With Boston College dispatching USC to move to 2-1 on the year, expectations have been raised when it comes to the Eagles' postseason bowl opportunities. College football prognosticators are slowly warming up to the concept of Boston College-as-a-bowl-team-in-2014, and with games remaining against FCS Maine, Colorado State, N.C. State, Wake Forest and Syracuse, among others, more and more are placing BC somewhere in the ACC's bowl pecking order.
Here's a roundup of these way-too-early projections; with the caveat that bowl projections in September are silly things:
SB Nation: No bowl
ESPN (Brett McMurphy): Quick Lane Bowl (Detroit, Mich.) vs. Minnesota
ESPN (Mark Schlabach): BITCOIN St. Petersburg Bowl vs. Central Florida
CBS Sports: BITCOIN St. Petersburg Bowl vs. Central Florida
syracuse.com: Bowl eligible, open bowl slot
Both ESPN's Mark Schlabach and CBS Sports' Jerry Palm have the Eagles in something called the BITCOIN St. Petersburg Bowl opposite the American Athletic's UCF Knights. UCF could very well be the best 0-2 outfit in the nation, after dropping a heartbreaker to Penn State in Ireland in the opener, and following that up with a 38-10 loss at no. 20 Missouri this past weekend. Still, UCF should find its way into the win column this weekend against FCS Bethune-Cookman, and rattle off at least 4-5 more wins in AAC play because have you seen that conference I mean seriously.
Meanwhile, ESPN's Brett McMurphy has BC in the Detroit-based Quick Lane Bowl opposite Minnesota. I still have no clue how Boston College and Minnesota have never faced one another on the gridiron before. Like, how is that even possible?
The Syracuse, N.Y. Post-Standard's Patrick Stevens has BC bowl eligible, but on the outside looking in at the ACC's bowl lineup. Stevens has BC, Syracuse and N.C. State all roshambo-ing for the ACC's last bowl slot, the BITCOIN St. Petersburg Bowl, but with the last slot going to the Orange over the Eagles and the Wolfpack:
Bitcoin (St. Petersburg): Syracuse. Could be the Orange (2-0), could be N.C. State. But things are off to a promising start in the ACC's chase to at least match the total of 11 postseason-eligible teams it had last year. This spot will be coveted by midpack teams that focus recruiting efforts in Florida, and Syracuse certainly does that.
Open slots: Boston College and N.C. State. The Eagles (2-1) had a great victory over Southern California, but the first rule of ACC bowl selection remains that Boston College is going to fall about as far as possible. As for N.C. State (3-0), its excitable fanbase would make it an attractive at-large choice, and it would probably find a warmer-weather destination than any of the Tier Two bowls if it had to go outside the ACC's bowl partners.
I'm not so sure about this first rule of ACC bowl selection business. Just last season, it was Syracuse, not Boston College, that fell out of the ACC's bowl pecking order, despite SU finishing with the same conference record (4-4) and a head-to-head victory over BC. The Eagles landed in the Independence Bowl, the ACC's #7 selection, while Syracuse had to sweat it out before landing an unfilled bowl slot in the Texas Bowl.
If anything, last year showed that with the right team, BC can hop other ACC schools in the pecking order. I also think the St. Pete Bowl will worry less about travel rep with local schools UCF or USF filling the AAC's slot more years than not. A program's recruiting interests won't have a bearing come bowl selection.
Still, there's tons of football to be played, and it's entirely possible that one or both of Boston College (2-1) and Syracuse (2-0) may not even reach the six wins necessary to qualify for a bowl game this season. N.C. State (3-0) will be bowl eligible, however, after winning half the required six games against FCS or FCS-like fodder.