The Villanova Wildcats visit the Carrier Dome on Saturday at noon, in what will, at least up to this point, be the biggest home game of the season for Syracuse. Big for a couple reasons: the matchup, and the crowd. To prepare you for what promises to be an epic event, we here at Orange::44 want to take this opportunity to answer some questions you may have about this weekend, especially for those making their first trip to the Dome or those who may not get to the Dome as often as they would like.
I hear this game might break the attendance record? What's the record, and why might it be broken?
Earlier in the week it was reported that over 33,000 tickets had been sold for the Villanova game. The record, set at the Villanova game last year, is 34,616, what the Dome at the time deemed a sell out. The Dome says they have added seats since then, making it possible to seat more. The Athletics Department has began an aggressive marketing campaign encouraging people to buy "long range seats" near the far corners in the Dome. This is your chance to be a "Long Ranger" and get your special T-Shirt for $5 from Manny's to commemorate the event.
If I become a Long Ranger, will I be able to see the game?
Honestly, this is a fair question. I know some people who had long range seats last year who had a difficult time seeing. The Carrier Dome claims they don't sell seats with an obstructed view, but if you can't see the Court, surely you can see a video board. It will be worth it either way.
What time does the game start, and when should I get there?
Probably the worst part of this game is that it starts at noon. That means that 33,000+ people need to pack into the Dome in a short amount of time. I would suggest doing everything early: leave your home early, get a parking spot early, get to the Dome early, and get to your seats early. You should plan to be in your seats no later than 11:45. That way, if you should happen to get stuck in the concourse or stairwell or beer line or aisle, you'll have some extra time built in so that you won't miss the tip.
You mentioned beer lines. What's the beer situation in the Dome?
Unfortunately, gone are they days when you could order four 16-ounce Bud Lights for $4 each. The maximum per ID is two beers per visit to the beer stand, and the typical price is $6 for 16-ounces. Some stands have craft beers (Sam Adams, Saranac, etc.) that may cost a bit more. There are also mini wine bottles available for I believe $6 as well. And of course if you should happen to be a high roller who enjoys the idea of a NYC Nightclub in the Carrier Dome and you buy a membership to Club44, you'll have a full bar from which to choose your potent potable.
Are there any special cheers or crowd interactions that occur during games I need to be aware of?
The most important is that at the beginning of each half, all fans are to stand and clap (theoretically in unison) until Syracuse scores a field goal. Even if there's a 19-0 run and Syracuse doesn't score for nearly 8 minutes of game time. Let's pray to God that doesn't happen in the Dome! Other than that, there may be some cheerleader-led cheers (GO ORANGE or LETS GO SU) but they're not very well executed. Cotton Eyed Joe and any crazy dancing to go along with that seems to have been banned from the Dome, much to my delight. But do not, under any circumstances, participate in the wave -- especially during game play! The Syracuse blogging community made a Public Service Announcement last year about the dangers of the wave. Check it out. Also, during the introduction of the opposing team's starters, it is tradition to yell, in order: Who's He? So What? Who Cares? Big Deal! Big Shit! Watch the band members behind the baskets for cues.
Anything else I need to know?
Bring a garbage bag to put your coat in so it doesn't get melted snow & salt stains or beer spilled on it. WEAR ORANGE! Cheer loudly for Syracuse. Make fun of Villanova head coach Jay Wright's impeccable attire. Don't get so drunk at the Dome that you fall over people. Don't throw trash or anything else at anyone else. Don't vomit. Celebrate the victory at Faegan's. Don't throw ice at traffic. Don't punch people. And of course, GO ORANGE!