Monday, November 05, 2018

The biggest games at Alumni since expansion

BC has hosted Gameday before and had plenty of road tests. But it has been less common for these big matchups to be home at Alumni Stadium. I decided to look back at the critical home games since Alumni expanded in 1994. The larger venue, the expansion of the Notre Dame series and our transition from independent football to conference allowed more big games to come to Chestnut Hill. As you will see, my list is not always about the ranked team. Sometimes the big games were when our fans were engaged and ready for something special. I also based these on the feeling prior to the game and not the outcome. Here's my Top Ten list.

1. No. 8 Notre Dame, 1994
BC wasn't ranked at the time and the enthusiasm for Dan Henning was limited, but the fanbase was still pumped for Notre Dame's first trip to Alumni. The upset of Notre Dame from the year before was fresh, so people were also looking to continue the celebration and feel of that moment. BC went on to thrash the Irish again. It was probably the best moment of the Henning era.

2. No 2. Clemson, 2018
This weekend is setting up to be a huge moment in BC Football. Although we've had success under Addazio, it could be argued that BC Football hasn't mattered for a decade. That changes if we win this game and win the Division.

3. No. 1 Miami, 2001
There are plenty of parallels between this game and this week's Clemson game. Miami was in the middle of an incredible run and had arguably the most talented team in college football history. For added drama, BC's best playmaker William Green was suspended for this game. BC executed the perfect bend but don't break gameplan and nearly pulled off the upset, until Ed Reed saved the 'Canes' season.

4. Syracuse, 2004
This was supposed to be a formality. It was the final home game of the season against a lame duck Orange team. It was supposed to be wrap up BC's first Big East title and first major bowl since Flutie. It didn't end well.

5. No. 8 Florida State, 2005
This was the first time BC hosted Gameday. One could argue that hosting Gameday was an even bigger deal then (I have an upcoming post on the diminishing profile of Gameday). It was also our first ACC game and the first time Florida State and Bobby Bowden visited Alumni. Bowden was a legend and Florida State was an annual contender. We joined the ACC for this sort of moment.

6. Maryland, 2008
Many of our biggest games under Jags were on the road, but the rollercoaster 2008 season culminated with a home game against Maryland. Win and BC wins the division. They pulled it off in a night game at Alumni and the place was rocking from the opening kick.

7. No. 4 Virginia Tech, 2000
Michael Vick and the Hokies were coming off a Championship game appearance and were a must see team. This was a national game on CBS when CBS still had a Big East deal. Vick would deliver one of the best performances I've seen by a visiting player.

8. No. 8 USC, 2014
Anytime a traditional power comes to Alumni, it is a big deal. The Trojans were supposed to be "back" and ready to reclaim their status as an elite team. At this point Addazio was just trying to prove that his early success was not a fluke.

9. No. 12 Clemson, 2006
While Florida State's first visit was a bigger deal historically, Clemson fans helped this one feel big. There was orange all around Boston and in Alumni. The teams went to OT for the second year in a row and for the second year in a row the good guys won.

10. No. 11 Michigan, 1995
Night games used to be much rarer in College Football and around BC. When Michigan came to town, it was a huge deal and also on a primetime ESPN game.

Honorable Mention: Notre Dame 2003, No. 22 Virginia Tech 2006, Notre Dame 2008, No. 8 Florida State 2013


Shabby1011 said...

Vick performance in 2000 best individual performance I have ever seen in person

If Eagles win Saturday night will be biggest game in Alumni history

MJ seems to have done good job to date on working with BCPD and having much more enjoyable experience instead of them constantly yelling at everyone. Hope there is a way he can get even 30 more minutes of tailgating to allow fans to get setup and ultimately be in the stadium before kickoff.

Should be great day for BC and cool weather at night looks perfect

JDK said...

2004 Cuse.. Diamond Ferri just runs all over us. I was a Freshman for that game and it got me ready for the lifetime of heartbreak that comes with being a BC fan.

Unknown said...

FSU ‘07 has to be towards the top here. The hurricane dampened things a bit, but #2 in country off of the VT game at Lane has to be considered

CT said...

