The experts think BC's got a challenging slate. Phil Steele ranks our Schedule Difficulty at 28 (second most difficult in our division behind Syracuse). As Steele points out, the NCAA's metric considers BC's schedule the 15th most difficult. Most of the computer models also factor in replacing Maryland with Louisville, a road MAC game and playing USC again. On paper it seems like this will be tough. However, when you break things down, I don't know if it is that much worse than last year.
The UMass game in place of New Mexico State is huge boost. NM State was a terrible team, but we traveled to them and their staff had a familiarity with our personnel. UMass is a road game where we don't have to travel and where half the crowd will be BC fans. Colorado State is respectable but we will be favored. USC at home is tough, but they will be breaking in a new staff and travelling a long way early in the season.
As for the ACC schedule...things seem manageable too. We have winnable road games at NC State and Wake. Toss up games like Pitt and Syracuse are at home. Winning games under any circumstances is tough, but I think we could be favored in at least six of our games. For a young team with a new QB, that doesn't seem too daunting.
If you break it down into parts, the schedule looks fine. Go 3-0 in the "cupcakes," split with the ACC peer programs like Wake, Cuse, Pitt and NC State, and then steal one from the big boys of Clemson, VT, Louisville, and Florida State. That is a respectable six wins, especially in a transition year for a young team.