4. Syracuse is in a unique position in the Big East: their fans still crave a winning football team, but Syracuse has been on top of the basketball food chain for a long time. Does the status quo of the Big East, with a crowded 16-team basketball conference, and the football programs on shaky ground, work for Syracuse athletics? Did the Big East make a mistake in promoting John Marinatto to replace the retiring Mike Tranghese, instead of bringing in an outsider with more of a football background?
I’ll let you in on the dark, dirty secret that Syracuse fans don’t want you to know…
We’d trade the basketball program’s success for football success in a heartbeat.
Don’t get me wrong, we don’t take Jim Boeheim and his fantastic teams for granted. We love us some SU basketball and we live and die by their success (or lack thereof). But Syracuse, NY is in Upstate New York…Football Country. And in the 50’s and early 60’s, Syracuse Football was the shit long before Syracuse Basketball really became the consistent winner it is these days.
The question was courtesy of Rutgers blog Bleed Scarlet and the answer was mine. I do believe what I said. I don't mean to devalue what SU basketball means to Syracuse fans and alums. It is the great, shining beacon of success that we point to any time we want to feel good about our place in the college sports world. You wouldn't trade the last 30 years that Syracuse basketball has enjoyed with any program in the country, save for a handful.
But I do believe that Syracuse fans crave football success. They crave it like Scoop Jardine craves free cheesesteaks. They crave it like Mikhail Marinovich craves apple-scented tobacco. They crave it like Jim Calhoun craves the souls of babies.
Yes, SU football attendance is abysmal but so would SU basketball's if they were this bad. If SU football was a consistent nationally-ranked program as it should be, the Dome would be packed solid all the time. SU fans reject the idea that this is the fate of our football program, that we won't be able to compete on a northeastern, let alone national level again. That's pinko Commie talk.
Then again this is all just my opinion. Personally, I'm more of a football fan than a basketball fan so maybe I'm biased. And maybe I'm taking the basketball program for granted. But I just have to believe that the people of the Greater Syracuse Area want football success so bad, they would sacrifice some of our basketball success to get it.
My bet would be that missing the NCAA tournament the last two years bothers the average local fan more than the football team’s recent issues.
It's an interesting topic starter for any Syracuse fan (hence the poll below). What's worse? The disaster that is SU Football or missing the NCAA Tourney that last two years? Josh is a life-long local, which I can't claim to be, so maybe that gives him a different outlook on things as well.
Josh also takes issue with comments Bleed Scarlet's Jon made about the Big East conference and the football school/basketball school dilemma that's rearing its ugly head lately. Specifically since the selection of John Marinatto as the new commish signals that the 16-team basketball behemoth will continue to take precedent over it's 8-team football counterpart.
It's the classic traditionalist/progressive argument that has driven and will continue to drive Big East discussion for years. Should we stick to our roots and nuture the Providence's and St. John's of the conference forever more or should we look towards securing the future of the conference by creating relationships with evolving programs that make up for their lack of history with a commitment to winning now and in the future? I happen to be more of a progressive in these matters but I can't fault anyone who wants to defend the tradition of the conference.
Josh, I personally disagree on the matter but I respect your opinions and the reasoning behind them. I say you start walking West, I'll start walking East, I'll meet you somewhere around St. Louis, we'll shake, take a ride up the Arch, share a moment and then return to our coasts.
That, or we can settle this the old fashioned way: