Hyperbole Alert, But Duke Win “Saves” Syracuse Season

Syracuse Confidential

At the risk of drifting well into hyperbole, last night’s Syracuse win over Duke has saved the season for the Orange.  With a 4-5 swoon under interim coach Mike Hopkins, and then a loss to North Carolina in Jim Boeheim’s return, Syracuse stood at 0-4 in conference play.  With a win over hapless Boston College and not quite there yet Wake Forest, Syracuse was still only 2-4.  Now, with a win over Duke–at Duke–Syracuse stands at 3-4 and 13-7 overall.  This is a record that will allow Syracuse to control its destiny–saving the season.

If Syracuse had lost, they would be 2-5, 12-8 overall.  To get to 20 wins, Syracuse would have to find 8 wins out of a remaining schedule that has 11 games left in the regular season, including trips to Virginia, UNC, and Louisville, as well as home games against Notre Dame.  Not much margin for error. …

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Greg Robinson? Greg Robinson.

“one can only imagine how much money could be raised for the University if G-Rob agreed to sit in a dunk-tank for $20/3 balls. That would be worth a trip to the ATM, that’s for sure. “

Syracuse Confidential

The folks over at TNIAAM did a nice write up on the Daily Orange’s interview/article with former Syracuse disaster of a head football coach Greg Robinson.  Check it out.  For any Syracuse fan that was following the football team from 2005 to 2008, the absurdity of what Greg Robinson had to say… it is really shocking.

Perhaps there is no need to nitpick with the idea that he is a nice guy.  However, one can only imagine how much money could be raised for the University if G-Rob agreed to sit in  a dunk-tank for $20/3 balls.  That would be worth a trip to the ATM, that’s for sure.  As profitable as that would be, it would be equally damaging for this delusional failure of a head coach.

An argument (albeit unsound one) could be made that Scott Shafer deserved a 4th year. No argument can be made that Greg…

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New Year, New (Old) Coach, Same Result: L

“Expect more losses and a colder/longer winter for Orange fans in Central New York.”

Syracuse Confidential

Syracuse welcomed Jim Boeheim back into the fold on Saturday against #6 North Carolina.  If it seems like the Tar Heels were toying with the Orange, it was not just you.  Marcus Paige was a non-factor.  Brice Johnson did more passing than scoring/rebounding.  UNC could get easy baskets at will against the 2-3 zone.  And, in the end, a Trevor Cooney-led Syracuse performance fell well short.

To be sure, the Orange were competitive most of the game.  And a large part of that goes to the great game by Cooney, as well as a very good game by Malachi Richardson.  But with Michael Gbinije very “off” and little other production elsewhere, there was no real sense of urgency on the North Carolina sideline that this would be a loss.  Of course, even if there was an upset, it would have been attributed to the emotion of Boeheim’s return anyway.  So…

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Beaten but Better

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Two weeks ago today, Louisville and the University of Kentucky locked horns in the annual Dream Game. Normally and as is custom, anyone with a pulse who writes or blogs for a living (or in my case, for fun) would have immediately put their thoughts and opinions onto paper and/or social media for others to read following the end of the game. I, however, decided to take a different route this year. Win or lose, I decided before the game was played that I would wait a few weeks and then revisit the outcome and all things leading up to it. You see, there’s too much emotion and knee jerk reaction involved for me personally to recount a game of this magnitude rationally. But now that the smoke has cleared, the bird has been flipped (no, not Louie the Cardinal mascot) and both teams have since gotten a few more games under their respective belts, I now take to this blog to discuss my FIVE key takeaways from the aforementioned Battle of the Bluegrass.

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🏀 Damion Lee is everything UofL fans hoped he would be, and more. After dismantling UK’s defense with a showcase of offensive skills not seen by a UofL player in Rupp since Francisco Garcia, I’d be willing to go on record and say Lee might be the most gifted offensive player Pitino has had during his stint at UofL. And don’t get it twisted, he’s had a good number of guys who could flat ball out with the rock in their hands.

Sure, it was totally deflating to see Lee’s last second game winning 3pt attempt go awry, but his performance left me full of optimism when I think about the Cards in mid to late March.

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🏀 Louisville made mistakes against Kentucky, but they didn’t beat themselves. Aside from a mini meltdown to finish the first half, the Cards played within themselves and handled the immense pressure of playing in Rupp Arena quite well.

I certainly felt there were a number of plays that Lee got hit while trying to score and the officials swallowed their whistles.

