COLUMN: On Campus, Away Games Go Unnoticed
Published: Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Updated: Thursday, October 10, 2013 06:10
There are two pretty unbelievable games happening this weekend that, odds are, not many Boston College students will watch. What are arguably the school’s most popular teams will both be on the road playing in matchups against top competitors.
The first is football’s journey to Clemson on Saturday. While most followers of BC football are hardly counting on a win this weekend, they are looking for the Eagles to put up another fight. Two weeks ago, when BC hosted Florida State, you got what was in my opinion the best of both worlds.
For almost the entire first half, the Eagles the controlled the game. They put up a performance on defense that no one could have anticipated, and the offense followed suit. For the Eagle faithful in the stands, the first half inspired a lot of hope.
Then, Jameis Winston woke up. The Hail Mary to end the first half was just the beginning, and the Seminoles’ star quarterback put on a display of incredible talent during the second half that anyone who loves football can appreciate. Who cares that the Eagles were losing? That Winston guy is unbelievable.
Now, as BC heads down to Death Valley, many students will miss the opportunity to see another one of college football’s biggest talents in action. Tajh Boyd, another Heisman candidate quarterback, will be leading the offensive charge for Clemson. Last week against Syracuse, the Tigers put up 49 points. They’ve scored over 50 twice this year.
Maybe the Eagles will put up another unexpected performance in the first half, maybe they won’t. If they don’t, I’m expecting Boyd and Sammy Watkins put on an impressive show—something that, once again, anyone who loves football can appreciate. If the Eagles do come out strong or even fight back, I’m expecting that display to be even stronger as Boyd fights for his team’s undefeated status.
The problem is, with the game being in South Carolina, most of the BC community that was present for Winston’s show won’t even be watching.
And then there’s hockey. I woke up this morning intending to write a column that would involve me being overly excited that hockey season was finally upon us and trying to convey that excitement to anyone and everyone that would take the time to read about it. And yes, I am a bit overly excited that hockey is back. But I’m also incredibly upset that, chances are, I’m not going to get to watch tonight’s game against Michigan.
We’re talking Michigan, a team that is 4-0 all-time against BC at home. Michigan, which has seven of its top 10 scorers returning from last season and added a second-round draft pick up front for good measure. Michigan, which has won the past three contests against BC.
We’re also talking Johnny Gaudreau, Bill Arnold, and Michael Matheson. We’re talking pitting what is arguably the top freshman class in college hockey against another freshman class that has seen high praise during the offseason. We’re talking about a team that feels like it got sent home too early during last year’s post season.
And all of this will be playing out on Comcast’s Ann Arbor local station. Unless I find a glitchy online stream and download a virus to my computer, I won’t be watching.
The Clemson game is going to be live on ABC regionally and also on ESPN2, so in theory that matchup isn’t going to pose a problem to those eager for an entertaining performance from Boyd. The problem I see, however, is that there is a huge difference between watching a game alone or with a couple friends in your dorm room versus watching it in a crowd. While some people may prefer to watch in a calmer setting, there are others that feel the excitement isn’t the same.
There is always the option of making the trip to a sports bar, but BC should offer something on campus as well. When I get my Nights on the Heights email for this week, it will probably say something about there being a trivia contest tonight upstairs in Lower. Could they not make better use of that time? Instead of trivia, could this week’s Thursday night event be a screening of the BC vs. Michigan game in the Heights room?
There would be hurdles to jump. BC would have to make agreements with local television stations as well as the outlets in areas where the game is readily avalible in order to receive broadcast rights, but there would be a big payoff.
The same thing goes for Saturday’s game. When the Eagles are at home, the whole campus is buzzing about the game. While I don’t expect people to tailgate before a screening of the game (but hey, you never know, to each his own) a scheduled event would not only give people the opportunity to generate some excitement about the matchup, but it would also bring a broader viewer-base.
As it is, it will only be the die hards that remember to turn their TV’s on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. Others, myself included, will probably get back from dinner around 7 p.m., remember that the game is on, and maybe catch the tail-end of the fourth quarter, missing most of the action.
Still more won’t have it cross theirminds at all. If there was an organized event for people to anticipate, it would pull a wider audience of people that wouldn’t necessarily sit down to watch the game all on their own, but appreciate the game day atmosphere.
I’m not saying that every single away game needs to be a huge affair, but this weekend is an exception. Both games will be telling about the future of BC’s most high-profile programs, and students should have the opportunity to observe that.