Four times this year, and, well, every year, NU plays an out-of-conference opponent. The question arises: who are these guys? Some people only want to know who they are in a football sense, but, to truly understand our opponents on the gridiron, you have to know where they come from, so football strategy can wait. I plan on getting to know these universities a little bit better with posts on each college, mainly with info gleaned from their wikipedia pages.
This week's victim (or not): Syracuse.
This post is going to be a little shorter than the other posts, mainly because unlike EMU and Towson, you've probably heard of Syracuse outside of football. I was gonna apply to Syracuse's journalism program if I didn't get in to Medill, and had my only college interview with a Syracuse admissions person about three days before finding out about whether or not I got into NU. It's probably still the only college interview in the history of college interviews where ex-Knick training camp invitee Demetris Nichols was a prominent topic of conversation.
Where: Syracuse, NY. You figured this out, right? Something I discovered at college is that people from outside of New York expect residents of New York City to have a good understanding of the goings-on in the rest of New York state, but I have no idea where Syracuse is, unless you consider "upstate" an acceptable answer.
Size: 'Cuse has 13,203 undergrads, or 1.6 Northwesterns.
Stadium: Syracuse plays both football and basketball games in the Carrier Dome, one of two FBS teams to use the same venue, along with the Idaho Vandals' Kibbie Dome. The Carrier Dome seats 49,000 for football and a preposterous 33,000 for basketball, meaning the average Syracuse basketball game has more in attendance then the average NU football game. You should be crying right now.
Interesting alums: A lot. Syracuse is probably the only school with more sports journalism folks than NU, with Bob Costas, Mike Tirico, Matthew Berry, and, the clincher, the velvety tones of Marv Albert.
Current NFL Players: There are 17 ex-... uh, Orange, on NFL rosters, and I won't list them all. (Man, this post is boring.) Highlights include Dwight Freeney, Will Allen, and, of course, Donovan McNabb, who played at Syracuse with Marvin Harrison, who no longer is on the tally of current Syracuse players in the NFL. Famous players like Jim Brown, Art Monk, and Larry Csonka played at Syracuse as well.
Current Mascot: Otto, the Orange. It's an orange. A giant freaking orange with arms and legs. The mascot used to be an indian called the "Saltine Warrior", but in 1978, Syracuse was the first school to give in and make their mascot politically correct, and turned him into a Roman warrior, but everybody hated this because it was stupid, so they decided to make it into an anthropomorphic freakin' orange.
Syracuse's teams, as you probably remember, used to be called the "Orangemen", but, because everybody is way, way, way, way too politically correct nowadays, the school changed the team to the "Orange" because "Orangemen" and "Orangewomen" wasn't gender-neutral and this hurt people's feelings. However, they ignored the fact that this is really stupid, and that now two dudes who played for their teams were now "Oranges" and that team names without "s" are supposed to be in the WNBA and a mild sign that terrorists are winning.
Mascot if I ran the school: Guess what, decided that these jokes in the previous posts weren't funny, so, hey! Done with it.
Difference between the amount of times this team has been to the NCAA Tournament and the amount of times NU has: Well, this one's definitely less interesting than in the other posts, because Syracuse is, like, great at basketball and everything, and therefore it's not surprising that Syracuse has been 32 more times than NU. They've been to the Sweet Sixteen 18 more times than NU has been to the tourney, the Final Four four more times than NU has gotten to the tournament, and won the championship once, in 2003, behind Melo, Hakim Warrick and Gerry McNamara.
You could legitimately make a starting five with all Syracuse players that would compete in the NBA: Jonny Flynn, Demetris Nichols looking way out of place at shooting guard, Melo, Hakim Warrick, and Etan Thomas at center. This team would defeat a squad of NU NBA-ers consisting of Evan Eschmeyer in his mid-30's and four Evan Eschmeyer clones by approximately 7,000 points.
Also, Sherman Douglas made his NBA in 1990, the same year my parents decided to give me the middle name of Douglas, causing me to think that I was named after a solid, but not great point guard for most of my life, despite my dad's repeated insistence that it's just a coincidence that that dude has 2/3 of the same name as me.
Elsewhere in Syracuse sports: Cuse's men's lacrosse team is a little bit like our lacrosse team, except worse: they've won 11 national championships, including the last two, but they've never managed to win more than three in a row, so, yeah, we're not impressed.
They ran out of hot dogs halfway through day one of shooting: A few years ago, Hollywood people made the decision to make a movie called "The Express" about Ernie Davis, the Heisman-winning running back who led Syracuse to a national championship in 1959 as a sophomore, making great strides for black athletes off the field, only to die of leukemia before ever playing a pro game. Sadly for filmmakers, Syracuse's classical-styled football stadium, Archbold Stadium, was torn down in 1978 to build the Carrier Dome. So they shot the film on location at, where else, Ryan Field, which doubles as Archbold, and, comically, the Cotton Bowl. Directors CGI'd in fans, which is something NU's athletics department really should consider. Not surprisingly, the film was criticized for its historical inaccuracies, mainly the writers completely fabricated a game to show Davis experiencing racial abuse in the south, but I'm sure the fact that they showed a jam-packed Ryan Field didn't help.
I'll be honest - this is boring the hell out of me, and I can't possibly write any more on this post. Actual football stuff will come later.