Should Syracuse follow West Virginia’s lead and bolt the Big East immediately? There is certainly support from Orange fans to “pull a Mountaineers” and ignore the 27-month waiting period. But it’s not as easy for SU, since the situations differ.
WVU was hellbent on leaving for the Big XII in large part because the conference needed to fill a major hole. Missouri and Texas A&M are both headed for the SEC and that leaves two glaring voids in the ’12 football schedule. It cost $20 million (and a lot of Oliver Luck whining), but West Virginia finally got its way. TCU will also join the Big XII this season.
Where does that leave SU and Pitt? Both are ACC bound by the ’13 football season, but unlike the Big XII, their new conference is in no rush to get its two new members in-house. The ACC is stable at its current 12 schools, and has no reason to help pry the Orange and Panthers away before the path is legally cleared. An immediate departure would also leave the Big East with a measly five football schools for this season, but would retain its BCS bid. Gotta love this system.
Which leaves the Electrician John Marinatto in total scramble mode to fix the football schedule. Option 1: Get Boise State to join early. That would leave the Mountain West in FML mode, but hey in conference realignment it’s every man for himself.
Option 2: Let’s mix it up. Every remaining Big East school could play a home and home with its closest geographic opponent (like the always exciting NBA preseason). This means SU would play Rutgers twice. Why not welcome RU back one final time (potentially) to the Dome? (And hopefully avenge the worst football game ever.) The downside would be if the Syracuse “home game” of this series is morphed into a neutral site game at Yankee Stadium or MetLife.
There is talk of West Virginia assisting with helping schedule a Big XII opponent for each team in the Big East. What impetus WVU has to lend a hand to the conference it just fought an ugly PR battle with is debatable.
Option 3: Add an FCS opponent like Stony Brook. The good news? Adding a 2nd non-FBS game is the formula SU used in ’10 to get to the Pinstripe Bowl. (Only one FCS win counts toward bowl eligibility. But the 2nd “breather” on the schedule helped SU build confidence that season, and work on in-game adjustments.) The bad news? It’s ugly football.
Staying in the Big East for a final season is the best option. A farewell tour will be kinda cool, especially in a basketball league where SU was a founding father. One last chance (in conference) to prove Georgetown sucks. One more chance to make fun of UConn for not being smart enough to make the NCAA tournament. Hell, now that SU has this Louisville thing figured out, let’s get them again too.
In a statement yesterday, Dr. Gross said:
“We’ve been following and anticipating the developments and their potential impact on our program, and will respond to inquiries at the appropriate time.”
SU athletics was obviously aware this could be a possibility. Luckily, Nancy Cantor and Dr. Gross have been proactive throughout this whole process. It’s hard to imagine SU forking out $20 million just to leave a year early. It probably means standing pat until 2013. Either way, see ya ‘Neers. Don’t forget that coonskin cap on the way out.
Posted: Craig Hoffman