Skip to main content

Boston College Football: Ranking the Toughest Games on Their Schedule

Boston College Eagles head coach Steve Addazio

Boston College Eagles head coach Steve Addazio

The Boston College Eagles posted a 7-6 overall record in 2017, which marked the fourth seven-win campaign in five seasons under head coach Steve Addazio. The Eagles made it back to a bowl game thanks to five wins in their final six regular season games, including three outright upsets. Uncharacteristically, Boston College scored 35 points or more in all five victories during that pivotal stretch.

Boston College Eagles RB AJ Dillon

Despite a 27-20 loss to Iowa in the Pinstripe Bowl, Boston College enters 2018 with both momentum and optimism. The Eagles boast one of the best players in the ACC in running back AJ Dillon, who ran for 1,589 yards as a freshman and will have the support of arguably the best offensive line in the conference.

Zach Allen, who led the team with six sacks and 15.5 tackles for a loss, and safety Lukas Denis, an All-American candidate who recorded seven interceptions in 2017, return to lead what should again be a stingy defense. If the Eagles improve their play against the run, Addazio’s squad could take an important step forward and emerge as a contender in the Atlantic Division.

However, the Eagles face a very difficult path that includes nine teams that went to a bowl game, most notably both participants from last year’s ACC Championship Game. Here’s how Boston College’s 2018 schedule stacks up from easiest game to most difficult matchup.

12. Sept. 8 vs. Holy Cross

Boston College hosts Holy Cross in an FBS vs. FCS matchup that should hold interest for fans of a certain age. The Eagles played the Crusaders 82 times from 1896-1986 and hold a 48-31-3 lead in the series over the one-time college football power. Holy Cross gave UConn a scare in 2017 before losing 27-20. The Crusaders went 4-7 last season, including 3-3 in Patriot League action.

Image placeholder title

11. Sept. 1 vs. UMass

The Eagles are set to host another in-state rival in the season opener when FBS Independent UMass travels to Chestnut Hill. The Minutemen started 0-6 in 2017, but finished strong by winning four of their final six contests. With talented quarterback Andrew Ford under center, Massachusetts could challenge for a bowl bid this year.

College Football Rankings: UMass

10. Sept. 29 vs. Temple

Temple finished the 2017 season on a roll, winning three of its final four regular season games to secure bowl eligibility under first-year head coach Geoff Collins. The Owls then dominated FIU 28-3 in the Gasparilla Bowl to ride a wave of momentum into the offseason. With a solid defense and quarterback Frank Nutile leading the way, Temple is a bona fide contender in the AAC East.

Image placeholder title

9. Nov. 24 vs. Syracuse

Syracuse is slowly but steadily moving in the right direction under head coach Dino Babers. Though the Orange finished 4-8 overall in Babers’ second season, Syracuse upset Clemson last season. In other words, the Orange can beat anyone. And, with All-ACC candidate Eric Dungey among eight returning starters on offense, Syracuse has a great shot at reaching a bowl game for the first time since 2013.

Image placeholder title

8. Sept. 13 at Wake Forest

We should see a pair of 2-0 squads when Boston College travels to Winston-Salem for its Thursday night ACC opener. Wake Forest has evolved in recent years under head coach Dave Clawson and went 8-5 last season thanks to an offense that ranked in the top half of the league in every major statistical category. Though projected starting quarterback Kendall Hinton has been suspended for the first three games of 2018, playmaking wide receiver Greg Dortch headlines an otherwise veteran unit that torched the Eagles 34-10 last year.

Wake Forest: college football picks against the spread
Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

7. Oct. 13 vs. Louisville

Lamar Jackson was a generational talent for Louisville, and though the Cardinals must move on without the 2016 Heisman Trophy winner, Bobby Petrino’s offense is always dangerous. New quarterback Jawon Pass will line up with four returning starters on the offensive line and each of last year’s top three receivers -- so the unit should be fine. Petrino must rebuild defensively, and even though Boston College won last year’s meeting, the Cardinals have the talent to get back to a bowl game.

College football rankings: Louisville

6. Sept. 22 at Purdue

Purdue must replace more than half its defensive starters from last year’s surprising bowl squad. And though a veteran defense was a major reason for the quick turnaround under first-year head coach Jeff Brohm, his reputation was built on offense. We can expect the Boilermakers to be much more explosive on offense with two seasoned quarterbacks, a solid stable of running backs and four returning starters up front.

Image placeholder title

5. Oct. 6 at NC State

Speaking of rebuilding on defense, NC State lost eight starters on that side of the football, headlined by first-round NFL draft pick Bradley Chubb. The Wolfpack will therefore need to lean heavily on offense in 2018. As luck would have it, head coach Dave Doeren has one of the best quarterbacks in the ACC -- senior Ryan Finley -- at his disposal, and the Wolfpack will have home-field advantage as well. NC State beat Boston College 17-14 at Alumni Stadium last season.

Image placeholder title

4. Nov. 3 at Virginia Tech

Continuing the trend, Virginia Tech lost several of its most talented defenders from the 2017 squad, including NFL first-rounders Tremaine and Terrell Edmunds. The Hokies also recently learned they will be without two projected starters in the secondary. But defensive coordinator Bud Foster has a knack for rebuilding his unit, so Virginia Tech should still pose a challenge in the ACC Coastal. Plus, Blacksburg is one of the toughest places to play in all of college football.

College Football Top 25 Rankings: Virginia Tech

3. Oct. 26 vs. Miami

The Miami Hurricanes became an ACC title challenger a year earlier than most expected, and even entered the national championship discussion while jumping out to a 10-0 record and locking up the Coastal Division. Three straight losses stung, but The U got its swagger back in 2017 and is a heavy favorite to make it back to the ACC Championship Game. Boston College hasn’t faced its former Big East rival since 2012, but the two are scheduled to meet for the 30th time in what should be a high stakes, Friday night matchup in Chestnut Hill.

College Football Top 25 Rankings: Miami

2. Nov. 17 at Florida State

Florida State suffered an unprecedented six losses in 2017, including a 35-3 drubbing at Alumni Stadium that could be considered the low point of the season. However, despite the convincing victory for the Eagles a year ago, Boston College is likely to be an underdog in Tallahassee. After all, the Seminoles still have one of the most talented teams in the ACC and running back Cam Akers has the potential to emerge as a Heisman candidate. Plus, new head coach Willie Taggart has injected renewed enthusiasm into the program, which should help Florida State return to ACC Atlantic contention in 2018.

College Football Top 25 Rankings: FSU

1. Nov. 10 vs. Clemson

Boston College has the benefit of home-field advantage, but facing a perennial national championship contender and the three-time defending ACC champion is undoubtedly the toughest task of the regular season for the Eagles. Making matters even more difficult is the fact the mid-November meeting with the Tigers is sandwiched between trips to Blacksburg and Tallahassee, during a brutal stretch of ACC games that begins with a visit from Miami. Bowl eligibility, and potentially more, could hang in the balance for the Eagles, though as Syracuse proved last season (and as Pitt did in 2016), Clemson is vulnerable to regular season ACC upsets. 

College Football Top 25 Rankings: Clemson

Athlon Sports Cover 2 Podcast: Games. Games. And more Games!

-- Written by Nicholas Ian Allen, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Follow him on Twitter @NicholasIAllen.