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Ranking Syracuse’s 2018 home games by entertainment value

Single game tickets are on sale tomorrow. If you’re only buying one, which should you choose?

NCAA Football: Syracuse at Florida State Glenn Beil-USA TODAY Sports

Spring football is over for the Syracuse Orange. But in the lead-up to the 2018 season, there will still be several pieces of news that help power us through the rest of the long break before kickoff.

One of those is the availability of single-game tickets, which coincidentally go on sale tomorrow:

Now obviously Syracuse’s season tickets are among the cheapest around, going for as low as $99 per seat for the full slate. For those that are only looking to attend one game, though, single-game tickets are still an option, at various (albeit similar) price points.

If you’re trying to decide which Orange home game to attend this fall, we created this guide to help that task. Each game is ranked by the very subjective measure of “entertainment value,” rather than price, since the monetary difference from game-to-game isn’t very large. Tickets are on sale starting Tuesday at 10 a.m. ET.

1. North Carolina Tar Heels (October 20)

This isn’t the most likely win, but UNC plays with tempo, will be recovering from injuries, and is a good barometer for Syracuse to see just how ready they are to leap up to bowl eligibility this year. The mid-to-late October timeframe should also help the stakes. It’s highly unlikely (even in a worst-case) that bowl hopes are already dead at this point, so you’ll get a competitive game — and hopefully a victory to go with it.

2. Connecticut Huskies (September 22)

A much more likely win than UNC, which could hurt the entertainment value for some visitors looking for something a bit more competitive to watch. Still, UConn hung with us last time we played at PAWS ARF, and there’s collective animosity left between the schools, even if that doesn’t necessarily apply to the football programs. With luck, this is a fun showcase of SU’s talent in a potential bounce-back win following what seems likely to be a loss to Florida State the week before.

NCAA Football: Central Michigan at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

3. Wagner Seahawks (September 8)

Wagner is unlikely to be all that competitive with Syracuse, so if that’s your measure for entertainment, feel free to shift this down to the bottom. For me, though, the most likely win can also be the most fun and a great opportunity to pad some stats and get a glimpse of up-and-coming Orange players that normally wouldn’t see as much field time. We’ve drubbed FCS teams before. I’d like this one to maybe set some records in the process, too (which doesn’t usually happen, for some reason).

4. N.C. State Wolfpack (October 27)

Put State in a similar bucket as UNC, but just a week later. The Wolfpack lose talent on the defensive side (most noticeably Brandon Chubb), but still bring back quarterback Ryan Finley, which should be enough to get them bowling again. If Syracuse is getting eliminated from bowl eligibility early, this could be the last one where there’s hope. If not, a win over NC State could be the Orange’s coming out party en route to the postseason.

5. Louisville Cardinals (November 9)

The caveat here is that if Syracuse is already out of it, this one drops to sixth. But Louisville is far from a sure contender without Lamar Jackson, and we’d obviously love some revenge for those blowout victories he led over the last two seasons. It’s also fun to get into it with Cards fans. Friday night games have additional history as well (except vs. Louisville, for some reason).

6. Florida State Seminoles (September 15)

Hopefully you didn’t fool yourself into thinking last year’s close game was the new norm between these two squads. Willie Taggart has a healthy and talented team at his disposal, and brings tempo to that mix. That should make for a much more dynamic squad than the last one we saw from Jimbo Fisher in Tallahassee. It also minimizes the advantage that speed can create for the Orange offense.


Do you view this question differently? Rank the games yourself below.