As Syracuse fans, we are always waiting for the bottom to drop out. We enjoy none of the generational football success as Ohio State, Florida, USC, Texas and other titans. In basketball, Kansas, Kentucky, (ugh) even UConn revels in continued sustained March runs and #1 seedings. That’s not us.
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We are used to epic flameouts, not living up to the preseason hype, losing out on the recruit, March disappointment, fall embarrassment. Making it worse is that we actually do know what being the king of the hill feels like – except, it’s in lacrosse. And unfortunately, that standing matters to like, 27 people.
Thank goodness for 2003, because for at least one moment, we were champions. Then again, that was a magical run, a shocking display by a handful of freshman, sprinkled in pixie dust. Not exactly a display of pure strength. We endure slights about the weather, the economy, the drab Dome, the middling football attendance for a middling football program in a middling football conference, the continued early exits in the tournament.
Guess what? We may be on the cusp of all that changing. This hasn’t just been a good week for Syracuse. This has been a f***ing great week. And it’s been an incredible month for the Orange. Go back to the day SU announced the move to the ACC. That was September 18th. What’s changed since then? Oh, only everything. In the best way possible.
Look at this timeline:
- 9/18 – Syracuse accepts invitation from the ACC.
- 10/20 – SU picked atop preseason Big East hoops poll. Ranked top 5 nationally.
- 10/14 – Living legend ‘Melo joins Midnight Madness as recruits look on at an insane Carrier Dome.
- 10/21 – Orange crush #11 WVU on national television.
- 10/25 – CNY native, top 5 recruit Dajuan Coleman chooses ‘Cuse.
In the middle of all this, the league has turned into a total dumpster fire with the Mountaineers the latest defection and total misery befalling the commissioner and his conference. The Three Amigos are preparing for their first games as members of the Orange. Ryan Nassib had a performance to make you believe he’s the perfect quarterback for the next two years. Wegman’s opened up a store outside of Boston for all us New England transplants. And there’s a wondrous new t-shirt symbolizing your support for The Dougie (only $14.99!).
Let’s face it, life is good. And how often have we said that as Orange Nation? Honestly, it’s not far-fetched to believe we are entering a golden age of Syracuse sports. No one expects SU to compete for the BCS championship anytime soon, but I think we’re all in agreement Doug Marrone has the right passion and plan to continue to build this program. Look what he’s already accomplished with Groobers’ smoldering wreckage. That was a seismic night on Friday. Apathetic fans have a reason to believe again. Recruits were impressed watching on television. The Dome felt like the Dome finally. Either way, because of Marrone this program is set up for the long haul.
The basketball team has some of the best returning talent in the country. There are still plenty of ifs, but this team is stacked. That elusive Final Four was supposed to happen two seasons ago before the basketball gods once again found a way to Keith Smart the run when A.O. went down in a crumple. Maybe this is The Per’fesser’s moment. One last dance in a city he’s had some major tourney history in – New Orleans hosts Final Four 2012. Oh, and one of the best centers in the country just so happened to grow up in your backyard and he’s thrilled to throw on the Syracuse snap-back.
And the move to the ACC has been brilliant. Yeah, it still hurts to think the ferocious battles with UConn, Georgetown, Villanova, St. John’s are going poof. That mystical Big East tournament at MSG will be a mosquito frozen in amber. Just perfection. But could you imagine still clawing your way out of the league like West Virginia, Rutgers and Connecticut are doing right now? Everyday is another reminder you’re quickly getting pulled into the Sarlac Pit, a dark, murderous hole where Air Force and SMU and Houston will now play. Recruits are all saying the same thing: “the ACC makes me excited about Syracuse.” Money in the bank, baby.
We’re not used to being the ones that are charmed, but don’t look now Orange Nation – we are on the verge of being the great ones.