Scott Shafer squarely on the Hot Seat

Halfway through a season that some called a “job saving” year for Shafer because of the advantageous scheduling, and following yet another disappointing loss to a team that had 1 win prior to their match-up against SU, Scott Shafer is deservedly sitting on the hot seat; something that I’m sure Bud Poliquin will soon be eagerly writing about (since he is the Tina Belcher of sports commentary and writing about butts is kind of his thing).

Yes, the officiating against UVA was abysmal (and may have set a precedent to redefine the term “forward pass”) but Shafer’s poor clock management down the stretch, Chuck Bullough’s bend-and-then-break Defense did everything to keep UVA in the game, and Lester’s questionable calls early in the game cost Syracuse a chance for victory in a “winnable” game and made the chances of going bowling much, much harder and the InstaSnapTwitBook folks are not happy.

With new AD Mark Coyle on the job and ostensibly evaluating everything, I can only imagine that Coyle is making contingency plans for a coaching replacement in December should the season fail to result in a Bowl game.  Continue reading

Louisville fans and the 6 stages of grief

An open letter to Louisville Fans in the wake of your NCAA investigation.

Dear Louisville Fans:

As a lifelong Syracuse basketball fan, I completely understand the pain, frustration, and anxiety you are currently experiencing with the allegations that Louisville basketball paid skanky hookers to strip for recruits. The NCAA has had Syracuse under a microscope for years, searching and probing for any violations that can amount to a serious infraction and now you are going through the same.

We’ve been conference-mates in the Big East, and now in the ACC, so on behalf of the Confidential, allow me to help you as you navigate through the six emotional stages that go with an NCAA investigation.

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Syracuse Football Attendance – Needs Moar Fan(nie)s

For now, the Syracuse Orange sits atop the ACC football standings (2-0 overall, 1-0 in conference play), but based on the attendance at the Dome during yesterday’s victory over Wake Forest you would think that the Greg Robinson and Frank Maloney teamed up to coach this year’s team. Not surprisingly, Bud Poliquin was quick to point out that there was “a lack of fannies in the seats” as a mere 26.5k fans trudged-up to the dome to watch the game. To put that in context, last January approximately 23.5k fans took over half of the dome to watch the Syracuse basketball team (sans McCullough) defeat Wake Forest – and that basketball attendance number was without the benefit of free tickets to the frosh students.  Continue reading

Olympic Sports that I’d like to see…

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has reformed their rules and are permitting host cities to propose the addition of one or more sports for their game. Currently, the IOC is evaluating a list of 26 sports that have applied to be included in the 2020 summer Olympics to be held in Tokyo, and the list of sports is quite varied; ranging from chess to Sumo to tug-of-war.

The vague criteria for the new sport(s) are that it/they must be popular with young people, give momentum to Tokyo 2020 and meet IOC standards.

That can mean only one thing: video games in the Olympics.

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Conference Realignment: A League of their Own

The Confidential has had some fun recently exploring different topics for hypothetical realignment scenarios such as relegation and team trading. While the tectonic shifts of conference realignment have settled since the ACC added a Grant-of-Rights, and the Big XII seems to have resolved their Conference Championship Game dilemma, there has been chatter among some of the private schools that changes could still be on the horizon.

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Orange You Glad: Famous 44’s that (thankfully) never were

There has been a lot of chatter over the past few weeks about the grass roots efforts by Syracuse fans to “Restore 44” with the hope that a new AD may turn around what they view as the terrible decision to retire the famous jersey number.

Growing-up in Syracuse during the 80’s and 90’s, the son (and grandson) of die-hard Syracuse fans, I have a deep understanding and appreciation for what Jim Brown, Ernie Davis, and Floyd Little did for the football program, and in the case of Brown and Davis, what they did to advance Civil Rights in this country. I also vividly recall the excitement over the local radio programs when NY product, Rob Konrad, chose Syracuse over Notre Dame, in large part because of his ability to wear #44. I also remember when Konrad’s bar, (44’s) opened on Marshall Street and quickly became infamous for underage drinking and rowdy crowds. Not exactly the kind of thing you want to associate with the legendary #44.

So, I had no issues when Dr. Gross became the new Athletic Director at Syracuse and decided to honor the history and legacy of the jersey, and those who wore it, by retiring it in perpetuity. In fact, I applaud the decision because of how much more respect players have for the number, and the preservation of its iconic status.

I’ve been on record many, many times over at the various blogs and message boards saying that the idea to unretire #44 is a very dangerous one, especially since they see it as a recruiting gimmick to land one player in particular.

However I am very much on board with the idea re-popularized by Brent Axe to return the number to the playing field only if there is a player that is absolutely worthy of wearing it, that has earned the respect of the coaches, administration, community, and has transcended college football. These are incredibly high expectations and large shoes to fill, but that would only make it that much more meaningful if/when a day comes that a player can earn the right to wear the number.

I have nothing against Robert Washington, a high profile recruit that has Syracuse as one of his top schools, and appreciate that he holds the Syracuse’s football history in such high regards (courtesy of the movie the Express). I hope that he comes to Syracuse, I hope that he is the player we all expect him to be, and I hope that one day he’ll be able to earn the number 44. But with all due respect to those who want to use this jersey number as a recruiting gimmick, we’ve seen this act before and the idea of handing over what has become an iconic number to an untested and (as of yet) undeserving recruit/player seems like a disaster waiting to happen.

Imagine how the legacy of the #44 and those that wore it, could have been irreparably damaged if some of these former Syracuse athletes had worn the number 44: Continue reading