If everything holds, and I'm finally starting to come around to the idea that it might thanks to John "Bylaws Are The Bylaws Are The Bylaws" Marinatto, Syracuse's 2013 football schedule is going to be one weird ride.
So if we are still here in 2013 and the Big East is messy conglomerate of old guard, new guard and actual military guards, what is our 2013 football schedule going to look like?
The problem with playing this game is that there are still a lot of weird things that could change everything. Let's try to break them down:
1) While I think Syracuse and Pitt are ready to follow the bylaws, I just don't see West Virginia staying. All signs point to them either muscling their way out of the Big East after this year or just dealing with whatever legal consequences come their way as they tell the conference to F off. They're gone one way or another by 2013.
2) If West Virginia was somehow forced to stay, then I'd assume Navy would be told to wait until 2014 before joining. However, that's the common sense way of thinking about things and common sense no longer applies to the Big East. However, just to make life easy, Navy joins in 2014 (My guess is that the hold-up for Navy joining is clarity on West Virginia. A 12-team conference is way easier to schedule than a 13-team one).
3) The conference splits into the East and West divisions as such...
East Division: Syracuse, Pitt, Rutgers, UConn, South Florida, UCF
West Division: Boise St., San Diego St., SMU, Houston, Cincinnati, Louisville
4) The Big East is going to f*** SU and Pitt on the travel schedules. The Mountain West did this to TCU this year, removing their lucrative home game against Boise and turning it into a home game for the Broncos.
Ask yourself, based on everything you know about Marinatto, will he do the same thing? You're God damn right he will. Dude is nothing if not a unrealistic baby and grudge-holder. Expect the Orange to see lesser new conference opponents (UCF, SMU) at home and quality ones (Boise, Houston) on the road. A trip to Boise screws us since it's a tough opponent on the road and does little for us recruiting-wise while sending the Florida and Texas schools to us would be the ultimate recruiting F.U.
In fact, if I could get odds on "Syracuse will play Boise State on the road, if at all, in 2013," I'd bet that in a heartbeat.
5) With 12 teams, one would expect the conference to move to at least an eight or nine-game conference schedule. I think eight makes more sense since it means you'll play everyone in your division plus half the teams in the other. It also keeps things even with the home and aways. So let's go with that.
6) Syracuse has already scheduled non-conference games against Penn State (Meadowlands), Northwestern (road) and Boston College (road). If it is an eight-game schedule, they'll need one more and I think we can all agree a FCS opponent fits here.
And so, let's give the potential Syracuse schedule some shape.
Home: FCS School, Rutgers, South Florida, Cincinnati, SMU
Away: Northwestern, Boston College, UCF, UConn, Pitt, Boise St.
Neutral: Penn State (Meadowlands)
I think Syracuse ends up screwing itself on the home-game front. We've already committed to two road non-con games and a neutral-site one. Since we'll have to play four-and-four in the conference, the rest kinda writes itself.
Obviously, a lot of those teams are interchangeable, especially the Western Division opponents. But based on the reasons I laid out before, those are my best guesses.