ORLANDO FL - DECEMBER 28: North Carolina State Wolfpack head coach Tom O'Brien celebrates after winning the Champs Sports Bowl against the West Virginia Mountineers at Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium on December 28 2010 in Orlando Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
I thought I'd take the time to build on claver2010's excellent FanPost yesterday, which generated a great deal of discussion, and flip the script a bit. Let's capture that POSNAN attitude and remember the good times by answering the question: When did you start supporting Boston College football's head coaches?
I arrived on campus in fall of 2000 and didn't follow the program before rolling up into Newton Campus, so my personal experiences are limited to the TOB, Jagodzinski and Spaz eras of Boston College football. For you old timers out there, would be interested in hearing your experiences pre-TOB.
Perfect introduction into what it means to be a Boston College football fan: I distinctly remember listening to BC's 2000 season opener at West Virginia on the radio as we unloaded the car and moved into the dorms. BC lost 34-14.
The 2000 season followed the season opener and was a fairly forgettable one. The Eagles beat the teams they were supposed to beat -- Army (55-17), Navy (48-7), UConn (55-3), Syracuse (20-13), Rutgers (42-13) and Temple (31-3) and lost to the rest to finish the regular season 6-5. The Eagles won the Aloha Bowl over Arizona State on Christmas Day, the program's first bowl win since the 1994 Aloha Bowl victory over K-State.
Still, for the life of me I can't remember a game that stood out from my freshman year. It probably wasn't until the following season's home victory over Notre Dame that I started to really buy into O'Brien as coach. What sealed it, for me, was probably the Eagles' victory over Georgia in the Music City Bowl. That washed out the bad taste in our mouths after ending the regular season with a road loss to Syracuse and whatever it is that we witnessed earlier that season at home against the #1 team in the country.
Leading up to the BC's Saturday night showdown on the road against the 15th ranked Yellow Jackets, seemingly all Eagles fans heard about was how DC Jon Tenuta's blitz-happy defense would win the day against Matt Ryan and the 2-0 Eagles. After Matt Ryan was done dismantling the Jackets' secondary, the senior signal-caller had amassed 435 yards and a TD in a 24-10 victory over Georgia Tech.
When the schedule was released, many pointed to the gauntlet of Wake Forest, N.C. State and at Georgia Tech to start the season as a critical stretch of games for BC. Having run the gauntlet a perfect 3-0, BC was set up to go to 6-0 and a national ranking after dispatching Army (37-17), UMass (24-14) and Bowling Green (55-24).
But I think it was Matt Ryan's performance at Georgia Tech that sealed the deal for me with Jags. Maybe more specifically, Steve Logan's ability to get the most out of Matt Ryan and the Eagles' offense.
I wasn't always a NEGNAN. After I got over my agita over the fact that Jags had recently been fired, Superfans were still filled with optimism heading into the 2009 season. Jeff had predicted the Eagles would go 8-4 while I had BC pegged at 7-5.
After the first two games against body bags Northeastern (54-0) and Kent State (34-7), the team traveled to Death Valley for its first road game of the year. That game, which both Jeff and I attended, was a disaster. I don't think the BC offense got past midfield the entire first half, while the game was delayed twice due to lightning, prolonging another excruciating half of football. But I hadn't give up on Spaz yet.
The following week, with a bit of fumble luck, BC held onto beat Wake Forest 27-24 in overtime in a game the Eagles probably would have normally lost. A positive to make us all forget about the week prior's debacle.
Then with ESPN's College GameDay on campus and Herzlich declared cancer-free, Montel Harris ran for 179 yards and second week starter Dave Shinskie threw 2 TDs, leading the Eagles to a 28-21 victory over Florida State. Of course at the time, no one realized that the Seminoles would wind up limping to a 7-6 finish, barely becoming bowl eligible. But the win seemed significant in that despite all the adversity -- Jags firing, Herzlich's cancer diagnosis, an until then unresolved QB controversy -- that BC would build on the momentum from the TOB and Jags years and continue on without a hitch. That game was when I figured everything might be OK and the Spaz hire might work out after all.