Orange Watch: 2020 Syracuse football to embark on season like no other

Syracuse football Carrier Dome
Syracuse football from the Carrier Dome. Mandatory Photo Credit: Kicia Sears, The Juice Online.

Item: An initial barometer has been set.  Syracuse chancellor Kent Syverud announced last week that students will back on the SU campus for in-class instruction for the Fall 2020 Semester, following the disruption to this past Spring Semester due to the pandemic forcing schools to close their doors.  An accelerated curriculum starts Aug. 24 and ends Thanksgiving week.  That’s the first step to even considering college football games to be played in the renovated Dome come September.

When ACC commissioner John Swofford presented his four scenarios for how the 2020 ACC football season may play out almost a week (May 14) before Syverud announced Syracuse’ plans for students returning, only two of the four options he outlined to the media even involved playing football games in the fall. Of those two options, one was a normal schedule, and the other a shortened season.

Based on the fact that even with a tireless amount of time spent by those in charge planning for a multitude of options, just the fact that that is occurring leads us to believe that now with the green light for students to return to campuses to begin working out in preparation for eventual pre-season camps there will be a 2020 season, albeit a shortened one to perhaps 10 games – nine in the ACC and one non-league game.

» Related: Previewing Syracuse’s matchup against Liberty in October

Syracuse is expected to outline its multi-step process this week to bring student-athletes back on campus in conjunction with state and county guidelines, but with the currently-booked opener at Boston College now just 102 days away on Friday, Sept. 4, part of an opening week of games to be telecast exclusively on the ACC Network, we just don’t see how there can not be a change to the agenda.

Taking a look at the current 2020 schedule, it seems that if a shortened season were to occur, all games against FCS teams would go by the wayside meaning the first game in the renovated Dome would not be Colgate Sept. 19, but against an ACC team to be determined.

The other non-conference games against Western Michigan and Liberty would also be canceled, with the game at geographically-close by Rutgers (Big Ten Network) likely to stay, and in fact could be the new season opener for both teams (Rutgers has FCS Monmouth scheduled the week before).

If a ninth ACC game has to be added to the schedule, SU could perhaps move up its 2021 Coastal Division crossover game at Virginia Tech to this season.

With many colleges sending their students’ home before Thanksgiving, and because we do not believe spectators will be allowed in stadiums cutting revenue even more drastically (no bands or cheerleaders and maybe no media on-site as well), the lucrative conference championship games may be canceled, along with the non-College Football Playoff bowl games, diminishing hopes for most teams of playing a post-season game (the ACC has 11 bowl partnerships lined-up for 2020).

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Brad Bierman
About Brad Bierman 693 Articles
Now in his sixth 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.