Last night I intended on getting to bed at a reasonable hour, but then a strange thing started going on in Morgantown, WV. Not only did the Syracuse Orange jump out to an early lead, but they also responded to recapture the lead thanks to an opportunistic defense; aided by a WVU team that kept shooting itself in the foot with turnovers, penalties and sacks, but we're focusing on the positive here! Even though I am not officially associated with Syracuse, growing up near the Carrier Dome during the Paul Pasqualoni era has endeared me to the Orange and, especially being abroad, it's nice to have a "hometown" team to strengthen the connection back to the area. Syracuse football has not been good for a while, but with Doug Marrone now leading his alma mater during a down year for the Big East, the 'cuse could be bowl eligible for the first time since Pasqualoni's last year in 2004. They're currently at 5 - 2, but they need to win two more games to become bowl eligible thanks to having two FCS teams on their schedule. The final 5 games of the schedule are Cincinnati (who look very average now that Brian Kelly is gone), Louisville (who have also been resurgent in Charlie Strong's first year and will be a very interesting game of two programs returning to prominence after a few embarrassing years), Rutgers (and who knows how they will be based on having to deal with the continuing tragedy of Eric LeGrand), Connecticut, and finally Boston College (who also look very beatable but definitely shouldn't be taken for granted). Of these five games, BC is very winnable and so we just need to pull one more out in the remaining Big East schedule. I know Marrone won't be satisfied with saying that bowl eligibility is enough as Pittsburgh exposed major issues with the team, but it's exciting to have something to cheer for prior to Jim Boeheim's annual genius or lacrosse season!
P.S. I love Jim Boeheim's description of the Syracuse area, "It's beautiful eight months out of the year, the other four we play basketball."