During the football season, The Juice Online will address questions about the team in our “Kickoff Countdown” segment.
Today’s Topic: As Syracuse waits to see what bowl they will be playing in, there are still several issues outstanding, including the future of Syracuse’s program. That includes an almost certain contract extension for Doug Marrone, and what to expect from SU going into the ACC. Jim Stechschulte and Wesley Cheng broke down some of these topics.
Has Doug Marrone shown this season that he is the right man for the job?
Jim Stechschulte: I do think that Marrone has shown he is the right man for the job and I expect an announcement about him signing a multi-year contract extension almost immediately after Syracuse accepts a bowl bid. This extension will give Marrone and his staff the ability to recruit with confidence and incoming players can rest assured that the man bringing them into the fold will be the one shepherding them through college.
The on-field results back up that Marrone is the right man. He has developed an uptempo offense able to pile up yards on a weekly basis, regardless of opponent, and a hard-hitting defense built on the concepts of flying to the ball and trying to make plays. The styles should make Syracuse appealing to both recruits and fans. His success shows in the team’s won-lost record, as well, especially with the team finishing the season so strongly.
Wesley Cheng: No question. SU notched its second bowl eligible season in the last two seasons, which given how bad they were before they arrived, would be more than enough. But he’s also the right man in terms of the recruiting he has done and is also a tremendous ambassador of the University.
What should Syracuse expect going into the ACC next season?
JS: When next season starts, there will be minimal familiarity with the opponents in the ACC and this team is losing a lot of production – namely Nassib, Lemon, Sales, Thomas, Goggins, and so on (including possibly Pugh). The schedule includes Northwestern on the road and Penn State at MetLife, along with Clemson and Florida State headlining the team’s first ACC schedule. If the team gets off to a slow start, the murmuring and doubts about Marrone will start up again and… well, we’ve been there before. 6-6 and another bowl next year is a fair goal.
WC: Couldn’t agree more. I would even think a backslide to 5-7 would be reasonable given the more difficult conference schedule. And that should be OK to Syracuse fans. If this year has done nothing else for Marrone, I believe it has kept him fully and completely off any mention of the hot seat for a full year.
What should Syracuse expect after the transition year?
JS: By the third season in the ACC, I expect the program to settle in the 8-4 or 9-3 range with quality bowl appearances on an annual basis. The team should occasionally be a little better, even snagging a conference title and BCS bowl appearance once or twice a decade. They’re probably not going to be annual contenders of the ACC crown, but they should consistently be in the top three in their division. By the way, if the team does end up in the 10-3/9-4 range on a regular basis in a top-five conference, which the ACC will be, they will be a top 20 program, if not better.
WC: That’s seems like the trajectory that Syracuse is on. The standard should be the 7-5 or 8-4 season, with the 9-3 and 10-2 BCS type season sprinkled in here and there, much like how SU was in the golden years of the McNabb era.