I stumbled upon these two articles from our sister sites Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician (Syracuse Orange) and The Smoking Musket (West Virginia Mountaineers) recently about their ideal schedules if their teams were independent.
For a long time, lacrosse didn’t really have conferences until recently. Syracuse joined the Big East in lacrosse for the 2010 season, before heading to the ACC for the 2014 season. Some of their recent rivalries have disappeared, especially since the move to the ACC.
So without further ado, here’s what my ideal independent schedule would look like. I would schedule 14 games in a season. Feel free to add your thoughts and comments below.
The following six games would happen every year.
- Albany Great Danes (series record: 17-1) — In recent years, they’ve grown nationally as a program. With the addition of Tehoka Nanticoke, they will continue to grow in popularity, and help Cuse’s strength of schedule.
- Cornell Big Red (series record: 64-37-1) — A long-time Central New York rivalry definitely stays, plus they’re usually good.
- Hobart Statesmen (series record: 76-26-2) — Another long-time CNY rivalry, and it’s also for the Kraus-Simmons Trophy. The buses will continue to get egged.
- Johns Hopkins Blue Jays (series record: 26-30-1) — One of the best rivalries out there, began playing annually in the early 1980s.
- Princeton Tigers (series record: 20-9) — Bring the damn game back! I would think both teams are interested in playing each other again, and I hope it happens sooner rather than later.
- Virginia Cavaliers (series record: 17-16) — It’s been a fun rivalry since the mid 1990s, and it’s intensified with both teams now in the ACC.
Games left: 8
These games aren’t as important as the annual ones, but they’d be played either annually or from time-to-time. I’d schedule six of these games each season.
- Army Black Knights (series record: 25-40) — Army is always such a tough team to prepare for and play against. Any team who plays them has to realize they’re playing against actual soldiers.
- Colgate Raiders (series record: 48-11-1) — From 1921 until 1979, they usually faced off each year, with a few gaps in between. They took advantage of Cuse’s move to the ACC, and they’ve played each other after their respective conference tournaments.
- Duke Blue Devils (series record: 12-7) — Duke’s played the Orange 11 times in the seven years, so they should know each other very well by now.
- Hofstra Pride (series record: 12-4) — An interesting choice, but the two teams have scrimmaged each other for a good amount of time. The last time a regular season meeting occurred was back in 2003 in Hempstead (Hofstra won, 8-6). I would be open to play the Pride in the regular season, and preferably on Long Island. Plus, Shuart Stadium is a heck of a venue.
- North Carolina Tar Heels (series record: 18-8) — The Tar Heels have played the Orange more than Duke and Notre Dame have. The past seven meetings in four years have been thrilling, so I’d like to see this game stay.
- Penn State Nittany Lions (series record: 46-11-1) — An interesting choice, but the two teams have played in 58 games against each other (Cuse leads the overall series 46-11-1). It’s a four-hour drive of a little over 230 miles between the two schools, so it’s possible. Plus Jeff Tambroni used to be the head coach at Cornell, so he knows the Orange very well.
- Rutgers Scarlet Knights (series record: 41-8) — Appease the North Jersey folks and they’re a classic Big East team. Also becoming pretty good themselves.
- UMass Minutemen (series record: 28-8) — Nick Mariano’s old school used to be a common opponent for the Orange, but Cuse has a 28-8 advantage against the Minutemen. Could be a good CAA opponent.
Games left: 2
Remaining Schedule Openings
Two games remain, and I’d schedule one game in each of the two following categories:
- Brown Bears (series record: 17-1) — Bruno has been dominated by Otto, going 1-17 all-time. But recent success, especially under Lars Tiffany, have helped turn the program around.
- Georgetown Hoyas (series record: 17-5) — It’s (read the time) and, you know the rest if you’re a Cuse fan.
- Jacksonville Dolphins (series record: 0-0) — They lose Casey Powell, but the Dolphins still have a Cuse alum in head coach John Galloway. The two teams have never played each other.
- Loyola Greyhounds (series record: 19-5) — The team that fell in the 1990 NCAA Championship Game (according to everyone except the NCAA but they don’t have that trophy so...) has won a title of their own in 2012. Plus, Pat Spencer.
- Navy Midshipmen (series record: 8-18) — Also would be known as the “1987 Sucks Classic” and held in Annapolis. Like Championship Weekend should be, IF it decides to go to a single location every year (although Philly would also be grand).
- Penn Quakers (series record: 25-1-1) — They were the team that gave up the famous “Air Gait” goal by Gary Gait.
- Villanova Wildcats (series record: 6-2) — Another trip to Philly (the Main Line, fine). I’m fine with that.
Games left: 1
Local New York Teams
- Binghamton Bearcats (series record: 6-0) — Did well this year with Tom Moore, but they’ve been a pretty easy game to win for the most part.
- Canisius Golden Griffins (series record: 2-0) — The Orange are 2-0 against the team from Buffalo, and it’s a short trip.
- Marist Red Foxes (series record: 1-0) — Their only meeting came in the 2015 NCAA Tournament, but the Red Foxes have played well recently.
- Siena Saints (series record: 7-0) — They’ve played Cuse in their season opener for the past four seasons and they haven’t been close games.
- St. John’s Red Storm (series record: 12-0) — Another Long Island rival and Big East foe. This past season’s one-goal affair was the closest margin of victory for Cuse since 2012’s one-goal win.
- Stony Brook Seawolves (series record: 0-0) — Surprisingly, the two teams have never played each other in the regular season. It’s another Long Island team, which is another place the Orange do very well in recruiting.
Games left: 0