With the calendar turning to October, we're now less than a year away from the start of the 2015 college football season. And yet, despite being less than 11 months from kickoff, next season's non-conference schedule remains very much in flux.
The Eagles have three non-conference games on the books right now:
Though one of those games -- the October 17 New Mexico State return trip -- is likely on the chopping block as the Aggies have one more non-conference game scheduled than permitted after factoring in an eight-game Sun Belt schedule (New Mexico State ended college football's shortest stay of independence this year after getting scooped up by the Sun Belt). Based on the Aggies other four scheduled non-conference opponents and the buyouts associated with each, it's probably only a matter of time before N.M. State cuts BC a check and cancels the game.
Right now it's a bit of a cat-and-mouse game with N.M. State. But if the Aggies do cancel the return trip to the Heights, that would leave BC with finding two more non-conference games on very short notice. Pickings, as you would expect, are slim.
Of the 129 teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision in 2015, only 25 (19.4%) have openings remaining in 2015, according to fbschedules.com. There are just 22 teams with openings, after you factor out BC and the other two ACC teams still looking for a game in 2015 (Georgia Tech and Miami, neither of which have yet to schedule an FCS opponent next season).
Here are the remaining programs looking for a game in 2015, broken down by conference:
ACC (3) -- Boston College (1-2), Georgia Tech (1), Miami (1)
American (3) -- SMU (1), Tulane (1), UCF (1)
Big 12 (0)
Big Ten (0)
Conference USA (6) -- FIU (1), Louisiana Tech (1), Middle Tennessee (1), North Texas (1), Rice (1), Southern Miss (1)
MAC (3) -- Bowling Green (1), Central Michigan (1), Western Michigan (1)
Mountain West (5) -- San Diego State (up to 3), Air Force (up to 2), Fresno State (1), New Mexico (1), San Jose State (up to 1)
SEC (2) -- Alabama (2), Missouri (1)
Sun Belt (3) -- Texas State (1), Louisiana (1), ULM (1)
Broken down by openings remaining:
3 -- San Diego State*
2 -- Boston College, Air Force*, Alabama
1 -- Georgia Tech, Miami, SMU, Tulane, UCF, FIU, Louisiana Tech, Middle Tennessee, North Texas, Rice, Southern Miss, Bowling Green, Central Michigan, Western Michigan, Fresno State*, New Mexico, San Jose State*, Missouri, Texas State, Louisiana, ULM*
Of the 22 teams with openings, the following have not yet scheduled an FCS opponent in 2015:
San Diego State (3), Air Force (2), Alabama (2), SMU (1), Tulane (1), UCF (1), FIU (1), Louisiana Tech (1), Middle Tennessee (1), North Texas (1), Rice (1), Southern Miss (1), Bowling Green (1), Central Michigan (1), Western Michigan (1), New Mexico (1), Texas State (1), Louisiana (1), ULM (1)
If one assumes that the above teams will schedule at least one FCS opponent next season -- this won't hold in 100% of cases but a reasonable assumption -- that leaves the following FBS opponents with openings next season:
San Diego State* (up to 2)
Fresno State* (up to 1)
San Jose State* (up to 1)
Air Force* (up to 1)
... So, BAMA?
Two other possibilities that might occur that will help BC avoid the dreaded 2 FCS game route:
-- New Mexico State's new conference, the Sun Belt, works a deal with BC that sends one of their other schools to the Heights. Right now, Texas State and UL Lafayette have one opening, but no FCS opponent scheduled. ULM has four non-conference games on the books, but could play in a fifth game since the Warhawks play at Hawaii at the end of the year.
-- A program that's already completed its 2015 non-conference schedule, presumably from a non-Power 5 conference, moves things around to accommodate BC. Northern Illinois, having already completed its 2015 schedule, pushed back a game against Wyoming to play at BC next year.
Finally, for reference, here are the Colonial Athletic Association schools -- the FCS conference BC almost always looks to for its annual FCS opponent -- that have yet to schedule a game against an FBS opponent in 2015:
The known FBS-CAA games for next season: Albany-Buffalo, Delaware-North Carolina, Villanova-UConn, New Hampshire-San Jose State, William & Mary-Virginia, Stony Brook-Toledo, Elon-Wake Forest, Richmond-Maryland, Rhode Island-Syracuse
* Teams play at Hawaii next season, either in non-conference play or as part of the Mountain West's schedule rotation. The NCAA allows teams traveling to Oahu to play a 13th game -- almost always a home game -- to defray the cost of traveling to Hawaii. But programs don't have to take advantage of this rule if they don't want and can remain at a 12-game schedule.