Instead of writing our own post previewing the 2010 Syracuse Orange footabll team, we thought the quality of said post would improve ten fold if we sat down with the blogging authority of the Orange, Sean Keeley of Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician. We discuss what the renewal of old our old Big East hostilities will mean for each program, cozy up to who will be suiting up for both teams and wrap up with some expectations for the season.
Here is part 1 of our discussion with Sean. Part 2 will be posted over at TNIAAM tomorrow.
Brian: I, for one, am really happy to see Syracuse back on the schedule, especially towards the end of the year when the other ACC schools are off playing their in-state SEC counterparts. BC and Syracuse share a lot of history in football and basketball, and even share an interstate highway, so it seems like a great way to end the football season with an old Big East rival.
The thing is, the personalities that made the BC-Cuse rivalry on the field great back in the early 2000s are all gone. The last time BC played Syracuse, our sophomore star LB Luke Kuechly hadn't graduated from middle school. Doug Marrone was off in the NFL as the OL coach with the Jets. TOB and Pasqualoni are gone. And the players completely turn over every 4 years, a much shorter time frame than the time between when BC and Syracuse last met on the gridiron. Is there anyone left from either program's staff, aside from Spaziani, that can remind these kids about the great BC-Cuse games of the 90s and early 00s?
Sean: I'm very excited to see SU and BC playing again and I love that it's going to be the season-ender. It sends a great message to both fanbases. THROW OUT THE RECORDS, this one is for pride and rivalry and all that is good.
To answer your question, if there's anything Doug Marrone does well, it's making sure his players understand the history and traditions of Syracuse football. Playing Boston College is one of them. He should know, he was on the SU teams in '83-'85 and he lined up against BC all three years. BC won in '83, SU evened it up in '84 and BC left a bad taste in his mouth by trouncing SU in '85. Doug Marrone remembers how important it was for his mentor, Dick MacPherson, to win those games. I can assure you he shares that interest.
Not to mention the fact that Marrone is rapidly re-invogirating all of Syracuse's old recruiting in-roads. He's getting New York back in order but you can be sure he's going to want to get back into Massachusetts, Connecticut and the surrounding areas just as much. He wants to see Syracuse back on even ground with BC.
Besides Marrone, there's new wide receivers coach Rob Moore who played for the Orange between '87 and '89. He was 3-0 against the Eagles and I'm sure he'd like to keep it that way. Linebacker coach Dan Conley played for the Orange between '89 and '94 so he's seen plenty of action against BC.
I'm not too worried about the players understanding how important this rivalry is. And if they don't realize it now, they will over the new few years.
I have to ask this question since it's the pink elephant in the room. With the renewal of a great rivalry on the horizon, any regrets by Eagle Nation over leaving the Big East? Any interest in returning if the Big East made the right offer?
Brian: You Orange fans would welcome BC back? I thought you guys were happy with adding Memphis.
All joking aside, my one regret as an alum and a fan is not being a part of the Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden. There are plenty of BC alumni in the Tri-state area and the Big East Tournament was one of the best events of the year for Superfans. It's much harder for a majority of BC fans to get to places like Greensboro, Charlotte, Tampa or Atlanta for the ACC Tournament -- particularly in the middle of the week. Other than that though, I think the move to the ACC has been extremely positive for Boston College.
Naysayers of BC's move to the ACC seem to overlook the fact that the Big East was fundamentally changing with or without BC. If the Eagles didn't make the jump, I'm sure another Big East program (in all likelihood, Syracuse) would have joined the ACC as its twelfth member. From my vantage point, the new Big East is a mediocre football conference whose quietly awaiting being pillaged by Jim Delany with his plans of manifest destiny, and an excellent, but very oversubscribed basketball conference.
Also, the best part of being a part of Big East football was playing programs like Miami, Virginia Tech, Syracuse and Notre Dame on an annual basis. Those four programs just so happen to be on BC's schedule over the next 10 years. With the possible exception of Pitt and/or West Virginia, that's really the only old school Big East programs worth playing in football. So basically, BC gets to play their traditional Big East rivals while playing in a stronger, more stable football conference.
Speaking of adding Syracuse back on the schedule, what's up with the Orange dropping the 2011 and 2012 games in the series? Is this part of some diabolical master plan by Marrone and Dr. Daryl Gross to return Syracuse to football dominance so that you can maintain your 28-17 all-time series lead?
Sean: We didn't just drop you guys, we also dropped a series with Virginia Tech. Consider it a failed attempt to screw over the teams that left the Big East for the ACC.
I feel like Gross and Marrone were realistic enough to look at the upcoming schedule and realize that they needed flexibility to slum it a little. We tried doing the whole "play a tough schedule, get on TV" route and it's failed miserably. All that got us is a lot of nationally-televised beatdowns. While I'm not one for pulling a Kansas State, I do agree that SU could do with a year or two of cupcakery. So I'm not bothered by our two 1-AA games too much this season. I'd much rather the Orange put a better record than 4-8 out there, maybe even 6-6, then play a gritty schedule and end up 3-9 again. I can live with the short-term jokes if it helps us longterm. And right now, SU needs wins. Any way they can get them.
That said, I do want to see Boston College and Penn State back on the schedule on a regular basis. Eventually, I'd love to see a rotating schedule of Northeastern non-Big East schools like BC, Penn State, Maryland, Army and maybe even Temple once I'm sure we can beat them again. If we can't have a real Eastern Conference, then we should just make one up on the fly.