Trivia Time: Who’s the only Big East team in history to go undefeated in all 18 men’s and women’s sponsored sports? Why, of course, it’s TCU, the trick answer to the trick question, that now has truly made the future of the Big East football conference, at least as a BCS member down the road, well… tricky.
With an ACC future (and figure that with upcoming conference reconfiguration developments combined with lawyers on both sides, SU will be competing in the ACC before 2014) now reality following as seismic a week as one could ever imagine in Orange Nation, a several day stretch that athletic director Daryl Gross forecast will be remembered by generations of Orange fans for decades to come, the focus is back on the field and the pivotal home game Saturday as a slight favorite over dangerous Toledo (1-2).
The members of the SU football traveling contingent awoke in their hotel in the Southland Friday morning, the vast area of Southern California covering nine counties and home to the nation’s second largest metropolitan area with some 17 million residents, and certainly a long way from central New York both geographically, culturally, and meteorologically.
Whirlwind may turn out to be too tame a word to describe the inevitable change coming to college football conferences beginning as soon as next season, and certainly in the years heading into the mid-decade. With billions of TV dollars at stake, especially with new media players arriving to drive up rights fees, and an ever-increasing number of platforms to deliver the programming, it’s certainly not a matter of if, but when.
It has always baffled me why some teams open up the college football season with much tougher opponents than others. Look at Maryland and Miami meeting Monday night, an ACC conference game for crying out loud, while a team like Rutgers goes the complete opposite direction hosting and romping over FCS foe North Carolina Central, and a program like SU splits the difference by opening with and hosting a BCS opponent in Wake Forest squeaking by in OT.
After a 12 year absence, Syracuse renews its rivalry with fellow private university foe Tulane at the site of this year’s BCS national championship game and NCAA Final Four, the Louisiana Superdome. This is Green Wave head coach Bob Toledo’s fifth year after taking a four season break from coaching (he led UCLA to the 1999 Rose Bowl), and although he increased the win total to four in 2010, he’s only won 13 games overall.
For the seventh consecutive year, the Big East held its annual football media day about 40 minutes south of its relatively new downtown Providence headquarters in this seaside resort long home to old New England money and a city famous for its mansions, and the home of the International Tennis Hall of Fame.