The Syracuse Orange football spring game was a success because it was open to the public and available on the ACC Network. Before I get into any critiques of the event, I want to be clear that having this opportunity last Friday night makes it a win. There were a number of young fans who got close to the action and engaged with the team and that’s one way you can build a fanbase.
Balancing the live event with the television broadcast led to unnecessary pauses in the festivities. Who decided to include kick-offs with no returns because those pauses just sucked more life from the Dome. I appreciated the Sour Sitrus Society being there and the spirit squad but overall the event lacked energy outside of the on-field action. Sure you could get a Dome tin or twenty and kids got to go on the field for “halftime” and post-game but television timeouts didn’t feature anything engaging for fans in the stands.
Where was the promotion with Otto’s Army? This has been a great season for student attendance but Friday at 8 is that prime spot between happy hour and going out that certainly could have drawn some students. Why not give those who showed some Cuse swag or have a contest to let them call a play from four pre-determined options - Tecmo Bowl style?
When the Orange can back from the ten-minute break (why are we breaking in a scrimmage anyway?) and went with the back-ups the crowd was pretty quiet. It was already well after 8 and having to sit through a halftime which featured kids running on the field but no real entertainment just made the second half tougher to watch. This was the perfect opportunity for student bands or dance groups to perform (again engaging the student body) while giving the crowd something to watch while the staff ran through whatever necessitated the break.
The challenge of making the event entertaining is that Dino Babers wanted to keep new wrinkles under wraps. Syracuse sitting Garret Shrader, Sean Tucker, Chris Elmore and Matthew Bergeron made sense because you don’t want to risk an injury but their in-game interviews were hard to hear for those in attendance. I made the comment during the event but why not put a mic on Elmore or Eric Dungey at that point and get some running commentary for the crowd?
I don’t expect the ACC to change the spring game requirement so Syracuse has a year to think of ways to improve things. Would an afternoon be better? Who knows...but at least that could bring inflatable jumpies back into play and who can say no to that?