October 01, 2010

Week 5 Picks - Notre Dame vs. Boston College

BC coming off of a home shutout starting a true freshman QB sounds like the perfect recipe to break into the win column.  But anyone who knows what to expect out of the Irish from week to week should move to Vegas, because this team through four weeks has been hard to get a read on.  It is apparent that we have another mediocre version of Irish football on our hands, but is it so bad that ND could possibly lose to a BAD Boston College team?  Let's find out...

Dan: Boston College

Well, after using my head against Michigan State, I followed my heart against Stanford, only to watch the lads trot out there on the field for display of pure, physical abuse. Now, we get to travel to Chestnut Hill, where the Irish have not had much success in recent years. Boston College is a bad football team. But, in the immortal words of Charlie Weis, “You are what you are folks, and right now you’re a 6-5 football team”. Right now, we may not even be a 6-5 football team.

On offense, Crist takes forever to make decisions in the pocket (not to mention the fact that he has the slowest 3 -4 steps to begin a scramble in the history of “mobile” quarterbacks), Floyd continues to look disinterested, the other wide-outs have yet to step-up consistently. Allen has looked good, but under-utilized, and now he is banged up. I expect BC’s front 7 to apply frequent and successful pressure to get to Crist, disrupt the passing game, and keep the offense searching for its rhythm.
ND’s defense has passable at times this year, but from game to game either gives up a couple big plays or fails to get off the field. My guess is that they can avoid the big play errors against a poor BC offense, but I envision one or two 10 play drives where the defense fails to come up with a 3rd down stop.

After the last 3 weeks (and last week in particular) my confidence in the team, and the program, has been shattered. Until I see something on the field to make me think otherwise, I can’t justify predicting a win against a BCS conference school, particularly on the road.

BC 17 ND 13

Jeremy: Notre Dame

The Eagles have never been very good hosts to the Irish in Chestnut Hill, and given the thrashing the Irish received last week, its tough for ND fans to be too confident going into this game. But these don’t seem to be your father’s, or even your older brother’s, Eagles. Virginia Tech suffocated the dormant BC offense this week, leading to the surprise news that BC will be starting a freshman under center against the Irish. It certainly seems that the much-maligned Irish D might be getting something of a respite this Saturday.

For those expecting the Irish to help author a storybook tale and create another Flutie-like hero, Pete Sampson of Irish Illustrated had an interesting bit or trivia today – the Irish have lost 4 games to either true or redshirt freshman QBs in the past 5 years. Those QBs were Matt Barkley, Andrew Luck, Ryan Mallett and Tate Forcier – 3 likely NFL QBs and the last heir to the QB Force dynasty. Even though he did arrive to BC with some serious fanfare, its tough to imagine Chase Rettig (with only one full week of practice as the starter) torching the Irish defense. BC will probably have to rely heavily on their running game, and Montel Harris is certainly up to the challenge. The Eagles do have an experienced offensive line, but even BC fans are doubtful that they’ll be able to run it effectively enough against the Irish, particularly between the tackles, where the Irish have been fairly stout thus far.

On offense, Dayne Crist was shown some different looks by the Stanford defense last week when the Cardinal often dropped 8 men into coverage. The Eagles employed a similar strategy against Jimmy Clausen in 2008, resulting in one of the uglier performances of Jimmy’s career, and one of the worst losses of the Weis regime. Here’s guessing we see some more of that on Saturday night. The Irish will need to establish some sort of consistent running game to keep BC off balance. With Armando Allen nursing his midseason bumps and bruises a few weeks earlier than usual, and with a banged-up Jonas Gray we may see Robert Hughes get some carries. If he can run like he did against Purdue last year, he may prove to be a very effective option for Molnar and Kelly.

Bottom line – ND will be able to move the ball and put some points on the board and the BC offense simply won’t be able to score enough to keep up. The Irish snatch a good road win and head back towards respectability.

ND 20 BC 13

Jimmy: Notre Dame

The last few trumpets of fanfare for the Brian Kelly Era were muted last week. Still don't think the panic button needs punching, but if you can't beat a low-tier bowl team shuffling QBs around, who can you beat? I consider this a "You gotta be kidding me if we can't Win" situation in lieu of a "Must-Win." Any BCS aspirations for the season are out the door. Concentrate on beating the teams we should and maybe salvage some goodwill with a Trojan uprising (sorry, getting ahead of myself...baby steps...one win in front of the other). The Irish turn the corner in Boston. ND Nation can exhale, for now.

Notre Dame 31 Boston College 17

Matt: Notre Dame

If Notre Dame can’t beat BC this year they should shut down the program. This is an absolute no excuses get the job done and move on.

As Jimmy mentioned yesterday, I did indeed dress up as the legendary Mike Gundy in Vegas, and it got me thinking about his memorable rant. So today, let’s take a look at this game and Notre Dame football while using some of the best quotes from his speech.

