White smoke emanated from the Carrier Dome last night, signifying Doug Marrone's choice of Greg Paulus as starting quarterback at Syracuse. The former Duke point guard beat out Ryan Nassib and will see real football action for the first time since high school when the Orange open up the season against Minnesota. Who knew Paulus would do a better job avoiding sacks on the field instead of the court?
There is no bigger punching bag on the Internet than Paulus. He's been Photoshopped on every message board in the country. He's associated with teabags as much as the Lipton brand. Bloggers must be delighted over the news — one more year of Paulus getting punked in his athletic endeavors.
Say what you'd like about Paulus - North Carolina and Virginia Tech fans - certainly have, but his story is fascinating. Here is a guy who put a promising football career on the shelf so he could play basketball for Mike Krzyzewski, where his four seasons certainly didn't go as planned. Paulus went from starting point guard to role player off the bench, toiling away on a collection of Duke squads that will be remembered as "down years". Paulus must have played the same "what if" game we've all played with our own career choices, fantasizing about hopping into a time machine so he could give his 18-year-old self a warning.
"Eighteen-year-old Greg…this is Future Greg. Listen to me. In 24 hours, Coach K will be in your living room. Do not — I repeat — DO NOT listen to what this man has to tell you. It's all a Jedi mind trick. You don't realize this now, but you will become the poster child for crotches to the face. You will become familiar with Deron Washington's manhood. You'll never look at salted peanuts the same way again after Danny Green serves them up at Cameron Indoor Stadium. You see this face, 18-year-old Greg? This is a face that has seen many horrors. Oh no, I'm starting to shift away from your time. Whatever you do, don't go to Duke. Sign with Notre Dame. Play footbaaaaahhhhhh…"
And strangely enough, that's probably the reason why Paulus got the gig in Syracuse. The remaining one year of eligibility allowed him to hit the reset button, and the sports media has latched on to his last shot at glory in mind-boggling fashion. Paulus was discussed on Pardon The Interruption, Dan Patrick invited him on to his nationally syndicated radio show, and the college football world was intrigued by his possible destinations. When he landed in Syracuse, Paulus was treated to a grand homecoming of sorts. The considerable buzz made it a relatively easy win-win situation for Marrone. Starting Paulus generates headlines and fan approval. The curiosity factor will likely get Syracuse some run on ESPN College Game Day and you know Dick Vitale won't stop talking about it when Duke plays basketball. If Paulus fails, no big deal. The Orange was not going to be in bowl contention and the coaching staff just gave its future starters more time to understand the offense.
As of Tuesday morning, Marrone looked like a genius. By Tuesday afternoon, Brett Favre joined the Minnesota Vikings and blew it all to hell….