With the victory over Maine in the rear view mirror, it's time for Boston College to turn the page and begin the process of preparing for their next opponent. On the field, there will be adjustments to make and skills to coach up. Next Saturday's game is an important step in the road to bowl eligibility and in the development of young college football athletes.
The Howard Bison are coming to town, the second consecutive FCS team on the BC schedule. Since BC already defeated Maine, a win or loss won't impact the five remaining games on the rest of the schedule BC will need to obtain bowl eligibility.
Howard is a tremendous institution. A historically black university (HBCU), it sits in the heart of the nation's capital in Washington, DC. It's a top-150 university according to U.S. News and World Report, and its place in American history was secured by its role through in the Civil Rights Movement.
On the athletics fields, Howard is a small sports school, competing in the HBCU-comprised Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, having won five Black College National Championships. The "Showtime" Marching Band has been a staple for over 140 years, and their performances rank among the best any of us could ever see.
Until this season, the MEAC sent its champion to the FCS championship. In 2015, however, the league gave up its automatic bid to instead compete against the SWAC (Southwestern Athletic Conference) champion in the Celebration Bowl on December 19th.
There are few among us who have a problem with Howard as a school or as a football team. The Bison, waxed on Saturday, 49-0, by Appalachian State, are not expected to compete with Boston College, and I would be remiss if I didn't say that there's a chance Howard is beaten early and soundly. The best part of the game may be the Howard band, who unfortunately are not making the trip.
From a pure football stance, I think this game means more than we all think. BC needs more reps, and it's important to see what happens on the field against a defense not from your own school. Despite eventually wearing down the Black Bears and imposing their will in the second half, one more warmup won't hurt before taking on Florida State. I'm pretty sure we all feel that way, especially after FSU destroyed Texas State.
Still, it's a second FCS team. The road to Saturday has started.
Weekly Storylines (Ghostbusters edition)
"Egon, this reminds me of the time you tried to drill a hole through your head. Remember that?" - Peter
"That would have worked if you hadn't stopped me." -Egon
Last week, BC ran just about double the amount of rushing plays to passing plays, having gone for 49 attempts on th ground to just 25 attempts through the air. That should be a sign that the Eagles are going to be, once again, a running team.
Once the offensive line gets its reads and blocking down, the Eagles are going to be very dangerous on the ground. You saw formations where BC wasn't afraid to bring in multiple tight ends for a very tight formation. The Eagles would line up eight men on the line of scrimmage and pound it up the middle. They did an extremely good job of holding onto the ball for swaths of time. You can see the seeds of a successful offense; now we just have to watch it grow.
The bread and butter of this team is still on the ground and looks to remain that way for the time being.
"Sorry, Venkman, I'm terrified beyond the capacity for rational thought." -Egon
Darius Wade missed on a couple of passes against Maine, but there's one play standing out in my mind. He faded back as Thadd Smith broke off the left sideline in towards the middle. He dusted his defender, and Wade threw the ball to a spot. The ball zipped through, sailed long, and fell to the turf, incomplete. A flag was thrown on the play, and with the refs whistling Maine for defensive holding.
After the game, Steve Addazio mentioned his explosive players and explosive plays that didn't get unleashed. He specifically mentioned that at some point, this team is going to need to let it fly and let the fast guys be fast.
I think about that play. Last year, BC didn't have that dynamic at all. They didn't have quick, first-step receivers (although their pass catchers did have downfield speed), and they lacked a quarterback capable of zipping it to them on a dime. If Wade can connect on plays like that, the Eagles will have a brand new look to their offense people aren't ready for and don't know how to prepare to defend. If they're not scared yet, they will be. How soon that is depends on the development of the players.
That this potential exists gets me excited. Remember that Wade is only a sophomore and yesterday was his first real game action. Same for Smith, Sherm Alston, and the like. Like I said above, I think BC's running game is going to be its bread and butter, but you can see the seeds being sown for this team to become something really special.
"We came, we saw, we kicked its ass!" -Peter
I know it was just Maine, but it's a little hard to not get excited about the defense.
SPECIAL BONUS QUOTE:
"Well let's say this Twinkie represents the normal amount of psychokinetic energy in the New York area. Based on this morning's sample, it would be a Twinkie... thirty-five feet long, weighing approximately six hundred pounds." -Egon
"That's a big Twinkie." -Winston
I don't know about you guys, but I'm pumped for this week.
Matchup Fun Facts
School Name: Howard University
All-Time Record: 488-452-41
Claimed National Championships: 5 (1920, 1925, 1926, 1993, 1996)
Head Coach: Gary Harrell
Years At School: 5
Head-to-Head With BC
All-Time Series: First Meeting
Last BC Win: N/A
Last Howard Win: N/A
First Meeting: 2015