It's that time of the year again.
Syracuse head coach Paul Pasqualoni beams about a new year. Johnnie Morant tells reporters that he's finally ready to breakout. RJ Anderson promises to remind everyone else of the "other No. 5."
Said Anderson: "It's all or nothing."
Said Pasqualoni: "We're all excited."
And with any start to the season, there are dreams that go with it. A career year. A title run. Playing at the next level.
And so here's my prediction for the upcoming season. ...
Anderson shakes off last year's shoddy performance and shows fans that Donovan McNabb isn't the only quarterback that can throw and run.
He runs the option and makes pinpoint throws to Morant.
Morant's had a maligned career.
Not this year.
Morant shows leadership and determination, finally fulfilling what his 6-foot-7 frame gave him the potential to do. He snags five passes a game and even finds time to run the reverse for a good gain.
Then there are the running backs. Walter Reyes and Damien Rhodes prove that last year was not an aberration, but a renaissance. Reyes and Rhodes easily surpass the 150-yard mark on each game, with Thump Belton leading the way.
Scouts notice Belton for his winning smile on the field and his personality off it. He's a lock for the draft. Pasqualoni is rumored to be "very, very" happy for him.
For every step forward the offense takes, the defense takes three. Steve Gregory continues his tear. Last year's Big East leading 21 pass break-ups is only surpassed by his 30 this year.
Rich Scanlon makes everyone forget about Clifton Smith and Dwight Freeney, as he becomes the new force at linebacker. Pasqualoni calls Scanlon's effort "Awfully good."
With the offense firing and the defense stifling, Collin Barber remembers how to kick. Last year, a PAT cost the Orangemen a game against Temple. This year, Barber nails the PAT, and the Orangemen squeak past the Owls, 77-3, before heading down to Miami.
The Miami offense frustrates Scanlon. They're fast. They're furious. Scanlon gives Hurricane fans the finger – the index, that is. Morant catches 10 passes for 370 yards as the Orangemen win in dramatic fashion as Barber's 50-yard attempt with three seconds left sails through the uprights.
Syracuse fans rejoice. Pasqualoni is "awfully happy."
Buzz Shaw wanted the football team to win eight games, the Orangemen end up winning 11. The BCS grants the Orangemen a shot at the national title. The Orangemen win.
Pasqualoni is awarded a contract extension. Anderson, Morant and Scanlon are first-round picks.
Can the Orangemen win eight games? Maybe.
Will Morant and Anderson enjoy coming of age years? A slight chance.
What's more likely is that a Swiss-cheese defense and a sputtering offense will send the following message to Orangemen fans: WAIT UNTIL BASKETBALL.
The Orangemen will go 4-8.
HACK ATTACK: Dream until your dreams come true
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