This is going to go one of two ways. Either both QBs are going to be terrible and we come away very frustrated (and probably lose) or one guy stands out early and we roll with him to victory. This game was always going to be a turning point in the season and now with Wade out, it becomes even more critical.
What's on my mind (not totally related to this game)
Most coaches hate being second guessed and generally have thin skin. That sensitivity usually serves as a great motivator and provides some of the drive needed to coach at this level. Addazio clearly heard the critics on his decision to kill the clock on the last drive before the half. At the Gridiron Club dinner, he addressed it over and over again. He can justify it ten ways to Sunday, but we know he knows enough about statistics and Urban Meyer's game management strategies, to know that killing clock there is a wrong move. It became a wasted possession in a game with minimal scoring. I hope this overly conservative decision doesn't influence the remainder of the season. In college football you need to go for it whenever you get the chance.
Three Simple Keys
1. Explosive plays. As much as we are perceived as a plodding, three yards and a cloud of dust team, we are really haven't been that efficient or consistent under Addazio. The reality is we plod, plod and then explode. Last week lacked explosion. This week we need a few big plays if we want to score.
2. Avoid Turnovers. The reason NIU almost upset Ohio State was due to turnovers. We cannot be as careless.
3. Close on Hare. Think of how different Florida State would have been without those few Golson escapes. Hare is not that elusive. We need to hit him for a loss, over and over.
-- Addazio is 6-4 after a loss while coaching BC
-- BC has won 16 straight against MAC teams
-- NIU coach Rob Carey is 3-3 vs Power 5 teams
The current line is BC-4.5
TOB is part of the ESPN3 team covering this game. Being that he's predictable, I expect him to reference his years at BC early in the game but then declare that he will call it down the middle. And then I expect him to do just that. I know he's done some other ESPN3 games, but I can't imagine he's much fun on the broadcast. He let glimpses of his sense of humor escape over the years, but I don't think now -- in semi-retirement -- he's going to become a laugh a minute.
We are not a triple option team, but we run almost as much as your typical triple option team. That is why it will be interesting to see how Duke handles Georgia Tech. Let's hope they have a lot of trouble.
I hope to see...
A few interceptions. The DBs were great last week. The only thing missing was a game changing, run back on an INT. If they are challenged this week (which I doubt), it could happen.
BC is in trouble if...
We don't score in the first half. That will put pressure on everyone. The D will think they have to win the game themselves. The Special Teams will make risky plays. In those circumstances, mistakes are made.
I believe...still. I think this is the Jeff Smith coming out party. After we putz around a bit in the first half with both QBs, Smith gets all the snaps in the second and runs for at least one long TD. The D mostly contains NIU and get some breathing room with a late field goal.
Final Score: BC 17, Northern Illinois 13