New York, New York! Syracuse/WVU in Pinstripe: D.A.’s Knee-Jerk Reaction

It’s official, Syracuse is headed back to the Pinstripe Bowl to face West Virginia on December 29th. Here’s my knee-jerk reaction:

  • No, the destination and opponent of SU football will be neither warm nor new. Some fans may gripe, “Been there, done that.” But taking on West Virginia is pretty cool in a bowl game. It’s not quite as emotionally charged as it might be a few years from now when we have more distance from the old Big East. But it’s a little like facing Georgetown or UConn in the NCAA tournament next year. If there was ever a true Big East football rival, WVU was it for the Orange (even if the feeling wasn’t mutual).
  • There’s obvious tension between these two schools. Familiarity breeds contempt. The Mountaineers got thrashed last season inside the Dome on national television, a win that was one of the most exciting in Doug Marrone’s tenure. Geno Smith vs. Ryan Nassib is a hell of a quarterback matchup, potentially two of the first signal-callers taken in April’s draft. These offenses should combine for upwards of 80 points. And fans of both schools should be able to travel in droves. This matchup is pretty bad ass.
  • Two weeks ago we projected Rutgers to the BCS, Louisville to Orlando, Belk selecting Cincinnati and SU taking on TCU in the Pinstripe. But Thursday’s Cards win meant UofL to the Orange Bowl instead. Baylor, Texas Tech, TCU and West Virginia all finished tied in the Big 12 standings at 7-5, 4-5. So it was a bit of a crap shoot which opponent would fall to what bowl.
  • This weekend wasn’t as kind in how the dominos fell for the Orange. Both Louisville and Rutgers were upset last Saturday, leaving a chance for SU to earn a share of the Big East title with a UofL win Thursday night. Of course, the Cardinals did that, giving SU a piece of the league championship. But the rest of the puzzle wasn’t as nice to the Orange. An RU win would’ve knocked Louisville below Syracuse in the Big East standings. A UConn victory yesterday would’ve kept Cincinnati below SU in the conference. A Pitt loss would’ve eliminated the Panthers from bowl contention, and prevented the paranoia they could take Syracuse’s spot in the Pinstripe. None of that happened.
  • Instead, Rutgers grabbed the Russell Athletic Bowl. The Belk Bowl selected Cincinnati. And the Pinstripe folks had a decision between SU and Pitt. Some felt a resurrection of the Backyard Brawl would be too much for the Bronx to pass up, but the guess is projected attendance tipped the scales. SU repped very well two years ago, and there was no guarantee of how Panthers fans would travel for an uninspiring 6-6 team.
  • Was there a little back room politicking to push Syracuse into the Pinstripe? Distinctly possible. Yankee Stadium held Syracuse Day not long ago. There’s a permanent SU marketing sign above the foul poles in the Bronx. It would’ve been very difficult to take a 6-6 Pitt team that lost head-to-head to Syracuse, even if the Backyard Brawl was tantalizing.
  • For those unhappy with heading back to the Bronx, surprisingly the payout was actually a little more than the Belk Bowl. Reports said SU would get $1.8M for playing at Yankee Stadium, versus $1.7M in Charlotte. Not that fans ever see a dime of that money. The extra hundred grand probably goes to Doc Gross’ anytime minutes. But it’s worth noting.
  • In the disappointment some may have with ending in NYC again, there definitely is a bounce in playing in the tri-state area. Doug Marrone’s recruiting has had huge success in the five boroughs. Playing at MetLife Stadium against USC attracted some top tier Big Apple talent. It also allows NYC alumni to come watch the game. I went to the game two years ago and Kansas State fans were outnumbered 3-to-1.
  • Not every player is thrilled with the decision. Keon Lyn tweeted “Noooooo” in response to Rutgers getting the Russell Athletic bid, then “I swear they want us to play in the pinstripe bowl smh.” You will not hear this reaction from Marrone or players from now on. The talking points will be in full effect: “We are truly honored to be playing in the Pinstripe Bowl.” 
  • No matter where SU ended up, playing in the postseason is a big time accomplishment. The Orange were 2-4 at one point this year. The Orange gets the bowl payout, an extra month of practice time heading into next year, and a late push for National Signing Day in February. What vital momentum heading into its first year in the ACC.

Posted: D.A.


