BC Eagles: What Is in Store for the Maroon and Gold?
Hepatitis shots, bee stings, getting a backhand to the face—these are all painful things to go through at any point in your life. As a Boston College football fan, take those irritable pains and multiply them by 1,000.
I can't tell you how many games I have been to or watched throughout which I have been genuinely excited, only to have the life ripped out of me in the last few minutes.
Every year my father and I sit down to watch the first game in our double U seats at Alumni Stadium and he says to me, "Matty kid, this year is our year. If we make it to a BCS bowl game we're going!"
Every year...for the past 10 years.
Let me just give you an example of the pain and suffering that I went through when I was a child growing up on BC.
When all hope was lost against Miami, we roared back in the fourth quarter. But it only seemed like a matter of time before the offensive juggernaut led by Ken Dorsey and Clinton Portis would score and put us out of our misery.
Clinton Portis fumbles, BC ball! The always quiet Boston College crowd gets to their feet, even the 90-year-old men at the 50 yard line sit up straight in their chairs!
Not only did BC get the ball back but they are driving! They are down inside the 10, poised to go into the maroon endzone and upset the No. 1 team in the nation. Brian St. Pierre drops back, he looks like he has got a man on the slant, he throws...it seems like the receiver has a chance...
Off his knee and into the outstretched arms of a Miami defensive lineman. Alumni Stadium immediately deflates, but if this weren't bad enough, the defensive lineman shuffles the ball to Ed Reed who sprints down the field (almost caught by an up and coming running back Derrick Knight) and scores.
This marks the only game where I cried after it was over. Yeah, I'm man enough to admit it. I'm dedicated. This was my chance to see history. My Eagles defeating the tyrannical Miami Hurricane—a team against which we hadn't sniffed victory since Doug Flutie.
Anyway, I told that story to get to this story. Remember when BC was one win away from clinching a Big East title and a BCS berth their last year in the Big East? They could have told the Big East, "Yeah we are ready to get out of the crappy Big East, HEEEELLLLLOOOO ACC." And the team they had to beat was SYRACUSE?!
The biggest choke ever in Boston since Bill Buckner.
Guess what? I was there.
I told you that story to get to this story. Remember last year when BC looked better than ever and they had arguably the best QB in the nation in Matt Ryan? Remember when they got all the way to No. 2 in the nation, the highest ranking in program history?
They lost to Florida State! Drew Weatherford could barely tie his own shoelaces at that point in his disappointing collegiate career, but he still managed to carve up the BC defense like Thanksgiving had come early.
So where does that leave us? Oh, the 2008 season. I have to be honest, I have had zero expectations this coming season because I know it is a rebuilding year. We do have some promising prospects coming up in Josh Haden and Jeff Smith at running back.
What is so disappointing about this season is that the BC Eagles defense is probably the best it has been in years. Brian Toal is coming off his neck injury and heads up a linebacking core that is both experienced and quick. And yes, if you are curious, Francois is back! It seems like he has been at BC forever but I assure you this his last season. Not to mention my favorite player on BC, Mark Herzlich. One word, stud.
The defense line is another story. The ends are good but a tad inexperienced, but BC has the two biggest men in the middle, BJ Raji and Ron Brace, and they are athletic as well. These two gentlemen will go to town on a buffet and then smash unexpecting running backs.
The secondary is very inexperienced, but still shows some promise despite losing DeJuan Tribble and Jamie "Mad Dog" Silva.
Overall I gave the BC defense an A-.
I can always tell how an offense is going to do by who the impact players are in the new NCAA 2009 game. This year it is just one person: Ryan Purvis. I laughed out loud. Purvis is a great tight end in the BC system. He has sure hands and runs well with the ball after the catch, but a tight end can only get you so far.
Chris Crane has waited behind Matt Ryan and now he finally has his chance. Although he has nowhere near the arm strength that Matt Ryan possesses, he is more athletic, and this gives Jags something to work with at the QB position. Expect to see a lot roll out passes so they get Crane out of the pocket and into more open space to make throws.
The running back situation is a work in progress. Josh Haden is BC's prize recruit for 2007 and Jeff Smith is recovering from a series of concussions that kept him out all of last year. There was a possibility that he would never play again. Haden is supposed to be a play maker and is good catching the ball out of the backfield, so look for him to improve this year, but I am looking for him to reach his prime next year.
BC's offense is not going to be able to produce as much as they did last year, which may get them into trouble and they will lose some close games as Crane, aside from Purvis, does not have a solid target at wideout. Brandon Robinson and Rich Gunnel are their primary targets, but dropped a lot of balls last season, which cannot happen this season.
Overall I rated BC's offense with a generous C+.
Special teams, two words: Steve Aponavicious. Nuff' said.
This year started out against a cupcake opponent in the Kent State Golden Flash. BC pitched a shutout against their MAC 10 opponent to start the year on a good note.
The next game was a big one: Georgia Tech. This was a must win for BC. GT was predicted to be about middle of the road in the ACC and in order for BC to establish some kind of momentum this year a win on the road against GT would be HUGE.
I couldn't watch the game because I go to school in Florida, and of course ESPN wasn't covering so I couldn't watch it on 360 and was thoroughly upset. I watched the game on game channel, so that was bad luck from the start.
BC was in the lead for most of the game, but could not capitalize in the red zone, which resulted in Aponavicius field goals from 36, 34, and 26.
BC at least showed that they could move the ball on GT, but if they turned one of those FGs into points they would have won (John Madden moment).
BC was up in the fourth quarter when...signature BC...they choked. The stud defense that I drooled over in this article gave up a 43 yard touchdown run and BC could not recover.
They are at a measly 1-1, which could have easily been 2-0 if it hadn't been for the lack of red zone offense. Crane did throw two picks, but he still had a chance to win the game, so in my mind those picks are irrelevant.
They have UCF coming up to Alumni this weekend and this for me is the make or break game of the season. UCF is coming off a heartbreaking loss to USF at home a couple weeks ago. It was a great game and the Knights have had two whole weeks to think about it.
Look for this game to be a close one, but BC is going to come out on top.
As for the rest of the season, this is a year where BC could actually find itself in contention for an ACC title game. Every team in the Atlantic Division is beatable, but in reality BC is going to come out of this season with six or seven wins and will go to try to defend that illustrious bowl winning streak of beating crappy teams in crappy bowl games.
My expectations are pretty low this season so at season end I probably will not find myself screaming f-bombs at the television set when BC blows it once again. But you never know, BC will most likely find a way!
I'll trash BC all I want, but I will still cheer 'em on until the day I die. This year is no different. Give 'em hell, Eagles!
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