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But to be frank, the zebras played a minimal role in this game down the stretch as UK won this slugfest from behind the arc and it came from from distances (any location to Timbuktu) & individuals that I am positive Rick Pitino was ok with based on his team’s scouting report on the Cats……

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🏀 Louisville is a legit Top 20 team. I get the montage that any team on any given night can pull an upset in college basketball – especially given the parity that exists this season. After pushing a top 5 Michigan State team to the brink a month ago, many wanted to believe that UofL was the real deal. But, duplication is key to winning over others and by coming back from a 16 point second half deficit on the road in Lexington, the Cards proved to most naysayers and sceptics alike that they will be a team to watch well into March. Most teams wilt in Rupp Arena. UofL rose to the challenge.

🏀 Kentucky fans’ obsession with all things Rick Pitino has reached an all-time level of immeasurable absurdity. Sure, some of the ire and negative attention was self created w/the Karen Sypher soap opera. Couple that w/the recent allegations of strippers in Minardi Hall & I could actually give BBN a hall pass. But the venom and hatred from the bulk of UK fans focused on Pitino makes one wonder if they ever spend time discussing their own coach and players. The newest topic of discussion: Finger Gate 2015.Did Pitino or did he not “flip off” a heckling UK fan when leaving the floor following the game against the Cats? Video evidence remains inconclusive (unless you have Photoshop).

Inconclusive bird flippage…..

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Conclusive bird flippage…..

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The only finger(s) I look for…..

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Here’s what’s for certain: the debate as to whether Coach P did or did not give the finger to that fan is apparently more important to many UK fans as opposed to how Skal Labissiere could manage to score only two points in the biggest game of the season thus far for KY.

🏀 Chemistry is essential for success, and this Louisville team has it. They are fun to watch, easy to rally behind and incredibly likeable. Players seem to genuinely care about one another and it shows in how unselfish they play. I know, I know….who cares how they interact as long as they win games, right? Well, this Louisville team, amid a nationally recognized ongoing scandal & investigation, is carrying a monkey on it’s back of epic proportions….and they are doing it in a remarkable fashion. No doubt, having the upperclassmen’s leadership via Lee and Lewis is irreplaceable. Check mate for Coach Pitino when it comes to filling the gaps for a young inexperienced team that would be drowning right now w/out the two 5th year seniors.

So following another painful loss to it’s arch nemesis, the Cards have found a way to maintain a high level of play by beating a pesky Wake Forest team and winning a big road game at NC State. You see, losing to Kentucky doesn’t mean your season is over. It simply means that despite being  beaten, you still got better.

GO CARDS – Beat Clemson

Louisville v Samford

 

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A Long Over Due Look Back

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So now that the Christmas trees are down, the New Year’s ball has dropped and everyone has begrudgingly gotten back into the swing of that thing called work, the stage is set for the 2016 College Football National Championship game between Clemson and Alabama. And for the sake of the ACC conference’s post season reputation as a whole in 2015, thank goodness Clemson beat favored Oklahoma to gain a spot playing for all the marbles.

Why?

Allow me to be transparent and painfully blunt: the ACC kinda sucked this bowl season. Yes, Virginia Tech sent Frank Beamer out as a winner as they hammered a hapless Tulsa team. Kudos to the Hokies on their win. Also deserving of props would be Duke who edged out a pesky Indiana team and Louisville, who rallied behind an amazing performance by true freshman QB Lamar Jackson to defeat SEC West member Texas A.M.

BUT, as for the rest of the ACC’s performance this past bowl season?

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And here is how the dominos of negative on field performances fell: Miami continued to disappoint all those that watched them this past season by getting beat by a less talented Washington State squad. Pittsburgh capped off another lackluster year by virtually laying an egg against Navy (all due respect, the Midshipmen were not too shabby) in route to losing by more than two touchdowns. North Carolina proved yet again that deciding to play virtually no defense for 60 minutes will inevitably always lead to defeat by falling to Baylor by double digits. NC State was simply outmatched against their SEC West opponent, Mississippi State, and ended up getting hammered by 23 points. And lastly, and perhaps most disappointing, Florida State never got on track against Houson in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl In lieu of losing starting QB Everett Golson before the game and lost decidedly.

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In a nutshell, it’s been hard to talk much smack the last few weeks if you are an ACC Football backer. Clemson can somewhat right the ship, however, by beating Alabama next Monday. It kinda reminds me of the scene from Star Wars when early in the film R2-D2 plays a video for Skywalker & Kenobi that states “Save us Obi Wan, you’re our only hope.” In this instance, ACC fans should be looking to the Tigers and thinking, “Win this game Clemson, you’re all we have left to protect us from epic SEC trash talk until September.” Question is, can Dabo & Co. actually pull it off? I watched Clemson in person earlier in the 2015 regular season when they dodged OT at Louisville thanks in part to a short missed FG by the Cards late in the 4th quarter. Thus by comparative ways, one might say that Clemson would have little chance against Bama. But after watching the Tigers take down Boomer Sooner and the likes of Notre Dame and FSU, I think they have a great shit at keeping the national title trophy in the ACC. Deshaun Watson’s ability to make plays with his feet & Clemson’s stout defensive line might be enough to put them over the top.

