What you need to know
Weather: Cold and crisp
Radio: SiriusXM 193
TV: The ACC Network.
A Boston College sports blog capturing the highs and lows of being a BC fan living 1,000 miles from Chestnut Hill.
What's on my mind (not totally related to this game)
There is lots of talk about BC's future uniform and shoe deal. If you don't follow this, Under Armour started breaking their current college deals and are not renewing others. It seems highly unlikely they will renew the BC deal and there is plenty of talk that the current deal might be cut short. Is this part of the college sports revenue model reset? Who knows? But taking one major bidder out of the process ultimately makes any deal (including BC's) less valuable. Hopefully Pat Kraft can make a deal that keeps the revenue close to its current levels. What I really hope for is that whatever partner we select, we see an improvement in the selection and options for BC merchandise. I also wouldn't mind seeing BC increase its presence with all potential licencing partners.
Three Simple Keys
1. Stop the run. Louisville's passing game is not particularly consistent. If we stop their run, we will control the tempo and probably keep them from scoring much.
2. Big plays from Zay. Louisville's D is ok. We probably can't chip away at them, so it will be up to get some big plays, which means Zay needs to break a few.
3. Aggressive game management. Hafley made some gutsy calls against Clemson and Notre Dame. We've been off two weeks and are coming off a loss. I think a few big plays could help the momentum and the confidence of the team.
-- Louisville leads the series 7-5
-- BC is 3-0 against the spread vs Louisville the last three years
-- Satterfield is 7-8 in ACC play
The current line is BC-1
This is technically Senior Day, but obviously no parents this year.
If Notre Dame beats UNC, they are probably headed to the ACC Championship Game. I know none of us want to see the Irish do well, but if they go undefeated in the regular season and then lose to Clemson in the ACC Championship Game, both teams will likely make the playoffs. Two ACC playoff teams is good for the entire conference.
I hope to see...Jurkovec healthy. As we now know, he separated his shoulder towards the end of the Clemson game and that effected his accuracy against Cuse and Notre Dame. We need him healthy for this game and for the season finale.
BC is in trouble if...we turn the ball over. Louisville is somewhat sloppy. If we just play our usual game, we should get turnovers. We can't help them out by giving any back.
Despite the layoff and the close point spread, I think this is a good matchup for us. I don't think they can score with us and think we will be opportunistic enough to get a few turnovers. If Jurk is truly healthy, this isn't even close.
Final Score: BC 31, Louisville 21
The pandemic saved Jim Christian's job. Instead of using the first few days after the ACC Tournament to finalize a decision and set the course for a new hire, the College Basketball world shutdown and the whole college industry followed shortly thereafter. Despite a strong desire from some, BC leadership decided times and finances were too uncertain and decided to keep Christian around for another season. If someone had come in to cover the expense of a coaching change like Wake Forest did, would BC had made a move? Maybe. If an A List coach like John Beilein had real interest, would BC have made a move? Maybe. But those are just "what if"s. Jim Christian is back and our new AD Pat Kraft has to evaluate what he has done and where the program is heading...all while both men try to navigate the uncertainty of another COVID season.
Christian primarily rebuilt the roster with various bodies from mid-majors. This gives him depth and versatility. While all the guys would be contributors on mid-level ACC teams, none are program changers. The big new name freshman is DeMarr Langford Jr (his brother Makai Ashton-Langford is one of the transfers mentioned). Langford could be the type of piece that makes a difference. He's local, his father is connected on the AAU scene and he has enough upside to tantalize any ACC team. BC needs Langford Jr to succeed and then find a New England player like him every year.
What can we expect out of Tabbs?
Aside from the transfers and recruits, Wynston Tabbs is another talent infusion. The challenge is no one knows what to expect. Will he be the player he was two years ago? Can he be better? All the gossip has been good. Now we just need to see it on the court and pray he stays healthy.
What are the expectations for the season?
The basketball world expects very little of BC this year. We were picked 14th in the ACC preseason poll. Kenpom has BC as 86th. ESPN's BPI has BC at 87th. Bracketology has BC out of the tournament. No one expects BC to do anything this year. I guess that helps, in that a .500 year in ACC play might be a good storyline.
How does COVID factor into the season?
No fans will be at home games (but that doesn't feel new). Any outbreaks will create schedule changes. BC elected to play in a preseason bubble which means we have our toughest non-conference slate in years.
What does Christian have to do to keep his job?
