Between Dec. 16 and Dec. 31, BC Interruption will be taking a look back at the top 10 bowl games Boston College has appeared in, leading up to the Eagles match up with Arizona in the AdvoCare V100 'Independence' Bowl.
1982 Tangerine Bowl: Auburn 33, Boston College 26
The date was January 1, 1943, Boston College had just finished a remarkable 1942 football season. Although it was punctuated by a loss to Alabama in the Orange Bowl, in the span of four years, BC had appeared in three of the four major bowl games in a period when there were only five bowl games played (Rose, Orange, Cotton, Sugar and Sun).
The 1942 season saw the Eagles reach heights never attained before or since, ascending to #1 in the Associated Press ranking on November 28 before the 55-12 debacle at Fenway Park against Holy Cross ruined the undefeated season forcing eighth ranked BC into "settling" for the above mentioned Orange Bowl trip.
Twice BC had finished in the AP Top 10 (#5 in 1940 and #8 in 1942) at a time where only ten teams were ranked.
This was the golden era of BC football. Frank Leahy, Chuckin' Charlie O'Rourke, it was going to last forever, but we all know it didn't. World War II came and BC, like many other programs, cut back on athletics and the football success that Chestnut Hill knew for those four glorious years would vanish.
For the next 40 seasons, Boston College would only be ranked in the Associated Press poll for five total weeks (three in 1976 and none between 1955 and 1976) and with the number of bowls significantly smaller than today, even seemingly stellar seasons like 1970 (8-2), 1971 (9-2) and 1976 (8-3 and the upset over Texas) were not rewarded with a bowl trip.
A recruiting after thought, a fifth string QB on the depth chart at the beginning of the 1981 season, would finally change all that in 1982 and usher Boston College into the modern era of big time college football. Lead by a Cowboy from Maine, Coach Jack Bicknell who had the courage to believe in Doug Flutie, (Sir Douglas of the Darts, as he was penned by the local media), Boston College would go 8-2-1 in 1982 and earn their first bowl bid in 40 seasons.
BC would open with a huge win against Jackie Sherrill and Texas A&M in College Station, followed by a 17-17 tie against defending national champion Clemson in Death Valley.
As the wins mounted, whispers of bowl interest became loud conversations, BC was being courted by the Tangerine Bowl (now the Champs Sports Bowl) in Orlando. The guys in the funny looking orange blazers descended on the Heights for several weeks and when Gerard Phelan caught a game winning TD pass from Flutie on November 13 against Syracuse, BC was bowl bound, on their way to face a freshman RB named Bo Jackson and the #18 Auburn Tigers.
BC football fever hit Boston. Can you believe this from the December 18, 1982 Boston Globe?
Does tonight's Tangerine Bowl telecast (8 o'clock, Ch. 38) run the same risk of too much pregame hype as last Saturday's coverage of the Georgetown- Virginia basketball game by WTBS-TV?
Beginning at 7 p.m., there will be an hour lead-in to the game. Films will be used to review the seasons of Boston College and Auburn. There will be interviews with Eagle coach Jack Bicknell, athletic director Bill Flynn and college president Rev. J. Donald Monan, and lighter moments showing exuberant students. In all, a first-rate recruiting film.The show was put together energetically by Ch. 38 under producer Cliff Allen, who worked more than 40 hours selecting footage and obtaining fresh comments from Bicknell at the Heights.
But the pregame package is no more of a public service effort than the 40- minute show leading up to last week's basketball game. The length of a show reflects its advertising market, and tonight's Tangerine Bowl is a hot sale in Boston.
Nearly 10,000 Boston College fans found their way to Orlando, charter flights carrying them there, booze flowing on take off, partying in downtown Orlando like it was the Super Bowl. Once again, see the Globe.
When you've waited 39 years, 11 months and 18 days for a party, you can be forgiven for starting it a bit early.
Thus did the bar open at 9:50 yesterday morning aboard Pan Am Charter Flight 8107 as it carried 376 legitimate and subway alumni of Boston College toward the Tangerine Bowl, where the school's football team will play Auburn University's tomorrow night. In all, about 8400 BC ticket-holders will soon be cavorting among the shabby palmetto, mushy swamps and oversized billboards touting the Weeki Wachee Magical Mermaids.
