While the Big Ten has mandated that member schools will no longer play FCS schools in an effort to boost strength of schedule, there will be no such mandate in the ACC. Coaches and athletic directors said during last week's spring meetings that they have no issue playing one FCS game a season.
Georgia Tech's new A.D. Mike Bobinski said discussions about eliminating the annual FCS game went basically nowhere.
"Geographically the Big Ten has a different set up. They have a relationship with the Mid-American Conference, which works philosophically, geographically, competitively on a lot of levels. We live in an area where there's an awful lot of FCS football. We have some responsibility, and I think the SEC will do the same thing. I don't think they're going to do what the Big Ten has done, either. We feel like we have a responsibility to the sport in our region to continue to play some of those games."
While it is true that a majority of ACC programs are in areas where there are a number of different FCS football programs, that doesn't hold true across the board. Boston College, for example, is in an area of the country where the number of FCS programs is on the decline, either based on programs making the jump to the FBS (UCONN, UMass) or schools shuttering its program altogether (Hofstra, Northeastern, Boston University).
For BC, if the program wishes to play a local FCS school (and avoid scheduling schools like Weber State), the only two games in town are the CAA and, soon, the Patriot League. So which programs make the most sense for the Eagles to schedule going forward?
New England State Schools
New Hampshire. The Wildcats compete in the CAA and are coming off a 8-4 season in 2012. UNH finished in a four-way tie for the conference's regular season title (6-2) along with Richmond, Towson and Villanova, but were bounced by Wofford in the second round of last year's FCS Playoffs. BC and UNH have previously met 11 times but not since 1936. Perhaps with Day's ties to UNH and UNH coach Sean McDonnell's ties to BC (McDonnell was a GA in 1988), we'll see UNH on a future schedule.
Maine. BC just hosted the Black Bears at Alumni Stadium last fall, shaking off a sluggish start to put away Maine 34-3. The two programs have met seven times in total but just twice since the I-A / I-AA split of 1978. Matt Ryan, Andre Callendar and the Eagles blanked the Black Bears 22-0 in 2006 in the only other meeting since the divisional split.
Villanova. BC and Villanova have a long history on the gridiron that will be renewed this season. The Eagles have faced the Wildcats more than any other team in program history with the exception of Holy Cross and Syracuse. Boston College leads the 45 game series 29-15-1, though Villanova won the last meeting between the two teams in 1980.
Fordham. Many, many years ago BC and Fordham used to play regularly. The two schools faced one another more often than not between the years 1912-1954. Following the 1954 season, Fordham dropped the sport due to budget constraints. The program was reconstituted as a club program in 1964 and worked its way back up through Division III to the FCS in 1989. In 2010, the school announced it would start awarding 60 scholarships in football, allowing the Rams to face FBS competition. Fordham is the only Division I-AA school to have played in at least two of the four major bowl games (Cotton, Orange, Sugar, Rose), competing in the 1941 Cotton Bowl and the 1942 Sugar Bowl.
Georgetown. With the Patriot League moving to 60 scholarships starting this season, wins over the league's football-playing members will count towards bowl eligibility starting in 2017. Another old Jesuit rival of BC, the Eagles and Hoyas have faced one another 17 times from 1919 to 1950, before the school discontinued its football program citing budget concerns. I'm sure Syracuse will get first crack at these guys once a win counts towards bowl eligibility, but this would be a nice nod to an old-time football rivalry if BC can get Georgetown on the future schedule.
Holy Cross. Like Fordham and Georgetown, a win over BC's chief football rival for the 100 seasons between 1896-1986 will count towards bowl eligibility in a few years. The over 50 crowd will be thrilled.