Boston College's Non-Conference Schedule Key to Success? and the Big Finish

Brian: I was reading Phil Steele's 2012 College Football Preview the other day and noted each ACC program's non-conference record over the last 10 years. I was somewhat surprised to see which ACC program had the best non-conference record over the last 10 years. It wasn't Virginia Tech, Florida State, Miami or Clemson. Boston College's 41-10 record (.804) led all conference programs over the last decade.

Here's the non-conference records of ACC programs over the last 10 years:

1. Boston College Eagles 41-10
2. Virginia Tech Hokies 39-13
3. Miami Hurricanes 36-12
4. N.C. State Wolfpack 32-13
5. Maryland Terrapins 30-15
6. Clemson Tigers 31-16
7. Florida St. Seminoles 32-17
8. Wake Forest Demon Deacons 27-16
9. Virginia Cavaliers 27-18
10. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 28-20
11. North Carolina Tar Heels 23-20
12. Duke Blue Devils 16-22

Interesting to see the three Big East programs atop these standings. Boston College has no doubt benefitted from some softer non-conference schedules, particularly in the years after the move to the ACC reshuffled some of BC's non-conference dates. The Eagles also have benefitted from the 8-game bowl winning streak in the 2000s, when, more often than not, BC was shipped off to a worse bowl than deserved based on on-field play.

Almost incredibly, seven of BC's 10 non-conference losses over the last 10 years have happened on Spaz's watch -- Notre Dame and USC in 2009, Notre Dame and Nevada in 2010 and Northwestern, Central Florida and Notre Dame last season.

If BC wants to have a successful season, this year's slate of non-conference games seems more important than it has in year's past. This season, BC faces Northwestern and Army on the road, while hosting Maine and Notre Dame. Do you think the Eagles can rebound with a strong showing in non-conference play this season? And do you agree that the Eagles performance in non-conference play this season will be the difference between, say, bowl eligibility and Spaz's job?

Jeff: The non-conference schedule sets up such that in a year where we were expecting much out of the Eagles we would be hoping for a non-conference sweep and we wouldn't settle for less than a 3-1 record. Both road games are teams that we expect to outperform more seasons than not and in the last decade, we more or less expect to beat Notre Dame at home but not on the road. This year is uncharted territory for BC football in recent memory. A lot of students and fans don't remember BC football having a losing season which is what we had last year. Since 3 of our 4 opponents are hoping for the postseason this year, it's hard to say that we expect 3 or 4 wins. However, if Spaz wants to show last season was a fluke because of really bad luck with injuries and the team being so young, 3 or 4 non-conference wins are a must this year.

To be bowl eligible we need to win at least 2 and preferably 3. For Spaz to have a chance of keeping his job we need to make a bowl so the same thing applies. For Spaz to be completely safe with his job we need to make a bowl and beat Notre Dame.

Big Finish

Brian: The site McIllece Sports projects Boston College to finish second in the Atlantic Division, behind Florida State.

Jeff: This is the first time going into the season that I can realistically see us finish in any of the six spots in the division.

Jeff: NCAA penalties will be announced for Penn State tomorrow morning and they are not expected to get the death penalty. Do you expect a multiple year bowl ban?

Brian: My guess is multiple year bowl ban and lost TV time.

Brian: Were you disappointed to see BC only claims 1 of the 91 Olympians coming from ACC schools?

Jeff: Not really, I have higher expectations for the winter Olympics.

Jeff: Kaleb Ramsey said at the ACC Kickoff that the team is motivated by the opener being televised in primetime against Miami. What are the chances we start the season with a 3 and out?

Brian: Chances are good if the Miami program continues to piss off Charles Robinson and Yahoo! Sports.

Brian: Frank Spaziani or Randy Edsall -- which coach's seat is hotter heading into 2012?

Jeff: Spaz since Edsall is only in year two.

Jeff: BC ranked #5 of universities with the most attractive male student bodies. Does this make you feel more attractive?

Brian: Ha. Not really, no.

Brian: Last one. A year ago, BC claimed both the preseason ACC POY and DPOY (unofficial), placing two players on the Preseason All-ACC team. When the team is announced on Wednesday, will BC get shut out this season?

Jeff: My guess would be yes.

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