Q&A With Paul Pasqualoni Pt. 1

Syracuse head football coach Paul Pasqualoni sits down with CuseJuice to answer some questions on the upcoming season.

Q. How does your schedule look this year?

A. We've always had tough games with West Virginia. Rutgers, Syracuse is going to be a tough game. We're having UConn coming in. I think you can see because of the geography, I think you'll see Connecticut develop a very natural fit. As Mike (Tranghese) said, very clearly, they've done so well in basketball. In a few years, you're going to see a very good rivalry develop. In our own particular circumstance, we don't play Miami, but we do play Florida State. Florida State's probably the best team in the country. Who's higher? Maybe USC. We have four top 20 teams in our first seven games. In addition to the rivalries that you had for the long haul, you've got a lot of great schools. We've got a great challenge ahead of us. Out of all the years I've coached at Syracuse, the schedule is probably the toughest schedule. There has been years where we played Florida, Florida State the same year. There's been years we've played Tennessee and Michigan the same year. We've always had a pretty competitive non-conference schedule and that tradition continues this year. We don't look at this as a transition year, we look at this as a year with great challenge. We have a chance to go to the BCS.

Q. How does the Big East change without Miami and Virginia Tech?

A. I don't know. Clearly, you're not playing Miami and Virginia Tech, tough teams. At the same time, we're playing very, very tough teams in place of them. From an overall standpoint, there's no let out there. If you win the conference championship, you don't have to play Virginia Tech and Miami. Obviously, you still have to understand you still have to go through West Virginia. I don't know how many times in recent years that Virginia Tech has beaten West Virginia, but if you want to sit down and add up the number of times in the last four years Virginia Tech, West Virginia and Syracuse has beaten Miami, Miami is clearly the marquee team.

Q. Were you surprised that Miami was ranked behind Florida State in the ACC?

A. Florida State is the best team in the state of Florida this year. Miami's lost so many great players. How many first round players can you lose over the past two or three years? Miami's lost a ton, a ton. They're going to reload and be a great program, but at the same time they have lost a lot of talent. Florida State should be the No. 1 team if not one of the top two or three teams in the country.

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