Several bowl projections have come out already after BC’s win over Wake Forest on Saturday, and the Eagles’ likely bowl destinations seem to have narrowed down to either Detroit, Shreveport, or St. Petersburg.
With that in mind, we thought we’d rank BC’s possible December opponents and bowl destinations that have been projected so far relative to each bowl’s location, opponent “name” factor, and winability.
#4: Quick Lane Bowl — Detroit, MI
Boston College (6-6) vs. Army (6-5)
Location: D (ha)
Name Opponent: C+
Of the four projections that have come out, this is probably the least appealing, although in fairness things could be much worse.
BC fans from my years in school probably have very fond memories of April In The D, when BC throttled Miami (OH) and Wisconsin on their way to winning the national championship at Ford Field. The stadium area of downtown was actually a halfway decent place to hang out, and you didn’t feel like you were going to get shot (for the most part).
But Detroit is cold, and has a bad reputation, and you could get shot, and while hopping across the river to go gamble in Ontario is a good time, losing a bunch of Canadian Dollars probably won’t improve your bowl experience that much.
Army as a service academy is a respectable name opponent, but not one anyone would be particularly excited about. It’s above average (at least we wouldn’t be playing, like, Louisiana-Lafayette), but only marginally.
Army is pretty bad. They are 6-5 (with their game against Navy still to go) with two of those wins coming against FCS teams. Even if they lose to Navy, they’ll get in with a bowl waiver. Our winability rating is only a B+ because we’re not all that great either.
#3: Quick Lane Bowl — Detroit, MI
Boston College (6-6) vs. Maryland (6-5)
Location: D (still funny)
Name Opponent: B+
All the “Detroit is crappy” comments from above still apply.
Playing Maryland gets the edge on playing Army in Detroit. While Maryland is slightly better than Army, they at least only played one FCS team and play in a good conference. As Joe pointed out, Maryland’s season was a close parallel to BC’s, with several blowouts to good teams and several wins over bad ones.
Being a Big Ten team with a bit of history between us, this would be a pretty decent matchup for BC.
#2: St. Petersburg Bowl — St. Petersburg, FL
Boston College (6-6) vs. South Florida (10-2)
Name Opponent: B
Now we’re getting somewhere.
This would be a pretty good landing spot for BC. Despite the game being played in a warehouse, St. Petersburg is in Florida, it’s warm, and it’s a place people might actually be jealous of if you told them you were flying there in late December.
South Florida isn’t a Power 5 opponent, but they’re one of the better G5 teams. At 10-2, they had a really good season, and would be favored over BC by quite a bit, particularly with the game being a virtual home game — USF is just up the road in Tampa.
But on the plus side, the Bulls don’t have any defense to speak of (I have no idea how they managed to give up 27 points to UConn). Towles is a decent quarterback when he’s not under pressure, so BC will probably be able to score points.
#1: Independence Bowl — Shreveport, LA
Boston College (6-6) vs. South Carolina (6-6)
Name Opponent: A
What a score if this is a 6-6 BC team’s bowl game.
Shreveport is not the best of cities for a bowl game, with, I would imagine, not that much to do outside of taking a road trip to Dallas (or, significantly further, New Orleans). But still, the weather should be nice for a December football game with temperatures in the high 50s/low 60s, and being in the south is kind of neat.
But what an opportunity for BC if they are able to play South Carolina, a huge name SEC opponent, in a down year.
Did you laugh when I assigned USC a “B” winability rating — the same as Maryland? Aside from having the same 6-6 record as the Terrapins, the advanced metrics also put the two teams (and BC!) very closely ranked.
Jeff Sagarin has Maryland, USC, and BC ranked 76th, 77th, and 78th. RealTimeRPI has the teams in the same order, in 68th, 69th, and 71st. And the college football KRACH ratings (yes, KRACH, you can find anything on the internet these days) have them 55th, 58th, and 65th.
All of those ratings have Maryland above South Carolina, ranked right around where the Eagles are. This would be a winnable game against a marquee opponent in comfortable football weather. Given the 6-6 record, and how poor some of BC’s bowl games from the Tom O’Brien years were when the Eagles were actually decent, this would be an excellent bowl for BC to land in.