In recent years, the only thing more expected than a Syracuse football loss was the gaping hole in the SU student section where 2,000 screaming fans are supposed to be. Sure, it was tough to muster enough interest in paying $100 to watch SU get destroyed on a continual basis, but for me it always came back to the same question...why did you bother going to Syracuse if you're not going to the games? It's like I said last year in my "old man grumbling about kids today" post.
If you went to Montclair State or NJIT or Roger Williams College or Scranton University or NYU or LeMoyne College or any of the thousands of colleges and universities that do not have bigtime college football programs, then perhaps you do something productive with your Saturdays like studying or quilting or Meals on Wheels. But that's not you. You go to Syracuse. You go to the Dome on Saturdays. You wear Orange and you yell obscenities at our opponent and their cheerleaders for three hours until the clock hits triple zeroes. End of discussion.
So it's a real pleasure to read in the Daily Orange that not only is SU Football attendance up, but specifically student attendance is way up.
"Student sales are up," said Scott Sidwell, executive senior associate athletics director. "The number of students that were in attendance at the first two home games is a good indicator of what kind of support we're looking at for the remainder of the season."
Last year, about 20,000 tickets were sold at the beginning of the season, Sidwell said. This year, sales are already in the low- to mid-20,000s, and sales are expected to continue, he said.
Winning cures all. In the absence of actual wins, the implication that wins are coming is almost as good. The great thing about the freshman class is that they're not jaded by the Carrier Dome experience...yet. They haven't sat through all those 30-point blowouts and mind-numbing losses. They know the situation but don't have the idea of SU getting killed beaten into them.
As far as they're concerned, they've never seen Syracuse football lose in person.
So if attendance is up after two FCS games, things bode well. Of course, if we revert back to losing by 30, then that will probably go away. But I don't expect that to happen, and my guess is that the new Syracuse fans don't either.
Of course, there's always going to be folks that don't buy in. Take Dean Spence for instance...
"In the quality of opponents we were playing, it didn't seem worth the money," Spence said.
Fair enough. The only problem is, let's say Syracuse had schedule Virginia Tech and Florida for those home games. The idea of watching those opponents sounds amazing, but the truth is we probably would have lost by forty in each game. And then the complaint would be, "why should I pay so much money to watch Syracuse get killed?"
There are those willing to buy in and those who will always make excuses not to. Let's hope for more of the former for Orange fans moving forward.