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And in that corner… The Boston College Eagles

Nov 7, 2012, 11:23 AM EDT

Chase Rettig

Things aren’t so happy in Chestnut Hill. After winning 30 games from 2006-2008, Boston College athletic director Gene DiFilippo made the controversial decision to fire head coach Jeff Jagodzinski for interviewing for the head coaching position with the New York Jets. After two seasons, including one where the Eagles ended in the AP top ten, DiFilippo handed the program over to Frank Spaziani, a loyal Eagles assistant who spent a decade as the program’s defensive coordinator.

It’s been a slow decay for the Boston College program, with Spaziani winning a respectable eight games in his debut season and following that up with a 7-6 year in 2010. But the Eagles took a large step back in 2011, winning just four games, and have plummeted to just two wins in their first nine games, with one coming against an FCS Maine team.

Following all of this has been the Eagle in Atlanta, Bill Mahoney, who has been living the highs and lows of being a Boston College fan from 1,000 miles away for quite a few years. He was kind enough to get us up to speed on what’s happening in Boston, where new athletic director Brad Bates has a lot of big decisions on his hands.


The Eagles are 2-7 this year, with wins against Maine, an FCS team, and Maryland, a team on their fifth quarterback. Are things in Chestnut Hill as bad as they look?

I believe that BC is better than 2-7 but not that much better. Your records don’t happen by accident. BC is not even losing many close games. I also think things are bad because of the decline over the last four years and the speculation on Spaz’s future. Last week BC lost to a bad Wake Forest team. Three weeks ago BC lost to a bad Georgia Tech team. A decent coach would have won at least one of those games.

If there’s been a positive this year, pointing to Chase Rettig and Alex Amidon would be a good start. What has been the secret to that duo’s success, especially considering the lack of running game?

This sounds simple but Rettig is a good QB. On a good team, I think he would be talked about nationally and be considered a future pro. He’s not perfect, but he’s got a big arm, he is willing to take a beating in order to make a big play. He’s also had to run multiple offenses which shows his football IQ.

Amidon is a slightly different story. We pass a lot and he’s been the most healthy reciever, so he has put up big numbers. But I don’t want to dismiss his improvement. He’s always been fast. Now he’s become an improved route runner. He understands how to get open. His hands are not elite yet (he’s had a few drops), but he’s become a very good WR. He should be first team All ACC.

Boston College lost a tremendous player in Luke Kuechly. But what else has gone wrong with this defense? Frank Spaziani has always had a great reputation as a defensive coach, but the rush defense has fallen off a cliff and the Eagles are giving up more than 30 points a game.

Talent is a big issue but not the only one. BC is missing more tackles and there has been a lot of blown coverages this year. Maybe guys don’t care or others are trying to do too much.

But the defensive line and secondary are not of the same quality as Spaz has had in the past. I think there is good young talent at LB and they are getting on the field more and more each week.

It’s all but assumed that Spaziani will be fired. What qualifications would you look for in a new head coach? Any candidates you like?

The new coach needs to be a salesman. Spaz has been a total dud on the recruiting trail, the media and with fundraisers. He needs an energy and approach that modern college football coaches use. Spaz’s ideas in preparation and game management are 30 years behind the curve.

It is very early but I would say the two more popular names are BC grad and New Orleans Saints Offensive Coordinator Pete Carmichael Jr and Notre Dame Defensive Coordinator Bob Diaco.

Let’s take a wider look at the BC athletic department. Notre Dame fans have spent a ton of time critiquing Jack Swarbrick. What do you make of the hire of Brad Bates? What are the top items on his agenda?

I like the idea of Brad Bates. He has a solid, but not spectacular record from his time at Miami of Ohio. Now that the conference shuffle and TV deals are done, BC doesn’t need a deal guy. They need someone like Bates who can address coaching issues and raise money for facilities improvements.

Back to the game: The Irish are big favorites, but this is a rivalry game. Do you hold any hope for an upset? If so, what’s the recipe for a Boston College victory?

