Ranking Potential Rivals For Boston College Football

A.J. Black

Most college programs have a historic rival, a team that both fan bases "get up" for. These games have special meanings for the teams as well, records are thrown out, and there is a special level of energy by both schools. There are the big historic rivalries, Alabama/Auburn, Michigan/Ohio State, Army/Navy, and Oklahoma/Texas. Then there are some of the rivalries that may not get the headlines but are still important events at both schools: Ole Miss/Mississippi State, Florida State/Florida, and Washington/Washington State. 

Boston College does not have a true rival. There is no team that if you were to ask both fanbases they would agree that they are rivals with the Eagles. But Boston College does have some historic matchups that are close to rivalries. Today's post is to determine which of these teams are the closest to "rivals" for Boston College. 

To determine this, we graded the matchup on three criteria on a scale of 1-5. (Note these grades do not factor in whether the other team already has a big rival, it's this writer's belief that teams can have more than one rival. )

Historic Balance/Significance: Have these teams had competitive matchups throughout the past, that either team could win?

Recent Matchups: How have the two teams fared playing each other recently. Have they been moderately balanced.

Opponent "buy in": Does both fan bases get excited about the matchup. Is there a special energy in the stadium?

9. Clemson

Historic Balance/Significance: 2
Recent Matchups: 1
Opponent "buy in": 3

Breakdown: For those unaware, these two teams actually have a rivalry trophy, the O'Rourke-McFadden Trophy.  Back in the mid 2000's this rivalry would have been much higher as BC won a couple of games. Matt Ryan led an epic comeback win in Death Valley in 2007 that was capped with this play to Richie Gunnell.

However, Clemson has dominated the series recently winning the last nine games. With Clemson's recruiting becoming one of the best in the nation, this does not look like this rivalry will be competitive any time soon. 

7/8 UMass/UConn

Historic Balance/Significance: 1
Recent Matchups: 1
Opponent "buy in": 5

Breakdown: If you were to ask both of these opposing fanbases who they want their rival to be, their answer would probably be Boston College. But clearly neither program is at the same level as the Eagles at the current moment.  Whenever the two teams play, the Minutemen/Husky fan base gets very amped up for the game, but when they hit the field, it's almost like BC is playing an FCS squad. The excitement about this rivalry is also low because BC fans don't particularly care about either of these matchups. 

6. Louisville

Historic Balance/Significance: 2
Recent Matchups: 3
Opponent "buy in": 2

Breakdown: Louisville is relatively new to the ACC, and there isn't much of a history between the programs to build a true rivalry from. However both teams have had their moments in the matchup. Lamar Jackson lit up Boston College for seven touchdowns in 2016, while AJ Dillon had his coming out party against the Cardinals in 2017. The past two matchups have been split between the two programs. But in terms of excitement level, neither program really gets excited for the other. 

5. NC State

Historic Balance/Significance: 3
Recent Matchups: 4
Opponent "buy in": 1

Breakdown: Two Atlantic division teams that have recently been more of a middle of the pack ACC squad. There is a bit of historic significance between the two since BC joined the ACC. In 2006, Boston College head coach Tom O'Brien left the Eagles to become the coach of the Wolfpack. While he was there, there was certainly a special energy to this matchup leading to some great battles, but he has been gone for eight years now. The two teams have been equally matched of late, trading home wins the past two seasons. 

4. Notre Dame

Historic Balance/Significance: 4
Recent Matchups: 1
Opponent "buy in": 3

Breakdown: Here is where the controversy begins. Many Boston College fans believe this is truly their rival. A sister catholic school, that stole our most prolific coach, Frank Leahy, topped with a handful of big Boston College moments over the past three decades. But the Irish are lower on my list for a few reasons. One, the Irish have dominated the Eagles of late, winning the past two matchup by a combined 89-27. Secondly, the Irish have about four teams they would consider higher than the Eagles. Michigan, USC, Navy and even Stanford rank higher. 

For this rivalry to fire up again, Jeff Hafley needs to beat Notre Dame again. Plain and simple

3. Virginia Tech 

Historic Balance/Significance: 4
Recent Matchups: 3
Opponent "buy in": 3

Two former Big East schools that are forever intertwined due to cross divisional scheduling. During the Matt Ryan years they had the epic battle in Blacksburg that BC won, and battled for two ACC Championships, the Hokies winning both. Since then, there have been ups and downs in the rivalry, with both schools going on winning streaks. 

2. Wake Forest

Historic Balance/Significance: 5
Recent Matchups: 5
Opponent "buy in": 2

Breakdown: Boston College fans have mockingly referred to this as "the rivalry" over the past seven years or so. But there may be more to it than just an online joke. The two teams are pretty close to peer schools in terms of their makeup and historic relevance, and almost yearly play each other closely. Neither team has a true ACC rival, and the way they trade wins, could make this prime for a rivalry. Boston College holds a 14-11 edge in the series, but dropped the last game in a close on 24-21. 

There was also this doozy of a moment in 2015. 

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1. Syracuse

Historic Balance/Significance: 4
Recent Matchups: 5
Opponent "buy in" : 4

Syracuse is about as close to a rival as Boston College has had. Geographic neighbors that recruit many of the same kids, this is a matchup that sets up perfectly for a rivalry. They have had big moments, like when Syracuse denied BC the Big East BCS Bowl bid in 2004. The two schools are close enough where students and fans can travel to pack opposing stadiums. The only thing lacking recently has been a big matchup with big stakes on the line. 

This was set up as a rivalry game, during rivalry weekend (the last weekend of the season), but last year they battled in the middle of the season. This year they will face off to kick off the year. 

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Comments (8)
No. 1-3
Tombs
Tombs

Didn't a kid from Clemson drop a sure TD pass after the pass from Ryan to Gunnell.

BCEagle1974
BCEagle1974

Make it Clemson. National Champs.

Start at the Top.

AGPennyPacker
AGPennyPacker

Matt Ryan to Rich Gunnell vs Clemson
and AJ Dillon vs Lousville are difinitively 2 videos I could watch over and over again.
Thanks for sharing AJ!!!


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