As we seem to re-establish each year, Syracuse Orange sports are a calendar-long event, with each successive season seemingly out-doing the last in terms of big storylines and #NARRATIVES.
To little surprise, 2018 was no exception, as SU gave us yet another interesting 12 months of events that fueled quite a bit of content, and even more conversation. At TNIAAM, we wrote over 1,800 articles this year, and many of those generated quite a few comments from all of you.
Starting up our year-end recap articles, we wanted to take a look back at the pieces that garnered the biggest reactions from this community. The list excludes GameThreads, however, because that’s cheating.
TNIAAM’s Most-Commented Posts of 2018
After another miraculous and unexpected March run, the sky appeared to be the limit for our optimism about the Syracuse men’s basketball team... and then this happened. Darius Bazley, the top player in SU’s 2018 recruiting class, decided he wasn’t coming. Everyone was pretty upset — some more than others — and that’s how we ended up with one of the most-commented-on non-gamethread articles the site’s ever had.
The first apology letter took everyone by surprise. But the second was demanded the second the Orange knocked off Michigan State in the Sweet 16. And once again, Sean returned to deliver the goods. SU’s become a bit of an NCAA Tournament villain, so posts like this only help fuel that narrative. Chances are if ‘Cuse returns to the Big Dance, they’ll once again be everyone’s least-favorite inclusion for 2019.
Syracuse had a lead over the ranked Bulls, and while they were far from excellent, play looked improved... and then it didn’t. This wound’s still fresh for many of us because of just how poorly the Orange played in the second half. It also led to the typical “Jim doesn’t have it anymore” comments that come whenever the offense struggles and/or we lose a couple games in a row.
We’ve already mentioned this one above, but after the Orange bounced No. 2 seed Michigan State out of the NCAAs, the SU faithful was pretty ecstatic. Remember: Walk-on Braedon Bayer played extended late minutes to help Syracuse close out the Spartans! This still makes no sense, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Some of you were mad about this post. Most accepted where it was coming from, even if you didn’t necessarily agree with the premise. It got heated in the comments for a bit. We may have come out better for it, but I’m not so sure...
Syracuse had the potential to get stomped by the fast-paced Sun Devils, one of the quickest and highest-scoring teams in the country. Instead, the Orange completely stifled ASU in the First Four, grinding them down with the zone defense and moving on to the next round. We didn’t know the run would keep going for three more games. But this win still started it all.
Following a come-from-behind win over UNC, we had our doubts that this Syracuse football team could get over the hump and into the top 25. A night game against NC State at the Dome, however, cured any lingering doubts around Eric Dungey or this team as they pulled off win No. 6 before November. The reward: the program’s first ranking since 2001. It wouldn’t be the last.
Forgive me (and all of us) for being confused about SU football after week one of this season. They ran out to a big lead over WMU and then benched Dungey with plenty of time left on the clock. Things fell apart for a bit, and you know the rest. Luckily, most of our questions around the team and the decisions around Dungey leaving too early would be null and void soon enough.
After losing to Clemson, we were energized by how close we came to the improbable upset. Losing to Pitt the next week didn’t inspire the same vote of confidence, though. At 4-2, there was the potential to miss the chance to make the season something special. Lucky for us, the Orange would lose just one more game for the rest of 2018.
Luckily, Babers was signed to an extension at Syracuse in the weeks after this, so Sean didn’t end up on Cold Takes Exposed. But the greater point of the article was that this was step one of renewed success for the Orange under Dino, and the talk about the SU coach would only increase outside of CNY as the wins continued. Next year will be a big one. But if he’s mentioned for jobs like USC, Michigan or others, it’s because Syracuse has performed at a level far beyond what we’ve seen these last two decades.
A lot of fun times above, so hopefully you enjoyed reading about them as much as we enjoyed writing about them. If you missed any of these posts the first time around, go ahead and check them out again for the writing — but also the enjoyable collections of gifs, #jokesandgarbage and other assorted nonsense included in the comment sections.
As always, thanks for reading.