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Carrier Dome Football Review at Stadium Quest.
By Mike Lindsley

Mike Lindsley did a Carrier Dome football review for Stadium Quest! Here it is! Send feedback to @MikeLSports on Twitter.

Information: The Carrier Dome is basically the cityís landmark. Everyone knows ďTHE DOME.Ē We say it. People who arenít from here say it. People around the country say it when you mention Syracuse athletics. The building broke ground in November, 1978, and opened in September, 1980. Unfortunately, its best days are from an era long ago. It was built with the thought that it could be a unique setting in college sports and a home for both basketball and football, plus lacrosse, which it has done for years and continues to do. The Dome houses 50,000 seats, most of which havenít been filled for football since Donovan McNabb ran around the field. For hoops, the building shifts into a court on one side and half the football field on the other where people can walk around, hang out, drink and eat, bringing in the largest on-campus attendance in the country.

Expectations: Loud on 3rd down. Overall? Fans cannot wait for something amazing but are scared to see whatís next. Remember, Dino Babers is still trying to turn this thing around. Last year, the Orange lost starting quarterback Eric Dungey and finished 4-8 in Babersí first year and his high-flying offensive system. Before that? Scott Shafter and Doug Marrone went to a few bowls, going 3-0 in the Texas and Pinstripe Bowls, respectively. Before that was a dumpster fire for years, thanks to the clueless athletic director Daryl Gross and his hiring of Greg Robinson. From 2005-2008, Robinson won just 10 games. That set the program back for a long time. Marrone did well. Shafer was horrible after that Texas Bowl, and Babers is trying to set it straight. Unfortunately, 2017 is falling apart before the fansí eyes after the shocking win over Clemson. So not many people go to the games because they are waiting for a winner.

What to do:

1. Armory Square is a good time. You can hit awesome bars and restaurants like Kitty Hoyneís and Empire Brewing Company (the beer is amazing with a cozy atmosphere underground!). At Empire, be sure you try the East Coast Amber Ale. Incredible. Finally in Armory, stop by Soundgarden music store and grab a slice of pizza at Nickís Tomato Pie. Link: http://www.armorysq.org/

2. Dinosaur BBQ. Hottest and most famous place in town. Amazing pork. Make sure you get a platter with mac and cheese. They have about a million beers to choose from, local and imported, (get a Syracuse Pale Ale from the local Middle Ages Brewing as a nice pair) and the atmosphere is always terrific. Get some BBQ sauce to go. This place is a must and always as famous as ďThe Dome.Ē Link: https://www.dinosaurbarbque.com/location/syracuse-ny/

3. Destiny USA. So Syracuse has a mall. Itís huge. Itís cool. Itís fun. Dave and Busterís is a popular spot to eat and drink and play games before you head to the Dome or even after. Gordon Biersch is downstairs with a bunch of awesome local beers as well. Tons of shops in the Canyon Wing and plenty more on the other side which used to be called Carousel Mall. Link: https://www.destinyusa.com/

4. Marshall Street. Cool strip that students and fans love. Varsity Pizza is a staple with a lot of SU sports history. Pizza is great and beer is cheap. Plus, you can hit Faeganís Cafť and Pub. Awesome sandwiches and a friendly staff. Tons of beer choices. You will usually leave feeling warm because you had a great conversation with students and Orange fans.

What to avoid:

1. Saying anything bad about Jim Boeheim.

Pre-game Atmosphere:

1. Parking/Transportation: This is all dependent on what you want to do. If itís Marshall Street, get there a little early, find a spot on the street and you are set. The best thing would be to park at the Sheraton Syracuse on 801 University Ave. in the garage and walk over to Marshall for some pre-game fun. Or, you can tailgate anywhere around Harrison Street, University Ave. and nearby streets if itís the outside preference. You can always pre-game at Destiny or Armory and then Uber up or shuttle up with other ĎCuse supporters. All about preference. (2/5)

2. Tailgate: The tailgating at Syracuse is ok at best. This is Central New York and football in the Northeast. We are still getting used to this whole ACC thing. Plus, winning brings more fans which brings more tailgates. The dominos have to fall correctly. And for Syracuse, that first domino is the most important. For fan bases like Clemson or Florida State, this place must feel like a different world. There just arenít a lot of people around. Itís quite sad. Having said that, there are some cool spots to tailgate and walk around. Up Crouse Ave near Varsity as you head up to the Dome you will find some loyal supporters with loud music and awesome decorations. A new spot is a tailgate at the Marriott Downtown Syracuse. A block on Warren Street is blocked off (between Harrison and East Onondaga) and there are food trucks and games and music and a roundtrip shuttle to the Carrier Dome thatís free if you park in the hotel garage. See more on the first year here: http://marriottsyracusedowntown.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/2017-08-15-Marriott-Downtown-Syracuse-Tailgate-Party-Release.pdf (2/5)

