Typically, teams like to stay near the opposing stadium when on the road, right? Not right next to it, of course. But especially if you have a noon kickoff, you want that commute from the team hotel to the opposing team's field to be as pain-free and short as possible.
Unless you're Syracuse...
In a move that certainly should puzzle Orange fans a bit, the Syracuse football team will be staying in Lansing, Mich. on Friday night -- 70 MILES from Kelly/Shorts Stadium in Mount Pleasant, Mich. I mean, look at the map below:
Sure, maybe there's some sort of greater reason for this, but for the life of me, I certainly can't figure out what it is.The hour-plus bus ride seems like an unnecessary stress to add to an already odd roadtrip. And with the aforementioned noon ET kickoff, the Orange are going to have to leave pretty early to be on-site at Kelly/Shorts with plenty of time to get warmed up, etc. prior to start. Plus, is is really the best move to put players -- who need to be loose -- on a bus for an hour prior to a football game (an important one, by the way)?
According to Head Coach Scott Shafer, this is a calculated, well-thought-out move with a purpose. So I guess I'll trust in that... for now. He had the following the say to Syracuse.com's Nate Mink this morning:
"I want (the players) to close your eyes, listen to your favorite music, but when we get 20 minutes out, it's on. Bam. We're up. Get our eyes ready to go,"
"Do what you did in high school in this situation."
"Whereas if you have another game, you're right there in town, we're getting on the bus and we'll be at the stadium in 2 minutes and let's roll. I think it's important to try to teach them to visualize and see what's about to go down, and that goes with everything."
Totally get the intended feel here. But I'd counter with the fact that these kids are not in high school and play for a power conference team -- one that is already inexplicably traveling to a MAC team's home field.
Again, let's not get too worked up here (and I'm well aware that sounds weird for me to say given the article above). But Shafer's a long-time coach and he knows what he's doing, obviously. If Syracuse wins like they're supposed to, we won't care about this come Saturday afternoon. If not... maybe this becomes a story line.