Nothing gets you geared up for Saturday quite like a good rivalry.
With the Eagles' hated, bitter, mortal enemies due in on Saturday, there's a little something in the air that will give Boston College fans that extra edge. It'll make the week drag on a little longer, the wind a little bit stiffer, and the air a little bit crisper. Your strides are faster, your preparation more determined. It's a rival, a team that only a countdown to kickoff seems to do justice for.
#TheRivalry is back.
We'll have lots of sweet coverage to get to on those nasty folks from Tobacco Road as the week progresses. But until then, let's get things kicked off with a look at what to look for this week.
Weekly Storylines (Jerry Maguire Edition)
"I love the mornings! I clap my hands every morning and say, 'This is gonna be a great day!" - Dicky Fox
I've never been inconsistent about my optimism for BC. I saw this season as a complete work in progress from the very start. I said BC would lose in a close, low-scoring game to Duke; that's exactly what happened. I'm right on target with my prediction this season, and while watching the Eagles tests the boundaries of patience, I'm sticking to my guns and am not pessimistic.
Why is that? Well to be honest, I thought BC played well enough to win the game on Saturday. No, that's not me being a coach-defending excuse machine. That's the God's honest truth.
Let's look at the plays left on the table. BC should have had a touchdown on Thadd Smith's catch; it was taken away by what we all agree was a completely blown call by the ACC officiating. That turned into a blown snap on a field goal. Later, Colton Lichtenberg missed a 45-yard field goal in an unrelated setting.
By the same token, Duke should have had points on the fourth-and-goal stand by the BC defense. By not kicking the field goal, they shorted themselves at least three points.
If BC gets that touchdown they deserve and Duke puts up the points they "should have scored," BC wins the game 17-12. If Duke scores a touchdown on that goal line stand, it's still a 17-16 victory for BC by my estimation.
So BC played well enough to win but didn't. Sometimes you sit back and just have to say, "That's sports." Sometimes you can outplay a team and lose. That's just the way it is. The margin for error is nearly unrecognizable that you can play good enough to win - or at least play even with a team - and still lose.
The positives are absolutely offset by negatives, but BC is starting to move forward. Based on the performances against Florida State, NIU, and Duke, I think BC definitely has a long way to go but there are clear steps forward.**
**Now that said, all of this is on a tenuous pedestal at best. At worst? My optimism is a house of cards just waiting to blow over. If I'm wrong, I'll happily admit I'm wrong. That's what analysis is all about. It's entirely possible this entire season falls apart and the team goes 3-9. It's also entirely possible they win eight games. That's how weird this has all been (for the record, I'm still hanging onto 6-6). As I've said before, there are problems, and I always reserve the right to change my mind as the year goes on. You're never married to a single observation after five games.
"Anyone else would have left you by now, but I'm sticking with you. And if I have to ride your ass like Zorro, you're gonna show me the money." -Rod
I did some data breakdown. In five games this year, including the FCS games, BC used five completely different starting lineups. They've actually lined up in completely different patterns - multiple Y backs, multiple receivers, different receivers, different running backs. There is no consistency, but that's due to a multitude of reasons.
Despite my trust that BC will figure this out, there are holes. Some of the inconsistency is caused by BC's inability to stick to something. I don't necessarily believe the play calling is at fault here, but I would like to see the offense settle into something and stick with it. At this point in the season, we shouldn't be worrying about snaps played by a single player.
The coaching staff's seen enough to know that someone should have moved forward. It's been two weeks. Regardless of the clamoring, it would be great if the coaches stepped up and said, "X is our guy" and that's that. Coach Addazio did that in the preseason when he announced this would be a run-first team. Even though I don't feel either quarterback fully outshone the other, I think it's time to start the process of moving forward, and it's time to show me the money.
Again, I trust that BC will figure this out, but I agree that there are problems. I don't necessarily make this about the actual plays; I make this instead about now having the right sample size to make the decision moving forward.
"I just want to be inspired." -Dorothy
Once again, I come back to something I've been beating down all season long. Since the Florida State game, people's opinions and morale are slowly sinking. Even with a win, I understand where the negativity is coming from - you just want a performance where the team goes out and grabs the game by the horns.
It's not for lack of effort or competition; I think BC is fighting hard for those W's. But like the majority of you, I still want to see a game where they break on through. Even though I'm positive and optimistic, I need that breakout performance to be validated. This week is a golden opportunity to go out there and blow a team out of the water, to show what you're made of, and to make the haters eat crow.
We're onto Wake Forest.
Matchup Fun Facts
School Name: Wake Forest University
Nickname: Demon Deacons
National Championships: 0
Conference Championships: 2 (1970, 2006)
Bowl Games: 10
Postseason Bowl record: 6-4
Head Coach: Dave Clawson
Years at School: Second
Head-to-Head With BC
All-Time Series: 12-8-2
Streak: BC, 2
Last BC Win: 2014 (23-17 at WF)
Last Wake Forest Win: 2012 (28-14 at WF)
First Meeting: 1941 (BC won, 26-6)