I have no idea and anyone who claims they know is speculating. Pat Kraft worked at a series of basketball schools in Loyola-Chicago, Indiana and Temple. He knows basketball can make a difference to an Athletic Department and University. Kraft has a front row seat to the energy and excitement Hafley brought to the football team. Regardless of some institutional issues, BC Basketball remains an underperforming source of revenue and a missed opportunity to promote the school and engage the alumni. A coaching change can make a difference. Even the Women's program showed that things can get better prior to a new arena or practice facility.
But regardless of all the reasons there might be to make a change and all the underachieving prior to this year, no one knows what BC can afford. Revenue is down in all areas, including Athletics. I have no idea if BC leadership will have an appetite to make a change this year, especially if Christian and crew exceed the low, low expectations for the year.
While all of college football has seen their schedules turned upside down, BC has mostly be unaffected...until this week. Because of Miami's COVID outbreak, the final few weeks of ACC Football were rescheduled and pushed BC's home game against Louisville to December 12. There are some good things and bad things about the move, but for BC, it is mostly positive.
This give BC some time to recharge. Our next game won't be until December 5 vs Virginia. Hopefully by then Jurkovec shoulder will be in less pain. Also, the various nagging injuries and issues that players' have will have some time to recover. This mini break also gives the coaching staff some time to self scout and figure out what needs work. I assume this will also give them time to implement new things or counters to our current looks and tendencies.
For a team that didn't have spring ball or extended summer work, this can be a bit of catch up. You can work the younger guys in practice. You can try new things.
Finally the break allows extra prep for Virginia and Louisville. Both of these teams are flawed. BC can win both and should expect to win both. A seven win season would be a huge statement for Hafley to the college football world and a big accomplishment for this team.
Two more weeks also means two more weeks of trying to hold off the virus. BC has done an incredible job of keeping the players COVID free. Now you throw in the communal aspects of Thanksgiving and there is an increased chance for a spike.
I hope the team continues its commitment (and keeps getting lucky) with regards to the virus spread. I also hope that pushing the games back doesn't ultimately lead to their cancellation. The ACC built in this window for COVID issues. But if they happen during the final weeks, BC doesn't have any other areas of the calendar to slot the games.
What's on my mind (not totally related to this game)
With BC securing five wins last week, most of the bowl projections have us bowling somewhere. Since most of the bowl will be empty does it really make sense for any of the mid and lower tier bowls to actually take place in their designated location? It is just a TV show at this point. For example, why does the Pinstripe Bowl need to be played in an empty Yankee Stadium and in a shut down New York City. Why not just have all the TV-driven bowls played in domes in easily accessible and COVID friendly locations like Atlanta or Phoenix or in spots in Florida? It is probably safer, cheaper and easier on everyone.
Three Simple Keys
1. Run just enough to keep Notre Dame honest. We need a little running just so that the play action has some effectiveness. Otherwise, ramming the ball Addazio style is a huge mistake. This Notre Dame DL is that good. We need to throw the ball 40+ times.
2. Get back to stripping the ball. I know it is more opportunistic and hard to plan, but the games we've looked best are when we have one guy tackling and the next guy going for the ball. Book is generally careful, so it will have to be attacking the running backs and receivers.
3. Smart football. I am becoming a broken record with regards to penalties, but at this point it is our Achilles' heel.
-- Notre Dame leads the series 15-9
-- Notre Dame has won seven in a row.
-- Brian Kelly is 3-0 in Alumni
The current line is BC+13.5
Because Boston College elected a white base, Red Bandana uniform, Notre Dame will be wearing their blue jerseys on the road...unless of course, the break out the greens again.
Louisville vs Virginia. This game means nothing to most of the ACC. However, we still have to play both teams. Holding together a college team is tough during a losing season. It is especially tough during COVID. Everything these guys wanted is gone and now even football feels like drudgery. The loser of this game probably won't have much left in the tank when they play us.
I hope to see...a trick play or two. Hafley tried a short kick against UNC and fake fourth down against Clemson. I hope he has another planned for this weekend. Why not? We are the underdog and those types of plays feed our emotion and their anxiety.
BC is in trouble if...Jurk is off. No one is going to have more emotion than Phil Jurkovec this weekend. He has had a great season and proved the Irish staff wrong. But last week he was a little off on throws and was off on a few late in Clemson. Is it a nagging injury or just rushing? I don't know. But this weekend, he needs to play his best.
I will admit this is a bad matchup for us. They are good in the trenches. We are not (this year). We are going to need a lot to go our way. But I think the Clemson hangover is real. I think we can score with them. We force a few turnovers and then win it late with a kick.
Final Score: BC 24, Notre Dame 21
What you need to know
Weather: In doors, so weather is not an issue. The Carrier Dome does have a new roof. The lighting however still seams the same on TV.
Radio: SiriusXM 385
TV: Regional sports networks. Here are the affiliates.