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first_img Published on August 27, 2012 at 1:09 am Contact Jacob: jmklinge@syr.edu | @Jacob_Klinger_ Facebook Twitter Google+ Jim O’Shea and his parents looked on excitedly from general admission when Van Chew caught the game-winning pass. His catch completed an improbable 15-point opening day comeback for the Orange over Wake Forest.That was Sept. 1, 2011.This Saturday, exactly one year later, O’Shea will watch from the student section as Syracuse opens its season at home against Northwestern. And while that trip helped seal his decision to attend SU, part of the experience troubled O’Shea.“I was kind of disappointed with the student section because they left midway through the game,” O’Shea said.As students around campus looked ahead to SU’s 2012 season, some of that same apathy was painfully obvious. While some students said they’re excited to see if the team can improve from a 5-7 season, many displayed callousness toward a team that dropped its last five games and finished at the bottom of the Big East in 2011.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“I expect them to be the same as they’ve been for the past three years,” senior Jocelyn Freed said. “So-so.”She said she expects the team to finish the season 6-6, which would make the team bowl-eligible for the first time since 2010 when the Orange beat Kansas State 36-34 in the inaugural New Era Pinstripe Bowl to cap an 8-5 season.SU has made two bowl appearances in the past 10 seasons. Before the Pinstripe Bowl, the Orange’s last bowl game came against Georgia Tech on Dec. 21, 2004. The Yellow Jackets won 51-14.Most fans said they would be satisfied by a return to postseason play. But SU took a step back last year and the struggles have taken a toll on campus optimism.“Same as last year, probably not going to be that good,” sophomore Jake Marlowe said. “Because they haven’t been good in a long time.”Though the Orange won the Pinstripe Bowl two years ago, he said losing the game would have been “sad.” Marlowe did not buy season tickets this season but he said he does plan on attending two or three games.Brennan Van Spankeren, a freshman from Chicago, Ill., proudly announced that he bought season tickets. He also plans to attend every home game.“I think everyone’s excited for the football season to kick off and we were just talking about how it’s nice when football season begins and the weather changes,” Van Spankeren said. “It’s just a nice time of the year.”He did share a laugh with O’Shea, though, when asked to predict the score of the Orange’s matchup with No. 1 Southern California at MetLife Stadium on Sept. 8.SU’s season will likely be defined by the other 11 games on its regular-season schedule, but students have trouble looking past what is sure to be the sternest test Marrone’s team will face this season.Most students hoped for a good showing that might put a scare in the Trojans. Yet freshman Ben Levenson sees a greater importance in the matchup.“They got Matt Barkley who’s probably going to win the Heisman,” Levenson said. “But you know, playing USC, they’re only going to get better.”Improvement in the Orange’s last season in the Big East will also be key. A winning season would allow SU to build the program into an ACC power, Levenson said.Senior Annie Licata pointed toward last year’s upset of then-No. 11 West Virginia as part of an upward trend in the program’s trajectory. Marrone’s biggest win in his first three seasons at the helm was a memorable game for Licata, who held bragging rights over a friend who attends WVU.But the game wasn’t enough to get Licata to follow the team any more closely. She said a monumental upset over the Trojans is required for her to consider tuning into Orange football regularly.Said Licata: “I might become an SU football fan. Maybe.” Commentslast_img