Syracuse Football: Vols in 2025, and why I volunteer for more big games

Recently it was announced that the 2025 season will kick off with Syracuse football playing the Tennessee Volunteers in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game in Atlanta on Saturday, Aug 30. Orange you glad to hear that Syracuse is scheduling a program like Tennessee and playing in a marquee event such as this one?

I know I am! I LOVE when Syracuse plays bigger schools, and I am not even afraid to play teams like Alabama either if they want to explore that route.

So you say you’re not that excited about this? Do you think Syracuse football should schedule more games against lesser popular programs “so they can win”? Schedule more games that more fans will look at and think “Eh, I can miss that game for apple picking with the family”?

You say you have Syracuse football pigeonholed as a below-average program and we should accept the mediocrity you believe is the ceiling of the program? Well, I disagree with that, and here is why.

We all know I could discuss why this is appealing to recruits telling them if they play here, they could potentially play in a game on TV for family and friends (and possibly pro scouts) to see, right? I could bring up the revenue that, according to reporter Chris Carlson in his article on the story, states that the Orange and Tennessee will average $5.2 million per school for participating.

While this is a neutral-site game, I could point out that if it were a home-and-away series, the ticket sales and event environment potential of a big game at the Dome would be beneficial to the university and the community.

I could even discuss how empathic fans were in the past, stating one issue they had with the program was a lack of big-name opponents and a lack of desire to pay to see certain teams. And I could even go on a rant quoting Ric Flair stating that “to be the man, you have to beat the man,” and thus if you want respect nationally, you earn it by beating top-tier opponents. But I will not go there and instead discuss why these games are exciting to the fan base and worth it.

Syracuse football will begin the 2025 campaign by playing a neutral-site contest with Tennessee.

Do you remember Syracuse playing #8 LSU on September 26, 2015? And yes, I am aware that LSU won 34-24 behind a career-high rushing record of 244 yards and two touchdowns by Leonard Fournette. I am also aware of how exciting that game was, which included a great fake punt and hurdle of a player by punter (and Heisman contender) Riley Dixon, and how a Zach Mahoney-led offense kept the Orange in the game and the crowd electric.

September 29, 1984. Syracuse football upsets #1 Nebraska 17-9. Did anyone predict that victory or think in 1983-84 that Syracuse football should play a lighter schedule? The Orange was 2-9 in 1982 and 6-5 in 1983, so it’s not unlike the current situation, and yet Coach Mac and the staff at the time scheduled a top-tier program and upset them.

In 2017, somebody in Vegas told Clemson they were going to win in the Dome and yet Syracuse won 27-24. Since that was only a few years ago, I assume most of you remember how amazing that game and that environment were even in the community.

I am also aware that the Orange has Clemson on their schedule every season being in the ACC now, but my point is about how Syracuse football can play top teams and the value of doing so more often. And don’t forget that the season after this, Syracuse football was 41 seconds away from beating #3 Clemson, at Clemson, as well.

Syracuse needs payback for 1998 as well, losing on a last-second field goal to Tennessee, which would then go on to win the national championship. If not for a pass interference call, the Orange wins that game.

Other than the Pat Dye decision to go for the tie, this was probably one of the worst feelings as a fan for me until that Clemson loss, when we had them BUT the game was exciting…it was close…and I’m happy Syracuse football had the opportunity to play this game even if we couldn’t get McNabb to Brominski to save this one.

So what’s your point, Chuck? We lost a couple of those games and we aren’t as good now as we were then. As I mentioned earlier, that Nebraska upset didn’t come after a couple of amazing seasons.

In fact, MacPherson was struggling at first to get the program in the right direction but he eventually did, and I believe head coach Dino Babers will as well. I also believe this program should play top programs because I believe we can bring excitement to the program with these games and some legendary wins along the way as well.

Listen, if Syracuse wants to play Toledo or Army or Maine or even OCC or Liverpool HS, I will watch and root for my Orange and if I can afford to go to the game, I will go just as much as I will against any team. But I do believe that there is more excitement and bigger ramifications for the program when we play more popular programs.

I don’t deem any game a definite loss before it is played and I believe any team is capable of winning on any given day. I also believe Syracuse is better than the one-win team they were last season and time will show that.

You can build and make progress with the program by playing these games for many reasons but the biggest reason is that sports are a form of entertainment. Are you not entertained when they play and especially when they win the big games, especially when the odds may seem to be against us?

In the meantime, fans get games they are excited to see and buy tickets for or turn on their TVs to watch. I know I am not afraid of anyone and I am ready for Syracuse football to play big, give two claps and a Ric Flair on opponents of any ranking and level of success by beating the best to become the best.