On Thursday, Syracuse University director of Athletics Daryl Gross accepted an invitation to play in the inaugural New Era Pinstripe Bowl at Yankees Stadium on Dec. 30.
"We are thrilled to have the Syracuse Orange representing the Big East Conference in the inaugural New Era Pinstripe Bowl," said New York Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner. "It is exciting for us to feature such a respected academic institution from the great state of New York in the first year of the New Era Pinstripe Bowl. We expect the historic backdrop of Yankee Stadium and the many attractions of New York City to create a one-of-a- kind bowl event for the athletes participating and the legions of Syracuse fans that will have the opportunity to watch their team play in person."
The Orange finished the regular season with a 7-5 overall record and qualified for a bowl game after beating Rutgers, 13-10, on Nov. 13.
"It's really exciting that Doug's going home back in the Bronx where his grandfather was an usher for the Yankees," Gross said. "Your first bowl game as a head coach is going to be in your neighborhood -- I don't know how many of us ever get that opportunity. It's really a godsend. To say we're excited is an understatement."
Syracuse will face a Big 12 Conference opponent and it might be a familiar foe, says ESPN Big East Blogger Brian Bennett.
"Bowl officials wanted a team with strong local ties to usher in the first postseason game at Yankee Stadium, and what better choice than an energized Syracuse program heading to its first bowl since 2004?"
"Syracuse's opponent hasn't been finalized, but most people expect it to be Kansas State. And why not? The Orange have played the Wildcats in two of their past five bowl appearances, including the 1997 Fiesta Bowl."
The latest bowl projections support Bennett's theory that the Wildcats will be the opponent.