This week Syracuse announced the first five timeslots and television partners of the football season. We still have the bulk of the ACC schedule to go, but let’s take a rip at this quintet of games.
5) UAlbany: Saturday, Sept. 18th, 12p. ACC Network at Carrier Dome
This is by far the least intriguing setup and opponent. The Great Danes will be SU’s only FCS opponent, and played in only four games last season. Albany went 1-3 before canceling the final two games citing player safety. They were playing in the spring and opted to save their bodies for this fall season. Noon on a Saturday televised on the ACCN is an afterthought for a CFB afternoon.
4) Rutgers: Saturday, Sept. 11th, 2p. ACC Network at Carrier Dome
There’s plenty of history here between these two old Big East rivals, and the date is significant. On the twentieth anniversary of 9/11, this marks the two prominent NY/NJ football schools. However, a 2p kick on ACC Network will means plenty of other games will take center stage. The memories and emotion will be high this day, but it wasn’t a great time slot from an attention standpoint.
3) Liberty: Friday, Sept. 24th, 8p. ACC Network at Carrier Dome
Syracuse was embarrassed last year by the Flames, and cannot have that happen again at the Dome. The 38-21 domination was part of a 1-loss campaign for Liberty which ended in a Cure Bowl win over Coastal Carolina. This one is on a Friday night, so the nation will have limited other options. At the moment, Wake Forest and Virginia is the only other football game on ESPN2. Friday nights have made for memorable SU football moments, even if it does mean running up against some high school action.
2) Ohio: Saturday, Sept. 4th, 7p. CBS Sports Network at Peden Stadium
Many fans have a hard time finding ACC Network, so a game on CBSSN is often a little easier to find. Plus, this is a night kickoff against the Bobcats, so you can enjoy a late-summer day outside before planning to watch this one. The problem is it runs against Clemson/Georgia on ABC, so even the most ardent SU fan may only have a secondary eye on it. But it’s the opener, and on a national network, and at night, so it’s gets #2 in our rankings.
1) Clemson: Friday, Oct. 15th, 7p. ESPN at Carrier Dome
This is the clear top slot for our purposes. Clemson will once again be heavy favorites to smash the Orange, but the Friday night kick from the Dome on ESPN has led to some magic before. It’s cool that this has become a type of ACC tradition. The network clearly likes it, and so does the conference. Two years ago the night kick at the Dome against Clemson got ugly. But it was the magical ’17 matchup on a Friday night inside the Dome that gave Dino Babers his signature victory, 27-24 over #2 Clemson. It’ll be easy to get excited for this one if the Orange are even close to competitive in the first 6 weeks of the season.