Around these parts, we complain about the Syracuse Orange's football schedules (or lack thereof) a bunch. It's not as if we don't offer up solutions, though. Quite the opposite. I've openly stated I'll do the damn job for free.
To this point, we've just discussed the upcoming four year stretch in which SU has only locked down seven opponents. With other programs scheduling as far out as the early 2030s however, I wanted to see how far behind the Orange really were over a pretty reasonable eight-year stretch..
We've scheduled nine games through 2024.
You can point blame for the above at whomever you'd like, really. Blame Cal State-Los Angeles's new AD DOCTOR Gross. Blame Mark Coyle and his lack of doing much of anything while he was here. You could probably put a decent amount of this on John Cunningham too, since he was expected to lead the charge on the scheduling front and also followed Coyle to his "special place" in Minnesota.
It seems, however, that while the individuals involved change, the same fact remains for at least a decade now: Syracuse can't schedule to save its life. In 2010, we had two FCS squads on the slate. In 2012, we played USC, Northwestern, Minnesota and Missouri in non-conference play. You get the picture...
What is that nine-game figure without context, though? Looking through the rest of the P5 (Notre Dame excluded), here's what scheduling looked like:
- 11 teams currently have less than 40 percent of their schedules solidified through 2024 (seven of them are SEC schools).
- Just five teams have less than 30 percent scheduled, and all are SEC schools but Syracuse.
- Arkansas, at 25 percent (eight out of 32 games), is the only school with less of its future schedule completed than SU -- though at least the Razorbacks have three FBS opponents for 2017 already.
The SEC caveats are noteworthy because either those schools have more bargaining power for games than Syracuse (in the case of Alabama and Arkansas), or those teams just haven't signed their annual rivalry game contract past a certain point (Kentucky and Florida). In any case, Syracuse's situation is different from the schools it shares this list with, which means it needs to try harder.
If it's truly harder to schedule for Syracuse, what's the reason there?
Private school? Nope, Wake Forest, Stanford and Baylor all have more than 80 percent of their schedule done through 2024.
Does a rough decade dampen ability to schedule? No again. Colorado, Iowa State, Indiana and Wake are the second- through fifth-most scheduled teams in the country through 2024.
If we're going to blame factors outside of Syracuse's control for this (I'm not, but you can), it likely boils down to two factors: the Carrier Dome and recruiting.
The Dome's being renovated, so maybe that changes over time. But the recruiting issue isn't going away. Look at this SB Nation breakdown of where blue-chip recruits come from. New York's not very high at all on the list, with just 0.4 percent of blue-chip players over the last five years. Recruiting has to be part of non-conference scheduling, so why would teams want to lock themselves into an area that doesn't help there?
Syracuse is far from doomed in this eight-year look. While it's the second-least scheduled team (well, tied with Alabama) right now, a few announced games would fix that right away. The bigger issue, as mentioned is still those short-term failings, especially for the 2017 season. SU and Florida State are the only P5 schools that haven't locked down at least three opponents for next year already. You know someone at Syracuse has thought about trying to schedule the 'Noles as a non-conference game by this point...
Pickings are slim in the coming years (seems pretty likely we'll be signing up for a road game at Tulane, FIU or Coastal Carolina in 2017). Maybe once we have an athletic department in place to actually get some work done, this will be taken care of. in the meantime, we're getting out-scheduled by Buffalo (16 games scheduled from 2017-21, including ones against opponents we should be playing) and many more schools.
As mentioned, SU, I will GLADLY do this job. Just make the call.