BC football schedule full of challenges

The 2014 ACC football schedule is out, and it looks like a tale of two halves for Boston College.

Steve Addazio and the Eagles will open the season with five games in the state of Massachusetts, not leaving the state until Oct. 11. They’ll start their slate against new UMass coach Mark Whipple and the Minutemen at Gillette Stadium (Aug. 30), then enjoy four consecutive home dates against Pittsburgh (on Sept. 5, a Friday night), USC (Sept. 13), Maine (Sept. 20) and Colorado State (Sept. 27).

Games against Pittsburgh, USC and Colorado State won’t be easy, but the Eagles should at least be competitive in the majority of the first five games and give themselves a good chance to start the season with a winning record.

The task gets much tougher from October onward, as BC will play three of the next five games away from Alumni Stadium at NC State (Oct. 11), at Wake Forest (Oct. 25) and at Virginia Tech (Nov. 1). The two home games in that stretch? Oct. 18 versus Clemson and Nov. 8 versus ACC newcomer Louisville.

Both those teams finished the 2013 season in the AP Top 25, Clemson at No. 8 and Louisville at No. 15.

BC will then have its second open week before finishing the season with a trip to Tallahassee, Fla., to take on defending national champion Florida State (Nov. 22) and a senior day matchup against Syracuse (Nov. 29).

Overall, it’s a strong slate. Four of BC’s 12 opponents won 10 or more games and finished in the AP Top 25, eight of 12 opponents played in a bowl game in 2013 and seven of the eight won their bowl matchup. BC’s opponents were a combined 95-61 (.609 winning percentage) last season.

Announcing the schedule on Twitter, BC athletic director Brad Bates called the 2014 slate “challenging for our team, exciting for our fans.”

The AD then ran down some of the highlights:

There are 220 days until the 2014 season kicks off.

Here’s the breakdown:

Aug. 30 -- at UMass (Gillette Stadium)

Sept. 5 -- Pittsburgh* (on ESPN/ESPN2)

Sept. 13 -- USC

Sept. 20 -- Maine

Sept. 27 -- Colorado State

Oct. 4 -- Open

Oct. 11 -- at NC State*

Oct. 18 -- Clemson*

Oct. 25 -- at Wake Forest*

Nov. 1 -- at Virginia Tech*

Nov. 8 -- Louisville*

Nov. 15 -- Open

Nov. 22 -- at Florida State*

Nov. 29 -- Syracuse*

* Denotes ACC game.

Jack McCluskey is an editor for ESPN.com and a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter @jack_mccluskey.