It's never too early to start thinking about the 2011 Syracuse Football season. Along with that, it's never too early to start planning for the road trip that you'll be taking to support your 2010 PINSTRIPE BOWL CHAMPION SYRACUSE ORANGE.
Looking at the road schedule, there's some very clear separation between the interesting locales and the boring ones.
The Big East road games? Snooze... UConn (snore), Louisville (meh), Pittsburgh (yuck).
The OOC road games? Now we're talking. USC (Los Angeles) and Tulane (New Orleans).
Your options are clear...are you going to spend your weekend in sunny LA or are you going to spend your weekend dancing on Bourbon Street?
Quite the dilemma, let's review the options.
This one's not really much of a contest. If you're interested in watching the Orange play a quality opponent, the Trojans run away with this one. Two National Titles in the last decade and God knows how many great players. Sure, they're not the team they were five, even two years ago, but they're still USC. As for Tulane, kudos to you if you can even name a player on that team...from the last five years.
Advantage: Los Angeles
Toughie. USC plays in Coliseum, which is a great, no-frills, old-school football venue. It's located right on campus and you'll get a chance to take in the pageantry that comes with the band, cheerleaders and players making their way to the stadium. It's outdoors and you can expect the weather to be great.
The drawback? The neighborhood around USC is shadier than LeBron's agent. Walk two blocks in any given direction and you'll never be heard from again. Not exactly the Sunset Strip.
As for Tulane, they play their home games in the Superdome. There's some history there. The Super Bowls, the Sugar Bowls and of course Hurricane Katrina. At 70K, you won't have much of a problem finding a seat. Especially since Tulane ain't exactly selling the place out.
That's a drawback if you're looking for a great college football atmosphere. The Coliseum will be packed regardless while the Superdome will probably be half-full, if that.
Advantage: Los Angeles
3. POST-GAME CELEBRATION
Syracuse wins the game, it's time to celebrate. So where do we go?
In Los Angeles, that's a tough call. The best bet is Downtown LA, which is a bus ride away. You could walk there but, as mentioned, you will never be heard from again. Once downtown however, there's a lot going on these days. New entertainment complexes, tons of bars and restaurants...there will be no shortage of places to celebrate. And if you're up for it, we can always trek it over to the Sunset Strip and make like Motley Crue.
In New Orleans, they have Bourbon Street.
Advantage: New Orleans
If you want to do some sight-seeing, you can't go wrong with LA. You've got the generic stuff like the Hollywood Sign, Mann's Chinese Theater, Sunset Strip and Venice Beach. If you're really adventurous, there's a million other cool places to go, restaurants to eat at and bars to drink at. Whether you come for three days or a week, you'll be busy.
As for New Orleans, there are options, albeit not quite as limitless as LA. There's a casino right there, which is nice. And you can go check out that trolley line that you've seen in all those movies. Really, you're there for Bourbon Street, Po Boys and beignet, aren't you? And if New Orleans can one-up LA in anything, its authentic, local cuisine.
Ultimately, it depends on what you're looking for. Nice weather and things to do? LA is your place. Authenticity and good times? Gotta go New Orleans.
5. SYRACUSE VICTORY
The Washington game was fun and everyone seemed to have a good time when they came out here. But I'd be lying if I said the game itself didn't damper the mood and the way the weekend ended. Let's face it, you're here to watch Syracuse win. Say what you want, but it matters to how well you remember the trip. You want the game itself to be the centerpiece, not the only bad part.
This isn't 2007 USC but they're still USC, They've got four and five-star athletes coming out of their pores. They would have been a quality bowl team this past season had they not been disqualified. And there's something to be said for the whole "traveling 3,000 miles cross-country" thing as shown by the Washington game. On paper, Syracuse should have matched up with a 7-6 Husky squad, but they didn't.
Meanwhile Tulane ain't nothing special. They're a Conference USA team, which mean they'll join the Big East in about seven years. Until then, they're mired in the Bob Toledo Era and haven't had a winning season since 2002.
If you want to come watch Syracuse win, it's an easy choice.
Advantage: New Orleans.
And so, it's plain to see that the winning city and the place you'll be traveling to see Syracuse play in 2011 is...
Well, I guess I'll be seeing you at both games. The good news is, I lived in one city and have spent a decent amount of time in the other. So if nothing else, I'll point you in the right direction for the daily feeding frenzy. Or in your case, frenzies.