The Confidential

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Archive for the tag “Syracuse”

Kudos to Syracuse Alums Helping Flint’s Water Crisis

Eric Devendorf had some great on-the-court moments as a Syracuse Orange, as well as some questionable off-the-court moments.  Most Syracuse fans “liked” Eric, but most opponents certainly did not.  There was nothing about Devendorf’s on-the-court persona that endeared himself to others.  But, Syracuse fan or otherwise, one has to be proud of what he (and other Syracuse alums) are doing to help Flint, Michigan, with its water crisis.

Syracuse’s Eric Devendorf is one of many former college basketball players to lend their names to a charity game to support Flint, Michigan.

Look, there is nothing particularly notable about playing in a basketball game.  That is what basketball players do.  But Devendorf is also promoting the game–making stops on sports radio and promoting the gofundme page.  For a guy with a questionable reputation, good for him.

Kudos to Mookie Jones for also agreeing to participate.  Frankly, kudos to ALL the former players who are donating their time and name (with ranges of value) to the cause.  Mateen Cleaves and the other Michigan “Flint-stones” will certainly be a big draw too.  Even Derrick Coleman and Mark Ingram (NFLer) will be participating.  Let’s hope that the event is a success.

Naturally, if you want to help or donate, the above gofundme page is a good start.



Syracuse & Zack Mahoney

It is amazing that Syracuse fans are so quick to turn on Zack Mahoney and conclude that he is incapable of playing QB for Syracuse.  On what basis can any Syracuse fan make that statement?

Mahoney’s first game experience came against Central Michigan, where Mahoney ultimately led Syracuse to the overtime win in his first game action.  While offensive coordinator Tim Lester showed little confidence in him in regulation, overtime went well for the Orange–resulting in a victory.  In his next outing, all Mahoney did was overcome a terrible start to keep Syracuse competitive against then-#2 Louisiana State.  In his next outing, Mahoney kept Syracuse competitive against #1 Clemson.  While the passing was not good, Mahoney’s legs kept Syracuse close.

Between the LSU and Clemson games, Eric Dungey was given five games at QB for Syracuse.  Syracuse lost all five games–South Florida, Virginia, Pitt, Florida State, and Louisville.  All good opponents, but certainly not LSU or Clemson.

In the final two games, Mahoney and the Orange were defeated soundly by North Carolina State on the road, which ultimately was the end of the Scott Shafer era.  However, in the final game under Shafer, Mahoney led the Orange to the win.

The numbers are Mahoney on the season are not great.  Dungey completed 59.7% of his passes, while Mahoney only completed 46.2%.  However, Mahoney was 24 for 59 against LSU and Clemson, Syracuse’s two toughest opponents.  This certainly helped drag down Mahoney’s numbers.  Also, Mahoney did not play against Rhode Island or Wake Forest, and was only allowed to attempt 4 passes against Central Michigan (all 4 of which were completed).  Three of Dungey’s four best QB rating games were against Rhode Island, Wake Forest, and Central Michigan.  Dungey’s two worst games were at Florida State and Louisville.  Good opponents make QBs look worse than bad opponents.

None of this is to suggest that Mahoney deserves to start over Dungey.   Dungey certainly throws a better deep ball and has that certain intangible quality that you look at in a QB.  The mobility is a huge plus.  But the idea that Mahoney cannot be a 2nd or 3rd string QB on Syracuse moving forward is a bit absurd.  Not many QBs in Syracuse history have kept the Orange competitive against top 5 opponents–even in the Dome.  Mahoney did.  In his first year for Syracuse, without a ton of reps before the season due to his depth chart status.  Let’s not give up on the kid just yet.


Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup Standings: ACC Dominating

The latest Division 1 Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup Standings have been released and the ACC continues to dominate, with Syracuse #1 and four schools in the top 10.

Here is a look at the top 10:

  1. Syracuse
  2. Stanford
  3. Virginia
  4. North Carolina
  5. UCLA
  6. Notre Dame
  7. Georgetown (actually, tied for 6th… but screw Georgetown)
  8. Michigan
  9. UConn
  10. Princeton

The other ACC schools with points so far are as follows:

  • Boston College #11
  • Duke #14
  • Florida State #19
  • Clemson #24
  • NC State #29
  • Wake Forest #40
  • Louisville #42
  • Virginia Tech #42

Miami, Pittsburgh, and Georgia Tech are not ranked due to not having points yet.

