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Syracuse Football: Is This The Worst Season Opener Ever?

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It's a fair question, right?


But first, a little trivia to start: Did you know, Syracuse is 5-1 in weekday games since 2012? That doesn't even include bowl wins over that time span!

And now, the attention-grabbing question: Is this it the worst season opener ever?

(That means hype or buzz surrounding the game, not in terms actual game results.)

Okay, I know I've complained about this enough, and I do want to try and stay positive about Syracuse's season opener against Villanova this Friday night. So I might as well look at the bright side(s), right?

And first and foremost, or shiniest I suppose, be the opponent FCS or FBS, or Section III for that matter, we are just days away from real live football action. And coming off a fairly successful 2013, this season should be pretty entertaining, at the least. In fact, I'm about to make an extremely bold prediction on just how many wins this Orange outfit will earn in 2014 (stay tuned for my possible bold, possibly blind prediction later this week). That's reason enough to be amped for Friday.

Along the same note, in looking at Syracuse's season-opening games over the last two decades, maybe something of a creampuff-start is exactly what the doctor ordered? Plus, as pointed out, the Orange seems to be a lock on non-Saturday game days over the last couple of years. Sure, there's likely to be more bleacher than fan come kickoff, but at the end of it all, this really is the closest thing to a guaranteed W for SU this season. And it also will be one more victory closer to yet another bowl trip.

Yet, that's really the crux of all of this, that projecting ahead is probably the biggest reason to be excited about Friday. It's certainly not the opponent, which is nothing of a draw like in years past.

Just look at the last decade's opener opponents for starters.

  • 2004: at Purdue (Run for your life, Joe Fields!)
  • 2005: West Virginia
  • 2006: at Wake Forest
  • 2007: Washington
  • 2008: at Northwestern
  • 2009: Minnesota
  • 2010: at Akron
  • 2011: Wake Forest
  • 2012: Northwestern
  • 2013: Penn State* (New Jersey)
The most striking thing about that slate? The fact that SU opened with the Big Ten five times in the last ten openers.

After that, even if you include the game at Akron, there was a little to a lot of buzz to those match-ups every year, right? Again, I know the ultimate goal is to get a win, and everyone will be much happier in November when Syracuse is counting each and every victory up to see if the sum is bowl worthy. But it's a little depressing to think that we'll already be able to play "How Many Actual Butts Will Be In Seats," over waiting until any of the other home games.

Really, would you be surprised if the announced attendance is anywhere from 8,000 to 10,000 above the actual bodies-in-building count? Bleeeek. It's a game that isn't even good enough for television. Now your local city council meeting is competing for page views with the Syracuse Orange! (Of course, that's all subject to change if Time Warner picks up the Online feed and throws the game up on one of its sports channels.) Congratulations, schedule makers, you've really out done yourselves here.

But we've known all of this for months, and for months I thought as we got closer to kickoff the usual feelings would come back around like they do every season. But there's just something different, something off this time. Maybe it's opening with Villanova and then following that up with a bye week that has everything kind of out of whack. I'll be in the house on Friday, but it's a strange start, no question.

Yes, Syracuse will most likely up its recent record in weekday games to 6-1 come late Friday night. And, just the same, everyone, most of whom will be squinting at their laptops and phones, will be happy the year started with a victory. Then they can all keep waiting for the season to actually begin two weeks later at Central Michigan.