Since non-conference schedules were obliterated around the country this past college football season, it seems that at least some teams are looking to just slot those opponents into future open dates instead of cancelling things altogether. For schools that have themselves scheduled out pretty far into the next decade, that can pose a challenge. In the case of the Syracuse Orange and various other programs that decidedly aren’t, it’s potentially easier.
Syracuse lost three of their four non-conference games in 2020, only retaining the Liberty matchup (/gnashes teeth). The other three include road dates at Rutgers and Western Michigan, plus an additional home game against Colgate.
As an FCS team, Colgate should be fairly easy to slot in somewhere in the near future. Syracuse may not even “have to” replace them, really, since the Patriot League cancelled the fall schedule, so that would seemingly void any contractual obligations for the Orange. However, since they’re a nearby opponent with significance to our history, you’ll see the Raiders on the slate again soon.
The soonest year that can happen would seem to be 2023, when SU already has three FBS opponents (WMU, at Purdue, Army) and just needs an FCS to finish things off. If not there, 2024 has room as well with just two teams (Ohio, at Army) set so far.
The Western Michigan series didn’t need to be extended any further, but due to the way 2020 broke, it would seem we’re getting at least one more vs. the Broncos now. That rescheduled road game for SU could wind up in 2024, though that would virtually guarantee we’re just not bothering with a P5 team that year. WMU is likely looking for a home game that season (two of the three scheduled non-conference games are on the road), and filling things out with the Orange would help — though it does ramp up the difficulty considerably on their season since Wisconsin, Cincinnati and Marshall are all on there as well.
More likely, that WMU game is headed to 2027, when the Broncos currently have no games slated and Syracuse has just one (at UConn). If Syracuse wants to try for three home dates that year, then 2028 works just as well, since neither team has any games set for that year.
Speaking of 2028, that’s also where the Rutgers game appears most likely to move. SU needs a P5 for 2024 (maybe), 2027, 2028 and 2030. Rutgers needs one in 2025, 2028 and 2029. Assuming both teams just want to make it happen, the Orange are probably playing two road non-conference games in 2027 (at UConn, at WMU) or 2028 (at WMU, at Rutgers).
While we’re here, it’s also a reminder that Syracuse hasn’t made any sort of new scheduling announcement since Wagner (2024) in June 2020. That’s not necessarily a shock given the rate of these games being set in the past and COVID-related budget concerns. But as future dates start filling with rescheduled games around the country, it’s going to get harder to find opponents — especially with near-term paydays now at a premium to try and make up for revenue shortcomings this past year and parts of 2021 as well.