Just when you thought it was over, college football season comes roaring back—well, sort of.
On Thursday, the ACC released the football schedules for each of its teams for the 2015 season. And once again, to succeed in the fall, the Boston College football team will have to run through some tough opponents.
The Eagles will kick off the schedule this season with four consecutive home games in September. The first two Saturdays will be played against two FCS opponents: the University of Maine (Sept. 5) and Howard University (Sept. 12), which replaces New Mexico State as one of BC’s non-conference opponents. The Eagles will open their conference schedule on national television against the defending ACC-champions, Florida State, for their only non-Saturday game: Friday, Sept. 18. Eight days later, BC will wrap up its homestand against Northern Illinois.
The Eagles then play five consecutive games in October, first by hitting the road for the first time for a matchup against Duke (Oct. 3) in Durham, North Carolina, before coming home to play Wake Forest on Oct. 10. BC then has a tough back-to-back road game schedule at Clemson and at Louisville, two opponents which finished 2014 in the AP Top 25 Poll at 15th and 24th, respectively. The Eagles wrap up the month at home against longtime rival, Virginia Tech.
The Eagles play their final official home game on Nov. 7 against North Carolina State, before having their only bye week on Nov. 14. In perhaps the eagerly anticipated matchup of the season, BC will resume its rivalry with the University of Notre Dame at Fenway Park on Nov. 21. The regular season then wraps up on rivalry week at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse to take on the Orange on Nov. 28.
BC had a 5-3 record against these opponents last year, with new opponents coming in Duke, Notre Dame, Howard, and Northern Illinois. Although the Eagles should expect an easy win in the FCS opponent Howard, a team they will be facing for the first time in program history, the newly scheduled opponents are no pushovers: each of NIU, Notre Dame, and Duke is coming off a bowl game. NIU is the defending Mid-American Conference champions, after finishing 11-3 last season. Duke finished 9-4, second in the ACC’s Coastal Division behind Georgia Tech, earning a berth in the Sun Bowl. The Fighting Irish slumped towards the end of the season, yet still finished the season on a high note, with a thrilling victory over Louisiana State in the Music City Bowl.
The Eagles look to have an easier home set than last year—BC finished a disappointing 3-4 at home, while amassing a 4-1 record on the road. In 2015, however, the Eagles will play three of the four opponents they defeated on the road (Wake Forest, Virginia Tech, and NC State, with the exception being Massachusetts) at home. This spells trouble for the Eagles on the road, where they play a majority of their more difficult games.
The Eagles also will need at least one marquee victory, like their unlikely upset of No. 9 Southern California early last season, to offset at least one potential surprising loss, like Colorado State or Pittsburgh. One potential place for an upset comes from the Florida State game—although FSU will return many starters, especially on defense, the loss of 2013 Heisman winning quarterback Jameis Winston certainly lessens the Seminoles’ overall prowess. In addition, 10 straight games without any bye-week rest could pose problems for this BC team.
Although some opponents face a steep challenge for the Eagles this year, having two FCS opponents on the schedule means that BC will have a tougher time putting together a resume for a postseason berth. Those two games are absolute essential wins for the Eagles, who will then have to win no less than seven games total to even think about seeing football in December (or January).
And by no means is that a lock. The Eagles face considerable turnover from last season, notably losing the starting quarterback Tyler Murphy, offensive coordinator Ryan Day, and the entirety of the offensive line. Judging from the schedule, at least, the Eagles have a tough test.
Featured Image by Arthur Bailin / Heights Editor