Item: For this 2018 football season as a partisan follower of Syracuse on Saturdays (or Friday nights) and the Miami Dolphins on Sundays (or Thursday nights), the first four weeks of the season were pure heaven with a combined 7-0 start by the teams, something that had not happened since…well, it never had happened before. Prior to 2018, Syracuse only accomplished two 4-0 starts (1987 and 1991) since the Miami AFL franchise came into existence in 1966, and, in fact, the Dolphins had only started 3-0 in a campaign 13 times in 52 previous seasons, but not in 1987 or 1991. Then reality came calling on the schedule two weekends ago against football Goliath’s; Syracuse played at Clemson, Miami at New England and each suffered its first defeat although in contrasting fashion. This past weekend, it was the second straight loss for both teams blowing first half leads, further making it uncanny how identical the season’s results have been through almost mid-October – SU 4-2, Miami 3-2, and causing plenty of Orange Watch sighs.
The long time and often humorous New York Post columnist Steve Serby used to have a weekly Tuesday column during the NFL season titled ‘Mr. Loser.’ In it Serby would recount his fictionalized emotional odysseys on Sundays with his betting choice against the point spread of close matchup NFL games, writing as if he was within minutes of pulling off the big payday, only to have the other team score, or not score, in a game’s waning seconds to seal his losing fate.
As a longtime follower of the Orange and aqua and orange clad ‘Phins, the late afternoon of Sept. 23 was like preparing to bring the winning betting slips to the window (we did cash a whopping $50 on SU covering the six point spread at Western Michigan while visiting a Delaware sports book in August), after Miami beat Oakland to make the teams combined mark a tingling 7-0.
The seven victories included Syracuse dominating Florida State to end a losing streak dating back to…1966, sitting atop the ACC Atlantic, and Miami knocking off a division nemesis in the New York Jets to sit atop the AFC East.
But like Serby’s follies as ‘Mr. Loser’ we’ve unexpectedly hit the cement wall since.
The ‘Cuse, of course, fell to Pittsburgh last Saturday 44-37 in overtime after leading 14-0, watching in disbelief as a Pitt interception in the end zone sealed its fate in OT, while Miami lost to Cincinnati 27-17 after leading 17-0 in the third quarter, watching in disbelief as the Bengals scored the final 27 points of the game, with two touchdowns coming on interception returns by defensive linemen.
While Syracuse has the week off before looking to get back on track with home games against North Carolina and N.C. State to close out the month, Miami is back to work Sunday starting consecutive home games against NFC North opponents Chicago and Detroit.
Perhaps some home cooking is the right ingredient to produce some October victories and wipe away the feeling that was Serby’s signature finish to end his entertaining weekly NFL betting column.
“And that’s why they call me ‘Mr. Loser.’”