Boston College announced on Tuesday that they agreed to a home-and-home scheduling agreement with the Big Ten's Purdue Boilermakers. The Eagles will play in Indiana in 2018 with the Boilermakers coming to Chestnut Hill in 2020.
The announcement holds two positives for the Eagles. First, they schedule games against a larger-named opponent they've had no prior experience with. Purdue, an eight time Big Ten champion and the alma mater of Bob Griese, Mark Herrmann, and Drew Brees, is a team the Eagles never played before, giving the schedule a new look with the excitement of a new brand.
In addition, BC fulfills a scheduling requirement by the ACC to begin playing at least one Power 5 FBS program in 2017. In off years when the Eagles don't play Notre Dame, it fills in the gaps necessary as required by the conference of which BC is a member institution. Per the ACC's scheduling arrangement with the Fighting Irish, BC plays Notre Dame several times over the next decade: at home in 2017 and 2025 and on the road in 2019 and 2022.
Looking ahead courtesy of FBS Schedules, the Eagles' non-conference schedules in 2016 and 2017 are set, with BC hosting Buffalo, UConn, and FCS Wagner next year while traveling to UMass. In 2017, they'll play two non-conference road games at Northern Illinois and UConn while playing home against Notre Dame and FCS Richmond.
It's interesting to note that the Eagles' 2017 non-conference schedule may be one of the more deceptively difficult years they'll have. All three FBS teams went to a bowl game this past season, and Richmond advanced to the FCS Semifinals, losing only to eventual national champion North Dakota State and finishing the season ranked inside the top five nationally in their subdivision.
With the addition of Purdue, BC has one opening for an FBS team in 2018, when they'll play UMass and FCS Holy Cross at home while traveling to play the Boilermakers. They also have one FBS opening in 2020 for a G5 team; they'll play Holy Cross, Ohio, and Purdue at home in that season.
Odd-numbered years, however, have plenty of openings, including the 2021 season where BC does not yet have a P5 team scheduled. They have two openings for FBS teams in 2019, when they play at Notre Dame and at home against Richmond, but the only game scheduled for the 2021 season is at UMass on the 20th anniversary of 9/11.
In the interest of simplifying, let's plot this out and look at the games that BC has left to schedule. FBS Schedules has games slotted out through 2025:
2016 (0 openings): @UMass, Buffalo, UConn, Wagner (FCS)
2017 (0 openings): @Northern Illinois, Notre Dame (P5), @UConn, Richmond (FCS)
2018 (1 opening for FBS team): UMass, Holy Cross (FCS), Purdue (P5)
2019 (2 openings for FBS teams): @Notre Dame (P5), Richmond (FCS)
2020 (1 opening for FBS team): Holy Cross (FCS), Ohio, Purdue (P5)
2021 (3 openings left, including 1 FCS team and P5 required team): @UMass
2022 (FCS opening only): UMass, UConn, @Notre Dame (P5)
2023 (1 FCS opening and 1 FBS opening): @Ohio State (P5), @UConn
2024 (1 FCS opening and 2 FBS openings): Ohio State
2025 (1 FCS opening and 2 FBS openings): Notre Dame
So for all the bumps of the scheduling road, it's interesting to note that BC has a power conference team scheduled in some capacity every year starting in 2017 through 2025 with the exception of 2021. They will likely backfill the openings with Group of Five conference teams (most likely MAC specials), but that's to be expected from all ACC teams, not just the Eagles.
Even in terms of FCS teams, BC didn't schedule incorrectly. They made the most that they could in 2016 without the P5 requirement, including putting games with local interests on the schedule (UMass, UConn). Between 2017 and 2020, they'll play FCS games against either Richmond, who is a powerhouse in the subdivision, or Holy Cross, a school that the Eagles, in all honesty, should play given their shared history.
For those expecting BC to be playing powerhouse teams 10 years from now, it's virtually impossible to predict how things go into the future. Having those games contractually on the schedule helps, but it's entirely possible the college football landscape looks much different. For the immediate future, however, it appears things are on the upswing.