As we go deeper and deeper into the current environment that has become college football, less and less of what is familiar still remains.
The Big East Conference has not been spared in the ever-changing climate. Syracuse and Pittsburgh are spending their last season in the conference before moving to the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and will soon have to travel down the east coast for teams in the Carolinas as well as more opposition in Florida.
Syracuse Orange football head coach Doug Marrone did not think that Syracuse would be playing so far from New York for in-conference match-ups.
“For me it goes back a long time ago,” said Marrone. “I’m from New York. I played college football here in New York. I’m a big northeast football fan.”
“We had the Penn States and the Boston Colleges and things like that and Navy was in there, Maryland who was in there,” Marrone continued. “We’d play those teams year in and year out when I was a player so for me, my mind has been on northeastern football and…with the way the conferences are now, it’s very difficult. And this is what college football has evolved to.”
Marrone, shocked to say this, thinks that he may be a fan of what is considered the old state of things for college football.
“I think I’m more, maybe I guess, old-fashioned,” Marrone expressed. “I can’t believe I’m saying that. I’m 48, will be 48, but it’s always been tough ‘cause I always believed in northeastern football. And I always thought that we were playing here. Pitt, Penn State, Syracuse. West Virginia was in there. To me, when I was growing up, that’s what I always thought about. That’s what I always would have liked to see happen. But it didn’t, and you have to move on.”
If the Orange had remained in the Big East, there was the possibly of playing regular season games in states like California, Idaho, and Texas.
In the ACC, Syracuse stays on the east coast, but will have to go outside of the northeast there, also, as they travel down the coast to face teams in the southeastern portion of the United States.
Although Marrone does not see the northeastern football he grew up with and played as a member of, he has not taken his focus off of the task at hand.
“This is what we do. I mean, this is our job. This is our profession. We chose it, so you go after it 110% each week,” Marrone stated. “I mean everybody’s working as hard as they can to beat their upcoming opponent and then putting all their energy into that. I don’t think [of] the sentimental part of things, at least for me, it’s really not a part of it.”
But thinking of the future has not prevented Marrone from locking in on the present and the team’s current season.
“As far as scheduling, that’s complex, too, so I don’t really know what the future is gonna hold and I’m not really too worried about the future ‘cause right now I got enough to worry about at the present, getting this football team to play better and not turn the ball over.”
Syracuse will face UConn at home in the Carrier Dome on Friday, October 19th, at 8pm Eastern.