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The Importance Of The Season Opener And The Big Finish

Alright Spaz, time to throw down. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Alright Spaz, time to throw down. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Jeff: Big game tomorrow for the Eagles. In 2007 I said before the season began that the Wake Forest home opener might have been the most important game of the season. Lose and we would play the rest of the season for not a whole lot other than hoping to someone get into a bowl not in Boise or San Fran. Meanwhile we could win and be in the driver's seat for the ACC. With a new coach we didn't know exactly what to expect but we knew we had key pieces, including of course Matt Ryan, to have a lot of success.

This year there are similarities. We have a returning starting QB and a new Offensive Coordinator. We also have a lot of reason to be optimistic with Luke Kuechly and Montel Harris still wearing maroon and gold. If BC loses to Northwestern tomorrow, it is hard to imagine that they will be able to compete with FSU for the division title. If they win tomorrow though, they will be favored in each of their next four games and possibly even their next five games. A 5-0 start for the Eagles will get some attention and will build some confidence for the young members of the team. How big is this game tomorrow? Since it is not a conference game it is not as big as the 2007 Wake game but is it close?

Brian: Tomorrow's game is shaping up to be a war of attrition between the Eagles and the 'Cats. I don't want to make excuses here, but BC appears to be pretty banged up. Montel Harris is out. Fletcher is doubtful while Nate Richman and Andre Williams are listed as probable. My guess is we'll see a very different team on November 3 than the one we'll see take the field tomorrow. Because the Eagles are battling various injury bugs and because Northwestern (and Central Florida) are non-conference games, this season opener isn't nearly as big as BC's 2007 opener against Wake Forest.

Remember that in 2007 the Eagles opened with a home game against an Atlantic Division opponent and defending ACC Champion. That game was so much bigger than BC's tilt with NU tomorrow. BC would go on to win the Atlantic that year, while Wake went on to have a pretty decent season (9-4, including wins over Florida State and UConn in the Car Parts Bowl). A loss to Wake in the '07 opener could have changed the course of recent BC football history, including back-to-back ACC Championship Game appearances. The same sort of high stakes are hardly on the line tomorrow vs. Northwestern.

The only thing that makes this a big game is in the off chance that a loss here irreparably damages this young team's psyche and puts the team into a tailspin the rest of the way. I just can't see that happening. Games against NU and UCF are important to get the W and build some momentum, but a loss wouldn't be the end of the world and wouldn't derail the team in its annual goal of winning the ACC and playing in the Orange Bowl.

Finally, while I'm not predicting that the Eagles start the season 0-2, remember that last year's ACC champ started in a similar 0-2 hole before rattling off 11 straight wins en route to another ACC title and an Orange Bowl appearance.

Big Finish

Jeff: Both Donnie Fletcher and Dan Persa are injured this week. So which is more likely to play? -- Persa or Fletcher.

Brian: From everything I've read, sounds like Persa is much more likely to play tomorrow.


Brian: In yesterday's Herald, Rogers was quoted as saying the Eagles' tight ends will be more involved this season. Music to your ears?

Jeff: Yes, Pantale is very good.


Jeff: How many TDs for Rettig tomorrow?

Brian: 2.


Brian: How did Wake Forest lose that game last night?

Jeff: Price got hurt but mainly that's why they won't win many games this season.


Jeff: How impressive was RW and Wisconsin last night?

Brian: Damn impressive. But don't worry, TOB TOTALLY doesn't need that guy at QB this season.


Brian: Dr. Saturday believes Miami and North Carolina will both sacrifice bowl trips this year in an attempt to appease the NCAA. Do you, and do I smell opportunity for BC?

Jeff: If the ACC gets two into BCS bowls that could propel BC into the Champs Sports Bowl despite an 8-4 type season.


Jeff: The Boston College D has allowed just eight 100-yard rushers since 2005, tied with Alabama and Ohio State  for best in the nation. Does a Northwestern back eclipse the century mark tomorrow?

Brian: Absolutely not.


Brian: Last one. Last night a former Big East football program pasted a future Big East football program 42-7 in front of tens of Philadelphians. Seriously, how grim is the future of Big East football?

Jeff: It is really really bad. Louisville and Syracuse not particularly impressive. TCU will fall back from their recent greatness.


Pick 5. Our weekly Pick 5s return this week, even if the pickings are very SLIM this week.


Northwestern at Boston College (-3.5)
Utah State at Auburn (-23)
Boise State at Georgia (+3)
Oregon at LSU (+4)
Rice (+24.5) at Texas


TCU (-4) vs. Baylor
Western Michigan at Michigan (-14)
UCLA (+3) at Houston
Marshall at West Virginia (-23)
South Florida (+11) at Notre Dame