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  1. Kevin says:

    Agreed… would’ve loved to play in any other bowl than the Pinstripe just because we already played in the same exact bowl in the same exact location 2 years ago and it’s not even against an original opponent (would’ve even rather had Baylor or something than WVU) but I agree we should just take it as is because getting to a bowl game for now is still an accomplishment for this program. GO ORANGE!

  2. Terry says:

    Another Snow Bowl we(SU) go!!! SU did that once already. Two Rose/Orange/Sugar or Cotton then 2 in 3 years is great. But 2 Snow bowls in 3 years yeah sorta OK!! Why play for a Conference Championship then. Yeah according to the BE wizards SU is 4Th in that role of Champs. Or are they Champs??? Recruiting will not really help here either. You and HCDM/dougie main target probably took SU out of his Christmas stocking for a verbal in 2013=EO!! Yes its a goal(bowl game) and I totally understand. But conference champ just does not mean anything then. Its a SHAME!!!!

  3. Russell MacEachern says:

    Yeah,but it beats going in January to Birmingham,Ala!!We wouldnt be able to entertain our recruits there and loads of fans would have stayed home reinforcing the perception we dont draw or travel well!!…lets paint NYC orange!!

  4. Dr. bill says:

    The # 1 dual Threat QB in America, Asianti Woulard, has just de-committed……AGAIN….. from Southern Florida as a result of the Holtz firing. Should the Cuse pursue this kid again…he left us at the alter once…or are we good with the two commits we have?

  5. Derek says:

    Thanks, Dr. Bill. I just came over here to see if anyone heard this as well (I just heard it through the grapevine).

    As much as I’d like to see the QB battle between Zach Allen and Asianti Woulard, I don’t see the staff pursuing another QB. I could be wrong though. They have no qualms about adding every running back they can get their hands on, so why not QBs as well?

  6. Russell MacEachern says:

    Guys,I thought we were all sold on Zach Allen?We only have a few more (5)schollys left to give!What kind of message would that send to ZA for all his work and loyalty to us?”Dont take it personal Zach its just business”?Loyalty’s gotta work both ways fellas!!

  7. Section 129 Smitty says:

    Very disturbing news regarding Sprull. Very happy about going to the Pinstripe bowl against WV.I know one thing I ll be there.

  8. Derek says:

    Take it easy, Russell. No one is saying throw Zach Allen under the bus. My point was we probably wouldn’t burn another scholarship on a QB, even it it would increase competition at the position. You have to remember though that the staff continued to pursue Zach Allen even after Wilson committed.

    I think Zach Allen has intangibles that make him a great QB, namely leadership and loyalty. I agree that we should repay that in kind.

  9. Malone says:

    The Spruill news really bothers me. He is a solid player and a leader on D. I am very disturbed. I know plain old stupid kid stuff happens in college, but you don’t touch a cop. Feels like Cater, even though they don’t really compare. Hate this kind of news after a good season and on the night of the Bowl announcement.

  10. Zach says:

    I don’t understand the disappointment with the Pinstripe Bowl. Syracuse had no chance to make the Russell Athletic Bowl, even if Rutgers would have won and headed to the BCS. They make selections based on overall record, not simply conference standings. Maybe Syracuse could have gone to the Belk, but how is that better than the Pinstripe Bowl? The payout is less, and in my opinion the time-slot is worse. Plus it’s only in Charlotte, not like it’s in some great destination like Fla. or Ca. or New Orleans, or something. The Pinstripe Bowl has much better intangibles: better for marketing SU in the tri-state area, proximity to SU alumni base, BigXII opponent, etc. I mean it’s only SU’s 2nd bowl since the 2004 season. Hopefully, next year SU can win 8+ games and go to a better bowl. For now, the Pinstripe Bowl seems to be perfect.

  11. Ron says:

    @Russell MacEachern;

    Spruill’s attitude will change once the team is getting ready for kickoff. Kids are going to be kids. Look the game is going to be a barn burner after the whooping Syracuse gave to them last year.

    Hey Terrie,SNOW BOWL!!! I was ther 2 years ago and I’m ready the papers next day saying that people froze. Geez,I had to unzip my coat,I didn’t think it was cold at all. Going to Yankee Stadium isn’t any different than going to Notre Dame’s Stadium. Hell Yankee Stadium didn’t have snow in the seats for people to set in like we had to inside Notre Dames Stadium the last time we were there. Terrie that was the game where Antwon Bailey ran up the gut for the winning score with about 2 minutes left in the game. Just a reminder in case you forgot or missed the game that year.

