What to do with the open date in 2008
Gene held another chat yesterday. Most people seemed caught up in the bowl/travel issue. What caught my attention was the confirmation that Army asked out of our game next year. The Black Knights change of heart gives BC an interesting opportunity. Does BC use the open date to take on a big fish? Or does Gene find a lesser opponent to help our young team pad its resume? Here are the two sides...
A few notable teams like Alabama and Louisville are also looking to fill holes in their schedule. Taking on a high-profile program has clear advantages. TV coverage is assured. You can sell it to recruits -- "We play in the ACC and take on anybody. This year we're playing Alabama." A win generates buzz and changes perceptions. Losses still count, but there is a modicum of respect by just taking on a tough team. If BC were to sign on for a well known program, we would probably play them on the road and get a future return game at Alumni. Why not do it? Because the risks aren't necessarily inline with the rewards. A loss wouldn't count in the ACC standings, but it would impact our potential ranking and our bowl eligibility. As Ohio State and Kansas showed this year, sometimes winning generates more buzz than playing a challenging schedule.
MAC teams, Sun Belt teams and some WAC teams would gladly play BC...especially if we come to them. The downside of these games is that the payday is smaller, the wins are not respected and you open the door for an embarrassing loss. Think of Central Michigan in 2006 (who proved to be good) or Ball State in 2004. Both teams gave us real scares. Kent State will probably give as all we can handle next season. When BC pulls those games out all we get is a W. We don't generate any buzz. If we lose, we get laughed at and it makes our bandwagon a lonely place.
What would I do?
I would find a winnable game. As I wrote earlier in the week -- and it wasn't a popular thing to post -- I think next year will be a challenge. Our defense will be good. I think our offense will struggle. Our line will be filling two open spots and the production from our QB is completely unknown.
What do I think will happen?
Based on his willingness to play USC and the comments I've heard through the grapevine, I think Jags would sign up for a game with Alabama in a heartbeat. I think Gene might be a different story. He is almost as invested in Jags succeeding as Jags is. Giving BC an easier game during a transition year continues the program's momentum and helps us get back into a bowl. I know Gene would also love to get another home game. My bet is we'll play another MAC team. We'll probably win and very few non-BC fans will even pay attention.
Although our opinions won't decide this game, I would love to hear what you guys think. Leave your thoughts in the comments.