3. Location: The Carrier Dome is in an odd spot of town. It isnít easy to park unless you are a high roller with a great parking pass. Syracuse University is its own place. Depending on how you come in, you will likely travel on I-81 or 690 E or W. The Carrier Dome, like a lot of things around these parts, is a quick drive from just about anywhere. (1/5)

4. Hospitality: You could try to stay at the Sheraton on campus, but rooms fill up quickly. Pricing is high at a lot of other downtown hotels, if you are making it a couple days in Central New York. Look into hotels in the suburbs like North Syracuse. South Bay Road has some nice ones with hotel shuttles. Candlewood Suites and a Holiday Inn Express are a couple options. And it is only 15 minutes to the Dome from there. (4/5)

5. Affordability: One of the best prices in town. 2018 season tickets start at just $125. Thatís only about $21 per game and Florida State, Louisville and N.C. State all come to town. Not bad. (5/5)

Overall: The Carrier Domeís odd location doesnít help. The weak tailgate and atmosphere are mostly a direct result of the team not winning and bringing people out. The bottom line, though, is Syracuse die-hard fans always make the best of the situation. They want to root on the Orange no matter what, go to cool places and spend time with friends. This fan base is dying for a solid, consistent winner. No, not 9-3 every year, but the realistic people know going to a bowl every year and pulling off some upsets (Virginia Tech in 2016 and Clemson in 2017) here and there would be enough. Hopefully at that point, more fans would come out for years to come. (14/25)

Dining:

1. Price: Popcorn is seven bucks. Enough said. (0/5)

2. Taste: The concessions are horrendous at the Carrier Dome. The Dome Dogs taste like rubber and Sbarro Pizza tastes like cardboard. Your best option is the ďBrew and BBQĒ concession stand between aisles 117 and 118 on the first level or nachos. Seriously though, eat before the game. (1/5)

3. Variety: Not a lot of good variety at all. The recommendation here is just to eat before the game and maybe have a snack at halftime. Those nachos are pretty good. Cheese and salsa combo is a go-to. Hamburger or sausage or ice cream bars or horrible hot dogs. Not exactly an A-list here. (1/5)

4. Fast: Fast enough and friendly enough. Not great. Not awful. (3/5)

5. Alcohol Policy: They serve through halftime and a little ways into the third quarter if you are already in line. The selection is actually very good. You can get your Labatt Blue and Labatt Blue Light anywhere, plus micro and craft beers from select local breweries just about anywhere as well. Prices are very reasonable. Remember, if you buy two 12 ounce beers at a bar and leave a dollar tip for each, your total is usually $12. No different at a game. People complaining about prices when they donít break it down this way should drive you crazy. (5/5)

Overall: The Carrier Dome needs to step it up. Get some better food. Get some better tasting food. You are in the ACC now. Get with the program. (10/25)

Stadium:

1. Cleanliness: Dirty, old and sticky. Bathrooms are disgusting. (1/5)

2. Seat: Standard metal seating is brutal on your whole body, especially your back. Luckily for Syracuse fans, there are huge gaps in the 300ís where no fans are so you can lay down if you want! (2/5)

3. Aesthetic Appeal: Die-hard SU fans still love the Dome. But this is football inside. And you look up and see a white bubble. If thatís beautiful, you live on a different planet. (1/5)

4. History: This is where Syracuse can gain some points. Years ago, some amazing football games were played and won here. Syracuse over #1 Nebraska in 1984. Syracuse over West Virginia in the final seconds 32-31 in 1987 to finish an unbeaten regular season. SU fans love their history. There are reminders of the great players who have played here as well, even if the greatest ones played at old Archbold Stadium. Jim Brown, Ernie Davis and Floyd Little are all over the place. The press box also has nice photos of SU legends in college and pro uniforms. (4/5)

5. Safety: Some security folks are nice, others are a nightmare to deal with. But this is about being safe in a dangerous world, and they keep it safe for the most part and do a nice job. (4/5)

Overall: Before your Dome visit, be sure to walk around Plaza 44 outside the team practice facility by Manley Field House on South Campus. You will see awesome, new statues of Brown, Davis and Little. The Dome as a stadium is just old and itís not 1987 anymore. Time to move on, but they wonít anytime soon because the universityís favorite world, like the town, is ďrenovate.Ē (12/25)

In-Game Atmosphere:

1. Sound: The Carrier Dome needs a football team that wins more games and that will create more noise. No one pays attention to the in-game promotions. Probably the most popular things amongst Syracuse fans is the pre-game video before the team comes out and the history pieces. Again, history. It is what SU fans hold on to, hoping these close games in 2016 and 2017 start turning into more victories. One positive? You can still hear a powerful roar during a big play and that sound penetrates all the way up to the white bubble which fans love. (2/5)

