As a native of Syracuse, New York, I was shocked when our mediocre football team won just barely enough games to be selected to play in the “Everyone Gets A Trophy Bowl” here in Houston. Don’t get me wrong, I love Syracuse football, basketball, and lacrosse. But let’s face it, the football team has been less than stellar for the better part of a decade. They managed to win a few games this season and since the NCAA is always looking for ways to make more money they invented a bunch of no-name lame bowl games for mediocre teams to play in. Ironically, Syracuse came to Houston to play in their bowl game – so, hey, moving to Houston pays off! Nice!
So we course we got tickets as soon as we heard. I grabbed some upper lever seats because they were only $30, and I’m cheap. They were on the 50-yard line so I was quite content. We arrived early enough to beat traffic and get a parking spot – but only because there was no traffic to beat. We walked into the stadium and it was basically empty – even an hour before the game started. There were a number of stadium officials on the upper levels tracking down attendees and giving us free upgrades to the first/field level because they needed to fill seats to make it look better on TV. This, while a bonus for us, was not a good sign.
Our upgraded tickets were awesome – first level, right on the 30-yard line. Sadly, there were not a lot of Orange fans in attendance. The Minnesota fans came out in decent numbers though, so good for them. But, us Syracuse fans did the best we could.
I’d say the stadium, which is a very large stadium, was barely 1/4 full at most. Pretty embarrassing for the NCAA I’d think. You can’t even get local Houstonians, who take football quite seriously, to come out for a bowl game; despite it being between two completely mediocre and non-local teams. They certainly didn’t expect people to travel literally over 1,000 miles from either New York or Minnesota to attend the game did they? On a Friday? Right after Christmas?
But, we went, and we had a great time. We got to cheer on the Syracuse Orangemen and got to see a pretty decent game. The 4th quarter was pretty hectic and Syracuse had a hell of a finish for the win. In the end I kind of liked that it was a small relaxed crowd. We weren’t squished or spilled on and could easily move about for concessions. Oh, and we were out of the parking lot and on the way home in under 5 minutes.
I call that a win any day.
Now, time to concentrate on SU basketball and the road to the undeniably absolute best time of year for sports: March Madness.
LET’S GO ORANGE!!