The Syracuse Orange will play one of the toughest schedules in the ACC, if not all of America, this season. Yes, they play at No. 2 Clemson on Nov. 5 and host No. 4 Florida State on Nov. 19, but they will also face No. 10 Notre Dame on Oct. 1. That game, though, isn’t in South Bend or Syracuse. It’s at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
This isn’t the first time these two teams will square off at MetLife Stadium, but at some point in the future, Syracuse head coach Dino Babers wants the Irish to come to the Carrier Dome.
“We’ve got a lot of Notre Dame match-ups,” Babers said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “It seems like they’re the relatives that always come to visit in the summertime. They’re coming back again. We get an opportunity to play those guys a lot. But again, it’s high-risk, high-reward. They’re going to play us, we’re going to start to get a feel for them, they’ll start to get a feel for us. But as your big brother constantly punches you in the chest, punches you in the chest, punches you in the chest, eventually you grow up and you realize how to handle that punch – and sometimes even deliver a punch yourself.”
Syracuse last played Notre Dame at MetLife Stadium in September 2014. The Irish won, 31-15.
“Anytime you play Notre Dame, it’s a national story,” said Babers, who led Bowling Green to a MAC championship last season. “It doesn’t matter whether you’re at Syracuse, Texas A&M, USC – Notre Dame (has) a national following. Everybody knows that. It’s hard to get around that. It’s always exciting playing those guys. We’ll go down there and we’ll play them in MetLife and we’ll go play them in an NFL stadium in New York City and those guys will get an opportunity to see us and that’s great. But the next couple of times that they’re on the schedule, I’d like to see them in the Carrier Dome. I think that’d be great for our fans to have an opportunity to see a football team with a tradition like that here in Syracuse, New York.”
Syracuse, Babers pointed out, is the only Power 5 school in America that plays in a dome. That absolutely should be a draw for recruits who want to play in Babers’ spread offense – without playing in snow, wind, rain or mud. Indeed, Babers feels the Carrier Dome offers the Orange a schematic advantage.
“I really believe it can,” he said. “The size of the private institution was the main reason why I came. I think this is a gold mine. I think we have the best home-field advantage in college football. We just got to put a product out on the field that gets the fans excited, gets the student body excited (so) they’ll come. You’ve been in the Carrier Dome. You know how it is when it gets rowdy in there. It can be a fabulous 12th Man that can give us a huge advantage at home.”