Come Saturday, it's finally put up or shut up time.
Ever since this game was announced, the fairly small but very vocal fan base of the UMass Minutemen have been gnashing their teeth for a chance to beat the Boston College Eagles. Exhibiting a large Napoleon complex (which is an oxymoron if you really think about it), the newcomers of New England FBS football have wanted and boasted about their team's chance to knock off the resident big dog in the yard. Now they'll finally have that chance or be silenced until they meet again in 2016.
Like I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, there are varying degrees of interest in this game for the Superfans. You're either excited because this is simply just the first game or you're super ramped up because of who the first game is. But there's one key ingredient that's constant. It's time to ramp up.
This week, we'll start looking deeper into this matchup to get you ready for the Minutemen at Gillette Stadium on Saturday. Let's look at some of those storylines as we kick things off with a little help from my friend Tupac Shakur.
Hit 'em up. The first and biggest argument towards this game is the "Battle of the Bay State." UMass went all in on marketing this as a civil war in the Commonwealth. Boston College has some much larger opponents on the schedule like Syracuse and Southern California. So you have to look at the implications of this match as a Massachusetts matchup. BC fans aren't looking past this game, but UMass really has to step it up on Saturday if they want to get the attention of people for being more than a failed transition, 1-win program. Time for the diss tracks to stop and the talking to be done on the field.
All eyes on me. Last year, all BC fans were wondering what Steve Addazio could do for the existing program of players. This year, we're all wondering about what the players can do for Addazio. This is very much a pieced-together program of transfer students and new guys, and the offense has one gigantic question mark. Scrimmages aside, this is the first time for the coaches, the fans, and the media to get a look at the new-look Eagles.
I Ain't Mad At Cha. There's one thing about coming back to football that we can all relate to. It's a time to reconnect with our football families. Tupac wrote this one with the message of how things have changed since he was young, yet he still has "nothin' but love" for his old friends. It doesn't matter how much BC has changed through the years, it's always there and we're all coming back to it. And this game is great because it gives us a chance to come back to something that's always a welcome distraction from our day-to-day worries.
Bonus Track - Biggie Smalls' "Who Shot Ya?" This is for all the UMass fans who have shown me nothing but love over the past year.
Matchup Fun Facts:
School: University of Massachusetts-Amherst
Founded: 1863 (Massachusetts Agricultural College)
All-Time Record: 558-548-51 (.504 winning percentage)
National Championships: 1 (1998 FCS)
Bowl Games: 2 (3 national championship game appearances in 1-AA/FCS)
Postseason Record: 10-7
Head Coach: Mark Whipple
All-Time Record: 121-59 (49-26 at UMass)
Years at School: seven (first as FBS head coach)
Head-to-Head With BC
All-Time Series: BC leads, 19-5
Streak: Boston College, 7
Last BC Win: 2011 (45-17 at BC)
Last UMass Win: 1978 (27-0 at UMass)
First Meeting: 1899 (BC 18, UMass 0)