Notre Dame will enter Alumni Stadium this weekend as a heavy favorite to cream Boston College and for good reason. The Eagles are currently sitting with a 2-7 record and at the bottom of the Atlantic Division in the ACC, which includes losses to Miami, Army and Wake Forest.
Notre Dame on the other hand, is a Top Five team in the BCS rankings and is looking to make its way into the national championship picture.
But despite all of the differences between these two teams, Boston College should not be slept on by any means. After all, the Irish have been just barely scraping by and needed a miracle to top an average Pittsburgh team last weekend.
According to Matt Fortuna of ESPN, head coach Brian Kelly says his team isn't lucky, but good teams just find many ways to win football games.
Most of the time you're making your luck, and you're playing through some rough spots. Kelly said. I've never had a team that won because it was lucky. But I've had many teams that were fortunate because they were good football teams and they found a way to win, if that makes sense. Does that make sense?
And while Notre Dame should win this game fairly easily, it seems like nothing has come easy for the undefeated team many continue to doubt. This weekend’s game against Boston College could be another dog fight that results in another highly competitive matchup that comes down to the wire.
Notre Dame Picking Up Old Habits?
Last season, Notre Dame had trouble of holding onto the football and converting in the red zone. The Irish have improved somewhat in those categories, but seemed to look very much the team from a year ago in the game against Pittsburgh.
Notre Dame turned the ball over three times last week, which marked the second time this year there were that many turnovers in a single game. When the Irish have turned the ball over at least two times this season, which has happened in three games, it results in a one possession game, two of which included controversial calls.
The Irish also struggled to convert in the red zone, as there were eight total trips and only three of those drives resulted in touchdowns, while they had to settle for three field goals on a few of the other trips.
This is an issue that has haunted this club all season long, as there have only been 21 red zone touchdowns on 46 trips inside the 20-yard line. Boston College actually happens to have one of the better red zone defenses in the ACC, as teams are only scoring touchdowns 47.6 percent of the time.
If Notre Dame continues to hurt itself with turnovers and not cashing in with touchdowns, even a team like Boston College could take advantage.
Boston College Isn't as Bad as You Think
Sure, the Eagles are 2-7 this season and will miss the bowl season for the second year in a row. However, three of those games have been decided by single digits and could have resulted in a victory if the ball bounced in their favor.
This is also a Boston College team that has always played Notre Dame tough in the past. In fact, eight of the last 12 games have been decided by a touchdown or less, according to sports-reference.com, which includes a two-point victory over a Boston College team that finished 4-8 last season.
The Eagles also have one of the best passing games in the country led by junior quarterback Chase Rettig. He is averaging 284 passing yards a game and has gone five games this year with at least two touchdown passes. That has to give the Eagles somewhat of a chance considering the secondary is the most questionable part of the defense of Notre Dame.
Then you add the fact that the game is taking place in Chestnut Hill, Mass. and Boston College could certainly use a momentum building victory; this will be another test for the Irish. As offensive lineman Zack Martin says, according to UND.com, everybody this team plays for the remainder of the season is going to give it their best.
That's just something we know being here at Notre Dame. When you play a team, any team, they are going to come in here and give us their best shot. Everyone wants to come play at Notre Dame, especially with us being undefeated, people want our number. We have to do a better job to prepare and not take teams lightly. I don't think we take teams lightly, just know that they're going to give us their best shot.
Notre Dame should win this game without breaking a sweat when you look at the depth charts. But nothing has come easy for the Irish this season on this magical run. Taking one last road trip before the big game against USC could be a little trickier than expected. It could also put a damper on those championship hopes if the Irish don't treat the Eagles like every other team this season.
Note: All stats come from cfbstats.com unless otherwise noted.