The 2015 Boston College football season is officially one month away. As we preview opponents and talk about the players in uniform, it's worth noting that not everyone likes us, just as we don't exactly care for everyone on the schedule. But without UMass or UConn to offer preseason condolences to, here's a look at the football schedule through the fireball eyes of hate.
First, an explanation. Obviously, Boston College does not have a rival on par with an Iron Bowl, Army-Navy Game, or Florida-Georgia World's Largest Non-Alcoholic Cocktail Party On The Planet (or whatever it's called). The lack of a true, traditional, annual rival means we need to determine who you should hate and why.
Hate comes in a couple of different forms. A couple of my friends in the Internet Wrestling Community refer to "good heat" and "bad heat" when discussing different characters in the WWE. The term "good heat" refers to a bad guy (or "heel") and his/her ability to get the crowd riled up. If the bad guy is good at his job, you wind up hating him because he makes it so easy to hate. For example, a Russian wrestler standing up there waxing poetic about how much America is the worst country in the world is the perfect case of "good heat." He wants you to hate him, and he gets you to hate him by doing his job very well.
"Bad heat" refers to someone who does their job so poorly you wind up hating them for it. This can refer to a bad guy who is really bad at being a bad guy or a good guy who is really bad at being good. You boo them because they're awful at entertaining, aren't really talented, and are being forced down your throat. You can already see where I'm going with that one.
So without further ado, here is the Boston College 2015 football schedule through the eyes of hate:
1) Notre Dame (Nov. 21st at Fenway Park)
No team does a better job of generating heat than Notre Dame. Even though BC hasn't played the Irish in a couple of years, you'll remember why you hate them so much the first time you see them in their gold helmets and special edition uniforms (I'm assuming they'll wear some variation) on the Fenway Park lawn.
We absolutely love to hate Notre Dame, and they usually give us plenty of reason to allow the feelings to build up in our bellies. Their fans are the equivalent of the Montreal Canadiens - fans who believe their team represents the purest form of the game. Nobody is the same as them. Sure there's history that you have to respect, but you just can't bring yourself to liking them.
All it'll take is one glance, and those feelings will come running back. Trust me.
2) Florida State (Sep. 18th at BC)
Florida State is the type of bad guy that you either love or hate because of how "bad" they are. They're the perfect bad guy-type heel, the ultimate symbol of what you don't like in the ACC right now.
But think about what I mentioned about heat. Their fans (#FSUTwitter), their athletic department, and what they represent are the best right now. Rooting for FSU is a lot like rooting for the Detroit Pistons in 1989 or the Oakland Raiders in the 1970s. To root for them is to be a renegade, running against the tide.
There is plenty of heat on Florida State (heat in the wrestling term, not heat meaning the NCAA is breathing down their necks). The heat is both good or bad. But let's face it - when you look at the home schedule of games, you know you've circled this game, and you're going to be pretty fired up for it.
3) Virginia Tech (Oct. 31st at BC)
The Hokies are a case of good heat gone wrong. When Virginia Tech is good, it's awesome to hate them because of the cultural differences between Blacksburg, Virginia and Boston, Massachusetts. Blacksburg has less than 43,000 people with just about 160,000 people in its greater metropolitan area. Boston has 655,000 people in its city limits with over 4.5 million people in its urban/metropolitan area. Blacksburg represents the south. Boston represents the north. There's a natural rub there.
That good heat, though, has become something that's trucking down the path. If you don't have a hate for Virginia Tech, you will within the first quarter. When their fans come to BC, they'll be shaking their keys and yelling "Let's go! Hok-ies!" And the majority of us will not have problems with that.
The heat generated, though, comes from their propensity for reminding you that you're not the only show in town - like it's a bad thing. Boston has tons of stuff to do, and at least once a game, someone will make fun of the fact that the stadium isn't full like Lane Stadium. They'll also mention that Boston College football doesn't outweigh the Boston Red Sox or the New England Patriots - like it's a bad thing.
