Wipe that one last tear for the Big East.
Syracuse is now officially a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
July 1, 2013. It’s the day that’s been in the making since the surprise announcement in September, 2011, that Syracuse and Pitt were changing league allegiance. Since, Notre Dame was added (in all sports except football and hockey) to make it a trio.
ACC officials are making the most of the New York connection. Famous Orange basketball coach Jim Boeheim has been invited to join the party that will ring the closing bell today at the New York Stock Exchange to commemorate the historical change in the ACC’s footprint.
As a graduate of the University of Maryland, the ACC has been in my blood since the day 3 1/2 decades ago that I stood on the concourse of Cole Field House and stared down in wonder on the famous basketball court that held the battles between the Terrapins and Tar Heels, Blue Devils, Demon Deacons, Wolfpack …
My Terps will compete against the Orange this one season before heading off to join the Big Ten. In fact, Syracuse will visit College Park in both football and basketball in 2013-14 among the Orange’s skirmishes with the Seminoles, Tigers, Yellow Jackets, Eagles …
Mike Waters is in Manhattan today to write about the occasion. The veteran basketball reporter for the big daily also happens to be my co-author for “The Syracuse Fan’s Survival Guide to the ACC.” In the book, published by Reedy Press of St. Louis, we write about ACC traditions and help Orange fans prepare for that trip down Tobacco Road.
It’ll be a handy primer to keep on the coffee table during the football and basketball seasons.
Today, though, I offer for Syracuse fans these three things to prepare for in the new league.
The Carolina core. Four of the original ACC schools call North Carolina home, and another is across the border in South Carolina. Yes, North Carolina, Duke, North Carolina State, Wake Forest and Clemson provide a powerful bloc. At some point, Syracuse fans will feel somewhat like and outlier. And sometime, some game, against one or all of these schools, the Orange fans will see a call they imagine to favor the ‘Heels or ‘Pack or Devils or Deacs and scream together this cheer: “Carolina refs! Carolina refs!”
Fighting for football. The Orange is leaving one conference that was looked down upon by other BCS league fans for another that will be looked down upon by other BCS league fans. In the world of the SEC and Big Ten, the top of the ACC will never match up to their best squads, the stories will go. Pac 12 and Big 12, too. So, as much as you will come to hate Florida State, Clemson and Georgia Tech when they’re playing Syracuse, you will come to root for them in their annual rivalry games against Florida, South Carolina and Georgia. Go ACC. Stick it to the SEC!
Gloating for basketball. On the flip side, ACC fans feel it is their birthright to be the best in basketball. North Carolina, Duke and Maryland have five national championships among them in the last dozen years to back that up. North Carolina State won one each in the 70s and 80s, too. Throw in Syracuse’s title in 2003 and Final Four run last season, and Louisville’s 2013 crown when the Cardinals join the ACC next season, and that feeling of ACC might will grow further. This cheer is bound to arrive when a big non-conference foe goes down in the Dome: “A-C-C! A-C-C!”
Syracuse’s first ACC football game is Oct. 5, against Clemson in the Carrier Dome. Get ready to build new rivalries.