It seems like once a month the subject of scheduling UConn comes up, usually prompted by a wishful-thinking article or tweet from the bright lights of the fabled Hartford-New Haven media market. This time, however, the story had some beef to it, as the Hartford Courant got Steve Addazio and Brad Bates on the record saying nice things about the possibility of BC and UConn meeting up on the gridiron.
"I think it would be great if we played UConn," Addazio said. "I believe in regional games. If we get a couple of nonconference games, it would be great to play them because I think it's good for New England. I'm a New England guy.
Good for New England! Drink!
OK, now what about the big cheese?
"[UConn AD] Warde Manuel and I are really good friends," Bates said. "We've known each other for a long time, so could that possibly happen at some point in time? I'm sure at some point in time it probably will be something that's discussed. Whether it will happen in the near future or not, I can't tell you."
And as for the hostilities of a decade ago that scuttled BC vs. UConn in basketball and football?
"I wasn't here when Boston College left the conference," Bates said. "I know there's still a lot of scars remaining from that time. I didn't experience it."
In reality, that's the case for most people involved in both the BC and the UConn programs these days: they weren't around for those fights. Ten years later and with the landscape of college athletics completely changed from a decade ago, the whole thing seems silly. In my biased opinion, UConn certainly came out of the whole dispute looking worse after going hard at BC, then desperately trying to sell its soul to any conference who would say yes (only to end up never getting anywhere... womp womp).
But what's past is past. I'm not sure UConn needs to be "punished" any more for what happened a decade ago (isn't being in the AAC punishment enough?). The very real bitterness and dislike between the two schools and fanbases should get an opportunity to be expressed on the gridiron rather than just on message boards and comments in the press.
I know that the BCI editorial board is split on this issue; Grant weighed in in favor of the idea last year, while I believe Brian and AJ are still skeptical. Put me in the pro camp - I see no harm in scheduling the game. If we're going to play MAC-level opponents, it would be nice for it to be a game against a team we have some history with and dislike for; that's what makes it fun. While there may be some here who wouldn't care about a UConn game, the packed (and passionate) home crowd for the BC-UConn hockey game this past February indicates that there are plenty of BC fans who do care about this regional clash.
With that in mind, Brad Bates and his buddy Warde Manual should sit down and make a deal. I think both sides would agree that scheduling a series would be a bigger deal to UConn than it would to BC, so it should be on BC's terms.
I would suggest that Bates offer UConn something along the lines of 4 games in a 10 year span. With the P5 requirement, I wouldn't go with anything more frequent than that, but 4 would be a good number. Within that 4, I'd suggest two home games, one away game, and one "neutral" game at Gillette where BC would wear white but would functionally be the home team, sort of like what happened against UMass. That was a successful day for BC and an enjoyable time for the fans, so I wouldn't mind seeing it repeated if it means an extra "home" game in the series.
I'd also suggest one other thing be tied to the negotiations: basketball. I know the basketball coaches do more of the scheduling than the ADs do, but certainly the ADs have the power to bring the coaches to the table. Let's make getting a basketball series going again as part of this arrangement. In this instance, obviously, BC is the one benefiting from the bigger name. The school could certainly use another marquee draw at the gate during basketball season, and I'm sure most BC fans would like to see that game happen at Conte again some time in the not-too-distant future.
So there's my modest proposal: a BC-UConn football series on BC's terms, plus the resumption of basketball hostilities. Good idea? Bad idea? Either way it seems like the long freezeout between the two football teams may be ending in the coming years.