Just Being In It Wins It: Why Syracuse Has Already Won vs. USC Saturday

When Syracuse takes on #2 USC Saturday at MetLife, there’s no way it can lose.

Yeah, you read that right.

After the gut-wrenching loss to Northwestern, SU is playing for far more than a football game. It’s playing for recognition, recruiting clout, brand power, and a chance to re-emerge on the stage of college football’s better-known programs.

With an actual win, all of those things would be achieved in a heartbeat. With a respectable loss, SU can still pull away most of those perks.

Doc Gross wasn’t crazy when he partnered against his former employer, and committed Syracuse to a contest against one of the best teams in the country. It’s in NYC, SU’s most treasured home away from home. The game is on national television, with key recruits expected to be in attendance. He wasn’t pulling opponent’s names from a hat. Gross knew that win or lose, SU would benefit from playing this game.

The Fizz’s Kevin Fitzgerald broke the news earlier that Ebenezer Ogundeko, Augustus Edwards, Laray Smith, and Austin Wilson are all anticipated at MetLife. You have to assume they don’t expect Syracuse to win this game, but would be thrilled if the Orange pulled off a major upset. But they’re still going to be there, to watch the Orange draw fans from all over the NYC metro area and play under the bright lights of an NFL stadium and countless TV cameras.

What EO and Smith will see on Saturday is that SU still has the brand power to be part of games against college football elite, on national TV, in one of the most important places to play football in the country. The Orange will take on Notre Dame in ’14 and ’16 at MetLife too. The message Gross and Doug Marrone hope to implant in the heads of recruits is, “I want to be part of this.”

But Marrone actually has to coach this Saturday in this daunting matchup, and his focus is more on the on-field weapons that USC still has – like QB Matt Barkley, the anticipated #1 overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft.

“I was one of those people that were hoping that [Barkley] would go on and move on and go to the NFL. I’m not going to sit here and tell you that I’m happy he came back.”

Marrone probably still has nightmares of last year in SoCal, when Barkley picked the Orange apart (26-39, 324 yards, 5 TDs, 0 INTs). There’s a chance Barkley will do the same this year.

While a monumental upset would be nice, Marrone needs to avoid getting slaughtered. There’s no reason SU should be  Savannah State taking an 84-nil beating by OSU. Make it close, make it a game in the second half. Most of all, make it obvious to the people watching that the SU players believe they are playing to win. Cliché, sure, but Marrone should probably sneak “the bigger they are, the harder they fall” somewhere into his pregame speech.

It’s a huge challenge this weekend, but that just means there’s a lot to play for Saturday. In many ways – exposure, recruiting, building the NYC brand – Syracuse is already a winner.

Posted: Jake Moskowitz


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  1. Ron says:

    Syracuse pulls up-set of the year by beating USC 24-21.

    GO CUSE

  2. Tim says:

    Picking USC was genius becuase they don’t recruit the East Coast as much as an ND or Fla. St. Bring in a big name to a big place and showcase to recruits that there is a future. Show mainly OUR recruits. Estabish a vision of where we want to be in 4 years but don’t really show them an alternative location. Brilliant. Most of these kids are not planning on going across the country anyway so there is nearly zero threat.

  3. Mike P says:

    I think Syracuse will put up some points. The secondary could be an issue trying to stop Barkkley and those receivers. No turn overs, solid special teams (directional punting), and few penalties….. You never know! Also much different this year with USC traveling cross country. Hoping for a win, but honestly would be happy with a hard fought, mistake free game even if it’s a loss.

  4. chris says:

    A win would be more than great. All those good recruiting things might actually go our way. Not very likely but thats why they play the game on the field rather than on computers or even media opinion.All Orangemen fans will be glued to the television or in attendance.Beating this team would go a long way in forgiving the current six game losing streak.

  5. Russell Mac Eachern says:

    USC cherry-picks NY/NJ,Brian Cushing-LB-DBT and Anthony Davis-LT whom they could’nt get from RU but since Carroll left I don’t think they find it cost effective now UCLA,Cal,Az and esp recruit poor Colorado are trying to fill our void in NJ….really?…Colo?…Now that Charley “Tuna” Weis is coaching Kansas as a dyed in the wool Jersey boy he too is scouring NJ for RU,ND,PSU leftovers!!Everyone checks Jersey out and hire’s NY/NJ Golden/D’onofrio type’s esp Fla schools!!

