Posted on: September 4, 2009 12:12 pm
Edited on: September 4, 2009 12:20 pm

Minnesota Golden Gophers Game Preview

Minnesota Golden Gophers 0-0 (0-0 Big 10)

Gophers Key Returning Players:
QB Adam Weber 6'3" 217lbs - 255-410 (62.2%), 2761 yards, 19 Total TD's, 8 INT
WR Eric Decker 6'2" 215lbs - 84 rec, 1074 yards, 8 Total TD
DB Traye Simmons 5'11" 179lbs - 61 Total Tackles, 4 INT 1 TD
OLB Simoni Lawrence 6'1" 221lbs - 66 Total Tackles, 10.5 Tackles For Loss, 4 Sacks, 1 TD

Previous Season:   Minnesota was 7-6 last season with five straight losses to end the year.  After starting off the season a sizzling 7-1 Minnesota finally hit some real competition and that coupled with an injury to star Wideout Eric Decker led Minny to 5 straight losses including an embarrasing 55-0 loss at Iowa and a 42-21 loss to Kansas in the Insight Bowl.  Despite the complete meltdown at seasons end, the season was still considered a success as it was a far cry from the 1-11 season Gopher fans experienced the seadson before.  This season a veteren group of players look to improve on last season and rise into the upper echelon of the Big Ten.

Game Preview:   This is arguably the biggest Syracuse University football game in about a decade, the Carrier Dome will be near a sellout and the monicre "The Loud House" will actually have meaning again.  There are 3 major keys to victory for Syracuse.  The first is contain Weber and Decker, if those two go off on the secondary it will be a long day, but if the Cuse can contain them and not let them get hot, they have a shot.  Safeties Mike Holmes and Max Suter are keys as they should have over the top coverage.  The second key to victory is ball control.  Over the last few seasons Cuse had a ridiculous amount of 3 and outs, putting the defense on the field for 3/4th's of the game allowing teams to pull away in the late third and fourth quarters.  That cannot happen this season, especially with the lack of depth and experience, Cuse needs to establish the running game with Delone Carter and Antwon Bailey and at least keep the T.O.P. at 50/50.  The final key to victory is YOU, the 12th man, the Dome crowd.  If your going to sellout the place you better be in there rockin, when the 3rd down bell chimes and the defense can get a big stop get on your feet and yell, rattle some keys, do something.  Show the country that Syracuse football is back and it isn't going anywhere.

My Prediction:  The start of the Doug Marrone Era begins with a win.  In what is the biggest game at the Dome since probably the 1998-99 season Cuse pulls off the win 24-20.  Expect Cuse to jump out early on the Gophers.  By halftime though the game has settled into a tie as Weber and Decker hook up.  In the second half Minny looks as though they are going to take the game over with another quick score Weber to Decker but Paulus comes back and throws his first collegiate TD, this brings the crowd alive and they will the Orange to victory. With a another score in the 4th Cuse holds off a late Minny drive and collects the W.

Posted on: September 4, 2009 10:14 am

Syracuse Football Upcoming Season

Football season is upon us, The Greg Robinson Era has finally come to an end and the dismal days of the past 4 years are hopefully over.  In steps Doug Marrone to take over the head coaching reigns, he has NO head coaching experience, he was a coordinator at the next level and he comes in promising change (sound familiar Cuse fans?), but there are a few things that seperate him from the others.  For starters, Marrone played at Syracuse, he is a Cuse alum and unlike Greg Robinson he does not bring in that west coast feel good mentality.  Simply stated Marrone is a hard a$$, evidence by the 19 departures since spring practice and the totally new, fresh look on the faces of the Syracuse players.

Those aren't the only changes Marrone has done, RB Doug Houge has now moved to starting OLB, a position he was highly recruited from in high school.  Former starting QB Andrew Robinson was moved to TE along with another former QB in Cody Catalina.  WR Mike Williams has come back to the team after some academic issues as he still leads the nation with consecutive games with a recieving TD (9).  Lastly, but probably most importantly, former Duke University PG and local saint Greg Paulus was brought in to lead the team and be the starting QB.  Paulus was a 2 sport athlete in high school, a 5 star PG and the Gatorade National Player of the year in football.  He chose basketball over football and now with his final year of eligibility he has decided to come back to Syracuse as a graduate student and play some quarterback while he's here.  All eyes will be on Paulus as he trots onto the field for the first game of the season, most skeptics believe he will fail being away from the game for so long, but the Cuse faithful believe he still has what it takes to lead a team to victory.

Over the next few months I will be previewing the games starting with the home opener against Minnesota.  The college football season is underway and with it comes new life for the Syracuse University football program.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com