Syracuse Football 2008: The Red Album Preview

Can any of you catch a football? We could use some help.

Can any of you catch a football? We could use some help.

I’ve been thinking of how to write a preview of something that I’m dreading: this upcoming season of Syracuse football. Between the horrible results of the last few years coupled with this tumultuous off season, I’m at the low point of my Syracuse fandom (and I guarantee I’m not alone).

But this new Syracuse football season comes with a potential silver lining. If the team performs well and gets into a bowl game we can rejoice in St. Petersberg or Toronto or whatever other city would be dumb lucky enough to invite us. Our team would be back to winning games. The Dome might begin to feel like it did before Greg Robinson arrived on campus.

And if the team plays poorly again and fails to win games, Robinson will likely be shown the door (OH MY GOD DARYL GROSS- IF THEY DON’T WIN 6 GAMES FIRE HIS ASS!!!!), allowing the program to move in a (hopefully) productive direction.

So this is the mindset I talked myself into in order to write about the 2008 season. Now I just needed a format.

Enter Weezer.

For as long as I can recall, Weezer has been one of my favorite bands. The “Blue Album” was the second CD I ever owned (Boys II Men II was first-probably the worst thing I’ve ever admitted to in my life) and it has grown to revered status with myself and my friends. Countless times we have sang (more like off-key shouted) Blue from start to finish. It started at high school parties, including every single graduation party. Then it continued at the first party when we returned home from college (the one where everyone is sharing stories about their crazy friend, or talking about a night of debauchery at Zeta Phi Alpha that unless you were there and it happened to you, nobody else cares about). It had gotten to a point that we actually “retired” the album with one epic sing-a-long during a New Year’s Eve party two years ago. Since then, the Blue Album has thrown on the 45 like Jordan and made multiple returns to our late night drunken festivities.

The point is, we can’t let go of it. And I can’t let go of Syracuse football. This summer Weezer released their first album since the disappointing “Make Believe” and restored my faith that you can still love something after you thought it had been left for dead. The “Red Album” is quirky, fun and the best thing they’ve put out in seven years (which is slightly longer than the six years since Syracuse had a player chosen in the first round of the NFL Draft). It renewed my faith in a band that I had abandoned. Hopefully myself, and any other fan out there, won’t do that to SU football.

So here are the preseason awards/preview for the 2008 season based on the “Red Album”:

Put me in a special school cuz I am such a fool
And I don’t need a single book to teach me how to read
Who needs stupid books? They are for petty crooks
And I will learn by studying the lessons in my dreams


To Mike Williams, the first player to get excited about on offense in over 5 years, but who couldn’t be bothered to study anything but his playbook. This guy was supposed to be the legitimate weapon on the outside, the one who would open up space in the defense for the other wideouts underneath. He was supposed to take pressure off our talented running backs by drawing double coverage and allowing them to worry about one less player in the box. But instead he decided to cheat (multiple times!) on his exams and get booted from school. But it should be easy to replace someone who had 30% of the receptions and almost half of the offensive touchdowns, right? Especially with Taj Smith returning for….whoops.

So many reasons why I have to go but want to stay here
Sometimes I want a taste but then I don’t know what I’m saying
You are the angel and I am the one who is praying
I feel a deeper peace and that deeper peace is penetrating

I’ve got the magic in me, I am complete is what I’m saying

-“The Angel and The One”

To Taj Smith, who decided to leave school and enter the NFL draft early, and then went undrafted. Smith is now in a dog fight to stay on the Green Bay Packers as an undrafted free agent. Now, Smith was 24 years old. I understand his reasoning and wish him the best in the NFL. But now Syracuse has to replace two guys that combined for 104 catches, 1659 yards, and 15 TDs. The team totals? 202 catches, 2750 yards, and 18 TDs. Yikes. But it does appear we have a secret weapon…

It might take a while to get with the style
Of life at the end of the miracle mile
But you’re gonna love the risin’ above
All the trash that is sweepin’ you under the rug

-“Cold Dark World”

To Lavar Lobdell, who apparently is the best kept secret in college football. Well, Andrew Robinson has to throw it to someone. Maybe that someone is a WR who caught only 8 balls last year. Now with a chance to start, Lobdell will get plenty of opportunities to show he is a number one receiver.

