If you didn’t hear, the sporting world was rocked with the announcement from 12 of the biggest soccer clubs in the world, who also happen to be 12 of the biggest sports teams in the world, announcing they’re going to try and form a Super League. No one likes it, it’s a shameless money grab, and is so perfectly 2021 it probably should have been announced in 2020!
But because sports is nothing but blatant copycatting, what would happen if each sport in the NCAA decided enough was enough, and wanted to form their own Super Leagues? How many Syracuse Programs would be considered in the Top 12 based on a combination of legacy, success, and resources?
Programs Founding the Group (Barcelona/Real Madrid/Manchester United/Juventus Bracket)
Men’s Lacrosse: The team that you can’t deny entry to. Syracuse men’s lacrosse is essentially the Barcelona/Real Madrid of the collegiate lacrosse world. 11 NCAA titles is the most in tournament history. Two Tewaarton Award winners (and Mike Powell won it twice), 23 US Lacrosse Hall of Famers, countless professional players and legendary head coaches make up the powerhouse that is Syracuse men’s lacrosse. And in true European soccer fashion, not a season goes by without a period of time where a good amount of the fanbase wants to fire the manager.
Programs You Don’t Want to Omit (Milan/Chelsea/Arsenal/Manchester City/Liverpool/Atletico Bracket)
Men’s Basketball: We’ve had the “is Syracuse a blue blood?” conversation enough around here to firmly say that UCLA/Kansas/Kentucky/Duke/UNC are probably founding the Super League. That said, much like the formation of the Big East, Syracuse is probably among the group’s first calls. There’s history, there’s a legendary head coach, and even with lackluster regular season results, there’s post season success unmatched by many that guarantees a place.
Women’s Lacrosse: Firmly the Atletico Madrid of the Super League. The Women’s Lacrosse program is that NCAA powerhouse program that seems to always be dominant. However, they’re usually just out of reach of a title because of another super team (see Maryland and UNC in recent times). You still can’t deny the team because of the quality of the program, especially with a legendary head coach at the helm in Gary Gait. The results are nothing to sneeze at as well with two championship appearances and five additional final fours. It just seems like no matter what this program does, there will always be a Real Madrid or a Barcelona in the way.
Cross Country: When the Orange won the 2015 Men’s NCAA Championship many would equate it to Leicester City’s Premier League title but the program had been building to that level after Chris Fox arrived. Even with the Syracuse team struggling the last couple of NCAA meets they have ACC champions.
Men’s and Women’s Rowing: You could also make the case that Syracuse rowing belongs in the group above given its six IRA championships and the Ten Eyck Trophy literally being named after a Syracuse coach (James A. Ten Eyck, who coached SU from 1903-37). Even if they’re decades removed from their last championship, they’re still an annual heavyweight.
Field Hockey: Much like the Manchester City inclusion, Field Hockey doesn’t have the “legacy,” but much like Man City, they have been a regular season beast in the sport since 2007. Add in the National Championship, and this program is clearly one of the best in the sport and no Super League would exclude the Orange.
Ehhhh I Guess You’re In (Tottenham Bracket)
Men’s Soccer: Not even so much a “Ehh I guess you’re in,” but a totally Tottenham inclusion. The Syracuse men have been in the top tier league in the country for many years running, and always seem just on the edge of breaking out, but can’t overcome some of the other teams in their own league. They’ve had great squads, and sold on some of their talent real high (Gareth Bale and Luka Modric say hello to the plethora of Generation Adidas talent coming out of Syracuse), but can’t quite overcome the hump to come home with a trophy consistently.
Which programs did we leave out? And I’m sure someone is going to argue that Syracuse Men’s Basketball should be a founding member, but I’ll let you argue with that person in the comments.