"Usually no one drinks on charters out of Boston," murmured a harried stewardess aboard flight 8107 yesterday. "This is, um, very different."
After all this there was a game to play and unfortunately for the Eagles, BC found out what SEC speed could do as the Tigers opened up a 33-10 lead after three quarters on their way to a 33-26 win.
BC started strong with Flutie (22-38, 299 yards, 2 TDs) leading a 13 play 79 yard drive and capping it with his own 5 yard run. Big plays in the drive were a 23 yard strike to SE Paul Zdanek on 3rd and 10 from the 21 and an 18 yard run by junior FB Brian Krystoforski.
Auburn would answer using a passing attack that no one was prepared for and a running game that everyone was. QB Randy Campbell, who was named the game's MVP, would lead the Tigers back immediately with a drive that would reach the Eagle 3 before BC DE Russ Joyner tossed Campbell for a loss. Auburn settled for an Al Del Greco FG to cut the margin to 7-3.
It became 10-7 Tigers after a shanked 17 yard punt by BC set AU up at the Eagle 21 where Bo Jackson would finally finish the drive from the 1.
What became the game's turning point happened almost immediately afterwards. BC countered behind Troy Stradford's running and Flutie hitting Brian Brennan twice to reach the Auburn 26, but Jon Schoen had a TD drop in the end zone and Kevin Snow's 43 yard FG attempt clanged off the cross bar.
The Eagles though showed their mettle defensively, twice coming through with goal line stands in the first half. The first forcing a four down turnover when S Dave Pereira and DT Junior Poles stopped Jackson on third and goal from the one followed by DB George Radachowsky's stop of Campbell on 4th down. The second stop inside the five yard line resulted in an Auburn FG.
Auburn would grow the lead to 23-10 at the half on this Bo Jackson 6 yard TD run.
The lead would grow to 33-10 after three quarters before BC ran off 16 straight in the 4th quarter on a Flutie to Scott Nizolek 2 yard TD and a 16 yarder to Brian Brennan on the last play of the game to make the final 33-26.
Both teams had offensive success, with Auburn running for 313 yards out of their wishbone attack lead by Lionel "Little Train" James who carried 16 times for 102 yards on their way to 490 yards total offense. BC countered with 414 yards in offense as they finished the most successful season in 40 years at 8-3-1 and set the stage for what the last 30 years in Eagle football history have become.
Boston College 7 3 0 16 - 26
Auburn 3 20 10 0 - 33
BC - Doug FLUTIE 5 run (Kevin SNOW kick), 10:49 left. Score: Boston College 7, Auburn 0.
AU - 19 FG Al DelGRECO, 5:07 left. Score: Boston College 7, Auburn 3.
AU - Bo JACKSON 1 run (DelGRECO kick), 11:34 left. Score: Auburn 10, Boston College 7.
AU - Willie HOWELL 2 run (DelGRECO kick), 4:49 left. Score: Auburn 17, Boston College 7.
BC - 34 FG SNOW, 3:41 left. Score: Auburn 17, Boston College 10.
AU - JACKSON 6 run (Mike MANN pass failed), 0:46 left. Score: Auburn 23, Boston College 10.
AU - 23 FG DelGRECO, 8:44 left. Score: Auburn 26, Boston College 10.
AU - Greg PRATT 15 run (DelGRECO kick), 1:10 left. Score: Auburn 33, Boston College 10.
BC - Scott NIZOLEK 2 pass from FLUTIE (FLUTIE to NIZOLEK), 10:55 left. Score: Auburn 33, Boston College 18.
BC - Brian BRENNAN 16 pass from FLUTIE (FLUTIE run), 0:00 left. Score: Auburn 33, Boston College 26.
Team Statistics BC AU
First Downs 24 27
Total Net Yds 414 490
Net Yds Rushing 115 313
Net Yds Passing 299 177
Interceptions 2 1
Penalties 2-38 3-30
Fumbles-Lost 3-3 4-1