"Three fourths of this is inaccurate”
To the Notre Dame fans, who hope that three fourths of the Notre Dame games so far have been an inaccurate indicator of where this program is headed. As Beano Cook would say, Notre Dame has more material than all three of the teams that we lost to. The kryptonite in each game was so simple, be it containing Robinson on the run or figuring out how to beat Stanford dropping eight guys into coverage, the players and coaches were unable to make adjustments. Let’s hope that we see more out of everyone - the coaches, offense and defense, to prove that three fourths of the games so far are not truly indicative of this program.

“He’s respectable to the media…he’s respectable to the PUBLIC!...”
To Brian Kelly, who compared to the Charlie Weis era’s handling of the media has been a total 180. Whether it’s the South Bend Trib writers or national writers like Pat Forde and Bruce Feldman, there is universal respect for Kelly and what he has accomplished, and there isn’t a hint of ego about him. However, I just don’t want to start hearing about how the scheme needs to be implemented more effectively or any of that Weissian nonsense. As Charlie said himself, you are what you are. If the losses start piling up, let’s see how Kelly handles himself in the media.

“He doesn’t deserve to be kicked when he’s down”
To Dayne Crist, who had a poor day against Stanford and took an unfair amount of criticism this past week for that performance. I think people, myself included, forget just how raw Crist really is because of how long he’s been on campus. These have been the first four starts of his career and to top it off he’s coming off a serious knee injury. Dayne Crist is the least of our problems right now and I expect him to have a big day against BC.

“…for doing everything right!”
To Manti Teo, who has become an All-American before our eyes this season. His effort against Stanford was awesome, and as I told my Dad that night, we need about 10 more Manti Teo’s. The problem with having Teo make 21 tackles is that about half of them came 8 yards downfield, but nevertheless he has been a one man wrecking crew this year. To take his game to the next step, I would like to see him become a more disruptive force in the backfield and create turnovers. But he has been as advertised and has cleaned up his missed tackles for the most part.

“Come after me, I’m a man…I’m 40!”
To BC QB Dave Shinskie, who only seems like and looks like he’s 40 but is really a 26 year old sophomore. Sadly, Shinskie lost his starting job and now must carry around a clipboard until he’s darn near 30 in order to stay a part of the BC football program. Shinksie wasn’t that good against Weber State, decent against Kent State, and downright awful against Virginia Tech. Minor league baseball might not be looking so bad after all…

“Who’s the kid here?”
To BC true freshman QB Chase Rettig who will be airing out throws for the first time as a collegian on Saturday night. The gameplan has to be to pressure this kid and force him into mistakes. BC is only 91st in the country running the football despite the solid play of Montel Harris, so I foresee the Irish stacking the box, doing everything to stuff the run, and force Rettig into third and longs.

“Where are we at in society today…”
“Because it’s GARBAGE!”
“Get your facts straight”
“It makes me want to puke”

This four-pack of quotes sadly goes to Notre Dame’s place in the football world these days. ND fans, did you realize that ND is 1-7 in their last 8 games. Talk about a fact that is garbage and will make you want to puke. It’s a sad commentary on society today (or maybe just Notre Dame football) when the Irish make the list below of teams with the longest drought of only one win:

1) Western Kentucky (0-24;1-25)
2) Eastern Michigan (0-16;1-21)
3) New Mexico (1-19)
4) Colorado State (1-12)
4) Washington State (1-12)
6) New Mexico State (0-10;1-11)
7) Vanderbilt (1-10)
8) Memphis (1-9)
9) Duke (1-7)
9) North Texas (1-7)
9) Notre Dame (1-7)
10) Akron (1-6)
10) Florida International (1-6)
11) Minnesota (1-5)
11) Tulane (1-5)
11) Ohio (1-5)

To everyone who is calling for a Notre Dame loss. Come on, it’s freaking Boston College with a freshman QB. They just got shutout at home to a mediocre Virginia Tech team. They have nobody who can contain Floyd or Rudolph, Manti will be a one man stopper on Harris, Gary Gray will make at least one big play on defense in the pass game and Bennett Jackson will have a kamikaze like return where he just runs as fast as he can through BC. Irish win comfortably.

Notre Dame 27 BC 16

Mike: Boston College

The SuperFans invade Jacksonville

Once again, the Irish will head to New England to face a typically mediocre Boston College team. Although Notre Dame should be able to win this game, I expect ND to make its usual complement of mistakes on offense as the players struggle to execute in Brian Kelly’s pass heavy “system.” In addition, I expect BC to run the ball effectively against the ND front seven, which will allow true freshman QB Chase Rittig to find a comfort zone in his first career start. Simply put, this will be a typical ND-BC game: BC will play harder and make fewer mistakes, thereby allowing the less talented Eagles to pull out a close win in front of a record crowd of 20,000 at Alumni Stadium.

Boston College 23 Notre Dame 20

1 comment:

Jimmy said...

Fantastic work with the Gundy quotes Lips. That was special, and spot on. We should work those in more often, maybe have a post-season awards ceremony - the Gundies!