  6. Russell Mac Eachern says:

    But I don’t think we’ll be out of our depth against the Trojan’s and would’nt be shocked if we knocked em off…were lucky to catch them early in the season and w/Nassib in midseason form!!Are u watching EO and LS?

  7. Russell Mac Eachern says:

    Hey Ron,are u back in form?I notice Norma’s taken a short leave of absence lol..I’ll say SU 27-USC 24 in a shocking nailbiter!1

  8. bigdip says:

    USC can be beat…like N.E. Pats
    Go SU….
    Go NYGs…..

  9. Russell Mac Eachern says:

    Dip.D D D DeFENSE!!,Dip,the fanbase seems shocked since NW??No Norma,bgogo,Brooklyn etc….eriliy quiet!!lost confidense??

  10. bgogo says:

    Just watching. A win here, though highly, highly unlikely, would move this program two years forward in one day. That’s why the game is played and why we love it. Thanks for the call out Russell. Go SU. 28-27.

  11. Ron says:

    I had the opportunity to talk with Jayson Bromley earlier tonight Russell. I like this young man, stands about 6’4″ and is close to tipping the scales at 300 lbs. I wished him the best on Saturday. Am I back in form? No I am not.
    A win this weekend will help cure what ails me though.

    Go Cuse, this game could send shock waves through the college football world.

  12. Ron says:

    When I get a chance to meet and talk with the players Russell, the one question that they all ask me is,will you be there on Saturday? My answer is always a yes.

    My son and I will be in New Jersey for the football game against USC on Saturday depending whither New Jersey is still above water then.

  13. Russell Mac Eachern says:

    @OK,guys lets stay positive,our guys will be fine!Good to see bgogo again!My Giants are losing tho!!Ron,u have a v/good job,ur lucky yo get paid to meet the boys

  14. Russell Mac Eachern says:

    Where o where are my loud and proud “Smitty129s” ??I miss their brash confidence!!

  15. Ron says:

    I interviewed for the job three years ago Russell, during that interview the manager said that all of the athletes come into the store on a regular bases. I told them that I would do the job free if that were true.

    He laughed and I got a great part time job that has great benefits. Like I posted in an earlier post, I get a chance to meet a lot of both male and female athletes.

    Saturday tailgating the women’s lacrosse team was practicing and I told my family that they were watching this years national champions. When they were done they came walking past where we were set up,my granddaughters gave high fives to all the players while I was wishing them good luck and I shook hands with Coach Gary Gait. Probably the greatest play the game has ever seen.

    And yes Russell,when events like that happen I’m in night heaven.

  16. Ron says:

    that should ninth heaven Russell. sorry for the mistake.

  17. Russell Mac Eachern says:

    Im happy to see a deserving supporter and fan like u get all the perk’s you’ve earned in ur “golden years”,tho in ur case I maybe 10 years too early with ur vigor!!

  18. Russell Mac Eachern says:

    In guys like us we look in the mirror and see a 38 year old looking back!!!

  19. Russell Mac Eachern says:

    @Ron,the moon is up,maybe I ought to slip out of my “redneck special” trailer into the backwood’s and start my batch of “shine” lol..Terry might ask for a jug?HaHa..He ain’t so bad,at least we know he love’s “Cuse”and has a sense of humor!!

  20. Moskowitz says:

    First off, let’s all make sure we keep Terry off the moonshine.

    Guys, I think USC is the last threat to Syracuse’s recruiting prospects, especially in the NYC/metro area. This is mainly because USC isn’t after 2- and 3-star prospects ‘with a lot of upside’ when a powerhouse like the Trojans regularly has future Heisman candidates breaking down their door.

    That said, this game at this location should be viewed as a capstone atop a fantastic recruiting year for Marrone. As he said, it’s the best he’s ever felt about an incoming class.

    This is SU’s chance to crash the NYC party and have a lasting impact on swing recruits still making up their minds like Laray Smith and especially E.O. With Ogundeko’s decision delayed until December, this may be one of the last experiences he thinks on while sitting down to choose between SU, Fla. & ND.

    An upset would be tremendous, though highly unlikely. Then again, that’s the criteria for an upset.

    Thanks for reading.

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