Game Revew: South Florida Bulls vs Syracuse Orange 11/11/11 8pm
Weather: High and Dry inside; Ticket Price $61 (stub hub w/ parking), Face
“Jim Brown doesn’t play here anymore” by Tree
The Carrier Dome was a bit a past the expiration date. With its all gray interior, it felt a bit like going to a football game in Soviet Russia. I half expected to see borscht at the concession stand. We ended up in the corner of the end zone on the lower level. The sight lines were not bad and the Dome was packed. It was a spirited crowd and we found our companions in the stands to be very social.
This was a Friday night game and Syracuse’s homecoming. It was a cold and wet night and I was very grateful to be going to a game that was going to be played inside. I flew into Albany NY on Friday afternoon where Bob, a good friend of mind, picked me up. It was about two hours to Syracuse and we were able to make it in time for a good Italian dinner. I had picked up the tickets and a parking pass on Stub Hub so we did not feel rushed. Unfortunately, there was a train wreck outside of Syracuse which made it a train wreck in Syracuse trying to find our lot, SMAN. We had no idea what SMAN meant and apparently neither did anyone we asked. Normally, I do not buy parking passes for games in advance because they tend to be overpriced. Such was the nature of this lot. We were so far from the Dome, we had to take a shuttle. While we were happy to not be walking in the rain, I could not help but feel a little cheated.
Like a kiss from a St. Bernard, this game was a sloppy one. South Florida pretty much controlled the game, but could never put Syracuse fully away. This back and forth effort at least kept the fans in the game. There were actually three returns for touchdowns. In the end, too many Orangemen fumbles snatched defeat away from victory.
Watching Big East football feels a bit like watching the slow and steady decline of the British Empire from world power to niche player. Teams like Syracuse have a long and storied past, but clearly the best days of the program are in the rear view mirror. Like the rust belt cities that supported them, Big East teams like Pitt and Syracuse struggle to keep pace as their recruiting base dries up. There is definitely still talent in the region, but not enough to make the teams national title contenders.