Thursday, October 11, 2007

BC-Notre Dame preview

Notre Dame’s upset of UCLA stole the undefeated vs. the winless storyline from the media. Let them retread the Barry Gallup story instead. For BC fans and players records don’t really matter when playing Notre Dame. That is fortunate. Under most circumstances a top ranked team might be looking ahead the upcoming ACC gauntlet. I don’t expect anyone to be flat this week.

Theme that won’t be discussed on television. It is hard to come up with a fresh topic when covering Notre Dame. Everything they do is broken down and analyzed in ten different ways. Every possible human interest story gets mountains of attention. What probably won’t get mentioned is the role BC played in ending Davie and Willingham’s tenures. Davie didn’t make many friends in South Bend, but did have moments of success. Then in 2001 it all came crashing down, including a loss in primetime to BC. He was a dead man walking after that. Everyone knows that BC burst Willingham’s bubble in 2002. But his subsequent losses in 2003 and 2004, both allowing BC to drive the field for the winning score in the final minutes made non-Irish fans realize it might not work out for him in South Bend.

Three Simple Keys
1. Stop the slants. Our defense -- with its heavy zone and little pressure up front -- invites the other team to throw short passes over the middle. This will play into what Notre Dame freshman QB Jimmy Clausen does best. In order to minimize the impact, the BC LBs and DBs need to stop the guys after the catch. BC cannot allow a short pass to break long.
2. Don’t forget about the deep ball. Another passing defense key. Notre Dame has speed. They also know they need to score and that BC has the occasional lapse on the deep ball. Silva and Anderson need to be aware and ready to help in coverage. Morris also has to be careful not to bite on play fakes like he did against UMass.
3. Blitz pick up. I think ND will test the line early. That will leave AC to help out, especially on the right side.

Gambling Notes
-- Notre Dame is 2-4 against the spread this year
-- USC is the only team to beat Notre Dame five straight times
-- BC is 3-1 against the spread in this most recent streak against Notre Dame
-- BC hasn’t lost a non-conference game since September of 2004
The current line is BC-13.5

What would be a pleasant surprise? An easy win. I expect a very hard fought game. The Irish looked bad early in the season, but they played much better the past two weeks.

What would be a letdown? A rough day for Matt Ryan. He’ll have the national stage for the first time in a month. An uneven performance in a BC win would not help his Heisman campaign.

What would be a shocker? Losing. This is supposed to be our year. I know we’ve spoiled some of their seasons and a loss wouldn’t impact our ACC standings, but it would sting.

Bottom Line
Notre Dame has talent and is playing with a renewed confidence. I think they will scrap the running game and try to dink and dunk in the passing game. On defense I expect plenty of blitzing. They’ll give us a game but I think their young team will make enough mistakes along the way for BC to control throughout.
Final Score: BC 31, Notre Dame 20


Carl-Erich said...

Hmm, I believe that Michigan and Michigan State have also beaten ND 5 straight times - though perhaps USC is the only team to have accomplished the feat twice?

ATL_eagle said...

Carl, you are right. My fact it wrong. I've fixed it.

Brian said...

Bowling Green is in the MAC, not MAAC. Read the comments here. More BC smack talk.

ChicagoD said...

ATL, I've seen some rumblings about Weis taking the reins off the offense vs BC. To me that sounds like we might see reverses/gadgets/fake field goals and punts. What do you think? Have they had success with any of that kind of stuff to this point? Do you think Weiss would bother installing/working on that stuff this week when they have trouble enough doing some of the basics?

Craig said...

ND ran a fake punt successfully vs. Michigan, only to ignominiously be forced to punt four plays later.

A reverse was attempted vs. UCLA. It got stuffed, but if I remember right we were let off the hook when Davis tackled Golden Tate by the facemask.

I'd imagine that when Weis speaks of opening up the offense a bit more, he mainly means the intermediate passing game, which was nonexistant against the Bruins. The short passes were there (although not all that effective as UCLA was sitting on them a bit and reacted well to them), and there were some shots taken down the field to Tate, without any of the success of the previous game vs. Purdue.