Syracuse Football: Pinstripe Bowl Is Step in Right Direction

Mike MuellerContributor IIDecember 3, 2010

Syracuse is playing in its first bowl game since 2004
Syracuse is playing in its first bowl game since 2004Andy Lyons/Getty Images

For the first time in six years, Syracuse football is going bowling! It’s been a long time coming for Orange(men) fans who have been starving for something positive on the gridiron.

Syracuse will play in the first-ever Pinstripe Bowl at the new Yankee Stadium on December 30 against a representative from the Big 12, and it’s all thanks to second-year head coach Doug Marrone.

Marrone took a chance on his alma mater that was left for dead after Greg Robinson ran the program out of relevancy in just four short years.

Let me re-emphasize just how bad of a coach Robinson is. He took a top 25 program from Paul Pasqualoni and turned it into a doormat.

Robinson, known as a "defensive guy," routinely had one of the worst defenses in the country during his tenure and has now carried on that proud tradition at Michigan. He was 10-37 in his four seasons at Syracuse and had two double-digit losing seasons—the only two in program history.

Enter Doug Marrone.

In his first year on the job, Syracuse went 4-8 and actually played competitive football. He piggybacked off that momentum and guided the Orange(men) to a 7-5 record this season. Syracuse is top five in the Big East in total and scoring defense and has one more conference win this year (four) than Greg Robinson had combined during his four-year tenure (three).

Syracuse is by no means back to its glory days. The Orange(men) still have a long way to go. They are right now an average football team. Two of their seven wins have come against Division I-FCS opponents and they lost all four of their conference home games at the Carrier Dome this season. Still, it’s a step in the right direction and Syracuse fans, right now, are just happy to be average again.

It’s amazing what a difference coaching makes. Marrone has instilled a sense of accountability to the players and a newfound pride in the program. Now it’s up to him and his staff to continue building for the future and recruiting better talent. If Marrone can recruit about as half as good as he can coach, then brighter days are ahead for Syracuse football.

All I can say is that it’s about time.