Attending our game at Villanova this weekend, it was impossible to ignore a fact that most of our Big East rivals have probably long since come to terms with: Syracuse fans tend to be extremely obnoxious when visiting road arenas. “Like a virus” was the best description overheard from a Villanova fan in our section. However you want to put it, the Orange faithful have some real coconuts. Whether it be against St. John’s, Seton Hall, Georgetown, or Villanova, Cuse fans pour in by the thousands like the Vandals sacking Rome. They wear bright orange, stand out individually in a stadium crowd like fireflies, and don’t hesitate to cheer like they’re back in the dome. They stand and clap until the first bucket is scored, and they fire up “let’s go orange!” and “DE-FENSE” chants at any opportunity. Can you imagine UConn fans bringing that into the dome? No chance. I’ve never seen another team’s fans get away with this the way we do. We always seem to account for anywhere between 10-50% of the overall crowd, so I think it’s a matter of sheer numbers. If you were at that game in DC at the MCI center a few years ago when Gerry sank a last second shot to beat Georgetown, you know that we were about one security guard away from seeing the ultimate humiliation of Syracuse fans storming the court. Unbelievable.
So here is my tribute to the gall of the Syracuse fan, with some other photographically-documented Villanova game observations thrown in.
How lame is it for your “home” arena to display the logos of its top three occupants and have your team fail to edge out the Philadelphia Phantoms for a spot on the signage?
The most annoying shirt in the Big East. This may be the only item of Villanova clothing made in the last 5 years judging by how ubiquitous it was. In 15 years, this shirt will come up as a top point of nostalgia every time old Villanova grads get together for lunch at the Olive Garden in Wayne, PA to get a break from the grind of their jobs as HR representatives at pharmaceutical companies.
The orange invasion had some real obstacles to a full-scale Philly invasion, mainly that most tickets to this game were sold as part of a 3 game Villanova package, and that it sold out about a month ago. Nonetheless, I’d estimate the Cuse support level at a disproportionately vocal 10-15%, with a solid 30-40% of the upper deck. Thanks Stubhub.
A view from the bloggers’ “press box.” Side note: This was taken at the opening tip, which resulted in Villanova scoring a layup literally 2 seconds after this moment. Note Devendorf’s position on the left, with at least a 10 foot head start to defend our basket. In fairness, a pretty solid game overall from him aside from the 5 turnovers.
Ladies and gentlemen, the Syracuse reserves! Honest to God picture of our bench a minute or so into the first half. That’s right, Paul. Rest up while you can. And in the event that we need a 7th man, Rob Murphy will rise to the occasion. My favorite picture from this experiment.
This woman was a perfect example of the outlandish gall of Syracuse fans on the road. She was totally hammered, wearing bright orange, kneeing the Villanova girl in front of her in the head, and screaming the most earsplitting WOO! in the human audible range. This lady was getting the evil eye from people 10 rows away. If she had been an opposing fan doing this in the dome, security would have used the air rush from an open door to launch her onto an ice patch outside. Oh wait, they do that to their own fans too. Luckily she was on the Syracuse side, leading me to conclude that while she was a little rough around the edges, she was more of an acquired taste.
Apparently Philadelphia is Cuse Country! If only we had the resources to pull this off without the aid of Photoshop. If I ever become a billionaire, remind me to buy pro-Syracuse signage, or perhaps even the naming rights for opposing teams’ arenas.
The worst part about invading opposing stadiums is the risk of losing and having to wear your orange shirt all the way out. Even worse knowing that if your team had managed better than 9 - 35 from 3 that you would have won.