Syracuse head coach Doug Marrone has agreed to become the next coach of the Buffalo Bills, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. Marrone has yet to sign a deal.
Up until late last night, it appeared the two NFL teams most interested in Marrone's services were the Philadelphia Eagles and the Cleveland Browns -- making Marrone's move down the New York State Thruway that much more surprising.
Unquestionably, Marrone leaves the Syracuse program in a better place than he found it. One of the most moribund BCS AQ programs under Greg Robinson in the years after Boston College, Miami and Virginia Tech left the Big East for the ACC, Marrone returned the Orange to .500 ball (25-25 overall), including two Pinstripe Bowl victories in 2010 (a 36-34 W over Kansas State) and 2012 (a 38-14 W over West Virginia). This season, the Orange finished by winning six of its last seven games this season, claiming a share of the Big East title in one of those all-too-Big East four-way ties for first.
A .500 overall mark, including a 11-17 Big East record, may not look all that impressive at face until you realize Marrone's predecessor went just 10-37 in four seasons at Syracuse.
The Orange coach pulling a Coughlin to return to the NFL could prove a huge blow to Syracuse ahead of the program's move to the ACC Atlantic in 2013. Lots of questions for the program now that Marrone is out: who's going to be the next head coach? What is the status of Syracuse's 14 verbal commits in the 2013 class? How does the program replace All-American QB Ryan Nassib?
Further, how will Addazio respond to the uncertainty in upstate New York, particularly as it relates to recruiting? The Eagles new coach is more than a little familiar with the program, having served as offensive line and tight end coach for the Orange from 1995-98. His son played for Syracuse for two seasons before reportedly transferring to BC. Of the Orange's current 2013 class, two of Syracuse's 14 verbal commits -- 3* fullbacks Augustus Edwards (Staten Island, New York) and Tyler Provo (Delray Beach, Florida -- also claim offers from the Eagles.
Can Addazio and the Eagles cash in on the changing of the guard down I-90?