FOOTBALL: Wrestling For An Upset
After Suffering Another Bowl-Less Season, The BC Football Team Is Looking To Be A Postseason Spoier
Published: Thursday, November 8, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01
Positives have been few and far between for this year’s Boston College football team. Nine games into the season, the Eagles have only been able to enjoy two wins, and a bowl game is not in their future. But all is not lost yet for BC—a primetime showdown against No. 4 Notre Dame in the national spotlight awaits them on Saturday night, and the Eagles are hungry to play the spoiler role.
“This could potentially salvage the season,” said fifth-year linebacker Nick Clancy. “We’re unfortunately unable to go to a bowl game this year, so this is the next best thing—being able to play a team that’s on the biggest stage in the country and having the opportunity to knock them off from their national championship berth is an unbelievable opportunity. It would definitely, in my opinion, save the season.”
Head coach Frank Spaziani called Saturday’s game an “opportunity,” but it was more for his players to prove what they’re capable of instead of ruining Notre Dame’s perfect season.
“I don’t think it’s about spoiling anything,” Spaziani said yesterday before his team practiced in the snow. “It’s about playing a team that’s ranked fourth, that’s undefeated. It’s a big challenge. It’s an opportunity, we gotta take advantage of it.”
The last nine games are off the table for BC on Saturday, as the players are focusing solely on the games they have left, starting with Notre Dame.
“It’s a huge opportunity for us to not look at what’s happened so far, and if we can play as a team and come together to play four quarters of football and maybe have a chance to win at the end of the game, then it would definitely erase everything that’s happened so far,” said quarterback Chase Rettig.
On the other side of the ball, the Fighting Irish will be feeding off their momentum and success from the last nine games after starting off 9-0. Notre Dame is coming off a triple overtime win against Pittsburgh last week, and is still in the hunt for a spot in the National Championship. As if the Holy War didn’t provide enough motivation, Notre Dame’s record gives BC yet another thing to feed off.
“I would rather knock Notre Dame out of the national championship than play in the Toilet Bowl or whatever,” said captain Emmett Cleary.
Multiple players are calling this game the “opportunity of a lifetime” for the combination of a chance to knock off Notre Dame in addition to playing on national TV with the kickoff set for 8:12 p.m. on ABC.
“This is the big one because they’re nationally ranked and it’s going to be on national television, so we can show everyone around the nation that we’re still Boston College and we still compete with anyone we play,” said defensive back Spenser Rositano.
For all those reasons, there has been an added intensity in the Eagles’ practice this week.
“Practice has been extremely intense,” said offensive guard Seth Betancourt, who is stepping in for the injured Ian White. “It was one of the best practices I’ve seen in a while yesterday.”
A little look back into BC history shows that a late-season upset of an undefeated Notre Dame is not out of reach. In 1993, the Eagles spoiled the Irish’s hopes of a national championship in a 41-39 win over the then-No.1 Notre Dame. Although BC was ranked No. 17 in the country at the time, it was still one of the major upsets of the storied rivalry, and this year’s squad is hoping to pull off a similar stunner. The players know about that 1993 game and have aspirations to repeat it.
Just last year, the Eagles went to South Bend with a 3-7 record and nearly pulled off the win against 8-3 Notre Dame. BC came up just short in its efforts, 16-14, but Cleary said he’s using that as a reminder of nothing being impossible, even as big underdogs.
“There’s some of that—that nobody thinks that we can win and everyone’s just ready to crown them,” Cleary said. “But people forget—we played them straight up at their place last year. We know we can play with this team because we proved it in the past. This is a football game against a team we can beat.”
A win won’t fix everything in Chestnut Hill, but it would give fans something positive to remember about the 2012 season. One of eight fifth-year seniors, Clancy knows his time at BC is running out, and he would like to make one last memory on Saturday night.
“[A win] would definitely make guys feel better about the season, and it’s just a memory to have,” Clancy said. “I’ll never ever forget that moment if we can knock them off.”