Congratulations to the ACC schools, especially those in the top 10, for making the ACC look good across a variety of sports so far this year!

Soft-Nosed Scott Shafer

MCaffrey summed it up… Scott Shafer is on the hot seat.  But that does not even do justice to the ineptitude that he is currently bringing to the Syracuse program.  Let’s just consider some of the ways–both with a focus on the Virginia debacle, the 2015 season, and his entire tenure.

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The Confidential’s Take on Syracuse’s Loss to USF

If you are a Syracuse fan, you know that Syracuse lost to South Florida yesterday, 45-24.  If you are not a Syracuse fan, you will look at the score, smirk, and realize that Syracuse is a long way from being nationally relevant.  This is not a knock on Syracuse necessarily, as Miami, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, and other decent programs are in the same boat this year.  Frankly, Miami has been in the same boat as long as Syracuse.  But, for Syracuse, the loss shows that it may be premature to ask for time off for a bowl game this year.  And here are the Confidential’s other thoughts on the game.

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How Can SU Give LSU an L?

If you are a sane, objective follower of football, you have little doubt that Louisiana State University (affectionately known as L.S.U.) will defeat Syracuse University (known as S.U.), giving Syracuse the “L.”  Even insane or passionate fans and bloggers are realistic enough to think that Syracuse will not win.  Sure, Syracuse can win–especially under the “any given Saturday” logic and our knowledge of historical upsets from Appalachian State to, well, Syracuse’s upset of then #1 Nebraska in 1984.  The bigger question is not whether Syracuse can do the nearly impossible, it is how Syracuse can do the nearly impossible.

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A Real “Targeting” Penalty

The objective football fan in you can decide just how severe the hit on Syracuse Quarterback Eric Dungey, by Central Michigan defender Mitch Stanitzek, was.  Stanitzek was given a targeting penalty and ejected.  That was also Dungey’s last play of the game, as he is injured.  Even worse, he is now likely to miss the upcoming game between Syracuse (3-0) and Louisiana State (3-0).  While Syracuse was a long shot to reach a bowl, much less go undefeated, the impact of the Dungey injury is that it is that much less likely that Syracuse can pull off the upset.  Needless to say, the cheap shot by Stanitzek has an impact on Dungey and Syracuse that goes beyond just the week 3 game.  Is a mere one-game ejection enough?  There is a good argument that such plays deserve a more serious penalty–a real “targeting” penalty.

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Syracuse, Scott Shafer, Quarterbacks, and Injuries

Everyone has heard of the Sports Illustrated jinx.  And then there is the Madden Curse, applicable to the cover player on the famous game produced by EA Sports.  And now we are in Year 3 of the Scott Shafer season starting QB jinx/curse.  Consider…

In 2013, Scott Shafer designated Drew Allen as the QB.  By Game 3, the QB was Terrel Hunt, who went on to lead Syracuse to seven wins, a bowl game victory, and anointing as the next great Syracuse QB.

In 2014, the aforementioned Hunt was ready to do big things for Syracuse.  However, he did not last until halftime of the opener, being ejected.  Later, he suffered a season-ending injury.  Along the way, several other QBs went under center for the Orange, including AJ Long.

In 2015, with Hunt returning, there was promise for the QB position at Syracuse.  Once again, however, Hunt did not last through the opener of a game against an FCS opponent–this time rupturing an achilles tendon.  Long was not there to step in, having suffered his own injury before the season started. Thus, Shafer turned to true freshman Eric Dungey.  Dungey led Syracuse to a victory and now has the starting QB nod.

That is three consecutive years where the August starter will not finish the season.  In 2013, it was ineffectiveness.  In 2014, it was injury–but trending towards ineffectiveness also.  In 2015, it was solely injury (although Hunt did not look good against Rhode Island either).

In any event, Dungey finished a second consecutive opener for Syracuse against an FCS opponent and now is the starter.  At least until he gets hurt, as most Syracuse fans who have lived through the past decade cannot help but think.

