Back when the editors of TNIAAM and BC Interruption decided to start up a fun little competition based on the collective performance of our respective athletic departments, we felt that we'd tapped into an opportunity to encourage the revival of a regional sports rivalry and do something truly unique in the world of intercollegiate athletics (or at least the blogs that support the world of intercollegiate athletics).
The Orange Eagle Trophy was born, and to a certain extent it did raise the profile of contests played between Syracuse and Boston College. But in the first few years of the competition, SU has walked away the victor, with last year's shellacking of BC suggesting that The Eagles simply can't compete across the full spectrum of athletic programs. And while we in Central New York laud our success here at TNIAAM, there's almost a sense of pity in our tone. As for those on the far eastern end of the Mass Pike? There's nary a mention of the competition. BC Interruption's AJ Black mentioned the trophy briefly during his Q&A this week with our John Cassillo, "Just take it. Our program is a mess"
It's not the formula for a lasting and entertaining competition, is it?
But back in 2014-2015, things were different. BC kept things so close that the competition hinged on the final matchup of the season -- an overtime women's lacrosse thriller in the ACC tournament that SU eked-out -- allowing SU to retain the trophy. It was during that season, that there was a buzz around the competition.
The foundation for BC's strong showing in 2014-2015 was the Eagles' convincing 28-7 victory over Scott Shafer's punchless Orange. It earned the school 12 points, and put BC in a lead that it would hold heading to the spring semester.
Fast forward 23 months, and BC has another opportunity to take the largest Orange Eagle point total of the season from SU (12 points) and make this a competition following losses to SU earlier this fall in field hockey, men's soccer, and volleyball. A football win for The Eagles will move BC within 3 points of the lead (15-12, SU), with a very competitive matchup in women's soccer coming five days later. Wins in both contests will give BC a much needed three-point lead heading into the Oct 28 ACC Cross Country Championships, where SU and BC's women's teams will be in close contact. SU's elite men's team is a favorite to dominate the head-to-head matchup AND earn bonus points should they meet expectations and win a third straight ACC title.
A football win all but guarantees that BC will be in the mix for the 2016-2017 Orange Eagle heading into the spring semester. A loss puts Syracuse in front 27-0, all but guaranteeing that the Eagles will be facing yet another Orange Eagle Trophy defeat while further eroding their interest in a competition that demands some form of parity for it to remain relevant.
Cardiac Hill, stay tuned...we may have a trophy competition idea that we'd like to float by you.