Yesterday, the Bowling Green Daily News reported Western Kentucky added a visit to Boston College to their 2024 non-conference schedule. The game is a random addition for both schools as Western Kentucky has never played a football game in the state of Massachusetts and has only played against one Massachusetts school, Boston University, in 1986. On the other hand, New Mexico State is the only school that will be a Conference USA member after 2023 that Boston College has played.
While the scheduling of this game is random, it could pay dividends for the Hilltoppers. Four of Conference USA’s bowl selections in the 2020-2025 bowl cycle will come from a pool of eleven ESPN Events-owned bowls. One of those bowls is the Fenway Bowl, which takes teams from the American Athletic Conference and ACC.
You may ask why the Fenway Bowl would want to choose Western Kentucky over an ACC or AAC school. As I have written on multiple occasions, the Fenway Bowl is looking like a less-than-ideal bowl partner for the American Athletic Conference as the conference shifts away from its Big East heritage. Only Temple and Navy are ideal choices for the bowl and both have struggled since 2020.
This is where the Hilltoppers come in. If Western Kentucky fans travel well to Chestnut Hill, they could get the program on the Fenway Bowl’s radar for the final two years of the current bowl cycle. As I mentioned before, this trip to Boston is a rare one for Western Kentucky fans, so it is reasonable to think they would make the return trip to Fenway the following year.
Bowl organizers remember when fanbases travel well to their city. John Chalker, a member of the Poinsettia Bowl (RIP) board of directors recalled Wyoming’s stellar turnout at the 1988 Holiday by saying, “so many fans from Wyoming came that the governor decided to go because all his constituents were there.” Stories like this strengthened Wyoming’s case for the 2016 Poinsettia Bowl, to which they ultimately received an invitation to.
If the Poinsettia Bowl can remember Wyoming’s travel to the Holiday Bowl 28 years later, Fenway Bowl organizers will remember Western Kentucky fans if they show up in droves to Chestnut Hill. To add to the Hilltoppers’ case, the Fenway Bowl could pit them against their in-state rivals, Louisville, who they have met 34 times before. Who doesn’t love a bowl game showcasing a rivalry? Remember the 2015 Las Vegas Bowl?
In the end, Western Kentucky’s scheduling of Boston College was more than just a random intersectional game. It could allow the Hilltoppers to play in one of the most unique bowls of the postseason.