a legacy through old-school grit, North Eastern toughness, and the number 44.
The other built a legacy through undercooked and incredibly inexpensive pizza.
2017 #FNSI Accuracy: (7-2) 78%
The #FNSI indicates that the Cardinals are the favorites in this matchup. Syracuse has lost their way defensively, and made Wake Forest Quarterback John Wolford look like Lamar Jackson.
This week, we make Lamar Jackson look like Lamar Jackson.
Lamar Jackson 49, Syracuse 34.