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Reply All: Syracuse vs. Arkansas Questions & Answers

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So it was announced that the Syracuse Orange would play the Arkansas Razorbacks as part of the SEC/Big East Challenge this upcoming basketball season.

Then it sounded like Syracuse wasn't going to play the game after all. What the hell is happening here?

Let's get into it.

Q: How does this happen? Don't these people talk to one another?

I saw this question posed on Twitter and the answer They don't. Ever since Syracuse announced that it was leaving the conference, the Big East has basically shunned the school (and Pitt) from any and all conference meetings and discussions. So whenever the Big East sat down with the SEC and ESPN to come up with the pairings and schedule, Syracuse wasn't privy to it until after the fact.

Hence, DOC Gross' email, which at first glance seems bitchy, but, we'll get to that.

Q: Wait, what was the name of that guy Andy Katz mentioned in his article?

Dan Gavitt, whom Katz referred to as Big East commissioner, which is either incorrect or disturbingly prescient. (He's actually Big East associate commissioner in charge of men's basketball).

Q: Is that...

Dave Gavitt's son? Yes.

Q: What did Dan Gavitt do before this job?

Amongst other things, he was an assistant coach for the Providence basketball team and worked mostly for Bryant Rhode Island.

I'd say "Never change, Big East," but, you beat me to it.

Q: We should have known this was coming, right? It's in the contract.

Well, if you're going by the letter of the law, Pitt should be playing a home game this year, can't say "look at the contract" when you're actively breaking it, too.

Q: Who's being a bigger baby here? The Big East or Syracuse?

The Big East by a MILE... I mean, it's embarrassing how (predictably) the Big East has handled the situation.

You ever break up with someone that you then had to continue seeing on a regular basis, like in school or at work? It was difficult and you both agreed to be adults about it. But ever since then, you've noticed that the other person rotates between being passive-aggressive to downright hostile and nothing else? Like, they'll say something catty about you far enough away that you can't quite make out what they said but close enough that you know they were talking about you. And then you find out that there's a rumor about you floating around that only could have come from that person. Even though you put your head down and try to move forward, you find the other person just refuses to let go of the disdain they hold for you. Finally you have no choice but to pull them aside and say, "Listen, I know it sucks that we broke up, I took no pleasure in doing it, and I understand that I hurt your feelings, but, you know what, either get it out of your system right now or move on and start acting like an adult!"

They stand there completely still for a moment. Then, as tears well in their eyes, they yell, "YOU start acting like an adult!"

At that point, all you can do is roll your eyes, throw your hands up in the air, walk away and then pray that they start a new relationship soon and/or one of you leaves, because otherwise, they're never going to get over it.

That's what the Big East is acting like. And that's why DOC Gross sent his email to everyone.

Q: Is this a case of the Big East screwing over Syracuse and Pitt?

Forget about Syracuse for a second. Just look at Pitt's situation. The Panthers went on the road last season with the understanding, given the language of the SEC/Big East Challenge contract with ESPN, that they would play a home game this season. They're not. They're not even getting a game.

Furthermore, the SEC reportedly wanted to have games that involved as many teams as possible since Texas A&M and Missouri are outside the original contract. The Big East apparently decided not to bother, meaning they had an easy way to give Pitt a game and they chose not to.

Speaking of behalf of Pitt, yes, they got screwed over (though I suppose that's what happens when you sue the conference).

Q: Is Seth Davis a douchebag?

Yes, Seth Davis is a douchebag.

Q: Why did announce the Arkansas game if we knew we didn't want to play it?

That was an interesting one. The link where the article was in now dead but you can see the post here. I'm surprised Gross would have let that go live to then take it down right away. I'm thinking someone may have jumped the gun or didn't get the memo to delay posting in time.

Q: Are we still going to play Arkansas?

Remains to be seen. I have a feeling the answer is yes. The question is, did Syracuse actually have something scheduled for that date already? It might be that we had plans to play a game the day before or the day after. Either way, it's likely that we're either going to have to finagle something the Arkansas game will get moved to another date.

Last year Syracuse played on November 29th and then again in December 2nd. SU seems to abide by the four-day rule when it comes to November/December games, not counting regular season tourneys, and I'm guessing this game conflicts with the timeframe they've put together.

If I had to guess, I'd say yes. We'll play the game, but we won't be happy about it (that said, we better win it...)

Q: Should Gross have sent the email Reply All or should he have kept it between him and "OJ"?

Eh, in theory, he should have kept it internal-internal, but like I said earlier, there's only so many times Syracuse can put its head down and try to trudge through this before it has to respond to the Big East's baby antics.

West Virginia freaked the f*** out. Pittsburgh sued them. Hell, even UConn and Louisville have made it clear they're out if asked. This is the first time Syracuse has done anything publicly in response to unfavorable Big East decisions, and even then it wasn't really public. It's only public because, say it with me, the Big East is being a big baby.

Here, let me boil down the entire Syracuse-leaving-the-Big-East timeline for you:

Syracuse: I'm leaving.

Big East: YOU'RE A JERK!

Syracuse: I'm sorry. It's not personal. Just business.

Big East: I HATE YOU.

Syracuse: I understand.

Big East: I'm not letting you leave until the contract's up.

Syracuse: I understand, that's fine.

Big East: And you're not allowed to play with us in the sandbox anymore.

Syracuse: Fine.

Big East: Now West Virginia's being a super-jerk, don't you go doing that too.

Syracuse: We won't. But we'd love to have an adult conversation with you about leaving a year early since you've got your house in order now.

Big East: Maybe.

Syracuse: Great.

Big East: Actually, no, f*** you.

Syracuse: ...alright.

Big East: By the way, you're playing Arkansas in Arkansas on November 30. Show up or I'll make you watch SMU - UCF basketball games.

Syracuse: Dude, we had plans already, I wish you'd checked with me. I would have worked with you to find a reasonable solution for all of us.


So, really, sending that email Reply All was the nicest thing DOC Gross could have done.

Q: Isn't this all getting overblown since everyone is going to be watching DePaul vs. Auburn that night anyway?

Basically, yes.