Thursday, October 22, 2009

BC-Notre Dame preview

Once again it is time for the most meaningless important game on BC’s schedule. BC probably doesn’t need this win to become bowl eligible. The game has no impact on the division. We are unranked and while we may crack the top 25 with a win, there is nothing really at stake here but bragging rights. This is the strongest Notre Dame team we’ve faced since 2002 and a real test to see if we have put our road woes behind us.


Narrative talking point that you’ll tire of by the end of the game.

“Notre Dame has shown great toughness and heart with all their close games.” Forgive me for rolling my eyes. I have no idea if Notre Dame has heart. They might be very tough. But playing close games is not a measurement of either. In fact, I have always felt that playing in too many close games is a sign of problems. And although I feel recruiting is overrated, playing close games against teams they should outclass like Washington and Purdue is encouraging for BC.


Three Simple Keys
1. Contain Clausen’s safety valve. I’ve been impressed by Notre Dame’s ability to keep drives alive on Clausen’s check downs. A defense will be set for the deep ball and Clausen will dump it off to a wide open RB or TE. BC needs to cover everyone.
2. First half offense. We all know our inability to move the ball in the first half of road games. Let’s set up some early throws for Shinskie and try to get a first down before the 3rd quarter.
3. Get other receivers involved.
I imagine Notre Dame is going to focus on Larmond and Gunnell. We need to mix it up more...passes to the backs, passes to Jarvis, Megwa, etc. We can't be too predictable.


Gambling Notes

-- Charlie Weis is 10-10 after a loss
-- Charlie Weis is 24-21 against BCS opponents
-- BC hasn't been an underdog against Notre Dame since 2004
The current line is BC+8


Factoid

I've already heard a lot of Notre Dame fans take note of Shinskie's age as if BC planned this all out or did something wrong. Yet no Notre Dame fan feels the need to apologize for Jimmy Clausen's age. Clausen is older than all of our scholarship Juniors except Chris Fox. Fox's birthday September 11, 1987. Clausen's is September 21, 1987.


Scoreboard Watching

The most important game of the weekend is Clemson-Miami. Since the Tigers have a tiebreaker with us, we need them to lose at least one more ACC game than we do.


I hope to see…

BC establish the run early. Part of the problems in Blacksburg and Clemson were due to our inability to run the ball. If we expect to score with the Irish we will need to control possessions, move the chains and lift the pressure off of Shinskie.


BC is in trouble if…

We cannot pressure Clausen. He is hobbled. He doesn't have the mobility of Wilson or Ponder or Skinner. There is no reason we shouldn't disrupt him or flush him out of the pocket.


Bottom Line

This will be a tough game. The Irish have playmakers and can put up points quickly. At the same time, their defense is not very good. If the team that scored at will against NC State shows up, we can keep pace with Notre Dame. I think we will be focused, play tough on defense, and upset Notre Dame again.
Final Score: Boston College 31, Notre Dame 30

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23 Comments:

At 8:58 AM, Blogger Jon said...

You are being pretty generous with the score. As a ND fan, I think the score will be lower, probably 24-21 BC by 3. I have ND ranked 32nd and BC 36th on my system at www.rankingsandramblings.blogspot.com/ It is not predictive, so I cannot be sure of the score.

 
At 9:16 AM, Blogger Rob said...

Atl,

No Guest Blogger Q&A this week? No Notre Dame blogs would lower themselves to discuss the game with a BC site or something?

 
At 9:19 AM, Blogger Big Jack Krack said...

I was at the Clemson game and watched the Va Tech game - we know what has happened on the road this year.

Having said that - this could be a great game. ND is better and different than the past couple of years - and they will score. I think we have the opportunity to score on them as well. If we can stay in the game early - that's the key in my mind.

Showers - highs in the mid-forties.

Go BC - Beat ND

P.S. Hockey had better show up ready to go Friday Night. ND takes these early games just as seriously as the later ones.

 
At 9:25 AM, Blogger mod10aeagle said...

You guys will love Bob Ryan's column in today's Globe -- total suck-up to ND and how generous they have been to include BC on their schedule.

 
At 9:27 AM, Blogger Erik said...

Listen, ND has a decided schematic advantage in every game they play. There is no way anyone can compete with that.

I'm laughing at the Shinskie age thing, considering he is the 11th best "football player" every time our offense takes the field, probably the 22nd best on the field most downs.

Big Jack - Does BC ever win the hockey matchup? Seems like we usually come up short in my hazy memory.

 
At 10:06 AM, Blogger TJH said...

Yeah, Erik - we totally came up short back against them in April '08...

 
At 10:16 AM, Blogger Erik said...

Meaning the football weekend game. I know we've won a few.

 
At 11:39 AM, Blogger CT said...

I think ND wins b/c we haven't seen a QB like Claussen yet. And if we looked bad in the secondary against Va Tech, I dread the thought of Golden Tate running past us.

What have we seen from BC on the road to inspire confidence that this will even be close?

We don't just lose on the road. We are incompetent.

We're going to need another herculean effort from Harris to keep Claussen and his crew on the sidelines. Shinskie will actually have to show up and play in this game. You know, like actually play. And throw it to the right guys.

Let's get the guy some confidence before having him throw 20 yard outs. He throws a good deep ball. Let's go all Dan Henning and throw deep on the first play. Or we could run off tackle for three.

