With the release of today's ACC football schedule, we've learned that Boston College has replaced New Mexico State with the Howard Bison. The Bison will travel to Chestnut Hill to take on the Eagles on September 12. The game marks the first-ever meeting between the two programs.
Howard, a member of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, started last season 1-7 but rattled off four straight wins to end the year to finish 5-7 overall and 3-5 in MEAC play. Last season, the Bison played two games against FBS opponents, falling to Akron 41-0 in the opener and at Rutgers, 38-25, in week 2.
Boston College joins North Carolina as the only other ACC school to face two FCS opponents this season. North Carolina faces North Carolina A&T on September 12 and Delaware on September 26.
The biggest implication to scheduling two FCS schools—and not finding, say, 3 "FCS"-like schools with only one that's still actually an FCS school (sup, N.C. State)—is that the bar has now been raised for bowl eligibility. Each year, a FBS school can count one victory against a Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) opponent that awards 90 percent of the maximum number of football scholarships per year (so, no Harvard).
Assuming victories over Maine and Howard to start the season, BC now has to get to 7-5 to return to a bowl game. There are quite a few swing games in there, but the path to bowl eligibility isn't all that clear to me. Having the longest opening stretch of any ACC team (10 straight games to start the year), and having the bye week before the non-conference game against Notre Dame doesn't help matters either.