BC is one dimensional, but all you need is that one dimension to click for four quarters. I think because it is a rivalry game and because it is important to Spaz, BC has a chance. The key is for Rettig to light it up (he’s probably the best pocket passer Notre Dame has faced all year) and for clog up Notre Dame in the red zone.


For more coverage on the game, check out Bill’s website and follow him on Twitter @bcatleagle

  1. 9irish - Nov 7, 2012 at 11:44 AM

    Boston College and Navy remind me of each other, when it comes to Notre Dame. It is their existence to try and beat them.

    BC is at a low right now, but the biggest guy in the world can get beaten by the smallest if they let them smack them in the back of the head.

    “Procede….With Caution”

    Go Irish

    • seadomer - Nov 7, 2012 at 12:23 PM

      Not all transistive properties are definite but if Navy in 6-3 and BC is 2-7 and we beat Navy 50-10 ….
      What can we expect with BC? it SHOULD be 60-6 but BC probably won’t give us that many possession using the strategy we used with OK

      I was so upset with Pitt that I have not posted since Sat. I am not complaining but just have so much acid built up over the last few days.

      Can we please play to our potential?

      At this point I am very happy with ND going to any BCS bowl and would be elated when we win but I don’t see NC berth because ND is not deserving at this point.

      • ndgoldandblue - Nov 7, 2012 at 1:32 PM

        No need for worry, seadomer. The game’s on the road this week, and that means big trouble for the opposition. The Irish have been absolutely fantastic on the road. And I know that this has been discussed ad nauseum, but something is amiss at home. Kelly, himself, admitted that he doesn’t know the cause of it. Nevertheless, this game is at Boston College, so I expect the Irish to come out fast and loose, pounding the ball with authority on offense and closing in on BC’s ball carriers and receivers with abandon. I think the whole game is going to be like the fourth quarter from the Pitt game.

        “Do you have any prediction?”
        “Prediction? Pain…”

      • papadec - Nov 7, 2012 at 6:08 PM

        seadomer – glad to see you back. BUT, buck up dude – let the Pitt game go. We’re still in the top 4, and with a little (OK, maybe a lot of help) we can get to the top 2. There are games that ‘BAMA, ‘GON, & KS CAN lose between now & the end of the season. IF, we win out impressively, especially vs usc, and two of those three lose a game……….. Hey! It could happen. GO IRISH!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Jennifer - Nov 7, 2012 at 11:46 AM

    “BC is one dimensional, but all you need is that one dimension to click for four quarters.” … Bill Mahoney

    Swap out “BC” – insert “Pitt.” Nightmare Trap Game ended with a big-time wake-up call and a lucky win for the Irish. This ND-2012 Team of Destiny gets that and will be ready to rock and roll on Saturday!

  3. Mike - Nov 7, 2012 at 11:54 AM

    Rettig > Landry Jones, eh? Hmm.

    • rbolling - Nov 7, 2012 at 1:57 PM


      Are we talking pre-ND Landry Jones (“Better than anything the Irish have faced, ready to put his name in the OU history books, etc.”) or post-ND Landry Jones (Over-rated, not a true test, ND still hasn’t played anyone, etc.)?

      Everyone has looked good up until we’ve actually played them (and, of course, beaten them), after which they’ve all become universally accepted as really weak teams.

  4. rjamo123 - Nov 7, 2012 at 12:01 PM

    ND on the road again! Finally we can look like a top 5 team again.

    I’m sure most of you have already seen this but it’s still pretty interesting/amusing.

    It is one of those blind tests where they give you teams A-E with their stats that they use a lot for bubble teams in basketball. I already knew which one ND was based on the stats but the others might surprise you

    • drdannddad - Nov 8, 2012 at 6:25 AM

      Thanks for sharing that article. It’s pretty cool, and ND measures up well in their “blind taste test.”

