Continuing our updates from DOCTOR Gross's live Q&A on Syracuse.com today, we may actually have an update on Syracuse football scheduling and why it's insisted on burying itself for a decade.
The other day, we took a look at how Gross has done for 10 years, and the one thing I admittedly left out there was the scheduling piece of things. Luckily, Sean DID address it extensively in his excellent "How to Fix Syracuse Football" series, which you've read, obviously. Now, the DOCTOR addresses it too, following a question about how we're proceeding going forward and if we should reexamine our approach of scheduling tough teams all the time:
"... The answer is yes, there is merit to looking at our philosophy. There is a balance between having great competition and guaranteed home games. When you look at the formula of other programs that have climbed into the upper tiers - part of that was done with how they schedule. What is new for us now is that we have Florida State, Clemson and a well funded Louisville program in our division already so we know we have those teams, plus whatever crossover games we have. With that said, as we go forward we will be very strategic in giving our team the best chance to have success, while at the same time balancing recruiting, fan involvement and our revenues. One thing is certain - the competition in the ACC is exponentially better than in our old league and we want to do what is necessary to allow us to compete - and have a chance to maximize our success..
I'm entertained that he didn't mention the Big East by name there, but overall, this quote is not the cleanest yes/no in terms of whether or not we're going to stop scheduling all of the difficult teams. Maryland, Penn State and LSU are all on there in the future already, plus Notre Dame's ACC scheduling deal has them appear several times as well. So any change in strategy isn't changing THAT soon. But for what it's worth, he has acknowledged the step up in competition now in the ACC, and it seems he's willing to schedule lesser foes.
Reiterating what we've all been saying, though, this needs to happen ASAP. I'll live with Maryland (not a world-beater at all), but the LSU and Penn State games? Why bother (especially when it comes to LSU, since we don't recruit Louisiana)? Future schedules say that 2023 and 2024 are the first times we can be completely devoid of power schools in non-conference play. But can we afford to wait that long? If this school gets to 2023 mired in a 20-year stretch of 7-5 ceilings, are we done for in terms of national relevancy? -- largely due to scheduling, by the way.
As long as Gross understands that we need to change the way we've been doing things, I'll take it for the time being. We've been through what has hurt his first decade as athletic director. Now it's time to use those lessons and apply them to more success (especially for football) in the next decade of his tenure.