On Wednesday, North Carolina athletic director Bubba Cunningham announced a home-and-home football series with California in 2017 and 2018. The Tar Heels will host the Golden Bears in 2017, and play in Berkeley in 2018. The Cal series replaces North Carolina's home-and-home with Ohio State, which, according to Cunningham, was cancelled after the Big Ten expanded its league schedule from eight to nine games.
"The Big Ten's move to nine conference games each year beginning in 2016 resulted in the cancellation of our series with Ohio State, which was scheduled for 2017 and 2018. Coach (Larry) Fedora and I will continue to look to add exciting matchups both in Kenan Stadium and on the road as we complete our future schedules."
And this is where it could get interesting for Boston College.
Like the Heels, the Eagles have a future non-conference home-and-home football series with the Buckeyes scheduled for 2023 and 2024. The two schools had originally agreed to meet in Columbus on September 19, 2020 and in Chestnut Hill on September 18, 2021. However, a year later, a leaked Big Ten scheduling document listed the BC-Ohio State series for 2023 and 2024.
The Buckeyes already had one non-conference game against a power 5 conference opponent scheduled in 2017 (Oklahoma) and 2018 (at TCU). Those games, combined with a nine-game Big Ten schedule, likely led to the cancellation of the North Carolina series.
If the Buckeyes future non-conference scheduling model includes just one power five conference and two home games against teams from non-power conferences, the BC-Ohio State series may very well suffer the same fate as North Carolina-Ohio State. Ohio State is set to face Texas in 2022 (away) and 2023 (home), the second game the same year as the first scheduled meeting between the Eagles and Buckeyes.
Should the Big Ten scheduling model hold through 2023, the Buckeyes will be looking for three non-conference home games that season since Ohio State plays five conference road games in odd-numbered years. Big Ten programs with rather large stadiums to fill love to plead poverty at the mere suggestion of playing less than seven games a year at home. That's good news for BC, as both Ohio States' games against Texas and BC in 2023 are tentatively scheduled to be played in Columbus. If Ohio State is comfortable playing nine Big Ten games plus two more power conference teams in a single season, the BC-Ohio State series might just survive.
If not, and the BC-Ohio State is eventually cancelled, Bates has quite a bit of work to do to fill the Eagles non-conference schedule with teams from the other four power conferences. Outside of the ACC's scheduling agreement with Notre Dame, which will pit the Eagles against the Irish every three seasons, give or take, the Ohio State series is the only one currently on the books that satisfies the conference's "strength of schedule" mandate that begins in 2017.