Orange Watch Friday: Familiar Final Four Trip on the Horizon?

It may be the newly-named Mercedes-Benz Superdome where the SU football team won its fourth game of the season as the clock struck zero last Saturday night against Tulane, but to most ‘Cuse fans it will always be the Louisiana Superdome, or simply the Superdome, a venue that’s second to none when it comes to naming the site that has hosted the most number of meaningful SU football and  basketball games played outside the city of Syracuse.

The 2003 national title and 1987 runner-up finish in NCAA championship games, the 1988 Sugar Bowl, the first major bowl game since the 1959 national championship season, all contested in the mammoth structure on Poydras Street just a short walk from the French Quarter.

Nowhere else comes close.

It also happens to be the site of this year’s Final Four for the first time since Jim Boeheim finally orchestrated the realization of his then-quarter-of-a-century-plus long dream of bringing the championship trophy home to his alma mater.

Playing for a second title and in a third Final Four on a Superdome stage that’s already produced the ultimate in emotions for SU fans with a glorious win and a gut-wrenching loss (not to mention that confounding football tie in the Sugar Bowl), we all know Boeheim has the right mix of talent, experienced and youthfully athletic, to make a deep run in March, as Syracuse looks to keep its streak alive of playing in the Final Four once every decade since the 1970s.

If the season that Orange Nation expects comes to fruition, such as playing in the Big East semi-finals or further and receiving a high NCAA seed come Selection Sunday, it will no doubt spur optimism and many eyes looking to a destined return to Bourbon Street with the opportunity to add yet another story to Orange sports lore.

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If the Big East football season ended this week, SU’s next opponent West Virginia would play in the BCS, likely the Orange Bowl the final BCS match-up before the national championship game.

Orlando’s Champs Sports Bowl wants Notre Dame, and they’re allowed to pick the Irish once every four years, dropping the Big East’s number two team to the newly-named Belk Bowl in Charlotte.  At midseason, Cincinnati and South Florida are fighting for that spot, and whoever doesn’t stay behind WVU figures to fall to the Compass Bowl in Birmingham.

SU’s loss to Rutgers may end up putting the Scarlet Knights in the Pinstripe Bowl, but with two more wins the Orange are bowl eligible, and the regular season finale at Pittsburgh could end up deciding who plays in the Beef’O’Brady Bowl in St. Petersburg or somewhere else.

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Brad Bierman

About Brad Bierman

Now in his fifth decade of covering SU sports, Brad was sports director of WSYR radio for eight years into the early 1990s, then wrote the Orange Watch column for The Big Orange/The Juice print publication for 18 years. A Syracuse University graduate, Brad currently runs his own media consulting business in the Philadelphia suburbs. Follow him on Twitter @BradBierman.
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