With the ACC's new Power 5 non-conference scheduling requirement, Boston College athletics director Brad Bates has a bit of work ahead of him in finding major conference dancing partners to schedule starting in 2018. The question is which schools should be on BC's short-list of candidates?
I'm sure we all have our own lists in our head as to the power conference teams we'd like to see the Eagles face. But for those who haven't developed strong feelings on the matter one way or another, I've developed a completely infallible, 100 percent accurate and scientific ranking system for all 50 non-ACC*, non-Notre Dame programs.
Using a combination of factors, I've ranked all the Power 5 non-conference programs from 50 to 1 using the following criteria on a 1-5 scale:
-- History: Pretty straightforward. How many times has Boston College faced the program in the past? Given the infrequency that BC has faced many of these programs in the past, any school that the Eagles have faced five or more times received 5 points, schools that have faced BC four times received 4 points, etc. etc.
-- Recruiting: How beneficial would a trip to said school be to the program? Does a game against a particular school overlap with a portion of the country BC already gets to as part of its annual ACC schedule?
-- Alumni: How easy is it for alumni to get to the game? How large or small is the alumni base in the area?
-- Exposure: TV and otherwise. How big a deal will the game be? Will the game get picked up by a major network or will it be relegated to ESPN3 EXCLUSIVE status? Obviously as programs rise and fall, this measure will change over time. Assume that the game will be played this coming year.
-- Fan Experience: How's the tailgating? Opposing team's stadium? Access to the city and the school?
Here's the rankings:
|Rk.||Team (G)||Conf.||History||Recruiting||Alumni||Exposure||Fan Exp.||Total|
|44||Iowa State (1)||Big 12||1||1||1||2||3||8|
|40||Indiana (1)||Big Ten||1||3||2||1||2||9|
|37||Arizona State (1)||PAC-12||1||2||2||2||3||10|
|35||Oklahoma State||Big 12||0||1||1||4||5||11|
|35||Kansas State (4)||Big 12||4||1||1||2||3||11|
|27||West Virginia (33)||Big 12||5||1||1||3||3||13|
|25||Oklahoma (2)||Big 12||2||1||1||5||5||14|
|20||Ole Miss (4)||SEC||4||2||1||3||5||15|
|20||Maryland (11)||Big Ten||5||4||5||1||0||15|
|20||Rutgers (26)||Big Ten||5||5||5||0||0||15|
|19||Texas Tech (3)||Big 12||3||5||1||3||4||16|
|15||TCU (2)||Big 12||2||5||3||2||5||17|
|15||Northwestern (5)||Big Ten||5||4||5||2||1||17|
|12||Michigan State (6)||Big Ten||5||2||3||4||4||18|
|9||Baylor (3)||Big 12||3||5||3||4||4||19|
|9||Michigan (4)||Big Ten||4||2||3||5||5||19|
|6||Texas (3)||Big 12||3||5||3||5||5||21|
|6||Ohio State (3)||Big Ten||3||5||3||5||5||21|
|3||Texas A&M (4)||SEC||4||5||3||5||5||22|
|1||Penn State (23)||Big Ten||5||5||4||5||5||24|
G = number of games played, all-time.
And pithy, 1-2 sentence explanation of the above rankings.
50. Kansas Jayhawks -- The only redeeming quality in a home-and-home series with Kansas would be the opportunity to knock off the coach that comes after Charlie Weis.
49. Washington State Cougars -- Pullman <> Seattle.
48. Kentucky Wildcats -- Overlaps with an annual game against ACC newcomer Louisville. Also is bad at football.
44. Purdue Boilermakers -- Famously not Notre Dame. Also is bad at football.
44. Mississippi St. Bulldogs -- If an ACC/SEC Challenge in football ever becomes a thing, Mississippi State has got to be the odds-on favorite to get paired with Boston College in year 1.
44. Minnesota Golden Gophers -- Disappointing that the Gophs aren't higher on this list given that both schools are boss at ice hockey, but no shared history and sparse recruiting grounds places Minnesota towards the bottom of these rankings.
44. Iowa St. Cyclones -- I've been to Ames, Iowa before. Do not go to Ames, Iowa.
40. Oregon State Beavers -- No shared history. BC-Oregon State just seems like an odd pairing destined for ESPN3 or the Pac-12 Network.
40. Iowa Hawkeyes -- Still a bit surprised these two programs have never faced one another given the program's similarities.
40. Arkansas Razorbacks -- Arkansas vs. Boston College ... not seeing it.
40. Indiana Hoosiers -- Bloomington's a great college town but that's about all the Hoosiers have going for themselves here. Soon-to-be Big Ten East Division punching bags along with Maryland and Rutgers.
