Oh, the promise of a new football season.
The sun was shining when I pulled my car to the curb at the downtown offices of SMG and whisked my dear wife Karen to a Friday evening up on the Syracuse University hill.
I’d dropped her off earlier than her usual starting time, good strategy, but that found our usual down-the-hill parking lot wide open but unmanned, empty but for the signs warning that the spots there were only for the dental practice patrons. Should we pull in and bank that our friendly guy would arrive at 5 to collect our $6? But across the street, for the first time, a placard proclaimed a new lot open for game parking, priced at $5. I pulled in and paid. We sat in the air-conditioned car and tailgated from the cooler I’d packed. We felt guilty as our friend arrived, set up his signs, and saw us watching as our usual crowd arrived and paid him for his spots. This Saturday we’ll go back to the usual routing, extra buck be damned.
Click on any gallery photo for a description. Click on the bottom right photo in any gallery for an enlarged slide show.
Beverages consumed, we walked up the hill and watched the Syracuse fans in various stages of game preparation. I was ready with my iPhone 6.
When we reached the Sheraton, we decided to bypass the outside buffet, as invited as it looked and smelled, and head inside instead.
There was enough time to check out if the inside, air-conditioned restaurant had any open tables. Score.
After finishing our pre-game dinner, we decided to check out the merchandise for any new arrivals. Karen liked a thing or two, but they remained on the table. Plenty of season left. It’s a seven-home game year, in fact, up one from 2014.
Then we headed the rest of the way up, deciding we’d go straight for the dome, realizing our table meal had cost us the time to see the band and Otto the Orange perform on the quad. Yes, before this Saturday’s 12:30 ACC season opener vs. the Wake Forest Demon Deacons.
It was very warm inside the Carrier Dome, named in the early 1980s for the air-conditioning company then headquartered in Syracuse but never graced with air conditioning.
We were quite glad to find the cushion-and-seat-backs I’d purchased for the first time in this, our seventh year of buying season tickets for the whole year. We’d seen them last year making our neighbors to the left more comfortable. Plus, in this area of no otherwise delineation, they’ll prevent the folks to the right from squishing us in beyond their seating squares. Score again.
As far as the game went, the Orange quickly lost its starting quarterback, Terrel Hunt, to a season-ending Achilles injury.
I wrote about what that means in many ways in my Mark It Up community column this morning for Syracuse Public Media site waer.org.
You can read my story by clicking the link below.
And it was so warm that Karen took a break after the first quarter. When she returned, she told me she’d cooled down by stepping outside the doors for a few moments.
Syracuse won 47-0. Rhode Island wasn’t much of a test, obviously.
Will the Orange be better than last year’s 3-9 with a new starting quarterback, again? How will they fit into the national scope?
Many frontline players were lost for the season in game one, including several from the ACC: Pittsburgh’s returning player-of-the year running back James Conner, and Virginia Tech’s quarterback Michael Brewer. Syracuse certainly is not in this tough sport alone.
Did you watch any college football in the first weekend, and if so, what were your impressions? Would you give up on the season if you lost your top player in week one, or root harder? Which is your favorite photo, and why?