On this Veterans Day in the waters off of Coronado, Calif., just a hop, skip, and a jump from downtown San Diego, pre-season top-ranked North Carolina and Michigan State make history by playing their season opener on an aircraft carrier, the USS Carl Vinson, and thus the game’s name: The Carrier Classic.
As most Orange hoops fans got their first glimpse of Jim Boeheim’s 36th edition this past Tuesday night in a 30-point exhibition game win over Div. II Cal-State Los Angeles, the buzz all fall has been about the vast amount of talent on hand that has the ability to propel the ‘Cuse to its fifth Final Four in school history.
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.
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.
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.