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Syracuse football: Orange buck conventional wisdom with Fran Brown hiring

It’s a swing at stepping into the current era of college football

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 31 Semifinal Game Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Photo by Jeffrey Vest/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Hiring Fran Brown as the next Syracuse Orange Head Coach should be encouraging to fans.

Let’s be clear, when the list of names came out last week, a few stuck out as the “safe route” for John Wildhack and his preferred criteria. While fans jumped on the Dan Mullen train and pointed to his SEC success and Syracuse connection, Al Golden stood out as someone that Wildhack could have settled for. I use that word settled intentionally.

With the option to play it safe and hire a former head coach with Northeast ties and the experience building a program at a private institution would check a lot of boxes. Wildhack could have drawn from his time and talked about the way Dick MacPherson and Paul Pasqualoni built the Orange, but what he’s done is shown that Syracuse might be ready to embrace modern tactics.

We have no idea how Fran Brown will build a program, call a game, or handle the step into the lead chair. What we do know is that he’s been known as one of the best recruiters in college football. He’s recruited well at Temple, Baylor, Rutgers and Georgia. He’s convinced players to stay closer to home and he’s stood toe to toe with the heavyweights in the sport.

How does he get players? Well listen to one of his current athletes talk about the relationship that’s been built.

As college football becomes a bigger and bigger business, at the end it’s about these relationships. Will this translate to Syracuse landing better recruiting classes? That’s certainly the hope from the administration. They passed on “program builders” or more experienced coordinators to put their trust in Brown and I can see why.

I’m not going to tell you that he’ll have the Orange in the top 20 in the recruiting rankings, but if he can draw a bit more talent to CNY, through the portal or out of high school, he might build the depth that’s been lacking. The hiring of Brown isn’t to address the needs of fans, it’s to address the needs of the players.

Syracuse can’t out-spend other schools, but if they take a shot at being first to land a rising star, it could be a strategy that delivers. We’ll find out if the risk plays out, but for anyone concerned about Syracuse being serious about football, I think this hire shows that not only are the Orange serious about competing, they are willing to take a chance to make it happen.