Beating the likes of the Crimson Todd won’t be easy regardless. I would expect Nick Saban to have his team meticulously prepared and it’s no secret that Heisman award winner Derrick Henry is a beast. For entertainment sake, I hope the game is nip and tuck. Unable to ever hide my homeristic nature, I’m going…..

Clemson 27  Alabama 23

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Dabbin’

Before ending, I did want to throw in my two cents about Louisville, the school I normally and primarily cover and blog about. I came away really satisfied with the Cards win over A&M in the Music City Bowl. And frankly, I don’t give a damn if UofL’s victory came at the hands of the Aggies’ 10th string quarterback – a win is a win, particularly in the post season. Lamar Jackson had the performance of a lifetime, good enough to make me wish I was already tailgating at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium for the 2016 season opener. And now knowing that the core of the Cards defense is all coming back to school (most notably Devonte Fields & Keith Kelsey), my expectations are pretty damn high. 18 out of 22 starters return for UofL and next season’s schedule is much more manageable than the one that just ended over a month ago. The key for UofL will be finishing off what looks to be a top 20-25 nationally ranked recruiting class. With Bobby Petrino returning 99% of his offensive starters, I especially like the odds of the Cards scoring points like a pinball machine in 2016. For now, Card Nation must impatiently wait, but at least there’s a lot to wait for.

GO CARDS

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Around the A.C.C.–January 6, 2016

From time to time, we take a survey of the blogosphere to see what is happening around the A.C.C.  Today is as good a day as any to do so.  Let’s jump right in:

  • Syracuse hoops is struggling mightily.  While there was some concern that the Boeheim suspension would not go well, there was also significant optimism regarding coach-in-waiting Mike Hopkins.  A win at home over Clemson would have gotten “Hop” to 5-4 as interim coach.  Instead, the Orange lost in overtime (analysis from Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician), dropping to 10-6 overall and 0-3 in conference.  Perhaps Jim Boeheim is even better than we all thought.
  • While Clemson football was pulling the mild upset, Shakin the Southland was also previewing an upcoming football game between Alabama and Clemson.  You may have heard about this game.  You know, it is for the national championship.
  • Over at Tomahawk Nation, Florida State fans were discussing the NFL draft decisions of two key players: DB Jalen Ramsey and K Roberto Aguayo.  Both players were elite in college and very likely to have long NFL careers.  Of course, even with the stunning loss to Houston and these defections, no need to feel sorry for Florida State–it will reload and be just fine in both the short-term and long-term.
  • North Carolina was enjoying its 106-90 win over Florida State in basketball, while also praising Brice Johnson’s 39 point, 23 rebound game.  The discussion continues today over at the Tar Heel Blog.
  • Although less about real news, you’ve got to check out this amusing entry from Backing the Pack about Dave Doeren.  Good stuff!

So, there it is.  If you know of anything good we missed, let us (and everyone else) know below.

Go ACC!

ACC Bowl Game Contest: Final Results

Here are the bowl games winners:

  1. Clemson
  2. Houston
  3. Ohio State
  4. Baylor
  5. Mississippi State
  6. Duke
  7. Washington State
  8. Louisville
  9. Navy
  10. Virginia Tech
  11. Most Points: Virginia Tech
  12. Points: 55

With these finals, three entrants picked 7 out of 10: Commander, Brian Yacker, and Ben Niemann.

The first tiebreaker did not sort things, as nobody picked Virginia Tech to score the most.

The second tiebreaker HAD to sort things out though, as each team was required to pick the points scored by the ACC team that scored the most–WITHOUT GOING OVER.  This helped keep numbers lower.  Plus, everyone had to pick a different number for it to count.

Commander went with 41, Brian Yacker went with 45, and Ben Niemann went with 38.  Because Virginia Tech scored 55, Brian Yacker was the closest without going over and takes the tiebreaker win.

Brian–send an email to afc44enterprises@yahoo.com with your PayPal information.  We’ll get you the funds ASAP.  Not going to be able to quit your job with the winnings, but what the heck.  A win is a win.

Great job by everyone!

As a reminder, we have contests frequently.  We had the individual fantasy football league resolve in the fall, the survivor league also resolve in the fall.  Next up will likely be the Big Dance contest.  Happy New Year!