4) Syracuse (Nov. 28th at Syracuse)
There's so much good heat generated by Syracuse. I don't actually think anyone really and truly hates Syracuse, but they do a great job of playing the bad guy opposite BC. Over the course of history, I never really hated the Orange, but you know what - I can't think of a single time why I would ever have rooted for them.
I don't hate Diamond Ferri, but he played the part of the villain beautifully back in 2004. I don't hate Terrell Hunt, but he did an awesome job of playing the villain in 2013. I don't hate the basketball program, but Jim Boeheim certainly does a great job of playing the villain. I don't hate the guys over at Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician......okay, maybe I do, but that's ONLY because they won Orange Eagle twice.
I hope when we win it this year that we can get Steve Addazio to hoist that trophy. You guys do a great job of playing the villain.
5) Howard (Sept. 12th at BC)
Ladies and gentlemen - bad heat.
Ordinarily, nobody here would actually care about playing Howard, and there is nothing actually wrong with the Bison as a team, as people, or anything along those lines. They're just a logo on the schedule drawing the worst amount of bad heat.
Like I've said before, nobody actually wants to play Howard. Even mentioning the game generates a certain amount of anger, and it does it for all of the wrong reasons.
Bad heat is someone that draws pure, unclean hatred. Everyone hates having Howard on the schedule, and that game's week will generate some interesting reactions because of how much nobody really wants to play them. So this game draws a substantial amount of hate. It's just the bad kind.
6) Louisville (Oct. 24th at UL)
I don't think anyone really hates Louisville, but there's no way BC fans won't be up for this game. The Cardinals are a very good team, and being able to beat them will offer a glimmer into the potential of this team. Last year, BC stepped out on the field against a team they probably couldn't beat and got (on offense) beaten up. When the game ended, we knew Louisville was just a better team.
There's an old saying: "To be the man, you gotta beat the man." If BC wants to step up in the Atlantic Division, at some point they have to beat someone who is better than them. That might not happen this year, but it's worth it to get up for the chance that they can. This game is a golden opportunity, and for that reason, you should be able to get up for it.
7) Clemson (Oct. 17th at Clemson)
Clemson is the exact same case study as Louisville, but the Tigers are a better football program. There's probably going to be a little less involved with this game because the circumstances point to the Eagles just not winning this game.
8) Wake Forest (Oct. 10th at BC)
#TheRivalry. 'Nuff said.
9) NC State (Nov. 7th at BC)
The rivalry with NC State died down with the team's struggles over the past couple of years, especially when Dave Doeren went 3-9 with a winless ACC slate in 2013. Last season, the Wolfpack went 7-5, but they did so by beating a whole bunch of really bad football teams.
NC State is everyone's favorite dark horse this year, thanks to an offense predicted to be pretty good. That's enough to help you get fired up for the Wolfpack.
Records aside, though, NC State is a very nondescript football program. They'll probably be a bowl team again, but that's because their first four games, once again, are against cupcakes (Troy, Eastern Kentucky, Old Dominion, and South Alabama). If they lose to Louisville, VT, and/or Wake, then it's a different story. Reserve the right to generate more heat for this game and move it up the rankings.
10) Northern Illinois (Sep. 26th at BC)
NIU is a very good mid-major team, one capable of knocking off anyone. I don't really hate the Huskies, but like Razor Ramon in 1993, I don't really want to lose to the 1-2-3 Kid either.
11) Duke (Oct. 3 at Duke)
Does anyone hate Duke? I know I don't. It's a game BC has to win if they want to be bowl eligible. But I have absolutely zero hate for Duke football.
Basketball is a totally different story.
12) Maine (Sep. 5 at BC)
There's a small segment of the population who probably feel hate for Maine based on the Hockey East opponents' rivalry thing. They're a local enough team to generate some heat, but they're historically a good enough FCS team to get you fired up.
But at the end of the day, it's the first game of the season against an FCS level team. If you're fired up, it's probably only because we're watching live football and not because of who BC is actually playing. It's the opposite of the argument I made last year about playing UMass as the first opponent of the season.
Thoughts? Weigh in with your comments below.