John Fidler: Please let me in on what the big deal is about playing Yukon? I get it's a game against a team in New England and it fills the role of a non-Power 5 opponent instead of playing, say, UMass (oh wait, we're doing that too), but what's to get excited about? Pitt doesn't get excited playing Temple, or North Carolina playing East Carolina, or Syracuse playing Buffalo. It's Yukon that is supposed to be excited about this. To BC it's supposed to be gum on the bottom of your shoe.
Grant Salzano: That analogy is close but not quite there...it's more like having dog crap on the bottom of your shoe. Do you like having dog crap on your shoe? Do you want to have dog crap on your shoe? Are you indifferent to having dog crap on your shoe?
Of course not. It's an annoyance. When you step in dog crap, you want to take off the shoe and whip it across the yard. That's what this is.
For me personally, it's a hate that simmers because I live in Connecticut and have to deal with UConn fans all the time. And it's not even in the context of BC. I just hear them say stupid things constantly, almost daily. Do you know how many times I hear the nonsense about the B1G just aching to extend them an invite?
The people who don't care either don't remember back to the time when we played UConn or are pretending there isn’t any animosity. I wasn't into college football back then, but I have had to deal with the same nonsense for years.
If you don't have that annoyed, angry feeling of playing UConn, just wait until you have to deal with them at Alumni. There will be a ton of them, and they will be loud. The fact that they care about us so much and honestly, genuinely think they're better than us in everything—"and will be in hockey soon, too!"—makes them very, very easy to hate.
JF: I just think this is generational, Grant, and maybe that's the key. I think if we took a poll and figured out how many people really are excited about this game as opposed to just tolerating it and looking at it as an OK non-conference game, the people who are excited were born in the ‘80s and ‘90s and those who aren't were born before that. Born in 1963, this just doesn't get me excited.
There is the argument that the overall schedule today is pretty equivalent to what it was back in the ‘70s and ‘80s, but aren't we supposed to be in a better place today than we were back then? The ACC was supposed to be an answer to all that. We have that; Yukon doesn't. It’s an advantage for BC and yet another reason why it’s a nice game, but not one to get excited about.
In the time I have been attending games, I have seen BC host Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State, Ohio State, Northwestern, USC, Stanford, Tennessee, Clemson, Florida State (pre-ACC), Texas, Texas A&M...all at Alumni, along with Alabama in Foxboro. This is YUKON!
BC has 6 years through 2026 with no Power 5 game scheduled. Work on those first and worry about the dog crap on the bottom of your shoe later.
GS: Let me ask you, what's your ideal out-of-conference schedule for BC?
JF: Well first, 9 ACC games and 3 non-conference games would be ideal. So let’s look at this two ways: 8 or 9 ACC and 3 or 4 non-conference.
With 8 ACC: A Power 5 team, a Group of 5 team from the top tier of programs (AAC, MW), and then two from the other group of 5 conferences (MAC, Sun Belt, CUSA).
With 9 ACC remove one of the two from the MAC, Sun Belt or CUSA.
Remember, my "complaint" is not with playing UConn. It’s twofold: Why is everyone so excited? And why we aren’t addressing the Power 5 games first? Playing them in that slot is fine with me, although I do not see any reason to turn it into a rivalry game.
GS: Okay, good clarification. First, I am totally on the same page with you that it's extremely frustrating that Bates hasn't gotten a P5 on the docket yet. No argument there.
As for why you should or shouldn't be "excited" to play UConn, I'm not sure "generational" is the term, because people born in the 70s or earlier still experienced the animosity with UConn in the 2000s.
I care less about UMass than others (...looks at New Guy...) because I don't live in Massachusetts. But the game against UMass at Gillette brought UMass fans out of the woodwork. They were obnoxious and I wanted BC to shut them up. Fortunately, we did.
How can you not see, with all the UConn fans coming out of the woodwork already (and the game is over a year away!), how obnoxious they are and how great the feeling will be to shut them up? They are a local school that hates us. You can pretend all you want that you don't find their fans obnoxious, but you'll change your tune come 2016. And isn't that so, so much more fun than getting no chatter at all from fans of a team like NIU?
JF: There is no question that UConn hates BC for a lot of reasons. The whole ACC/lawsuit fiasco is something that, most likely, they never overcome. But part of the fun of it all is that they can't get to us. I went to the game down there and they thought all the same things then that they will now, but have no access to us or to anyone to do anything about it.
