Brian: Boston College won't have its 2011 football schedule finalized until the ACC schedule comes out in three to four weeks. While the Big 12, Big Ten, Pac 12 and SEC already have their 2011 schedules finalized, we sit ... and wait for the conference's announcement. Over the last two years, the conference published the schedule on February 4 and February 12, so we still have a few weeks to speculate as to what the 2011 sched might look like.
We already know what BC's non-conference schedule will look like in 2011. The Eagles are scheduled to open the season with the Northwestern Wildcats on September 3 and then hit the road for their return date with the Central Florida Knights on September 10. On October 1, the Eagles will host the UMass Minutemen during what is hopefully Parents' Weekend. Finally, the Eagles return to South Bend to take on Notre Dame on November 19.
Our conference home games this year are Florida State, N.C. State, Duke and Wake Forest, while we play Virginia Tech, Clemson, Miami and Maryland on the road. Next year, like this past season, there is room for just one bye week. It's certainly not a walk-in-the-park schedule, if for no other reason than the Eagles have just six home games. BC trades in its annual MAC cupcake for the Conference USA champs (UCF) and replaces Syracuse -- who opted out of the 2011 and 2012 games -- with Northwestern, which could also be considered a slight improvement. Even our I-AA opponent improves, with an always-motivated Massachusetts team replacing Weber State.
So when the ACC schedule comes out in a few weeks, how do you want the Eagles schedule to look in 2011? Your thoughts?
Sep. 3 Northwestern
Sep. 10 at Central Florida
Sep. 17 Wake Forest
Sep. 24 at Maryland
Oct. 1 Massachusetts
Oct. 8 at Virginia Tech
Oct. 15 at Miami
Oct. 22 Bye
Oct. 29 Florida State
Nov. 5 N.C. State
Nov. 12 at Clemson
Nov. 19 at Notre Dame
Nov. 26 Duke
Jeff: Given that there are still lots of uncertainties with our teams, I'd really like to open with a very winnable ACC game. Our options are mainly Duke and Wake Forest at home for such a game to open with. N.C. State at home might not be bad either, especially if Russell Wilson is playing professional baseball.
I do not want to open with Florida State or with a road game against Miami, Virginia Tech or Clemson. Hopefully we can notch at least one ACC win before hitting those tougher games. Overall, the ACC schedule is tough for us next year because we get Miami instead of Virginia from the Coastal Division. There is going to be a real tough stretch of three or four games any way our schedule pans out sometime in October or November and I hope that our bye week falls right in the middle of those games.
Finally, I am hoping for a game we'll be favored in to end the season. Win or lose at Notre Dame, we don't want a Notre Dame hangover to turn a win into a loss if we play a game that should be a close matchup like Clemson on the road. That final game of the season might have conference implications if everything goes well next season. It should be another year where 6-2 in the Atlantic Division gets you to Charlotte guaranteed. We are fortunate that we miss North Carolina and Georgia Tech but Virginia Tech is tough every year even with some players leaving early for the NFL.