I know that the football year is over at Syracuse University, not because the season is over but due to the fact that the team could not win one game in their last five attempts after defeating West Virginia on national television, but let me give you some more to think about when it comes to the gridiron. To add insult to injury, when you check the bowl games line up you see that Temple, the team that was booted from the Big East for not good enough, is going to a bowl game this year with a 8-4 record. Sure the Owls did not play the competition that the Orange did, but you have to say it’s ironic to see this, and in some ways also frustrating. If you read the article on syracuse.com by Bud Poliquin you will read a very interesting and scare statistic: SU is at a 9-40 (.183) clip in its middling league — or at a pace worse than the seven-season run of 10-38 (.208) that got Temple tossed through the Big East doors at the turn of the century. Listening to Brent Axe on Score 1260 he feels that head coach Doug Marrone should get five years in order to show what he can do with this team.
I agree, up to a point, but if this team does not show any improvement next year you have to wonder if it would be worth it, especially since the following year there would be a new player under center. I would say that an over .500 season is the mark set to have coach Marrone be back on the hill, anything less, especially if no bowl game again, should make athletic director Dr. Gross think about the next candidate to lead this program. Until then enjoy the bowl game line up, which will run from December 17 to January 9.
Many people also attacked the number comparison between Syracuse and Temple, saying that the Philadelphia school did not have great facilities and other things. Well, I like to say this: if you think that the Carrier Dome is an attraction to the recruits you have not traveled to too many away games. The problem is pretty simple and pretty complicated when it comes to the home field for the Orange: they either stay there or have to go off campus to build another facility. And I do not see SU doing anything like this in the near future. So what gets the high school blue chipper to look past the stadium, the practice fields, and all the rest? Winning, which as the above numbers show neither program have been doing. So, while I can see some differences, the reality is a bit like the old saying “just win!”
On a bright note, at the New York Historical Society Museum and Library, with this being the 50th anniversary of Ernie Davis (one of the many that made the #44 famous) winning the Heisman trophy they celebrated the only Syracuse player to ever win the award, as well as the first African-American to receive the hardware. I find this a great thought and something that should have been done for someone that was not just a great player, but a great man. With his life cut down short due to leukemia I like to borrow a phrase from one of my favorite sports movie, Brian’s song, about Brian Piccolo, who too died way too early “when they think of him, it’s not how he died that they remember, but how he lived. How he did live!” (by his coach George Halas). Well last night we all had that chance, I hope you took advantage of it. And if you have not seen the movie about Davis,
, you should check it out as well.