  5. dudeacow - Nov 7, 2012 at 12:18 PM

    Diaco- don’t go to the dark side of the force!

    • 9irish - Nov 7, 2012 at 1:11 PM

      He doesn’t want to go and replace Magnum, PI !!!

      • joeschu - Nov 7, 2012 at 1:31 PM

        It is sad how perfect he’d be for that job. He’s a hard working, hard selling, defensive minded guy. Despite the Iowa pedigree, I’d imagine that the ND stop makes him “Boston-enough” to be attractive.

        Wow, that would be a nightmare.

      • 9irish - Nov 7, 2012 at 2:12 PM

        Yeah, but I don’t think it will happen…this thing is teetering on a stretch of huge success right now, I don’t know if he would want to go and start over just yet. Break out your checkbook, Mr. Swarbrick.

      • 9irish - Nov 7, 2012 at 2:15 PM

        Still trying to figure out why Tom O’Brien left BC for NC State. Don’t know if it was money, but I thought it was weird

    • mimefrog - Nov 7, 2012 at 2:02 PM

      This comment gave me heartburn. Thanks, bud.

      • 4horsemenrideagain - Nov 9, 2012 at 11:24 AM

        It was like Humphrey Bogart explaining why he came to Casablanca. O’Brien would say “My health. I came to Raleigh for the waters.”

  6. 818irish - Nov 7, 2012 at 12:20 PM

    Here is your game plan to beat BC this weekend: Run the damn ball.

    Go Irish!

    • seadomer - Nov 7, 2012 at 12:33 PM

      If BC is allowing 200 plus yards rushing …

      So here is the benchmark
      ND rushing 365 yards, passing 235,
      NO punts

  7. bearcatirishfan - Nov 7, 2012 at 1:06 PM

    Why is it not matter who we play this week is the biggest test ND faces insert blank here. Sorry BC might be a trap game and could shock the world anything is possible, but if rettig is the best pocket passer we’ve faced then what the hell is going on in college football that they are 2 and 7. Maybe rettig hasn’t face this good of a pass rush yet either.

    • 9irish - Nov 7, 2012 at 1:20 PM

      There is no way BC should have a chance against ND….but I’ve said that before. However, the Irish will probably have their ears pinned back this week after the near disaster of last week. BC will play though. They need to get beat down early…spare the drama.

  8. steincj36 - Nov 7, 2012 at 1:34 PM

    If your recipe for success is throwing bomb passes and praying to stop your opponent when they get to the red zone, then I like NDs chances against USC.

    Whoops, I meant BC. Hmmmm……

  9. notredameirish1980 - Nov 7, 2012 at 1:41 PM

    Since BC has a minimal rushing attack and may be absent their leading rusher, the heat needs to be applied to Rettig. BC has given up almost 3 sacks per game with spotty competition. How can they be expected to succeed in the face of one of the best front sevens in the country? Pitt succeeded in the first 3 plus quarters due to an active rushing attack and misdirection. Once Diaco dialed up blitzes in the 4th quarter and OT, their offense was completely disrupted (essentially zero yards over the last 5 possessions). ND needs to hit BC in the mouth early and often to take control early and leave no doubt. The same applies to the offensive side of the ball. Dominate with the run game to set up play action. Against Pitt, ND was a bit too cute early on, and this set the tone for the whole game when combined with red zone woes.

  10. smurphdoggy29 - Nov 7, 2012 at 4:05 PM

    OH Boston College (aka Backup College) how you vex us so……

    Remember the bad old days when we used to mock the Eaglettes ?

    Then they discovered the Kryptonite to demolish demoralize and depress us ?

    Where fort art though “Boston Massacre” of lore ?

    Some ponder “why” when discussing biggest game for the next Notre Dame opponent, well that is an inherent trait in Notre Dame’s makeup, like rain in Seattle. Always happened, always going to happen. The team has to plan for it.

    Backup College will strive to do all they can to defeat the Irish (’93) and will exhaust all resources to achieve such results. Unfortunately for them, this is a road game, and like Coach Holtz has said, “I love road games”, as apparently this team does. SO no worries there.