    Russell ought to be a great game. Let me know if your going ok, we’ll make plans at a later time to go have a sandwich and a drink. Do you think there’s a place that we might go to get boiled ham and cabbage before we go inside for the game?

    @Section 129 Smitty; we’re going to take the Caz bus down. It would be nice if we could get together after we arrive down there for a chat,get Russell involved and it should be a real good time.

  12. Russell MacEachern says:

    Ron,I havent been to the new Yankee stadium yet but they’re should be a decent “Smith’s” or other NYC Beef’n'Brisket bar around the stadium and the steamed corned beef on rye is usually great w/pickles,s’kraut and hot german mustard!!

  13. Russell MacEachern says:

    Ron,what clowns those guys on espins BCS show were knocking NIU for following the rules and making the Orange Bowl are!!!What part of automatic dont those guys understand?The whole coutry is rooting for them (NIU)arent you?…its a shame we “ACC” have them as majority owners in our ACC network!!Well the only good part is they work hard to keep us credible or they’d be knockin us!!I dont like the people were in bed with “espn” but what else can we do?We should’ve tryed the open market but sleazy commissioner let them lowball us for his brother’s benefit at (Raycom)!!

  14. Russell MacEachern says:

    Derek,c’mon now,relax man I was just elaborating on ur comment in agreement!I doubt Dougie would use another scholly on a QB in this small class!!@Ron,btw are u bringing the missus to da Bronx?Id hope the fellas would keep it clean at the game!Remember it could be ur wife,gf or mother guys!!

  15. Russell MacEachern says:

    What ? ..no comment from the big Dipper?Don’t forget neff,big Jint game tonight!

  16. OrangeCrush27 says:

    Yeah Malone i’m with you. The Spruill/Rene news is still bothering me. I went on to Syracuse.com yesterday when the news broke and the comments people were leaving was beyond ridiculous. These are two young college kids. Yes they have more responsibilites being a student athlete and there is no excuse for being physical with the po-po. I feel DM will suspend both for the bowl game and they will be back next year. I don’t feel that the two should be kicked off the team. everyone deserves a second chance. Right Sales, Hunt and Carter? Williams was a bad apple and didnt give a…, Cater made crimnal offenses and Thomas was using drugs. All college football players go through this…

  17. OrangeCrush27 says:

    i meant all colleges and universities go through this….

  18. Cuse17 says:

    Haven’t been to a Cuse game in a while…long way from Fl to Syracuse. Haven’t been to the new Yankee Stadium.
    Considering the win/lose record..considering our talent level.. Considering Cuse fans don’t travel well these days…considering we play in the Big(little) East…. Pinstripe is about right. We will be heavy underdogs. I have seen WV play twice this year. A little disciplined football could make a win happen. Would be a nice finish to a year with mostly upside.
    I plan on being there…….time to show people Cuse Football can travel!
    Who knows..next year might bring us a bigger venue.

  19. Ron says:

    @Russell MacEachern;

    Russell,I’m going to have to make a sign letting everyone know that the Fizz Family is in house. What do you think? Should I bring my pom poms?

    Russell,I’m getting excited about the game already and it’s only the 3rd of December.

  20. Ron says:

    After reading what Spruill and Rene did I just want to change my verdict on this subject. I think Coach Marrone will suspend the two of them for the bowl game. The players have to take responsibility for their actions,going against and getting into a scuffle with the police early Sunday morning was just plain stupid.

    I for one will stand behind and support Coach Marrone on how he disciplines the two players.

  21. Terry says:

    Russ NIU to Orange Bowl is a joke. Oklahoma didn’t get a bid at all. Whose really better?? The Pin-Stripe Bowl(Snow Bowl)is better than nothing. And I’ll watch every second of that bowl. But there are teams with the same or worse records than SU’s in better bowls. A bowl trip is a reward for a good season. 7-5 that should of been “AT LEAST” 9-3 is decent season not great!! 6-6 and one team at 6-7 are going to attractive bowls. Pinstripes bowl is only what the NCAA offered. So SU is there. You never know about the weather. 40 degrees ain’t beach like weather or a reward. SU will have to recruit southern talent, because the NE is a hard place to get quality talent. Better teams now have the pick of the litter in the NE. SU gets the ruts part of the time. E.O. of NYC HS FB scene looks like he knocked off SU even after SU’s winning season. So playing other than in the NE is far better than NYC. Yes NYC will give some SU talent, but its not a hot bed for HS FB. HS BB yes!!

