Many of you know that I have a bit of a unique perspective on this game having attended both Boston College as an undergrad and Northwestern for grad school.
On a day where the Northwestern athletics department announced a $250 million athletics facilities upgrade, including an indoor football practice facility on the shores of Lake Michigan, the Boston College football program fumbled away another winnable game against a non-conference peer program.
In yet another (extremely) winnable football game, the Boston College Eagles fell to the Northwestern Wildcats 22-13 on Saturday afternoon. BC falls to 1-2 on the year with a win over the FCS Maine Black Bears the sole bright spot on the early season. Boston College falls to 1-4 all-time against Northwestern, while Spaz dropped his fifth straight non-conference game against an FBS opponent (a streak that dates back to the 2010 win at Syracuse).
In contrast, Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald and the Wildcats are off to a 3-0 start with wins against three peer BCS programs already under their belts. Could two college football head coaches be any more different than Pat Fitzgerald and Frank Spaziani? These two programs couldn't be headed in a more different direction. That is, if the Boston College football program is moving in any direction, as its leadership seems totally and utterly lost at this point.
I submit to you that over the next decade or so, private schools and schools with strong academics will challenge for more conference and National Championships in football than they have over the previous decade. As high school athletes start to realize that not everyone makes it to the NFL, they'll choose a strong academic institution to get a degree and play college football. There is an enormous opportunity here. For programs like Stanford, Northwestern, Notre Dame and USC, they seem to be taking advantage while programs at Vanderbilt, Virginia and UCLA are seemingly on the rise. Will Boston College similarly capitalize?
If the school is serious about restoring some credibility in big time college football, the next Athletic Director has to turn the page on the last 3+ seasons of Boston College football. Hire a new, dynamic head coach -- one that will properly sell the program -- and put a plan in place to put Boston College football back on the map. Then tell fans, alumni and boosters what that plan is.
Does Boston College want to be a Stanford or Notre Dame, or are we headed towards becoming the new Duke or Wake Forest?
These are questions for another day. But on this day, the two football programs that squared off in Evanston this afternoon couldn't be headed in more different directions.