We begin a series today analyzing each team's schedule for the 2013 season. Up first:
Nonconference opponents (with 2012 records)
New Mexico State (1-11)
ACC home games
ACC road games
Gut-check time: Sept. 6 versus Wake Forest. Boston College gets to open ACC play on a Friday night in prime time against a team that has the potential to be a darkhorse in the league. If the Eagles are going to be improved over their 2-10 record in 2012, then they have the perfect opportunity to serve notice in this game. We will have a good idea about how competitive BC can be in the ACC because this game comes along so early in the schedule.
Trap game: Nov. 9 at New Mexico State. The Aggies were absolutely horrendous last year, but the timing of this game sets the Eagles up for a trap. It comes after an arduous three-game stretch featuring games at Clemson, at North Carolina and Virginia Tech, and it requires a trip some 2,300 miles away to Las Cruces. The Aggies are now coached by former BC offensive coordinator Doug Martin, who has keen familiarity with Chase Rettig, Alex Amidon & Co. Hard to figure what the Eagles have to gain by making a trip so far away in the middle of ACC play.
Snoozer: Aug. 31 versus Villanova. This game could provide one of the few wins for the Eagles this year.
Defining stretch: Nov. 16-Nov. 30 (NC State, at Maryland, at Syracuse). This is the most manageable conference stretch of the season for the Eagles, and gives them an opportunity to potentially close out on a high note. Maryland was the only ACC team BC beat last season; and both NC State and Syracuse have major questions at quarterback to start the year. That is one area where BC has an advantage over them. For the Eagles to be better, they have to win the winnable games. These three qualify as three of the most winnable league games on the schedule.
Final analysis: The nonconference schedule provides an opportunity to go 3-1 -- that alone would be an improvement over last season. If BC can squeeze out at least two ACC victories, this season would be a great success. There are some opportunities there, though the ACC schedule makers did the Eagles no favors. Not only do they play two of the better teams in the Coastal division, the early part of their league slate is exceptionally challenging. After Wake Forest, BC has to face Florida State, Clemson, North Carolina and Virginia Tech -- not exactly the type of schedule that can help a rebuilding team gain some confidence. Perhaps going through that difficult stretch can help prepare the Eagles to become more battle-tested in the last stretch of their season, where there are more winnable games.