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HTS 2020: Syracuse

Well, we’ve played them three times. The last one did not go well for them.

Georgia Tech v Syracuse X
Here’s an even older picture via Getty Images than the 2013 game I was looking for.

I think I must have angered someone in scheduling. We’re now on week 3 and I’ve had to write one of these straight fresh for every game so far. Not that I’m complaining about putting in #work all the way down to the layout, but it does seem like a rather unlucky break.

Syracuse Orange

Opponent Background:

  • Conference: Conference: Atlantic Coast Conference (2013 - present)
  • Location: Syracuse, New York
  • All-time Record: 724-549-49 (.566)
  • Home Stadium: Carrier Dome (Capacity: 49,250)
  • National Championships: 1 — 1959
  • College Football Playoff Appearances: N/A
  • New Year’s Six Bowl Games: 3 — (Orange: 3 - 1952, 1958, 1998 Cotton: 1 - 1959 Sugar: 2 - 1964, 1987 Peach: 1 - 1989 Fiesta: 2 - 1993, 1997)
  • Conference Championships: 11 — (ECAC*: 1952, 1956, 1959, 1966, 1987, 1992 Big East: 1996, 1997, 1998, 2004, 2012)
    *counting Lambert Trophies awarded by the ECAC as conference titles, per Wikipedia convention
  • Division Championships: 0 — (N/A)
  • 2017 Season Record: 5 - 7 (2 - 6 ACC)

Past Results:

  • Team Head-to-Head Record: 3-0-0 (1.000)
  • Recent Meetings:
  • 2001 - 13-7 Georgia Tech (East Rutherford, NJ)
  • 2004 - 51-14 Georgia Tech (Orlando, FL)
  • 2013 - 56-0 Georgia Tech (Atlanta, GA)
  • Coach Head-to-Head Record: 0-0-0 (N/A)
  • Tech record against Central Florida in this week’s venue: 0-0-0 (N/A)

2020 Football Schedule

2020 Football Schedule

Date Time (if known) Opponent Conference Historical Record Venue Result Attendence
Date Time (if known) Opponent Conference Historical Record Venue Result Attendence
September 12 3:30 p.m. (ABC) @ Florida State Atlantic Coast 11-14-1 Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, FL 16-13 W (1 - 0) 17,538
September 19 3:30 p.m. (ABC) UCF American Athletic 3-1-0 Bobby Dodd Stadium, Atlanta, GA 21-49 L (1 - 1) 11,000
September 26 12:00 p.m. (RSNs) @ Syracuse Atlantic Coast 3-1-0 Carrier Dome, Syracuse, NY 20-37 L (1 - 2) 0
October 9 7:00 p.m. (ESPN) Louisville Atlantic Coast 1-0-0 Bobby Dodd Stadium, Atlanta, GA 46-27 W (2 - 2) 11,000
October 17 12:00 p.m. (ABC) Clemson Atlantic Coast 50-32-2 Bobby Dodd Stadium, Atlanta, GA [REDACTED] L (2 - 3) 11,000
October 24 4:00 p.m. (ACCN) @ Boston College Atlantic Coast 7-2-0 Alumni Stadium, Chestnut Hill, MA 27-48 L (2 - 4) 0
October 31 3:30 p.m. (ABC) Notre Dame Atlantic Coast 6-28-1 Bobby Dodd Stadium, Atlanta, GA
November 14 Pittsburgh Atlantic Coast 5-9-0 Bobby Dodd Stadium, Atlanta, GA
November 21 @ Miami (FL) Atlantic Coast 13-12-0 Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, FL
November 28 Duke Atlantic Coast 51-35-1 Bobby Dodd Stadium, Atlanta, GA
December 5 @ NC State Atlantic Coast 20-10-0 Carter-Finley Stadium, Raleigh, NC
2020 Georgia Tech Football Schedule Arranged by Jake Grant

Orange You Glad You’re Not Syracuse

See, thing is, they’re actually a respectable and historic program. I just wanted to make a bad pun. Maybe if this were basketball, I’d be a little more mean — for some reason I just cannot stand them, perhaps tied into a very air-ball-ish game in winter of 2017 — but that’s a different column for another time. Huh, perhaps I should roll this column into basketball season? Anyways, let’s focus up, we’re here to talk Syracuse Orange football, and probably mostly that, since we sure haven’t crossed paths with them all that often for two programs that have played a combined quarter-millennium of football.

I think the fact that we talked about basketball in the second sentence of the Syracuse football preview says a lot about the athletic prowess, particularly recently, of the Orange. But to get to today, we have to start in 1870.

It’s interesting, really, that Syracuse can trace its athletic roots all the way back to 1870. Considering the school had just been founded/reorganized/relocated — I’m not sure what the proper term would be, based on their ties to an earlier seminary — in its current form, though with some ties to the United Methodist Church that aren’t quite so pronounced in the modern day. The team they fielded that first year was a ragtag crew of baseball players, which makes sense, as the city of Syracuse was very rabid for the sport in its early days. For all the chirping Tech gets about being a Power 5 anomaly without a soccer program, particularly a women’s one, Syracuse’s baseball team existed at the varsity level on and off for 100 years before it was disestablished after the spring of 1971. Unlike a theoretical women’s soccer team at Tech, which has never existed, Syracuse has 100 years of baseball ghosts lurking around their athletic department.

Of course, one could say a similar thing on a smaller scale about our lacrosse team, in juxtaposition with theirs, though. In fact, it was perhaps the high water mark of the Georgia Tech varsity lacrosse experiment when the Orangemen, one of the founding keystones of the sport, came to Bobby Dodd Stadium for a visit. Syracuse lacrosse was founded in 1916, and won four national championships in six years in the early 1920s, before rattling off another 10 between 1980 and 2010 in the modern era. Meanwhile, the Great Depression cuts killed Georgia Tech lacrosse at the varsity level. Much like Syracuse baseball, all Tech has now is a club team.

