Monday, December 29, 2008

BC-Vanderbilt preview

I don't want to say I am worried about this game...I do have a slight bit of concern about the team's inability to let go of the ACC Championship loss. Hangovers can work both ways. I hope BC decides to take out their frustration against Vandy rather than coming out flat and watching the Commodores steal this one. The game is not for a major title or a prestigious bowl, but 10 wins, Top 25 rankings and keeping the streak alive is very important.

Narrative talking point that you’ll tire of by the end of the game.
"This is Vanderbilt's first bowl game since 1982." I wouldn't trade placed with Vanderbilt, but I think the media tends to overstate their ineptitude. This drought wasn't nearly as pitiful as similar stretches from say Northwestern or Kansas State. Since 1982 the Commodores have had numerous five win seasons that nearly had them eligible for bowls games. This is a big game, but it is not the first time Vanderbilt has been competitive since 1982.

Three Simple Keys
1. Pass efficiently. BC cannot be one dimensional. I don't want Davis to throw 40+ times but we still need to move the ball through the air.
2. Put pressure on whoever is the Vanderbilt QB. Vanderbilt might play three quarterbacks in Nashville. BC has faced its share of elusive QBs this season. In my opinion, the key is not just containing whoever they trot out, but actually sacking him. BC needs to disrupt their whole offense.
3. Error-free football. In Vanderbilt's biggest wins (Ole Miss, Auburn, South Carolina) they forced critical turnovers against teams with good Ds and shaky offenses (sound familiar?). BC cannot cough it up and waste scoring opportunities.

Gambling Notes
-- BC hasn't lost a non-conference game since 2004
-- Bobby Johnson is 2-4 against ACC teams as Vanderbilt's head coach
-- BC is 3-3 against SEC teams in bowl games
The current line is BC-3.5

Vanderbilt has the most expensive tuition among the SEC schools. They are still more affordable than BC and Duke.

Scoreboard Watching
Scoreboard watching doesn't really apply right now. I guess we can continue to root for ACC teams to win. I really only care about the scoreboard in LP Field.

I hope to see...
Davis run the ball well. The zone option-runs that Crane exploited have been there. Davis' hesitation to call his own number and then run well when he does, have neutralized the play. If he runs it well, BC should be able to move the ball.

BC is in trouble if...
We get behind by 14. I don't know if the offense, as it is currently configured, can comeback on the road against a team who enters the game highly motivated.

Bottom Line
Even if Davis plays poorly, I still think our defense is going to cause plenty of problems for Vanderbilt. Despite my worries about coming out flat and unmotivated, I think the seniors will keep guys focused enough to take control. I don't think it will be pretty, but I still think BC wins comfortably.
Final Score: BC 17, Vanderbilt 7


Alex F. said...

Bill, you goign to the game??

mmason said...

Hope you had a great Christmas, Bill--you have all of our thanks for your great blog and diligent attention to high level discourse and fun, quality pieces of BC sports lore and links to everything Eagle.

As for being concerned about BC/Vandy, there is some reason to have a worry on this one. Maybe not so much because the team is "hung over" from the loss--but more so because the title game was a serious wakeup call for this year's squad--our frosh QB problem is a serious concern. Davis is a question mark that can't go away--we've got no backup plan, and the Kid was jobbed in the title game. And we're just flatout not scoring on the O-side of the ball. The secret's out, dontcha think?

Also--the seniors know that our national ranking picture was dusted by the way we lost--it wasn't quality football, wasn't even close to it and much, if not most, of what happened that day exposed the inconsistency of this sometimes very good and often very unpredictable 2008 program. (There's a reason why we're still chasing so many QB recruits.)

Logan and Jags know what's up with this present offensive unit, and we all pretty much have to trust what they've tried to do with what they actually have. We got far with what we had as a team this year--praise God for Defense--.Maybe this Bowl game will be a preview of Logan's and Jags' vision of the future--they will have had time to assess and tinker and remodel the Davis Factor--the kid will hopefully get beyond Panic City and the line will protect him and go with him when he needs to fly the pocket and create. You're right,too--Davis has to exploit the run (and protect the damn ball while he's doing it!)
We'll win this thing either big and bad--or eek out a win that ages all us way too much. But a win will get us a good ranking--and anything else is unthinkable.

One question: how could we have won our division and not be ranked in the top 25 right now?

ATL_eagle said...

Alex, I will not be there. I went in 2001 and highly recommend it to anyone riding the fence. Real life got in the way this year.