I am still trying to figure out if the unusual circumstances to the start of the Jeff Hafley era is a good thing or bad thing. He lost the chance to have a normal transition and season preparation and the guy who hired him left before Hafley coached his first game. However, because of COVID and this season's unique schedule and playing environment, I think expectations and pressure are minimal. BC could finish with one or two wins and I think most of us would be forgiving. Fortunately I don't think it will get that messy. I see Hafley as someone who will adapt quickly, manage the season well and bring some fun back to BC.
What's on my mind (not totally related to this game)
I am selfishly a little disappointed to see the Big Ten and Pac 12 scramble to get back to playing. While I am happy for their players and fans, part of me already started thinking that with a limited number of Power 5 teams playing, BC might actually get into a real bowl. Now we will be back to playing in whatever bowl will have us.
Three Simple Keys
1. BC needs to run a lot and with the QB. Cignetti will have his own style and brings a better passing system than anything Addazio tried to run. But let's not rush into it this week. Duke showed issues with run stopping last week. BC needs to keep it on the ground and pound away. Assuming Jurkovic starts, I also want to see him in the running game. Based on what we've seen of his limited prior action, his legs should be an advantage.
2. Get Brice out of the pocket. Against the Irish, Brice did not look good when he was flushed. He made some bad decisions and took a few sacks. He is not someone who is going to beat us with his legs.
3. Manage the game well. This is Jeff Hafley's first game as a head coach. I don't expect everything to be perfect Day 1, but I hope there are no glaring issues with clocks or timeouts.
-- BC leads the series 4-3
-- Duke won the last two games in the series
-- Our last three coaches have all won their BC debuts
The current line is BC+6.5
This is the latest that BC has played its opener since 1981.
There are no divisions this year, so we have to pay attention to the entire ACC. Pitt-Syracuse is a matchup of future opponents. It might tell us something about both teams.
I hope to see...
Jurkovic starting and playing well. BC is being somewhat coy about the QB situation. I appreciate Dennis Grosel and all he did last year. But if we are going to be something special this year, I think we need a dynamic QB.
BC is in trouble if...
We don't get any pressure from the front four. Our linebackers are very good (potentially great). Our DBs are young, but given Hafley's background, I think he can coach them up. The big question is the Defensive Line. They need to be much better than they were last year.
I think we are entering a special window for BC sports. I think Hafley will be great and it all starts Saturday. This won't be a perfect game. There will be plenty of rust. But I think we pull away in the second half.
Final Score: BC 28, Duke 17