By Sean Fernandez
Now that we are officially en route to the Atlantic Coast Conference for the year 2013, I thought itíd be a good time to take a look at all of our fellow members, and try to figure out what kind of a rivalry weíll have with them, if any at all.
As a disclaimer, I realize that any big time rivalry will take time to develop, and it wonít appear overnight. The passionate distaste that we have for all things Georgetown was acquired after years and years of epic battles on the court, for example. Sooner or later, weíll make rivals in the ACC. I thought itíd be fun to figure out with who.
Thereís some potential for a rivalry to develop here. First off, BC is the closest ACC school to Syracuse, and itís not even close. Fans will likely flock from all across New York to the BC Campus in Chestnut Hill, MA to watch games. Donít be surprised orange and navy shirts are just as common in the stands as maroon and gold when the Orange come to town, and donít be surprised if the Eagle faithful take offense to that.
It wonít be the first time that Syracuse and Boston College were part of the same conference, either. BC was a founding member of the Big East, and remained until 2005, when they pulled off the same move that Syracuse is in the midst of completing.
Being in the same conference, the two schools played their fair share of games against each other. Perhaps the most memorable came on the football field the final game of the 2004 season, when SU DB Diamond Ferri stole the show, and a BCS-berth from the Eagles. He returned an interception for a touchdown, ran for 141 yards, and scored 2 offensive TDís in a 43-17 Orange victory.
Syracuse is superior to BC in basketball, football, and lacrosse, which may hinder a serious rivalry from forming right away. With that being said, the geographic proximity and past history between these schools leaves some room for some friendly hatred to occur. Virginia Tech-
Flashback to 2003. The ACC is in the process of expanding. Theyíre hoping to lure in Boston College (successful), Miami (successful), and Syracuse (unsuccessful at the time). Instead, they surprise a bunch of people and bring in Virginia Tech.
Does anyone know why SU never received a formal invitation? The answer is Mr. Mark Warner, former governor of the state of Virginia. He lobbied, lobbied, and lobbied some more to persuade the presidents of the 9 ACC schools to vote in favor of giving an invitation to Va. Tech, not SU.
Virginia Tech took our spot in the ACC nearly a decade ago. It may have caused some unpleasant feelings back in the day, so whoís to say they canít be rekindled?
The Hokies pride themselves on their football team, and the pride of Syracuse is obviously the basketball team. This may prevent a big rivalry, but a Syracuse vs. Va Tech clash from time to time could be fun. Clemson University-
Clemson fans wave orange flags around at football games, attempt to fill their arenas with as much orange as possible, and wear orange jerseys for a good portion of their games. Just based on that, some SU fans may feel obliged to dislike them.
If Syracuse and Clemson were to develop a rivalry, itíd be a constant battle for the color orange. Could be fun, right?
Clemson has a football team that is always among the best in the conference, and a basketball team that has made the NCAA tournament in 4 of the past 5 years. Theyíve been pretty successful between those two sports, although lacrosse isnít exactly their forte. University of Virginia-
Taking the color wars a little further, how about a battle for the combination of orange AND navy? That could be on the line when these two meet.
The Orange should have an advantage in basketball, without question. With that being said though, the lacrosse field will most likely be the venue for the biggest matchups between the Orange and Wahoos. Georgia Tech-
These two schools have met very rarely in just about all sports and donít have all that much in common that would suggest a rivalry in the works.
UnlessÖ And I know Iím really, really reaching here, but what if our beloved mascot Otto has an issue with the fact that GT is located in the ĎPeach Stateí and fuels a revolt against a team that has anything to do with a different citrus-y fruit. He could show Buzz the Yellow Jacket who the boss is, and it could start a big fiasco?
Ok, forget it. Any rivalry with Georgia Tech will take a while to develop. University of North Carolina-
When thinking about the ACC, the University of North Carolina has to be one of the first schools to come to mind. They have great all-around academics and athletics, and a fan base that could rival the passionate contingent of Orange fans.
Going back a few decades, Syracuse defeated the Tar Heels 79-75 to advance to the Final Four in 1987. These two schools have met a few times in the NCAA tournament already, and will almost certainly be competing for ACC titles in basketball right away.
Football and lacrosse should be interesting, too. Iíd give the football edge to UNC and the lax edge to Syracuse, but both sports can definitely produce entertaining games on a yearly basis.
It sounds all dandy and sweet, but letís not forget that UNC and their fans use up an obscene amount of hatred on their Tobacco Road neighbors Duke (or Dook, as they say), and NC State. A rivalry with Syracuse could be tough to balance. Duke University-
How about them Blue Devils?