That still doesn’t get us to football.

The first intercollegiate game was played between Syracuse and the University of Rochester. Based on the fact that they’re both universities named for the mid-sized upper New York city they’re located in, I find this fitting. Even before the construction of Archbold Stadium in 1907 thanks to the generous backing of John Archbold of Standard Oil — he contributed to the basketball stadium as well — the Orange were a prominent force in Eastern football, a feat made more impressive by the fact that the East was the polestar of early collegiate football. Between 1894 and 1908, the Orange posted winning records in every season. The high water mark of this early run was a 7-1 1901 season. After four years where the team hovered under .500 from 1909-1912, they proceeded to rattle off 23 straight years between seasons with losing records. The high point of this stretch was the 8-1 record posted in 1923. First as a player and later as a coach, Vic Hanson was the biggest name on the squad in the 1920s and 1930s. He remains one of two men, along with Amos Alonzo Stagg, pioneer of collegiate athletics at Yale and Chicago, to be inducted into both the college basketball and college football halls of fame. Wilmeth Sidat-Singh helped integrate Syracuse football around this time, as well.

After an anomaly of a 1-7 season in 1936, Syracuse bounced back for a while before sliding into their first dark era of football in the middle of World War II. Ben Schwartzwalder took the helm as head coach in the last year of this slide. His 25 year tenure is undoubtedly the golden era of Syracuse football. The Orange dominated the east, going on another length string of winning seasons, from 1950 to 1971. Right in the heart of it, his 1959 squad went 11-0 and defeated Texas in the Cotton Bowl to secure Syracuse’s only national championship to date. However, his last few years represented a quick slide into irrelevance, going 2-9 in 1971 for an ignominious end to an otherwise brilliant tenure.

I’m not sure if the conditions of Archbold Stadium had much to do with this, but the team wouldn’t find itself out of the hole they fell into just by trading out Schwartzwalder for a younger model. Their stadium, over six decades old at this point, had seen its capacity reduced from 40,000 to 26,000 because of its small, outdated construction being deemed unsuitable to safely handle that large of a crowd. Combined with the harsh Syracuse weather, and the department was in a bit of a pickle. What to do about football? Seeing that renovating the stadium was a bit of a lose-lose, and that Syracuse basketball was in need of a larger facility than their small confines in Manley Field House were able to provide, Syracuse hopped on board the end of the multi-use stadium train, specifically the uniquely 1970s trend of putting basketball teams in football stadiums, and built the Carrier Dome on the site of Archbold Stadium, which was closed with a tight upset of no. 2 Navy. One of the best perks of this is, unlike so many other multipurpose stadiums, the Carrier Dome is in the heart of things, rather than being surrounded by parking lots. As a sucker for Bobby Dodd’s similar position on Tech’s campus, this is an interesting and positive fact to have learned from doing this research. Though the university suffered for many years from a dearth of indoor practice space, the monetary benefits, exposure, and electric atmosphere from packing 33,000+ fans into a basketball game or 20,000+ into a lacrosse game is undoubtedly an advantage no other school can say they have.

And the football team responded to their new facility with a third great age of the Syracuse program. The Orange posted nineteen winning seasons in their first 23 season at the Carrier Dome, including an 11-0-1 1987 campaign under coach Dick MacPherson. Had they not tied Auburn in the Sugar Bowl, they likely would have given national champion Miami a run for their money in the polls, though based on their finish behind one-loss Florida State and Oklahoma teams, I’m not sure even that would have been enough to win a title without a Hurricanes bowl loss.

It is around the end of this streak when Georgia Tech comes into the picture. Tech and Syracuse first played in 2001 in the Meadowlands as part of a kickoff game special. Tech won that game 13-7, though, interestingly, the Orange would go on to finish with a 10-3 record, while Tech only managed to notch an 8-5 tally. They would meet again just three years later in the Frankenstein’s monster of a bowl various called the Carquest Bowl, Champs Sports Bowl, Camping World Bowl, or the Cheez-it Bowl. Let’s just call it the Game Played At The Citrus Bowl That Isn’t The Citrus Bowl. Anyways, Tech won again, this time by a score of 51-14. All of Syracuse’s wins from the season as well as the next two, eleven in total, would later be vacated due to an academic scandal. It would be the last bowl game Georgia Tech would win until the 2012 Sun Bowl.

In 2011, Syracuse and Pittsburgh announced they would be the next members of the Atlantic Coast Conference. This came after a previous spat between the conference and the schools when previous Big East members Boston College, VPISU, and Miami departed for the ACC. All’s well that end’s well, I guess. As for Syracuse, they received a rude welcome to the ACC the following year when Georgia Tech beat the brakes off of them, cruising to a 56-0 win, a monumental score for a conference game. Syracuse’s most recent peak came in 2018, when they wen 10-3 en route to a win in, you guessed it, the Not Citrus Bowl At The Citrus Bowl.

Based on the three games we’ve played against Syracuse so far, I have developed my score prediction: 80 to -4.

Jake Grant, data via Winsipedia

I see no way this doesn’t happen.

Tomorrow, Tech travels to the Carrier Dome for the very first time, a strange thing to say about a team that’s been in the conference for eight years now. Tune in to watch on your local RSN or WatchESPN, or it can be heard over the airwaves in the usual suspects, 680 AM / 93.7 FM and the Georgia Tech IMG Sports Radio Network. With the appearance of the historical matchup preview, that means it’s noon on Friday, and that concludes From the Rumble Seat’s regularly scheduled pregame content. Tune in tomorrow starting at 6:00 AM for How to Watch continuing through the gameday thread and the postgame recap. Go Jackets!