posted on Monday, August 13, 2012 at 10:30 AM
(Image courtesy Syracuse Athletics)
As the college football season draws closer, we’re taking a look at all of our partner schools with some of the bloggers who know them best. Today Sean from Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician helps us preview Syracuse.
Head coach Doug Marrone has made strides to bring the Orange back to prominence, but the road doesn't get any easier in 2012. They'll meet a top 5 USC program in the second week of the season, the marquee game for a nonconference schedule that also includes Big Ten programs Northwestern and Minnesota and new SEC member Missouri.
2011 Record: 5-7
2011 Bowl: N/A
2012 Bowl Projections:
Orlando Bowl History
2004 Champs Sports Bowl vs. Georgia Tech, 14-51.
Describe the 2011 season in two words.
Where would you rank Ryan Nassib among Big East quarterbacks in 2012? Can he carry an offense that is replacing more than half of its starters?
Despite a school record-breaking season last year, Nassib is still flying under the radar even in the Big East. While folks like Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater and South Florida's B.J. Daniels may get the hype, I think Nassib will be able to put up some impressive stats thanks to a solid offensive line, great WR weapons in Alec Lemon & Marcus Sales and an offense tailor made for his style.
On paper, what looks like the toughest game this season?
On paper, in reality and in every alternate reality you can think of, our September 8th game against the USC Trojans is the toughest game of the year. In all likelihood, the Trojans will be the No. 1 team in the nation. They feature the Heisman Trophy favorite at QB, two RB's that rushed for over 1,000 yards last year an an All-American wide receiver. Tough is an understatement.
Best case/worst case scenario for the postseason.
Well, worst case scenario is that we're home for the second-straight year. Given the schedule and a program still getting back to its former place, it's possible. Best case scenario? Let's say SU goes 3-2 in the non-conference schedule, goes 5-2 in the Big East and ends up in the Russell Athletic Bowl.
If Syracuse makes it to the Russell Athletic Bowl and plays an ACC team in their last game as a Big East representative, is everyone going to make it super-awkward?
You know what would be super-awkward? If we end up playing Florida State there and beating them. From what I've seen so far, that would not sit well with their fanbase...
One Question In The Other Direction
If Syracuse makes it to the Russell Athletic Bowl, there's only one thing SU fans will want to know...where should we go eat before and after the game?
During Orlando Bowl Week, there's a lot of options along International Drive and the nearby Sand Lake Road (known locally as Restaurant Row). Our Fan HQ at Pointe Orlando also features a number of national and regional chains (BB King's Blues Club, Copper Canyon Grill, etc.) But if you want something that is unique to Orlando, my answer is 4 Rivers Smokehouse. In its short history 4R has been showered with awards as the best barbecue in Orlando, and it gets the Andy Staples Seal of Approval, so you know it's legit. Last year on Champs Sports Bowl game day I stood on the corner outside the Winter Park location and gave out freel tickets to anyone who found me. I might do the same this year, if only to have an excuse to get some brisket.
After the game, the party will likely spill over to Church Street and Wall Street in Downtown Orlando (about one mile from the stadium). There are plenty of bars and late-night eateries in the area. My favorites are Gringos Locos, Gino's Pizza & Brew and Whitewood Mediterranean Grill.