Orange Watch: Temple returns to Big East; A look back at Syracuse lacrosse

What was the Big East to do?  It desperately needed another conference member to fill West Virginia’s slot in the scheduling rotation, just as the Big 12 needed the Mountaineers to replace SEC-bound Missouri in its already-released-to-TV partners/sponsors 2012 schedule.

Boise State’s negotiated buyout (almost $7 million) from the Mountain West was too rich for the folks in Providence, so they needed what figures to be a cheaper alternative in Temple. Still, all parties involved will have to negotiate the exact exit fee (which under Mid American Conference bylaws is $2.5 million for 24 months notice, and negotiate with the Atlantic 10 regarding Temple hoops), even if the Big East’s desperation move will certainly tick off longtime member Villanova.

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The Wildcats will be left steaming not only over seceding some of its large Philadelphia market share, but also likely ending all discussion as to whether or not ‘Nova moves up to FBS football. Temple has the contract with the NFL’s Eagles to play at Lincoln Financial Field, and there’s really no other alternate venue.

Villanova played Delaware at PPL Stadium in suburban Chester, Pa. this past football season, but PPL, primarily built for soccer and seating only 18,500, is not in a great location with limited on-site parking.  (PPL Stadium will host the second-day quarterfinal round of this year’s NCAA lacrosse tournament in May.)

So there may be a road game to “The Linc” in South Philly on the soon-to-released Orange football schedule (we hear next week) as SU was to have played at WVU. There may also be a reunion with former ‘Cuse assistant (1995-98) Steve Addazio, the second year Temple coach who’s son Louie, a tight end, redshirted for Doug Marrone this past season.

Item: 30 seasons ago an improbable comeback win launched an unlikely NCAA lacrosse powerhouse.

The SU lacrosse program was finally beginning to come of age under head coach Roy Simmons Jr. in his second decade on the job in the early 1980s. It culminated with the school’s first-ever, in-season number-one ranking and subsequent appearance in the 1983 NCAA title game against the sport’s goliath, Johns Hopkins.

On the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend at the pre, pre-renovated Rutgers Stadium, SU found itself down 12-5 midway through the third quarter, and just as the Hopkins fans were enjoying what they expected to be the school’s 39th overall national title, and 5th since NCAA play began in 1971, the Orange suddenly struck lightning.   Eight unanswered goals over an eight minute stretch left the Blue Jays dazed and confused, and Hopkins never led again.

The 17-16 win to secure the “gold trophy” (a favorite Simmons saying) was the first team title for Syracuse athletics since the 1978 men’s crew team took home the IRA trophy symbolic as national champions on nearby Onondaga Lake, and before that, the 1959 national championship football squad.

Ten additional titles and it’s the Orange which has overtaken Hopkins in the NCAA Tournament era as the sport’s goliath.

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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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