Orange Watch: The ACC mixes up tradition for Syracuse football’s 2016 schedule

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Eric Dungey and his Orange teammates open next season with three straight home games for the second straight year

Item: We had three belated thoughts related to the 2016 Orange football schedule, released last week by the ACC in conjunction with the 13 other league schools.

1. So much for the traditional end-of-season ACC game annually being against northeast ‘rival’ Boston College each November. This year the league moved the Orange to face Pitt, in its even year road game at Heinz Field, to be the regular season finale, with B.C. instead drawing Wake Forest, and Duke, last year’s season-ender for the Demon Deacons, moving on to face Miami, which was Pitt’s opponent in last year’s final game.

Got all of that?

We welcome a rotation of the games against longtime opponents B.C. and Pitt, which are always going to be on each year’s schedule with the Eagles a division foe and the Panthers SU’s primary crossover opponent. The change provides some newness to the order in which the conference games are played, and Syracuse fans traditionally love making the trip to Boston on an autumn weekend, with the Oct. 22 game this season offering a better chance of nice weather more so than Thanksgiving weekend.

Other than those changes noted above, all other ACC teams will continue to face traditional rivals to close out the season, Clemson-South Carolina, Florida State-Florida, Georgia Tech-Georgia, Louisville-Kentucky, North Carolina-N.C. State, and Virginia-Virginia Tech.

2. For the second straight year there will be three straight home games to begin the season (in 2015 there were four straight home games to begin play for the first time in 80 seasons), and only one game in the Dome in the month of October.

Last year it was a 49 day period in which Syracuse made just one Dome appearance, this season, thanks in part to final game in the initial contract with the folks at MetLife Stadium placing the Notre Dame game in N.J. on Oct. 1; it will be a 56 day gap with only one Dome game, certainly not helpful in the continued quest to market the new Dino Babers era of fast-paced offense.

Not traveling for three straight weeks in Sept. always has its benefits, especially opening up with a FCS foe, old friend Colgate this year, before an instant test against Louisville coming off an 8-5 season and bowl win over SEC foe Texas A&M, then another tricky matchup with South Florida who rung up 45 points on the Orange last season under a hot Tampa sun.

» Related: Syracuse loses out on Stewart Reese, Josh White

3. The winner of this year’s “North Carolina State Award” for the tackiest non conference games (the Wolfpack played Troy, Eastern Kentucky, Old Dominion and South Alabama in 2015) is: Miami. Yes, the Hurricanes have one of the five games Notre Dame has scheduled against ACC teams each year, but the ‘Canes other three non-con games are against Florida A&M, Florida Atlantic, and Appalachian State.

Compare those four games to Syracuse, which also has Notre Dame and the aforementioned Colgate and South Florida, along with Connecticut, a little tougher with two AAC opponents.

And Miami’s non ACC games are light years different from conference heavyweights Clemson and Florida State, who don’t duck anybody in out of league play, as each will sandwich their season slate with games against SEC competition.

Clemson, off of a College Football Playoff championship game defeat to Alabama opens with Auburn in addition to its annual South Carolina season finale, while the Seminoles open up against Ole Miss in Orlando, in addition to the Florida game to close out the season.

2016 Syracuse Football Schedule (EST)

  • 9/2 COLGATE (Friday) 7:00
  • 9/9 LOUISVILLE (Friday) TBA
  • 9/17 SOUTH FLORIDA TBA
  • 9/24 at Connecticut (Rentschler Field-East Hartford, CT) TBA
  • 10/1 Notre Dame (MetLife Stadium-East Rutherford, NJ) TBA
  • 10/8 at Wake Forest (BB&T Field-Winston-Salem, NC) TBA
  • 10/15 VIRGINIA TECH TBA
  • 10/22 at Boston College (Alumni Stadium-Chestnut Hill, MA) TBA
  • 10/29 – No Game – —–
  • 11/5 at Clemson (Memorial Stadium-Clemson, SC) TBA
  • 11/12 NORTH CAROLINA STATE TBA
  • 11/19 FLORIDA STATE TBA
  • 11/26 at Pittsburgh (Heinz Field-Pittsburgh, PA) TBA
  • 12/3 ACC Championship Game (Bank of America Stadium-Charlotte, NC) TBA

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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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