2. Student Section/ Fan Crazies: The student section is mostly empty every game. Terrible support. Not many care. These kids are too young to remember Donovan McNabb. Many arenít from here, so they didnít grow-up on SU football. They are here for the school and know Syracuse basketball because thatís all there is for them to know. Students shouldnít have to pay to go to games at colleges and universities. They do at Syracuse. There are a lot of different options for kids. The blame here is 50-50. The apathy of the students and the terrible job by the university not allowing them in for free. Isnít tuition enough? Isnít room and board enough? All of this equals this picture provided by SU die-hard Rob Masouras on Twitter. (0/5)

3. Entertainment: The ďPride of the OrangeĒ does a nice job every game at halftime. On this day, they played a lot of songs from the 1940ís and the World War II era. That went nicely with the honoring of 103-year-old Mike Chemotti, a former football walk-on in 1936 who enlisted in the Army in 1942 after Pearl Harbor was attacked. Current Syracuse walk-on and veteran Ben Brickman joined him on the field. Special stuff. (3/5)

4. Filled Stadium: The greater Central New York area has a population of around 175-200,000 people, depending on how far you want to stretch neighboring towns and suburbs. There are plenty of Syracuse die-hards of all ages. But when you take those fans out, pretty much everyone else is waiting for a winner. Some are delusional and think this team can be a Top 10 club again and that itís 1987, which will cause them to go to a game again. Most, however, are realistic, and just want to see 6-6, 7-5, 8-4 every year and bowl games and competition against the ACCís best. BUT. Many of those people have something in common with the first group, they arenít going to the games either until it happens. Take the following into consideration: that football isnít a ďcultureĒ up here, the Northeast, the losing, the brutal student section and the fact that basketball has been the sport that wins out of the two, and you are getting 27-34,000 people, even for pretty solid opponents. The defending national champion Clemson Tigers (10-13-17) even drew only 42,475 fans and Syracuse actually shocked the country and won. That tells you everything right there. (1/5)

5. Giveaways: T-shirts! Everybody loves t-shirts! Especially in Syracuse. They have those throughout the game from the typically overused cannon, plus your seat upgrade where the fan gets a nice showing on the video board. (2/5)

Overall: The bleeding Orange fan will always love the Dome. The potential is there. Many people said the Clemson game was the loudest they have ever heard it. But it was loud and more filled because Clemson was here. Wins=people in the seats consistently. The clock continues to tick. (8/25)

Overall: If youíre looking for an amazing overall football experience in Syracuse, you will be disappointed. But, if you are looking for a ďuniqueĒ thing to do and something cool as a college football fan, the Carrier Dome is worth a shot, but go to a big game for sure like Clemson or Florida State. People like to say ďIíve been thereĒ in terms of sports and being a sports fan. Crossing off the Carrier Dome and seeing the rich history of #44 is a solid and almost average, not amazing, resume check as a college football lover. For sure see a game at ďThe DomeĒ and enjoy it, just donít compare it to great places in the country and have unrealistic expectations. Itís fitting and a coincidence what the final number is here. (44/100)
Syracuse-Florida State Recap.
By Mike Lindsley

SU fell at FSU 27-24. Here are 10 takeaways.

1. Another slow start by the Orange. Another interception by Eric Dungey early. On the road. Sound familiar?

2. Itís stunning that FSU didnít give Cam Akers the starting running back spot from the start and more carries. He is special.

3. ACC refs at it again.

4. The Orange got the break they needed at the end of the half with the fumble. No issues going for the touchdown close to the end zone UNTIL you give away the three downs. Then get the three points. You know the game will be super close late.

5. SUís offense, again, wears down a defense full of stars and speed. On the road.

6. Cannot come down to a 43-yard kick to tie the game from Cole Murphy.

7. Actually liked SUís chances if the game went to overtime.

8. Steve Ishmael. Stud form. Again.

9. Wake Forest next week is a must-win for Syracuse.

10. Hoping this season is at least 6-6 for Syracuse. Because a few plays anywhere, all season, would have made this at least 7-5 or 8-4. Think about that for a second.


Syracuse-Miami Recap.
By Mike Lindsley

The Orange lost another tough one at Miami 27-19. Here are 10 takeaways.

1. Eric Dungey. Bad through the air. Amazing on the ground.

2. On Dungey, if he turns the ball over two times, and not four, SU likely wins.

3. The weather cooperated, which made you think that Syracuse would be able to attack through the air. But instead, it was turnovers and a running game. Dontae Strickland goes for 105 yards and Dungey goes for 100. SportsÖ

4. Ahmmon Richards and Christopher Herndon IV. All day long for Miami.

5. Great time for a bye week. SU has played eight straight games and is pretty banged-up.

6. This game really didnít tell me how good Miami is. Hardest undefeated team to figure out in college football.

7. Miami and Adidas. Looks so weird.

8. Canít ask more from Parris Bennett and Zaire Franklin.

9. Most Syracuse fans, you would think, would have taken 4-4 if asked back in July or August.

10. Cole Murphy goes 4-4 with a long of 53 made in field goals. Good for him.
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