NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 09: Director Spike Lee seems interested in Syracuse athletics. And he is the NYC Basketball Czar, right?. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
I wanted to start this off with like this: Hell hath no fury like a former Big East Commissioner scorned! I wanted to be all piss and vinegar over the following:
Syracuse is talking about owning New York City. That’s a joke. The only people who own New York City are people who win. I think there is going to be diminishing interest in the Northeast in college football.
That's former Big East head honcho Mike Tranghese firing another salvo at his former conference. Oh Tranghese is angry. Angry that Syracuse and Pittsburgh are about to officially head off to the Atlantic Coast Conference. Angry that his Big East is pretty much at that point when everyone knows the plug should be pulled, but no one wants to be the one to actually pull it. So he's taking some swings.
Which, in many ways, is understandable. Tranghese was commish for over two decades, and seeing as how the Dave Gavitt protege helped build the league into a power house, I understand that he may have an ax or two to grind.
Still, the Big East is a power house that has collapsed in on itself because of a poor foundation. And Tranghese helped lay that foundation of failure. Now the former commish is going General Sherman on bridges he helped build. SU and New York City is a joke?
How dare he, right? I should be boiling, dying to write that Syracuse is....a pillar, yeah that's right, a pillar of the Big East! I would remind Mr. Tranghese that Syracuse practically is the Big East. It was SU, in 1979, that was there when the hoops league was taking shape. It was SU, in the late 80s, that was there when the football side of things was coming together.
Syracuse isn't a winner? I would ask rhetorically with some upper inflection, but not too much, to prove I was being sarcastic.
I mean it's one thing for fans to question or criticize why Syracuse concentrates so damn much on New York City, but for Mike Tranghese to basically say the program is a joke?
Still, in this strange time, when Syracuse is a lame duck in the conference, waiting to bolt to the ACC like Miami, like Virginia Tech, like...Boston College. If football 'drives the bus' that is college athletics revenue, then Syracuse really is like that guy that sneaks onto the bus, hidden in a group of people. The football program has been through three coaches since 2004, it has one winning season since 2001! If New York City is full of 2011 Charlie Sheen's (winners), Syracuse is a bunch of Emilio Estevez's (the prime example of not so much winning).
Given all that bad history, it's actually hard for me to muster the anger I want to have at Tranghese. Essentially, he is wrong for saying it in a public forum, but he's right in what he's saying.
(Side Note - I totally back Dr. Daryl Gross' campaign to make Syracuse 'New York's Team.' I've always said, why not advertise in New York City? It's a cash cow of a lot of repressed fans (Mets, Knicks, Islanders, etc) and a big base for SU alumni. The school isn't going to waste money on advertising in Camden or Watertown or Cicero, they own those areas. In NYC SU doesn't have a lot of competition with other big time schools and it's a market it really can win.)
Big Mike is wrong because the demise of the Big East is mostly his doing. It was Gavitt and Tranghese and everyone else in Rhode Island, the Mayberry-esque epicenter of the Big East, who went all in on basketball some four decades ago. The founding fathers didn't think of football when planning the conference, a near fatal mistake, and they didn't think of the future when planning the football conference, a soon to be fatal mistake.
He's right, however, because, SU football would probably rank somewhere around the WNBA in terms of its Q rating in The Big Apple. Granted the Pinstripe Bowl was a success, but I'm willing to bet Syracuse v. Stony Brook won't register with any Regular Joe sports fan in the City.
So Tranghese is a scorned lover. The righteous and pure wronged by the devil incarnate in orange. He's content to take pot-shots at SU because the school, along with just about every other team in the league, is betraying him.
I get it, he, along with just about everyone else, thinks it's just plain weird that SU will be just like Miami, Virginia Tech, and Boston College that have come before; kicked in the ass on the way out of the door - a good riddance from schools like Georgetown and Villanova (although they, along with everyone else left in the sinking ship that is the Big East, would leap at the chance to join the Orange and Panthers in the ACC).
And, furthermore, guess which school is prime to be the elder statesman of Big East football? Freakin' Rutgers?
It's strange times, where SU is set to play out the string and next July join the enemy. Where a former friend takes shots at Syracuse. Where I can't even get mad about it.