The Weirdest Football Opponents In Syracuse History

via explorepahistory.com

The hot rumor is that Syracuse will be filling the remaining spot on the 2010 football schedule with Colgate.  If that's the case, it's sure to look pretty strange to many Syracuse fans.  To be fair though, it probably shouldn't.  We've played Colgate a ton over the years, even more often than we've played West Virginia or Pittsburgh. 

If one does take a look back on the many football schedules from our past, a lot of strange names do jump out at you.  Some schools you've never heard of, some schools you have but didn't realize had a team and some teams that aren't even actual schools.  I've compiled a list of the weirdest and most confusing opponents Syracuse has ever played on the gridiron.  After seeing this list, Colgate and Maine look downright normal.

47th Infantry - Pickins were a little slim for opponents in 1917.  Enter the United States Army's 47th Infantry.  Organized in Syracuse in June of 1917 to prepare for World War I, the "Raiders" also took a little time out of their training schedule to play Syracuse in a football game.  Actually, two.  The two teams battled to a 0-0 tie to open Syracuse's 1917 season and then met again a week later, Syracuse came out on top 19-0.    The 47th went on to fight not only in WWI but also WWII and Vietnam.

Baldwin-Wallace College - The Orange have a score to settle with the Yellow Jackets of Ohio's Baldwin-Wallace College.  They came into Syracuse in 1936 and soundly beat SU 19-0.  We've never had the chance for vengeance and the school scurried off to D-III before we had the chance.  One day, Baldwin-Wallace...one day.

Bolling AFB - In 1951, Syracuse welcomed a team from Bolling Air Force Base to open the season.  Bolling won the game 13-12, which is impressive.  What makes it even more impressive is that SU was pretty good that year, beating Penn State, Boston, Temple and Cornell en route to a 7-3 season that ended with an Orange Bowl berth.

Carlisle Indian School - The bad thing about CIS was that it was an attempt to "forcibly assimilate Native American children into the majority culture of the United States."  The good thing about it was that they had a really, really good football team (So...let's call it even?).  SU and Carlisle played nine times between '06 and '14 and Carlisle beat SU in six of those contests.  Didn't hurt that they school featured some guy named Jim Thorpe and was coached by some guy named Pop Warner. Despite playing many of the top college programs of the day, the school's all-time record was 167–88–13 over 25 seasons.

Cazenovia Seminary - In the early days of Syracuse football, you took wins where you could.  One of those places was Cazenovia Seminary, which you now know as Cazenovia College.  SU beat up on those Methodists three times between 1893 and 1897 by a combined score of 80-0.

Clyde A.A. - In 1896, Syracuse and the Clyde Athletic Association played to a 10-10 tie.  They never played again.  In fact, Clyde AA never played again PERIOD.  That was the only game they ever played.  That was it.  What happened?  Furthermore, who were they?  My best guess is that they were a collection of people from nearby Clyde, NY but that's all I know.  I'd much rather prefer to think it was a collection of guys named Clyde who decided to form a football team.  Perhaps we'll never know...

Cornell JV - In 1891, Syracuse opened the season with a disheartening 68-0 loss to Cornell.  Like they say, if you can't beat'm, beat the younger, weaker version of them.  Two weeks later SU lined up against the Cornell Junior Varsity team in an attempt to right the wrongs of the world.  Alas, even the JV squad owned us that year, beating us 12-6.  SU got a measure of vengeance in 1894 when we beat the JV 22-0.  Of course, we still lost to Cornell's Varisty team that year 39-0.

Hoboken NTS - In 1918, Syracuse played a schedule consisting of some of college football's most notable teams.  Dartmouth, Brown, Michigan, Columbia, Rutgers and...Hoboken?  That would be the Hoboken Naval Training Station, which had been set up for World War I. They played two games in 1918 and lost them both, including a 13-0 decision to Syracuse.

Johns Hopkins - Our bitter lacrosse rivalry didn't really pick up steam until the early 80's.  However SU and JHU had quite a few football run-ins some years earlier.  Between 1920 and 1929, the two schools met five times and I've very pleased to tell you Syracuse won every single one of those games.  That includes a 58-0 beating in 1928 and the 85-6 series-ending demolition job in 1929.

