First Look- One on One Conversation with John Wildhack on SU's bowl landing spot
"The waiting, is the hardest part."
That lyric from the late Tom Petty absolutely applies to Syracuse Football fans this week.
In the books? A 9-win regular season for the first time since 2001 and perhaps the best bowl bid since the 1999 Orange Bowl.
Now, which bowl is up next is the big question, whether it's the Camping World, Pinstripe or Sun Bowl as the most likely options.
"There will be a lot of phone calls Niko during the week with various bowls and also the bowls (will have calls) with the conference office as well" SU Director of Athletics John Wildhack told me on Monday.
"The Camping World has first selection of ACC teams with the rest of the ACC. Historically they’ve taken the highest ranked team but they have the first selection and that’s against the BIG 12 opponent and that BIG 12 opponent could be a West Virginia could be an Iowa State. Then, underneath the Camping World there is the Tier 1 bowls."
Wildhack adds that while the Camping World is probably the top choice, the Orange doesn't have a shortage of suitors among postseason destinations.
"We’ve had conversations with most of the bowl reps going into the week. The Sun Bowl was in Boston. They sent the representative, their chairman was up. The conversation is ongoing. We will wait but in all likelihood were going to be the highest ranked team in the ACC next to Clemson if the form will hold I think the Camping World will take a long look at us."
When talking about football glory, Syracuse fans inevitably wonder where their coach will go next. The late Dick MacPherson left for the New England Patriots, his former player Doug Marrone left his perch with the Orange for the Buffalo Bills.
Fans are even starting #PayDino hashtags, so I asked for the third time in the last couple months how the contract talks with Dino proceed. Wildhack, mind you, has said so often Dino can be the coach here in Central New York for as long as he likes.
Now that the season is over, how do those talks unfold?
"He’s out recruiting these few weeks, all the coaches are out recruiting there is really no downtime for them. Then we prep for obviously who our bowl opponent is how do we maximize the 15 practices that we get, it gives us a head start on the 2019 season. It’s a really intense time in the recruiting cycle with the December early signing period so a lot of work to be done" Wildhack says about the upcoming schedule.
That certainly isn't to say talks didn't happen or won't. From an observation standpoint, it felt like there's a comfort level.
The Orange finds out its bowl fate on Sunday, Syracuse officials will comment after the selection.