2016 Football Schedule Analysis

2016 Football Schedule Analysis

By Anthony Iati

The Atlantic Coast Conference on Tuesday afternoon released its football schedule for the 2016 season. For Boston College, that meant confirmation of eight matchups falling into place. For months, it has been known that BC will open the season against Georgia Tech in Dublin, Ireland, in the Aer Lingus College Football Classic on September 3. Three non-conference dates were also set: Massachusetts on September 10, Buffalo on October 1, and Connecticut on November 19. Below is our reaction to the full schedule, which can be found here

Logistics: Only six true home games for the Eagles this year, which is unlikely to make the local alumni happy. BC’s seventh home game will be played in Dublin with a 7:30 AM kickoff in the Boston time zone. Perhaps making up for the loss of a seventh game in Chestnut Hill, BC travels to Gillette Stadium in nearby Foxborough in Week 2 to take on the Minutemen of UMass. That leaves four true road games, all within ACC play.

BC will visit inter-division foe Virginia Tech (Week 3), NC State (Week 9), Florida State (Week 11), and Wake Forest (Week 13). The true home opponents are Wagner (Week 4), Buffalo (Week 5), Clemson (Week 6), Syracuse (Week 8), Louisville (Week 10), and UConn (Week 12). A bye in Week 7 looks relieving, as BC was banged up and stumbled its way into 2015’s late bye. As of now, BC has three games slated for national television (subject to change) and two Friday night games. 

Softest Stretch: Weeks 2 – 5. This one is easy. After returning from Ireland, BC should dominate UMass again, as they did in 2014 at Gillette. A trip to Virginia Tech is clearly the toughest game in this stretch, but BC has won three of four in the rivalry and at the very least should keep the game close. After that, BC finally takes the field at Alumni Stadium, where the Eagles should trounce FCS-opponent Wagner and then Buffalo. This two game tandem is reminiscent of BC’s wins over Maine and Howard to begin the 2015 campaign. 

Toughest Stretch: Weeks 9 – 11. On the bright side, BC’s two toughest games on paper, vs. Clemson and at Florida State, are spread out. But from October 29 to November 11, BC will face three ACC games, two of which are on the road. In Week 9 BC heads to NC State; the Wolfpack easily handled BC in 2015. The Eagles return home for a date with Louisville in Week 10, another team that Steve Addazio has yet to beat in maroon and gold. Week 11 looks even more daunting– a trip to Tallahassee to battle Florida State on a Friday night, on a short week’s rest, no less. With their student section rowdy for a prime-time ESPN game, BC will face long odds at Doak Campbell Stadium. 

It’s way too early to go game-by-game and predict wins and losses. But right off the bat, there are four games BC cannot possibly afford to lose and still expect to qualify for a bowl: UMass, Wagner, Buffalo, and UConn. These are must-haves. Beyond that, BC needs to get back to its winning ways against Wake Forest, when they end the regular season in Winston-Salem on Thanksgiving weekend. The elusive sixth win could come in any number of games: Georgia Tech (1-7 ACC last year), Virginia Tech (4-4), Syracuse (2-6), or an upset over a favored team like the national runner-up Clemson Tigers.

Barring catastrophic injuries, BC will be hard-pressed for excuses if they cannot find six wins in their 2016 schedule. Athletic Director Brad Bates did a solid job building a schedule with a clear path to five FBS wins and six total wins. Let’s see what the Eagles do with the opportunity. 

*Photo courtesy of Boston College Athletics