Although TOB has a winning record in his season openers, they have seemed more like unorganized scrimmages. Hence no BC fan is taking the CMU game lightly. I always look forward to the start of the football season. Yet after these games, the dreads set in pretty quickly. Here's a look back on our starts.
-- September 6, 1997. BC 21, Temple 28. I’ve recounted this game before. Horrendous. It was only TOB’s first game, yet looking back, you can already see some of the problems that would come back to haunt us over the next decade (i.e. special teams miscues).
-- September 5, 1998. BC 41, Georgia Tech 31. This game was a shocker. BC beat Tech in a shootout here in Atlanta. I included this on my 10 Best list. Tech turned out to be a very good team. They just weren’t ready for BC. The 1998 season started off strong only to collapse later in the year.
-- September 4, 1999. BC 30, Baylor 29. BC needed overtime to defeat a really bad Baylor team at home. And the overtime win wasn’t because BC came out with some great defensive stop. Baylor’s kicker yanked an extra point, handing us the game.
-- September 2, 2000. BC 14, WVU 34. Season opener. National television audience. What happened? BC laid an egg. BC was down early, chipped away at the lead and then watched Tim Hasselbeck throw it away in the Fourth. I like Tim but this was not one of his better days.
-- September 1, 2001. BC 34, WVU 10. Very nice win. No complaints. This or the Georgia Tech win would have to be considered TOB’s best opener. While the 2001 team did not deliver TOB’s best record, they might have played some of his best football including a near upset of Miami, crushing Pitt, beating Notre Dame and knocking off Georgia in the bowl game.
-- August 31, 2002. BC 24, UConn 16. BC won comfortably but still had to overcome a 13-point deficit. This game was much closer than it had to be. The AP captured it best: “The Eagles struggled on offense most of the game. Boston College fumbled a punt, had two passes intercepted and rushed for just 78 yards through the opening three quarters.”
-- August 30, 2003. BC 28, Wake Forest 32. This was the start of the Wake Forest fiascos. If you have trouble remembering which one was which, refer to this one as the fumbleception game (the others would be the Ohliger yips game and the Ryan comeback game). This game turned when a concussed Quinton Porter threw a pass, saw it batted, caught the batted pass himself and then was sacked and fumbled. This let Wake back in and they ultimately went ahead late. Par for the course for the underachieving 2003 team.
-- September 2, 2004. BC 19, Ball St. 11. I didn’t even see this game, yet it still gives me nightmares. We opened our season on the road against a MAC team on a Thursday night. The game was not televised, so BC fans missed the opportunity to see Ball State's alleged high school-like facilities. Unfortunately we could hear the call online. Our starting Tailback Jeff Ross was benched after a few carries. LV played well but then got dinged. Peterson played sloppy. And the Ball State punter had the game of his life. They kept pinning us deep into our own territory. We could’ve lost this game and were lucky to escape. You shouldn’t feel that way against a cellar dwelling MAC team.
-- September 3, 2005. BC 20, BYU 3. One of the better ones. We went across the country and beat a respectable BYU team. The game wasn’t too pretty. Blackmon had some nice plays and the defense really carried the team (despite giving up yardage).
Give TOB a month of practice before a bowl game and his team's look sharp. Give him nine months of offseason and often his teams look like they forgot how to play. TOB is lucky to have a 6-3 record in first game when only three of these games were well played. This year our first game is the first game of the entire college football season. Let's make it a good one.