There's technically no preseason in college football, with teams coming right out of the chute playing games that count against varying levels of competition.
But if you construct a schedule that begins with a cupcake home game against an FCS opponent, as Syracuse has done, you have effectively manufactured a preseason tune-up before diving into the legitimate competition on the rest of your schedule.
And that may work well for preparation and maybe even evaluation purposes for the team and coaching staff, but it's a major letdown for fans who can look around the rest of the ACC and see teams like Florida State (playing Oklahoma State on a neutral field), Clemson (visiting Georgia), and even lowly Virginia (hosting UCLA) engaged in marquee showdowns against power conference foes on this opening weekend of action.
It's also a letdown for analysts/pundits/bloggers who have to decide whether an in-depth breakdown of Villanova's personnel is relevant or even possible. I have decided it isn't, so I'll leave you with a predicted score of Syracuse 45, Villanova 10 and the transcripts of a pair of wraps I've done for our newsroom which hammer home my feelings on the subject.
Well it’s a joke of a game and you probably won’t be able to watch it on tv, but the SU football team does in fact begin the 2014 season tonight at the Dome against FCS power Villanova. The rare Friday night opener, which kicks off at 7:30 this evening, should theoretically give the Orange and Wildcats a chance to grab a big chunk of the eyeballs focused on the start of the college football season. Unfortunately, all 6 of the other games being played tonight are being nationally televised, while the Cuse and the Cats have been relegated to a Time Warner pay channel or ESPN’s internet outlet, ESPN3. On the plus side, I’m sure there are plenty of tickets still available.
Following a 7-6 campaign which culminated in a 21-17 Texas Bowl win over Minnesota, the Orange football team begins its second season in the ACC, and second season under the leadership of head coach Scott Shafer, tonight at the Dome against Villanova. Cuse-Nova has developed into a nice rivalry in basketball, but Villanova’s status as an FCS team limits the excitement of the 2014 season opener, which gets underway at 7:30 this evening. The good news is Syracuse will likely begin the year 1-0…the bad news is we’ll have to wait another couple weeks before evaluating them against a real, live FBS opponent.