Brian: With the official announcement adding Army to the schedule in 2014 coming on Wednesday, the schedule for the next five years becomes just a tad bit clearer. What I thought would be fun is to fill in the non-conference scheduling blanks over the next 5 years and suggest opponents for the Eagles to play, starting in 2012 (the 2010 and 2011 seasons are set as of now). Below are the future schedules to the best of our knowledge (relying heavily on Patrick Reilly’s unofficial BC Eagles football page) complete with BCI approved suggestions for how Gene and the department should fill in the scheduling holes.
2010 - Kent State (9/25), Notre Dame (10/2), Hofstra (10/9), @ Syracuse
2011 - Northwestern (9/3), @ Central Florida (9/10), UMass (10/1), Buffalo (10/8)
2012 - @ Northwestern (9/15), OOC #2, OOC #3, OOC #4
First, suggestions for 2012.
In 2012, we have 3 spots to fill and with the return trip here to Evanston already on the schedule, hopefully these are three Eagle home games for a total of seven. The ACC schedule breaks in our favor giving us what I would consider the second most optimal home ACC slate of games - Clemson, Virginia Tech, Miami and Maryland. I would like to see one more big time BCS opponent visit BC in 2012 for a return visit in 2013 (to fill the hole left from Syracuse opting out of the 2011 and 2012 games). Penn State is the first school that comes to mind but it looks like they already travel to fellow ACCer Virginia in 2012, and I doubt the Nittany Lions would be willing to make two ACC road trips in one season. So while a team like Vanderbilt isn’t a marquee BCS opponent, it is a BCS opponent nonetheless and an SEC one at that. The Commodores have two slots open in 2012 and in the spirit of smart schools facing off on the gridiron (Northwestern-Vanderbilt, Stanford-Duke, Stanford-Northwestern and BC-Northwestern all have future home-and-home series scheduled), let’s schedule Vanderbilt to come to Chestnut Hill in 2012 for a return trip to Nashville in 2013.
My assumption is that the I-AA scheduling trend will continue for the foreseeable future so let’s schedule an interesting team, someone new. It turns out that Fordham will begin offering 60 scholarships starting in 2010, making them eligible to schedule teams from the FBS nee I-A. Fordham has already scheduled games with Connecticut, Army and Navy and the Rams actually have a lot of history playing football with Boston College (albeit not recent history). I say bring Fordham into the cupcake rotation in 2012.
One of the neat little loopholes in the NCAA football scheduling process concerns their treatment of Hawai’i. If a I-A team agrees to travel to Oahu to play the Warriors, they get the opportunity to schedule a thirteenth game to offset the cost of traveling to Hawaii. I say BC should take advantage of scheduling a 13th game by scheduling a trip to play Hawaii. Since Gene has rumored that we are going to make the Syracuse game the annual game after Thanksgiving and Syracuse opted out of the 2012 game, it would be logical to schedule this game at that time of the season to replace the 'Cuse game. The problem would be that the ACC Championship is the next weekend, and you don’t want the team traveling across the entire country a week before the ACCCG. So I say we should play Hawaii the third week of September, and give our one yearly preference to the league office to have our BYE week fall on the following week.
Finally, in the spirit of renewing series with familiar teams a la Fordham, I say we should bring Navy back to the Heights in 2012. Navy apparently has four slots left on the 2012 schedule and just as we are renewing with Army in 2014, I think we should throw a service academy we have a good deal of history with back on the schedule to (at least temporarily) stop our annual MAC-love fest.
Jeff: I like the idea of playing Vanderbilt, but I am not particularly a fan of playing 13 games. We suffer enough injuries throughout the season and will hopefully be headed to the ACC Championship Game and a bowl that year as well so that leaves a possibility of playing 15 games that year which is just far too many.
So let's go with Vanderbilt and a I-AA team which leaves one slot left. We'll already have played two BCS bottom feeders. After the crappy 2011 schedule of Northwestern, Buffalo, UMass and Central Florida, DeFilippo will have to pull out all the stops to get some national attention. He'll need to keep buzz going for the football program in case we don't continue to win the Atlantic Division annually ... not to mention keeping the donors and alums happy in the process. So Gene is going to call Michigan and sign a one year deal to play at a neutral site like Philadelphia or New York. That game is guaranteed to be on national TV and Gene can even agree to give Michigan all the revenue from the game because they would really be saving his behind from having a terrible non-conference football schedule back to back years.
