If you didn’t see it last week, the Syracuse Orange football schedule for 2019 is here, and the SU has a pretty damn good-looking season ahead. The highlight? A home opener in week 3, vs. the defending National Champion Clemson Tigers.
In case you’re new to Syracuse fandom, the last time Clemson came to Central New York, they lost. It was spectacular. That history, combined with decent expectations around the Orange have led many to call for ESPN’s College GameDay to come to Syracuse for football for the first time.
How would this happen? Glad you asked. I’ve broken it down into three easy steps.
Step 1: Take care of Liberty and Maryland
Self explanatory, but for the Orange to ensure GameDay comes to campus for the Clemson game, ‘Cuse needs to be 2-0. Maryland was remarkably inconsistent last year, almost beating Ohio State and defeating Texas, but got stomped by Michigan State and Temple, and missed a bowl. They have a new staff in place, so these two games should be winnable for an Orange team that we all think deserves a place in the preseason top 25. Winning these two games should get Syracuse ranked by Week 3 at latest if poll voters keep them in the “receiving votes” category preseason (or better yet, include them right off the bat).
Step 2: Clemson DOES NOT host GameDay in Week 2
GameDay typically does not follow the same school back to back weeks, so to be safe, I’m saying Clemson vs. Texas A&M can’t be the Week 2 contest. It was last year in College Station, Tex. Luckily, FBSchedules has compiled Week 2 into one place, and there are plenty of just-as-appealing games for GameDay to choose from. Here’s what else is out there:
- Stanford @ USC
- California @ Washington
- West Virginia @ Missouri
- Army @ Michigan
- LSU @ Texas
Personally, I think the games that bookend that list are just as interesting and more compelling than Jimbo coming to Death Valley to lose for the 15th time.
Step 3: John Wildhack does John Wildhack things
Finally, we’re into Week 3. The only games that compete with Clemon vs. Syracuse are Stanford vs. UCF, Pitt vs. Penn State and NC State vs. West Virginia. There are plenty of “weird” matchups, but none that fit the GameDay profile. If Steps 1 & 2 come through, John Wildhack’s ESPN connections will come through big on pitching GameDay producers on the viability of Syracuse and the fan turnout. Pitt-Penn State is the safe choice (end of the rivalry for now, game in Happy Valley), but Syracuse has a shot to replicate some of the feel that GameDay had in Pullman, WA when they went to Washington State.
While ESPN’s popular pregame show still hits many of the major campus spots, recent seasons have also tried to focus on the less flashy outposts. When GameDay rarely shows up at a location, you get a much more exciting atmosphere in many cases. You saw that at Wazzu and UCF last year. GameDay went to JMU and Indiana the year before. WMU and Utah in 2016... you get the point.
I know everyone is excited about this possibility (I already have my tickets and my lodging booked), so how do we feel about this roadmap? First time anticipating football season in the middle of basketball season? Let us know in the comments!