The bottom line is that we have no pass rush and blitzing means Tate is freer to move around. We could drop 8 like we did against Wilson, but Claussen is more accurate than Wilson, so we'll see how that plays out.

At least win the hockey game.

Go BC. But I think Claussen carries the day...he's Sunday afternoon good.

 
At 12:02 PM, Blogger ATL_eagle said...

I have a guest blogger. Just waiting on their responses to my questions.

 
At 12:21 PM, Blogger mod10aeagle said...

Is it CT? Just kidding.

 
At 1:00 PM, Blogger Nick P. said...

The hockey team is very young this year. Although there is a sick amount of talent on the team, I think the lack of experience and being on the road against a very strong ND team results in loss. The formulas seems to have been a hockey loss (on the football weekend, not the NCG) and a football win. I wouldn't mind if that continued this year. I'll make that trade any day.

On another note, the hockey team beat VT in just about every facet of the game except for power play conversion and the final score. They looked extremely fast and tenacious. I feel very good about the future of the team provided that Muse recovers fully from his hip surgery.

 
At 2:25 PM, Blogger b said...

Isn't 2 a bit too small of a sample size to declare we're an "incompetent" road team? Give this team some credit - it's defied expectations to this point.

 
At 2:51 PM, Blogger CT said...

Mod10aEagle...nice.

Small sample size? True.

But two out of seven is all we have to go on.

More importantly, it's the way we lost.

We won't face another defense as good as VTech, but we won't face another offense as good as ND, either.

Go turnovers.

 
At 3:16 PM, Blogger BCDoubleEagle said...

Here's another factoid, in the last 10 quarters of BC/ND football, ND has scored just one offensive touchdown.

 
At 3:40 PM, Blogger Mark said...

Here's another fact: ND scored more points on USC (top 5 defense in the country) last week than in the last 3 meetings combined. They had not scored an offensive touchdown since 2006. Putting up 27 on Taylor Mays et al is pretty impressive.

If BC wins it's not going to be because of ND's offense. It's because Harrison Smith can't tackle his shoes in the morning. The secondary for ND is a joke. If Schinske can play smart, not turn the ball over, and not take sacks, BC can win.

Notre Dame does not turn the ball over so BC will have to be equally smart with the football.

With the rain, it may be smart to just try to pound it on the ground. Though, eventually, they will have to put it up in the air and the QB has to make plays to keep Clausen off the field. Sustaining drives, smart with the football. In an equally talented game special teams and turnovers will always decide the outcome.

 
At 3:57 PM, Blogger Big Jack Krack said...

Here's a good way for the BC Band to end the series with ND at the Heights next year: 27th Lancers 1980 - Danny Boy - last 2 minutes of this 3:48 minute clip.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qlB1OXO7MkU&feature=related

 
At 7:07 PM, Blogger BCNorCal07 said...

BJK: That was pretty awesome. DCI corps do some amazing stuff. I completely agree that the band should do Danny Boy and I think I might have to forward this to Dave as a suggestion.

 
At 8:25 PM, Blogger Hash Marks said...

Hope BC destroys ND.

Great Breakdown.

 
At 8:56 PM, Blogger eagleboston said...

The only way to beat Notre Dame is to keep Claussen off the field as long as possible. He's that good (just watch what he did vs. USC). I'm very nervous that BC could not compete against an unranked Clemson team while ND went toe-to-toe with mighty USC. But, I've been nervous before every ND game this decade and BC has only failed me once (way back in 2000).

 
At 9:02 PM, Blogger Brablc said...

Just read this from HD's Blog:

"Boston College senior kicker Steve Aponavicius. The former walk-on kicker, nicknamed “Sid Vicious,” is five points away from setting BC’s career scoring mark. He has accumulated 258 points in his three-plus seasons, hitting 40 field goals and 138 extra points. Aponavicius is the ACC active leader in both field goals (40) and PATs (134)."

Makes sense since he's kicked for four years, but still is pretty wierd.

 
At 12:05 AM, Blogger mmason said...

Great analysis, ATL. If the Eagles can open holes for Montel and the Wildcat works with play action, and Shinskie hits TE's w/ passes underneath we will score. The teams that beat us all had good defenses--ND is questionable on the D side. The big problem will be Tate deep and in the middle--his YAC's are deadly. Bill, You're right on--everyone has to cover, and that is what we all should be hoping has improved this week.

Note: The vaunted USC squad lost to Washington on the road.

Pete Carroll said it was really knucklehead penalties that made the SC game close vs. ND.

Will we handle a huge crowd at ND with poise? Will our D sack Clausen as he hobbles about? Keuchly, Bowman and McLaughlin, et al. need to play like legends on Saturday.

Go Eagles! Beat ND!

 
At 9:09 AM, Blogger Erik said...

A few reasons for Sid Vicious' mark: - We've been playing 14 games a season
- We've had games against weaker times like Northeastern, URI, UMass, Bowling Green, Central Florida, Maine, and Notre Dame.
- He's pretty accurate if he's close enough

I know we're ready to move on to a kid with a big leg, but this was always a cool story and setting th e BC mark would be a pretty cool conclusion to a fun career.

 
At 8:16 PM, Blogger Kate Kresse said...

Go Irish. Glad ND won. Consider it payback for the year BC trashed the guest locker room at ND after they beat ND at ND a number of years ago. Yep. As classy as the MSU spartans.

 

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