No way that Syracuse is Great Danes’ Super Bowl

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ALBANY – It was pretty easy to detect the sarcasm coming from University at Albany football coach Greg Gattuso, who took issue with a comparison made by Syracuse head coach Dino Baber a day earlier.

“We’ve got to play well,” Gattuso said Tuesday. “It is, after all, the Super Bowl for us, from what I hear. So we’re just going to go up there and play our best game.”

“I’m being sarcastic,” Gattuso added, in case anyone misunderstood.

At a news conference on Monday, Babers was asked about the difference between athletes at the Football Championship Subdivision level, which includes UAlbany, and the Football Bowl Subdivision, to which Syracuse belongs. The Great Danes are playing the Orange for the first time at noon Saturday in the Carrier Dome.

 “First of all, for the kids coming up (from FCS), it’s their Super Bowl,” said Babers, who has coached at Eastern Illinois of the FCS.

Gattuso said that’s a gross overstatement.

“Not even remotely close,” Gattuso said. “We don’t see it that way. It’s really not any more important to our kids. Of course, they want to win the game. Of course, they want to play well. It’s a bigger stage and there’s no question, but Super Bowl is probably a little over the top, to say the least.”


UAlbany coach Jeff Undercuffler sidestepped the issue as he might an onrushing defensive end.

“I just personally like being the underdog and I just can’t wait to lead my guys into the Carrier Dome,” he said. “We’ve just got to play Albany football. That’s all that matters. Coach said after practice in the huddle, ‘I’m not worried about Syracuse, I’m not worried about this and that. I’m worried about Albany.’ At the end of the day, that’s 100 percent true.”

There is a recent precedent for an upset. Jacksonville State of FCS beat Florida State, an Atlantic Coast Conference rival of Syracuse, 20-17 last Saturday on a touchdown as time expired in Tallahassee. 

“I talked to them before practice,” Gattuso said. “I said, guys, look (Syracuse) are a good football team. They play in the ACC. We just played two really good football teams. North Dakota State, talent-wise, is probably pretty equal (to) Syracuse in many, many ways. I just told them, you see Jacksonville State do it. My old team, Duquesne, beat Ohio U. (28-26 on Saturday). We see it all around the country. It’s just teams that go play the game. They don’t worry.”

 

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