Restore 44

By Kenny Van Doren, @SidelinesCuse

   

The personal and sentimental reasons behind a number might be silly to some, but an athlete’s number means more than anything. It all comes from a “look good, play good” mentality, or it comes from tradition. Players these days idolize their heroes; LeBron wears 23 because of Jordan, many MLB shortstops wear number 2 because of Jeter, etc. For Syracuse University, the number 44 was given to the starting running back for a 14 year stretch. College football legends Jim Brown, Ernie Davis, and Floyd Little wore this number. 44 is the most historic and connected number to any college football program ever, and the Syracuse football program should bring this number back.

Tradition is what makes college football, college football. Penn State has their white out game at Happy Valley, the state of Alabama has the Iron Bowl, Mississippi the Egg Bowl, etc. Rivalries, uniforms, and numbers are exactly the kind of tradition that needs to be kept alive in college football. For the Syracuse Orange, the number 44 was first worn in 1921. Here is a list of all who wore 44:

Gifford Zimmerman, halfback, 1921

Charles Roberts, halfback, 1924

Clarence Taylor, quarterback, 1925

Don Baldwin, wide receiver, 1926

Richard Fishel, halfback, 1932

Henry Merz, quarterback, 1933

Hamilton Watt, wide receiver, 1934

Francis Mullins, halfback, 1935-36

Stanley Sanislay, wide receiver, 1937

Benjamin DeYoung, wide receiver, 1938

Francis Mazejko, guard, 1939

Richard Ransom, tackle, 1940

J. O’Brien, tackle, 1945

Robert Eberling, running back, 1952

Jim Brown, running back, 1954-56

Thomas Stephens, halfback, 1957-58

Ernie Davis, halfback, 1959-61

William Schoonover, halfback, 1962-63

Floyd Little, running back, 1964-66

Richard Panczyszyn, quarterback, 1967-69

Mandel Robinson, running back, 1977

Glen Moore, running back, 1981-82

Michael Owens, running back, 1987-89

Terry Richardson, running back, 1990-93

Rob Konrad, fullback, 1995-98

    The number is rooted in a deep history of All-Americans, NFL players, and two NFL Hall of Famers. It even has its ties to the basketball team with greats Danny Schayes, Derrick Coleman, and John Wallace wearing it. Wallace was the last to suit up in the towering 4s, even though the program retired his number earlier this year. Many fans wanted another big man to bear 44, such as the late, great Fab Melo. 

    One argument about bringing back 44 is if players can live up to the greatness that comes with the number. We may never see a Jim Brown, Ernie Davis, or Floyd Little ever again in blue and orange, but the 44 Foundation was made to honor and keep the spirit alive. Sure, they may not leave the same impact, but traditions are essential to college sports. 

44 should make its way back to the field for the Orange, and it does not even have to be the running back. Give the number to the captain of the team. Texas A&M finds a player to wear their beloved 12 each season that displays the highest level of leadership, and Syracuse should do the same. The number 44 is so sentimental to the University in many ways, so why not bring it back? Make it a number of honor and give it to the leader or hardest working player. With a number so heavily tied to some of the greatest college athletes in the 20th century, it would be an honor for any Syracuse football player to wear. Leave it up to Brown and Little, and see if they want their number to be on the backs of the future.

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Notre Dame Football Season Predictions

PODCAST: Previewing The Notre Dame 2020 Schedule

In a year where almost nothing has been normal, there is one thing that is: Notre Dame is going to be hard to beat.

With 5th year senior and Heisman candidate Ian Book leading the offense, and play makers like Kyle Hamilton and Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah leading the defense, Notre Dame is primed for another big year. Here are final score predictions for every Fighting Irish game this year; let us know what you think in the comments or on Twitter!

vs. Duke:

Notre Dame Fighting Irish VS Duke Blue Devils: Football Betting Lines - One  Foot Down

Notre Dame opens the season in South Bend against Duke. Last season, Notre Dame easily defeated the Blue Devils 38-7, and I don’t expect this year to be any different. Because this is the first game of the season, Notre Dame will probably come out a little rusty. I expect Duke to keep it close in the 1st half, but Notre Dame eventually pulls away in the 2nd half and wins convincingly.

Prediction: Notre Dame 31, Duke 14

vs. South Florida

USF's 2020 football schedule finalized

This should be Notre Dame’s easiest win of the season. Barring another 3 hour rain delay, Notre Dame should cruise to an easy victory to move to 2-0.

Prediction: Notre Dame 42, South Florida 13

at Wake Forest

College Football Week 10 Betting Lines, Heisman Chatter & Championship Odds  - One Foot Down

In Week 4, Notre Dame travels to Wake Forest for their first road game of the season. Notre Dame should have no problem winning this game, but I still expect Wake Forest to keep it closer than it should be. Notre Dame will lead the whole game, and Wake Forest will score late to make the game look closer than it actually was.

Prediction: Notre Dame 28, Wake Forest 23