Time for Syracuse to begin its Big East goodbyes—for better or worse

The Big East is in serious jeopardy now

Now that Syracuse has its Big East departure date (July 1, 2013), we officially can begin saying our goodbyes.

We’ve known of the Orange’s impending exit since last September, but it’s really happening—sooner rather than later. I understand the move is necessary in a superconference-or-bust, football-rules-all world, but I don’t have to like it.

SU waves goodbye to the Big East in 2013

You can bust on me for being sentimental. Bust on me for being old-school-minded in the age of realignment. Bust on me for being that “I remember when” guy. But isn’t athletics—at least for the fans—about sentimental connections? Sure, I root for Syracuse because I’m an alum. But I also root for the team because of the history it has with rivals and for the moments that carry more meaning.

But make no mistake. There will be no fond farewells, no nostalgic goodbye tour between the university and the Big East. This isn’t an amicable divorce. The Big East is now ready to show us the door, and the university is taking it. Lest we forget, Syracuse is leaving for “greener” pastures (in more ways than one).

» Related: Syracuse to leave Big East in 2013

Coach Jim Boeheim isn’t about to get wistful, according to recent comments after USA Basketball’s win over Brazil on Monday night, as reported by the Syracuse Post-Standard:

“The Big East is not what it used to be,” said Boeheim. “I think the ACC is a tremendous league and it’s a tremendous opportunity for us. To stay in one time zone and play in a great conference—a great all-around conference, but, specifically, a great basketball conference—is a great thing.”

“This was coming,” Boeheim said of the announcement of team’s jump to the ACC. “We knew it was coming. But it’s good to get it done. We didn’t want to wait another two years. One year is doable. I’m glad things worked out the way they have. It is what it is. We’ll focus completely on the Big East this year, just like we did last year. We’ll try to play the best we can and we’ll let future take care of itself.”

Boeheim, Daryl Gross and the Syracuse University brain trust will leave the goodbyes and reminiscing to us, the fans. I’m happy to get it started.

Goodbye loyalty and 30 years of tradition. Hello “stability,” a never-in-doubt BCS spot and a billion dollar TV contract.

Goodbye Georgetown. It’s been fun, and sure, we’ll play each other again, but it won’t be the same. It can’t. You had the chance to close down Manley Fieldhouse, but you certainly won’t close down the Carrier Dome when that happens.

Goodbye Jim Calhoun. You and Boeheim became the old guard of Big East basketball together, sharing many milestones as Hall of Famers.

» More from Dan Brannigan: Syracuse lax looking for a stronger 2013

Goodbye championship week at Madison Square Garden, the mecca of basketball. Hello Greensboro Coliseum and wherever else the ACC decides to crown its conference champion.

Goodbye DePaul. We certainly won’t miss the travel to Chicago, but we will miss the nearly guaranteed conference win.

Goodbye easy travel to St. John’s, Seton Hall and Rutgers and New York-area bragging rights. Hello Boston and Pittsburgh, soon to be our closest conference opponents.

Goodbye to football’s chances of winning the conference with a modest record. Hello to being even further entrenched in the cellar. Remember in 2010 when Syracuse nearly won the conference with an 8-5 (4-3) record. That won’t happen again.

Goodbye lacrosse conference domination. The team has only known the Big East since 2010, but it’s come out on top even during down years like 2012. Hello to the best conference lacrosse in the country. If there ever was a gauntlet to run, this is it. Virginia, Duke and Maryland are top-tier programs, and North Carolina isn’t far off. Yikes.

Goodbye to being “New York’s college team.” How can a school profess to be a state’s team if it can’t even prove it? (See Madison Square Garden above.) Paging the marketing team: Time to come up with something new.

Goodbye to the legacy of Jake Crouthamel. You played a key role in the formation of the Big East (and nearly moved the Orange to the ACC in 2004). Now, we wait to see if your successor will be seen as a visionary too.

Hello, Daryl Gross. This is on you.

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About Dan Brannigan 71 Articles
Dan is currently the editor of Common Ground magazine for Community Associations Institute (CAI) where he has won an Association Media & Publishing award for newswriting. Dan has also won a New England Press Association award while working for the The Inquirer and Mirror in Nantucket, Massachusetts, where he grew up. Dan is a 2005 Syracuse University graduate. Follow him on Twitter @djbranni.