With Boston College A.D. Gene DeFilippo set to retire on September 30, the speculation has already begun on many aspects of the Eagles' athletic future: Will Spaziani be fired at the end of the season? Will the school elevate men's lacrosse to varsity? Will the school return to the Big East (hahaha, no)? Will BC and UConn end the New England Cold War and play in football and basketball?
It's the last question that The (New London, Ct.) Day's Mike DiMauro weighs in on. Bring on the Good For New England game!
An annual UConn-BC game would give us a taste of what it's like in other parts of the country during Rivalry Week. It's doubtful our cultures could summon the same hostility as Ohio State-Michigan or Auburn-Alabama. But it would be fun trying.
Plus, it would give both schools a chance to sell and showcase their programs during a week of heightened awareness. It's especially true in Connecticut, where the program needs selling. BC will never capture the hearts of the Boston sports fandom. But for a week, the idea of some venomous chatter between the fan bases would make for some fun.
Not the first time that DiMauro has stumped for Boston College and UConn to bury the hatchet. Probably won't be the last, either. What I love about any discussion about the Good For New England game is that the author almost always omits the following points:
1. Yawn. "Because there haven't been many Augusts in New England where the oncoming college football season has been met with bigger yawns." Go tell this to UMass, who begins life in the Football Bowl Subdivision against, of all teams, UConn next Thursday. Another "Good For New England" game met with a collective yawn, right?
2. Good For New England Game, jr. Speaking of UMass, last year's BC-UMass game at Alumni Stadium was played in front of 14,000+ empty seats. Any notion that BC-UMass or BC-UConn is going to be some box office blockbuster was tossed in my mind when UMass fans didn't travel to Chestnut Hill in their last season in the FCS.
3. Nine-game ACC schedule. When the ACC moves to a nine-game conference schedule starting next season, it will become even more imperative for Boston College to maintain an annual football schedule with at least six home games. This is a task that becomes increasingly difficult in even years with five ACC road games and non-conference series scheduled with USC and Notre Dame.
4. Syracuse. Boston College's primary Northeast rival is Syracuse. Just because BC and UConn once shared a conference affiliation in hoops and are separated by just 80 miles of interstate doesn't mean any potential BC-UConn football rivalry will ever trump the history that BC and Syracuse have with one another. The Eagles have faced the Orange on the gridiron more times than any other program outside of Worcester. The Rivalry Week where DiMauro pines for BC and UConn fans to exchange "venomous chatter" is earmarked for BC and Syracuse, not BC and UConn.
As I said the other day, play UConn in football only if it makes sense for the program; not out of some sense of obligation. Despite DeFilippo's public statements on UConn and ACC expansion, the next A.D. doesn't owe UConn anything. Rivalries with Syracuse, Notre Dame and a need for a minimum of six home games a year should supersede any calls for a marginally relevant "Good for New England" game.