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What if... Syracuse doesn’t choke vs. Rutgers in 2011?

In an alternate universe, Earth-44 to be exact, Syracuse Football looks ever so slightly different than the one we know. Welcome to our Syracuse football “what if” series’ foray into 2011.

Syracuse v Rutgers Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images

Thanks to the powers of discarded Food Lion produce and dishonored contracts, I have found a way to view an alternate universe named Earth-44. Every time I visit this place, something has changed with Syracuse Football. This series will report my chronological travels to this alternate earth and the TNIAAM staff tries to figure out what it all means, since I can only view the one game I end up in. Today, I saw the 2011 Rutgers game.

Previously — What If: 2010

Scenario: I’ve gotten better at time travel since we last used the machine. I’m sent back and reliving my freshman year self on a nooner Dome gameday. I wake up at 9 (way too early for a college freshman) and stumble around looking for my Orange jersey. I’m in the student section by 11, munching on a breakfast of two Dome dogs and Mountain Dew. I remember that was the best part of my day.

The rest of the afternoon is spent watching the Syracuse Orange and Rutgers Scarlet Knights struggle to play something resembling football. A 3-1 Syracuse squad rushes out to an early lead, but in the fourth quarter, Gary Nova ties the game up, and thanks to a missed extra point, Rutgers can tie with this up with 2:09 left to go. I resign myself to another overtime (that insane Wake game already killed me), but, there’s cheering? San San Te missed the extra point! Rutgers can’t convert the onside kick and holy food lion, ‘Cuse is 4-1!

I’m sucked back to 2018, wondering what happens to a 4-1 ‘Cuse team?

Syracuse v Rutgers Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

What does it mean?

Kevin, again with his much better time machine: Syracuse goes on to finish the season 8-4 and Doug Marrone gets hired by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after the season. Syracuse replaces Marrone with Skip Holtz who lasts until 2016 when he’s fired by Mark Coyle and replaced by Dino Babers. Greg Schiano remains at Rutgers until 2017 when he’s fired after going 2-34 in Big Ten play.

John: Not much, other than another bowl bid (this time, Birmingham/Beef O’Brady’s/Little Caesars) by way of a 6-6 record. Syracuse still gets the win against West Virginia to get to 6-1 and that pesky streak we have going without being in the top 25 gets laid to rest. Still think the collapse happens thereafter, though. But getting to a bowl again means everyone buys the idea that Marrone has the program on a clear upward trajectory.

Personally, things certainty could get interesting. Syracuse had a gimme versus Toldeo (5-1) and then the amazing WVU game (6-1). The Connecticut loss is really the only close loss of the remaining dropped games. I think the Orange earn a bowl bid, but Marrone doesn’t get the NFL looks until the 2012 season.

How much faith do you have in that Orange team? Share your own thoughts below.