The demoralizing loss to UConn has Orange Nation feeling a bit uneasy. All autumn was a season-long celebration, a New Year’s Eve countdown to bowl eligibility, mixed with the champagne-soaked giddiness of a BCS game.
Three weeks ago pundits asked whether Syracuse could win its final four games and reach double-digit victories. Now, with sobering defeats to Louisville and Connecticut, plus a sloppy win over Rutgers and a suddenly resurgent B.C. team coming to town, SU could skid into the bowl game losing three of its last four.
Read The Fizz’s Bowl Series:
- Pinstripe Bowl officials playing it close to the vest
- Champs Sports officials “hope” to get SU
- Will the Orange end up in Charlotte in the Car Care?
The good news: Syracuse is going bowling no matter what happens on Saturday (thanks to the Big East’s six potential postseason tie-ins this season).
Plus, the Huskies stinker actually has positioned the Orange perfectly for a dance at Yankee Stadium next month.
A Fizz source says the math is starting to add up for the ‘Cuse in the Bronx.
“After the loss to UConn, the feeling is the Pinstripe Bowl and SU will mob it up and get it done.”
The mob reference obviously has no real mafia influence. Instead, a reminder the bowl system involves politics, moving parts and a sliding scale. Remember, as an example the Car Care Bowl has the Big East’s third-selection, not necessarily it’s third-place team.
Even though the Pinstripe Bowl is only fourth in the league’s pecking order, every Syracuse fan would opt for it over a trip to Charlotte and most would rather a game in NYC than the flights and costs associated with traveling to Orlando. Play at Yankee Stadium, be able to drive to the game and experience New York around the holidays.
Right now, Stewart Mandel of SI.com has Pitt winning the Big East and heading to the Fiesta Bowl, West Virginia in the Champs Sports Bowl, Syracuse heading to the Car Care Bowl and UConn at Yankee Stadium.
While Syracuse finished its conference slate at 4-3, the Panthers, Mountaineers and Huskies all still have two games left in the Big East and USF has one. There are approximately 14,000 permutations of how the league can shake out. But at the moment, SU sits in fourth-place in the Big East and its hopes of a league title are gone.
From a fan interst/travel schedule/ticket purchasing standpoint, the Champs Sports Bowl would love nearby USF, but would also likely embrace West Virginia since Mountaineer fans always travel well. The Car Care Bowl could sit as a road block to an SU date in the Bronx, but would certainly select WVU first because of proximity.
UConn is clearly the x-factor for Orange hopes of a Pinstripe Bowl. Connecticut has plenty of Yankee fans, so the duel may land at the feet of Darryl Gross and UConn A.D. Jeff Hathaway. Both schools want the NYC footprint (witness the Huskies cable deal with SNY) and the exposure of the first bowl game at Yankee Stadium.
It’s now time for Gross to begin hard-selling the ‘Cuse to Pinstripe officials. He’s been a salesman since the day he arrived in CNY. The day has come to start pushing those orange wares and deliver a bowl in the Bronx. Mob it up, Darryl.