Last year, when the ACC announced a new strength-of-schedule scheduling component requiring all schools to play a Big 12, Big Ten, SEC or Pac-12 opponent, or Notre Dame, on an annual basis, one of the outstanding questions was whether FBS Independent BYU would satisfy the new strength-of-schedule component. BYU had failed in its attempt to convince the ACC that it should be considered a Power 5 conference school for scheduling purposes, but that stance has now changed.
According to ESPN.com's Brett McMurphy, BYU will now count towards the ACC's strength-of-schedule requirement.
Given the lack of Power 5 conference opponents on Boston College's future non-conference schedules, Athletic Director Brad Bates should take advantage of the ACC's change of heart.
Boston College and BYU last met in 2006, a 30-23 overtime victory by the Eagles. The season before, BC traveled to Provo to open the season and came away with a 20-3 victory over the Cougars. The only other meeting between the two schools was the 1985 Kickoff Classic in the Meadowlands—BYU won 28-14.
While BC and BYU have only met three times on the gridiron, the mid-2000s home-and-home series between the two schools was popular amongst both fans and players. BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall and AD Tom Holmoe have been outspoken in their desire to schedule another home-and-home with BC in the past.
Here's a quote from Mendenhall in an October 2012 article in The Salt Lake Tribune:
"We were looking for good opponents and good partnerships. I don't know certainly that it was a deal-breaker if it didn't happen [the Notre Dame-BYU series]. I wanted the game. I thought it was a nice, intriguing game, and some similarities between the two institutions," he said. "I would like to get something similar with Boston College or the military academies, etc. I think they are good games and they bring interest, so it was just the first one that happened."
More recently, BYU and UMass recently announced a four-game series with the first two games in Provo (2016 and 2017) and two in Foxboro (2018 and 2019), so it's unclear whether the Cougars would still have an interest in doubling back over New England with a series against Boston College. However, given the Cougars' current scheduling flexibility as an independent, Mendenhall / Holmoe's desire to get a new deal in place with BC, and BC once again incentivized to schedule BYU, I hope a deal can be worked out.
Looking at the two program's future schedules, BYU currently has 9 games scheduled in 2016 but six of them are away from LaVell Edwards Stadium. Basically, BYU needs home games in 2016. Bates has made it clear that BC wants 7 home games a year moving forward, but the program does have some flexibility in 2016 with the ability to push the road game at NIU to the following season. That would leave the NIU game as the lone road non-conference game in 2017, to go with home games scheduled against Notre Dame and FCS Richmond.
With the Cougars making the trek east to face UMass in 2018 and 2019, a return trip to the Heights might have to wait for a few more seasons. But I think that would be OK from BC's perspective, if BYU made the return trip in, say, 2020 or 2021, when they still need a Power 5 conference program on the non-conference slate.
Given the scarcity of available Power 5 conference opponents moving forward, it would be wise for BC to take advantage of the one FBS Independent treated as a Power 5 conference opponent available to ACC schools.