Thursday, September 27, 2007

BC-UMass Preview

When I was a student in the mid-90s BC didn’t play DIAA teams. New bowl eligibility rules and the expanded season opened the door for these opponents to get back on the schedule. I was never in favor, but now accept it as a fact of life. Even the big boys soften things up with DIAA fodder. USC and Notre Dame seem to be the lone marquee holdouts. As much as I’d love to see BC go exclusively DIA, there is no sense in taking on the extra challenge if all the other ACC teams have at least one game against a lower-level team. And to Gene’s credit, if you we’re going to play a Playoff Subdivision Team (what an awkward designation), you might as well play the one in your backyard. Thanks to Appalachia State, our team and fans are not taking this game lightly.

Theme that won’t be discussed on television ESPN 360. UMass head coach Don Brown indirectly played a role in the BC coaching search. As most of us remember, former UMass head coach Mark Whipple was the leading candidate to replace TOB. Supposedly Whipple hit some sour notes in his interview, including how he envisioned his coaching staff. Brown was on the Whipple’s staff list as a probable defensive coordinator. Gene will never go on record (or even off record with me) as to why Brown and Whipple’s other cronies were unappealing, but his instincts paid off. I doubt our D would be playing as well or our team would be 4-0 if we had revamped our Defense and our Offense.

Three simple keys
1. Blitz pick up. As UMass74 explained, the Minutemen will come after the Ryan. Against Georgia Tech Callender and the offensive line did a good job but were whistled for plenty of holding calls. The effort on Saturday needs to be cleaner.
2. Protect the ball. A fumble and two picks made the Army game much more interesting than it needed to be. Let's avoid that this week.
3. Get to Coen. We have proven we can stop the run. Yet, we still haven’t put much pressure on any of the opposing QBs. If this team wants to win a championship it needs to start rattling some of these passers.

Gambling notes
-- The last three DIAA games BC has played have not had betting lines
-- BC has won 14 straight at home
-- BC is 17-5 all time vs UMass
There is no line on the game

What would be a pleasant surprise? After last week’s struggles and other teams losing to DIAA teams, I would be surprised with a one-sided game. I think UMass will make it interesting for a half.

What would be a letdown? Not getting Chris Crane out there for more than one drive. I expected Crane to see more action last week. If he doesn’t play more this week, he might not see significant time all year.

What would be a shocker? A loss. I don’t even want to think about it.

Bottom line
UMass is a good team and could beat some DIA foes. I don’t think it will be us. Their strengths (running on offense, blitzing on defense) play too much into our strengths. I think they will play hard and move the ball a little, but ultimately BC will pull away.
Final score: BC 38, Umass 13


Eagle in Brighton said...

Looks like a Pats score. I kid, I kid.

Have to agree with the prognostication. Looking like a great day for parents weekend football- can't wait to get the tailgate going.

Go Eagles

BCMike said...

It's a good idea to predict BC scores in the 37/38 range :)

I still say we whip these guys bad.

I think they blitz early and often and Matty tears them a new one. BC gets back to taking the ball away and gets at least one defensive TD, possibly one Special Teams TD.


BC 58
UMass 10

JDShagger said...

I hope that the BC Fans didn't sell too many seats to their UMass friends.

This is a huge game for UMass, which is right up there with Appalachian State; It's also a huge game for BC when you think about it.

BC must win convincingly.

Eagle in Brighton said...

Agreed. Though it appears an easy W, Matty Ryan is in an awkward position of almost having to be on his A game in terms of production/passer rating/ etc. because anything less will be increasingly held against him for as he appeals for a NYC invite.

@ JDShagger: I hope UMass fans turn out in force- it'd be great for Coach Brown's squad and the environment at Alumni. Feelings on IAA squads aside, if Gene is scheduling teams at this level, targeting local NE schools to fill these slots is a solid mentality to have for just this reason.

Brian said...

A good article in the Globe about this weekend's game.

Looks like we have Rhode Island next year. I don't mind scheduling the local I-AA teams. Let's just hope we win convincingly.