Now that we've analyzed the schedule, let's break this thing down one game at a time:
Week 1 vs. Maine Black Bears
The Eagles are no strangers to the Black Bears, having faced them last season and winning comfortably 40-10. That Maine team would go on to finish out the year with a record of 5-6 overall and 3-4 in the CAA, though they did manage to rattle off three wins over the final four games of the year (though I'm not sure how much wins over URI and Elon really count).
Week 2 vs. Howard Bison
Howard week 1 opponent: TBD
Howard went 5-7 last year and 3-4 in the MEAC. Got blanked by Akron in the opener, 41-0, but mounted a healthy fourth quarter comeback at Rutgers the following week to keep the final score respectable. The Bison did manage to out-gain the Lambert Meadowlands champs 427 to 397, so BC can't afford to get caught looking ahead to the Florida State game. Still, anything less than a 2-0 record to start the year would be an unmitigated disaster.
Week 3 vs. Florida State Seminoles (Fri.)
Florida State week 2 opponent: South Florida
Florida State week 4 opponent: OPEN
Even though BC is playing Florida State on short rest, the program will benefit from a pair of FCS tune-up games to start the season. The Eagles have been competitive with the Seminoles the past two years, but it seems unlikely that a redshirt freshman QB playing in his third career game can spring the upset here. The good news is that Florida State will similarly be breaking in a new QB. Still, can't really like BC's chances in this one. Obviously.
Week 4 vs. Northern Illinois Huskies
Northern Illinois week 3 opponent: at Ohio State
Northern Illinois week 5 opponent: TBD
The Huskies won 11 games last season and certainly have the potential to be this year's Colorado State opponent. NIU went on the road and beat a middling Northwestern team, 23-15, in week 2 last season, but would get dismantled by a P5 power running team, Arkansas, 52-14 in week 4. The Huskies won the MAC by crushing Bowling Green 51-17, but would get similarly beaten up by Marshall in the Boca Raton Bowl. These two teams finished 15th and 17th nationally in rushing offense. Expect all. of. the. rushing yards in this one. NIU's trip to the Heights is preceded by a trip to the Horseshoe to take on the defending National Champions; a team that can really punish you physically.
Week 5 at Duke Blue Devils
Duke week 4 opponent: Georgia Tech
Duke week 6 opponent: at Army
BC's first road trip of the year falls on October 3 with a trip to Durham to take on the Blue Devils. After racing out to an 8-1 start to the year, Duke finished the year just 1-3 with losses to Virginia Tech, North Carolina and Arizona State in the Sun Bowl. Interesting Duke scheduling quirk this year: Georgia Tech, Boston College and at Army in consecutive weeks. Makes preparing for the triple-option / run-heavy offense pretty easy for the Blue Devils.
Week 6 vs. Wake Forest Demon Deacons
Wake Forest week 5 opponent: Florida State
Wake Forest week 7 opponent: at North Carolina
The Demon Deacons seemed to get better as the year went on, but this is still a program that only won three games last season (and one in conference play). Wake put a scare into BC in the second half, but the Eagles escaped Winston-Salem with a 23-17 victory. Tricky spot for the Deacons here, with a home game against Florida State and a road game at non-conference conference buddy North Carolina on either side of a trip to the Heights. This is a game BC has to win if it hopes to get back to a bowl game.
Week 7 at Clemson Tigers
Clemson week 6 opponent: Georgia Tech
Clemson week 8 opponent: at Miami
Here's a trip to Clemson right smack in the middle of the year. The Tigers look to be even better than they were this year, which, with a 10-3 record (6-2 ACC), is a scary thought. Still, Boston College's run-heavy, clock-control offense has given Clemson fits the last two years in two highly competitive games. Even though we'll assume a loss here, the trip to South Carolina remains THE one road trip that fans should circle on the calendar every other year.
Week 8 at Louisville Cardinals
Louisville week 7 opponent: at Florida State
Louisville week 9 opponent: at Wake Forest
For the second straight season, Louisville's game against Boston College will come right after their game against Florida State. The Cardinals were really the only team to beat BC comfortably, though there is a lot of turnover next season, particularly on defense. Hope for a better showing against the Cardinals in 2015, but with this game on the road, going to assume this is another loss.
Week 9 vs. Virginia Tech Hokies
Virginia Tech week 8 opponent: Duke
Virginia Tech week 10 opponent: OPEN
This is another one of those swing games that BC really needs to get back to a bowl game. The Eagles have gotten the better of the Hokies the last two seasons (and really, should've been the last three). Does Frank Beamer bounce back after several down years, or will the tail end of his coaching career more closely resemble that of a guy like Bobby Bowden?
Week 10 vs. N.C. State Wolfpack
N.C. State week 9 opponent: Clemson
N.C. State week 11 opponent: at Florida State
Even though BC took care of business against N.C. State in Raleigh last year, the Wolfpack were definitely a team that finished the year much stronger than they started it. I'm still not completely sold on State's upward trajectory more generally, but am glad this game is at home and late in the year for the home-field advantage. How both teams are holding up in terms of injury at this point in the season—particularly with BC having played 10 straight—will be a big talking point for this one. With the game at home, another must-win-to-go-bowling game for the Eagles.
Week 12 at Notre Dame Fighting Irish (Fenway Park)
Notre Dame week 11 opponent: Wake Forest
Notre Dame week 13 opponent: at Stanford
This has to be one of the most ill-timed bye weeks in recent memory. An extra week to prepare for a non-conference game a T ride away. OK. Boston College hasn't seen the Irish in a couple of years, but Brian Kelly returns a ton of talent to go along with another top recruiting class. If this game was played this past season, I'd like BC. 2015? Not so sure.
Week 13 at Syracuse Orange
Syracuse week 12 opponent: at N.C. State
Rivalry game, so throw out the records and what not. As they did this year, injuries will play a big factor in a matchup between the two ACC schools with the longest opening stretches to start the season (Syracuse at 8 straight weeks, Boston College at 10). Even with the game in the Dome, I like BC in this one given how these teams fared against one another in 2014.
Initial gut reaction: 7-5 seems manageable with a victory over Northern Illinois being the real key swing game. 8-4 or better is possible if enough things break BC's way. Nightmare scenario of 6-6 with 2 FCS wins or worse also very much on the table as well.
One thing seems clear: the fight for that seventh (or God forbid, sixth with just one win over an FCS opponent) win is going to be a lot tougher than it has been in Addazio's first two years. Boston College fans may very well be sweating it out on the proverbial bowl bubble going into back-to-back "road" games against Notre Dame and Syracuse.