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#FakeNunes: Syracuse v. Middle Tennessee State

If it's not fit to print, it's #FakeNunes!

Opponent: Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders

Location: Murfreesboro, Tenn.

Students: 23,000

We Tease Him A Lot, 'Cause We've Got Him On The Spot. Welcome Back!

"Great Fans of The Syracuse Orange, please welcome back Scott Shafer, the First of His Name, The Occasionally Burnt, King of the All-Out Blitz, the #hardnosed and the Texas Bowl, Khaleesi of the Great Bubble Screen, Protector of Game Film, Lord Regent of the Front Seven, Breaker of Podiums, and Father of Wolf"!

Perhaps this welcome is a bit much for a coach that was fired after compiling a 14-23 record while head coach at Syracuse? Nonsense, I say!

Okay, okay, things clearly didn't quite work out for Coach Shafer as head coach of Syracuse Orange football. But when I look back on the entirety of his contributions to our program, I'd like to hope that his Orange legacy is generally positive, and at worst neutral. You can certainly argue his recruiting skill and overall coaching philosophy were not quite good enough for Syracuse to be competitive in the ACC. But he was an instrumental part of Doug Marrone's coaching staff that helped pull SU out of the ashes following the Greg Robinson experience. His aggressive (albeit predictable) defensive approach was a good fit with the athletes we had, and as a Defensive Coordinator, I felt he was extremely competent.

He was also someone who wore his heart on his sleeve. Sure, it got him in trouble at times, but if we are honest, that tendency really made him a great fit here in Syracuse. I mean, this community kind of wears its heart on its sleeve more than most (with wonderful and calamitous effects alike... just like Coach Shafer)! To that extent, I always felt that he was "one of us.”

I truly felt that he cared deeply for the success of this program, its athletes, and our community. During the high point of his tenure (the Texas Bowl victory), he was more outgoing in his support for our fan base and for TNIAAM in general than any other coach that preceded him. That things went south from there ultimately soured the relationship, but that is the nature of the beast in College Football.

Ultimately, his departure heralded the Dino Babers era. And while I wouldn't trade that result for anything, I do admit that there is always a place in this program and this town for the hard-nosed and honest Scott Shafers of the world. Good luck to you, Coach!

Undesirable No 6!

Someone's parents need to sit down and have a talk with this young man. Seriously, when I was growing up, there were some very clear rules to life:

  1. You don't tug on Superman's cape
  2. You don't spit into the wind
  3. You don't pull the mask off the Lone Ranger
  4. You don't put your hand out to help your fellow man, and then pull it back!!!!

That's MTSU Senior defensive back Mike Minter Jr. pulling the most basic of villainous playground tricks on an unsuspecting Vanderbilt player during last week's loss to The Commodores. This is the latest in an alleged string of unsavory incidents including intentionally popping helium balloons at children's' birthday parties, using two parking spaces for his family's mid-sized sedan, and eating pizza slices with RANCH DRESSING.

This is a veeeeery bad man...

Coach's Film Study

It's well known that Coach Dino Babers loves two things: playing football fast, and movies! In this new first-of-its-kind feature, Coach takes a moment from the gridiron to break down the Xs and Os of the Silver Screen.

Today's Film: Hustle and Flow

All too often in life, it is easy to look at a subject at it's most shallow level. Whether it is football or film, the lowest common denominator is to apply some stale formula and paint a picture that ignores the human element. You know what I'm talking about, SU fans? Somebody in Vegas told us we'd win four games, but did they look into your heart? They sure as hell didn't look into my heart! Many films depicting rap music or the hip hop industry fall into this trap. Fortunately, Hustle and Flow isn't one of them!

The setting of Memphis is characteristically gritty, but the characters in the film are complex, vulnerable and honest. The main character Djay (played exceptionally by Terrence Howard) goes through a difficult progression in transforming his life. He's not a typical protagonist, but nonetheless uses his instincts, bravery and intellect to learn from his mistakes, and leaves you rooting for him to succeed. And like a good football team emerging from obscurity, he has the capacity to understand his mistakes, and leverage them to achieve something greater in his life. Even if his methods are somewhat morally questionable by traditional standards.

If you like underdog stories that include truthful storytelling, tap into the human emotions of individuals under stress, and enjoy films inspired by the music industry, you need to put Hustle and Flow high on your Netflix depth chart!

four oranges (out of five)

The #FakeNunes Statistical Index (#FNSI)!

