Thursday, October 11, 2007

BC Brings Unblemished Record to ND | by Brian

"Our long national nightmare is over."
--- Former Michigan footbawl player Gerald Ford

Food tastes better. The air seems fresher. Colors appear sharper and brighter. The depreciation of the dollar relative to the Canadian dollar is less irksome. And the cacophony of this work-a-day world suddenly sings melodiously. Yes, friends, the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame are in the win column! Clearly, The Blind Oracle at Bristol doesn't have the first clue what he's talking about! (That Blind Oracle---now there's a joke that has legs.)

But the celebration must be short-lived, as a top-five opponent journeys to Notre Dame Stadium this weekend. Our preview begins after a word from our sponsors...

On November 20, see the show that will literally change the face of late night. It's Frank TV, coming soon to TBS.

This would actually be doing
ND's groundskeeper a favor.
You, Me and BC

After a three year break in the series, Notre Dame resumes exchanging pleasantries this Saturday with one of their 35 biggest rivals, the Boston College Eagles. In the recent past, BC has been like an unwelcome house guest who overstays his welcome. (Let's just say that the Idaho footbawl players are not the only vandals in Division I.) Incidents of BC vandalism in Notre Dame Stadium have included damage to the visiting locker room, extralavatorial defecation, the tearing up of huge pieces of turf. This last bit of damage would not be unwelcome this week, since the turf will be torn up anyway, to facilitate the installation of the Super Secret Grass Surface for the following week's game with Southern Cal. (See this space next week for details.)

This year's Eagles team is in rarefied air. They enter the game undefeated and ranked #4. The last time BC was in the top ten prior to this year was in 1992, when a 7-0-1 team under head footbawl coach Tom Coughlin, ranked #9, was taught the meaning of the word respect by #8 Notre Dame, losing 54-7. It was at halftime of that game that footage was shot for the end of the movie Rudy; during the climactic final sequence, one can spot a few fans clad in maroon, as well as a Boston College banner. Surely, this is the only time that Boston College footbawl has been (or will be) immortalized on celluloid. I don't see Survivors in Love: The Tim and Elizabeth Hasselbeck Story getting greenlit anytime soon.

After the break, what's in a name? Borderline clever wordplay, that's what. But first, a word from our sponsors....

All your favorite Frank Caliendo impressions are here: Madden, DeNiro, Pacino, Dr. Phil, President Bush, but Frank TV, coming November 20 to TBS, also delivers the goods with special impressions ripped from the pop culture headlines: Max Headroom, Michael Dukakis, Schneider from One Day at a Time, and many more. That's Frank TV, November 20 on TBS.

The Name Game

Jeff Jagodzinski is in his first year as the head footbawl coach at BC, having most recently served as the offensive coordinator of the Green Bay Packers. It is his first head coaching job, and some questioned whether he was the right man to replace Tom O'Brien (who had left Chestnut Hill to take the N.C. State job), but he has quickly won over the naysayers. Jagodzinski has proven to be a credible head footbawl coach and not, in fact, a kicker with a penchant for GHB, the subject of a military courtroom drama, or the most annoying character in the history of South Park.

Not -- repeat, not
Jeff Jagodzinski
Though he's experienced success on the field thus far, Jagodzinski turned heads when he hired former sports radio host Steve Logan to be his offensive coordinator. If this works out, Mark Dantonio may have to hire the "Pucker Pucker" guy to be his special teams coach or something.

Other notes on Boston College (a.k.a. Throwing the Stats Wonks a Bone):

-- The defense has forced 19 turnovers, third in the nation. They rank 3rd nationally against the run with 49.7 yards per game, and 110th nationally against the pass with 290.8 yards per contest, so you don't have to be an offensive genius like Coach Weis to figure out how to attack these guys. Hopefully, we will see success in the passing game similar to what the Irish demonstrated against Purdue.

-- On defense, watch out for senior free safety Jamie "Carlos" Silva, who leads the Eagles with 49 tackles and 5 interceptions. Senior LB Jolonn "Kim" Dunbar is just behind with 47 tackles. Their top pass rusher is sophomore DE Alex "Madeleine" Albright, with five sacks to go with his deft hand at international diplomacy.

"Earn this, Matt Ryan.
Earn it."
-- The straw that stirs the drink for the Eagles squad is quarterback Matt Ryan. He has turned heads and generated whispers that he could be the school's first legitimate Heisman's trophy candidate since Doug Flutie won the award in 1984. This is a surprising development for someone like me, who thought that Matt Ryan was a character in a Señor Spielbergo war picture.

Should Ryan really be considered one of the frontrunners for Heisman's Trophy? I consulted my Magic 8 Ball, which informed me that "All Signs Point to Yes." But I should temper that by saying that it gave me the same response when I asked if Britney Spears would settle the Israeli/Palestinian conflict through the power of song. I'll ask again later.

-- The most dangerous player on offense besides Ryan is running back Andre Callender, or as I call him, Andre 2007. Callender leads the Eagles with 537 rushing yards (with an average of over 5 yards per carry) and six rushing touchdowns. He also has 175 receiving yards and two touchdowns, and has been BC's leading kickoff returner to this point (though that may change with the return of the injured Jeff Smith).

-- The receiving corps features three players with over 20 receptions on the season. Junior Brandon "Mister" Robinson leads the way with 29 catches for 390 yards and four TD's. He's joined senior Kevin "the Champion" Challenger (25 catches, two TD's) and sophomore Rich "Holland" Gunnell (23 catches, three TD's). Tight end Ryan "Never Nervous" Purvis is just behind with 19 receptions.

Is this the real
Schneider, or merely
Frank Caliendo.
Who can tell?
Next, the special bond between a player and a coach (not his coach, mind you, but a coach) continues despite injury. But first, a final word from our sponsors....

Folks, I don't know if you've heard, but this November, Frank Caliendo brings his unique brand of comedy to TBS. He's been called "a less talented Rich Little" and "a poor replacement for Jimmy Kimmel", and TBS is lucky enough to bring him to you. See the man Americans will go to bed with starting November 20. It's Frank TV, only on TBS.

Shoulder Injury Takes Its Toal

Missing from the Eagles defense this season has been talented linebacker Brian Toal, who is recovering from surgery to repair a torn labrum. But Toal has not had to suffer alone, or merely with the help of family, friends, and teammates. In a stirring display of camaraderie, former Notre Dame head footbawl coach Tyrone Willingham has stood by Toal through every step of his recovery.

"Coach Willingham sat with me in my recovery room after the operation for seven hours," Toal is reported to have said. "I noticed that he was wearing golf shoes, and he kept checking his watch, but he wouldn't budge until he was sure I was okay. Luckily, I had some family in town visiting me, and they were able to get him out of there. Seven hours."


A subdued Blind Oracle at Bristol, his increasingly cocksure swagger lessened by the UCLA game, weighs in on this week's contest with Boston College.

"Though the Eagle appears serene and regal, its talons are sharp. Soaring majestically, a familiar nest seems inviting. One Irishman is gone, but another leads his charge, cool as ice. Progress on the western front is met with disappointment back east. Bottom line, the Irish lack the team speed to keep up with the Eagles. Boston College beats Notre Dame 35-10."