On October 3, 2009, ESPN Gameday opened its show with Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit, and Lee Corso from Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. The show celebrated Mark Herzlich's fight against cancer, and it was on that day that the legendary Boston College linebacker announced he had beaten Ewing's Sarcoma. Prior to the game, Herzlich took the microphone and worked the more than 40,000 fans into a frenzy, and BC, buoyed by an emotional day, went out and defeated the Seminoles, 28-21.
At the time, we had no way of knowing it would be the last time BC would defeat FSU.
Six years later, the Eagles are still looking for their next victory over the Seminoles. Starting in 2010, FSU began the road back to a national powerhouse while BC slipped into mediocrity. While the Eagles have climbed back to respectability in Steve Addazio's first seasons at the helm, FSU's been running roughshod over the rest of the ACC, having won three straight conference championships and a national title. Last season, FSU appeared in the first ever College Football Playoff.
Despite five straight losses to the Seminoles, Boston College remains a pesky thorn in Chief Osceola's side. During their 2013 national championship run, FSU defeated everyone by multiple scores and never trailed throughout the regular season—except for in the first half at BC, when the Eagles seemed to have FSU on the ropes before Jameis Winston engineered a dominant effort. Last season, it took a clutch two-minute drill against BC to slip away with a three point victory. Throughout the time Steve Addazio's been head coach, FSU's been anything but dominant against the Eagles.
That leads us to Friday night. There's much that's unknown. FSU struggled at times against South Florida last weekend, but they scored 27 second half points en route to a 34-14 victory. That said, it's still early in the season, and Everett Golson is still finding his way in the offense. This is the Seminoles' first game away from Tallahassee, on a Friday night, with temperatures likely dipping down into the 60s.
On the flip side, there's much unknown about the Eagles. Saturday's win over Howard is a throwaway for any useful game film, and the win over Maine was, well, a win over an FCS team. This is their first test, and it comes against a team featuring a national championship pedigree.
The emotion will run high on Friday. Over the past couple of years, BC fans learned not to fear FSU. There's always the chance the Seminoles blow out the Eagles, but based solely on results, the Superfans are well past the disappointment of the Spaz-era blowouts. There is no false bravado, but there's no fear. Many are calling for a victory on Friday, especially with the bright lights of a national television audience.
Boston College fans know their team has an uphill battle against a team ranked inside of the top 10. But in the Addazio era, there's no fear. Against Florida State, there's a confidence brimming, one steeped in the belief that they can go out on any given day and defeat any given opponent. Will it happen? We don't know. But this week is sure going to be fun trying to find out.
This Week's Storylines (The Replacements Edition)
"This doesn't change anything Falco! I'm still an All-Pro quarterback with two Super Bowl rings. You'll never be anything more than a replacement player." -Eddie Martel
"Yeah. Yeah I can live with that." -Shane Falco
Let's roll out the facts. When the gametime hits, it will have been 1,029 days since Florida State last lost a regular season game. It will have been 49 more days since they last lost a game on the road. In the three NFL drafts since, professional franchises selected 29 Seminoles, six of which were picked in the first round. They won a national championship and earned a berth in the College Football Playoff. Their Heisman Trophy winner became a first overall draft choice.
Running back Dalvin Cook is already a front runner for national awards, and quarterback Everett Golson once had Heisman aspirations at Notre Dame. Jalen Ramsay is one of the best defensive backs in the nation, a leader on a defensive unit returning seven starters from a year ago. Kicker Roberto Aguayo is arguably the best kicker in the nation.
I wish I could tell you how Boston College is going to match that with Heisman hopefuls and national contenders, but that's just honestly not the truth. There's more overall raw talent on the other sideline. That's who they are. We're nothing more than the scrappy team from the north, the place where college football doesn't mean as much to us as it does in Tallahassee. And you know what? I can live with that.
