As any long-time reader is aware, Syracuse Orange football non-conference scheduling is a passion of mine. Maybe one day it’ll be a passion of Syracuse’s as well...
Since we’re in the offseason now, it seems worthwhile to talk about scheduling once again. While Syracuse is scheduled through 2022, there’s still one opening in 2023 (very likely an FCS squad) and two remaining in 2024. Though one of those 2024 openings is almost certainly an FCS school as well, the other would technically need to be a Power Five team, per ACC rules.
First, the FCS opening...
These are not hard to fill, but it’s still worth noting who’s available. Syracuse typically aims to schedule a team sort of nearby to cut down on travel costs for the opposing squad. Who could fit the bill? (sorted by conference)
- CAA: Delaware, Maine, New Hampshire, Stony Brook, Towson, Villanova, William & Mary
- NEC: LIU, Wagner
- Patriot: Colgate, Holy Cross, Lafayette
Of course, Syracuse could go outside of these leagues, but this is the short list of who they’re probably calling. You could probably cross Wagner and UNH off, just because we’re facing them in 2022 and 2026, respectively. Since the Colgate game was taken off the 2020 home schedule, you could probably pencil in the Raiders for either the 2023 gap or the 2024 opening.
If 2023, then that still leaves nine teams. Personally, wouldn’t mind playing LIU since we never have and the program only recently jumped to FCS. But really any of these are fine.
And about the potential P5 spot...
Years ago when I asked SU about the 2024 spot, it was indicated that Army (one of two confirmed opponents already that year) counts. But the ACC’s never confirmed when I’ve reached out, and there’s no official communication from the league indicating they have the same exception that BYU does.
If we’re assuming that Syracuse still needs a P5 squad, Washington State and BYU are the only ones that fit the bill. However, a couple teams you could also add to the list because they have some openings:
- Rutgers: Two spots open and we’re going to make up that 2020 game at some point
- Baylor: Only visiting Utah, though doesn’t really schedule more than one P5
- TCU: Already visiting Stanford, but like the rest of the Big 12, usually sticks to one P5
- USC: Facing Notre Dame and San Jose State, though doesn’t avoid two P5s
- South Carolina: Already at Clemson, but doesn’t avoid two P5s (usually faces historic rivals, though)
- Tennessee: Oklahoma’s the only school on the schedule, but also don’t schedule multiple P5s
Would think the most obvious solution here is the Rutgers game just getting rescheduled. Though there’s also the chance that Syracuse could land a neutral site payday against one of the other teams instead (pushing the Rutgers road date to either 2025 or 2028, I’d assume).
Baylor and TCU don’t have any neutral site games coming up, but it’s also debatable how much of a draw it would be for a game in probably Texas between one of those schools and Syracuse when any venue down there could sell out a neutral game between one of those squads and like, UTSA, if they wanted.
USC doesn’t have one coming up, but we’ve been down that road before. South Carolina has neutral site games against North Carolina in 2023 (Charlotte) and Virginia Tech in 2025 (Atlanta). Having those doesn’t prevent another, but... it makes it a little less likely.
Tennessee last played a neutral site game in 2018, vs. West Virginia in Charlotte. The Chick-fil-A Kickoff has one of two spots filled for 2024 matching up ACC and SEC teams (Georgia and Clemson already). In the ACC, Syracuse, Boston College, FSU, Wake Forest and Pitt could all make it work. On the SEC side, it’s Tennessee, and potentially Alabama, Auburn and LSU (South Carolina’s out since they’re playing in the Kickoff the following year).
Plenty of unknowns above, but hopefully Syracuse wraps up the 2024 schedule soon. Have a preferred foe? Share your ideal opponents below.