So turn off the TV cuz that’s what others see
And movies are as bad as eating chocolate ice-cream
They only sicken me, don’t let me play football
I’ll sack the quarterback and jack the brother of the ball


To Brandon Gilbeaux (from all acounts he is not an actual troublemaker), who unlike Mike Williams, was kicked off the team not for cheating but for having below average grades. Or maybe not. Either way, the SU defense lost a guy that started all 12 games last year and was also very productive recording 49 tackles, 6 tackles for loss, and a sack. Hopefully Gilbeaux will get things straightened out in Delaware.

I ain’t gonna wear the clothes that you like
I’m fine and dandy with the me inside
One look in the mirror and i’m tickled pink
I don’t give a hoot about what you think

-“Pork and Beans”

To the old, disgusting, orange football jerseys the team had worn. Look at those things. It was one thing for our team to suck; did we have to look like that when we did it? Here is hoping that Dr. Gross is done tweaking our look every season and just sticks with the new jerseys, which appear to be amazing compared to the crap we’ve been wearing the past few seasons.

On Halloween you can forget it
They throw rotten eggs into traffic
Toilet paper the fences
Throw the tables, chairs, and the benches
After practice
Sometimes we would break into mad fits
Causin’ damage
(Burnin’ amplifiers and mic stands)

Everybody get dangerous
Everybody get dangerous (Boo yah!)

-“Everybody Get Dangerous”

To Paul Chiara & Mikhail Marinovich, who both decided to do a little redecorating during the off season. Unfortunately they didn’t do this at their off-campus apartment, but rather at Manley Field House. Terrific. Now that this incident is over, they can both concentrate on being important, productive members of the SU football team. And remember that in athletics- nobody remembers what you did off the field if you produce on it (see Lewis, Ray).

I don’t wanna get with your program
I don’t wanna get with your program
I don’t wanna get with your program


To Darric Scott, who originally commited to Syracuse, only to back out and commit to Central Michigan.

Read that again.

He left SU for Central Michigan. He wanted to be a Chippewa.

How is Greg Robinson still the coach of this team? We just had a decommitment from someone who wound up at Central Michigan. No offense to Central Michigan or its fans, but we never lost a recruit to a school like that in the past. Apparently this is the world we now live in. A world where a MAC school is going to take one of the few kids to buy the BS our coach was slinging. I’m starting to get nauseous.

I am the greatest man that ever lived
I was born to give
I am the greatest man that ever lived
Oh radioactive

-“The Greatest Man That Ever Lived”

To Andrew Robinson. Like Obi-Wan Kenobi to Princess Leia, A-Rob is our only hope this season. He showed great strides last year, finishing with 13 TDs to 7 interceptions. But this year will be tough with the loss of his top two targets for last season. Hopefully he can quickly develop a chemistry with whomever lines up on the outside. A-Rob needs to be confident, needs to be cocky in order to go out there and lead this team. And let’s pray that he isn’t sacked every third play. I’m starting to worry he might suffer some internal injuries that could prevent him from leading a normal life.

I’m baddest of the bad
I’m the best that you’ve ever had
I’m the tops, I’m the king
All the girls get up when I sing
I’m the meanest in the place
Step up, I’ll mess with your face
I don’t care where you are
Look up and follow this star

-“The Greatest Man That Ever Lived”

To Averin Collier, the first SU recruit in years that has caused a buzz. When he signed, I actually called up my friends to celebrate. Of course we then immediately debated what kind of luxury car G-Rob promised him if he donned the Orange.

But even though he is highly thought of, with many recruiting services having him as the number one player in New York state, he has already been injured. He had a hairline fracture in his foot, which G-Rob basically accused him of hiding from the coaching staff during his recruitment.

There is also no guarantee he will be able to get enough playing time to have an impact (Sudden Impact?) this season. Collier wants to start. But there has been talk of redshirting him this year. Personally I don’t buy the talk. G-Rob knows this is his last chance and that he has to win this season. You don’t waste a year of a kid this talented. You play him now.

But the Orange have many talented running backs. Delone Carter, Curtin Brinkley, and Doug Hogue are all in the mix to earn carries. I guess this is a great problem to have. My money is still on Collier to work his way into a prominent roll by end of the year. Hopefully he doesn’t disappoint.

I know that you’re thinkin’ I’m tryin’ to score
But deep in your heart you know that I’m more
Than a cad or a scoundrel, now that I’ve found you
I don’t wanna lose you, how can I prove to you
That I am sincere, you don’t need to fear
I’m not like the others, I’ll be like a brother
I will protect you, never disrespect you
But if you need love then I’ll be here to sex you

-“Cold Dark World”

To Greg Robinson. Frankly I thought it was hilarious to give this quote to G-Rob just because of the last line, as he has so graciously shared his own wisdom with us many times. But awkward sexual undertones aside, this quote is very fitting. No fans think he is right for the program. We thought he was a possible steal when he came in: NFL background. College success as a coordinator. Nice guy. Hell, he was hired by a guy who had worked at USC during a time when Pete Carroll became the best coach in college football!

