Just like every other school in the Big East, the Syracuse Orange have a scheduling problem. The 2012 football schedule was supposed to include the TCU Horned Frogs and the West Virginia Mountaineers and now it will include neither of them.
That means that a schedule that once seemed complete with four non-conference games must now include at least five, if not six.
It's a little late in the game to be scrambling for non-conference opponents, especially since all of your conference-mates are in the same scramble you are.
There's that rumor about Syracuse and Rutgers playing twice next season and considering no one seems to be denying it, I'd say it's in play. It would call for the Orange and Scarlet to meet in Piscataway as planned but then hold a second, "non-conference" game at Yankee Stadium on another date. It may sound stupid but if the only alternative is a road game against Florida State, I'll take the Scarlet Knights in The Battle Of Pinstripe Bowl Champions any day.
(FYI, that would also mean Syracuse would play in Yankee Stadium and MetLife Stadium in the same season, giving DOC Gross some major wood)
For the moment, let's just work on what we know for sure, that Syracuse absolutely needs a fifth non-conference game. Matt's College Sports Media Blog did the Lord's work and compiled a list of every team that still needs to finalize it's non-conference schedule. Excluding Big East opponents, here they are:
- Florida State
- Middle Tennessee State
- North Texas
- Oklahoma State
- Texas A&M
Now, we've already got the preseason No. 1 USC Trojans on the schedule so, if at all possible, I would love to avoid playing another national power. So for the sake of discussion, let's remove Florida State, Arkansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Missouri and Texas A&M.
That leaves Hawaii, Houston, Middle Tennessee State, North Texas, UAB, Louisiana-Lafayette and UTEP. Honestly, I'm fine with any of these. Sure, Houston was great last year but they lost their coach and they're due to fall off. The problem is, of course, every other Big East school is thinking the same thing.
Of course, if it's true that the Orange need to find two non-conference games, it won't be easy to avoid some of those BCS schools (Missouri and Oklahoma need to fill two open spots). I'd rather keep the schedule as light as possible (bowl eligibility is the name of the game in 2012), but if we must, we must. OR, we can play Rutgers twice.