Yeah, that Syracuse game was pretty appalling. Think that was a Thanksgiving weekend game? That kid was their 3rd stringer?

Rushed the field after No. 1 on that list. Day game. Beat Holtz and Mirer to hell. Our defense was pretty incredible.

That 2001 Miami team was the most talented college team I’ve ever seen. And we BC’ed it at the end.

What about the ‘93 WVU game? Think that was Thanksgiving weekend, too, so I was home and don’t know about the vibe for that one. But given the ramifications of a win, I would’ve thought it was pretty big.

firespaz said...

i hate being negative... but i just dont see bc stepping it up here for the bc/clemson game. I just hope we keep it close.

The Tall One said...

CT - Correct. Syracuse 2004 was played on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Stadium was not very packed and most of us just stood there in shock.

FireSpaz - I also agree with this. Maybe we keep it close, but, Anthony Brown's passing was ATROCIOUS against VT. Many missed balls because of poor release, other times he wasn't leading receivers or catching them in stride.

bceagle93 said...

Agree with Shabby about Vick. Easily the most impressive, dominant performance and show of athleticism I have ever seen in person.

The USC win was pretty special being that it was the first Red Bandanna game and how dominant USC had been at that time (in hindsight, we now know that Sark was a mess, but still). There was definitely an organic excitement in the stadium that night that I don't think has been replicated since.

Of course we all want the guys to pull out a win this week, but I think simply a solid, clean, disciplined performance in all 3 aspects of the game would be a satisfactory outcome as well. Get beat by 10-14 points by the #2 ranked team in the country due to a talent mismatch, not much you can do there. Get blown out due to sloppy play or weak playcalling or inability to make adjustments to the game plan, and that will just serve as a depressing reminder about how big a differentiator good coaching can be.

CT said...

Deion built the Georgia Dome. Vick built Mercedes-Benz.

Well, how is our GameDay signage talent? Have to bring the A game with the signs.

Shabby1011 said...

BC has smart kids, they should be pretty good

Just re watched game Dillon just never went in 4th qtr but he played in 3rd after he banged up his ankle. I think it might have been as much precautionary to keep him out. I got to imagine he plays Saturday

John said...

I hope so, and then Addazioloeffler can challenge the best or second best defense in the country with AJ Dillon up the middle on the first play of every series. Second play too.

Oh boy!

I'm flying up for the game and weak play calling is my biggest fear.

Go BC - stand up and be counted!

Edward Griffith said...

Beat FSU , the Cuse and a good bowl win and I'll be thrilled no matter what comes with
Clemson. Dabbo will be trying to murder us with his apprentices for the NFL.
FSU and perhaps Louisville will at sometime in the future return the garbage to him .

eagleboston said...

I love my school and BC football, but I fear this is going to be an absolute blowout on national TV. Why?

1. I think BC is a decent football team, but Clemson is a great football team. They are destroying opponents, including NC State.

2. We have only played 1 ranked team (NC State - a loss) and the only reason we made that game close was because they started looking ahead to Clemson. We got blown out by a .500 Purdue team. Louisville, Miami and Va Tech are horrible this year.

3. Brown is not the level of quarterback we need. Following the Wake game, I actually toyed with the idea that he may have been better than Matt Ryan as a sophomore. Brown has completely regressed since then. He can't even hit wide open screen passes. You are not going to have a shot with Brown under center. He is a nice kid and has great leadership skills. He simply can't pass the ball.

4. Our defense could not pressure Willis. How are they going to get by an immensely more talented Clemson O-line?

5. Dillon is not 100%. He may not even be 60%. We can't beat the #2 team with our best player not at peak performance.

6. The weather is not even going to be a factor. Temps will be in the low 40s. Clemson will find that fairly comfortable.

I hope I'm wrong as all eyes will be on Chestnut Hill Saturday night. The good news is that I don't believe anyone thinks we have a chance so if we get blown out, no one will have been fooled by BC's top 20 ranking. But, I do know the young BC fans who have not been disappointed so many times will get their hopes up and then subsequently shattered. Get used to it BC fans. We have had one glory year in the modern era - 1984 and that was a long, long time ago.

Anonymous said...

