Part 2 of our FBS non-conference scheduling bucket list. From 25 to 1:
25. Wyoming Cowboys (Mountain West) -- For some reason I had Wyoming in the middle of the pack in these ratings. I suppose it would be cool to play at the highest Division I football stadium in the nation. War Memorial Stadium seats 32,580 and sits 7,200 feet above sea level.
24. Mississippi St. Bulldogs (SEC) -- There isn't anything particularly sexy about playing the SEC's Mississippi State, which is probably why the Eagles and Bulldogs have never faced one another. Of the SEC programs on this list -- Arkansas, South Carolina, Mississippi State and Missouri -- have to say this is the least desirable of the possible matchups.
23. Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners (WAC) -- The Roadrunners are pretty high up on this list but the new Division I-A program would be a great way of playing a game in Texas. UTSA also has a pretty big stadium, playing home games in the 65,000-seat Alamodome. The Eagles would be facing an old foe in head coach Larry Coker. BC is 0-4 all-time vs. Coker.
22. San Jose St. Spartans (WAC) -- There aren't a whole lot of options if BC wants to play in front of their fairly large alumni group in the Bay Area. San Jose State is literally the only option outside of the big boys Cal and Stanford. The Spartans are making the transition to the Mountain West starting next season following the collapse of WAC football.
21. Kansas Jayhawks (Big 12) -- Not too much appealing about this matchup, other than serving up another L for head coach Charlie Weis (1-2 vs. BC). Other than a dream 12-1 season capped off with an Orange Bowl victory over Virginia Tech, KU has been consistently one of, if not the worst Big 12 programs for the better part of a decade.
20. Oregon St. Beavers (Pac-12) -- BC has played neither Division I-A program from the state of Oregon. The Beavers are no Ducks.
19. Fresno St. Bulldogs (Mountain West) -- One of the other few options for BC to get out to California. The Bulldogs check in slightly higher than San Jose State on this list given the results over the past decade. Fresno State is 21 games over .500 over the past decade while San Jose State is 27 games under .500.
18. South Florida Bulls (Big East) -- USF is the only current member of the Big East that BC has never faced, though the Bulls face an uncertain future in the new new new Big East following the departures of Louisville and Rutgers. A game against the fourth of Florida's Big 3 would be good for years when BC doesn't get to either Tallahassee or Miami.
17. New Mexico Lobos (Mountain West) -- Extremely winnable game against a team from the Southwestern U.S. A win here would even the all-time series between BC and Lobos coach Bob Davie (currently at 3-2). University Stadium is the site of the New Mexico Bowl. They even have backs to their aluminum benches.
16. Rice Owls (Conference USA) -- Hopefully what would be an extremely winnable game in a recruiting hot bed (Houston, Texas) against a similar academically-oriented school. Other BCS AQ schools presumably see the value in a game versus the Owls. Rice has recently hosted Northwestern, Texas, Baylor, UCLA and Purdue in recent seasons and has future non-conference dates with Notre Dame, Northwestern, Baylor and Stanford.
15. South Carolina Gamecocks (SEC) -- With games every year against Clemson, a date with the Gamecocks seems a bit duplicative. Still would be nice to cross the Gamecocks off this list in a year where BC isn't traveling to Death Valley.
14. Oklahoma St. Cowboys (Big 12) -- The unstoppable force vs. the immovable object, part 1. This would have been a tremendous matchup back in the day when BC was playing stifling defense and the Cowboys were putting up pinball-type scores on the board. Now this game would probably be a sh-tshow until the Eagles get their defense back on track. Aside: BC football needs a T. Boone Pickens.
13. San Diego St. Aztecs (Mountain West) -- Because ... San Diego.
12. Utah Utes (Pac-12) -- I was pretty surprised that BC and Utah have never faced one another on the gridiron. While I would prefer a game against BYU over the Utes, Utah represents a solid Pac-12 opponent -- one that, like Boston College, has seen better days until recently. The trick could be finding room on the Utes' future non-conference schedules. Utah typically plays two local teams (Utah State, Weber State, Fresno State) and one marquee non-conference opponent (BYU, Michigan) annually. With only three non-conference games a year in the Pac-12, scheduling could prove difficult.
