I’m always ready to talk Syracuse Orange football scheduling, as anyone here knows. So when I saw SU’s Herman Frazier discussed some of his philosophy with The Athletic’s Nicole Auerbach, I had to dive in immediately.
The piece, which details contingencies around UConn should they move to the FCS, is behind a paywall so won’t be sharing a ton. But did want to highlight a handful of points and expand upon those a bit more.
1. Regional games
We mention from time to time that Syracuse has increased travel costs relative to the rest of the ACC due to where it is on the map, so it forces scheduling (in every sport) to adjust accordingly — both in terms of taking home games whenever possible and looking at nearby road games to mitigate costs. This all means seeing more Northeast foes on the football schedule. That’s how we wound up with a four-game series vs. UConn. And how the four-game series with Army and home-and-home with Rutgers got set up.
In the piece, Auerbach also mentions Temple as a northeast foe Syracuse looks to schedule. Don’t know if that’s just using the Owls as an example, or hinting at a future series. For what it’s worth, we probably wouldn’t be able to play Temple until 2029 based on their own open dates.
2. Friends in high places
Herm notes that he’s also friends with Connecticut AD David Benedict (dating back to their time at Arizona State), which provided some motivation to help them fill out future schedules. While I don’t think it’s our problem that the Huskies wanted to go independent in football and I also don’t believe this game is strategically all that beneficial to us, it does provide some insight as to how Frazier finds opponents (aside from that app they apparently use).
It’s probably not the only way to guess future foes, but if you look at a list of some of the people Herm’s worked with in past lives, it might provide some clues to who else we’re looking to schedule with.
3. Avoiding two FCS games
It’s Frazier’s prerogative to make sure Syracuse doesn’t schedule two FCS games in a given season, and really there’s no excuse to have that occur at this point with eight dates already accounted for with league play. SU hasn’t had two FCS opponents since 2010 — when they were still in the Big East — though they weren’t penalized for doubling up because they managed to go 7-5 in the regular season.
This is all brought up because Syracuse has a way to get out of these UConn games should the Huskies have to move down to FCS. That was a major concern for Orange fans when the four-game schedule was first announced, since the first game at the Dome doesn’t come until 2025 (while ‘Cuse plays the first game on the road in 2022). With a contingency in place, this at least safeguards SU from being saddled with two FCS foes. It doesn’t prevent the potential issue that arises when Syracuse has late openings because of UConn moving down, however.
Also felt it was worth flagging that the piece indicates that the Orange have an FCS team scheduled each year of the UConn series already — 2022, 2025, 2026, 2027 — yet among publicly announced dates, that only appears true in 2026 (New Hampshire). So is SU just assuming those FCS dates are getting filled? Or are the games already booked? Hopefully we hear more on that soon.
Nothing necessarily earth-shattering here, but it is the most we’ve heard about scheduling philosophy in awhile. And with numerous dates still up for grabs in the coming years, it does potential give valuable insight to what we can expect.