Nothing good ever came from a Dome

You may recall an item from back in July about Doug Marrone wanting to have Syracuse host a yearly New York state HS all-star game. The old Governor's Bowl setup, matching up NY and NJ, alternating games between Rutgers and Michie Stadium ended because New York was overmatched on a yearly basis.

Now, I wouldn't read as much into this as Troy Nunes Is an Absolute Magician did, but it looks like Marrone's plan is coming to fruition in some fashion. Isn't deeming the move a "giant middle finger towards Rutgers" though more than a little hasty? If Coach Schiano's decisions were seemingly directed at another football program, I'd be pretty perturbed and scared. Besides; Marrone probably has bigger fish to fry, with still having to replace fired assistants Jaime Elizondo (WR coach who recruited Maryland), DL Coach Derrick Jackson (who's from NJ) and Rob Spence (inept offensive coordinator who was one of Marrone's supposed "NY guys"), and rumors that two other assistants in RB Coach Stan Drayton (recruits Ohio) and OL Coach Greg Adkins may be out the door as well.

Now, is Marrone's new game symbolism, or will it have much of an effect in practice? Where it will help is to build goodwill among NY state coaches and communities, with another additional showcase and postseason reward for players. That may spur some additional level of interest in the Syracuse football program, especially in their core upstate markets that are already inclined towards the Cuse. I'm not sure how much of an effect it will have in terms of future roster additions though. Maybe there will be a sleeper here and there.

The problem being, of course, that New York state just doesn't produce all that much in the way of talent (the real struggle is over fans, and their eyeballs and wallets). Schiano pulled Jordan Thomas out of the Binghamton area (halfway between RU and Syracuse), who attends Union-Endicott, the former home of Arthur Jones. The state's top recruit this year, Dominique Easley, didn't want to attend college near his Staten Island residence. Given that Rutgers is less than a half hour away from home, he showed only token interest, and never considered Syracuse at all.

The other players of note are off to the likes of PSU, VT, and UNC. Rutgers and Syracuse are left to square off over LB Malcolm Cater, who's very talented, but his off the field issues have scared off other suitors. After the top guys, it's fairly slim pickings even in a deep year like with last year's class. Marrone and assistant John Anselmo have tried to make in-roads in the New York City market, but will have to overcome geographic impediments and recent program history. IMO, they're better off getting sleepers from Florida; as we've seen, those guys are arrogant in good way, expecting to win wherever they land.

The thing is, the Governor Bowl never really ended, morphing into the New Jersey vs. Northeast All-Star Classic. Look at last year's NJ/NE roster - according to Rivals, NY's #3, #5, #6, #8, and #10 players played for the Northeast team. #1 played in the Army All-American bowl, and many players often sit out these regional games in favor of national showcases, or just to avoid risking injuries. #4 was a Rutgers verbal who enrolled early. #7 was a Rutgers recruit that was injured I believe, and I don't remember why #9 (another RU signee) didn't play. The NJ/NE game is more prestigious, as the rosters littered with FBS signees, including three who signed with the Orange last year. Better competition, and a much more accessible location will probably continue to steer the best New York talent to Rutgers Stadium each June regardless of who they end up signing with.

Overall, it's a good symbolic gesture. That's not to knock it at all - Rutgers and Coach Schiano sure know the value of symbolism. That's why every elementary school in New Jersey received a copy of Hello Scarlet Knight!, and the coaching staff makes sure to visit every high school in the state at least once a year. Syracuse needs to build goodwill in the Empire State, but their ticket back to success (as I've argued in the past) is to reinvent themselves as a Stanford of the East, with recruiting pull on a national scale. Doug Marrone knows this; which is why his future staff hires will no doubt have as much geographic diversity as the '09 group did.

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