Thursday, November 29, 2007

BC-Virginia Tech preview

Throughout the season I’ve heard numerous games called “the most important game in BC history.” All the talk seemed to lack perspective and diminished BC’s long and storied past. Now as we prepare for Saturday, we might actually be witnessing the most important game in BC history. Never before has the team had a chance to win a championship on the field. Also, winning the ACC would be the culmination of four decades worth of effort begun under Father Monan and Bill Flynn to take BC athletics to the next level. This is THE game.

Theme that won’t be discussed on television. There will be plenty of talk about the ACC-Big East dynamic and BC potentially taking the “next step” by winning the ACC. I don’t think you’ll hear much discussion of Virginia Tech’s rise and how conference affiliation dramatically changed that entire program. Prior to joining the Big East in 1990, they were a nice program with a steady but not spectacular history. They lacked identity and their schedule was a hodgepodge of random ACC schools, second-tier southern programs like Memphis and Tulane and a random service academy thrown in. It all changed when the Big East came calling. The Hokies -- more than any other Big East program -- bought into everything and sold it like hell to their recruits and fans. Thursday Night Games – “anytime, anywhere.” Carquest Bowls – “we’ll show up and make some noise. Miami speed – “we’ll be faster.” When the opportunity came to upgrade again to the ACC, they fought like tooth and nail for inclusion. And with the move have upgraded their moribund basketball program. There are many things I dislike about VT but I respect that they changed the culture of their program and their fans. BC should remember that as we try to figure out what went right and wrong this bowl season.

Three Simple Keys
1. Protect Ryan. The Hokies only sent four last time and they had Ryan off balance all night. This time around we need to be ready for anything. The offensive line must build on their solid performance against Miami and control the line of scrimmage.
2. Contain Taylor in the red zone. He burned Virginia with some timely runs when drives had stalled. Because we haven’t faced a running QB of his caliber this season, I have no idea who will be responsible for spying Taylor, but whoever gets the call needs to have a great game and keep Taylor from turning broken plays into TDs.
3. Avoid penalties. We were whistled nine times for 83 yards in Blacksburg. The situation should be a little better at a neutral field, but we still need to play smart. Those calls handed VT its two scores.

Gambling Notes
-- The underdog has won both ACC Championship Games
-- Virginia Tech is 2-4 in games played in Jacksonville Municipal Stadium
-- Jags is 3-0 as an underdog
The current line is BC+4.5

What would be a pleasant surprise? A mistake free game. Since our trip to Blacksburg we’ve had at least one or two cringe-inducing plays per game. Style points do not matter, but I think all of our cardiologists would recommend a game without a turnover or some stupid penalties.

What would be a letdown? Losing (obviously). There is still hope we could land in the Peach Bowl, but we’re likely to bounce down the ladder to a bowl none of us care about.

What would be a shocker? VT blowing us out. I know they are looking for revenge and are playing great football yada yada yada...I just don’t see us going down without a fight. Even in our worst game (Maryland) we were onside kicking at the end.

Bottom Line
Like the last VT game, I have a very positive feeling about this one. No hard data. No great insight. Just a good vibe. (How's that for analysis?) I think the setting will make a positive difference for BC and we’ll control the game.
Final score: BC 28, VT 17


BCNorCal07 said...

The one thing you didn't mention was the need to get Andre Callender involved and productive. Logan tried really hard to run the offense through "All Day" Andre in Blacksburg and he really didn't make a meaningful play until, well, everyone knows what happened. But before that VT blew up the screens and Tech's linebackers are too disciplined to give up on the draw. If "All Day" Andre has even a good game (not even big or great), it will keep the VT defense honest and give Matty time. If Matty has time, we win.


Big Jack Krack said...

I agree with you, Bill that “we might actually be witnessing the most important game in BC history. Never before has the team had a chance to win a championship on the field. Also, winning the ACC would be the culmination of four decades worth of effort begun under Father Monan and Bill Flynn to take BC athletics to the next level. This is THE game.”

I’m one of those fans who has actually been there for those 40 years. Here is an updated version of my post before the first Virginia Tech Game.

This has been a slow, steady climb for me since my Freshman year in 1964. There have been some down years, of course. But we were always a tough team who could knock anyone off on a given day.

Still, I always wondered what it would be like if we could ever have a solid program - one that was top-notch year in and year out. It used to be that if we lost one or two key players, it really put a damper on things. I always hoped that one day Boston College could proudly play with the big boys - whether on their field or our own.

I’ll never forget our games against Syracuse, Army and Tennessee my 1st year. The other 3seasons were so so, but my first one was very exciting, and of course I was hooked. After my 3 years in the Army, the early 70’s were pretty good. But to me, we began our national climb since the late 30’s/early 40’s time period in the mid-70’s. How proud I was when we played Notre Dame in Foxboro in 1975 on national TV - and didn't get blown out (even though I hated the conservative game plan); when Texas came to our little high school field in 1976 and we scored on the first play of the game on our way to a 14 to 13 victory (were they the defending national champs?) I could hardly breath throughout the entire second half; How proud in 1980 when Stamford and John Elway invaded Chestnut Hill, only to be sent home 30 to 13!;
Things really began to look up with Coach Jack Bicknell, a real genuine guy - a nice guy. He went with true freshman Doug Flutie in the last period of the Penn State crushing loss, and we immediately saw possibilities. One of our most exciting games was Halloween 1981 when #1 Pittsburgh and Dan Marino came to Chestnut Hill - they squeaked out a victory 29 to 24, but we were all talking about Doug. Can you imagine grown men jumping up and down at Alumni Field yelling Floo-tee, Floo-tee! (The crowds were small, but we knew it was the sign of great things to come).

