In order to make things better, conventional wisdom says that you must have a plan, which new Boston College athletic director Martin Jarmond will tell you is in place--at least in his mind.
On Wednesday, Jarmond gave us a glimpse of the strategy that will take BC football to a more prominent level. ""We want to play a strong schedule and adding a future opponent the caliber of Michigan State fits what we want to accomplish,'' said Jarmond in announcing a two game series with the Spartans, beginning with a trip by the Spartans to Alumni Stadium on Sept, 21 2024, the Eagles will return the visit and travel to East Lansing the following season.
For schools such as BC, where becoming bowl eligible is still the primary goal each season, non-conference scheduling is the life-blood formula for success. Scheduling above your comfort level can be self defeating. Scheduling too easy can diminish the fan base and the credibility of the program. The Eagles picked up two wins two years ago against FCS opponents Maine and Howard and gained almost nothing from the experience, other than practice time in game conditions. And, even that was diminished since the quarters were reduced from 15 to 12 minutes in BC's 76-0 win over Howard.
The ideal situation for most athletic directors in non-conference games is to factor in regional rivalries (for interest), add one game which should be a guaranteed win, one game which should be a toss up and one game which might be regarded as an upset.
By adding another Big Ten team to the schedule--BC already has future games against Ohio State, Purdue and Rutgers--the Eagles increased their profile. And if they can pull off an upset--wins over Michigan State and Ohio State would be in that category--so much the better.
But BC also needs a local hook to generate interest, which is why UMass and UConn are included in future BC schedules and should be worked into the equation as the book end season openers and closers as soon as possible.
The Eagles--and Jarmond--are close to filling in all the blanks for the next 10 seasons.
Here's what they have in future non-conference games.
2017--At Northern Illinois, Notre Dame, Central Michigan, at UConn (Fenway Park)
2018--Purdue, UMass, Temple, Holy Cross
2019--Rutgers, Kansas, Notre Dame, Richmond
2020--Purdue, Kansas, Ohio, Holy Cross
2021--UMass, Temple, Missouri, OPEN
2022--Rutgers, UMass, UConn, Notre Dame
2023--UConn, OPEN, OPEN, OPEN
2024--Michigan State, Missouri, OPEN, OPEN
2025--Michigan State, Notre Dame, OPEN, OPEN
2026--Ohio State, Rutgers, OPEN, OPEN
If Jarmond can make UConn and UMass part of the package in 2024, 2025 and 2026, he will have constructed a schedule that will have most of the elements for success--if the Eagle football team can also move in an upward direction as well.
But that is another part of Jarmond and football coach Steve Addazio's plan which continues to be a work in progress.