Boston College–UMass football rivalry
|First meeting||October 28, 1899
Boston College 18, UMass 0
|Latest meeting||September 10, 2016
Boston College 26, UMass 7
|Next meeting||September 1, 2018|
|All-time series||Boston College leads, 21–5|
|Largest victory||Boston College, 70–8 (1974)|
|Longest win streak||Boston College, 9 (1979–present)|
|Current win streak||Boston College, 9|
The Boston College–UMass football rivalry (The Battle of the Bay State) is a college football rivalry between the Boston College Eagles football team of Boston College and UMass Minutemen football team of the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The rivalry was most active during the 1960s and 1970s, when the teams met on an annual basis. Meetings have been much more infrequent since the NCAA modified its division structure and scheduling became more standardized. However, with UMass' promotion to the FBS branch of Division I football the two schools can meet more regularly and as such have agreed on a three-game series, beginning in 2014.
The first game played between the two schools took place in 1899 and was played at a neutral location. Boston College won 18–0. At the time, UMass was known as Massachusetts Agricultural College. The relative proximity between the schools encouraged them to schedule additional matches in the subsequent years.
BC and UMass met again in Amherst, MA in 1901, 1902, and 1912, with UMass winning all three contests before the series was halted. The two schools did not meet again on the football field until 1966, when they began a seventeen-year series in which the teams would play each other in the last week of UMass' football season. UMass was in a lower division than BC during the entirety of the rivalry. As such, Boston College dominated the stretch, winning fifteen of the seventeen games, routinely blowing out the overmatched Minutemen.
After 22 years, the rivalry was renewed as UMass traveled to Chestnut Hill, MA to play Boston College once again. UMass was yet again outmatched, losing 29–7. The universities agreed to play two more times over the next seven years, and Boston College won both games easily.
In April 2011, UMass announced plans to join the Mid-American Conference and move up to the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision, the highest level of college football in the country. Boston College had been a member of this division for decades, and there was much speculation that the two schools may cultivate a renewal of the rivalry. This was confirmed when it was reported in September, 2011, that they had agreed to play a three-game biannual series beginning in 2014. Two of the games will be played at BC's Alumni Stadium, while the other was played at Gillette Stadium, the Minutemen's home field on August, 2014.
After a three-year break from the series, BC and UMass renewed their rivalry with a season-opener played at Gillette Stadium, home of the local NFL franchise, the New England Patriots. The game was the first match between the teams with both being members of the FBS branch of Division-I football, as UMass was promoted from the FCS branch in 2012. BC won the game by a score of 30–7.
The weeks preceding the game were met by a moderate amount of local media coverage and hype, mostly from the marketing efforts of the UMass side, where they billeted the game as the "Battle for Bay State". One UMass fan even went as far as to don a Minutemen football jersey on the Doug Flutie statue outside Alumni Stadium on BC's campus. Some of the BC fan-base took to the internet to respond, comically citing UMass' lack of success in the series, having only won two matches since 1912, as well as their 2-22 record since joining the FBS division.
A small amount of marketing effort went into this contest, again mostly from the UMass side. The contest was called the Battle of the Bay State. A UMass pep rally in the City of Boston was held the day before the game. BC defeated UMass 26-7 for their second meeting of the series.
|Boston College victories||Massachusetts victories|
- "News and Information from Northampton, MA by the Daily Hampshire Gazette - GazetteNet.com". gazettenet.com.
- "UMass Head Coach Mark Whipple Talks 'Battle Of The Bay State' On Gresh & Zo « CBS Boston". cbslocal.com.
- "PHOTO: UMass jersey placed on BC's Doug Flutie statue". CBSSports.com.
- "Battle of the Bay State". umassathletics.com.