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Battle for NYC: inconclusive

Everyone in college football is still seemingly looking towards that elusive prize: the New York City market. Naturally, I think that Rutgers, owing to its location, is the football team best situated for tapping into and cultivating the market, but all comers are trying to get in on the action. For instance, the SEC has signed a deal to syndicate more games here. Unlike, say, the Big Ten network trying to muscle in on the territory I don't see anything wrong with the option of more free football games to flip between. Syracuse University's athletic department may be buying ads on New York City taxi cabs, but at least one Syracuse.com writer is upset that Notre Dame, and apparently, Rutgers, will have an opportunity to play Army at Yankee Stadium before the Orange.

Still, those choices were understandable. Notre Dame brings national cachet; and hell, they were willing to designate it as a ND home game. They're that desperate for eyeballs in the area that they'll play in the Bronx, and come back to Michie Stadium to boot. Rutgers? Well that's a guaranteed sellout, and along with Army are the only two teams located in the Metro NYC area. Wire reports last week suggested last week that the Cuse was a likely possibility for another matchup with Army in the Bronx. Combined with Syracuse's willingness to play "home" games at the new Giants Stadium in New Jersey (and I don't know what ND's new A.D. is referencing here, but I hope he's canceling the GS games with UConn and Syracuse), and Syracuse gets its much-desired media attention in the NYC metro area, right?

Not so fast, says Army beatwriter Sal Interdonato. Sources (re: almost certainly someone in the Army athletic department) just told him that it's Rutgers in 2011, Air Force in 2012, and Boston College in 2014. I just sent that link to Sean from Troy Nunes, and he isn't too happy. Air Force is understandable, with the service academy angle, but BC? A high percentage of their alumni are from the area, much like Syracuse, but they have one of the worst travelling reputations in the country. That matchup doesn't seem to offer much as far as television interest, press coverage, or ticket sales.

This could have been a matter of quibbling over contract details; maybe BC offered more favorable terms (a home and home? Would they dare offer a 2 for 1?), more ticket guarantees, or a higher payout. Something along those lines. Assuming the report is true, Syracuse can still play in New York City, but they will probably have to sacrifice a home game to do it. Alternatively, maybe they're still in negotiations. Yesterday's Post report said that Rutgers and Army would announce two games, so maybe there is more in the works.

The appeal of playing Army in these deals comes from their willingness to move home games to Yankee Stadium. (Theoretically, the Yankees will rent out their stadium to any callers with enough dough.) That's why Rutgers is on board for this (actually, the games were already contracted...), and isn't willing to move a home game to the new Giants Stadium. RU just ponied up $102 mil to expand their stadium. They're not giving away home games any time soon. New York City is important, but it's only so important. I'd rather play better teams.

By the way, to respond to Brent Axe's article linked above, it could just be a matter of geography. According to Google maps, it's 55 minutes from Piscataway to the Bronx. There are eight, count them, eight FBS schools in total closer to New York City. Rutgers, Army (1 hr, 4 m from West Point), Temple (1 hr, 57 m from Philly), UConn (2 hr, 28 m from Storrs), Navy (3 hr, 49 m from Annapolis), BC (3 hr, 30 from Chestnut Hill), Maryland (3 hr, 52 from College Park), PSU (4 hr, 5 m from State College), and fianlly 4 hr, 10 m from Syracuse. NYC dwellers may not be fond of New Jersey at times, but they don't run around in Bills cardigans either.