Boeheim vs. Coach K, Boeheimburg vs. Krzyzewski-ville, etc. The list goes on. The aura of greatness surrounding these two basketball-enriched schools is pretty amazing, and is something that will draw huge, possibly even record-breaking crowds into the Carrier Dome during the winter months.
We wonít even bother to discuss Duke Football, but the lacrosse teams between DU and SU are pretty similar, and have done battle from time-to-time. In fact, Duke knocked Syracuse out of this yearís NCAA Lacrosse Tournament.
Duke always seems to be the subject of mass hatred from teams all over the country. I wouldnít be surprised if SU fans join in on the party, although Duke does have their big rivalry already that isnít going anywhere. University of Pittsburgh-
Syracuse and Pittsburgh are making the Big East-to-ACC move together, but that doesnít mean they have to like each other. The basketball and football teams for these two schools have always put on a good show, and have been doing battle since Pitt joined the Big East in 1982.
Chances are that these two teams will continue to play frequently because of their proximity to one another and the history they have. Iíd expect the rivalry between Syracuse and Pittsburgh to grow with every game they play. University of Maryland-
UMD and Syracuse are both part of an elite group of schools that can boast a National Championship in Menís Basketball, Football, and Lacrosse. Assuming Mark Turgeon and the Terps Basketball program revives itself over the next decade or so, this could become quite the rivalry. BB, FB, LAX could all compete with each other, not to mention the fact that there are a good amount of Syracuse alumni and fans in the D.C. area.
Letís also not forget that SU Lax saw its 2011 NCAA Tournament run end with a loss to the Terrapins, and that UMD has a journalism school that could rival Newhouse. A lot of competition is going on between these two, and we havenít even joined the conference yet.
I wouldnít at all be surprised if Syracuse and Maryland end up developing some form of a rivalry, given their respective histories and similarities.
On a personal note, Iím really hoping that Syracuse and Maryland grow to become rivals. When deciding which college to attend, I was torn between these two schools. After going back and forth for weeks, I thought I made up my mind. I told my parents that I was pretty sure Iíd be a Terp. Then I came to my senses the next day, and I chose to be an Orange. Best decision of my life. Hands down. Florida State University-
Both SU and FSU were paired in the East Region of the NCAA Menís Basketball Tournament this past year, and many analysts had them meeting in the Elite-8. That couldíve been a good way to jumpstart a rivalry, but obviously it never happened. Either way, Leonard Hamilton has his ĎNoles squad on the rise.
Nearly 1,300 miles separate these two schools and thereís not much history between the two, so itís tough to envision a big-time rivalry developing. Wake Forest University-
How can we forget the way the SU Football season started last year? Beating Wake 36-29 in a thrilling, come-from-behind victory at the Dome. If this game is any indication of how the matchups will go between the Orange and the Demon Deacons, things could get pretty interesting. Maybe even Ďroll-the-quadí interesting. --> Check it out.
WFU is known for producing NBA greats Chris Paul and Tim Duncan (as well as large numbers of Fortune-500 executives), but basketball success seems to be behind them, at least for now. Theyíll have to get back on their feet for any rivalry with the Orange to surface. North Carolina State University
Located down the road from Duke and UNC, NC State has often has their hands full trying to compete with rivals that are normally out of their league.
The Wolfpack hosted the Orange earlier this basketball season, which ended up being an 88-72 win for Syracuse. NC State played tough, and they seem to only be getting better. They have one of the best recruiting classes in the nation coming in as part of the class of 2012.
Other than that game, though, Syracuse hasn't really played NC State very much. Miami (FL)-
Like Boston College, Miami also called the Big East home for quite a while. They joined in 1991, when the conference was looking to add a football powerhouse.
In the Canesí first season as a member of the Big East, Syracuse QB Martin Graves almost overcame severe stomach pains and vomiting to lead a comeback over the then 9-0 Hurricanes. His last second pass came up 3 yards short, and Miami ended up winning the game, and the Orange Bowl that year.
Games with Miami could bring back memories of the 90ís for some folks, but itíll take a while for two schools located 1,400 miles apart to form a rivalry. Any matchup between these two, though, would feature my two favorite mascots in all of college athletics- Otto the Orange (obviously), and Sebastian the Ibis (below). Yesterday, we tweeted asking for your thoughts on who will be Syracuseís biggest rivals in 10 or so years. Itís really difficult to tell, but Iím going to say that our three biggest rivals in the ACC will beÖ Pittsburgh, Maryland, and UNC (with the Georgetown rivalry staying strong with an annual out-of-conference game).