Ok guys, it is now game week, and a short game week at that. We have all made it through another long off season, and now we get to see exactly what type of team we are going to have this season on Friday night.
The Huskies will practice Monday, and Tuesday, then they fly to Syracuse mid day on Wednesday. Chances are good they will practice in shells the day before the game at the Carrier Dome to shake off the stiffness of a long plane ride.
Willingham has coached here before. He was trounced by the Orange in his last visit as head man at Notre Dame, so he should understand the venue, and what it takes to get his team ready to play there. On paper UW is a decided favorite, but at this point of the year anything can happen since we really haven't seen a lot from either team in practice. Expect both teams to be improved, and also expect a close contest as two untested QB's start their first games.
The weather shouldn't be a factor because it is expected to be less warm, and humid than normal for that time of the year in Syracuse. That is a big reason that they didn't crank up the heat in the Dempsey for a practice, or two. Humidity in the dome shouldn't be much of a factor. Crowd noise shouldn't either since 'Cuse expects a crowd of around 35,000 in the 50,000 seat stadium.
I really wanted to go to this game but my wife shut me down early on that one since it is our first wedding anniversary weekend. She just didn't think Syracuse was very romantic,(she felt the same way about Norman, Oklahoma for a honeymoon destination) and I do have to agree with her, but man I wish we were going to the game. Now if we were opening against Hawaii she would have been all in for that one. Her next plan was to take me to a local steak house to watch the game which I in return nixed. I told her I want to stay home on Friday, drink plenty of beer, and Scotch, eat something good, and watch the game on the 50" Plasma. I don't like a lot of distractions going on when I am watching the Dawgs.
Potential Problems UW could face with Syracuse
1. Road game in a hostile Dome environment - Syracuse plays well in the Carrier Dome, rarely are they out of the game, even against top rated teams. They even played Louisville close last year till the 4th quarter.
2. Syracuse will be using a lot of pass plays and four WR sets to move the ball because of their depth at WR, and lack of depth at RB - couple that with the lack of depth at DB for UW and it could be a positive for the Orange. You don't think they will pick on Vonzell McDowell do you? The key to shutting these guy's down is jumping all over their young QB, and forcing mistakes. Robinson by the way isn't just any young QB, the kid could be playing on Sundays before he is through. He compares well with a young Donovan McNabb.
3. Syracuse has a strong and experienced defensive line, and while the UW offensive line is big, they are also relatively new at guard, and the first game on the road vs a good defensive line could mean trouble up for UW. Syracuse has a couple of very good defensive ends that we need to find a way to neutralize. Syracuse's offensive line also has had it's issues and they face a veteran Husky defensive line. Games are always won in the trenches, and this contest will be no different.
4. Syracuse's kicking game and special teams are solid with the exception of at punter. UW is still trying to sort everything out which could give Syracuse an edge. One bright note for the Huskies has been the emergence of Brandon Johnson as a return threat. UW still hasn't decided who will punt, kick off, do PAT's, and kick field goals.
Everything you ever wanted to know about Syracuse....
According to the 2000 census, the city population was 147,306, and its metropolitan area had a population of 732,117. It is the county seat of Onondaga County and the economic and educational hub of Central New York, a region with over a million inhabitants.
The city sits on the edge of the Finger Lakes region, a major tourist destination in the west-central section of Upstate New York, are actually eleven in number, but only seven of the largest are commonly identified as such. The lakes resemble each other in shape, which collectively reminded early map-makers of the fingers of a hand.
Syracuse University was chartered in 1870 as a Methodist-Episcopal institution; no longer sectarian, it has grown from a few classrooms located in downtown Syracuse into a major research institution.
Syracuse University's sports teams are officially known as the Orange, although the former (until 2004) names of Orangemen and Orangewomen are still affectionately used. The school's mascot is Otto the Orange.
