Syracuse and their "New York's College Team" brag may be leaving the Big East the program helped found in the 1980s, but they don't want to leave their longstanding rivalry with St. John's.
Starting next season - December 15th, 2013, to be exact - the Syracuse Orange and St. John's Red Storm will play a home and home series, starting in Madison Square Garden.
"St. John’s and Syracuse are two of the storied programs in NCAA history, both with top 10 numbers in overall victories and winning percentage. The Johnnies and Cuse rivalry is now more than a century old and deserves to continue," said St. John’s head coach Steve Lavin today.
Syracuse Athletic Director Daryl Gross agrees. "As we continue to aggressively secure rivalries that are dear to us," he added, "we are pleased to announce the continuation of this great series between two outstanding universities."
Both Lavin and Syracuse's coach Jim Boeheim had indicated to reporters that the schools were in serious talks to continue to series, even as the Orange start play against the likes of Duke, Clemson, and North Carolina in the southern-based Atlantic Coast Conference. St. John's, while still a member of the Big East next season, is part of the "Catholic" exodus from the current league, and may start play with the program's non-football-playing brethren as early as 2014.
St. John's will play a return game in the Carrier Dome at an unspecified date in 2014/15.
"The rivalry with St. John’s has been one of the strongest for our program," said Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim. "Playing in Madison Square Garden is always a special event for Syracuse and for our fans in New York City. It will be great that our fans in Central New York will have the chance to see St. John’s in the Dome the following year."
St. John's sole matchup against the 6th ranked Syracuse Orange is in the Carrier Dome on February 10th. The series between the schools dates back to 1912.
Syracuse has already played a "neutral" site game in Madison Square Garden this season, against Temple. The Orange, ranked #3 at the time, lost to the Owls, who will start Big East play next season.
Having the paperwork inked so quickly - and a resumption of hostilities as a marquee December non-conference game - is joy for fans of both programs. Syracuse has won seven straight in the rivalry, and St. John's players will likely relish a crack at them as the program improves.
Having a deal done also indicates that for the schools, there is little bad blood between programs as schools shift affiliations from the Big East. While Texas schools may go out of their way to not schedule each other (at least in football), the Big East's programs have been receptive to continuing games that are popular with fans in an era where financial similarity trumps geographic proximity.
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