The Boston College Eagles and Kansas Jayhawks will face one another in two football games no unaffiliated fans will watch, in 2019 and 2020. The series fulfills requirements for the two schools to schedule Power Five opponents, and also sets up the programs to potentially pick up an important non-conference win.
This isn’t new for either of these programs. It’s actually the norm for recent scheduling.
Earlier this week, BC added games vs. Rutgers in 2019 and 2022, adding to the previously scheduled games in 2026 and 2027. On Wednesday, Kansas made a slew of announcements. Including the Eagles series, they’ll also face Duke (2021 and 2022) and FBS newcomer Coastal Carolina (2019-2021).
As you’ll recall, when Syracuse and Kansas announced a 2017 basketball game, we were hoping it was the start of a conversation around football as well. Alas, BC (and Duke) beat us to the punch. The Jayhawks are now fully scheduled through 2021. Boston College has just five slots to fill from 2021 through 2024.
This — all of it -- is what Syracuse should be doing.
We just covered the difficulty of the Orange’s 2017 schedule on Wednesday. It’s tough as it is with the ACC slate, but it gets worse with a non-conference road game vs. LSU. The 2018 schedule sends Syracuse to Notre Dame (admittedly, unavoidable), then Maryland in 2019 (not the worst), before two regrettable games against Wisconsin in 2020 and 2021.
This is discussed enough here that we don’t need to continue belaboring what doesn’t work. But we don’t typically talk about schools that make their own scheduling work. That’s why Boston College and Kansas are now topics of discussion.
The most difficult non-conference opponent for the Jayhawks from 2017 through 2024 is Houston, and that’s still all the way in 2023. If Kansas’s plan to improve (in part through scheduling) works, they may be up to the task to go toe-to-toe with the rising Cougars by that point.
For BC, Purdue, Kansas, Rutgers and Missouri pepper future schedules from 2017 through 2022. The Ohio State games in 2023 and 2024 sound regrettable. But still, like KU, the point is that your smart scheduling in the immediate term leads to a better matchup way down the road.
This is the blueprint to succeed in college football. Schedule smart (KU literally leaves little in doubt with its non-conference schedule), sneak a bowl trip or two when you probably don’t “deserve it,” appeal to recruits, upgrade talent... rinse, repeat.
Kansas was nowhere near a bowl game this year, but could be going forward. Boston College had no business being in a bowl game (they’re well below Syracuse in S&P+, all the way down at 85), yet not only got to one, but won the game. The Eagles beat Maryland and finished 7-6 despite lacking the talent to really top 4-8 or so against a typical Orange slate.
The pessimistic view of SU’s schedule is that they haven’t scheduled wins in the future. The optimistic view is that they haven’t scheduled games at all, so there’s still hope. With luck, this latest list of moves by programs in a similar state to Syracuse is a cue to the Orange. Others are getting creative toward making a bowl. Let’s go ahead and join them.