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I have generally found Syracuse beatwriter Donnie Webb to be as misinformed and childish on the topic of Rutgers as the average, mouth-breathing Syracusefan.com poster. (That's not to insinuate any blanket claims about the fanbase. I have found them to be a pretty solid bunch off the net. That board just has a habit of killing brain cells though.) But yeah, he's at it again, comically overgeneralizing from several comments posted in response to Brendan Prunty's articles about Syracuse and Doug Marrone.

As far as I can tell, there were a few unkind responses, but several of them were spurred in response to a troll claiming to follow Syracuse football, and more still came from Webb linking the piece on his blog. He might not be aware that the level of comment vitriol is fairly typical to anything posted on NJ.com, and that Rutgers fans tend to despise the paper/site for publishing gutter journalism and lies about the athletic program last year (which, tends to overshadow generally good sports coverage, those reporters having nothing to do with the campaign of deceit, and even opposing the slime).

Prunty's defense is absolutely correct; the Ledger will feature a ton of Rutgers football content over the past few weeks. The whole idea behind media day is about getting an idea of what the competition has been doing. Ignore the article and move on, like 99% of regular subscribers to the Ledger RU blog probably did. At the same time, I share the general sentiment floating around our side: I don't care one iota about Syracuse or its football program. That's not meant to be disparaging or arrogant; they're just one of seven other conference teams. Just like Coach Schiano, we are solely concerned with Rutgers. My perception is that the Syracuse web tends to be unnaturally fixated on Rutgers and Coach Schiano in some bizarre Dolchstoßlegende variant, which is quite unseemly and off-putting.

My level of indifference is such that I haven't given very much thought to all of the anti-RU jabs dealt over the past few months. Given how close Webb is to the Syracuse program (Marrone or his underlings have clearly planted several recruiting tips), you have to wonder how much of this absurd hostility is being fanned by their new football staff in efforts to reinvigorate a disillusioned fanbase. Wouldn't, I don't know, coaching be a better use of their time? There might be one or two New Jersey players left on the roster to run off too.

Here's how I know that Schiano cannot possibly be the Snowball behind every dastardly anti-Cuse plot: the man does not sleep. He did not go home at night to his family, and such had to build a house on campus as a result. He, figuratively, spends every waking hour micromanaging the Rutgers football program down to the tiniest detail. The concepts that Schiano would either break his singular, all-encompassing focus, or that he is even a 0.5 on the Kiffin scale of coaching audacity is so ludicrous, so far-fetched that there's usually no sense in responding to that nonsense at all.

I mean, it's funny; look at SU's McNabb era staff. DeLeone, Addazio, Rogers, and Stoutland as assistant coaches is a fricken murderer's row when it comes to recruiting New York and New Jersey. Their new staff has a significant focus in the area, but it's also far more geographically diverse, targetting disparate areas from all across the country such as the Midwest and South. Doug Marrone isn't following the McNabb model; he's trying to reinvent Syracuse football as a Stanford of the East. Hypothetically, they would have a local base, but pull in talent from all over. Therefore, the mutual fates of Syracuse and Rutgers football is hardly intertwined at all.

Anti-Rutgers sentiment is only purposeful in the sense that it gives everyone in Orangeland a convenient excuse to attribute away the wholly internal failings of recent years, the wounds being self-inflicted. However, it's ultimately fluff, not substantive in the slightest, as evidenced by Marrone's staff hirings. Rutgers football hasn't even touched the surface of what the program is truly capable of over the next decade. The next step is to move from the perennial top 4o team of the past few seasons into a consistent, yearly top 25 contender. I have no problem conceding that Syracuse football will be competitive again in a few years. It just won't come at our expense. They'll do their thing, we'll do ours, quit the yapping and play the game.