Syracuse University Director of Athletics Dr. Daryl Gross and CEO of New Meadowlands Stadium Company Mark Lamping announced yesterday that Syracuse will play the University of Notre Dame twice at the New Meadowlands, including September 27, 2014 and September 3, 2016, and USC on September 8, 2012. The Orange will be the home team for all three games at the new stadium.
Syracuse saw the opportunity to leverage the local and national exposure for Syracuse’s football program both for their alumni support and for recruiting advantages.
"This is a tremendous opportunity for Syracuse University to be associated with the New Meadowlands," Gross said. "We embrace the opportunity to play in the New York metropolitan area, which boasts our most popular alumni base, to enhance our football program and University objectives. As the only BCS team in the state of New York, we feel it is our responsibility to represent this region successfully. The national exposure and playing these traditional college football programs are exciting for us as we look forward to re-establishing our own football tradition. The timing of this is perfect as we begin a new era in our history with head coach Doug Marrone, who grew up in this area and served as Jets offensive line coach from 2002 to 2005. The stadium is absolutely fabulous and we thank everyone at the New Meadowlands who helped make this opportunity come to fruition. We look forward to this great partnership."
New Syracuse head coach Doug Marrone was equally enthusiastic, especially about the appeal to greater NYC alumni and for recruiting: "It's great for us to have the opportunity to play in a tremendous venue that gives us terrific exposure as a University and helps the program in a lot of ways, including recruiting. We have a strong alumni presence in the metropolitan area and, hopefully, our fans here in Syracuse will join us for the trip. Our fans do a great job supporting the basketball team when we play for the Big East Championship in Madison Square Garden. We hope to gain that same type of support in this game."
Syracuse plays eight home games at the Carrier Dome this year. Gross said that the Orange will play no fewer than six home games at the Carrier Dome in those years they will play USC and Notre Dame. He feels that the addition of the twelfth game allows them to pursue such opportunities to further their football program’s goals.
Rutgers declined a longer series with Notre Dame at the Meadowlands, which is ten miles from their campus. Syracuse and Gross jumped at the chance for appearances in northern New Jersey. "It's nice to know the new Meadowlands people recruited us. We started a relationship. They're very serious about it. Obviously, we're very excited financially with the terms. It has the makings to be a terrific relationship for the future of our program."
Gross explained how the games should improve recruiting. "Recruiting is really important. To play those games in the New York area, now you hit Northern New Jersey, now you hit Long Island, now you hit New York City, now you hit Pennsylvania, you have exposure that's unrivaled.”
Meadowlands CEO Lampling was equally excited about the relationship. "We designed New Meadowlands Stadium to accommodate a variety of games, sporting events and concerts. We are thrilled to host Syracuse University, a school with rich and time-honored athletic tradition, and we likewise welcome the Orange to be a part of New Meadowlands history."
"The scheduling of these highly anticipated Syracuse games versus USC and Notre Dame means the best of college football will be in the best venue for football and stadium events," said Woody Johnson, Chairman and CEO of the New York Jets.
"The history of college football at Meadowlands runs deep, dating back to the Garden State Bowl in the 1970s and Kickoff Classics in the 1980s," said John Mara, co-owner of the New York Giants. "I am thrilled to continue this long-standing tradition, and to watch it grow at our new home."
After the University of Connecticut declined a series with Notre Dame fifteen days ago, the Orange moved in to schedule their four-game series against Notre Dame. Syracuse will travel to South Bend for games on November 21, 2015 and October 7, 2017. None of those dates for games with Syracuse correspond to the UConn proposed games.
Also worth noting is that the ND-UConn game dates in 2011 and 2013 were not replaced by Syracuse. Could other announcements be pending?
Bowl Affiliation News
The Big East affiliations with the Gator Bowl will be ended, replaced by the Champs Sports Bowl, beginning in 2010. Notre Dame could be chosen once during the four year contract. The Champs Sports Bowl is played December 27th, 28th, or 29th, while the Gator Bowl was on January 1st.
"We are thrilled to be a partner with the Champs Sports Bowl, said Big East Commissioner John Marinatto. "I know our schools are very excited about the agreement. Orlando is an outstanding destination for our teams and fans. It's going to be a great experience for everyone. The Champs Sports Bowl is an outstanding addition to the Big East bowl lineup."
"We are very excited about gaining another top pick through the Big East and Notre Dame," said Steve Hogan, CEO of Florida Citrus Sports.
For the moment, with the Big East’s decision, Notre Dame does not have any further tie-ins with the Big East and does not have any affiliations for a non-BCS January 1st bowl game. As far as setting up a tie-in with other Big East-affiliated bowls, Notre Dame Athletic Director, Jack Swarbrick said: "The Big East will present that information to us as they develop it and we'll evaluate it. We also have our own conversations with other bowls."