As the drumbeat for a new arena to replace the Carrier Dome gets slightly louder, DOC Gross did his best to beat that drum with his comments to Donna Ditota on Monday:
"I think Central New York deserves an unbelievable place," said Gross, SU's athletic director. "You've got all these great new stadiums in New York City and then you start coming upstate and the next biggest thing you run into is the Dome. And so there will be a day one day for folks up here to be able to enjoy and take advantage of those kinds of amenities. That's part of our thinking. We always think that way. And I'm a big dreamer, anyway."
Perhaps in reaction to the response or perhaps in reaction to the fact that people are talking about replacing the Dome as if it's already in the works, Gross backtracked in a text to Brent Axe on Tuesday:
"Trust me, the Dome is one of the seven wonders of the college athletic world! I want it to last forever and hopefully we can enhance it more. If it ever crumbles, we would hope to build the newest edition of the Dome. Same concept, but modernized and hopefully with a retractable roof.
"For now, we will continue to love up the Dome!"
So, yeah, any discussion about replacing the Dome isn't worth having until Syracuse has a plan, a lot of free space and a crapton of money. But in the meantime, I want to talk about those seven wonders of the college athletic world.
Obviously, there's no such thing. BUT THIS BOOK PRESUPPOSES THAT THERE ARE. And if you think in terms of unique structures that stand out from the generic stadia across campuses nationwide, I suppose the Carrier Dome does indeed make the cut. Hard to find too many other college-first stadiums like it.
So if we're willing to go that far, let's go farther...what are the other six? I polled the TNIAAM folks to get their thoughts and they had some smart choices. I decided to draw a line between stadiums/arenas that are well-known for their crowds and those that are known for being special structures that elicit grandeur and awe. So while places like Cameron Indoor Stadium might be quintessential college arenas, they're not "wonders."
But these are, according to me (and I'm usually wrong).
The Rose Bowl: You've heard how wonderful the Rose Bowl is but until you've actually gone to a game there, I don't think you really appreciate it. How UCLA can play here and not field a competitive team every year boggles the mind.
Touchdown Jesus: Not a stadium, but an iconic piece of college athletics imagery. Notre Dame Stadium is just another stadiums without Ol 'Jeezy staring down and blessing his boys in gold & blue, unless Boston College is in town.
Bronco Stadium: Not the oldest or most legendary or even most feared stadium in the nation, but the blue turf is as iconic as any home field in college football. Other schools may adopt colored turf but Boise will always be the ones who did it first and did it best.
Phog Allen Fieldhouse: Named in honor the late Dr. F.C. "Phog" Allen, Allen Fieldhouse is considered by many as one of the best places in America to watch a college basketball game. If you're asking me, biases aside, what's the one college basketball arena I want to visit and watch a game in, this is it.
The Big House: I went back and forth about college football stadiums to round out the list. There are so many great ones, like Ohio St.'s Horseshoe, Clemson's Death Valley and LSU's Death Valley as well. But I'm going with Michigan Stadium a.k.a. The Big House. We're looking for a wonder and with a seating capacity over 110K and the history to boot, that's gonna do it.
But what do I know? Add your selections in the comments below and let's fight about it.