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Syracuse football’s bowl picture suddenly gets a bit murkier

The Big 12’s gonna mess this up for us, aren’t they?

NCAA Football: Connecticut at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Just days ago, we seemed pretty content to be in a situation where the Syracuse Orange would be headed to one of the Camping World Bowl or Pinstripe Bowl. Well, now that whole idea might get thrown to hell.

The News & Observer’s Joe Giglio lays out the situation, which largely depends on the Big 12:

If Oklahoma makes the College Football Playoff, there’s a reserved spot in the Sugar Bowl for the runner-up (in this case, Texas). That means the Alamo Bowl gets to pick first in the conference’s bowl lineup, and they’d likely go with West Virginia. That puts Iowa State in the Camping World Bowl...

Which means Syracuse is not going there.

Giglio explains that the Camping World Bowl believes it would sell more tickets to NC State fans than it would to Syracuse fans with Iowa State as the opponent. They want WVU vs. Syracuse, mind you. But they may not get the chance to have that matchup if the Mountaineers are off the board already.

New Era Pinstripe Bowl - West Virginia v Syracuse Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

I get the logic there, in some ways. Neither Iowa State nor Syracuse are huge fan bases. So if you’re going to be “stuck” with one of them, you’d like them playing opposite a bigger travel draw.

Still, it would be a disappointing way for SU to end up being thrown to the Pinstripe by default — especially when they beat the Wolfpack and are ranked while NCSU isn’t (which doesn’t factor in the selection decision). Though there’s also the chance that the Orange end up in the Sun Bowl, too.

As you can imagine, travel from Syracuse to El Paso, Tex. is far from easy. Same goes, to a lesser extent, to New York City. I’d even be hard-pressed to find a direct flight there from Los Angeles. And if I did, it would be well over $500 at this point.

The Sun Bowl does come into play, though, because of who else would likely be in play for the Tier 1 ACC games. If the Camping World Bowl picks NC State, then the Gator Bowl will opt for Miami. Though the Gator was thought to be out of rotation since they’d picked an ACC team over the Big Ten for the last two years, they’ll go with ACC again, meaning the ACC gets Music City for sure next year to complete the six-year cycle on that deal (three bids each for ACC, B1G).

NCAA Football: Sun Bowl-Arizona State vs North Carolina State Ivan Pierre Aguirre-USA TODAY Sports

Based on record, Virginia/Duke/Georgia Tech are all in line for the Belk Bowl. The Sun Bowl and Pinstripe Bowl would then be choosing between Syracuse and Pitt — and it’s unlikely either would really draw that well for the game (though I’d argue the Panthers would have a slightly better shot just by size of alumni base).

On the bright side, there’s no situation where the Orange fall out of the Tier 1 games due to the one-win rule (no team from the lower tier can knock them out because SU is two wins above every team but NC State). So Wake and BC probably get tossed over locations like the Independence Bowl and Gasparilla Bowl... at least we’re not them.

Sooooo, we bummed? Frustrated? Again, a lot of this comes up because of the year we “chose” to be good. If it was last year or next year, SU would already be locked into the Orange Bowl and that would be that. Alas...