Are you ready for some football?
The "Countdown to Football Frustration" at the top of this page is now reading in the single digits for days. As in, less than ten days remain until the Syracuse University Orangemen begin its 2011 football campaign. I'm starting to get pretty hyped and, since you're reading this, I'm assuming you are too. But are you truly ready? Here's a partial and incomplete list of things you need to do before the season begins on September 1, 2011:
- Check out the schedule. Seems elementary, but if you don't know when the games are played, it'll be hard to be a true Orange fan. Here's a hint: the first game is at home against Wake Forest on September 1. It's a Thursday. 8pm. Carrier Dome. Be there. Or watch on espn3.com or Time Warner Cable Sports. Check out the rest of the schedule, along with game times and TV coverage, at the SU Athletics website.
- Evaluate your gameday apparel. Is it orange? Good. You're on the right track. For me, I have an orange 44 jersey from a couple seasons ago. Some may prefer an old Donovan McNabb jersey from 15 years ago, or something crazy along those lines. The more orange, the better, whether you're watching inside the Dome, have a table at Chuck's, or have a 13" tube in your parents' basement. Preseason is also a good time to make sure said apparel is clean. I think my orange 44 jersey has been wadded up in a ball on my bedroom floor since I unpacked from NYC after the Pinstripe Bowl. I need to fix that.
- Make plans with friends to attend games. I said games, plural, because you should attend as many as possible. You don't all have the luxury of living close to Syracuse and having season tickets, I get that. With such a big definition of "east" in the Big East, chances are the team will visit an area close to you. Plus this year's schedule features non-conference road trips to such exciting destinations as Los Angeles and New Orleans. Fun for the whole family!
- Learn about the team. We're all fans of "Syracuse" -- collectively, a group of large athletes that perform a function on a gridiron. And there is no I in team. But without players to make up that team, there is no team. Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician has put together the most comprehensive player by player profile available on the web, in the series Get to Know an Orange Man. Go school yourself. You'll be a better fan for it. Plus, you know, you'll really get to appreciate these hard-working student-athletes.
- Plan your tailgate. So you've decided to go to a game. And you're not going by yourself. So you and your cohorts decide to hang out before the game starts. It would suck if you were just standing around with your hands in your pockets. This down time is much better spent grilling, eating, drinking, sharing a laugh, and maybe even harassing opposing teams' fans. Don't be an amateur tailgater; be sure to plan ahead. Assign tasks to people within your group. Make sure you have the essentials, but don't be afraid to splurge from time to time. It's advisable to plan your particular food/drink theme for the date/time of the game you're attending. You'll tailgate much differently for the 9/1 8pm game at the Dome (i.e. burgers, brats, beers) than you will for the 12/3 nooner in Pittsburgh (i.e. breakfast sandwiches, hot drinks, mimosas). If purchasing supplies on the Hill, I suggest the Tops on East Colvin & Nottingham (formerly P&C, formerly Peter's). The official supermarket for Syracuse Athletics (or something like that), this store underwent an Orange Transformation last year and is branded Syracuse up and down. It's like Otto went in there and vomited. If that's a bit much for you, or you just prefer the tried & true, you can't go wrong with Wegmans.
- Purchase your tickets. Maybe this should have gone before "Plan your tailgate," maybe not. Either way, you can't get into the game unless you have a ticket (or a field/media/etc. pass, or a marching band instrument, or a roster position). If you're not a season ticket holder, your safest bet is to purchase through the Carrier Dome box office. You also might want to check out your favorite online ticket exchange brokers (i.e. stubhub) for good deals on good seats. But of course, it never hurts to just hop on twitter and put it out to the masses: "I need 4 tickets to the Rhode Island game in the Dome. Can anybody help me out?" Believe me, you'll get a lot of responses on that one! But maybe you find yourself on the Hill and still without a ticket. Fear not! The sketchy underbelly of ticket scalping has a vibrant economy on the Hill. During prime tailgating hours, you'll find a variety of people in the Marshall Street area buying and selling tickets (yeah, the same guy will buy and sell tickets! Amazing!). Keep a $5 or $10 bill in your wallet, give the rest to a friend, and go find yourself a deal. Don't be afraid to walk away if the price isn't right; they'll come around to see things your way. LEGAL NOTICE: be on the lookout for counterfeits and don't buy too close to the Carrier Dome. The cops can and will bust you for a sale within a certain distance from the Dome. You're fine down on M-Street.
- Plan other activities while you're in town for the game. Are you going to Faegans? Sure you're going to Faegans! Say hi to Guy, tell him John sent you. You'll probably want to hit up your favorite Syracuse eateries, such as Dinosaur BBQ, Tully's, Zebb's, etc. There's a new sports bar opening downtown called the Saltine Warrior Sports Pub, at the Amos Building near Clinton Square (214 W. Water St.). And of course, the Great New York State Fair is in town August 25 through September 5.
As for me, I'll be rolling into town around 2pm on September 1, wearing my orange 44 jersey and tailgating in the city lot next to the Hoople building by Marshall Street. After some food and what I will only describe as several beers, I'll make my way up with my friends to the quad to check out the Marching Band's show, then head into the Dome to Section 215 where I'll watch magic happen. If all goes well, it's back down to Faegans to partake in $2 night (I've been told inflation has bumped it up to $3... oh well). Friday I'll be viewing the Butter Sculpture, drinking wine slushes, and eating way too much fried food while mullet-watching at the Fair. Make your plans now, because all the fun begins next Thursday!
Oh, one more thing. You might want to keep reading Orange::44 as we'll hopefully continue to prep you for the upcoming season. The summer hiatus is over. Brian needs to start writing content again!
Labels: Syracuse Football