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Year-in-review: John’s favorite TNIAAM articles (that he wrote) in 2020

I wrote some things in 2020. Perhaps you’ve read them.

Boston College v Syracuse Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

As has been the case for years now, I’ve written a lot of articles — largely about the Syracuse Orange — here on the webpages of TNIAAM. Since they can’t all be winners, though, some of those pieces were better than others. What’s been compiled below is a list of the best ones, in my opinion (or at least the ones I can reread without cringing too much).

So if you didn’t read enough things I wrote in 2020, enjoy the list below as a bit of a recap of what happened. If you feel like you’ve already maxed out on such content, that’s cool too. Along with Monday’s list of the most-commented articles, Wednesday will also feature the best work from the rest of the TNIAAM staff.

These aren’t ranked at all, but rather, are just in chronological order. Also don’t read anything into the fact that there are 13 articles. It’s just where things wound up.

We’ll never know the complete story of this Syracuse men’s basketball season

Not an elaborate story, but I did feel like it was necessary to eulogize this Syracuse season and all of its weirdness. Even if the year probably wound up looking something like 2016-17 or 2014-15, the fact that we’ve seen something like 2005-06 or 2015-16 happen will always leave us wanting more from this group.

Creating Syracuse football’s ideal schedules through 2035

With an extended offseason, it seemed like the perfect time to talk scheduling to my heart’s content. This exercise took a look at how SU could get me to shut up about future games for the next decade and a half.

TNIAAM talks to Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim on SportsCastr

I’ve covered Syracuse for a long time, but this was the first chance I’ve had to talk to the Hall of Fame coach. It didn’t disappoint.

Best Syracuse teams not to win a National Title: 2009-10 Orange men’s basketball

The 2009-10 team will always hold a special place for me and many ‘Cuse fans. It was my senior year, the team looked unstoppable, and then one injury (to Arinze Onuaku) seemed to derail the entire thing far too quickly. Orange fans have a lot of “what ifs,” but to me, this one lingers as such a major missed opportunity to add to this program’s impressive legacy (even if just with another Final Four).

Rivalry Week: Ways to revitalize Syracuse vs. Georgetown

It’s clear that something’s amiss with this old Big East rivalry — beyond just league membership. Given the importance the matchup has always had to my experience as a fan of Syracuse, it seemed worthwhile to invest in ideas that could resuscitate this thing before it’s too far gone (if it isn’t already).

Syracuse football: What does ‘ready’ even mean anymore?

I wasn’t mentally or emotionally ready for this football season, and that never really changed through 11 games. You could argue Syracuse may not have been either. Where we’ll all disagree is around how much of that was within Dino Babers’s control. Looking back here, it does show a lot more uncertainty than we may recall now in hindsight.

Syracuse football’s crisis of confidence

After two games, this piece could’ve been an overreaction to decent efforts against good teams. Looking back at the 1-10 finish, it seems far more appropriate and most of what was said here held true. Both inside and outside of this program, there’s a dissonance between expectations and results, and that’s creating doubts we never envisioned just two years ago.

What’s ailing Syracuse QB Tommy DeVito?

This was before DeVito’s injury, and admittedly, more should’ve been put directly on DeVito for the constant problems with the Orange passing game. That doesn’t mean others — Sterlin Gilbert, the offensive line — lack fault. Stephen Bailey’s piece from Monday actually gets into the issues DeVito directly needs to address with much more detail.

How will SU’s offense change without Tommy DeVito?

Two out of three (run game, short passes) ain’t bad. If only Gilbert was willing to use tight ends in the passing game...

Syracuse football: If you always have faith, you never need results

Even someone like myself that’s giving Babers a lot of time to turn things around has their moments when it’s just been too much to have to sit through. The Liberty game was potentially that, but a quote afterward that tried to sell us on the hope/faith narrative sealed it for me. For what it’s worth, I think this narrative did vanish for the rest of the year, at least.

What if: SU football has just been an elaborate dark comedy since 2005?

Full disclosure: This article took a very long time and sounded more fun when I came up with the initial idea. Still, it’s the sort of jokes and garbage creativity I wish I had some more time for now and again (with far fewer words).

Syracuse football: You have to make hopelessness feel temporary

The list of reasons to believe during this disastrous Syracuse football season was pretty small, yet they were there. Where things went off the rails were how long belief lapsed for dating back to last year. That extended time period of hopelessness for fans is what endangers Babers’s job more than the total number of losses, really.

How to fix Syracuse football in the long-term, part 1: What won’t work

I remembered Sean’s original take on this idea pretty vividly, and wanted to make sure I didn’t just retread the whole thing. For as much as this year exhausted me and I don’t wish for seasons like this one, I do find it cathartic to talk about what’s not working — and then how to fix it, as this series would.


With luck, you enjoyed reading these as much as I did writing them. I know I mentioned on Monday that this has been a tough year running TNIAAM, but I thank you all — yes, even those I vehemently disagree with more often than not — for continuing to read, provide feedback and keep this a fun place to talk Syracuse. Thanks for sticking around as long as many of you have. It’s really, always appreciated.