Because of their move to cancel the home-and-home series with Virginia Tech, Syracuse football has an opening for an opponent in 2010. It's a smart move because no matter how much SU improves this season, in all likelihood that's a loss. This now gives the Orange a chance to schedule a winnable game in a season that is Syracuse's best chance to go bowling in years.
Game against Maine and Akron are very winnable while games against Washington and Boston College are possibilities. But if the Orange can enter the season with a third winnable game on the OOC docket, that could go a long way between playing in The Beef Bowl or sitting at home eating one.
Some SU fans disagree and would love to see a quality opponent in the Dome if for nothing else than to find a reason to want to be there as well. Me? I'd rather sacrifice that for one more year in order to push the program up a notch. We can afford to schedule like Kansas State or Rutgers for at least one season.
Of course, this is late in the game to be scheduling opponents and the pickings are slim. Thanks to NationalChamps.net, there's a handy-dandy list of 1-AA teams that still need an opponent in 2010. Let's take a look and break them down based on opponents we're hopefully not considering versus ones we should be on the phone with every day.
UConn - Duh.
STAY THE HELL AWAY
TCU (12-1) - I don't need to explain this one, right?
Air Force (8-5) - That's a 10-win team if they had played in the WAC this past season.
I'D RATHER NOT
Northern Illinois (7-6) - A bowl team. Not a great one, but a bowl team nonetheless.
Southern Miss (7-6) - Ditto.
YES, I'll HAVE SOME (Non-BCS Cupcakery)
Florida International (3-9) - The ideal opponent of this lot. Just one more way to get exposure in Florida.
Louisiana-Monroe (6-6) - Sure.
Louisiana-Lafayette (6-6) - Why not.
Arkansas State (4-8) - I guess.
New Mexico State (3-10) - S'pose.
Utah State (3-9) - Whatevs.
UTEP (4-8) - If we have to.
BEST OF BOTH WORLDS (Bad BCS teams, will require a home-and-home)
Arizona State (4-8) - Little risky, don't know how they look next year, but could be nice national exposure for the program.
Maryland (2-10) - The Perfect Option.
This is it. I've been yelling from the rooftops for years...Syracuse needs to schedule Maryland. We're regional rivals, we've got some history, gives SU access to the Balt/D.C. recruiting area, etc. THERE IS NO BETTER TIME TO DO IT THAN RIGHT NOW. Maryland is awful, we can beat them. And if it means we have to go to Maryland in 2011, so be it. That's a worthwhile trade.