From 1907 to 1978, Archbold Stadium was the home of SU football. Archbold opened up with a bang when the Orange defeated Hobart 28-0. It went out in style 71 years later with an improbable victory over second-ranked Navy 20-17. In 1978, SU fans said good-bye forever to the historic stadium. Archbold was demolished to make way for the new on-campus facility, the Carrier Dome, which opened in 1980. The Carrier Dome is the largest dome college stadium in the country. Despite being named for the Carrier Corporation the stadium does not have an air conditioning system. It has a seating capacity of 50,000 for football.
Syracuse made its first bowl appearance in the 1953 Orange Bowl, followed by appearances in the 1957 Cotton Bowl and the 1959 Orange Bowl. The 1957 Cotton Bowl team featured Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown. During this era, Penn State emerged as Syracuse's principal rival, replacing Colgate University which had not kept up to compete at a national level.
In 1959, Syracuse enjoyed an undefeated regular season, following which it won the Cotton Bowl and was voted National Champion. The team featured sophomore running back Ernie Davis, who went on to win the Heisman Trophy in 1961, but died of leukemia before being able to play professionally.
Syracuse remained competitive through the 1960s with a series of All American running backs, including Floyd Little and Larry Csonka. The program began a gradual decline, though, in the 1970s. The construction of the Carrier Dome in 1980 began to turn the program around, as did the success of future NFL stars Joe Morris and Art Monk.
The program returned suddenly to national prominence in 1987 under coach Dick MacPherson with an undefeated 11-0 regular season record. The team featured Maxwell Award winning quarterback Don McPherson and fullback Daryl Johnston. The team missed an opportunity to play for the NCAA Division I-A national football championship, because both the University of Oklahoma and the University of Miami also finished undefeated that year and finished higher in the polls. Instead, the team faced Southeastern Conference champion Auburn University in the Sugar Bowl. The game ended in a tie when Auburn kicked a late field goal rather than trying for a game winning touchdown.
Over the next 14 seasons (1988-2001), the program enjoyed tremendous success under coach MacPherson and his successor Paul Pasqualoni, appearing in 11 bowl games (including 3 major bowls) and winning 9. The team also captured or shared 4 Big East football championships during this period.
On November 12, 2005, Syracuse University retired the uniform number 44, to honor Jim Brown, Ernie Davis, Floyd Little, and the legacy of the number itself.
Syracuse like Washington has been down this decade, and it's athletic plant needs a huge infusion of money to stay competitive, but Coach Robinson seems to have them back on the right track. Washington is a big game for the Orange, and if they come away with a victory it will give the Orange program a huge shot in the arm to start the season.
Odds and Tight Ends
South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier stood by troubled safety Emanuel Cook on Friday, saying his arrest on a gun charge -- which resulted in his suspension from the school, making him ineligible to play for the Gamecocks -- was a case of being "at the wrong place at the wrong time." "He's a good young man and obviously was at the wrong place at the wrong time,'' Spurrier said Friday. "You've got to choose your friends. Supposedly, the gun was not his (Cook's) but he was with a guy with a gun. You're guilty by association.''
Former USC running back Emmanuel Moody said Friday that he has narrowed his transfer choices to Florida and North Carolina. Moody, the second-leading rusher on USC last season, had also considered Texas and Oklahoma State.
Former Arizona State running back Loren Wade, convicted of second-degree murder in the 2005 slaying of another ex-Sun Devils football player, was sentenced Friday to 20 years in prison. Wade, 23, faced 10 to 22 years under sentencing guidelines after being convicted June 7 by a Maricopa County Superior Court jury. He was charged in the death of Brandon Falkner, who was shot outside a nightclub in suburban Scottsdale on March 26, 2005.
If there is one guy who really rubs me the wrong way it is Charlie Weis. Notre Dame visits Husky Stadium in 2008, and we return the favor in 2009. Nothing would make me happier than to have Willingham, and the Huskies spank Fat Charlie twice in a row.
By now, you’ve probably heard a few hundred times how Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis is "arrogant." Not just from judgmental sports columnists like me, mind you, but from actual Irish players ("He seemed a little arrogant," former defensive end Justin Tuck said following Weis’ first team meeting) and opposing coaches (“Weis is arrogant as hell," one such coach told The Sporting News last year).