SU Football: How Syracuse Will Beat Minnesota {But Who Cares, Let's Talk Outdoor Stadiums!}

TCF Bank Stadium - a prototype for Syracuse's next football home? (Photo by Hannah Foslien /Getty Images)

Welcome to my latest creation, "How The Orange Will Beat {insert next opponent}." Straight from my lab of steaming beakers and crazy smoking machines directly to your pupils, a perfectly crafted recipe for how the Orange will beat its next opponent. A formula on how Syracuse can inch itself ever closer to the Beef O'Brady's Bowl . We'll unveil this perfect plan prior to each game - looking this week at the battle v. Minnesota. Ah, screw it, let's talk about TCF Bank Stadium!

If you build it will they come. Originally told to Ray Kinsella in a corn field in Iowa back in 1989, since then it's a line that has been turned into one of the biggest cliches around.

Actually, in Minnesota, where the Syracuse Orange will play this Saturday night, "If you build it they will come" became a mantra. Consider the following all happened within the last few years:

  • The Twins, a professional baseball team once mentioned in the same sentence as contraction, opened Target Field after years of toiling in the Hubert H. Humphrey Dome.
  • The Vikings, after a longer and more bizarre battle that what the Twins went through, finally got permission to leave the same Hubert H. Humphrey Dome for a new stadium.
  • The University of Minnesota Golden Gophers football team, also after suffering playing in the Hubert H. Humphrey Dome, opened a more centralized outdoor stadium two years ago.

Major changes for a pretty major sports market. And with Doug Marrone and the Orange getting to take in one of Minnesota's newest sports palaces, it got me to thinking: Should the great people of Syracuse take up that spirit and create a new stadium for football in Central New York?

Sure, it's an old debate, pitting Dome lovers v. old school football traditionalists. One side seeing the value the big bubble, i.e. keeping fans out of the cold and providing a cool, if dated, recruiting tool. To the other side, the Dome, and all bubbled football fields, are exactly what is wrong with society, taking the easy way out.

I'm a little torn on the subject, seeing value in being able to escape brutal October and November days under the big top, but, at the same time, not understanding how a team from Central New York doesn't use its surroundings as an advantage against opponents. Still, I lean toward having a stadium, smaller than the Dome, but similar in looks to what the Golden Gophers now call home. An outdoor haven for football in CNY - a real, honest-to-goodness, football stadium!

I mean, it's obvious that the the new bells and whistles at the Dome (bigger scoreboards, ribbon scoreboards, etc) aren't going to draw an average fan. Empty rows of bleachers has been common this September.

So, let's go to Twitter to find out who's with me on an outdoor Orange stadium!

@BrentAxeMedia Playing football indoors is evil, Matt. Pure evil. So you know where my vote lies.

There, that settles it, Brent Axe is on my side, I win. SU needs an outdoor footb....wait, there's more?

@theNYsportsguy Think recruiting is hard now? A smaller outdoor stadium would kill it. So short answer, no.

Hmm...seems like a good old fashion Tweetbag is needed to decide if the fans want to keep the Dome or have the Orange move to an outdoor stadium.

The most popular response to this Twitter Tweetbag question is best summed up by the following responses:

@ProducerBB NAY. Winning football games fills the dome. I was there in the McNabb days and it was always packed.

@MBorkowski Only consistant winning will help attendance. Too many fair weather fans. Actually, SU has too many fantastic weather fans.

@curlyq0009 we had Archibald ...kidding but Just need to have a winner

Valid points, right? I mean it's hard to argue that fans, beaten up and kicked around Orange football fans, will only return, or at least show up, when the see a team that will win on a consistent basis. The thing is, we've seen the Dome have winning teams and we've all complained how even with a good team, fans don't show. Plus, who's to say SU couldn't have a winning football team that would attract fans to an outdoor stadium?

Here's where I might lose some of you, I not only want Syracuse's new stadium to be outdoors, I also want it to be smaller than what the Dome holds now. If you make the ticket more in demand the ticket becomes something of value.

@RKorby The Dome is only 50K. Make a stadium much smaller and we might as well be FCS

Ah, that's the thing, making the new stadium a little smaller doesn't mean Syracuse would have to give up all that much. First, if the Dome holds just over 48,000 for football but routinely attracts crowds far less than that, would it really hurt things to eliminate a few thousand empty seats? Secondly, there are four schools that currently hold less than 47,000 in the ACC alone, that includes Wake Forest with a capacity of just over 31,000. So it's conceivable that SU could build an outdoor stadium that holds roughly 40,000 and still find success at the FBS level.

Of course, fans have been going through this debate since the concept of the Dome first leaked out. There are opinions on both sides of the aisle, and both stand firmly with their beliefs. What about the outsiders? What do the non-Syracuse fans think of a smaller, outdoor, Syracuse stadium?

@LakeThePosts On behalf of NU fans still wringing out sweaty outfits from 'Cuse..PLEASE DO!

Hmm...losing the whole sneaky 140 degree Fahrenheit early September kickoff may be a bad thing...

@bcinterruption outsider's perspective. Would help, so long as you continue to serve beer.

@bcinterruption also gives program a potential home field advantage since SU is moving to a Southern-based league.

It goes without saying, if SU loses the ability to sell alcohol by leaving the Dome, I'm out on any and all stadium designs. But, should it include beer, I agree, an outdoor stadium would create a true home field advantage. Think of the weapons on teams like Florida State and Clemson being neutralized by the whipping winds of a fall wind in Syracuse?

@wildcatlh Absolutely. Might also increase home field advantage in November (or early December)

It's a win-win situation here, people!

@RyanMurray Outdoors could be a big advantage against the warmer weather ACC teams, but how do you rationalize keeping Dome for BBall?

Ryan, you rational thinking bastard! OK, so what to do with the Dome is another, fairly big, issue. For me, the Dome never looks and feels better than when 30,000 plus hoops fans are piled in screaming for Jim Boeheim's bunch. Although it was designed for football, when Georgetown or Connecticut are in the house, all is right with the Dome.

So, I say we leave the Dome as-is for Boeheim, for high school hoops, and for other sports like track and field and, maybe keep it the home of lacrosse. It's doable, right?

@Dan_Lyons76 You know how many people would complain about the weather? We'd average like 25k from mid-October to the end of the year.

My perfect vision of the new outdoor Syracuse football stadium? Put it right on campus, location to be determined, a standing room only for hardcore SU fans. Am I concerned about the fair weather fans everyone has warned me about? Well, if a giant protective bubble can't bring them in, what will the place look like if there is high wind and snow falling?

But, as in life, there are no guarantees. Ray Kinsella wasn't sure if he'd go bankrupt and watch his wife walk out the door while building his stadium. But that didn't stop him from going on out on a limb, risking just about everything, to build the perfect stadium.

While it's clear not everyone would be happy with an outdoor stadium, I do think something has to change when it comes to SU football and its "home field advantage." Are we really so afraid of change, and potential bad weather, that we're content with looking at the Dome half-full? Let's take a risk, let's make the SU football ticket a tough-get, let's put SU football outside with the elements so opponents have to think twice about playing the Orange.

@DaneLopes Great idea.

Thank you Dane! As I've always said, if they build it enough people will show up to give Syracuse football the home field advantage it deserves. What? I've always said that, ask anyone.

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