On Monday, Georgia Tech announced that it had moved a home-and-home with Ole Miss back five years to accommodate playing other Power 5 conference opponents (which I read as "Ole Miss just beat BAMA, maybe we should hold off on playing the Rebels until they suck again").
The Yellow Jackets and Rebels will now meet during the 2022 and 2023 seasons.
Georgia Tech and Ole Miss were scheduled to play in 2017 and 2018, but the Rebels accommodated Tech's request to move the series back so the Jackets could schedule other "Power 5" games in those seasons. Georgia Tech will host the Rebels in 2022, and the Yellow Jackets will make the return visit to Oxford in 2023.
This news got me thinking about the ACC's (and SEC's) new strength of schedule requirement. Beginning in 2016 (SEC) and 2017 (ACC), both conferences have adopted a new strength-of-schedule component that requires all member schools to play at least one Power 5 conference opponent, or Notre Dame, on an annual basis.
Boston College will need to schedule at least one Power 5 conference opponent in years when the Eagles don't play Notre Dame as part of the ACC's scheduling deal with the Irish. With all but the first three-year cycle with Notre Dame set, we don't know what years BC will need to schedule at least one Power 5 conference opponent, but 2018, 2019 and 2020 are probably decent guesses (BC's only other scheduled Power 5 conference opponent is the 2023-24 series with Ohio State).
So let's play matchmaker.
Here's the Power 5 conference opponents scheduled by the ACC over the next few years, per fbschedules.com.
|Boston College||Notre Dame||@ Ohio State||Ohio State|
@ South Carolina
|@ Notre Dame|
@ Notre Dame
|Florida State||Florida||@ Florida||Florida|
|Georgia Tech||@ Georgia||Georgia||@ Georgia||Georgia||@ Georgia||Georgia||Ole Miss||@ Ole Miss|
|Kentucky||@ Kentucky||@ Notre Dame|
|Miami||@ Notre Dame||@ Rutgers||Rutgers||@ Michigan State||Michigan State|
|North Carolina||@ Illinois||California||@ California|
|N.C. State||Notre Dame||@ Notre Dame||West Virginia||@ West Virginia||Mississippi State||@ Mississippi State||Notre Dame|
@ Oklahoma State
|@ Penn State
|Penn State||@ Penn State|
|Syracuse||Notre Dame||@ LSU||@ Maryland||@ Penn State||Penn State|
|Virginia||@ Oregon||Stanford||@ Stanford||Illinois||@ Illinois|
@ Notre Dame
|West Virginia||@ Wisconsin||Wisconsin
@ West Virginia
@ Penn State
|Wake Forest||@ Indiana|
Obviously, the programs with longstanding season-ending rivalry games against in-state SEC counterparts--Clemson (South Carolina), Florida State (Florida), Georgia Tech (Georgia) and Louisville (Kentucky)--are in great shape going forward, and really don't need to do anything other than re-up those series to satisfy this requirement.
Other programs--notably Virginia Tech and N.C. State--have aggressively worked to fill the future schedules with Power 5 conferences opponents from the SEC, Big Ten and Big 12.
Still others, like BC and Wake Forest, have quite a bit of work to do to satisfy the strength of schedule component in years when they don't draw the Irish.
Here's a look at the SEC's Power 5 conference scheduling obligations starting in 2016:
|Arkansas||@ TCU||TCU||@ Michigan||Michigan||Texas|
|Florida||@ Florida State||Michigan
|@ Florida State|
|Georgia||Georgia Tech||@ Notre Dame
@ Georgia Tech
|Georgia Tech||Notre Dame
@ Georgia Tech
|Kentucky||@ Louisville||Louisville||@ Louisville||Louisville|
|LSU||Wisconsin||Syracuse||Penn State||@ UCLA||@ Arizona State||Arizona State||UCLA|
|Mississippi State||@ Kansas State||Kansas State||@ N.C. State||N.C. State||@ Arizona||Arizona|
|Ole Miss||@ Georgia Tech||Georgia Tech|
|South Carolina||@ Clemson||Clemson||@ Clemson|
|Tennessee||Virginia Tech||West Virginia||USC||USC|
|Texas A&M||UCLA||@ UCLA||@ Oregon||Oregon||Notre Dame|
|Vanderbilt||@ Georgia Tech|
Other than the SEC programs with annual ACC rivalry games, I was surprised to see a lack of progress towards satisfying the new strength of schedule requirement; especially given that it kicks in a year earlier than the ACC's.
It also looks like the ACC is far more willing to schedule more than one Power 5 conference opponent in a given season (which makes sense given the league's scheduling arrangement with Notre Dame). From the SEC, only Florida (2017 vs. Michigan and Florida State) and Georgia (2017 and 2019 vs. Notre Dame and Georgia Tech) have scheduled multiple Power 5 conference opponents in the same season up until this point.
Long story short, there are a number of available SEC opponents over the next few seasons where a home-and-home with Boston College would be mutually beneficial in satisfying each conference's new strength of scheduling requirement.
If Bates isn't on the horn with Ole Miss (2016, 2018, 2019) and Vanderbilt (2018, 2019, etc.), I'd be pretty disappointed. Let's make it happen.