In the Dec. 24 issue we looked at the most memorable Syracuse sports stories from 2013. The best parts of that list were the moments that we didn’t see coming: the Syracuse University men’s basketball team reaching the Final Four after imploding at the end of the regular season; the Syracuse Crunch hockey team reaching the Calder Cup finals for the first time in franchise history; and a Simone-less Syracuse Chiefs baseball team for the first time in more than 50 years.
That’s what makes sports so fun: It’s the most unpredictable reality show around. So with that in mind, we’re not going to make predictions for 2014 as much as we’re going to list the 24 things we hope Syracuse sports fans will see this year.
We hope. . .
- That the book SU men’s basketball coach Jim Boeheim is writing with Sports Illustrated’s Jack McCallum for release in the fall is as entertaining as his post-game press conferences.
- That 10,000 people fill NBT Bank Stadium on opening day April 3 and the Chiefs’ new management rewards them with a fun, friendly atmosphere that keeps them coming back.
- That the Chiefs take a look at the way the Crunch has treated fans for the past 20 years and say, “Hey, that’s a good idea.”
- That New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning remembers how to complete passes to the guys in the blue jerseys.
- That Buffalo Bills coach Doug Marrone, the former SU coach, figures out how to get the Bills to the playoffs for the first time since 1999.
- That we get to see SU basketball stars Jerami Grant and Tyler Ennis play together for at least one more season.
- That Orange forward DaJuan Coleman, the former Jamesville-DeWitt standout, develops effective low-post offensive moves because just imagine if SU had a low-post scoring threat.
- That when SU football coach Scott Shafer says he “loves this frickin’ town,” he means it, because we’d love to see him stick around and continue the program’s steady ascent from the ruins of the Greg Robinson era to three bowl games in the last four years.
- That people realize we’re never going to be Alabama or Florida State and start coming to the football games to see quality Division I football and an occasional surprise or two, such as SU’s come-from-behind win against Boston College that put the Orange in this year’s Texas Bowl.
- That the Washington Nationals reward the Chiefs’ faith in them by giving Syracuse its first playoff team since 1998.
- That baseball fans in Syracuse enjoy their Triple-A experience the way fans in Rochester and Buffalo have enjoyed theirs for several decades.
- That Onondaga County officials realize that all the good money after bad they tossed at the Chiefs for the last 17 years should have been at least partly spent on the minor-league team in town that knew what it was doing (the Crunch).
- That the SU women’s basketball team returns to the NCAA Tournament and all those fans who go to the men’s games consider attending at least one women’s game.
- That the SU men’s lacrosse team kicks butt in its first season in the Atlantic Coast Conference and avenges its championship game loss to Duke.
- That Hal Steinbrenner and the rest of the New York Yankees’ “brain trust” realize that the reason they had to overspend for Brian McCann and Jacoby Ellsbury is that their farm system is horrendous and needs a massive overhaul.
- That Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter has one more good year left in him so he can go out like Mariano Rivera.
- That former Syracuse Chiefs player and manager Bobby Cox has the time of his life this July when the former Atlanta Braves manager is inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
- That former SU and current New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony makes the right choice when he becomes a free agent after this season, because time is running out.
- That SU hoops standout C.J. Fair can find the right fit in the NBA.
- That SU football seniors Macky MacPherson, Jerome Smith, Jay Bromley, Marquis Spruill and Durell Eskridge get an opportunity to make an NFL team and make the most of it.
- That the Crunch has a strong second half and makes a deep playoff run for the second consecutive season.
- That Sue, Tracey and Thomas Edson have the strength to carry on and peace in knowing that their loving husband and father, Rob Edson, athletics administrator at SU and Onondaga Community College, will always be with them.
- That the fans who had to pay an exorbitant amount of money for tickets to the Duke-Syracuse game Feb. 1 at the Dome get their money’s worth in the first college game ever between 900-win coaches (SU’s Jim Boeheim and Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski).
- That the ACC basketball tournament is as fun as the Big East Tournament always seemed to be.
And just a few personal ones. . .
- That as they embark on their professional careers and their personal lives as young adults, Taryn and Taylor know that Dad will always be thinking of them and there for them.
- That Adam and Tyler continue on their path toward satisfying careers and happy lives.
- And that Robin always knows how much I love her.
Happy New Year!
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