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The infinite Syracuse football road trip diary: Central Michigan

It only took three trips to make the train whistle return. At this rate, I'll have solved all national problems by Halloween.

Hoya Suxa is aiming to attend 7 of Syracuse's 12 regular season football games this year. He'll be filing short travelogues from his journeys.


“Everyone thinks they know everything, and no one knows a damn thing.”

Olive Kitteridge, Elizabeth Strout

The return of the Elmira Express train whistle was just about the greatest thing to happen in the history of Earth. 120 minutes of football devoid of a blaring horn that could be heard by Russian spy satellites was far too much time spent without having the core of the planet rattled after amazing feats of human football achievement. I want all things celebrated with a blaring train horn — admission of myself to the Carrier Dome; successful urination into a Carrier Dome trough not filled with vomit; discovery of a Labatt Blue Light line with no other patrons; finding no butthole in my seat before I arrive; etc. Basically, a monstrously annoying horn with a billion decibels of intensity is good for football and the entire human experience.

The continued inclusion of the victory bell after kicking things is also a nice development — it’s kind of like earning a B- on a paper and, hey, you sort of did a thing that should be kind of acknowledged. The two celebratory moments together — an important, massive horn signaling that an opponent got its stuff wrecked and a victory bell rung by a bunch of old guys that haven’t moved on in life — are fun aspects of a Carrier Dome experience that should welcome anything that gives it character and flavor. I enjoy both and am happy that the boring people that are actually paid to make such decisions were overruled regarding the historically pertinent train whistle. Hopefully the drywall-loving people that villainously hid the train horn apparatus for the first two weeks of the season will have something mildly awful happen to them, like they’ll have their eyeballs reshaped by a swiss army knife or something.


About 10 minutes after entering the Dome on Saturday, following a rollicking four-hour tailgate in the heat of the Syracuse sun, I came to the realization that the only thing I wanted in the world at that very moment was to air out my underpants because my marble bag was on the cusp of declaring mutiny against the rest of my body. It was steamy in the third tier — not ridiculously abusive, but definitely uncomfortable — and the atmosphere obviously impacted my ability to reason because, just before the second half started, I moseyed my dense skull down to the concourse and picked up two of Cutwater Spirits' finer trash-delivery devices.

There was no reason to do this — just last week I tried the Fugu Orange Vodka Soda and Old Grove Gin and Tonic with results that could be best described as "Child Murdering." Yet, I managed to double down in the Dome, trying — vainly — to find some redeeming feature to Cutwater's continued corporate existence.

DRINKABILITY RATING: Definitely not urine, but also definitely made in a plastics factory.

REVIEW: First, it's "cola," not Coke, which is a red flag as even RC Cola was, like, "Hey, man — you do you; we'll think about it" and never returned another joint venture call from Cutwater. Second — if your rum company is called Three Sheets Rum, you are catering to a very specific consumer set that probably includes only people dopey enough to look at these cans of ready-made poison and agree that they're fine American ingenuity.

SHOULD I DRINK THIS?: If the shirt you're wearing doesn't have sleeves — yes. If the shirt you're wearing has sleeves and has been washed within the last two weeks — no way. If the shirt you're wearing has the logo of a local place of business on it that you've never visited — hell yeah! If the shirt you're wearing is easily removable and you're not even wearing it right now — yes, absolutely, why are you even reading this? If the shirt you're wearing was purchased on sale at a retailer — all depends on what kind of sale and retailer (liquidation sale or tax evasion foreclosure sale — yup; regular ol' sale — probably no).


2014: Syracuse - 40; Central Michigan - 3

2015: Syracuse - 30; Central Michigan - 27 (OT)

2017: Syracuse - 41; Central Michigan - 17

The facts are in and the results are clear: When I shove grilled jalapeno poppers into my fat face, Syracuse kicks the tar out of Central Michigan. Back in 2014 — a year in which the Orange pounded the Chippewas on the road — I turned you into a Goddamn American Tailgating Hero with the release of my grilled jalapeno popper recipe. In 2015, silence filled the air regarding grilled jalapeno poppers and Syracuse barely escaped Central Michigan under the teflon roof. For 2017, grilled jalapeno poppers were slung liberally in the pregame tailgate and the Orange trounced the Chippewas to the tune of a 24-point victory. This is now football science — any time grilled jalapeno poppers exist, Syracuse will beat the stuffing out of Central Michigan. I don’t even want to hear about anything to the contrary; enough tailgating laboratory work has been completed to confirm the data.

Unrelated to this incredible discovery in football science, much time was spent, once again, discussing the Carrier Dome food pyramid this weekend. This is, in its own way, important science: There is a definite hierarchy to the Carrier Dome’s concessions offerings, and the Dome Surgeon General for Football Foods has issued the following advisory regarding the Carrier Dome food pyramid:

TIER 1 or 2: Nachos Grande or Beer. The specific place on the Carrier Dome food pyramid depends on whether you enjoy suds and to what degree. Regardless, Dr. Dome, MD recommends heavy quantities of both nachos grande and/or beer as part of a balanced Carrier Dome diet.

TIER 3: Dome Dog. Still awful after all these years, but a necessary component to making your body function properly as Hells Bells rings across the sound system and Mike Veley gives himself an aneurysm intoning “Thirrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrd down.”

TIER 4: Soft Pretzel and Sbarro Slice. These two items share a level on the food pyramid and should be eaten in relative proportions. The soft pretzel is consistently soggy, but a thick layer of mustard seems to cure all of those issues. The Sbarro slice is far too relevant for its actual return on investment, but remains — somehow — a fixture that refuses to meet its demise.

TIER 5: Wine Slushie, Popcorn, Chipwich, Etc. Wine slushies started to look like summer camp bug juice due to the heat in the Dome on Saturday, which presented issues around its position in the Carrier Dome food pyramid. Popcorn is under consideration for a more prominent position in the pyramid, but as it doesn’t come with dental floss there is a major concern. Chipwiches are delicious but only a special occasion event. Anything else — candy, cotton candy, etc. — just ends up at the top of the pyramid because you’re usually purchasing it after enjoying too much of the foam at the bottom of the Carrier Dome food pyramid.


Games Attended: 3

Syracuse's Record in Games Attended: 2-1

Miles Driven: ~1,024

Miles Flown: ~508

Next Syracuse Game: Louisiana State

Next Syracuse Game I'm Attending: Louisiana State

Previous: Central Connecticut; Middle Tennessee