Thursday, August 28, 2008

Homer Preview: The Orangemen Edition

In an effort to provide coverage of teams outside of the OTP Preseason Top 25, we've asked some of our friends and fellow college football aficionados to follow our preview format for their own team. This edition of The Homer Preview is courtesy of Matt Tobia, a proud Syracuse alum and resident who calls them Orangemen rather than Orange, which we firmly support.

Homer Preview: Syracuse Orangemen

What You Need to Know: Syracuse head coach, Greg Robinson, sits squarely on the hot seat after a 7-28 record over the past three years. That stretch, including the only two ten-loss seasons for the 14th Winning-est Program of All-Time, mark some dark times for a once proud program and the outlook to turn things around remains rather dim. Syracuse ranked last in the Big East in most offensive categories last season and to try and correct the offensive ineptitude they brought in former Minnesota Offensive Coordinator, Mitch Browning.

Fortunately for Browning, running backs Delone Carter (hip) and Curtis Brinkley (leg) are back from injuries. Freshman Averin Collier (foot) should recover from injury and Doug Hogue returns from last season. While the backfield could prove to be the strong point of the Offense this year, the team will continue to struggle. Sophomore Quarterback Andrew Robinson showed grit, determination, and a strong sense for ball placement while taking an absolute beating each game. Unfortunately for Andrew Robinson, sophomore wideout Mike Williams, the team's leading receiver, was suspended for academic problems and junior wideout Taj Smith left early for the NFL. These two defections leave the Orangemen looking to Lavar Lobdell, who had 8 catches for 86 yards last season, to become their top offensive threat. On the other side of the ball, starting defensive end Brandon Gilbeaux was also suspended for academic issues.

Who You Need to Know and Their 07 Stats:
QB Andrew Robinson: 2192 pass yds, 13 pass TD
DT Arthur Jones: 51 tackles, 17.5 tackles for loss
S Max Suter: 1229 kick off return yards, 1 ko ret. TD

Game to Watch: Syracuse did themselves no favors with their 2008 schedule. The Orangemen have one of the most difficult schedules in the country. Their non-conference slate includes trips to Northwestern and Notre Dame as well as a home date with Penn State. Their season opening trip to Northwestern is going to be make-or-break for the 12 point underdog

They'll Do Well If...: The Offensive Line learns how to play football. For a unit that gave up 54 sacks, there isn't anywhere to go but up. Combine that with a dismal 62.75 rushing yards per game (good for second to worst in the nation) and the line has to perform better. Offensive Coordinator Mitch Browning has made it a requirement that his linemen slim down which should help them be more agile up front.

Season Outlook: Las Vegas has Syracuse pegged for 2.5 wins and it is hard to imagine taking the over. Syracuse has a winnable game at home against Akron following the opener at Northwestern. If they go 0-2 to start the season things will not get any better with Penn State coming the following week. Following Penn State, they should get a win against I-AA Northeastern before heading into the Big East Season where there is always a possibility for an upset, but it is hard to see that coming against anyone other than Louisville. Syracuse could very well end up 2-10 (with one of those wins against a I-AA opponent) and Greg Robinson should be looking for a new job. A best case scenario would see the Orangemen win 4 or 5 games but that is highly unlikely. Look for Robinson to be out, the only question is if it will be during or after the season.


Alan said...

Paging Greg Robinson. Greg Robinson, you're order of resume paper and copy services at Kinko's is now ready.

It's going to be rough for the Cuse, but the Big East is all down this year. They'll shock at least one team, and Lord almighty I hope it's Louisville.

DarylGrossIsSuperman said...

If we are 0-2 going into the Penn State game, I am wearing a paper bag over my head.

Yes, it has become that desperate in the 'Cuse.

DarylGrossIsSuperman said...

That game was definitely break for my Orangemen. The sad part now is that if we lose this Saturday we could potentially post and O-fer.