Music to listen to: Ghetto Life by Rick James
Rick is from Buffalo which is close to Syracuse and I’ll always find a reason to bump his music. Apologies in advance to Lou Reed fans for not selecting an actual Syracuse alum in this spot.
Last Season: In Syracuse’s first year in the ACC and under head coach Scott Shafer, the Orange managed to win seven contests including a Texas Bowl win over Minnesota.
When Syracuse was in a winnable contest, it produced some solid victories over Boston College, Maryland and Wake Forest. However, when the Orange lost, the contests were blowouts. It lost 49-14 against Clemson, 56-0 at Georgia Tech and 59-3 at Florida State. That speaks to an inconsistent offense and a defense that couldn’t produce against an athletic opponent or unique scheme in the case of Georgia Tech’s triple option attack.
Yes, I found a way to incorporate the title of this post into the article. That’s called synergy.
Offense: The Orange offense returns junior quarterback Terrel Hunt who started the last eight games in 2013. He had 17 total touchdowns last season, 10 of which came in the air. His dual-threat capabilities will be a valuable asset under offensive coordinator George McDonald and having an entire offseason as the starter.
The offensive line will be led by preseason All-ACC selection, senior tackle Sean Hickey. Junior wide receiver Ashton Broyld had 52 receptions last season but didn’t catch one touchdown meaning the Orange will need more production from him and the rest of the receivers.
Syracuse boosts a deep stable of running backs including Prince-Tyson Gulley and George Morris II.
Defense: As stated earlier, the defense had solid moments last year but was undermined by inconsistency. The defensive line loses Jay Bromley but returns seniors Robert Welsh and Micah Robinson at ends. The rest of the defense has several veterans including junior safety Durell Eskridge who had a team-high 78 tackles and four interceptions last year.
||at Central Michigan
||Notre Dame (Giants Stadium)
||at Wake Forest
||at Boston College
This looks like another 6-6 or 5-7 regular season with the last two road games at Pitt and Boston College being the deciding factor if the Orange will return to a bowl game. They have a tough five-game stretch from Notre Dame to Clemson. If they can find a way to be 2-3 in those games, a winning record may be possible.
Syracuse was my favorite college football team as a kid growing up in Brooklyn. Growing up in the NYC, we didn’t have many local teams to cheer for in college football. The closest team we hd geographically was Rutgers and they were a terrible team from New Jersey. No respectable New Yorker would go for a team from Jersey.
An alternative was to adopt a team from another part of the country. The largest fan base was from Notre Dame and I’ve never liked the Fighting Irish, even as a kid. From the Catholic propaganda, over-saturation of coverage from the sports media, annoying fans and other factors turned me off to that squad to this day.
Many other New Yorkers liked Michigan because it was a program with a national footprint. I didn’t mind the Wolverines and still think they have one of the top-five uniforms in college football. However, that squad was thousands of miles away and felt detached from them.
Penn State got some respect as well. Boston College and Pitt were fellow Big East squads as well but repped different cities than the NYC.
Finally, I came upon Syracuse because it was from my home state and I was already a big fan of the basketball squad, I should support the football team as well. Marvin Graves was my first favorite player on the squad, leading the Orange to three bowl victories including the 1993 Fiesta Bowl over Colorado. He’s my first memory of a program that eventually produced Donovan McNabb, Marvin Harrison, Dwight Freeney and a host of other elite talent over the years.
This list is strong, especially when you look at the names from the media, particularly sports. Marv Albert, Mike Torico, Bob Costas, Ian Eagle, Sean McDonough, Jayson Stark, Dick Stockton, Ted Koppel!
However, this category goes to Dick Clark, who had the best-ever broadcasting career in entertainment. From radio to American Bandstand to the New Year’s Eve events at Times Square that I would watch on television with my grandmother, the list goes on. Game show host with $10,000 Pyramid, TV’s Bloopers and Practical Jokes with Ed McMahon, the man did it all.
Honorable mention: Jim Brown, Keith Bullock, Larry Csonka, Gary Gait, Gerry McNamara, Mike Rotundo, Lou Reid,
The original Vanessa Williams takes the title. Honorable mention: Samantha Brown, Vera Farmiga and Miss Jones.
Overall outlook: I’m envisioning a 6-6 season and another bowl appearance for the Orange which will be a positive step for the program.
North Carolina State