Thursday, December 04, 2008

BC-Virginia Tech (ACC Championship) preview

This is what I wrote in my lead paragraph in last season’s ACC Championship Game preview:
Throughout the season I’ve heard numerous games called “the most important game in BC history.” All the talk seemed to lack perspective and diminished BC’s long and storied past. Now as we prepare for Saturday, we might actually be witnessing the most important game in BC history. Never before has the team had a chance to win a championship on the field. Also, winning the ACC would be the culmination of four decades worth of effort begun under Father Monan and Bill Flynn to take BC athletics to the next level. This is THE game.

All of that holds true, but there is a new aspect to this game: Jags’ legacy. Unlike last season, where much of the credit went to Ryan and the seniors, this has been about the staff taking the pieces they have and maximizing their talents. A win Saturday would not only be the culmination of the rise of BC football, it would also be a testament to an outstanding two-year run for a young coach.

Narrative talking point that you’ll tire of by the end of the game. “Both teams force big plays from their defense and special teams…blah blah blah…BC plays ‘Beamerball’ too.” Don’t get me wrong, I love the fact that our defense creates huge momentum swings. Give me a non-offensive touchdown any day. I just think that because the non-offensive plays were such an important part of the last game, that this time around both teams will be very conservative and not much will happen in the ‘Beamerball’ department. The talking heads will have talked about something that didn’t happen again.

Three Simple Keys
1. Force Taylor to throw the ball. This was one of my keys last time around and still holds true. Keep him in the pocket and force him to pass. Taylor ran for 137 yards against UVA. The Hokies won. Miami contained him for 43 yards. The Hokies lost.
2. Establish Davis as a run threat. If he can get yards with his legs, it will set up the option-read for Harris/Haden and also put less pressure on Davis to win the game with his arm.
3. No Special teams mistakes. There were many factors in our loss last year, but I think our inability to kick a field goal or extra point were huge momentum swings. We cannot make those same sort of mistakes again.

Gambling Notes
-- The favorite is 1-2 in the ACC Championship Game
-- BC is 1-1 in Tampa
-- Virginia Tech is 1-1 in ACC Championship Games
The current line is BC-1

This is the fourth ACC Championship Game. Of the eight participants, only one, Wake Forest, was a charter member of the ACC.

Scoreboard Watching
The Big XII Championship Game is the only other contest that impacts the Orange Bowl. If Mizzou pulls off the upset, it might force enough things to happen so that Cincinnati doesn’t go to the Orange Bowl to face the winner of our game.

I hope to see…
Sean Glennon stay on the bench. If Taylor struggles, VT could very well put Glennon in the game. I don’t think much of Glennon, but his style and ability could cause us problems. He moved the ball against us last year and Chris Turner showed last week that an accurate QB can pick up yards against our D.

BC is in trouble if…
Davis turns the ball over more than twice. BC survived the last VT game with two Crane “Pick 6s”. We also survived two fumble returns against Wake. Our luck is bound to run out. If Davis coughs the ball up more than twice, I don’t think we will win.

Bottom Line
Last year ACCCG preview I ran with hunches and momentum and “magical seasons” as reasons for victory. This year I am going with stuff that is a little more concrete. We match up well with Virginia Tech. We are playing better football than Virginia Tech. We’ve been on this stage enough. We’ve won three must wins. We are winning this game.
Final Score: BC 24, Virginia Tech 9


Erik said...

Let's do it!

BCMike said...

Awesome! You got me pumped up, Bill!


Matt said...

Anyone else having a hard time working today?

BeantownBC85 said...

Lest we forget, Weiss had a great first two years at ND. An amazing run for a young coach. But then 2 years later his good years became "good years using another coach's players".

Here's hoping Jags isn't succeding from TOB's players but his own coaching acumen. But I guess we'll see in years 3 and 4.


LAEagle said...


eagleboston said...


