Entering its primetime matchup with Clemson several weeks ago, Boston College football seemed like it was on its way to a strong bowl game. The Eagles had the chance, at the time, to potentially play for the ACC Championship and, with two games left in the season, could feasibly win nine games and appear in a prestigious bowl game. Instead, Steve Addazio and BC lost its final three games and bowed out of the upper tier of bowl eligibility.
On Sunday afternoon, BC (7-5, 4-4 Atlantic Coast) announced that it had accepted an invitation to play No. 23 Boise State (10-3, 7-1 Mountain West) in the SERVPRO First Responder Bowl on Dec. 26. The bowl, the fifth in six years under Addazio and 27th in program history, will be played at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas, at 1:30 p.m.
BC will be the first a program from the ACC to play in the bowl, which was formerly named the Heart of Dallas Bowl. The Eagles, who dropped their final three games to Clemson, Florida State, and Syracuse, became bowl-eligible in Week Nine against Miami. The Red Bandana Game win secured the 17th trip to a bowl in the past 20 years for BC.
“We’re going to have a chance to go out and try to get our eighth win,” Addazio told reporters at Sunday’s bowl announcement press conference. “We’re very, very excited about it and the quality of the team and opponent we’re playing.”
The Broncos finished the regular season with 10 wins and came within six points of winning their conference, instead falling to No. 19 Fresno State in overtime. Since the turn of the century, Boise State has been the winningest program in college football, racking up a 207-38 record—which includes a 12-6 mark in bowl games. The Broncos have spent the past four years with former quarterbacks coach Bryan Harsin manning the helm, and he’s found plenty of success. Harsin guided Boise State to a win over Oregon in the Las Vegas Bowl last year, a punctuation mark on a stretch where it won nine of 10 games.
“They’re ranked in the top 25 in offense and the top 30-something in defense,” Addazio said. “I think we’re playing a really good football team. I’ve always watched them through the years when I catch them on TV, and I know what their history is.”
The two teams met during the bowl season back in 2005, when the Eagles traveled to Boise, Idaho, to play Boise State on its home turf in the MPC Computers Bowl, which has since been renamed to the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. Behind sophomore quarterback Matt Ryan, BC was able to hand the Broncos their first loss at home in 31 games, beating them 27-21. Ryan threw for 262 yards and a trio of touchdowns, with one going to wide receiver Will Blackmon—who totaled almost 150 yards on just five catches.
This year’s rematch should be similarly competitive. Both teams are loaded with talent, and while the Eagles slumped down the stretch, they still boast 13 All-ACC selections. Boise State was similarly dominant in the Mountain West, with 11 nominations—including quarterback Brett Rypien, who was named the Offensive Player of the Year. This years matchup, held the day after Christmas, should be an entertaining spectacle and will be aired on ESPN.
“I think this bowl is going to be one that everyone knows about it when it’s all said and done,” Harsin said in his own press conference per the Boise State athletic department.
Featured Image by Jess Rivilis / Heights Staff