When Syracuse University began the "New York's College Team" marketing campaign several years back, it was viewed as a slick way to box Rutgers out of New York City, and an additional slap in the face to St. John's basketball team. Since then, SU has taken on contracts to play ore football games at MetLife Stadium and more basketball games at Madison Square Garden -- coming directly to the two aforementioned teams' backyards, and daring them to upstage us. This makes sense because: a) New York City is the country's largest market, b) Its college sports allegiance remains largely unclaimed, c) We just so happen to have a large, wealthy alumni base in the city.
Folks obviously aren't happen about all the "home" games away from our home, Syracuse's Carrier Dome, and with good reason. Ticket prices for both football and basketball have continued to rise, and yet the product on the field has failed to reach a championship caliber for the most part (last year's basketball team aside). And now, even with that in mind, Darryl Gross is going to take one of our precious home games (we all know how happenin' Syracuse, NY gets during the winter) and ship it off to an alumni hotbed? And we're supposed to be okay with all this?
Well, yes. Though it's the only city we should indulge due to the reasons marked a, b and c, above. Why not the others? A look at the candidates:
Buffalo, NY: At just under 3 hours away by car, Buffalo eliminates itself due to the same reason the Bills shouldn't play games in Toronto. If fans are willing to make the trip from a nearby city already, why bring the game to them? Plus, Buffalo is a dead, depressing city. Why would you want to associate your team with that?
Toronto, ON: Do Canadians like American football? Or college football? Again, looking at the numbers for the Bills games there, they fail to draw 54,000 to the Rogers Centre. Hey, do you know where else folks from Southern Ontario can watch a team play football indoors to an arena littered with empty seats? Syracuse! Toronto has money. They should use it to drive eastward to the game.
Boston, MA: Syracuse does possess an alumni base here, and they're unlikely to come to home games (despite the manageable distance between the two cities). There is one significant issue, however, and that is Boston College. Now, the Boston papers would make you believe this team doesn't even exist, but they do, and we'll play them just outside of Boston, in Chestnut Hill. Why burn a home date for an additional away game in our rival's backyard? Makes little sense.
Philadelphia, PA: Penn State's terrible now, so could Syracuse become "Pennsylvania's New York College Team?" Doubtful. Plus, we just gave up playing every other year at Lincoln Financial Field (against Temple) in exchange for playing every other year in fantastic college football venues like Death Valley.
Washington D.C.: For football, there's little use. We're playing against both Virginia and Virginia Tech in proximity to the city once every six years, plus we get Maryland every other year as a member of the Atlantic Division. So for the same reason as the one we gave for Boston, this one's a no. But for basketball, it all depends on how things go with scheduling Georgetown in the future. If we can swing it, I'd prefer to keep things on campus, though who really knows what logistics would entail.
Los Angeles, CA: This one is actually my favorite, outside of New York. We have a large, wealthy alumni base in the area, and yet they never get to see their team in action. As for teams, no need to limit things to just USC and UCLA, either. Matchups against Boise State, BYU or even Notre Dame could be fun, and selfishly, would make my upcoming move to L.A. even more welcome, too.
Other thoughts on cities we should or shouldn't hold "home" games in? Share your thoughts below.