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BCI Debates: Who should be BC’s three permanent ACC football opponents?

NCAA Football: Clemson at Boston College Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to BCI Debates - a new(ish) semi-regular feature where our panel discusses and debates topics related to BC sports.

Today’s topic: If the ACC ditches divisions, and goes to a model where each school has three permanent ACC opponents with the rest rotating, who should BC’s three permanent opponents be?

Try to consider both who would realistically be picked, and who would be desirable from a BC perspective. Go!

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Joe Gravellese:

I’ll take a first pass:

1) Syracuse. We’ve had the rivalry conversation ad nauseum - who are our rivals, what makes a rivalry, yada yada - and I know most of these points have been made a thousand times. But Syracuse is probably the closest that we have to checking all the boxes for an in-conference rival, and there have been attempts to make the Thanksgiving weekend game stick as a permanent thing. I think it would be cool to make it permanent, and keep this as an annual game. You can’t have a tradition unless something actually keeps getting done, you know?

2) Clemson. This is kind of a blessing and a curse - part of why I hate the ACC divisions is that we seem to have gotten a pretty gnarly draw over the years, especially when you take into consideration the fact that Virginia Tech has been our permanent crossover opponent.
But there’s a case to be made that Clemson can be a compelling game to put on the schedule annually, assuming BC gets over the hump and wins one eventually. Thave been great clashes between these teams through the years, and there is a trophy involved (laugh all you want, but it does exist).

If we’re getting technical, the list of college football rivalry games only has 4 ACC opponents on it for Clemson — the O’Rourke-McFadden trophy with BC, the Textile Bowl with NC State, and un-named rivalries with FSU and Georgia Tech. So there’s room for BC on there even though plenty of ADs would probably jockey for a guaranteed semi-annual home game against Clemson.

3. Miami. One of the most annoying things about the divisional alignment is that Miami and Pitt are two schools that culturally, BC honestly has a pretty good amount in common with - in a larger city, lower-profile than the local pro offerings, etc. - in addition to some history from the Big East. And yet these teams come to Alumni Stadium for football once in a blue moon.

I think both of those opponents could have developed into pretty decent rivals for BC with a lot of traveling fans in either direction if the game got played every year. If you have to pick one or the other, give the nod to Miami for the history... ESPN never needs an excuse to show the Flutie Hail Mary so why not give them an annual time to do it? I remember Miami coming to town in 2007 - it was not a huge game, it was Thanksgiving weekend, BC had already clinched a spot in the ACC title game and Miami was down - but there was still some juice in the crowd.

Curtis Flannery:

I agree with you on Syracuse and Miami, but I think Clemson should be replaced with Pitt as the 3rd permanent rival. If we’re being honest with ourselves, Boston College really does not have much of a rivalry with Clemson. Yes, there’s a trophy, but it was introduced in 2008 and hasn’t been particularly relevant since that time. Pitt, on the other hand, has the potential to be a much more potent rivalry.

Pitt’s history with us is a bit more relevant than our history with Clemson, as the Eagles have played the Panthers fairly consistently since 1970, but for Clemson that can only be said since 2005.

Pitt’s proximity to Boston College has to play a factor. It’s easier for fans of each school to attend away games, it’s more likely that we’ll be competing for the same recruits, and there’s already some established sports rivalries with New England and Pennsylvania.

Finally, the series is much more likely to be competitive over time. Getting Clemson as a permanent rival could be fun for the years BC manages the upset, but those seasons would come infrequently. Clemson is on an 11-game winning streak against us as it is. I’d rather have a rival with a closer level of success, rather than a big/little brother relationship.

Arthur Bailin:

I support a yearly away game at Georgia Tech due to supporting things that directly benefit me.

In all seriousness, Georgia Tech seems to be a better fit to me than Miami. You don’t want to overload your yearly opponents and Miami could be good. Sometime. Eventually.

Joe:

Well I mean if you’re picking something for the next ten years I wouldn’t try to assume which teams are gonna be good... beyond Clemson, who knows. And even Clemson could dip eventually.

And also - I suppose you can take this question however you’d like, I was thinking more realistically what would be put together as a permanent game due to history/interest. Obviously if you’re taking your pick based on racking up wins you want Duke and whoever else seems bad or mediocre at the time. Maybe a permanent UVA matchup for eternal revenge for Kiwi. #old

Arthur:

Ok, you want a permanent game with staying power? Georgia Tech is a city school with a major academic focus in a mid size stadium with decent but not flashy level of investment in football.

Sound familiar?

This started out as a joke but I’m talking myself into it.

Curtis:

I don’t think a permanent game with Georgia Tech is significantly better/worse than say Miami, but I doubt either school is particularly interested. GT has plenty of opponents they’d rather play in Florida or the Carolinas.

Joe:

Man you guys really are tiny children if you don’t understand in any way how Miami is a more traditional and natural opponent for BC than Georgia Tech. Excuse me while I shuffle off to the retirement home.

Arthur:

I mean historically Miami is a rival (I guess?) but the rivalry hasn’t had juice since the Bush administration. Maybe in baseball.

Part of the problem is that there isn’t a lot of conference history here. We know Syracuse would be good because we just do, but after that it gets less interesting. Maybe if the conference can finally make Notre Dame play a semblance of a conference schedule that’d be good.

Laura Berestecki:

Wake Forest, relive 3-0 for all of eternity!!!

Joe:

Remember that any set of opponents for BC will be in context of everyone else’s permanent matchups too. Our friend Adam put this hypothetical chart together:

Another possibility:

Interestingly very few shouts within this audience for making Virginia Tech a permanent opponent … perhaps another thing that only resonates with the Olds.

Question for the Youngs. Are there games that do resonate with you, beyond the obvious (Clemson/whoever is in the top 10)? Related question: Do people share my affinity for making Syracuse a Thanksgiving weekend fixture?

Niraj Patel:

I’m sorry but they can burn the O’Rourke-McFadden trophy to the ground. No one would miss it, including Clemson. I’m sure those two were fine people, but Clemson as a permanent rival is terrible.

Very in on Virginia Tech, that resonates significantly more than Miami, speaking for the semi-Youths. As for the Syracuse Thanksgiving fixture, personally I hate it. It’s not a strong enough rivalry to happen at that time, when so many are out of town, particularly students. This may be me-centric, but I don’t remember it being a good showing, even if the team was solid? Also, I want Wake.

Curtis Flannery:

As BCI’s resident youth, I’d say the only thing that hasn’t been mentioned is that I’m not particularly fond of Florida State.

I enjoyed the Red Bandana beatdown of FSU in 2017, and then they broke our hearts in 2018. But FSU has much bigger fish to fry themselves so I’m not sure it’s a fit as a permanent rival.

I think a rivalry with Wake would be kind of stupid, but I can see it happening just due to a lack of quality match-ups. BC-Wake tends to be an interesting game every year because both teams are usually chugging along in the middle of the Atlantic division, but I don’t think there’s any real rivalry there.

Joe:

Don’t slander #therivalry! Y’all really gotta learn your history.