Compare these two Doug Marrone quotes.
“We haven’t had a winning home record since 2004,” Syracuse head coach Doug Marrone said two weeks ago when Syracuse was getting ready to play Wake Forest. “We haven’t produced back-to-back winning seasons since 2001 or back to back bowl games since ’99.”
Monday, Marrone’s outlook was essentially the same when talking about Syracuse’s upcoming game against USC.
“If you look at the last eight years in the program, we’re 34-62, and we’re going against a team that’s 88-16,” Marrone said. “We’re struggling as a program but we’re working to get better.”
The good news is that Syracuse was able to reverse some of its recent history in SU’s home opener against Wake Forest with a 36-29 win.
In SU’s second game against Rhode Island, the Orange narrowly escaped an embarrassing upset with a 21-14 win. But, in winning, Syracuse started the season 2-0 for the first time since 1999.
To get to 3-0, the Orange will need to overcome more than 50 years of history.
“No Big East team has won out there since 1957,” Marrone said. “I don’t think history is very much on our side on this one in a lot of different ways. It’s a credit to USC.”
One of the reasons for USC’s success has been its recruiting. Southern California has recruited 81 players listed in the top 100 since 2003, Marrone said.
Quarterback Matt Barkley is among those 81, and in just two games, Barkley has already thrown for 568 yards and four touchdowns.
Many of those passes and nearly half of the yards have gone to receiver Robert Woods, who has racked up 279 yards and three touchdowns this season.
“(Woods) is probably the best player in the country at his position,” Marrone said. “We’ll have to know where he is because he moves around quite a bit.”
All of that will make a highly difficult matchup for the Orange.
“We’re talking about USC, which is arguably, since 2003, maybe the best program in college football, and they’re still an excellent program,” Marrone said. “I don’t think anything can get you prepared to play such a storied program such as USC.”