Despite this nonsense, no one really cares about this game. But I will keep pounding the drum that good UMass Football is good for BC. Will this game make much of a difference for either team or football in the Bay State? Probably not. Even if the Minutemen pull off an upset, few outside the hardcore fans will remember it years from now. In 2014 this game is not about building a rivalry or changing the football culture in New England. It is about BC starting its second season with Addazio. And for that, I am excited.
What's on my mind (not totally related to this game)
For me -- and a few other BC fans -- Mark Whipple is our bad penny. When he was winning big at UMass, he seemed so much more dynamic than TOB. When the BC job opened, so many expected him to get the job. Now years later as he has bounced around college and the NFL, his luster is certainly gone. I don't begrudge him, but I don't look back on what might have been had he taken over in 2007. Will he be able to lift UMass out of the depths of FBS? I don't know. It is a young man's game and UMass' commitment to football is always in doubt. If it doesn't work out in Amherst, I am sure he will show up somewhere else in football where he will face BC.
Three Simple Keys
1. Rush for 250 yards or more. We are a young team and Whipple knows how to prepare for Brown's Defense. If we want to control the tempo and the scoreboard we need to run the ball over and over. I don't care if one runner dominates or if it is a group effort. I just think we need to run for at least 250 yards to win.
2. Convert field goal attempts. Freese was one of the underappreciated aspects of last year's team. Howell is not nearly as sharp. Conditions and the surface should be pretty ideal. He needs to build his confidence.
3. Get at least three sacks. Because of their history, I expect a little cat and mouse between Whipple and Brown. But even if we ease off of the blitzing, there should still be some pressure that comes organically.
-- Addazio is 3-0 in season openers as a head coach. (All were against Villanova.)
-- BC has lost five straight road openers.
-- BC leads the series 18-5.
The current line is BC-17
BC last played in Foxboro in 1987. We lost to Penn State 27-17.
I am interested in how Pitt does against Delaware. This is a short week for both teams. Delaware is a good FCS program, but Pitt should win. The best indicator for our game is if Delaware can run the ball on them.
I hope to see...
Murphy look really poised. I don't think we are going to air it out. I also don't think the environment will create much pressure on him. But that doesn't mean that he won't be nervous or make mistakes. Ideally he will look like an experienced fifth-year senior. If he's calm and confident, it can carry BC a long way this season.
BC is in trouble if...
UMass scores early. I know Villanova took an early lead last year and we came back, but this is different. The game is on the road. We are playing an FBS team. We are young. Things could unravel. That is why I want to establish the run in the first quarter.
I don't think anything will be easy this year, but I am not truly worried about blowing this game. I think we have enough of a talent advantage, that our inexperience won't be an issue. BC will take control in the first half and win by a comfortable margin.
Final Score: BC 31, UMass 13