McGill University - Not content to beat American Universities in American football, Syracused scheduled two games in '21 and '22 with the Montreal-based university.  After beating them twice by a combined score of 45-0, everyone must have come to the conclusion that this was indeed a terrible idea.  It was never brought up again.

North Carolina Navy Pre-Flight - This team might have been made up of soldiers preparing for World War II but they were anything but amateurs.  The 1944 incarnation was led by future NFL star Otto Graham.  Before that in 1942, the squad traveled to Syracuse to tangle with the Orangemen and beat SU 9-0.  No shame in that as Navy Pre-Flight also beat NC State, William & Mary, Harvard, Georgetown and Temple that year.

Occidental College - In 1915, Syracuse football went on something of a barnstorming tour.  Playing a 13-game schedule, they ended the season on a three-game trip to Montana, Oregon State and finally at Occidental College in Los Angeles.  It was a successful 2-0-1 trip for the Orangemen, who finished the season with a 35-0 schmissing of Oxy. The Tigers still play football today, though at a Division III level.

Ogdenburg A.A. - In 1898, Syracuse beat Ogdenburg 17-6, a loss the association was never able to recover from and they did not play SU ever again.  They did, however, once play a team called the Potsdam Normals, which is either the best team name ever or, given the time-period, most exclusionary.  Probably the latter. (Ed Note: Thanks to David B. for letting me know "Normal" is what they used to call teaching schools and Potsdam Normal is the forerunner to today's SUNY Potsdam.  Learn something new everyday...)

Oglethorpe University - Before they were a member of Division III, the Stormy Petrels played a little football with the big boys, including a game against Syracuse in 1932.  SU won 27-6 and Oglethrope returned to Georgia never to be heard from again. 

Onondaga Academy - In 1814, Onondaga Academy was created as a place of learning for the good people of the Onondaga Valley.  In 1893, Syracuse honored the school's grand tradition by trouncing their football team 30-0.

Onondaga Indian School - As if the preceding 200 years beforehand wasn't enough, the folks at Syracuse decided in 1902 that it was a great time to challenge the local Native Americans to a game of American football.  SU beat OIS 34-0 in '02 and then 35-0 in '03.  The "rivalry" was called off after that.

Saint John's Military Academy - Different than the University, SJMA was and still is a prep school in Wisconsin.  Now known as St. John's Northwestern Military Academy, they stick to playing other high schools these days.  However back between 1890 and 1896, they played Syracuse 12 times and held their own quite well.  The series will forever remain deadlocked at 5-5-2.  The Orangemen ended the series in 1896 with a resounding 40-0 victory.  Take that, military brats!

Syracuse Alumni - I'm not sure what's weirdest part of this rivalry...that SU played a team comprised of Syracuse Alumni three times, that the games actually counted or that the SU Alumni were TERRIBLE.  SU won all three times by scores of 43-0, 57-0 and 10-0.  Did we have offensive SU alumni by that point?  Pretty sure we did?  Did they not show up?

Syracuse A.A. - The 2nd team that Syracuse University ever played was also the third.  And no, the Orangemen did not spend their Saturday's lining up against the local Alcoholic's Anonymous chapter.  The Syracuse Athletic Association was a semi-pro squad that would play SU very regularly back in the 1890's.  Even multiple times a season.  Between 1890 and 1899, the two teams met 19 times, including four times in 1892.  SU won the series 11-7-1, though SAA did not lose to the Orangemen in 8 games between 1892 and 1894.  The team disbanded in 1900 but there's a book about them available if you're interested in learning more.

Syracuse High School - Don't judge.  You try finding teams that will travel to Syracuse to play football in 1893 and then tell me you wouldn't give the Syracuse High principal a ringy-ding just to see if he'd be up for a bit of the old pigskin tossabout.  The local high school filled some space on our schedule twice, a 20-0 SU win in 1893 and a 24-0 win in 1896.  After that it probably dawned on everyone that the rivalry wasn't going to change much and they stopped playing.  For the best, really.

Wyoming Seminary - No, Syracuse did not travel all the way to Wyoming in 1898 to play a bunch of Methodists.  They traveled to Pennsylvania's Wyoming Valley (ahhhh) to play a bunch of Methodists.  The college prep school only allowed 11 points on the day but failed to score any themselves.  The schools did not play again, which is probably a good thing since most of its students were teens.

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