Michigan (neutral field)
I-AA team (no preference)
Brian: I'll concede on the Hawaii game but a neutral site game against Michigan? Who are we, Notre Dame? That will really silence the "BC wants to be Notre Dame" critics, given that Notre Dame is scheduling neutral site games left and right in locations that don't make a whole lot of sense in my opinion, e.g. Washington State in San Antonio. Of course I like the idea of playing Michigan, but I'm not crazy about this neutral site proposal. How about scheduling a Big XII team? When was the last time we ventured into Big XII territory? I'd suggest a home-and-home series with Missouri, with the Tigers visiting BC to open the season on September 1, 2012 and the Eagles returning to Columbia in 2015 (in 2013 and 2014 we'll play both Syracuse and USC from BCS conferences). Besides, Missouri and Illinois have called off their season opener after 2010. Sounds like a great opportunity to swoop in and gain some national attention with a marquee opening weekend matchup, and 3 of 4 teams on the non-conference slate coming from BCS conferences.
Jeff: Playing a Big XII team doesn't work for my one year neutral site idea.
Brian: It's hardly an original idea, which is why I'm against your neutral site idea. Besides, we get a "neutral" site game two years later with Army at Yankee Stadium.
To round out years 2013-2014, the schedule currently looks like this:
2013 - @ Southern California, Syracuse, OOC #3, OOC #4
2014 - Southern California, @ Syracuse, New Hampshire, @ Army (Yankee Stadium)
I'm guessing one of the two slots in 2013 will be filled by a I-AA team, so 2013 would be a good year for a return to Nashville to avenge last year's Music City Bowl loss. That would give us a respectable three BCS conference opponents in 2013 and one I-AA team. Make it happen, Gene.
Brian: Not only is Yankee Stadium snapping up Army home football games left and right, but it is now rumored that Steinbrenner and the Yankees are looking to host a bowl game. Good idea?
Jeff: Great idea. Bowls have evolved past playing in only warm climates so why not have one in New York City? If you can't make a trip to a warm climate it might as well be to a great destination and NYC certainly qualifies.
Jeff: BC is listed as 20-1 to win the Atlantic Division this season. Is it worth it to throw $10 on the Eagles?
Brian: Sure. $10. Much more than that though? Well, questionable.
Brian: The 2009 ACC Football Kickoff is almost here. This year fans can interact with the Kickoff as the event will be streamed online. You excited?
Jeff: Um, sure, maybe. Or perhaps I'll just catch the highlights.
Jeff: Football Outsiders picked BC to finish 9-3, 5-3 and second in the Atlantic Division. Surprised?
Brian: Surprised? A little. Hard to imagine a three-way tie atop the Atlantic Division at 5-3. I'm assuming Football Outsiders have the Eagles losing to Clemson, Virginia Tech and ... Wake? UNC? NC State?
Brian: HD ranks our defensive backs third in the conference behind only Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech. Agree? Disagree?
Jeff: I'm good with that. They are better than most that's for sure.
Jeff: Down here in my part of the world, Spiller for Heisman posters were distributed by the Clemson athletics department starting this week. Do you think he has any better than 50-1 chance of winning?
Brian: Better than 50-1? Sure. Will he get an invite to NYC? Absolutely not. I can think of at least 10 players off the top of my head that have better chances and will be on a team that finishes better than Clemson in 2009. Spiller isn't even arguably the best player in the conference.
Brian: Last one, gather round your laptop screen for the first two games of the season. ESPN announced their college football lineup and the Northeastern and Kent State games will be on ESPN360.com. You surprised BC at Clemson in week 3 isn’t getting picked up by the Worldwide Leader?
Jeff: Not really surprised about that one. Clemson is not a national draw at all and they are on ESPN on Thursday night the week before. It's certainly a no-brainer to televise Nebraska vs. Virginia Tech over BC vs. Clemson, anyway.