37. Nebraska Cornhuskers -- The fact that BC and Nebraska have never met on the gridiron hurts the Huskers here. So does the fact that Nebraska is located in Nebraska.
37. Arizona State Sun Devils -- Don't think BC pulls many kids out of Arizona but would make for a fun trip to a major, Western US city.
37. Arizona Wildcats -- See response for Arizona State. Just a tad bit further out from Phoenix.
35. Oklahoma State Cowboys -- Mike "I'm a man" Gundy and T. Boone Pickens have the Cowboys as one of the top programs in the Big 12 over the past few years.
35. Kansas State Wildcats -- Would rank closer to Kansas if not for four previous games vs. the Eagles.
31. Utah Utes -- Let's find the next Paul Petersen.
31. Oregon Ducks -- History, recruiting and alumni base hurt the Ducks here, but there's no denying the exposure that the first BC-Oregon game might create.
31. Missouri Tigers -- No history. Average marks in recruiting, alumni and fan experience. But picked itself off the mat and rebounded into one of the SEC's top programs last season (though I'm not sure that will last).
27. Wisconsin Badgers -- Like Minnesota, a tad disappointed the Badgers didn't land higher on this list.
27. Vanderbilt Commodores -- An academic peer and right now, one of the weaker SEC opponents a team can schedule.
27. West Virginia Mountaineers -- WVU at #27 is almost solely a product of Boston College's long history with the Mountaineers in the Big East. Given that even BC-WVU seemed a bit forced in the Big East, this series makes little sense to this day.
25. Illinois Fighting Illini -- BC has never faced the Illini on the gridiron but the state remains an important recruiting territory for the Eagles.
25. Oklahoma Sooners -- If you picked up the entire state of Oklahoma and relocated it somewhere along the Eastern seaboard, this would easily be a top 10 opponent.
20. South Carolina Gamecocks -- An important recruiting territory but a lot of overlap with an annual game against Clemson.
20. LSU Tigers -- Would be a fine fan experience but I'm not sure how many in-roads BC can make recruiting Louisiana.
20. Maryland Terrapins -- Maryland's history with BC and proximity to the Nation's Capitol place the Terps in the top half of these rankings, which, ironically enough, are the only two reasons why the school is Big Ten bound.
20. Rutgers Scarlet Knights -- See response for Maryland. Replace DC with New York City.
19. Texas Tech Red Raiders -- Lubbock is Texas, kinda.
15. California Golden Bears -- Major city, large alumni base and winnable game for a program that's been down on its luck the past few years.
15. TCU Horned Frogs -- Always thought that the program should spend more time recruiting Texas, specifically DFW and schools like Jesuit. As it stands, I don't think BC has pulled a recruit out of Texas since ... 2008?
15. Northwestern Wildcats -- A trip to Chicago against a like-academic school located in a key recruiting state. All good. The tailgating scene and Ryan Field experience are lacking though.
12. UCLA Bruins -- Just like this year's game @ USC except that you get to watch a game in the Rose Bowl.
12. Alabama Crimson Tide -- Even if this series is scheduled 10 years out, with recent advances in cryogenics, BC would probably still face Nick Saban.
12. Michigan State Spartans -- I was somewhat surprised the Spartans finished this high in the rankings. Six games all-time (4-1-1 BC) will do that.
9. Baylor Bears -- Like Oklahoma State, another Big 12 upstart located in prime recruiting territory.
9. Michigan Wolverines -- Would be a B1G deal, though I doubt the Wolverines will ever make the trip to the Heights again.
9. Tennessee Volunteers -- Surprisingly, only four power conference program have played the Eagles more than the Vols. Three of those four have shared a conference with BC -- West Virginia (33), Rutgers (26), Penn State (23) and Maryland (11).
8. Florida Gators -- Self-explanatory, and despite an annual game against Florida State.
6. Texas Longhorns -- Also self-explanatory.
6. Ohio State Buckeyes -- Nice work, GDF -- part 1.
3. Texas A&M Aggies -- Would have same ranking as Texas if not for one more game all-time vs. BC.
3. Stanford Cardinal -- Large alumni base, major city and a program that Harbaugh/Shaw have turned into one of the nation's elite.
3. Georgia Bulldogs -- The program has been making large strides recruiting the state of Georgia under Al Washington.
2. USC Trojans -- Nice work, GDF -- part 2.
1. Penn State Nittany Lions -- Proximity to large Northeast alumni bases? Check. 100k+ stadium? Check check. Destroys BC and every other Northeast program on the recruiting trail? Check check check.
Leave your own top five in the comments below.
* Because the idea of non-conference conference games is an incredibly stupid and one that will not be entertained here.