Syracuse Should Have Named Otto The Orange the Starting Quarterback

Calvin W BoazCorrespondent IIAugust 23, 2009

SYRACUSE, NY - JANUARY 24:  Otto the Orange, the Syracuse Orangemen mascot performs during the game against the Pittsburgh Panthers on January 24, 2004 at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, New York. Pitt defeated the Orangeman 66-45. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

College football has not yet begun, and the Syracuse Orange has pulled off a publicity stunt worthy of the late Bill Veeck. Doug Marrone, the new head coach of the Orange football team, has named Greg Paulus as his starting quarterback.

For the last four years, Paulus has played basketball as a point guard for Duke University. 

In 2004, Paulus was selected the Gatorade National Football Player of the Year. While attending Christian Brothers Academy in suburban Dewitt, Paulus had 11,763 career passing yards and set six New York state records.

Despite the stellar statistics as a high school athlete, it is hard to believe Paulus legitimately earned the starting quarterback position. One has to question why Marrone would start his rebuilding plan with a player he will have for only one season.

Paulus has not played competitive football in five years. Of course, those who claim that Paulus deserves the starting position can say that Syracuse has not played competitive football in five years either.

It is inconceivable that a player that missed spring football would outplay other worthy candidates.

Despite completing less than 50 percent of his passes, Cameron Dantley tossed more than twice as many touchdowns as interceptions in 2008. Redshirt freshman Ryan Nassib was named one of four Philadelphia Daily News Players of the Year while in high school.

Nassib cannot that be that poor of a prospect, since Marrone named him the starting quarterback at the end of March.

If Syracuse wanted publicity, the school could have tried other tactics.

It would have been interesting to make the home opener versus Minnesota Britney Spears Demolition Day. Perhaps, the University realized it is easier to steamroll vinyl records than CDs.

Bringing back Donovan McNabb for a special presentation would have been a great idea as well. However, there is a possibility that McNabb might have declined the invitation since it has been a long time since he has been in a football stadium and wasn't booed.

If Marrone wanted to create a real buzz about the football team, he should have selected Otto the Orange as the starting quarterback.

Officially a member of the University since 1995, Otto the Orange has the same number of collegiate passing yards as Paulus. Paulus may have more high school experience than Otto, but it is not Otto's fault that his high school coaches felt he was not ripe enough to participate in sports.

Although Otto's swelled head would limit his passing ability, he has the upper body to be a successful wishbone quarterback. Otto has a strong upper body, and once he was able to build up a reasonable rate of speed, opposing tacklers would peel right off of him.

Otto's loyalty to Syracuse and his familiarity with his teammates cannot be underestimated. With proper nurturing, Otto could grow into quite the quarterback prospect.

If Syracuse insists in being the laughingstock of college football, the Orange should feature a quarterback that would the cause fans to smile instead of cry.

The student body would have been juiced to see Otto lead the football team. Unfortunately, Marrone squeezed him out of the opportunity.