Would put the VT game number one. That was a 3:30 CBS game before there were games on every network in every time slot all day. Believe the final score was 49-42. Hasselbeck had a good game but Vick was too much.

Anonymous said...

Would put the David Greene fumble against WV number two. That place was fucking crazy that night. Guy had a fucking heart attack in the stands near me. That was the last "old school" big time BC crowd. Game was literally a heart breaker.

Bravesbill said...

BC got whacked in the first half against Syracuse and was still in it after the Blackmon return TD. Second half was not so kind. The stars seemed to align against Miami esp. after the 4th and long conversion on the final drive. Next play was the pick 6 by Reed off a deflection if I remember correctly.

Anonymous said... says 30 degrees at night. It will only matter if we can run the ball. Way too much passing by Anthony Brown against VT. Way too much. We have four legit RB's use them. They treat AB like he is Drew Brees. He is not very good. There was one throw in the second half to Sweeney where he just flung it out there should have been picked. He does not see the open receiver most of the time.

And goddammit when it is third and 7 run an 8 yard route and throw the fucking ball to someone who is beyond the line. His third down throwing is completely horrendous. Probably the worst in the ACC.

dixieagle said...

I'll be rooting for our guys like crazy, but I honestly think our only real chance at a W is if the Clemson team freezes to death.

Anonymous said...

If we knock their QB around early we could mess him up. Concussion issues and they don't have a legit backup.

Key to the game is Baker on Wiggins(#42). They need to keep #42 from doing what he wants to do. Then we can run up the middle. Our TE's and the rest of the oline can handle the rest of their d Line. I would put a TE in at FB and crack #42 a few times early. He like BC but he shouldn't when the game is over.

Osi said...

The WVU game several have mentioned was the last home game prior to the stadium expansion. Truly a big time atmosphere as it was the week after we beat #1 undefeated ND and with a win we were probably going to the Sugar Bowl.

mod34b said...
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bceagle93 said...

I'm with Knuck on WVU -- that was definitely a crazy night as well. I think the Green fumble and the off the knee Ed Reed interception were two of the worst kick in the nuts I have seen at Alumni.

Good coaches figure out an opponent's weakness and build a gameplan to expose that even if they have lesser talent (see Jeff Brohm). Daz and staff buckle down and do that this week, they will shut me and everyone else here up.

If they come with the Dillon left, Dillon up the middle/Jeff Smith flanker reverse, swing pass/screen pass on 3rd and 8 and then punt game plan we are doomed on offense.

It's going to take every ounce of concentration by him and staff to pull this one off. I really hope Daz drops the clown act where he makes a big deal about buttering up the announcers with North End food and just focuses on execution and game plan this week. If we hear about that at all leading up to the game, this is all just an audition for his next gig.

Please let it be #DecideToFly and #EverToExcel and not #DecideToBeAClown and #EverToHaveEndlessGarlicBread

NEDofSavinHill said...

Give Brown some credit. If you extract the Purdue game from his stats he is 7-1 as a starter and has a 15 to one TD to interception ratio.A good QB usually has a two to one ratio. 15 to one is Drew Brees territory. Not good, excellent. Plus he gives the added dimension of running. Give Brown a Mulligan at Purdue. Even Flutie had a bad game in 1982 at WVU which I attended. 2. Is BC an equal or better team than A&M? The Aggies played Clemson to a basic draw. Clemson will be facing the best O-line they have seen. Onward to victory.

NYCEagle said...

I agree with Ned. This is college football. There have been far crazier upsets than this. In fact, there are bigger upsets than this on an annual basis. I think the key to the game is hitting their freshman quarterback. Make him feel one from Zack Allen coming around the edge on a 35 degree night. Don’t let him get comfortable in the pocket. I think we can force him into some turnovers. And then on offense, we need an A+ game plan for the first drive. Going down and scoring on the “juggernaut” right away will send the message this isn’t going to be a cakewalk. Pull out all the stops. Jeff Smith passes, double reverses. I don’t care if you empty the bag. Get points on the first drive, show Clemson that they do in fact bleed just like us, and get the crowd into it. We do not want to fall behind early. They have the same ability to grind away at the run game as we do.

