The Eternal Syracuse Home Game Dilemma

LOS ANGELES - SEPTEMBER 17: Linebacker Dion Bailey #18 of the USC Trojans sacks quarterback Ryan Nassib #12 of the Syracuse Orange at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on September 17, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

We have a lot of fun with the Syracuse City-State references and making jokes about how we don't get credit when we play in New York City, New Jersey, Connecticut and even Florida because there is an abundance of SU fans in those areas.

However, there is a serious question worth considering for Orange fans, especially those who live in CNY and purchase tickets to come watch Syracuse Orange basketball, football and lacrosse games. With more and more marquee games in all three of those sports taking place away from the Carrier Dome, do the pros outweigh the cons?

We've talked extensively on the site about this issue before and I've openly wondered if we'll ever see a great college football program that isn't a conference opponent or Penn State inside the Dome again. With ten future games scheduled in MetLife Stadium, including the upcoming USC game and Notre Dame games, it's a viable thought. Ohio State might not consider a home-and-home with us to visit the Dome, but they might if we tell them we'll play our "home" game in the shadow of New York City, 250 miles away from SU.

In basketball, the Orange have already said that they will cherrypick some ACC "home" games and move them to New York City. One of the unintended consequences of leaving the Big East is that our guaranteed set of NYC-area games are gone and we need to make up for them somehow.

And even lacrosse isn't immune, as it seems like SU plays in 47 "Classics" every season. As an example of a consequence, the Princeton Tigers, once one of our most bitter rivals, just made their first visit to the Dome since 2008.

Folks like DOCTOR Gross see that as a positive and there are a lot of benefits indeed. Increased exposure in the nation's largest media market. Branding of Syracuse as "New York's College Team (that plays in New Jersey)." Recruiting bullet point of playing top-level programs in nationally-televised games in an NFL stadium.

But a lot of other folks don't see it as a good thing. The Post-Standard Editorial Board is among them. They published an editorial on Sunday taking DOC Gross and SU to task for thinking about branding over appeasing the local die-hard fans.

Home used to mean the place where the university was located, where its base of fans put down deep roots of connection to the local team and players. Now it means the place where the marketing strategy meets media exposure and makes the most money.

Based on 2010 attendance figures, SU’s football crowds would have placed 10th out of 14 teams in the Atlantic Coast Conference to which it moves soon. If Gross pushes too far too fast, he may find the Loud House reduced to a whisper.

The Post-Standard even called in the biggest of big guns, their cartoonist, to turn DOC Gross into an all-too-familiar character.

Ultimately, Syracuse fan concerns come down to football. With basketball and lacrosse, we win a lot of games every season so at the end of the day, people will come, even if the Georgia Tech home game takes place in Madison Square Garden instead of the Dome. However, as the football program continues to grow, these games are a roll of a dice.

Beat USC in New Jersey in front of a national audience and you've just given the program the kind of press and awareness you could never buy.

Lose to USC by 40 in New Jersey in front of a national audience and you've given everyone who sees this as a gimmick no reason to think otherwise while reinforcing perception of a losing program.

I get it. I get where DOC Gross' head is at and I don't necessarily disagree with him entirely. I would feel a whole lot better about it all if most of the future scheduling deals mirrored the Penn State one. The Lions and Orange have a three-game package scheduled which includes one game in Happy Valley, one game in Syracuse and one game in East Rutherford.

That kind of deal gets everyone what they want. The locals get to see a top program visit the Dome, DOC Gross gets SU's name on the marquee in NYC and Penn State gets the same deal. I don't know how many other elite programs would agree to such a deal, but if you want to keep everyone happy, that's the way to do it.

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