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Weekly Kickoff: Boston College vs. UMass

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Trying to move on from Saturday

Boston College Eagles v North Carolina Tar Heels Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

This is going to be a tough week for BC fans. (I guess they’ve all been, lately.) Gone is the excitement and buzz surrounding the opener, traveling to Ireland, and playing in a winnable ACC game. It’s replaced with the doom and gloom of a loss that should have been a win, combined with the highly unsexy business of having to move on to facing an in-state opponent BC is heavily favored against.

This is pretty much a no-win situation: either BC wins as all would expect them to do, exciting nobody and doing nothing to allay concerns about the team’s ability to compete in the league; or BC loses or even narrowly wins, which would be fairly disastrous. All you can really hope for as an Eagles fan this week is that things go off without a hitch and we can move on to Virginia Tech.

UMass performed admirably in a 24-7 loss to Florida on Saturday, keeping the game competitive in the first half. They will no doubt be feeling good about their chances, buoyed by what will almost certainly be their largest home crowd since, well, the last time they hosted BC at Gillette two seasons ago.

In terms of attitude, spirit and motivation going in to this week, UMass certainly has the edge. BC will have to not allow that to put them in a hole.

Three Storylines of the Week

1. Establishing the passing offense: BC’s pass offense, while not brilliant by any stretch of the imagination, certainly looked competent on Saturday against Georgia Tech. We know this team is going to be able to run the ball, especially with Jon Hilliman looking in good health. Being able to establish a threatening passing game that other teams will at least have to respect will be central to allowing the run to really thrive against top opponents. You’d hope that against a lower-conference team like UMass, Towles will have the opportunity to open it up a little bit and rack up some passing yards.

2. Handling kicking situations: Well, here we are, how many years later, still dealing with this same kicking issue? And how, exactly, has this not been addressed? Well, regardless of the question of how BC didn’t resolve this issue in any of the last few off seasons, Addazio now deals with the question of how to handle potential kicking situations. He seemed to suggest in his Postgame quotes that he would have handled things differently later in the game, in terms of going for it on fourth downs rather than trying for a field goal; is that going to be the case from the word go on Saturday? And should it be?

3. Dealing with the initial surge: As I said earlier, you have to think UMass has the mental edge going in to this one and will likely come out of the gate giving BC their best shot. In 2014, the Eagles were able to deflate that feeling for UMass early on by simply running the ball down their throats and hanging on to it for long periods of time. We’ll see if they’re able to do the same and prevent UMass from jumping out early.

Songs of the Week - Massachusetts edition

1. The Modern Lovers - “Roadrunner” - Roadrunner was always fairly popular and respected, especially among (for lack of a better term) music nerds from the Boston area, but it’s experienced a resurgence in popularity over the last few years for a quirky reason. While a State Rep., now-Mayor Marty Walsh proposed a bill that would have named Roadrunner the Official State Rock Song of Massachusetts. The bill seemed destined to become law until a different Rep. filed similar legislation to make Dream On by Aerosmith the official rock song; rather than debate the issue, both bills were pretty much put on the shelf after they generated much passionate commentary from supporters on both sides. Which is a shame: if we’re going to spend time declaring an official state rock song, it might as well be one that actually references Massachusetts landmarks, as the Modern Lovers do in the great Roadrunner.

2. Big D and the Kids Table - Steady Riot

No legislative backstory here, just another local band (founded at the Berklee College of Music) made good:

3. Vampire Weekend - Ladies of Cambridge (Boston)

Somehow, despite the fact that all songs that name-check cities tend to get overplayed, and the fact that Vampire Weekend are pretty big, this song has somehow not entered the songs-about-Boston canon. Maybe some day, once people are sufficiently sick of some of the others.

Welcome back to Massachusetts. Go Eagles.