Many Boston College football fans hoped for the Pinstripe Bowl this season, and they got it. Now they have to withstand the Eagles being the secondary focus of the game.
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Of course, the primary media point of convergence will be Boston College’s opponent, the Penn State Nittany Lions. As noted here previously, this is their first bowl game since 2011, the year where the Jerry Sandusky scandal and coverup were exposed.
Since then, sanctions were levied against Penn State, and subsequently lifted a few months ago. The Nittany Lions football program was a very public target of sports media and even casual observers, and for good reason, as it was in the middle of one of the biggest scandals in college sports history.
With the bowl ban lifted, new coach James Franklin has led Penn State back to a postseason game. That will be the talking point of the Pinstripe Bowl.
Denis Gorman of the Associated Press ran a story yesterday about how the Pinstripe Bowl would foster healing at Penn State. As for the Eagles?
"While the game will not hold the same emotional significance for Boston College (7-5), Addazio left no doubt about his excitement for the bowl berth.Penn State Takes Next Step With Bowl Game (Denis Gorman, AP)"
Over the next few weeks, Eagles fans will hear a lot about the aforementioned “emotional significance” of the game for the Nittany Lions. It will be our job here to remind everyone that, no, Boston College didn’t just get bombed by a huge scandal, but this game means a lot to our program and school as well.
Nobody is claiming the Eagles do not want to win this game as well, but on this side, quite frankly, it’s not our concern what this game means for the other team or not. The motivations are different, and hopefully just as intense, but the goal is absolutely the same.
On one hand, it might seem frustrating to Eagles fans that their team had a better season than outsiders expected and yet they will be a narrative sideshow. At the same time, however, Penn State is a big-name program that is still struggling to put the Sandusky scandal behind them, and it is only natural that the media will gravitate towards them. File this one under “it is what it is.”
Boston College can make themselves the focus in one very specific and final way: win the game.