It’s BC week, and it’s time for another edition of the Irish Blogger Gathering. This week, appropriately, the questions were asked by Brawling Hibernian. Appropriate because every time I think of Boston, I think of fighting. Boston is the town that gave us the start of the Revolutionary War, the setting of The Boondock Saints, and the inspiration for music like this:
- Coming off a very difficult loss to a rival that has now beaten them eight straight times, Notre Dame faces another that’s beaten them six straight. Can Notre Dame end the losing streak against BC or will the combined weight of the USC loss and recent history against the Eagles be too much to overcome? Explain.
Absolutely. While BC always seems to give ND the fight of their lives, and, obviously, has owned the series since 2001, even without Michael Floyd, this is by far the most powerful ND offense BC has faced in the last 10 years. And while the BC defense is certainly quite respectable, even without the terrifying Mark Herzlich at LB, it’s nowhere near the powerful unit it once was. (#5 Total Defense in 2008, now #41.) Still, as John Walters has noted, the Irish, under Charlie Weis, have shown a penchant for playing up or, more often, down to their competition. The only thing to fear, for the Irish, are their own competitively screwed up heads.
- Not unlike Notre Dame’s defense, BC’s offense has been pretty erratic this season. While in their most recent win, they rolled up 480 total yards and scored 52 points; in their two losses, they’ve averaged 109 yards and 11 points. Which BC offense and which ND defense show up on Saturday? Why?
Well, if there’s a trend to be found among the 2 loss data points for BC, we’re hopeful it has a high correlation to location. All of BC’s wins are at home. Each of BC’s losses – and they were big losses – were on the road. And it seems the biggest part of the BC offense to have taken a nose-dive in the 2 losses was the passing game, which completed just 5 of 21 passes at Clemson and 11 out of 28 at Virginia Tech (between both QBs). In fact, David Shinskie, the expected starter this weekend for BC, completed fewer passes (1) against VT than he threw interceptions (2). But one key aspect of both of those road games that jumps out to me is the nature of the places they occurred. Both VaTech and Clemson are rather loud, raucous places for a visiting team to experience. If ND hopes to find a homefield advantage in this game, well, they’d better hope that Shinskie hasn’t now adjusted to such atmospheres and they’d better hope that the crowd, which may be missing a bunch of students due to the game falling on the tail end of fall break, will be ready to make some noise.
- Does anyone seem primed to have a Robby Parris-like breakout moment against the Eagles? If so, who is it and why?
Rumors are flying that Shaq Evans a) has been having fantastic practices of late and b) got sick late last week to the point that the coaches didn’t feel comfortable trying to play him over other guys. Once again, BC is nowhere near as good defending the passe (#49 in Pass Efficiency D) as opposed to the 2008 version (formerly #2). And they’ve not seen a talent set the likes of Golden Tate and Shaq Evans on the field for ND ever (ND didn’t play BC when the Irish had Shark and Stovall destroying defenses in ’05). Meanwhile, how about a resurrection game for Duval Kamara? Minus the slip, he had a fine game against a much tougher defense last weekend. In particular, one one first-down gaining reception, he drove the defenders a good 4 yards to clear the sticks after the catch. Duval seems to be trying to break through, and that’s always a good first step.
- It’s been an and up-and-down year for Boston sports. After a strong start, the Red Sox folded in the second half of the year. The Patriots, meanwhile, seem to be on the upswing after a 59-0 dismantling of Tennessee. For their part, Boston College has seemed as though their season could go either way. Ultimately, will the Eagles be the Sox or the Pats?
I don’t follow pro sports very carefully, but I do know that every time someone talks about why the Patriots have had so much success, they talk about the excellent organizational culture. Perhaps the same thing is at work here, considering BC lost their former starting QB, lost their former HC to one of the more bizarre power-plays we’ve ever seen, and lost their all-world linebacker to a cancer battler, and yet they’re still a fine team. It’s a remarkable accomplishment by… someone. We just don’t know by whom. That said, the 5 wins by BC feature 3 over abysmal competition, 1 OT win over a down Wake Forest, and 1 close win against the reeling Florida State. So they’ve had a bit of help from the schedule. Still, they’re not to be taken lightly.
- While most Irish fans refer to BC as “Fredo”, tell me to which other cinematic character you would compare the Eagles.
I’ll give you the entire body of work of actor Bill Pullman. Everyone knows the dude, and yet he’s inexplicably blasÃ© in pretty much ever role he’s ever had. He played the freaking president in Independence Day, where he got to give a monologue that everyone remembers despite their personal tastes, but as recently as last year he appeared in episodes of Law & Order: SVU. S. V. U! But then you see the guy in a film like Bottle Shock, and you can’t believe how good he is at that moment. That’s BC. A bizarrely mediocre program throughout its history that then pulls out these shocking performances seemingly out of nowhere.