On the morning of the Pinstripe Bowl, at what looks to be a snow swept Yankee Stadium, two heavyweights of the sports media discussed Syracuse’s New York support intriguing the Big 10. CBS college football analyst Gary Danielson joined Mike Francesa on WFAN in New York yesterday afternoon and had a interesting exchange about SU.
Mike Francesa: They’ve already sold almost 40,000 tickets for that game. They’re gonna have a very big crowd for what looks like in the snow for West Virginia-Syracuse. Those two teams are going to draw at Yankee Stadium which is a good thing for Yankee Stadium and for college football tomorrow at the Pinstripe Bowl.¬†
Gary Danielson: What yelled out for me on this is Syracuse was actually positioning themselves as the New York team. I thought that’s why they were going to be very attractive as teams looked around and flirted with different conferences. I always thought… (the Big 10) grabbed Rutgers. I always thought Syracuse would be one of the teams the Big 10 would look at, to tell you the truth.¬†
MF: I always thought they would go to the Big 10.¬†
GD: I did. I actually did. It still remains.¬†They’re a very interesting player in the continuation of college football as everybody makes these grabs for footprints. Because¬†you can see… Syracuse is a team that draws. They’ve got a good name and they’re strong in New York and they’ll still be and interesting team to watch.¬†
Sports talk is the domain of wild conjecture, off the cuff analysis and arm-chair predictions (if anyone knows it’s me). So it’s not as though Orange Nation should be anxiously awaiting word from the B1G offices by the end of the game today. But Danielson is one of the highest profile college football analysts in the country. He’s on site for the biggest SEC games every weekend, and obviously is around the decision-makers and power brokers of the sport. For him unprovoked to connect Syracuse with the Big 10 is interesting.
Now that the Orange has begun preparation for joining the ACC, and the B1G plucked Rutgers, it’s ¬†unrealistic to believe SU will play in a different conference for a very long time. Had Syracuse been given the choice of the Big 10 or the ACC, SU would’ve undoubtedly picked the Big 10, if for no other reason than the bigger football payday and exposure through the Big 10 Network. But if the ACC remains one of the power conferences in college athletics, Syracuse will have no regrets of moving there. The basketball product is far superior, it connects SU to growing population areas in the south, and links back to regional rivals like Boston College, Pitt and Virginia Tech.
The biggest takeaway from the chatter on WFAN is that Syracuse fans did their part to once again stamp the Orange as the most influential college team in New York City. Notre Dame still carries the most football weight in the Big Apple. Rutgers has a ton of alumni. But in terms of regular attendance at basketball and football events in the tri-state area, Syracuse is there often, and always jams the joint.
Plenty of today’s ticket holders will be West Virginia fans, but SU’s relevance in the Big Apple is undeniable. Orange Nation packs MSG, pours into MetLife, and scoops up tickets to the Pinstripe. While there’s always some griping about football attendance at the Dome, or how SU gridiron fans travel for bowl games or roadies, Orange Nation’s passion in NYC has been noticed by college football world. It’ll always make Syracuse a valuable commodity in the college athletics landscape.
Well done, everyone. Now let’s go hang 60 on the Mountaineers.