Some comments from SU deputy athletics director Herman Frazier on Syracuse.com help explain some missing pieces of the puzzle.
First of all, it looks like it was Frazier's connections that allowed the Orange to match-up with Mizzou over, say, Pitt or Cincy.
Frazier said his connection with Missouri athletics director Mike Aldin – the two worked together at Arizona State – was key to making the game happen. He said the Tigers were on the verge of adding a second FCS team to their schedule had a deal with the Orange not been worked out.
"It came down to the same set of rules for every institution. Everybody wanted home games," Frazier said of the late scheduling difficulties.
He also touched on that TBA Big East team on our schedule and when we might finally be able to refer to them as the Temple Owls.
"The Big East has to assist us with that last conference game, whatever that is," said Frazier, who expects the league to make an announcement sometime in the next seven to 10 days.
Frazier also added not to blame DOC Gross for the Orange only having five true home games this season. "It was not his fault that TCU was allowed to get out of the conference."
As for why I say true home games, the game against the USC Trojans at MetLife Stadium will technically count as a home game. And SU Athletics is going to do everything they humanly can to convince you of that as well...
The contest against USC is a home game for New York’s College Team, in a stadium which is the football team’s ‘home away from home,’ similar to Madison Square Garden for the Orange basketball team, with multiple games scheduled there in the next two decades.
That's right. Can't tell you how many times the national media have said Syracuse football wins in the Meadowlands don't count because they're practically down the street from the Carrier Dome. It's all I hear about.
Originally, SUA was referring to the game as the "Battle In The Apple." Now, however, it seems like they've removed that wording from the release and replaced it with "New York's College Classic." Either one is incorrect since the game will be playing in a New Jersey swamp, but, whatever. New York Or Die, you guys.
So looking at the schedule as whole, I think there's two ways to look at it.
Reader Chris R. emailed me with a decent point. Basically, Syracuse traded TCU and West Virginia for Missouri and Stony Brook. And if you look at it that way, that's an easier road to bowl eligibility.
However, you can also say that Syracuse could have gone an even easier road and scheduled Nevada or another FCS school. Though not ideal, it would have helped this program in the short-term as it continues to rebuild its perception. Just look at the 2011 finish and you understand the difference between 6-6 and 5-7 when it comes to perception and the postseason.
Of course, if you're looking at it from a brand perspective, maybe it is a good move. Syracuse can go to recruits around the country right now and say, "Look at who you'll get to play if you come here. You'll play Big Ten schools, you'll play Pac-12 schools, you'll play SEC schools and pretty soon you'll play ACC schools." If Doug Marrone can capitalize on this for recruiting, it could pay off, so long as the Orange don't bottom out this season.
The good thing to remember is that the Big East doesn't look all that great again in 2012. A lot of turnover at the coach and player level has left most of the top programs in limbo. And with West Virginia gone, the conference crown is wide open. Maybe the non-conference schedule won't do much for our bottom line, but if it helps prepare us to take care of business in the conference en route to a bowl game, then perhaps it will be worth it.