Before we dig into our turkey plates and scarf down stuffing and yams, I wanted to take the opportunity to write about five things I’m thankful for in the 2013-14 Syracuse athletics season.
1. Scott Shafer: Will Syracuse make a bowl game? Will they miss it? I’m not sure, but I am thankful for the direction this program is headed. Remember, Doug Marrone only won four games in his rookie season, and He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named won one (ONE!) lousy game in 2005. Shafer has already surpassed that win title, and has SU within one win of bowl eligibility. More important is that the team has still continued to carry the momentum from the Marrone era to this point. Shafer has the right enthusiasm and temperament for the job, and SU is still pulling in decent recruits.
2. The ACC. You may be in the traditionalist crowd. You may not like that Syracuse will no longer play Georgetown in conference play. You may miss the easy road trips up to Providence or Seton Hall. But if you look at the remnants of the Old Big East that has continued in the shell of the American Athletic Conference, Syracuse is in a far, far better place now. The game of realignment is a delicate dance of musical chairs, and SU has secured a seat. They could easily have ended up in the same spot as Connecticut, Cincinnati or South Florida.
4. And this.
5. Which all leads back to Jim Boeheim. It’s incredible that Syracuse has been so consistently good for so long without a major hiccup (ie – a losing season). Boeheim has only gotten better with time, considering that the program for the first time in school history has been to back-to-back Elite 8s, and Boeheim has become part of only a handful of coaches to take his team to the Final Four in four different decades (1987, 1996, 2003, 2013). This season’s squad has plenty of promise as it gets set to navigate the uncharted waters of ACC conference play.