There was a lot that happened on the field on Saturday for Syracuse Orange fans to discuss and debate. While there are plenty of folks talking about the players and plenty of Clemson fans writing sternly-worded emails about Classless Scott Shafer, let's take a few moments to discuss the other things Syracuse fans discuss so well.
Uniforms and home attendance.
I'm sure some of you are sick of talking about uniforms, but, sorry. Gotta talk it out.
I knew by early Friday that we were probably going to wear the All Blues again. Not that anyone told me but the silence coming out of SU Athletics on the matter said enough. There are greater issues in this world than the color of our football uniform, but, I feel like it will always be an issue of contention because...
- We literally have a color in our name.
- DOC Gross is EXTREMELY brand-focused in everything he does.
Knowing those things, I just don't understand why we didn't breaking out an orange jersey on Saturday. I could go on all day listing the reasons why we should have but here are the most obvious:
- We are the Orange.
- Clemson wear orange, showed up with a truck that had orange in its motto, ran a commercial that talked about being orange, brought tons of fans wearing orange and showcased a team whose uniform had a good amount of orange in it.
- We're now part of a conference in which at least four opponents feature orange in their uniforms.
- We were playing on national television in our first ACC game.
- We were coming off games in which we introduced a new helmet and new blue uniform. There was a natural progression and many people expected the "big" reveal in this game.
- We are the Orange.
I kinda like the blue unis. This isn't a knock on the blue unis. It's a knock on the decision-making that's either coming from Nike or SUA when it comes to taking advantage of a prime opportunity. Trust me, Syracuse fans want an orange jersey. We might say the last version was terrible but that's because the last version was quite literally terrible. It is possible to make a great orange jersey (Clemson, Miami, Oklahoma State, Oregon State, Texas, Virginia and many other schools can attest to this).
I know the uniforms are about the players and if the players like them, that's great. But I refuse to believe that someone as savvy as DOC Gross can see the possibilities that come with an orange jersey and not want to act on it. You're telling me tons of SU fans wouldn't run to the bookstore and buy up a sweet orange jersey for $100 if they were available? I don't believe otherwise.
The Dome Crowd
First of all, great job everyone. Way to show up. The announced crowd of 48,961 probably wasn't quite that big (a little thin in the nosebleeds) but it was still one of the best-looking Dome crowds in a long time. It was the biggest since 2000 and is matched in recent years only by 2009's season opener.
Here's the problem: Syracuse has a penchant for losing the games that draw huge crowds (Minnesota, 2009; Penn State, 2008; Clemson, 2013). That means every time the fringe or first-time fan shows up to find out if they like this whole Carrier Dome experience, they leave with a sour taste in their mouth other than the one left by Dome Dog residue.
We love to list reasons and dig into the psyche of fellow Orange fans to figure out why they don't keep showing up. The answer is and always will be...winning. They'll come back. Just keep winning.
As for a lot of fans leaving at halftime...I'm gonna give them a pass. Personally, I wouldn't have left because I know how football works and I knew Syracuse was going to at least come out of the tunnel and attempt to make it a game. But...I get it. 35-7 (and almost 42-7) before halftime? That's demoralizing.
I don't know if the big gap between this and the next home game is a good thing or a bad thing in terms of attendance. Probably a good thing, for now. Whether it's still a good thing or not depends on what SU does in the meantime. Two road games against NC State and Georgia Tech. If they want to see those ticket receipts stay up for Wake Forest, they're gonna want to win at least one of those games. If Syracuse can stay within sniffing distance of bowl eligibility, the Wake game still feels extremely winnable and that could help keep attendance closer to 40K than 30K. But, I know better than to overestimate SU football attendance.