Syracuse, NY -- One of the final pieces to the 2012 Syracuse University football schedule is in place – and it’s the Missouri Tigers.
The Orange will play the Southeastern Conference newcomers Nov. 17 at Columbia, Mo., for its fifth non-conference game of the upcoming season, SU deputy athletics director Herman Frazier said.
While not the home date SU wanted, the game fills out a non-conference slate that includes Southern California, Sept. 8 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., games in the Carrier Dome against Northwestern (Sept. 1) and Stony Brook (Sept. 15), and a trip to Minnesota on Sept. 22.
“It’s been a long process,” said Frazier, adding that SU will now wait until the Big East Conference fills a void in the Orange’s league schedule left by West Virginia’s departure for the Big 12.
The recent deal between the Mountaineers and the league, which allows WVU to jump at the end of June instead of waiting the 27 months stipulated in Big East bylaws, leaves the football conference with just seven teams for 2012 - Cincinnati, Connecticut, Louisville, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, South Florida and the Orange.
Frazier said the Big East, which reportedly is in serious talks with Temple about joining the conference for all sports this year, has promised league members that it would provide a seventh league opponent this year. Frazier declined comment on whether Temple will be that team.
“The Big East has to assist us with that last conference game, whatever that is,” said Frazier, who expects the league to make an announcement sometime in the next seven to 10 days.
A Big East source Thursday declined to discuss the conference’s negotiations. The source did say the league never considered a “double opponent” option (playing the same team twice) as had been rumored.
The Missouri game fills a void in SU’s schedule left by the departure of Texas Christian University, which had agreed to join the Big East in November 2010 then backed out last October in favor of membership in the Big 12.
SU also talked to Florida State, Boise State, Arkansas and Nevada about filling its non-conference schedule, Frazier said, adding that head football coach Doug Marrone was “absolutely” against playing two FCS schools in the same season, as the Orange did in 2010.
Marrone has scheduled a news conference for 11 a.m. today, presumably to discuss the football schedule and the upcoming spring practice.
Frazier said his connection with Missouri athletics director Mike Aldin – the two worked together at Arizona State – was key to making the game happen. He said the Tigers were on the verge of adding a second FCS team to their schedule had a deal with the Orange not been worked out.
While the Tigers fill out SU’s non-conference schedule, the away game gives the Orange only five games in the Carrier Dome this season, since the USC game, which will be considered a home game, is in East Rutherford.
“It came down to the same set of rules for every institution. Everybody wanted home games,” Frazier said of the late scheduling difficulties
While SU athletics director Daryl Gross said in 2009 that the school would try to schedule six Dome games on years when the Orange plays at the New Meadowlands, Frazier said it just couldn’t be worked out this time around.
“TCU was going to be a home game for us. It was not his fault that TCU was allowed to get out of the conference,” Frazier said. “That’s what took us so long – because everything that we were trying to do was to bring a home game here first. At the end of the day, that was not able to happen.”
SU’s conference schedule this fall will include home games with Connecticut, Louisville and Pittsburgh, and visits to Cincinnati, Rutgers, South Florida and whatever team replaces West Virginia.
The Orange and Pittsburgh plan to join the Atlantic Coast Conference, probably next year although the teams technically are bound to the Big East until 2014. When that happens, they’ll play nine ACC football games each season with only three non-conference dates available.
SU is scheduled to play three more games at MetLife Stadium in the next four years, facing Penn State in 2013 and Notre Dame in 2014 and 2016