Item: As he approaches the culmination of his second spring practice with the “Showcase” event at the Dome April 22 (10:00 a.m. ET – free parking/admission / ACCNExtra), Dino Babers can still be linked to a comment he made at his introductory press conference some 16 months ago. In talking about his highly anticipated offensive style of fast, faster, even faster, Babers said he expected the learning curve to arrive for his Orange players “somewhere between games four and six” of his second season. With the tease of 61 points in the loss to Pittsburgh to cap off last year, a tighter defense and special teams play this year, combined with a sometimes video game-like offense that continues to be robust each week, should make for plenty of points no matter the final record.
Former Syracuse coach Dick MacPherson once talked with us about a measuring stick he used at the beginning of each season. How much did his team improve in the second game on the schedule from the opening game, win or a loss, of a new season?
After the many months of spring practice sessions, unofficial summer workouts, preseason camp, then finally a game against an opponent wearing a different colored uniform, Coach Mac was eager to watch film the Sunday morning after, coach his team through a spirited week of practices, then evaluate the performance of game two with his focus on improvement.
It’s with a similar season-to-season mindset that we think about the historical first-to-second campaigns running the SU football program in the “modern era” beginning with Ben Schwartzwalder’s quarter century run in 1949.
Here are the records of each coach in that period over their first two seasons:
- Ben Schwartzwalder – (1949-1950) 4-5 increased to 5-5
- Frank Maloney – (1974-75) 2-9 increased to 6-5
- Dick MacPherson – (1981-82) 4-6-1 decreased to 2-9
- Paul Pasqualoni – (1991-92) 10-2 and 10-2
- Greg Robinson – (2005-06) 1-10 increased to 4-7
- Doug Marrone – (2009-2010) 4-8 increased to 8-5
- Scott Shafer – (2013-14) 7-6 decreased to 3-9
- Dino Babers – (2016-17) 4-8 to ? We’ll know a lot more after three “winnable” home games and trips to LSU and N.C. State before September comes to an end.