Five straight over ND...now, is BC legit?
SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Head coach Jeff Jagodzinski had just watched his team win its fifth straight game against Notre Dame and its seventh this season. But apparently no one wanted to talk about his Boston College Eagles.
"How about some questions about our guys?" Jagodzinski said, after answering five straight questions about Notre Dame players. "Our guys played pretty good tonight."
And so they did, beating their Catholic rival 27-14 in a game that could have been closer, but was dominated by the Eagles throughout. But does anyone notice? With LSU's loss, which Jagodzinski was watching during his postgame press conference, BC may move up into the Top 3 in this week's polls.
There are certainly reasons to doubt the Eagles. They have no true gamebreaking receiver. They can't match up with many SEC or PAC-10 teams when it comes to speed. And despite three straight ACC wins to start the season over teams that now appear to range from bad (N.C. State) to above average (Georgia Tech), none of the teams BC has beat are currently ranked in the Top 25.
That is about to change. The Eagles have 11 days to prepare for what could be a Top 10 battle with Virginia Tech on a Thursday night in Blacksburg, a game that will probably be the only barometer to test if the Eagles are a legitimate national title contender. After that it doesn't get any easier, with Florida State, Clemson, Maryland, and Miami backloading the schedule, along with a potential ACC Championship game against the Hokies.
But there are also plenty of reasons to think BC may actually be as good as their ranking indicates. With 14 senior starters, experience isn't a factor. And the BC defense, though shaky in the secondary at times, has proven to be one of the country's top units. The Eagles are third in the country at stopping the run, giving up just 27 yards to the Irish today, and lead the country in interceptions (18) including two today.
And the Eagles may have the country's best quarterback. Matt Ryan had another typically-strong day, throwing for 292 yards and two touchdowns on 32/49 passing, pushing his season numbers to 2149 yards and 17 touchdowns. Ryan's play has been complemented nicely in recent weeks by running back Andre Callender, who has earned the starting job from L.V. Whitworth with back-to-back three-score games, yesterday's performance coming on 181 total yards.
For now, the Eagles are undefeated and have the highest ranking in school history. A win over Virginia Tech might finally put BC at the top of the nation's college football radar, but for the time being Jagodzinski would probably be happy answering questions about other teams as long as he's answering one question come January:
"So, Coach, how's it feel to be national champions?"