And why not?  The QB position has been very unsettled since Donovan McNabb left town after the 1998 season.  Look at the names of the QBs to get major playing time:

  • 2014: Hunt, Wilson, Long, Kimble
  • 2013: Allen, Hunt
  • 2012: Nassib (all but one QB pass attempt)
  • 2011: Nassib (all QB pass attempts)
  • 2010: Nassib (all but 5 QB pass attempts)
  • 2009: Paulus, Nassib
  • 2008: Dantley, Robinson
  • 2007: Robinson, Dantley
  • 2006: Patterson (all but 6 QB pass attempts)
  • 2005: Patterson, Fields
  • 2004: Fields, Patterson
  • 2003: Anderson
  • 2002: Nunes, Anderson
  • 2001: Nunes, Anderson
  • 2000: Nunes, Anderson
  • 1999: Nunes, Williams

The old saying of “having two quarterbacks means you have none” applies to several seasons.  The law firm of Nunes Anderson hovered around the .500 mark, but in subsequent seasons the instability of the position has led to several seasons with less than 5 wins.  Note that that 2010 to 2012 involved two bowl games and a period of stability/health involving Nassib.  Was Doug Marrone a good coach or just fortune to have a healthy, productive QB for three straight seasons?

Obviously, Syracuse needs Dungey to stay healthy.  That applies to all football teams on all levels.  But for Syracuse stability over a multiple-season stretch would be even better.  Of course, that just leads to the potential jinx/curse of having Dungey named the starter heading into 2016.  Yet another reason why it is tough to be a Syracuse football fan.  Sigh.

The Football Over-Unders for 2015: Syracuse

This article is another in a series of articles in which the Confidential opines regarding the over/under for football wins in 2015.  We’ll take a cursory look at the schedule and determine what we think is the point where folks will struggle to select “over” or “under.”  We hope people will share their comments as to “why” they are going over/under.  If you disagree with our over/under choice, of course, feel free to let us know too.  The next team up: Syracuse (see recent discussion of Syracuse).  We are going with an over/under of 5.5 regular season wins.

  1. September 4 vs Rhode Island
  2. September 12 vs Wake Forest
  3. September 19 vs Central Michigan
  4. September 26 vs Louisiana State
  5. October 10 @ South Florida
  6. October 17 @ Virginia
  7. October 24 vs Pittsburgh
  8. October 31 @ Florida State
  9. November 7 @ Louisville
  10. November 14 vs Clemson
  11. November 21 @ NC State
  12. November 28 vs Boston College

Likely losses: LSU, Florida State, Louisville, Clemson

Likely wins: Rhode Island, Wake Forest, Central Michigan

Summary:  Syracuse finally scheduled somewhat appropriately–with only one P5 school, LSU.  Still, LSU is a tough opponent for a school like Syracuse, which rarely fares well against 10-win teams.  But there is a legitimate chance for Syracuse to start 3-0, and perhaps even get to 6-1 before the Florida State game.  They might have to if they want to be bowl-eligible because you have to think that the three game stretch of FSU, Louisville, and Clemson is going to be a three-loss stretch.  We think Syracuse improves a notch over last–but bowl eligibility may require Syracuse to go 3-1 OOC and then beat 3 of Virginia, Pitt, NC State, Wake Forest, and BC?  It is easy to say yes in August.  Let’s see if the ‘Cuse can actually do it.  Ultimately, the Confidential deems it a toss up and goes with an over-under of 5.5 wins.

What do you think?  Over or under?  Let us know.

Prior discussions: Florida State Georgia Tech Wake Forest Pitt Virginia Virginia Tech Louisville Miami Notre Dame NC State Duke Boston College UNC

Syracuse Football Reality

Eschewing the requisite third-person writing format for a moment, I am a diehard fan of Syracuse University.  I went to football games at Archbold Stadium, including the last one ever played there.  I went to a game during the year in between that stadium and the Dome.  I was a student attending the game in 1987 where an undefeated Syracuse team utterly destroyed hated Penn State.  I have been to road games and bowl games.  I bleed orange.  But, with a rumor that Syracuse is planning to schedule Wisconsin, I can only shake my head at the institutional delusion inside the athletic department (shared by some fans).

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