We're not FSU. We're never going to be FSU. They can come in here with their history and their ghosts, and it doesn't mean much of anything. We're Boston College for all its positives and negatives. This week, we band together and support our team so they can compete for us. Even if we lose, we're going to have our pride, and that's nothing that can ever be stripped away. BC may not be perfect as individuals, but as a team, we'll see what they can bring together at the end of the week.
"I look at you and I see two men: the man you are, and the man you ought to be. Someday those two will meet. Should make for a hell of a football player." -Jimmy McGinty
Here's the thing about this game from a BC standpoint: we don't know what kind of team BC ought to be right now. We look at them and see a team that's very raw, a team that's really only had one game of full action. We've seen flashes of it from the offense, the defense, and even the special teams. But we've seen it under weird circumstances and not in a game against an FBS, Power Conference opponent.
Last season, BC beat UMass and lost to Pittsburgh. In those two games, we received sample sizes and reality checks. We saw that BC could dominate if they got rolling. We saw that they didn't have any quit when challenged by Pittsburgh. They went into the USC game with low expectations, but it wasn't surprising when they came out and punched the bully right in the mouth.
This BC team hasn't faced adversity on the gridiron. They'll face plenty of it this weekend. We'll see if BC can rise to the occasion and be a championship caliber team, or we'll see where they still have work to do. Hey, we could see both. We simply don't know.
"Winners always want the ball when the game is on the line." -Jimmy McGinty
Against USC last season, Tyler Murphy enjoyed a breakout onto the national radar. He entered the game as a quarterback and left the game as an identifiable leader, the face of the program.
If BC is going to defeat FSU, we need to know who the hero is going to be. Someone has to step up and be the guy who wants the ball when the game is on the line.
Who that is is something that's determined by what's inside of them and the circumstances on the field. That goes for both sides. Will it be Dalvin Cook? Will be Everett Golson? Will it be Darius Wade? Will it be Tyler Rouse? Will it be Jon Hilliman? Will it be one of the defensive players? By the time Saturday morning rolls around, we'll be talking about someone's name.
"Hey Shane Falco. I lost a ton of money on that Sugar Bowl disaster of yours. What a bloody shambles that was. You could smell the stink all the way back in bloody Wales." - Nigel Gruff
If there's one thing I really wonder about Florida State, it's what will happen to their mental toughness in times of struggle. They answered the bell against South Florida last week, but let's be honest—it was USF. Everett Golson opened up the game going 1-for-9 in the first half, and the offensive line surrendered two sacks in the same time period. They failed to really get any leverage against the Bulls defensive line, a unit far inferior (at least in our minds) to the Boston College team.
They would regroup, especially when Dalvin Cook rattled off 266 yards, but I still question what happens when the Seminoles are really pressured. The last time we saw them really under the fire, they folded like a house of cards against Oregon. The team is very different now than it was then, but this is the first power conference game they'll play since that matchup against the Ducks.
Also, I had FSU winning the national title last year (crazy, right?) in a pool amongst my friends. I would have lost a good chunk of change if, you know, sports gambling were legal in the state of Massachusetts.
SPECIAL BONUS QUOTE:
"All right now, I don't want them to gain another yard. YOU BLITZ...ALL NIGHT! If they cross the line of scrimmage, I'm gonna take every last one of you out! You make sure they remember, FOREVER, the night they played the Titans! Leave no doubt!" -Coach Yoast, Remember The Titans
This is a game where the seeds can be sown. Go Eagles.
Matchup Fun Facts
School Name: The Florida State University
Team Name: Seminoles
All-Time Record: 523-238-17
Claimed National Championships: 3 (1993, 1999, 2013)
Conference Championships: 18 (3 Dixie Conference, 15 ACC)
Bowl Games: 44
Postseason Record: 26-15-2
Head Coach: Jimbo Fisher
Years at School: Sixth
Head-to-Head with BC
All-Time Series: FSU leads, 9-4
Streak: FSU, 5
Last BC Win: 2009 (BC 28, FSU 21 at BC)
First Meeting: 1957 (BC 20, FSU 7 at BC)