Sunday, October 31, 2010

Syracuse now Top 25 candidate, and Marrone's deserving of coach-of-the-year honors

I was optimistic that Doug Marrone would return Syracuse football to prominence. But I never expected him to resurrect the program this quickly.
With yesterday’s easy 31-7 victory against two-time defending Big East champ Cincinnati on the road, SU is now 6-2 and could crack the weekly Top 25 for the first time in a decade. The Orange men clearly deserve to be ranked, given their record, which includes four impressive road wins.
And Marrone, a former Syracuse player who spent his post-playing career preparing to land the head job at his alma mater, merits strong consideration for national coach-of-the-year honors.
Yes, I know, the Big East is extremely week this season, but the national experts knew that going in and they still didn’t predict any marked improvement by the Orange.
And don’t forget what Marrone inherited from Greg Robinson – a program in total dysfunction; a program that had posted two 10-loss seasons in four years. The first double-digit, loss seasons, we might add, in the 121-year history of SU football.
With one victory in their remaining four regular-season games, SU becomes bowl eligible. Three of the Orange men’s final four games are in the Carrier Dome and Rutgers is the only remaining opponent with a winning record (4-3). So, it’s not inconceivable that Syracuse could run the table against Louisville (4-4), Rutgers, Connecticut (4-4) and Boston College (3-5) to finish 10-2 as they did in 2001. If they do that and Pitt stumbles in a few Big East games (a distinct possibility given the Panthers history of inconsistency under coach Dave Wannstedt), SU could – I’m not making this up – play in a BCS bowl this January.
I’m not saying that Syracuse suddenly is a national football power. They’re still two solid recruiting classes away from that status. But they’ve made remarkable strides under Marrone in a short period of time.
I think it’s about time SU fans jump on the bandwagon. Fill the Dome this Saturday for the game aganst Louisville. You will be witness to the victory that will return SU to the post-season.

Although I think Ryan Fitztpatrick will again put up impressive numbers, I can’t see the Bills pulling one out against the Chiefs in Kansas City this afternoon. I believe Thomas Jones and the Chiefs will run roughshod against the league’s worst run defense. Call it KC 33, Buffalo 26, as the Bills drop to 0-7.
Happy Birthday to my older brother, Russ. I won't tell you how old he is, but it has something to do with the speed limit on the Thurway. ;-)

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