Five most intriguing games for BC, UConn & UMass in 2024

The ‘Big 3’ here locally when it comes to college football all have different outlooks and expectations on their respective seasons when camp starts in about three weeks.

BC is going through an entirely new regime change under Bill O’Brien while also looking to quickly put itself back in the Top 25 hunt. After a disastrous second year for Jim Mora following the stunning bowl bid in 2022, can the Huskies take another step forward and play in another bowl game? As for UMass, it’s a now-or-never type feeling surrounding the Minutemen. Don Brown’s third year comes with an expectation of bowl-or-bust.

In order to get to where they want to go, each team will have to win some games they might not be expected to against teams better than them. Here are what we feel are the five most interesting matchups for all three:

BC

Florida State (9/2) – I know, this is an obvious one, but I don’t think the anticipation can be overhyped. With so much good will surrounding the program and expectations at an all-time high, imagine if they actually go in and pop the Seminoles? This is also a game that BC can lose and still come out feeling good about itself, it just can’t be a 45-17 beatdown on national television.

@ Missouri (9/14) – The last time Mizzou was in here the Eagles had a field rush after an OT win. Missouri is much, much better now and are the Eagles at that level yet?

Michigan State (9/21) – A matchup at home against a big time Big 10 opponent. Alumni hasn’t had a lot of buzz over the last handful of years, there certainly will be for this one though. We’re going to know a lot about this BC team very early on.

@ SMU (11/16) – With three weeks left in the regular season at this point, BC could be fighting for its ACC title game life, its bowl game life, or playing for a .500-ish record once again. SMU is presumably a huge threat to everyone in the country this year, but the Eagles did take their new ACC rivals down in the Fenway Bowl back in December. It’s tough to know how high the stakes will be for this one in July, but for now let’s all assume both teams are as good as everyone thinks they can be.

North Carolina (11/23) – Drake Maye might be playing QB for the Pats by this point (hopefully earlier) and BC might be in the Top 25 by now. Or, this could be a battle of mediocre teams that couldn’t close games. Time will tell, but assuming UNC is still one of the better teams in the conference, this is a great matchup at Alumni for Thanksgiving weekend.

UConn

@ Maryland (8/31) – Can the Huskies pick off the Terps in their own backyard to start the season? Really intriguing game right out of the gate for Mora and the Huskies, hard to imagine they can get a win here, but just think of what that fan base will react like if they can pull it off.

@ Duke (9/14) – Heading into ACC territory in Week 3. Again, this is the type of win that would send the fan base into a frenzy and really help bowl eligibility, as long as UConn takes care of business against teams it should beat.

FAU (9/21) – First home night game of the year, this would be a raucous crowd even if Northeastern or BU still had a team and were the opponent. Very winnable game early on to start banking them for that bowl hunt too.

Wake Forest (10/19) – Deamon Deacons visit The Rent for a noon kickoff. Huskies should at least be flirting with bowl contention by this point (Week 9) otherwise it’s been another rough roller coaster of a season.

Georgia State (11/1) – Friday night home game under the lights against a team UConn could have beaten on the road a year ago. This one has shootout written all over it if this Huskies offense is rolling in a different direction than it did last year, and assuming health of course.

UMass

Eastern Michigan (8/30) – If the Minutemen are finally different, they absolutely, positively, must win the opening game of the year. UMass lost to this team 19-17 a year ago. With one season left until they’re part of the MAC, you’ve got to get off on the right foot this season. I know it didn’t help much a year ago, but injuries at the QB position also played a huge factor.

@ Miami (OH) (9/28) – Road matchup against the defending MAV champs. Ultimate opportunity to make a statement to a future rivalry and ideally, a team you’re competing for conference championships with at some point. This game is in Week 5, so we should know just about everything we need to about this version of the Minutemen by this point.

Missouri (10/12) – Not much needs to be said here. Mizzou provably had a bit of a culture shock when it sees the facilities, but obviously it’s a marquee opportunity for the Minutemen to shock the country. These types of games are always big for recruiting too, can’t get blown out.

@ Mississippi State (11/2) – The check is really the most important part about this game. Hard to believe UMass has any shot, but again, it’s a good opportunity to put on a good (at least decent) performance for recruiting purposes. If the Bulldogs are banged up or half ass it for a half, maybe the Minutemen can put a second half scare in them.

@ Georgia (11/23) – All the same things that applied with Mississippi State and Missouri applies here, but the only difference is you can (and probably will) lose by 40 and no one bats an eye, just get out of it healthy. It’s still pretty cool to see the ‘U’ up against the ‘G’ on the helmets, no matter what the record is by this point (Week 13).