In just a matter of days, Syracuse will no longer be a member of the Big East -- the conference it started -- and instead will be joining the Atlantic Coast Conference. We've known about this move since September of 2011, and still, it's weird now that we're just days away from making it official. The TNIAAM staff has already compiled some thoughts saying goodbye to Big East football and basketball, and we've got a laundry list of things to look forward to and things to dread in the ACC as well. But now we get to what may be the most important piece of all this...
Our rival. That's singular. Because once we join the ACC on Monday, we'll have just one (for football, anyway). It's Boston College. And it's time we stopped pretending otherwise.
We've faced the Eagles 46 times since 1924 -- fifth on our all-time opponents list behind Penn State (70), Pittsburgh (68), West Virginia (60) and Colgate (58). But from 1961 through 2004, the two teams squared off every year but two (1968 and 1970), and overall, Syracuse owns a 28-18 advantage in the all-time series. It's evened out a bit over time (Syracuse has only gone 7-6 over the last 13), but each side has certainly had their own respective periods of dominance. And before they went and bailed on the Big East back in 2004 (no hard feelings anymore, guys)... well, Sean can share:
For any Syracuse fan who came into their own post-2004, you probably don't look at Boston College as any kind of rival. But, trust me, we were on the verge of a really strong rivalry before they left for the ACC. Considering we played them every year between 1971 and 2004, it's not a surprise. On the football field, the rivalry was really strong, thanks to the The Diamond Ferri Game and the fact that both programs were basically on the same level. While BC basketball isn't on our level, they did have a pretty good run in the early 00's. That game from a couple seasons ago reminded us that there's a lot of potential here and given that we're the two northern-most schools in the ACC, we better get to hating each other once again. We need each other for that reason, at least in the early goings.
...And right he is. As I mentioned yesterday, "Boston College is likely to get back to respectability, but if they can't, it's likely we'll be right there with them." We don't have a responsibility to hold each other up -- we're in a major conference, we should be able to do that on our own. But just like when we were in the Big East together, things were certainly better for all involved when both programs were successful.
Now, that's not to say we can't laugh at them while they're currently down on the floor either (what else are rivals for?). After an impressive stretch to start their tenure in the ACC, Boston College football and basketball have taken a steep nosedive. Since the 2009-10 season, BC hoops has gone 60-67, including a sham of a campaign in 2011-12 that saw them finish 9-22. In football, the team went from winning two straight Atlantic Division titles in 2007 and 2008, to a five-year win regression that resulted in a 2-10 disaster in 2012. This is a team that's won six games over the past two years, and a combined 13 in the past three (Syracuse has 21 in that span). There's also that eight-game "bowl" winning streak from 2000 through 2007, which you can check out for yourself. Yes, we'd have killed for any sort of bowl streak during that stretch of time. I'm well aware of that.
To recap, THIS is what I'm most excited about in joining the ACC. Having a real football rival is paramount to relevance in my book, and with Boston College, we've got just that. And the best part: THEY CONSIDER US THEIR RIVALS. In our past decade-plus of Gridiron Rivalry Spin the Bottle, there's never been any mutual interest. Rutgers wants to be our rival in the worst way. So does UConn, but the Huskies do have a habit of throwing themselves at things that don't want them. We used to be rivals with Penn State. And West Virginia seems disinterested with us... except for the Pinstripe Bowl, anyway. We've played (and will continue to play) Pittsburgh a lot, but neither side cares about the other one.
So enough hypothesizing about who our rival is when they're staring us in the face. You can go stare them in the face some more over at BC Interruption, too. And while you're there, remind them of the time we beat them 58-29 back in 1995. Or of course, the Diamond Ferri game.
Good to see you again, BC! Let the hate return! #goacc