On Monday, the Patriot League announced that they will start offering athletic merit aid for football, beginning with the freshman class of 2013, league presidents announced on Monday. Each Patriot League member will be permitted to award no more than 15 athletic financial aid awards each year to incoming student-athletes, and the total number of scholarships can't exceed 60.
Why this is big, big news for Boston College is that so long as the seven Patriot League schools offer at least 56.7 scholarships over a rolling two-year period, BC can count a win over a Patriot League member towards bowl eligibility starting in 2018 at the earliest.
"One win over a FCS team can count toward the win total each year provided the FCS team has supplied financial aid for football averaging out to at least 56.7 full scholarships (90% of the limit of 63 allowed to FCS schools) over "a rolling two-year period" that can include the current season."
Unless I'm reading this incorrectly, that would mean BC could count a victory over Bucknell, Colgate, Fordham, Holy Cross, Lafayette, Lehigh or Georgetown towards yearly bowl eligibility.
That's welcome news for BC as the Eagles have watched the number of available FCS opponents Northeast continue to decline. With UMass making the jump to the FBS, Hofstra and Northeastern recently canceling its football programs and Rhode Island moving down to the 34-scholarship limit NEC, BC was literally left with just two Northeast programs to schedule for their annual FCS game -- Maine and New Hampshire.
While a Boston College home game against a team from the Patriot League won't necessarily get Superfans blood pumping, the Patriot League is home to some of the Eagles more traditional football rivals.
No team has played BC more than Holy Cross, who played the Eagles annually from 1919-1986 before the Crusaders dropped down to the Patriot League in 1986. BC leads the all-time series 48-31-3. BC has also played fellow Jesuit schools Fordham (27 times, 14-11-2) and Georgetown (17 times, 11-5-1), though only as recently as 1954.