I think it was about five seconds after the game ended Saturday when BC fans started thinking about the eerie parallels to 2004. For those who have blocked it out of their memories, let’s recap.
-- BC wins on the road at Temple the week before Thanksgiving. Although the team won, they lost their starting QB with a broken hand.
-- They face Syracuse the following week at home with a redshirt freshman QB making his first start. Win and onto a guaranteed BCS game.
As we know, BC squandered the opportunity. Syracuse dominated the game from the start and BC was left wondering what happened.
Now just because hopes were dashed in 2004 doesn’t mean anything this time around. In fact, I’d like to point out a few critical differences between this game and that one.
-- This is not the final hurdle. Even if we beat Maryland, there is still the ACC championship game the following week. This team has a lot of work to do and probably won’t fall into the trap of looking ahead to the bowl game like the 2004 guys did.
-- This team has been in more of these pressure situations than their peers on the 2004 team. We were a clear middle-class program in 2004 and none of the guys had ever been in a BC game with real stakes. In fact they performed best when they had nothing to lose (Notre Dame, West Virginia). When the pressure was on, things were different. This group of guys has been in these types of games for five years. They haven’t won them all, but they certainly understand the pressure and focus involved in this game.
-- The defense is much better. 2004 had some standouts, but as a group this defense is much better than the group we fielded in 2004.
-- We have a different head coach and offensive coordinator. I always felt the guy most guilty of looking ahead in 2004 was TOB. The team came out flat and unprepared. I don’t think that will happen this week.
There are a million scenarios in play Saturday. Don’t let 2004 loom too large. If anything it should help keep everyone that much more focuses on the task at hand.