According to the Sporting News, this year’s Syracuse football team has the most difficult non-conference schedule in the country. With four games against BCS conference teams, only one of which will be played at the Carrier Dome, it is hard to argue with them but the big question is: is this good or bad for the team and the program as a whole?
Most people would surely say, “Well of course this is a bad thing, now Syracuse is going to struggle to just make a bowl game,” but I think there are many more dimensions to the situation.
First of all the reality is that Syracuse football is not going to be contending for an at-large BCS bowl bid this season and even with this ridiculous non-conference schedule they can still win the Big East if they reach their top potential. With that best case scenario aside, this year’s schedule allows the team to gain valuable experience playing top notch competition as they prepare to make their move into the Atlantic Coast Conference next season.
By getting a chance to face the possible number one team in the country (USC) in the Meadowlands and having to play a top SEC team (Missouri) on the road, the Orange will not only get an opportunity to test their skills against some of the best in the nation but they will also generate tons of national media exposure which will surely help their recruiting efforts in the future.
This team and this program still have a lot of work to do if they hope to once again become relevant in the world of college football. However I believe that this tough schedule will be beneficial in the end because it will require every player to come out each and every gameday with their best possible effort on the field.
Doug Marrone knows that in order to be the best, you must beat the best and that is more apparent than ever when you take a look at this year’s list of opponents for Syracuse. Chances are that they will lose more of these non-conference games than they win, and it may cost them an invitation to the postseason but hopefully the most rigorous schedule in the country will pay dividends in the future.