Posted by Jerry Hinnen
With the Big East now officially reduced to seven football-playing members after the departure of West Virginia, the conference's 2012 scheduling dilemma has reached its crisis point--doubly so if Boise State can't find a way to ride to the rescue. Perhaps nothing illustrates the direness of the league's scheduling situation than earlier reports that Syracuse and Rutgers have considered playing twice in the 2012 regular season, with the Scarlet Knights hosting the Orange as originally scheduled and the Orange hosting Rutgers either in the Carrier Dome or Yankee Stadium.
But even with a yawning Mountaineer-shaped gap in their schedules and not much more than six months until the 2012 season kicks off, Syracuse athletic director Daryl Gross told ESPN CNY radio Tuesday that a second game against the Scarlet Knights was "not an option." As transcribed by Orange blog Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician, Gross's response to the Yankee Stadium suggestion:
No. Not an option and I guess the simplest way to answer it is just no. It's just all wrong. It's not even an option. We're playing [USC] at the New Meadowlands next year and we have great respect for those folks, what they've set up for us. It'll be like a bowl game for us and we'll have all the trains and buses and everything going down, so that's our New York game. But besides that, we won't be playing ... home and home with members of the same conference.
On the one hand, this will save both the Orange and the Scarlet Knights the awkwardness of playing the kind of home-and-home college football series rarely seen since the turn of the 20th century; aside from New York City-based Orange fans greedy enough to want their team to visit the city twice (or any Syracuse-based diehard hoping for some immediate revenge for last year's 19-16 Rutgers win at the Carrier Dome), it's hard to imagine who at either school might want to play the in-season rematch.
On the other, at least a second game against each other would give the Orange and Scarlet Knights someone to play. As it stands, Boise's late addition to the schedule could be the only thing standing between the two programs and outright desperation, though they could also receive some highly ironic last-minute help from the Mountaineers, of all people--the settlement between WVU and the Big East requires the Mountaineers to "use its reasonable best efforts to help" the remaining Big East members find scheduling partners, including those from WVU's new Big 12 home "if possible."
But whatever solution the Big East, Orange, and Scarlet Knights finds (and our current bet is simply on Boise making the leap in the near future), Gross's comments do make clear what it won't be.
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