TNIAAM introduces you to our very own proprietary mock-statistical model to measure the TRUE strength of Syracuse University's schedule- the #FakeNunes Statistical Index (#FNSI). Each week, the #FNSI will assess the strength of an opponent across multiple key variables (on a scale of 0-30) using absolutely none of the most complex sports analytics metrics available. Enjoy!

Week one of the #FNSI suggested Syracuse had an advantage across the board, and the scoreline proved this out. As we move into Week two, we analyze a more complete foe that holds a few advantages over the boys in Orange. Or possibly Blue. Or effing Platinum.

F&B: (Food and Beverage). Murfreesboro's food and beverage scene goes toe-to-toe with 'Cuse. It would make an Orange fan feel right at home between a go-to rib joint Slick Pig BBQ, a solid array of Mediterranean and American spots, and the incredibly nerdy and admittedly awesome Middle Earth Themed Green Dragon Public House (for those Middle Ages Brewery fans)! ADVANTAGE: SU (by a Hobbit's hair)

Tailgate Efficiency: What would you get if you allowed tailgating on The Quad? You'd get Walnut Grove, MTSU's smaller scale, but completely awesome location for pre- and post-game tailgating. It's a Power-5 school concept, and one that honestly I'd LOVE to see SU adopt one day. ADVANTAGE: MTSU

Adj. Uniform Coolness: While SU runs out the string in its current substandard Nike sets, you could be forgiven for thinking that we're playing CCSU for the second week in a row. Not much haute couture inspiration on either side of the ball. ADVANTAGE: EVEN

4th String F.I.: (4th String Familiarity Index) Syracuse fans only start to recite our fourth string options when Eric Dungey has his annual "upper body injury" while trying to truck a 350-pound defensive tackle in the fourth quarter of a three-touchdown loss. I'm not certain MTSU even has a fourth team. ADVANTAGE: SU

Hot Seat: A victory against Syracuse is not make-or-break for the underrated Rick Stockstill. A victory against Syracuse is much more consequential for Dino Babers and his hopes to take SU to a bowl game in 2017. ADVANTAGE: SU

FACEPALM: Both SU and MTSU feel that this game is winnable, but there is little appetite in Syracuse for any loss with the LSU, FSU, Clemson, Miami, Louisville gauntlet waiting for us. ADVANTAGE: SU

Grandpa Edgar: "Shoot, in my day, unless you were from Ohio, Louisiana, Florida or Pennsylvania, if you had to put the word 'State' at the end of your name, you just weren't going to cut it in college football. And if you have to add where in the hell your state school is located on top of that? Well, you are the kind of team that only exists to let a school that DOESN'T need to put 'State' on the end of it beat the crap out of you out-of-conference in early September". ADVANTAGE: SU

Swift/Perry Index: No history between the teams to speak of. But there's a defensive coordinator that may go full FU Dabo if MTSU walks out of The Dome with a victory. ADVANTAGE: MTSU

Iso #DISRESPEKT: A loss to Vandy in week one tempered any immediate thoughts that MTSU was a mid-major program worthy of the spotlight. SU's fan base just wants no whammies in the first three weeks before worrying about their stature within the ACC and national scene. "SLIGHT" ADVANTAGE (pun intended): SU

Narcissism+: No delusions of grandeur for either program at this point in the season, but surely SU thinks we're worth more than the 8.5-point spread. ADVANTAGE: SU

EDSBS IJ Factor: (Every Day Should Be Saturday Inside Joke Factor). FU Dabo gif meme is a slight possibility in the event of an MSTU victory.

East Coast Bias +/-: Both teams are completely off the radar at this juncture in the season. ADVANTAGE: SU

Lightning, Blue Raider Mascot, and possible biological father of Twilight Sparkle, Rainbow Sparkle, and Princess Luna

Tradition/Culture Index: MTSU holds an advantage in tailgating scene, but is at par with other pre-game rituals. SU holds a distinct advantage in historical success, and has a mascot that — while lovingly unusual — doesn't actually look like the father of a My Little Pony. ADVANTAGE: SU


SU holds the advantage in the majority of #FNSI categories, but Swift/Perry and Tailgate Efficiency metrics suggests this one will be a step up in competition for the Orange. Syracuse 38, MTSU 24