Note: this was written by a friend who is a Syracuse fan. He's a good guy, even though I wanted this piece last week. I gave him free reign to write about any topic, football-related or not, and this is what he sent me.
Growing up in New Jersey, there were a few inalienable truths. Whenever I met anyone from out of the state, they would jokingly call it "New Joy-zee" despite the fact that the only people on earth who called it that were not from New Jersey. I always knew that a 24 hour diner or a Wawa would be within walking distance, no matter where in the state I was. And it was a certified fact that Rutgers football would be atrocious for all eternity. One fateful November night that all changed.
My facebook feed was cluttered with wall posts from my high school friends to each other about how excited they were for the game and how drunk they'd be for the ass whooping to be put on Brian Brohm and the #3 ranked Louisville Cardinals. I started watching the game with the intent of cheering for Louisville because fuck Rutgers. But as the camera panned the crowd throughout the game I could pick out people I went to high school with. I saw an absolutely incredible atmosphere for a game. By the time the game was tied, I was solidly cheering on the home team. And when they showed the overhead shot of the crowd rushing the field, I knew things had changed forever. The vision of Ito hitting the game winner and pointing at the camera would forever be burned into my brain.
A few days later I went home for Thanksgiving. What had once been a state where Notre Dame and Penn State reigned supreme was now transformed into a scarlet country. Red flags flew. R's were now plastered onto cars and windows. I hated myself for actually cheering when Ito hit that field goal. As I look back on that night, I realize that that team was only six years removed from a 3-8 record under the guidance of Terry Shea. And I realize that however impossible something might seem, anything is possible. And as Jeremy Ito points at me from my mind's eye, I know that my team could capture a nation like Rutgers did two years ago. I can see a wave of Orange converging in on itself in the Dome. And with that, I say the Orangeman's creed. Fire Robinson.