Teams: there are a lot of them. In our effort to bring you the finest "bullshit" coverage of college football, we have begun the best method we could think of to write about teams we know next to nothing about: asking others to write about them for us. Our Visiting Lecturer Series today presents the case of Syracuse football, and we use the epidemiological term case intentionally, reader. The presiding coroner: MariusJanulisForThree, the editor of Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician. Enjoy the taste of Job in every bite.
That fellow, there: we knew him well when he rode with Donovan of McNabb.
One: what color is your season? In other words, please explain the metaphorical state of your program through the metaphor of color:
It would be too obvious to just say orange. We're always orange. That's our thing. The real question is, metaphorically, what shade of orange are we?
There's Persimmon, a medium orange-red. But I think we passed by medium hues a long time ago.
What about Amber? The orange-yellow color gets its name from the natural material known to encapsulate fossilized detritus, like a metaphorical Carrier Dome enveloping the decaying carcass of Greg Robinson. Actually I think that might be too literal.
I'm actually gonna go with Vermilion. It's an artificially-produced color created by reacting mercury with molten sulfur. Yep, sounds about right.
Two: What historical nation and period do you resemble most right now?
The Ottoman Empire, early 20th century.
Remember in history class when you'd be learning about Europe and all the great battles and countries therein and all of a sudden someone would mention the Ottoman Empire and throw you for a loop? You'd immediately think of two things:
#1. That episode of "The Tick" where Die Fledermaus fights the Ottoman Empress suddenly works on a whole new level.
#2. What the hell was The Ottoman Empire?
And then you go back to learning about the influence of Belgium in the Industrial Revolution and no one bothers to explain to you that the Ottoman Empire was one of the great civilizations of the modern world.
We get lessons about Greece (USC), Rome (Michigan), France (Notre Dame) and England (Alabama) shoved down out throats in high school but unless you take a Middle Eastern studies course during freshman year to fulfill your Arts & Sciences credits, the Ottoman Empire just kinda exists in the ether. You kinda remember it was there but you don't quite know what ever made it so good in the first place. If anything, the only thing you remember about them is that they went out with a whimper, doing so poorly in World War I that they renamed the place Turkey.
That's Syracuse football. The 14th winningest program of all time (yep, look it up). A National Championship (1959). A Heisman Trophy winner (Ernie Davis). Home of Jim Brown, Floyd Little, Larry Csonka, Joe Morris, Art Monk, Dwight Freeney and Donovan McNabb. Four-time Big East champion.
And yet, in a matter of just three years, none of that matters anymore. Cause all anyone can see is the failure pile currently residing at the bottom of the resurgent© Big East. The only team not pulling their weight. The House That Greg Robinson Built...Shoddily And Without Adequate Plumbing. There are actually kids living in the Northeast right who only know Rutgers as a football power and Syracuse as a basement-dweller. That's insane.
This metaphorical shorthand description of the entire Greg Robinson tenure at Syracuse is brought to you by Failure: ask for it by name.
Three: You have important players. Discuss a few of them hastily.
Well, we HAD an important player. Mike Williams, our #1 wide receiver and one of the lone bright and shining lights in what is sure to be a season of dark misery. Mike is coming off a season where he tied the team record for receptions (60), extended a streak of at lease one reception in 20-straight games and scored a touchdown in nine-straight games. All the more impressive considering he did it, you know, at Syracuse. But alas, it was too good to be true and Mike saved us the trouble of being disappointed later by disappointing us sooner and getting kicked out of school for (allegedly) cheating.
That leaves ginger-haired quarterback Andrew Robinson to await his fate behind The Offensive Line That Wasn't There instead of breaking every record in the book as part of the greatest QB/WR tandem in the history of the school (seriously).
Four: Name two games we might actually want to watch featuring your team.
Penn State at Syracuse on September 13th. Not so much because this is the renewal of a great rivalry (69th meeting) or because it might be one of the few times all year you'll see the Carrier Dome rockin', but more so because you probably won't have a choice. ABC has already slated the game for it's national airwaves.
Other than that, I'd suggest Syracuse at West Virginia on October 11th if you want to see Noel Devine live up to his surname. Oh and you might want to take the over.
Four-A: Save us all some time and mention the game were better off NOT watching.
Lots to choose from but let's go with Northeastern vs. Syracuse on September 20th. We ran out of options for a sure-thing Homecoming win in Division 1-A or whatever they're calling it these days so we decided it was finally time to call someone up from the minors. Has a Division 1-AA team ever been favored to beat a Division 1-A team before? No? Give it time...
Five: Every hero forgets something in their toolbelt. What does your team lack?
It might be easier to answer this question the other way around.
Our offensive line troubles are already the stuff of legend. We'll see if new offensive coordinator Mitch Browning's Please, No Fatties policy improves things. If by chance the line does improve, that opens the door for our ground game to return to form. Dead last in the country in rushing last season, the Orange has a plethora of expandable, oft-injured and untested running backs to throw to the wolves. If that doesn't work, Andrew Robinson can just throw to Mike Wil...no wait, Andrew Robinson can throw the ball to one of his many untested and inexperienced wide receivers and hope for the best.
Somehow I haven't even gotten to the defense yet. And you know what, it's probably for the best anyway...
Six: Describe your team with a Jimmy Buffett song. No, were seriousdo it.
I thought about Cheeseburger in Paradise, since that's the only kind of cheeseburger the offensive line is going to be seeing all season. But in the end, it was really quite simple. Playin' The Loser Again.
Don't give me somethin'
To build all around
And just for a thrill
You tear it all down
Don't make me dream again
It's a sin to make love to me
And then just disappear
And leave me waiting here
Playin' the loser again
Seven: Were master wagerers. Give us a bet to place for up to ten dollars about your team.
In all seriousness I would love to tell you that Syracuse football is on the rise and the worst is behind us. I'd love to tell you that Greg Robinson has turned the corner and is now ready to take the first step towards respectability. I'd love to tell you that the visions of an International Bowl appearance dancing in my head are real. But I can't. Between the Mike Williams situation, the lack of experience on defense, the instability at the O-line and in the backfield, the 11th toughest schedule in the nation and Greg Robinson's mere presence, I just don't think this team is going to win more than 2 games again.
Can I just have The Job Award now, please?
Not yet, but fine work, sir. If you'd like to read more about Syracuse football, the Library of Congress recommends Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician. If you'd like to contribute your own Visiting Lecturer post, please contact us at harumphharumph of the gmail email variety address.