I was at the beach in Hyannis in 1982 when I learned that BC, Doug Flutie, Brian Brennan and company had invaded Texas A&M in 95 degree heat and blown them off their own field in College Station 38 - 16. I was at the Tangerine Bowl that year in Orlando - the first bowl since what 1942? It was fantastic and although we lost to a tough Auburn team and Bo Jackson, we always thought we had a chance with Flutie. 1983 was fantastic - especially the games against Clemson in Chestnut Hill and Alabama in Foxboro. We were down 16 to 3 to Clemson and Refrigerator Perry going into the 4th Quarter on a brutally hot Boston night, when Flutie rallied his team for 4 touchdowns in a 31 to 16 victory - unbelievable. It was wonderful seeing Perry on the sidelines sucking down oxygen. And I was thrilled when the weather turned ugly for the Alabama game - so we could show them that the weather didn’t affect us. Many BC players cut off half of their shirts to expose their stomachs to the cold - Alabama players thought they were crazy - and they lost! We all know about 1984 - we really should have been undefeated. But in reality, we had to finesse teams in those years, so it is not surprising that we lost 2 heartbreakers. But I have to admit, the comeback against Alabama in Birmingham, the victory over a tough Syracuse Team in Foxboro and of course the Miracle in Miami were very special games in BC history. The Cotton Bowl in Dallas was a (cold) blast and we ended up #4 in the final poll.

1986 was very good, with a big victory over Georgia in the Hall of Fame Bowl in Tampa - then we hit some lean years. We all know about Tom Coughlin and our successes in the early 90s. Getting way out in front of Penn State in State College, PA and hanging on for a 35 to 32 victory. We have progressed from knocking Notre Dame off of their #1 perch with that magnificent win in 93 (and crushing them the next year in Chestnut Hill 30 to 11) - and we have been steadily building ever since through the TOB years. Again, we had some chinks along the way – but the point is - in my opinion - we have been getting better every year, when you look at the “body of work”.

We have beaten VT 3 out of the last 4. We are going into Jacksonville Memorial Stadium as the #12 ranked team in the nation, and we are a 4.5 point underdog. We are a veteran team and we are sick of being written off. We are ticked off because the VT players think they can hit harder than we do. We have lost our top linebacker, top defensive lineman, starting defensive end, best offensive guard - and many injuries to the defensive line-backing corps and secondary - and haven’t missed a beat. We’re going in to Jacksonville with confidence, excellent preparation, a great game plan and great coaches and players.
And here’s the big thing - if we get behind early - we are not going to freeze up like the 2005 squad did in Blacksburg. We are going to take a page out of Flutie’s great comebacks book and do our thing, driving right down the field to victory!!!

But my prediction is that we do not fall behind and win this game 24 to 20 - and show the College Football World that “We are - BC!.” This is a huge game for Boston College - and we have been preparing for this game for 40 years really!

This is our special year. Go BC! We believe!!

See you there.

ChicagoD said...

Glad to see the optimistic ATL has returned! Almost didn't recognize your Clemson preview.

Congrats on the UM b-ball preview though. You called it like your Tivo knows the future. Since you're on a roll, I'll buy in and think optimistically about Saturday as well. Come on Castonzo -- dig deep big fella!

Melman said...

BC had a chance to win a championship on the field in 2004. Unfortunately they stunk the joint out

Brian said...

I'm loving the positivity! We will win this game.

Of course we are going to be 4.5 point underdogs. We are playing Virginia Tech. The rest of the country sees this matchup and thinks David v. Goliath. But the die hard BC fans know the truth: we are a more talented football team this year, and very deserving of a top 15 ranking. We beat these guys in their house, on Thursday night (which they supposedly own, except when they play us that is) in front of a national audience.

This is our year. To take a line from Clemson and their rallying cry for our game v. them, let's "finish the job." Let's finish the job where Clemson, Wake, UVA and everyone else in the ACC fell short this year.

And remember, even if we fall down early, don't lose heart. This team has shown the grit, stamina and sheer will to come back from deficits throughout the year.

0-14 Wake ...
0-10 Virginia Tech ...
3-10 Clemson ...

Go BC! See you all Saturday!

Unknown said...

I remember that one well Melman. Just brutal. Syracuse ran us off the field that day. Probably my worst BC football memory (only a 2001 grad, so not a long history there), and really the game that convinced me we would never get over the hump. Building on that pessimism, I had a dream last night we lost to V-Tech 30-10.

With that said... This team is totally different. Different coach, different scheme, different style, different swagger. This team shocked everyone at VTech and Clemson. I think they can get it done again! 'Till the Echoes Ring Again! GO EAGLES!

Brian said...

Chris - you weren't dreaming about the ACCCG. You were just having a flashback to 2005 when Tech beat us 30-10. ;)

Go BC!

eagle1331 said...

I'm just wondering where everyone is going to be tailgating/sitting? I've got seats in the parents section but nowhere to tailgate....

CHI_Eagle said...

That is the question of the hour... hopefully the people that get down there tonight will get a taste of the town and get some ideas.
I'm thinking there will be a lot of hearsay circulating by tomorrow and finding a BC crowd will be pretty easy.