    I cannot help but feel concern though, simply because it is in Boston on a Saturday night, and Boston is where the radicals formed, potentially allowing for an historic blip to occur (’93)

    I don’t think so, and as far as next week (Wake Forest), being Senior day and the Seniors who are leaving, the Demon Deacons better lace em up !

    My thought is this, and I leave you to discuss amongst yourselves = A&M sticks it to Bama and the Hair, Optimus Klein and the Wild Kittens stub their toe, and VIOLA DUCK a’ la NCG vs UND

    GO Irish
    Keep the Faith
    Smite the Altar Boys !
    Roast a Chestnut…or three

    • 4horsemenrideagain - Nov 9, 2012 at 11:26 AM

      More topshelf stuff from from smurph!

      I’m going to piggyback the A&M upset over ‘Bama. The aggies’ crafty lefty is going to give Saban bad dreams for a year.

  11. domer77blowsgoats - Nov 7, 2012 at 4:08 PM

    Come on Keith – this isn’t a rivalry game – you went to ND and know that!!

    This game is never hyped, never one that is circled on the schedule, never can’t miss and will leave a top-shelf open bar wedding reception to watch

    We roll in our sleep

    • papadec - Nov 7, 2012 at 6:37 PM

      domer77 – this game is a rivalry game in the minds of the BC fans only. Kind of like a rivalry with your dipstick kid brother (you have better things to do – he has nothing better to do) – every-so-often the little brat gets a good shot in. Kind of like the Red Sox fans – they have nothing better to do than hate the Yankees because their owner sold Ruth to the Yankees. Matter of fact, I would guess that most BC fans are Red Sox fans with nothing better to do until Spring training. Yeah, yeah – I know, they do have the Celts & Bruins, and Harvard, and BU & my alma mater (Northeastern U) to brag about too – once-in-awhile.

  12. dutch31 - Nov 7, 2012 at 5:56 PM

    ND will handle BC. From the games I watched Pitt was significantly better than BC

    For those of us that are still hoping to get in the National Championship game, the team we need to lose is Oregon preferably to SC or Stanford. In a 3 way with Alabama ND. And K State, I believe ND would win out over K State. I’m of the opinion that the Big 12 is sub par. As I posted earlier that the best non conference win was K St over Miami of Fla. that’s for the whole conference! Check it out, it’s amazing. ND would be a solid 2 in the computers, and I would imagine they would pick up #2 votes in the coaches poll. (PAC 12; ACC; BIG 10 ( but they hate ND)
    Need OKlahoma to finish strong, ND victory over OK was much more dominant than K Sts. Just some thought. Go Irish!!!

    • papadec - Nov 7, 2012 at 6:47 PM

      dutch – uhhhhhhhh Oregon just beat usc 62-51. Oregon St over Oregon in “The Civil War”, last game of the season, would be the best bet. Although, Stanford over Oregon might be possible. I agree with your premise that ‘BAMA vs ND would be more attractive to the BCS Selection Committee than ‘BAMA/KSt. The Irish travel better for games, especially Bowl games, than any other team.

    • mdirish - Nov 7, 2012 at 10:10 PM

      Does it make anyone else sick that we need everyone on the schedule to win the rest of their games except when we play them. That means we need Michigan to win. That makes me sick! And we even need USC to win….that makes me sicker!!!

  13. irishirish777 - Nov 7, 2012 at 7:46 PM

    Pitt reminded us that every game could be a trap. ND must be cautious every game. They need to run the ball on bc, then open up the pass as they are successful. ND needs to run up the score and get some style points. They have the weapons and need to show them. 50+ points Irish!!! Shutout would be better. Go Irish!!!

  14. dutch31 - Nov 7, 2012 at 8:26 PM

    Papadec said preferably SC or Stanford, because that would give NDs computer ranking a big boost. I know Oregon is tough, but a team that gives up 51pts can be beaten. Just rooting! GO IRISH!

