Now that Christmas is finally here, I present to you Christmas list that Syracuse could deliver for us:
1. A BOWL WIN FOR FOOTBALL
The Orange will play West Virginia in the Pinstripe Bowl this Saturday. It’s a tale of two teams headed in opposite directions.
Earlier in the year, West Virginia was considered a BCS contender, and quarterback Geno Smith was the frontrunner for the Heisman Trophy. In that some period of time, Doug Marrone was nearing the hot seat, and Syracuse was just 1-3 on the season.
Since then, the Orange have gone 5-1 while the Mountaineers have limped into the postseason. The Pinstripe Bowl will pair these two teams, who have been football rivals since the 1950s.
This is likely the last time that the Orange will play the Mountaineers for a long time, and it would be great to get another win to carry them into the ACC. A win would also leave Marrone with a .500 record in his SU head coaching career. That would be quite a feat considering how far down Greg Robinson had torpedoed this program.
2. NO MORE DISTRACTIONS FROM BASKETBALL
The last two seasons of Syracuse basketball have brought some highs, including the team’s first Elite 8 appearance since the 2003 season, and a No. 1 ranking. But it’s also brought some lows, as well. Some of the extracurriculars have included the absurd (that silly point shaving rumor) to the serious (Syracuse players reportedly failing drug tests) to the unresolved (Bernie Fine).
It seems Syracuse hasn’t been able to escape the negative attention this season, either, with Michael Carter-Williams allegedly shoplifting from a Destiny USA store.
It seems the Carter-Williams story is over, and for the foreseeable future, the Orange can just concentrate on basketball.
Good thing, because there are a lot of milestones on the horizon. Jim Boeheim will pass Bob Knight for second on the all time wins list in 2013. He will try to lead the Orange to the Final Four, which would give the team a Final Four appearance in every decade since the 1970s.
3. A RETURN TO PROMINENCE FOR LACROSSE
Last season, the Orange lacrosse team nearly missed the NCAA tournament for just the second time since 1983. Syracuse went into the Big East tournament at 7-7, needing to win the championship to secure the automatic bid.
That’s exactly what the Orange did, defeating Villanova and St. John’s to claim a spot in the postseason. But Syracuse couldn’t advance against Duke, capping one of its most disappointing seasons since 2007.
But this season, Syracuse has an opportunity to return to its spot as one of the dominant programs in college lacrosse. The Orange has plenty of experience now, as Steve Ianzito, Brian Megill, JoJo Marasco, Joe Fazio and Derek Maltz have returned for another season. They will start the season at No. 14 in the 2013 Inside Lacrosse Face-Off Yearbook Preseason Top 20.