Syracuse lost to Penn State on Saturday at MetLife Stadium, 23-17. It was the second straight year Syracuse lost in New Jersey. But there are at least five reasons why Syracuse shouldn’t play there anymore:
1. The football team is not the basketball team and MetLife Stadium is not Madison Square Garden. I understand tradition is built over time but the Syracuse football program is not in any position to be playing one of its home games away from the Dome. Which leads me to my next point…
2. A home game normally implies your fans outnumber those of the opponent. For the second straight year, orange was not the dominant color in East Rutherford. The crowd of 61,202 was arguably 75% white and blue. Saturday’s game felt like you were in a mini-Happy Valley, not Carrier Dome South. And there’s no reason to expect much different next year when Syracuse “hosts” Notre Dame.
3. While great for the alumni base in the New York City metro area that can hop on a NJ Transit train or bus, let’s face it, Syracuse football fans are in… Syracuse! The season ticket holders lose a home game. Most students are stuck with watching their football team’s first home game of the season on television. But hey, they get to see Wagner at the Dome in two weeks for the real home opener. For those willing to make the trip, that’s at least four hours in the car only to be greeted by a $30 parking fee? I hope you get a nice wash and wax job for that. This is a college football game. How about being college friendly?
4. Nothing about MetLife Stadium screams Syracuse football. Yes, Tom Coughlin, Ryan Nassib and Justin Pugh will play there on Sundays this year. And turning MetLife Stadium signage orange and putting Carrier Dome public address announcer Michael Veley on the mic is a nice touch. But that’s the extent of it. Even the officials doing the coin toss drowned out Floyd Little’s pre-game introduction.
5. Is the exposure really that good? Brand-new conference. Brand new coach. Nationally televised game. Yet… You open at a stadium 250 miles from home. Your fans are dwarfed by the opposition. And your product on the field is led by a QB that’s a fifth-year transfer who hasn’t played meaningful football since high school. Are recruits really that impressed?
In the ever-changing world of college athletics, I’m not saying I don’t get it. At the end of the day, it’s all about the $$$. But come next September, you might as well put an inflatable Touchdown Jesus in the parking lot and call it a day!