Boston College’s game against Northwestern on Saturday is big, at least as far as this team’s 2012 prospects go. That calls for five big questions, as it does every Thursday.
5. Is Northwestern really one of the most critical games of the season? Aren’t Florida State, Clemson, and Virginia Tech much bigger?
You bet it’s one of our biggest games. One might say “FSU, Clemson, and Virginia Tech are going to be huge games because they’re so good, and they’re conference games; Northwestern is just average and it’s non-conference.” Yes, Northwestern is average and non-conference. This is also one of those “toss-up” games we identified before the season began.
If BC is going to sneak into a bowl game when this thing is all over, they will have to win games like this. Let’s face it: FSU and those other Top 15 teams we’re facing are going to be heavy favorites, and we’re not winning the ACC Atlantic, anyway — there’s a realistic chance BC will start 0-3 in the ACC, with 0-4 not impossible. Games like Northwestern are far more attainable for this team in terms of getting this team to six wins.
They’ve already lost one of the toss-ups to Miami. That makes Northwestern all the more important, because they can’t go on losing to too many average teams. Besides, if they can’t beat average teams, they probably don’t belong in a bowl.
One of BC’s recent problems has been digging a deep hole at the start of the year. If they fall to Northwestern, they could start a three game road trip to West Point, Tallahassee, and Atlanta at 1-3 (and they could be 2-5 coming out of that). Turning NU into a win could really improve BC’s chances. If the Eagles go just 5-7 this season, they’ll be kicking themselves over games like this.