There seems to be a vocal minority of fans who are opposed to Boston College playing in the Pinstripe Bowl. Or, if not opposed, at the very least, wonder what all the Bronx-based bowl fuss is about...
"Bowls should be played in warmer climes" ...
"How is playing a college football game at Yankee Stadium in December a reward for a good season?" ...
"Why aren't you more excited about the more prestigious Sun Bowl?" ...
Those points have some validity, but I maintain that the Pinstripe Bowl is the best possible destination for the Boston College football program...this season.
Recruiting. I'd argue that no recruiting ground is more valuable to the program than the Mid-Atlantic states (New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania). There are a number of high-profile, uncommitted recruits in the 2015 class from the Tri-State area. What better way to showcase the progress Addazio has made with the program than by playing in a bowl game in the area, particularly with other recruiting rivals showcasing their programs in the NYC market over the past few seasons (Syracuse, Notre Dame, Rutgers, etc.)?
Location and Date. This year, the Pinstripe Bowl is on the Saturday after Christmas and an afternoon start to boot (4:30 p.m.). Local fans home for the holidays can make it a day trip and the game is even accessible to Boston-area fans to make it down and back in a day. It'd be a long day, but it's certainly doable, especially considering that Massachusetts or Connecticut-based fans could take a train from somewhere like New Haven as opposed to driving into NYC.
Opponent. If BC goes to the Pinstripe Bowl, they'll face an opponent from the Big Ten. More than that, they'll face a beatable team from the Big Ten. A.J discussed this on the radio show on Tuesday night and said something great: the homer in some of us went into that bowl game last year against Arizona thinking BC could win, but the fact was that Arizona was miles ahead of BC and we were all kind of "happy to be here." This year is a different kind of attitude where we expect BC to be slightly better, bigger and more competitive.
Selectivity. Should the ACC's complicated two-tier bowl system continue moving forward, there's no guarantee that Boston College will be headed back to the Bronx anytime soon. While the Pinstripe, Military and Quick Lanes Bowls were added into the conference mix in part to give BC, Syracuse and Pitt fans a local-ish bowl game option, the conference's two-tiered approach elevates the Bronx-based bowl over the other two northern bowl games.
That makes it tougher to get into the Pinstripe Bowl in most years, when BC is going head-to-head with Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Virginia Tech, Miami and others. This year, however, BC doesn't have to ward off Pitt, Virginia Tech or Miami for the Pinstripe, as all three programs finished with a 6-6 record and are supposedly ineligible for the ACC's mid-tier games. That the Citrus Bowl may end up taking an ACC program this year (pulling that team out of the conference's mid-tier of bowl games) also adds to the favorable set of conditions that BC needs to capitalize on this year.
Reward for Players. A total of 19 players on the Eagles roster hail from New Jersey. Six more from the state of New York and three from Connecticut. That's over 30 percent of the entire roster who grew up within a few hours of Yankee Stadium. You might say a trip to El Paso or Nashville is a finer reward for a good season, but I'd argue playing in front of the maximum number of Boston College fans, as well as family and friends, in your final game in the maroon and gold is as fine a reward as any.
Marketability. Let's say the game is Boston College vs. Penn State in New York City. That's something that has a classic football feel to it that has great cross-generational appeal. For the old timers who remember the days spent as an independent, it would be a great chance to turn back the clock. For young alumni and students, Penn State is one of the most recognizable brands in college football and will be going into the game with a sufficient amount of buzz (making first bowl appearance since 2010).
New York City is a centrally located location with more than enough to do for fans of both teams. The marketing strategy all but writes itself for a company in a city born for moments like this. The bowl game wouldn't take over New York City because, well, nothing can take over New York City, but the connection between markets to the Big Apple makes this so much more appealing than, say, North Carolina. Boston College has a huge alumni base in the New York and Connecticut areas. Putting the game in their backyard would have huge appeal as a one-off special game.
Winnability. The oft-rumored Big Ten opponents in this year's Pinstripe Bowl are all beatable. Penn State has looked very average this year, playing at a time when the roster has been severely crippled by NCAA sanctions. Maryland and Rutgers are also pretty middle-of-the-road this season. All three teams beat each other (Penn State over Rutgers, Rutgers over Maryland, Maryland over Penn State). I like BC's chances playing a middle-of-the-road Big Ten opponent in front of a pro-BC crowd over bad matchups against an Arizona State / Stanford / Utah team in the Sun, or an SEC opponent in the Music City or Gator Bowls.
It sure would be a big step in the right direction if Addazio can get the program back in the bowl game win column for the first time in seven seasons.
Replaces the BC-Army at Yankee Stadium Game. Remember when BC was supposed to play Army at Yankee Stadium this year? Clearly the Steinbrenners and their team of organizers feel Boston College is a team capable of selling tickets to New York City. Since Boston College never played that game with Army, it would be a bit of a coup to play in Yankee Stadium in a year when BC backed out of its game vs. Army to get back to a seven-home-game-a-year schedule.
Plus, BC would become the first program in the non-leather helmet era to play college football games at Yankee Stadium and Fenway Park in back-to-back seasons.