Even though it’s been a decade since Syracuse bolted the Big East for the ACC, there shouldn’t be any doubt that SU vs. Georgetown is still a marquee matchup. When “it’s *insert time* and Georgetown still sucks” is still a very common adage among the Orange faithful, what more proof do you need? The 99th installment of the rivalry was confirmed earlier this week, and it would be a major disappointment if games number 100 and beyond weren’t scheduled.
Ever since the conference move, the word “rivalry” hasn’t exactly been synonymous with SU. With the exception of Pittsburgh and maybe Boston College, there just isn’t a ton of animosity between the Orange and various ACC schools. The hatred Syracuse fans feel toward the big dogs in the ACC is not mutual. That was, is, and always will be the case when it comes to Georgetown. Hoya fans look forward to this showdown just as much as Orange fans. It’s the only true rivalry SU has, killing it would be an awful look for both sides.
The rivalry certainly had more juice when the two schools were in the Big East, but there have been plenty of captivating moments since Syracuse left. Before this past December’s clash in Central New York, each of the previous seven installments had been decided by 10 points or fewer. An overtime victory in DC in 2017 (that team went to the Sweet 16), Tyus Battle’s game-winner, and Marek Dolezaj losing a tooth are some moments that come to mind. Why would you want to stop facing Georgetown when memories like this come from this matchup?
Finally, new blood being injected into the rivalry could really reinvigorate it. On the SU side, there’s a new head coach in Adrian Autry along with Central New York native JJ Starling getting a taste of the animosity after spending his first collegiate season at Notre Dame. As for the Hoyas, a name that should be familiar to Syracuse fans has taken over for Patrick Ewing as head coach- Ed Cooley. He coached at Providence for 12 seasons, including SU’s last two in the Big East. The Orange beat the Friars in all four games with Cooley at the helm, but in his tenure, Providence became a perennial Big East contender. Fresh faces should make these matchups more intriguing on a local and national scale.
In ESPN’s 30 for 30 Requiem For The Big East, sandwiched between the various storylines and interviews are the sights and sounds of the last matchup between Syracuse and Georgetown in the 2013 Big East Tournament. It was a 58-55 OT victory for the Orange. That game was picked because of what the rivalry has meant to the schools and college basketball. The game was on ABC last season despite neither school being particularly formidable. That says a lot. We’ll probably never have the glory days of the old Big East again, but let’s make sure we enjoy every matchup between the hated rivals.