Of the other Atlantic Division teams in the ACC, NC State is perhaps the most nondescript. When speaking about conference or divisional rivalries, there are other teams where BC's played more memorable and more contentious games. There isn't a ton of history, and with the exception of when Tom O'Brien left for Raleigh, there isn't a ton of natural, clean hate for the opponent.
The Wolfpack enter this weekend, however, as a curious and intriguing opponent. On the field, they're a team with a good offense led by a solid quarterback in Jacoby Brissett. They have an elite running back in Matt Dayes and a good pass catching player in Jaylen Samuels. Even without Shadrach Thornton, this is a team that lit up Clemson last week in their game in Raleigh last Saturday.
Off the field, NC State represents the easy road to bowl eligibility. For the second straight year, they paved their path to a bowl game by padding wins totals against a number of low-level teams. With games against Georgia Southern, Old Dominion, South Florida, and Presbyterian, the Wolfpack used their first four to offset their inability to win consistently in ACC play.
While it's obviously a discussion point, it's helped buoy NC State's rebuilding process. In 2012, the Wolfpack were a 7-6 football team before firing Tom O'Brien. In 2013, they went 3-9. Dave Doeren is using the weaker schedule to install his sets on young players. Although Brissett is experienced, Dayes is in his first year as a featured running back, arguably the top dog even before Thornton was dismissed from the program. Samuels is only a sophomore. It's a formula that's worked for them.
Is that a reason to hate them? Well right now, things are hairy enough with the Eagles than to look at a team and discuss their faults. NC State is likely heading to a bowl, needing just one win in their final four games. BC is bowl ineligible with six losses in a year where they played two FCS teams. In terms of on-field product, I don't think anyone is casting stones, at least not this year.
Weekly Storylines (Blue Chips Edition)
"They gave everything they had! They played up to the maximum of their ability! They gave it everything. And you know, it wasn't good enough. It wasn't good enough for me, wasn't good enough for you, wasn't good enough for anybody!" -Pete Bell
There's one thing I keep coming back to about this team - they never quit. They give us their all each and every week. They're blue collar, and they do whatever they can to try and win the football game. Unfortunately for us, the offense just isn't that good this year. There's a number of reasons for it - missed plays here, missed throws there. The offensive line hasn't gelled like the coaching staff could've hoped. They took a step back.
But BC never quit fighting. Is it good enough? Well everyone is saying that without wins, it's not. I've certainly criticized and been frustrated with this team at various points of the season. I try to temper that every Monday, use logic to take steps back and reset expectations each and every week. Still, it doesn't seem like it's good enough.
This team is giving it their everything. Since the Northern Illinois game, it hasn't been good enough for anybody. But they've been giving us everything they had. I hope, one day, that's their legacy and it transcends the struggle of the season.
"Dwayne, you can get through college half-assed. Richard, you get you life half-assed. But I'll guarantee you boys one thing: sure as hell, I'll guarantee you this: you cannot WIN half-assed!" -Pete Bell
Back to that effort, at some point, I really feel Boston College is going to break through. It seems like, at times, things are starting to come together. When that happens, things never quite get in sync. Maybe I'm a doe-eyed optimist, but I see this team starting to do things each and every week. This late in the season, they needed to be connecting at a better clip. But they're not.
But as they struggle, they must continue to battle hard. At some point, you really have to think something will break through. You can see it from time to time. Watch John Fadule scramble for key yardage, taking on hits along the way. Watch the defense reset and play great in the second half after surrendering the first half. At some point, these things have to come together at one.
The Eagle offense moved the football better last week than it had in the previous couple of weeks before. They moved in the second half with efficiency. They don't have to do that in order to win the game against NC State, but if they can put together one or two more drives like that in the second half, things CAN happen.
But they have to give their effort, go out, and put it altogether. They need to play for the man next to them and make it happen, without being, as ole Petey Bell would say, "half-assed."
"I'm not going to bulls--t you Pete. He ain't no brain surgeon, all right. He took the SAT recently and scored a 520 out of a possible 1600." -Slick
"520? You get 400 for just spelling your name correctly." -Pete
"That's it. He messed up on his name." -Slick
Neon Boudeaux might be one of my favorite movie characters of all-time. Shaq is absolutely hilarious, and Neon's no-nonsense approach to life is fantastic. Nothing's better than watching the highlights of him dominating in the Algiers, Louisiana gym - and the guy wasn't even acting.
If you think about Neon's character, he's the type of recruit BC definitely needs. No, I don't mean a guy who messes up his name on the SAT (though Neon did it on purpose). I mean the type of guy that a hidden guy like Slick finds. I couldn't find the quote of when Slick meets Pete outside the Belgrade, so I don't know it word for word, but I can paraphrase what he said.
Slick basically told Pete that he had a guy, a guy who could dominate. Slick also says that he wants his guy to go to Pete Bell's Western University because he knows the program is "so screwed up right now" that his guy will play right away - and dominate.
We're not really sure who that type of guy is. It could be John Fadule. It could be Anthony Brown next season. It could be someone we don't even know about yet that steps in and all of a sudden turns the jets on. But BC needs to find that type of player and specifically incorporate him as Pete would do later on with Neon.
(Side note - if a guy scores that low on his SATs, there's no way he's getting into BC. Just a hunch)
Matchup Fun Facts
School Name: North Carolina State University at Raleigh
National Championships: 0
Conference Championships: 11 (7 ACC, 3 SAIAA, 1 Southern)
Bowl Games: 28
Postseason Bowl Record: 15-12-1
Head Coach: Dave Doeren
Years at School: Third
Head-to-Head With BC
All-Time Series: BC leads, 8-4
Streak: BC, 2
Last BC Win: 2014 (30-14 at NC State)
Last NC State Win: 2012 (27-10 at NC State)