Thomas said...

Holy hyperbole batman! Comparing Anthony Brown to a future HOF quarterback is asinine. Where do you come up with this stuff? Do you watch the games or just look at the stats?

Knucklehead said...

Mod, I knew the name was wrong therefore the number. You are dumb. Keep trying squid.

Knucklehead said...
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Knucklehead said...

Mod, If Baker let's your homeboy Wilkins run wild then we are in trouble. That is why it is the key to the game. Nowhere in any way shape or form does it say Baker will keep your boy Wilkins in check.

mod34b said...
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Unknown said...

The Maryland 2008 game was actually a 3:30 kick, but it was dark by 4:30.

Shabby1011 said...

Honestly will say I am shocked there haven’t been more top 20 matchups at Alumni. BC has had its ups and downs but during Coughlin/TOB were mostly a fixture in top 25 and just surprising it didn’t result in more matchups.

EagleBoston - I appreciate your take and most long time BC fans would agree with most of your points but let’s enjoy this week and have a little optimism. Obviously the chances for another top 20 matchup at Alumni may not happen again for awhile and certainly won’t include GameDay and PrimeTime 8pm ABC slot.

Clemson is good but they are not by any stretch unbeatable. They start a true freshman QB who has never been above VA. It’s gonna be 30 degrees and he hasn’t had a legitimate road test yet. Clemson has had played great last few weeks but FSU and L’Ville are two worst teams in ACC. Clemson should have lost to Cuse at home. Further last year BC played them really tough at Clemson last year.

Key to game is early scoring to get a lead, they have to score first. They are going to need luck (Dillon plays & breaks a long one & Hamp returns INT for TD). And zero mistakes, no turnovers, good special teams and no big plays. Bend don’t break D.

Going to be great day on Saturday. Three years ago BC didn’t win a ACC game, let’s enjoy this.

mod34b said...
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CT said...

Yeah, I don’t think people actually watch the games. Brown is pretty average to below average wrt his peers in the conference, and, truth be told, there isn’t an overwhelming amount of QB talent in the ACC (Ga Tech doesn’t even throw the ball, so the conference really has 13 teams to be measured against). If you remove his worst game, then I guess you can remove his best one, too? UMass and Wake were his best games. Two of the first three games this year. He has in no way gotten better with more game reps. He threw for under 100 yards at Purdue! Do you know how hard it is to attempt 27 passes and not hit 100 yards? Yikes. Not trying to bang on the kid, but I haven’t seen much to inspire confidence. He’s at 58% comp pct., 86th in the country, and a lot of this offense is based around tight ends. Not exactly Saints-like.

This defensive line is the best I’ve seen in a very long time. But they haven’t seen Dillon this season (or Levy/Glines, who are pretty good) and Brown is going to need the play-action threat to have a shot down the field. Otherwise, I fear Brown will be overwhelmed. He just doesn’t seem to go through his reads well. Maybe I’m missing something.

But first things first. Signs for Gameday. EO’s half-dozen posters had a few funny ideas. This needs to be a separate post.

Shabby1011 said...

Thanks Mod

I am like most invested fans have a pretty good sense of what could take place Saturday. I’m just saying up until middle of last year, BC football was painful to watch. Now it’s November and there is such a meaningful game the Eagles are playing that GameDay is here and it’s on PrimeTime ABC with Fowler and Herbie. That’s pretty fun.

I am sure we will all have plenty to say if things go poorly. However I do honestly think the last two weeks for Clemson is not indicative of what’s to come Saturday night.

Brown has to play great to win and based his recent play not sure that can/will happen. He plays much better at home so maybe there is hope. Dillon is best back they have played against all year. Our D is opportunistic and makes plays, has all year. It’s a slight one but I’m saying there is a chance.....

CT said... with a "complete chaos" college football playoff article...with BC in.

The playoff was God's gift to sports journalism...content, content, content.

Knucklehead said...

Watch 42 on offense early on the game for Clemson too.

Mod sucks.

Keep quoting the internet.

No original thought.

Pathetic for a BC person but I know you are a Rutgers flunky.

Knucklehead said...
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