Monday, September 24, 2007

Save Your Allusions And Metaphors. Syracuse Beating Louisville Tops Them All

Maybe Louisville wasn't quite "Goliath," but then again calling Syracuse "David" would be giving them too much credit.

I got home at around 1:30pm on Saturday and debated about whether or not to turn on the 'Cuse v. Louisville game for about ten minutes. I had just eaten and I didn't want to ruin my carpet or clothes (what I'm alluding to here is my fear that Syracuse's poor play would cause me to throw up my breakfast sandwich all over my living room). But when I turned on the TV and saw that 'Cuse entered the 2nd half up 21-7, I almost threw up anyone out of pure shock (not that shock can induce vomitting, or at least I don't think it can). I then sat through 25 minutes of ecstacy and a final five minutes of the most mind-numbing horrible play I've ever seen. Syracuse fumbled twice in the final 5 minutes and one of those was on Louisville's ten yard line up 10 with 2 minutes left even though they could've kneeled down, run off some time from the clock and kicked a field goal. But despite their best efforts, 'Cuse won the game in perhaps the biggest upset in Big East History and one of the biggest of all-time. I received congralutory text messages and emails from all over God's green earth. It was fantastic. And then came all the media coverage with allusions to David and Goliath and the like. And I just don't think those comparisons do justice to what happened.

I think that what people fail to realize here is that Syracuse wasn't just "David." They weren't just a "bad team" or some little upstart like App. St. They were perhaps the worst team in the college football. They were like David's hair-lipped, retarded younger brother. David may have been an underdog, but at least he had a slingshot. Syracuse entered this contest with no weapons whatsoever. It was like David fighting Goliath with a whiffle ball and Johnny Damon's arm strength. Now clearly, this "Goliath" has an "Achilles Heal" (no cliched mythical allusion left unturned) the size of a school bus in their horrendous defense, but even so, the fact that Syracuse was able to expose this weakness is nothing short of miraculous. Achilles was brought down by an arrow to the heal (or knife to the back depending on who you believe). Syracuse entered this battle weaponless. I mentioned this in an earlier post but it bears repeating:
• Syracuse ranks 116th out of 119 Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A) teams in total offense, 101st in total defense and 118th in sacks allowed (18).

• The past two years, Syracuse ranked 110th and 115th in total offense; 107th and 57th in total defense; 116th and 109th in sacks allowed.

• With only three more losses this season -- care to bet the under? -- this team will have matched the school record for most losses (24) over a three-year stretch, matching the squads of 1972-74 and 1891-93.
There's more too. In the three games prior to this game, Syracuse had scored 32 points total. They had 21 at halftime against Louisville. Before Saturday, Syracuse had 5 completions over 15 yards in their first three games. Against Louisville, Syracuse AVERAGED 16.3 yards PER ATTEMPT! Syracuse hadn't beaten a ranked team in 3 years. Before Saturday, Quarterback Andrew Robinson had thrown 1 touchdown IN HIS ENTIRE CAREER. He matched that on the first play from scrimmage. This wasn't just some ordinary underdog story. This was waking up, walking outside and noticing that the sky was now neon green and the sun was navy blue. It's one of the most absurd results in the history of confrontations at any level in any circumsntance, and that's not hyperbole.

So I forgive people for making the requisite allusions to David and his sling. Society has conditioned us to break that out any time someone with very little might beats someone with a ton of power and resources. I just want to make it clear that this victory was more impressive than David's. David had rocks and a divine confidence. Syracuse came to this fight with an offense as powerful as a goose-down pillow and a will to win as strong as wet toilet paper. Syracuse over Louisville should be the new "David vs. Goliath."

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