Junior quarterback Eric Dungey (2) threw for 278 yards and 3 TDs in last weekend's stunning, 27-24 Syracuse upset of then-No. 2 Clemson.
by Jack Kerwin | firstname.lastname@example.org
It never ceases to amaze.
Once autumn arrives, the pads come on and the popping starts all across the country at schools well-known, not-so-well-known and maybe previously known, my happy place comes alive inside much like an amusement park for a kid.
College football, for me, it's just the best. At least when it comes to the world of sports.
Last weekend was a perfect case in point. Then again, pick a weekend, any weekend, and a person with a pulse and passion for athletic endeavors.
For now, though, gotta give kudos to Syracuse University harkening back to more glorious times, when it competed favorably with the nation's elite on a regular basis and churned out legendary running backs and a franchise quarterback for our hometown Eagles.
The Orange were big time, or as close to it as can be, for a long time. But it had been awhile since those outside alums and upstate New York sports fans took notice.
Last Friday night, with junior quarterback Eric Dungey looking like a cross between Donovan McNabb and Troy Nunes, that all changed as 'Cuse KO'd reigning national champion Clemson, 27-24.
No fluke, either. Yeah, Tigers quarterback Kelly Bryant got knocked out in the second quarter, but the Orange already had shown they weren't about to back down from what had been the No. 2-ranked team. They out-gained their guests, 440-317. Held the ball 10 minutes longer. Didn't fade after any of the Tigers' rallies from deficits.
The true beauty of the sport ... 'Cuse has a golden opportunity now just eight days later to show just how legit it is, with a visit to No. 8 Miami tomorrow afternoon.
Something else, too ... Syracuse's win was hardly the only head-turning upset of the weekend. Heck, for that matter, of that night. California, a fellow unranked squad, absolutely smoked previously unbeaten and eighth-ranked Washington State, 37-3, a few hours later.
A night later, 2-3 Arizona State knocked off No. 5 Washington (13-7), a national semifinalist a year ago, Louisiana State topped 10th-ranked Auburn (27-23), Boise State beat No. 19 San Diego State (31-14), West Virginia overwhelmed No. 24 Texas Tech (46-35), and Memphis outlasted No. 25 Navy (30-27) ... and then outlasted Houston last night while being ranked 25th (42-38).
Just doesn't get any better.
Not for me ... and that's even with both of my schools going down in flames.
Ugh-ma Matters: Things ain't looking too hot for either of my alma maters, as Temple and Illinois both took it on the chin from conference doormats Connecticut (American Athletic) and Rutgers (Big Ten), umm, respectively.
Not for nothing, but both losses were embarrassing. Yeah, get it. Temple, with Matt Rhule having bolted to Baylor, figured to have some growing pains, even coming off a conference title-winning campaign, and Illinois did, too, because, well, it's Illinois and it always seems to be enduring some semblance of growing pains as it forever fights to avoid the basement.
The Owls and Illini may be at that point anyway, though. Seriously. UConn had just given up 70 the week before to Memphis, yet somehow managed to eke out a 28-24 win at the Linc on Temple's homecoming weekend – even though the Owls almost doubled it up on yardage.
Temple quarterback Logan Marchi may be the most gifted passer to spend time on North Broad and have absolutely no feel for the game, any game, whatsoever. His, ah, ability to reach incredible highs and lows within seconds of one another is astounding. He has no peer in the frustrating category.
Illinois? Well, you get pushed around by Rutgers, on your own turf ... you got some serious problems, and one of them might be the head coach – Lovie Smith – seemingly having the program cemented somewhere mediocrity and obscurity despite major financial commitments from the school on his and the gridiron Illini's behalf.
Looking Sharp: Miami may have struggled to slip by vastly underrated Georgia Tech, but, man, did it steal the show in the uniform department Saturday. That white helmet/green jersey/white pants getup is the best they've ever worn as far as the eyes behind this piece have witnessed. The Hurricanes never really look bad. They've just never looked sharper ... and that's coming for a guy who loves orange, which is the color they typically make their primary.
Pssst, here's a tip to the fashion police at any school that does have orange as a primary color – it stands out more when you make it a secondary or supporting color.