  15. North of Denver - Nov 7, 2012 at 8:31 PM

    The last time that we were 9-0 was in 1993. We were ranked #1 after beating Florida State. That was the last year we had NC aspirations and B.C. came to town and beat us. Worst game ever. For those interested in turning your stomachs upside down, watch

    FYI: I am not superstitious.

    • papadec - Nov 7, 2012 at 10:33 PM

      NorthofD – that was then – this is now. I’m not superstitious either – but, I will be wearing the 2012 “The Shirt”, the same sox, the same under pants, sweatpants, and getting to be rather ratty ND sweatshirt that I have worn for each game this year. And YES – I have washed them every week. BUT, I’m not superstitious, mind you.

    • drdannddad - Nov 8, 2012 at 6:30 AM

      That one still hurts… It was a fantastic comeback that was erased by Gordon’s field goal. Also, we came so close to an interception on that last BC drive. One of our linebackers {I won’t name the poor kid} had one of Foley’s passes go right through his hands a couple of plays before the field goal. UGH! In the book “Talking Irish,” the players talked a lot about that game. Enlightening, but heartbreaking…

  16. ndtod - Nov 7, 2012 at 9:50 PM

    Irish win big. Just hope it doesn’t get chippy in the fourth quarter.

  17. mdirish - Nov 7, 2012 at 10:04 PM

    I said last week that based on the statistics that PITT would be a pain in the A$$ all day and they were. Everything pointed to being a close game because PITT, unlike BC is not a horrible team. Just as the Oklahoma game was a measuring stick game so is this. BK talks about this team being stronger in November….if that’s the case this game better be a 4 touch down win regardless of BC putting up their best effort. Anything less makes me question if #4 is the right ranking. There’s no question the Irish are BACK. I was one of those people who predicted 8-5 so I’m pumped that we’ve already surpassed 8 wins. With that said this game will tell us how BACK we really are.

  18. dickasman - Nov 8, 2012 at 2:31 AM

    So what is our excuse this week if its another nail biter?
    “This is championship football”,
    “we would have lost last year, year before that, before that annnnnd the year before that”

    Seriously, I’d be sorely disappointed if they didn’t come out and just kick the living crap out of em after last weeks sappy performance and I have a feeling we will come out kickin. 35-0 will do but from start to finish boyzzz, start to finish!

    • jimbasil - Nov 8, 2012 at 9:48 AM

      I don’t see how BC scores in this game on offense. IMO they’d have to score on Defense or in the least have the D or Special Teams get them within the ND 10 to put up any score. I just don’t see BC capable of having any sustained drives against the IRISH D.

      But I digress, I didn’t think Pitt could make ND’s D look human.

  19. irish9314 - Nov 8, 2012 at 11:41 AM

    Anyone see that USC got caught cheating again in the oregon game? Terrible… Just down right terrible.

    • papadec - Nov 9, 2012 at 2:36 AM

      Does anyone really, truly believe that usc HAS stopped, or ever will STOP, cheating?

  20. yaketyyacc - Nov 8, 2012 at 3:01 PM

    while USC resdides in the Hollywood world of fantasy, it is a shame to see such a lauded program stoop to devious means to win. we know about the changing shirts and deflated balls, that we are “told” was the independent work of an overzealous manager, yeah right. how about the games won in which there were wrongful, unethical and outright cheatinng that remain swept under the artificial turf, notice how lumpy it has become lately.
    when the USC band marched onto Notre Dame Stadium turf, the drum major plunged a sword into our symbolic heart. Considering the Machiavelian philosophy of win anyway you can. Trojans, I suggest our Irish Guard carry shillelaghs, probbing for hidden land mines, and the tuba section be armed with kryptonite sensing devices.
    I dont know who their coach is, but he must be a terrible man to teach his players that it’s not only ok to cheat, but that it should be the rule of thumb.

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