Not all schedules are created equal. That's life in college football. Each slate does, however, present its own set of challenges. Here, we take a look at the toughest stretches that each ACC team will face in 2014, periods that could help determine their fate in the upcoming campaign.
Toughest stretch: Nov. 1-22 (at Virginia Tech, Louisville, bye, at Florida State)
Why: If Boston College wants to duplicate its success from Year 1 of the Steve Addazio era, it will probably do itself a big favor by getting off to a fast start. The Eagles, coming off a 7-6 debut campaign under Addazio, experienced one of the most surprising turnarounds in the nation last season, more than tripling their win total from 2012 en route to a bowl game. The challenge will only get tougher this fall, however, especially with the number of key personnel losses at the skill positions on offense.
An early-season rematch with USC, this time at home, highlights the nonconference portion of the Eagles' slate. But the toughest three-game stretch will likely come during the season's final month, as BC travels to Virginia Tech, hosts Louisville and heads down to Florida State before closing the regular season at home against former Big East foe Syracuse.
Last season's win over the Hokies was the defining moment of BC's season, as it pulled off the major upset at home. Things will only get tougher on the road, especially with the Hokies -- like seemingly everyone else in the Coastal Division -- expected to contend for the division title entering the season's final month. The Cardinals, meanwhile, present a new annual challenge for the Eagles, who welcome in one more roadblock toward the top of the Atlantic Division. Who knows what kind of shape Louisville will be in a new league with a new staff, but recent history says this one will be no easy task for BC, especially with the game sandwiched between Virginia Tech and Florida State. It should go without saying that the matchup in Tallahassee will be a tough task for the Eagles, who sneaked up on the Seminoles last season and gave them their best test from anyone not named Auburn, falling 48-34.
A bye the week before the FSU contest, on Nov. 15, cannot come at a better time. But it does little to lessen the difficulty of the task at hand for BC as it enters the final month of its second season under Addazio.