Analyzing Boston College's 2020 Football Schedule

Analyzing Boston College’s 2020 Football Schedule

By JD Biagioni

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The ACC released its conference schedule earlier Wednesday morning. Prior to that, Boston College fans knew who the team would be playing, but they didn’t know when. Now they have their answer.

2020 Boston College Football Schedule
Friday, Sept. 4             Syracuse
Saturday, Sept. 12      Ohio
Saturday, Sept. 19       at Kansas
Saturday, Sept. 26      Purdue
Friday, Oct. 2              Clemson
Saturday, Oct. 10        Louisville
Thursday, Oct. 22        at Virginia Tech
Saturday, Oct. 31        Holy Cross
Saturday, Nov. 7          at NC State
Saturday, Nov. 14        at Florida State
Saturday, Nov. 21       North Carolina
Saturday, Nov. 28        at Wake Forest

Here are some observations from the schedule release and an early projection for BC’s record.

Holy Cross on Halloween

  • With the advent of the ACC Network, teams are beginning to open their seasons with conference matchups. As such, some scheduling agreements for non-conference games had to be reworked. For BC, that meant moving Holy Cross from Week 1 to Week 9. The Eagles rarely play non-Notre Dame out-of-conference games that late in the season. When they do occur, it’s almost certainly because an early-season ACC game was added. In 2013, BC traveled to New Mexico State in November after being slotted for a Week 2 Friday night game against Wake Forest. Likewise in 2016, BC played host to UConn in November, because the Eagles played Georgia Tech in Ireland to open the season. 

Comforts of Home

  • Much like last season when BC opened with four of five at home, the Eagles won’t have to travel much to begin the 2020 season. With five of the team’s first six games at Alumni Stadium, BC will only hit the road once prior to October 22nd. Being home early presents advantages and disadvantages. Chief among the positives is that it allows for a fast start to build up momentum before crucial ACC road games. On the other, if the wins don’t come early, the prospect of getting to six wins becomes even tougher, with very little home field advantage available in the final month of the season. Last season, BC went 2-2 in those first four home games. As a result, the Eagles needed late-season wins at Syracuse and at Pitt to secure bowl eligibility. 

No Rival?

  • The final week of the season is dubbed “Rivalry Week” for a reason. If you’re Clemson, you know you’ll be seeing South Carolina. If you’re Alabama, Auburn. Washington, Washington State. You get the point. Boston College doesn’t really have one of those; Syracuse may be the most common, sure, but I’d hardly call it a true rivalry. In this century, the Eagles have closed out the regular season against eight different teams: Miami, Virginia Tech, Syracuse, Rutgers, Maryland, NC State, Wake Forest and Pitt. This season, the honor will go to Wake Forest. As far as who could one day become a guaranteed final-week-of-the-season opponent, here are a couple options. Virginia Tech would be nice, but they’re taken by Virginia. Miami is available, but BC isn’t guaranteed to play the Hurricanes every year. I like the idea of BC-Pitt, but Pitt needs to get back to playing West Virginia every season to close the season. Maybe BC will forever be stuck in that revolving door of rivalry week opponents.

Three Non-Saturdays

  • Everyone knew BC would land one Friday night game. But a second, as well as a Thursday night game? Those were not expected. The season will open on Friday September 4th against Syracuse. BC will also host Clemson on Friday October 2nd in what feels like it’ll be the Red Bandana Game (more on that in a moment). Lastly, the Eagles will travel to Blacksburg for a Thursday night showdown with Virginia Tech on October 22nd. BC and VT met on Thursday nights during BC’s first three seasons in the ACC but have only played on Saturdays since. Interestingly enough, the last time the two faced off on a Thursday night was October 25, 2007. In that game No. 2 Boston College (yeah that’s as crazy for me to type as it is for you to read) came from 10-0 down in the fourth quarter to defeat the eighth-ranked Hokies. That probably won’t happen this year, but at least with the return of the Thursday night game, we can hope that the ACC continues to schedule BC-VT in that slot for the foreseeable future. 

Red Bandana vs. Clemson?

  • Much has been written regarding whether or not the Red Bandana Game should be moved back to a date closer to September 11th (P.S. It absolutely should). This season, BC could’ve requested a Friday night game against Ohio to play on 9/11. The Ohio game could still be the Red Bandana game, as it will take place on September 12th. That’s when it should be, but it most likely will be on October 2nd against Clemson, as BC typically likes to schedule it for a Friday against a high-profile opponent. One thing I will say is that BC has ample opportunity to schedule a quality opponent around September 11th for the Red Bandana Game in the coming years if the opponent is the driving factor behind their scheduling decisions. Next season, they host Missouri on September 25th. In 2024, it’s Michigan State on September 21st. The week of September 11th is currently an open slot in 2025. In 2026 and 2027, BC hosts Rutgers and Cincinnati, respectively, early enough in the season. Same goes for Army or Stanford in 2028. 

Most Intriguing Game: UNC

  • I really thought the Tar Heels would be the Red Bandana opponent this season, but that is highly unlikely now that the game is on a Saturday in late November. Still, it has the potential to be a statement game for Jeff Hafley in his first season on the Heights. North Carolina quarterback Sam Howell, the reigning ACC Offensive Rookie of the Year, has the Tar Heels positioned as a trendy Top 25 pick to open the season. Given the parity in the Coastal, UNC has a very good chance to emerge from the pack and could very well be ranked in the high teens or low twenties when they roll into Chestnut Hill. It sets up as a winnable game against a potentially-ranked team, one that could go a long way towards re-energizing the fan base. 

Early Predictions:

Here’s an early look at how the season could play out. Note: this is assuming Phil Jurkovec’s waiver is approved. Also note: what I predict here almost certainly won’t happen. 

  1. Syracuse – W
  2. Ohio – W
  3. Kansas – L
  4. Purdue – W
  5. Clemson – L
  6. Louisville – W
  7. Bye
  8. Virginia Tech – L
  9. Holy Cross – W
  10. NC State – W
  11. Florida State – L
  12. North Carolina – W
  13. Wake Forest – W

(8-4, 5-3)