When it was announced that the ACC athletic directors had voted to keep the league football schedule at eight games, my first thought was that it wasn’t good for the Syracuse Orange. With our track record of over-scheduling against better opponents and under-scheduling in general, it felt like too much empty space for us to fill correctly.
But, gotta hear both sides. Syracuse AD John Wildhack wants to provide that side, per a chat with Chris Carlson.
First things first, Wildhack more or less confirms that he voted to keep the schedule at eight games.
"I'm boring," Wildhack said. "So I've always been a proponent of the status quo. Status quo was always on the table. Change is always news. ... The other options might have been the more juicy story. But status quo was always on the table."
Alright, so make your case as to why it makes sense for SU to have four open slots (three in years we play Notre Dame).
"For us, if we went to nine conference games, the years that we had five conference road games, it would be challenging to get three non-conference home games," Wildhack said. "By staying at eight it increases the chances to have seven home games in most, maybe not every, but most years. If you only have four conference home games that's very difficult. For Coach Babers' system, maximizing games in the Dome is what we want to do. We recruit players and for the vast majority of their career, they play in perfect conditions."
"It gives us the flexibility to create games with people that we want to play," Wildhack said. "If we're playing nine (conference games) and then you have Notre Dame that year, then you have 10. Then you're really limited."
Hey, I am on board with this, so long as Syracuse actually schedules smart for once. Scheduling above our pay grade is one of the major reasons this program has been stuck in mediocrity for so long and that includes the decision-making of a couple ADs and a handful of coaches. So, I’ll believe it when I see it (The Army series was a great start, FYI).
Wildhack went on to say that he had some schools in mind that he wanted to schedule but wouldn’t be specific. He added that it’s delicate balance when you’ve got an ACC schedule that will always include FSU, Clemson, and Louisville as well as Notre Dame every few years.