The winning seasons and bowl games will come…. but Syracuse football fans are going to have to continue to be patient.
When Doug Marrone took over the reins to Syracuse football three and a half years ago, he was inheriting a team that was in shambles compared to the one that be played for in the 80’s. The Orange had won a total of ten games during the four years of the disastrous Greg Robinson Era and attendance at the iconic Carrier Dome was at an all time low.
Marrone came back to Syracuse and slowly but surely was able to change the culture back to one of winning and integrity. In his first three years at the helm he won 17 games, including the thrilling Pinstripe Bowl victory over Kansas State. Although he has a losing record, these past three seasons have been a significant step forward for the program as a whole.
The Orange have been able to get the most out of the talent on their roster and as the recruiting classes have improved with each season, the best days of the Doug Marrone Era figure to be in the years to come. The coaches have started to sign four-star recruits and have been able to keep most of the local talent from going elsewhere.
However, Syracuse’s last season in the Big East is shaping up to be a tough one, and quite possibly another losing record. With a non-conference game against the perennial number one team in the nation, USC; as well as Missouri, Northwestern, and Minnesota, this team will have an uphill battle to win six games and qualify for a bowl game. On a positive note, six of their games are scheduled to be nationally televised, which can do wonders for recruiting efforts. Fans just have to hope that a few of those games will be wins for the Orange.
As Syracuse makes their move to the ACC, most likely starting with the 2013 football season, the future for ‘New York’s College Team’ looks bright. The additional revenue that their membership in the ACC will bring to the athletic department has already had an impact on the program. The football wing of the Manley athletic facilities is currently undergoing renovations and there are rumors that a new indoor practice facility is on the way. Even the Carrier Dome is being improved, with new video and ribbon boards being installed as we speak.
All of these factors combined figure to help Coach Marrone in his efforts to recruit the best players in the Northeast, thus allowing Cuse to compete with the likes of Florida State, Miami and Clemson once they make the move to the Atlantic Coast Conference. The chances of Syracuse football ever competing for a BCS National Championship are slim but central New Yorkers and alumni all over the country can certainly hope for an appearance or two in the Orange Bowl in the next decade or so.
The Orange faithful have waited a long time for the football program’s return to glory. If they can manage to be patient for a few more years the wait may very well have been worth it, because with Doug Marrone as the head coach, the sky is truly the limit.