The Boston College football scheduling bucket list. Crossing off every Division I-A member left to play, one program at a time.
Boston College will face New Mexico State for the first time in program history next season, making the Aggies the 74th different current Division I-A member the Eagles will have played all-time. It's also the first new program BC will face since squaring off against the Nevada Wolf Pack in the 2011 Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl.
Still, BC is a LONG way away from completing its FBS non-conference scheduling bucket list. Even though Boston College has been playing college football since the 1890s, the Eagles still have 50 Division I-A programs that have yet to face.
Those 50 programs include the entire Sun Belt (10 teams), eight Conference USA, seven (!) Pac-12, five Big Ten, five Mountain West, five WAC, four SEC, two MAC, two Big 12 and even a program from the Eagles' former conference.
What follows is a ranking of those 50 programs. Consider this the Eagles' Division I-A non-conference scheduling bucket list of sorts. First, from 50 to 26:
50. South Alabama Jaguars (Sun Belt) -- Though it would be patriotic to play U.S.A., South Alabama is still making the transition from Division I-AA to Division I-A. This is more or less a second Division I-AA game.
49. ULM Warhawks (Sun Belt) -- This season ULM is 8-4 and bowling for the first time in program history. The Warhawks defeated Arkansas in OT! Lost to Auburn in OT and even put a scare into Baylor. Louisiana Tech even turned down a bowl this season for fear of losing to their upstart, in-state rivals. I want no part in sharing in the shame of losing to a rising program.
48. Louisiana Ragin Cajuns (Sun Belt) -- They have a cool nickname and, well, yeah. That's about it.
47. Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (Sun Belt) -- This game has no entertainment value other than trying to figure out what their mascot is supposed to be.
46. East Carolina Pirates (Conference USA) -- Because we play in Carolina enough as it is.
45. Arkansas St. Red Wolves (Sun Belt) -- A-State has been the class of the Sun Belt the past two seasons. And I could do without seeing BC add "lose to a Sun Beast program" to the list of accomplishments the past few seasons.
44. Florida Atlantic Owls (Sun Belt) -- BC already gets the opportunity to play a bad South Florida team in front of a few thousand fans. Part 1.
43. UAB Blazers (Conference USA) -- The Crimson Tide has this program right where it wants it -- losing football games in a decrepit stadium.
42. Memphis Tigers (Conference USA) -- Maybe, like, in basketball. Football? No.
41. Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (WAC) -- A very good WAC team moving up in the world -- joining Conference USA next season.
40. Middle Tenn. St. Blue Raiders (Sun Belt) -- If you want a game against a team from Tennessee, schedule Vanderbilt. Or, you know, Tennessee. Ask Georgia Tech about this one.
39. Tulsa Golden Hurricane (Conference USA) -- If you want a game against a team from Oklahoma, schedule Oklahoma State. Or Oklahoma.
38. North Texas Mean Green (Sun Belt) -- There are far better options for getting a game against a team from Texas.
37. Southern Miss. Golden Eagles (Conference USA) -- This game should probably be even higher on this list for the high "Golden Eagle" confusion factor alone.
36. UTEP Miners (Conference USA) -- If I want to visit Ciudad Juarez, I'll gladly wait it out for a Sun Bowl invite.
35. Texas State Bobcats (WAC) -- Texas State is making the transition from Division I-AA to Division I-A and actually put together a decent inaugural season (4-8), all things considered. This program is much higher on this list based on winnability and location.
34. Miami (Ohio) RedHawks (MAC) -- Though something tells me this might just come off this list over the next decade or so. I have no idea why. Just a hunch.
33. Washington St. Cougars (Pac-12) -- The first power conference team to make this list. Going up against Mike Leach is the only thing that makes this matchup even remotely appealing. The Cougars are no Washington.
32. Fla. International Golden Panthers (Sun Belt) -- BC already gets the opportunity to play a bad South Florida team in front of a few thousand fans. Part 2.
31. Troy Trojans (Sun Belt) -- Historically a strong Sun Belt program in an area of the country that BC doesn't get to all that often. Covers Alabama, the Florida Panhandle (in years when BC doesn't play Florida State) and Georgia.
30. Marshall Thundering Herd (Conference USA) -- A relatively local opponent whose seen better days on the gridiron. Alternative to become relevant in Ohio, Kentucky and Virginia.
29. Akron Zips (MAC) -- The fact that the Zips are located in Ohio and close to Pennsylvania is about the only thing this matchup has going for it. Recruiting pipelines FTW!
28. Western Michigan Broncos (MAC) -- Surprised the Broncos make this list. I would have thought BC would have ran across these guys in the past in their run of two-for-one #MACtion dates. Makes for a decent football-hockey doubleheader.
27. UNLV Rebels (Mountain West) -- If you want to go to Vegas, go to Vegas. Don't waste your time going to a UNLV football game.
26. Utah State Aggies (WAC) -- Schedule one of those SEC-like late November, week before a rivalry games against Utah State and parlay that into a skiing trip.