Syracuse head football coach Paul Pasqualoni thinks Division I coaches should consider a playoff system.
After his second place SU squad accepted an invitation to the Insight.com Bowl today, there's even more reasoning behind that thought.
The Gator Bowl picks second from the eligible Big East schools. Insight.com, held on Dec. 29 in Phoenix, picks third. And Syracuse ranks second in the Big East and, barring a V-Tech upset of Miami this weekend, will finish two conference wins better than the Hokies and one win better overall.
"We earned the right to play on January 1," Pasqualoni said in a press conference Tuesday. "That's something that our team earned and no one can take it away from us. So we accomplished one of our goals - one of our goals was to play in a January 1 bowl. I think we have to take a look at what has become the selection process at the Division I level, not only for Syracuse, but for the whole bowl picture in general. I think we have to talk about a playoff. I think that's becoming more of an issue as the selection process becomes more complex. As there are more outside factors that come into it, I really think that Division I coaches have to sit down and really discuss a playoff."
The outside factors Pasqualoni mentions are hotels, ticket sales and any other type of spending that fans do at a bowl site. Syracuse fans notoriously don't travel, while Virginia Tech is practically guaranteed of bringing in more revenue. Hence, the perceived snub for the Orangemen, who are still excited to be playing in a bowl game at all this season.
"From a fan support issue, we try to do everything we can do in the fact that we have a team that wins games and has winning seasons. That's the part that we can contribute to it. We work very hard at it."
This year, they did, winning nine games - including eight in a row - and surprising critics nationwide. The year was highlighted with a win at then-No. 4 Virginia Tech and wins over Auburn, East Carolina and Boston College. Last season, Syracuse finished a dismal 6-5 and did not go to a bowl game.
Syracuse players and coaches are taking the decision in stride and preparing for the Insight.com Bowl like any other bowl game.
"You have to take pride in the fact that we had 24 seniors and we led the program to where it was when we got here," offensive lineman Sean O'Connor said. "And we have a chance to take it a win better than when we got here. Arizona is a great place. We've been out there. We're a little disappointed about not going to the Gator Bowl, not being able to play on January 1. On the other hand, I'm happy to be going to a bowl game. It kind of hurts that we won't be home for Christmas, but I'm sure that Santa Claus goes to Arizona."