In a game like this, it is difficult for me to be objective. I dislike Notre Dame, I dislike Notre Dame football, I dislike all Notre Dame sports, I wish the school were razed and the fields salted, I want BC fans out in Indiana right now to be able to gloat, and I want the Irish to lose this game badly.
But they’re not going to.
This is not an ordinary year for Boston College football. Unfortunately, the last few years have not been ordinary. This is a program that has been in decline and is becoming non-competitive with the better teams on their schedule. In fact, of the previous two ranked teams the Eagles faced, they have been outscored 66-28, and of the teams currently with winning records that they’ve faced (Clemson, VT, and FSU), BC has been outscored 104-35. Against FBS teams, BC has been outscored 232-135.
The guys playing hard and for their own pride is one thing, but to be blunt, it hasn’t shown up in the results this season. There are many different reasons for that, and you all know what they are, so spare me from having to remind you. All I hope is that the guys continue to play hard this week and next week.
I could compare this game to the Florida State game, but it is not entirely analagous. For example, both the Seminoles and Irish have very good offenses, but the Seminoles have a good defense (including an elite run defense), whereas Notre Dame is a little more average in that area. Still, both teams are very good, and it is my fear that Notre Dame will be as kind to us as the Seminoles were.
I don’t know what kind of gameplan the Eagles are going to run here, but it’s likely that they’re going to rush the ball more than their fair share. Here were the plays run by the Eagles in their most recent games:
• NC State: 36 rush (72 yd), 13 pass (9 comp, 118 yd)
• FSU: 39 rush (94 yd), 20 pass (12 comp, 113 yd)
• Maryland: 62 rush (372 yd), 12 pass (5 comp, 32 yd)
• VT: 29 rush (91 yd), 30 pass (13 comp, 181 yd)
Since the Maryland game, Boston College has heavily relied on the run, but it has not had nearly the same success. Against the Terps, BC ran 62 times for 372 yards. In the other three of the most recent four games, they rushed 104 times for 257 yards. The predicament here for the Eagles is that not only was the Maryland game an obvious fluke, but their passing game isn’t reliable, either: in the last month, the Eagles have not completed more than 13 passes in a game.
BC’s defense may play with some added enthusiasm, but their job won’t merely be to slow down Notre Dame’s solid offense: they have to completely shut it down. Even if they perform admirably and hold Notre Dame somewhere, say, in the neighborhood of 24-27 points, our offense is not going to score enough to come close.
The outlook here is for a very likely BC loss. A loss by at least two touchdowns is probable and a blowout loss (25+ points) is not out of the question. Notre Dame is unfortunately my pick to win.