11. Arkansas Razorbacks (SEC) -- I really have no feel for a possible BC-Arkansas matchup other than the Razorbacks representing a quality SEC program to face in non-conference play.
10. Arizona Wildcats (Pac-12) -- Because ... Arizona.
9. Missouri Tigers (SEC) -- BC-Missouri doesn't seem all that appealing at face, but this does afford the Eagles a quality opponent in a
8. Illinois Fighting Illini (Big Ten) -- I was really surprised that BC has yet to play a total of five programs from the Big Ten. All five make my top eight. Illinois represents the least fit for me, other than the boost to recruiting a BC-Illinois matchup could represent in Illinois, Indiana and Iowa. Still, I don't think that's anything that a game with Northwestern can't accomplish and I'd much rather face the Wildcats again than cross the Illini off the list. Illinois has hardly been the cream of the crop in the Big Ten in recent seasons.
7. Purdue Boilermakers (Big Ten) -- In a lot of ways, the Boston College and Purdue programs feel similar. Both were the model of consistency during the last decade, good for 8-9 wins a season from ~2000-2007-ish. Both have fallen on hard times of late. Both hired new coaches in the offseason. Both live in the shadows of Notre Dame. Outside of Northwestern, there doesn't seem to be a more BC-like Big Ten team than Purdue.
6. Washington Huskies (Pac-12) -- You can tailgate on a boat. Husky Stadium is currently undergoing a $260 million dollar renovation. Seattle is pretty cool. Any other reasons why this shouldn't happen?
5. Nebraska Cornhuskers (Big Ten) -- This would have been a must-watch matchup a few years ago for fans who love defense. Give Addazio a few years and this strength (run-first offense) vs. strength (defense) matchup has the potential to be a good one.
4. Oregon Ducks (Pac-12) -- The unstoppable force vs. the immovable object, part 2. No telling how long Oregon will be on top in the Pac-12. How long until Chip Kelly takes an NFL job? I guess. Still, BC at Autzen in the nation's loudest stadium? Sign me up.
3. Minnesota Golden Gophers (Big Ten) -- The Gophers are now nearly a decade removed from their 10-win 2003 season and haven't eclipsed the 7-win mark since. Still, I have visions of the Eagles playing in the new outdoor TCF Bank Stadium during a hockey-football doubleheader weekend (with BC's newfound non-conference hockey scheduling freedom starting next season). I'm sure we could jointly figure out a way around the Big Ten's rigid non-conference scheduling restrictions. Also, the Gophers sell beer at TCF Bank Stadium. What's not to love here?
2. Wisconsin Badgers (Big Ten) -- Another run vs. run matchup similar to a game with Nebraska. Camp Randall is one of the Big Ten's best venues and BC is nearly guaranteed to face an ACC transfer under center with a trip to Madison.
1. U.C.L.A. Bruins (Pac-12) -- Given college football's new playoff and bowl rotation, the Eagles will likely never find themselves playing in the Rose Bowl. So the next best thing is a home-and-home with the UCLA Bruins. I know everyone is amped about a trip to southern California next year against USC, but a BC-UCLA game would one up that for me personally. The two programs are actually closer in all-time winning percentage than I would have thought -- UCLA is 35th all time at .584. BC is 38th at .579. Both are highly ranked academic institutions. Southern California. Etc. Etc. Makes too much sense not to have a home-and-home with UCLA on the future schedule. The Bruins have future non-conference home-and-homes with Nebraska, Virginia and Rutgers and are one of only three programs to have never scheduled a I-AA opponent. So it's not all that unlikely that UCLA will continue to schedule aggressively with at least one non-conference AQ opponent a year. Why not Boston College?