BC is in the odd position of falling to the ACC's last bowl slot, yet playing the second toughest opponent of any ACC bowl team (at least according to the BCS). So how does Nevada stack up to BC's last 10 years of bowl opponents?
Food Chain: Toughest Boston College Bowl Opponents 2000-2010
We review the below teams to determine the top five toughest BC bowl opponents of the last 10 years.
2010: Nevada (12-1)
Brian: The Wolf Pack enter the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl with a lot of momentum. Nevada has won six straight -- one more than BC -- and enters the game with a 12-1 regular season record and a share of the WAC title with Boise State and Hawaii. Nevada will be extra motivated to knock off BC in San Francisco, to end the best season in program history on a high note. The Wolf Pack are owners of the third best total offense in the nation, averaging 535.5 yards per game (over 300 of those on the ground).
2009: USC (8-4)
Jeff: Probably the most talented team the Eagles have faced in their run of now 12 consecutive bowl appearances but they were certainly not playing their best when the Eagles faced them. Joe McKnight and many others from this team would go on the the NFL including their coach, Pete Carroll, but this team also should've given us a glimpse of how tough it is to win with a true freshman QB. If this team had had a more veteran quarterback they might not have been playing BC in San Francisco but would have been playing for a bigger title. USC finished #22 in the AP rankings.
2008: Vanderbilt (6-6)
Brian: The 2008 Vanderbilt Commodores limped into the bowl season with a 6-6 record, having started the season 5-0. That 5-0 record included a win over then #24 South Carolina and #13 Auburn. The 'Dores then limped to a 1-5 record down the stretch, including losses to the ACC's Duke (10-7) and Wake Forest (23-10). The Eagles came into the Music City Bowl having won their last four regular season games to clinch their second straight Atlantic Division title. Somehow, BC lost to this team. I wouldn't expect the 'Dores to make any top 5 list.
2007: Michigan State (7-5)
Jeff: This was a young Michigan State team that would compete for the Big Ten title and finish the season ranked the following year. Prior to the Champs Sports Bowl, many BC fans probably did not realize that Michigan State was as good as they were. A late touchdown and two point conversion would make the final score closer than the game was, but the Spartans were competitive with BC's best team of the decade.
2006: Navy (9-3)
Brian: While the Middies weren't going to win any strength of schedule pissing contests in 2006, Navy still rolled up 9 regular season wins in 2006 -- including wins over Stanford, Connecticut, Temple and both Air Force and Army. Navy, natch, entered the Meineke Car Care Bowl with the nation's top ranked rushing defense. In the game, the Midshipmen offense gained 403 yards, including 322 on the ground. If not for a curious option pitch and fumble from Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada with just 1:43 left to play in the game, the Eagles then six-game bowl winning streak would have likely be snapped and who knows ... maybe Spaz doesn't become head coach three years later.
2005: Boise State (9-3)
Jeff: BC fans remember that the Eagles were the last team to beat Boise State on their blue field even though it wasn't a true home game for them. This Boise State team was ranked going into the bowl game but would not finish the season ranked after the Eagles played a dominating first half before letting the Broncos back in the game. Boise State had a good team that year but there incredibly long home winning streak shows that lack of quality of opponents that come to Boise to play the Broncos. The following season, Boise State would go undefeated and finish #6 in the AP.
2004: North Carolina (6-5)
Brian: The Eagles faced the 6-5 North Carolina Tar Heels in their final bowl game as a member of the Big East conference in 2004. And if not for a fake field goal for a touchdown, the Eagles may have been picked off by the local Heels that day. In Paul Petersen's last game as an Eagle, he threw for 236 yards and 2 touchdowns as BC won 37-24 in Charlotte. It wasn't the bowl game BC wanted to be in, having come so close to the BCS and a Utah beatdown in the Fiesta Bowl, but UNC proved to be a tough test for BC.
2003: Colorado State (7-5)
Brian: Despite their 7-5 record, Colorado State wasn't a bad Mountain West team in 2003 and served as an adequate bowl opponent for BC's first trip to San Francisco. Bradlee Van Pelt was a decent, tough quarterback. What ever happened to that guy? As it turned out though, the Rams shot themselves in the foot -- five times to be specific -- and BC rolled up a 21 point first quarter lead and never looked back. Colorado State was coming off 2 Mountain West Championships in two of the last three years prior to 2003, but 2002-2003 was a bit of a high-water mark for the program under Sonny Lubick. Once TCU joined the Mountain West in 2005, it's been mostly downhill from the success the Rams enjoyed in the early 2000s.
2002: Toledo (9-4)
Jeff: This team is on the list only because BC played them. Toledo had a nice season in the MAC in 2002 but had no business being on the field with the Eagles. BC set a first half scoring record against Toledo in Detroit, a record which has since been broken. Still, this proves that this Toledo team would not have accomplished much if playing in an AQ conference that season.
2001: Georgia (8-3)
Jeff: This ranked Georgia team was certainly favored against the Eagles but was unable to beat them. This was mostly the same team that went on to go 13-1 the following season, winning the SEC and the Sugar Bowl. Georgia had a very good team even in 2001 but BC was able to run the ball and win the game. In name only, Georgia is certainly one of our best bowl opponents in recent memory, but Georgia fans would probably tell you this was their worst team they've had in a long long time since they lost to a team like BC.
Jeff's Food Chain:
5. Michigan State
3. Boise State
Brian's Food Chain:
3. Boise State