But nothing has worked out, and now Greg has to prove to us that he is sincere (and by sincere I mean able to produce one winning season). But deep in my heart I’m not sure that is possible.

Now that our world’s gone dark
We’ve drained the well, blew out the spark
And now we’re left with broken hearts
Trying to find a new place to start

Thought I knew you better than
Thought I knew your intentions
Thought I knew but didn’t have clue
Not a single damn thing was true

-“Thought I Knew”

To Daryl Gross. When he was hired we were excited. This was the guy who was going to fix our sagging program. He was going to show Coach P the door and hire someone to breathe life into the gasping lungs of SU Football.

Boy were we wrong.

While things were bad at the end of Coach P’s tenure, it was never as bad as it has been under Robinson. And Gross has almost refused to acknowledge it. Fans have been calling for his head, but he recently received a contract extension from the university.

This season is as much about Dr. Gross’s legacy as it is G-Rob’s. If the Orange win, Gross was right. His hiring of Robinson was justified. If the Orange lose, he gets to fire his lame duck coach and try to fix the program a second time in four years.

But he has allowed it to reach this point. He could have cut his losses and fired Robinson last year. He could have brought someone else in to try to fix this mess. Instead he has put us in a spot where no recruit wants to come here for fear the coach is on his way out. Fans are staying away from the Dome in record numbers. And we’re now put in a spot where we have to cheer for this team, while at the same time hoping they lose enough games to get the coach fired.

Congrats Daryl.

Everyone likes to dance to a happy song
with a catchy chorus and beat so they can sing along
Timbaland knows the way to reach the top of the charts
maybe if i work with him I can perfect the art

-“Pork and Beans”

To the next coach of Syracuse football. Some names have been floated as possible replacements. But we will get into that at a later date (like around the 5 loss mark). But whomever it is, here is hoping he knows the way to get SU Football back to the top. And maybe Timbaland is available. Who knows, he couldn’t be worse right? (This is a sad existence as an SU fan right now).

Back in 1991 I wasn’t having any fun
’til my roommate said “come on” and put a brand new record on
Had a baby on it, he was naked on it
then I heard the chords that broke the chains I had up on me
got together with my bros at some rehearsal studios
then we played our first rock show and watched the fanbase start to grow
signed the day
made a record all our own
a song comes on the radio and now people go “This is the song”

-“Heart Songs”

The best song on the album goes to us, the fans. In it, Rivers describes the lackluster music scene of the late 80s and his complete apathy towards it. Then he hears “Nevermind” for the first time, starts his band, and becomes a rock star.

This is SU Football in 2008. We are in our pre-Nevermind phase. We’ve been down for years, always being promised that hope is coming- only to find out there is nothing on the horizon.

I keep thinking back to all the games I went to at the Dome growing up. Seeing players like Marvin Graves, Donovan McNabb, Marvin Harrison, Dwight Freeney. You would leave after a hard fought game exhausted, your voice hoarse from screaming for three hours. But you would be happy, because the team was always competitive, generally winning. It’s a feeling I haven’t had at an SU game in years.

But hope is on the way. Gross is going to wake up and fire Robinson. All we can do is hope that he gets his second hire right. Our Nirvana moment is coming.

I just don’t know if I can wait another year.


2 responses to “Syracuse Football 2008: The Red Album Preview

  1. As far as Darrick Scott decommitting, you should be a little less biased in your assessment of that. He chose to go to Central Michigan because he decided that he didn’t want to play at a BCS level school and that he wanted to go to school with some friends of his that had committed to CMU as well.

    You can fault GROB for alot of things but faulting him for D. Scott is about as silly as faulting him for Ray Rice or Courtney Greene.

  2. My point about Scott is that before the G-Rob era, I can’t remember a big recruit decommiting to go to a non BCS school. We lost plenty of guys to other BCS teams, but never to a Central Michigan. I put that on the coach. It is his program, and it has sunken that low in the minds of recruits. They’d rather play for a good MAC program than a Big East program that gets more publicity.

    And Scott decommitted because there weren’t any other recruits committed for next season. Add to that the constant media story of G-Rob on the hot seat and obviously he wanted to go to someplace more stable.

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