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Syracuse football: The hottest ticket in town?

Is this real life? Syracuse has sold over 4,500 season tickets so far.

Camping World Bowl - West Virginia v Syracuse Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

When I first read about how Syracuse Orange football had some kind of increase, something about a jump of 4,500, it honestly didn’t really register.

I wonder if that’s about the spring practice?

Maybe they’re hoping to get 4,500 people inside a facility that can hold about 45,000 more for Saturday’s... ”game.”

(Which would have been a major deal in its own right.)

It wasn’t until my wife texted me about it that I truly grasped what Syracuse was selling. Tickets. As in over 4,500 more season tickets sold than last year. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

Okay, so that’s not a big number down in Alabama or over at Ohio State, but an uptick of that size for little ol’ Syracuse? That’s pretty damn remarkable. Actually, it’s almost unheard of around these parts. The University stated that the number of tickets sold “ranks among the largest one-year sales increase” in its football history. That number is guaranteed to go up after the spring game tomorrow, and I would bet there will be a big surge of last-minute buyers come August.

This is Syracuse football? And we’re still in the early stages of spring?

Part of the ticket jump certainly has to do with the very first Carrier Dome game of the season for Dino Babers and company. No question. That’s the one featuring the defending national champion, Clemson. Kind of a big deal.

Back in January, after the release of the full football schedule, I wrote about how big the game against the Tigers could end up being by the time they kick off. A piece that was written just days after the basketball team went to Durham, N.C. and beat top-ranked Duke.

So I get why some of the people are scooping up season tickets: to ensure that they’ll be in attendance for one of the biggest games in Dome history. Hell, it could surpass the last win over the Tigers (2017) and maybe even jump above the 1984 victory over Nebraska, or come close to all of those legendary ‘87 games. ESPN’s GameDay may or may not be in the house, after all.

Then again, some fans could be buying in right now because they’re thinking about the potential killing they’ll make by reselling tickets for that one match up.

Clemson v Syracuse Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

Can you imagine? Making double, triple or more off a football ticket in the resale market? That could very well happen come mid-September.

I’ve always wondered about the people who ask everyone walking up to the Dome, “Who needs tickets?” Like, is there a profit at all? Do you have to have a 10- or 20-year business plan in place in order to actually see a cash reward?

With Clemson coming to town, though, the hustlers on the sidewalks or on secondary-market websites could be rolling in dough. It has that potential to be an “I was there” event, even if more than half the people who will claim there were inside were actually just watching from home.

Still, though, there’s more to this story than just a spotlight game against a big-name program. Syracuse also claims that season-ticket renewals are “above 90 percent.” Again, we’re only in early April here.

That type of excitement certainly germinates from a top-15 finish a season ago. It’s been cultivated in the work put in by Babers through his first three seasons. Sparks of hope being fanned into wildfires by some media outlets giving this coming version of the Orange an outsider’s chance at making the coveted College Football Playoffs.

All of which could lead to a few gut punches this year.

I mean, Clemson is pretty damn good and that game is not going to be an easy one. Plus, the Orange do have to play on the road against a Maryland team that is certainly in transition, but was pretty feisty a year ago. There’s also plenty of potential roadblocks scattered throughout the schedule. Not to mention, coming off a 10-win season, returning 13 starters on offense and defense, and having a hyped quarterback like Tommy DeVito, could lead to something Syracuse football hasn’t had to deal with much in the past couple of decades: pressure.

But that’s another fun part of this whole turn-around process. The product is delivering results and upping the expectations. Which seems to suit a good portion of the Orange base according to the numbers so far.

No longer is there this combination of anguish and ambivalence about their team. People are actually making plans months out to be inside the Dome come fall. That right there is a stark 180 degrees from...

That photo is a couple of years old, but it was a similar scene at just about any game over the last 15 or so seasons. That’s not likely to be the situation — results depending — often this year and beyond based off the extra 4,500 season tickets being gobbled up already.

There’s tangible progress; advancement. It was seen on the field last year. Probably even the season before that one, really. And now the program is experiencing it in other areas that are just as important.

It’s all a little new and a lot different.

In the past, it was a big game at the Carrier Dome because of some big-name opponent was in town. Now? The big-name team might just be the home team. And it very well should be playing in front of thousands and thousands more new, and longtime, fans. If you can believe that.