With Boston College football agreeing to a three-game series with UMass, the Eagles will open up the 2014 season "on the road" at the Razor on August 30. The UMass road game is joined by a home date with USC and a neutral site game with Army at Yankee Stadium. Unfortunately, there is an issue with the future ACC schedule that could leave the Eagles with as few as five home games in 2014.
The ACC is moving to a nine-game conference schedule when Syracuse and Pittsburgh join the ACC, which may happen as early as the 2013 season. There are several ramifications to this.
For one thing, don't expect BC to play more than one BCS conference non-conference opponent a season. With USC on the schedule in 2013-14 and Notre Dame in 2015, 2016, 2018 and 2019, BC won't be playing any more marquee non-conference opponents in those seasons. BC will need to do everything in its power to avoid playing six or fewer home games in a season. Scheduling home-and-homes with BCS conference opponents isn't the way to do this. Plus there are the considerations for scheduling your way to six wins and a bowl game.
Another issue is the placement of the extra ACC home game. Florida State and Clemson have a scheduling consideration that may leave ACC Atlantic Division programs with just four ACC home games in even-numbered years. Tomahawk Nation explains:
The next issue is that the FSU, Clemson and Georgia Tech are all counting on the ACC to not screw things up in a major way. How so? With nine conference games, it is likely that one division will play five home games, and one division will play four. Then they'll flip in the next year.
In order to preserve seven home games, FSU and Clemson, both in the Atlantic Division, and both with road games in odd years at UF and South Carolina, respectively, need the Atlantic division to play its five home games in odd numbered years. Georgia Tech has the same need in the Coastal, only reversed, as they play at Georgia in even years. The solution is obvious and I have a lot of faith that the ACC will get this right.
The problem here is that if the ACC gives Atlantic Division programs a fifth road game in even-numbered years to cater for FSU and Clemson's scheduling constraints (a likely outcome), BC will be left with just five home games in 2014 -- USC in non-conference play and four ACC contests.
You know who plays just five home games in a season? Upstart FBS programs and programs from the WAC, MAC and Sun Belt. A home date with USC or no, it's unacceptable for a BCS conference program to have just five home games in a season. It's unfair to current students and hardly a reward for loyal season ticket holders (or the few season ticket holders still on the bandwagon in 2014).
If BC and the rest of the Atlantic Division are given just four ACC home games in 2014, Boston College is simply poorly positioned to shift things around to get to that sixth home game. The currently scheduled game against the annual FCS opponent -- Rhode Island -- will probably be canceled due to URI's move to the NEC, leaving a home date with USC, a "road" game at UMass and a neutral site game with Army at Yankee Stadium. You aren't going to cancel the Army game and you aren't going to go back on the UMass deal, which was just inked.
Without moving anything around, that will leave the Eagles with a schedule that consists of five home games, six road games and a neutral site game at Yankee Stadium. Some might say that a game at Gillette is as good as a home game for the Eagles and this isn't a big deal. While a game against UMass in Foxborough feels like a home game in terms of distance traveled, it's not a home game when it comes to season tickets and an opportunity to generate revenue for the program.
If this comes about and BC has just five home games in 2014, I hope the minimum Flynn Fund donation is decreased to be more in line with the number of home games the football program is offering. Otherwise what exactly are we paying for?