When you are 2-7, you don’t deserve a lot attention. As quintessential Jerseyguy Bill Parcells liked to say, “you are what your record says you are.”
BC is a 2-7 football team, finishing up another dreary, losing season. Yet the Eagles will be playing in prime time on Saturday night at Alumni Stadium, with Brent Musburger, Kirk Herbstreit and the ABC/ESPN boys calling every play.
Why? Notre Dame is the other half of the card. The fourth ranked Irish are unbeaten, in the race for not only a BCS bowl berth, but a spot in the BCS title game. Few commodities in college football are more valuable than an unbeaten ND squad.
Whether BC plays the role of extras or spoilers remains to be seen. They are capable of filling both roles.
But in terms of attention, the Eagles will be examined closer than they have been all season for as long as the game is competitive. A year ago, the Eagles faced FSU in a prime-time Thursday night game and the drama was gone early as the Seminoles took a 28-0 halftime lead and coasted to a 38-7 victory.
Saturday night is bigger in terms of exposure because it is Saturday night, it is ABC and Notre Dame is involved.
All of this was duly noted by the players this week. This, in a sense, is BC’s bowl game. No trip is involved, but the exposure will be BCS in nature. Only Notre Dame is risking everything.
“”We’ve played on national tv before,” said senior offensive tackle Emmett Cleary, who grew up in Illinois and is famliar with ND mystique. “That’s not a big deal. But we could ruin Notre Dame’s season. That would be awesome. I’m stoked.”
Even more fired up is senior middle linebacker Nick Clancy, who is also from Illinois, grew up a ND fan, but was never seriously recruited by the Irish.
“”We always talk about how we prepare the same way, no matter who the opponent,” said Clancy. “But you don’t get much better than this. 8 p.m, Saturday night prime time against a national championship contender. That definitely gets you going. I was feeding off of it all week in practice, knowing that this will be one of the biggest games I will ever play in my career.
“”This game can potentially salvage the season. Having the opportunity to knock them off of their national championship berth is a fantastic opportunity. This would definitely, in my opinion, save the season. ”’
BC’s risk is minimal. Almost no one outside the Eagle locker room expects an Eagle victory against the Irish on Saturday night. And there might even be some debate about that within the room if every player was given a dose of truth serum after watching some of the tapes of a ND defense which has shut down almost every offense it has seen.
ND comes into the game with a BCS berth all but locked (they would have to lose to both BC and Wake Forest to get knocked out).
The Irish are coming into the game after a shaky 3 OT win over Pittsburgh, which had only slighly less credibility as an opponent this year than BC in the minds of many prognosticators.
As ND coach Brian Kelly said it so clearly earlier this week, “Everyone we play is going to give it their best shot.”
BC is ready to do that. BC can win the game, but it probably has to be a perfect storm situation. No mistakes by BC, which seems to make one on almost every series. A rash of mistakes by ND.
Still, there is a history in this series of BC doing the unexpected to ND.
And there is no question that BC is ready for its last prime time role of this season.
© 2012, Mark. All rights reserved.