Like I said, it’s a nice little non-conference game that fills a role. But I am sorry, it just doesn't move the needle for me emotionally.
I know things have changed over the years, but Yukon and UMass…and don't forget Wagner. What have we evolved into? For years, BC drew fans based on the ability to see teams that never came this way. I would rather lose that type of game than play another game like this. I see little or no difference between 7-5 and 6-6.
And BC has virtually zero to gain by playing it. Win and you are supposed to. Lose or it’s close or worse.
GS: These arguments are all absurd. Let me go one by one.
You say UConn can't "get to you" and yet here you are making a point to make fun of them by calling them "YUKON." You also talk about how fun it is to keep them down, and you enjoy seeing them wallow in their angst without an outlet to deal with it...
You and everyone else who say this stuff are so in denial it's ridiculous.
Saying that "things have changed" over the years by us playing UConn and UMass and Wagner. "What have we evolved into"? We haven't evolved into anything. I don't know how many times me or Joe or someone else has to say it: BC has always and will always have bodybag teams on the schedule.
You have this "back in my day" nostalgia about us playing these great teams. Great. That was back when we were independent and had to schedule a bunch of great teams because we didn't have any baked into a conference schedule. Clemson. Virginia Tech. Florida State. Georgia Tech. North Carolina. Duke. NC State. Virginia. If BC was in another conference, would you be complaining about BC scheduling any of these teams?
Of course not. And we play eight of them! Every year!
To say that BC drew fans based on the ability to see teams that never came this way—well, it sounds to me like you are upset that BC is in a conference. Maybe you think playing Florida State and Clemson every year gets stale. And that's fine. That's a perfectly valid argument to make. But it's not the argument you're making.
You say you'd rather BC lose against great teams than win against crap teams. I mean...It's not as binary as that. You have both of these teams on your schedule. It's not all or nothing.
You see little or no difference between 7-5 and 6-6. Fine. But do you see little or no difference between 5-7 and 6-6? Because whether or not you think bowl games are "bowl $#!+" nowadays, the fact is, it's major exposure for the program, a major factor in recruiting, and a major factor in overall perspective of the program.
Not caring about those 1 win differences in record, as a BC fan, is just the wrong perspective to take. BC is going to be passed over in the bowl selection process every time—every time—unless their record contractually forces a bowl to choose us. Your desire for BC to load up on superstar teams means that you either want BC to be in the Orange Bowl by winning the ACC or the lowest possible ACC bowl (or worse, no bowl). There would be nothing in between, period, unless by some miracle BC is the best team in the country and manages to beat all those big name opponents.
If you really, honestly, would rather Alumni Stadium be a showcase of BC's opponent rather than of BC—which you are implying by saying you'd rather BC lose to good teams than win against bad ones—then that's a terrible opinion.
There has to be a balance. With the ACC's conference schedule, you need to have a P5 team, a couple middling teams BC should beat, and yes, probably an FCS team since everyone else has one and not playing one would put us at a disadvantage.
If you disagree with that, that's fine, then we disagree. But if you agree with that scheduling philosophy, then it brings us back to the argument of how is playing UConn not better than playing literally any other G5 team? Is there a single G5 opponent that will get bigger buzz at Alumni than UConn? I don't think there is.
And to your last point, that BC has nothing to gain by playing against teams we're supposed to beat—I don't know what that's supposed to mean. We should only ever play teams that are better than us?
Of course BC has something to gain: A tally in the win column and a step closer to a bowl game. Because that is the entire benefit of playing any out-of-conference opponents, otherwise those games would be complete exhibitions and nothing more.
I'm not advocating for playing the 4 worst opponents you can find. I'm advocating for a balance. And again, UConn is literally—in the literal sense of the word literal—the G5 team that will draw the biggest buzz. And it's a game we should win, by the way.
Once again, I am as frustrated as anyone that Bates hasn't scheduled a P5 opponent yet. But the two things are unrelated.
JF: It looks like we’re going to have to agree to disagree. I just don't get overly jazzed about playing UConn and I suppose that just shows the generation I grew up in when they played in a crumbling stone stadium with one side of stands against URI. All that said, it was a good trip down there the last time they met and if it gets the masses excited, then who am I. At least you are passionate about your points. What's not to like about that!
GS: Ha—it's fun to care. I'm hoping more BC fans come around to how fun this series can be. We'll see what happens next year.