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What exactly does Syracuse vs. Georgetown mean anymore?

Existential crisis? Or just a temporary blip?

NCAA Basketball: Georgetown at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

I’ll spare you the exposition at the start this time. We covered a bunch of the same themes when we recently faced UConn Madison Square Garden.

What is this rivalry between the Syracuse Orange and Georgetown Hoyas anymore?

Believe me, I had as much fun as the next fan this week, trading barbs with Casual Hoya, laughing at past failures, and watching a languishing program do anything to boost attendance.

But it does feel like we’re glancing at them from afar at this point. We’re supposed to hate them, and we do by way of habit. But what does this rivalry mean right at this very moment?

NCAA Basketball: Connecticut at Syracuse Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports

Like the issues expressed about UConn, it’s taken two participants to quickly erode the intensity of this rivalry too. Our conference switch coincided with some struggles, sure. But ones that also saw two Final Fours and another NCAA Tournament bid in there as well. In the time since the 2013 regular season wrapped up, Georgetown’s been in a virtual freefall, however.

Imagine how bad things would be for this rivalry right now if SU had just done their job and won the last two meetings? What on earth would Hoya fans have left to crow about?

Georgetown’s coaching change to Patrick Ewing may spark some of those old Big East memories by familiarity. And there’s a chance he’s able to turn that program back into something semi-respectable (instead of the team above DePaul in the league standings). But by the time he does that, what’s going to be left?

Admittedly, I don’t have the answer -- not on what it means right now, or what it’s going to mean in the future. We can tell ourselves to move on to ACC foes, but who there? Who’s OUR rival alone? (and is worth the effort)

The problem with programs defining themselves by a rivalry is that without the other, there exists a crisis of confidence. Whether that’a fan thing or not is up for debate. But the identities of Syracuse and Georgetown were shaped by one another in the confines of the Big East. That doesn’t mean the ACC move was bad. It did significantly alter the course of history for both programs, though.

Rather than go on about it from here, I’ll look to the larger group here. What does Syracuse vs. Georgetown mean to you? Not by way of history or long-standing hatred. But right now, as a game against a non-conference opponent.

Some of you have been Orange fans far longer than me and others have never even seen an SU-Georgetown Big East game. That’ll likely make these answers cover a wide range. But I’m curious to see if there’s some middle ground we can find where this game is both important right now and not, all at once.