I'm trying not to get sucked into the hype this time. I was so deflated last year that I have decided this year I am just going to enjoy watching a good football game and if BC prevails, bonus!

ATL_eagle said...

BeantownBC85: I understand your point. But Jags is using a lot of his own players now (Davis, Harris, Castonzo, Fletcher, Haden, Anderson, Gause). If their production is any indicator I doubt you'll see a Weis like collapse.

Darius said...

Beantown, I disagree vehemently that there's a parallel. I think the situations actually demonstrate exactly the opposite of what you were trying to say.

Weis's first two years were a hollow fraud, a mirage (and some of us recognized it at the time). Weis' RECORD those two years may have seemed nice, but they beat no one of note. Their only win over a team that finished the year ranked (which I dub a "true" ranked team; I disregard ranked-at-the-time teams because especially in the early season, those rankings are expectational rather than earned and don't reflect how good a team actually is that year) was over #24 Penn State. That's even more amazing when you consider that the 2004 6-6 campaign that got Willingham fired included wins over #13 Tennessee, #14 Michigan, and #24 Navy.

Meanwhile, Weis' ND teams those years got smoked every time but one (coincidentally the first time, which suggests linear regression) that they faced a true Top 25 team. And that's despite having a carry-over future-pro QB.

Compare that to TOB vs. Jags. TOB's record against ranked teams was legendarily bad throughout his tenure, and that's what turned the fanbase against him. He did seem to reverse it somewhat at the end, the last few years, but if you consider the "true" rankings, you find that the only wins over Top-25s in that last three years were the 2006 wins over #16 BYU and #19VT.

Last year, under Jags, BC claimed wins (thanks in large part to Ryan, yes) over #9 VT and #21 Clemson. This year BC's beaten both Florida State and VT, at least one of whom stands a good chance of ending up in the rankings, and ought to have a crack at a Cincy team that would finish ranked even with an Orange Bowl loss.

Just as significantly, the only game BC has really been spanked in was the UNC game, which was still a far cry from that embarrassing 2005 debacle at VT under TOB.

eagle1331 said...


VaTech only wears marroon and it looked awful at mixed events last year.

Wear Gold all the time in Tampa...

downtown_resident said...

Good call, Eagle1331. Last year in Jacksonville I made sure I wore gold all the time and got the others (alumni and spouses of alumni) in our group to wear it to the game. It stands out much, much better than maroon, especially in this matchup of two maroon teams.

eagle1331 said...

I meant to spell wear correctly... i swear...

Unknown said...

I only ever wear my Superfan shirt when I travel to BC games, so I got ya covered.

America said...

Watch this and get fired up!!


Joe Bags said...


Bill, I will see you in Tampa!

mmason said...

Eagle Nation Bothers and Sisters, tomorrow morning (10am in Cali--so it's mornin', right?) we'll be pumped up for this glorious ballgame of the century--that's right--the new century, how cool is that? Well, I'm listening to the Who cranked up singing "Won't Get Fooled Again" as the game comes up to kick-off, and I suggest all of you do this because we will have one of the greatest moments in BC history tomorrow.

Enjoy this ball game, everybody. I go back awhile and have seen BC at its great and low points--in those seats at old Alumni when it was just bleachers and Paterno would come in and run up the score to the fifties, or the 'Cuse would burn us down at home with all that gaudy orange sitting on our side of the field, 'cause they'd filled their side.We had our days with Flutie and Peterson and Ryan. Beating Georgia in a bowl game way back and finally nailing Penn State,too, was way cool...But this, this one is different. Dominating Notre Dame has been fun--hell, it's what we do, right? But this one,a trip to the 'ship and a shot at putting the Beamer/Hokie, old Big East problem thing away for good--to see that and be a part of that, wow. Hope you all trip on this day coming, because it will be exciting and rough and filled with real memorable stuff. It took a long time to get back...We deserve to be here--our guys are really good and the BC Eagles are a legit scary team. Dig it--catch you tomorrow in Tampa.