  22. Carlton says:

    @Terry, If NIU going to the Orange Bowl is a joke then so to is 7-5 Wisconsin team going to the Rose Bowl. Even Louisville lost more games and they are going to the Sugar Bowl. If you wanna knock the BCS then knock the entire system not just one team who did what they needed to do. Hell NIU is ranked higher then Louisville an Wisconsin. What is crazy though for NIU is they got to buy 17,500 tickets to the game. The avg. attendance at a NIU home game this season was 15,000 and change. They will fosure take a hit money wise but its still a great opportunity for the NIU kids. Also in the grand scheme of things does any of the BCS really mean that much besides the NC? Not really.

    @Ron,You will need your pom-poms fosure to stay warm haha.

  23. bigdip says:

    I was rooting for Kent State, but NIU is what ncaa fb (outside of playoffs) should be…its a down year, let’em play! And Wisconsin can’t be looked down upon for doing the right things, unlike PSU & OSU? The Rose is an interesting game, Montee Ball vs. Stanford D….

    * I woulda taken the” Wranglers Butt-Bowl” as long as SU was rewarded for a good season! Success can be iffy, judging SUs accomplishments this season by the bowl sponsor would be stupid! The glass is half full…

  24. Russell MacEachern says:

    Terry,before that game I made it clear I was rooting for Kent St esp on their win over a 16th ranked RU team but I love to see the “little guy” get his shot and since NIU won they won me over…..as for Oklahoma if they want a BCS slot they should earn it on the field…not on pedigree!!I wish we had a shot at them as their (this year)overrated!!Thats what I want to see…David and Goliath!!The ratings will be great!!As an SU fan I thought ud love it!!

  25. Russell MacEachern says:

    Carlton,well said,I feel exactly the same…..now NC game? Id feel different but let them in if they earn it!!I like their QB(NIU)!!I finished 8-5 in FF and made the playoffs!You?..This season must have been a dream for you?@Ron,by all means bring ur Pom-Poms so Ill recognize u….6’2″ 250 lb monster w/PomPoms lol…Im already nervous my other nephew is a 02 WVU grad!!

  26. Carlton says:

    @Russ, Yes very pumped for the NC game Jan. 7th vs Bama. I know all I’m gonna hear form now till Jan. 7th is how bama gonna blow the doors off the Irish. Wont happen. Is bama running game really good? Sure. Is that the same UGA D that gave up 200yrds rushing to UB? Yes. So I feel that its gonna be a good game Bama as a team plays to ND’s strengths. ND run D is ranked 5th in the nation. UGA’s? 67th. Its going to be a great game power on power!

  27. Ron says:

    Thank’s Carlton, I’ll take your advice,they will go with me.

  28. Russell MacEachern says:

    @Carlton,NDs D will keep them in the game and BK being an Offen guy and Riddick w/do enough to shock the nation!Im bettin AND rooting for the Irish!!Good luck!

  29. Russell MacEachern says:

    Plus Im getting tired of hearing ESPin pushing the SEC down our throats!Lets shut them arrogant bums mouths and listen to the excuses they’ll give as justification!Especially Herbstreit!!

  30. Terry says:

    Russ and Ronette the Snow Bowl is not what the program needs for future growth!!! Yes NJ is near by, but your man Moses Marrone can’t even get the best local NYS/NYC talent to commit to SU either!! We always lose the #1 or #2 players from NYS!! Going south is far better than looking over snow drifts at Yankee Stadium!! Yes this game is a gamer. But if it was in Virgina, North Carolina or even South Carolina or Georgia that would be far more beneficial!! SU’s players would by far enjoy it better and local southern talent(our major source lately) would see SU in action!! BRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!

  31. Russell MacEachern says:

    Terry,its starting yo look like our new major source of recruit is 20 or 21,from anywhere and of questionable Juco backgrounds?? What??? Im not so sure I like Dougies “new direction” for “talent”!!Id only go to the jucos for emergency rolefillers once in awhile not as a primary source of talent!

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