Any other coach and I would give us a fighting chance in this one. Even if Jags or Tom O'Brien were 3-7 entering this match up I might give us a chance. But I just don't think Spaz will get it done this weekend. I expect Brian Kelly to have his ND team chomping at the bit for this one. I also expect him to have his offense go from 0 to 60 on the first play from scrimmage and not to let up on the gas until the game is over. I'm sorry to be such a Debbie Downer (Sullen Saturdays?), but Brian Kelly is the type to go for the throat in this game. That all said, this is also the second most important game on the schedule for Gene and Spaz (after NC State). Gene especially realizes that many alumni would be fine with a 1-11 season, as long as that one win came against Notre Dame. Additionally, we know that crazy things can happen in rivalry games and that BC often wins this game when it really has no business winning it.
I am not convinced that Notre Dame is that good of a team either. My prejudices notwithstanding, they have drubbed the service academies of this world, but have been challenged by tougher competition. Are they better than us? Yes, definitely. But that doesn't mean that we can't keep it closer than the current BC +24.5 line. I'm not sure that we'll pull a W out of South Bend, but I'm also not sure that we will get massacred as many are expecting.
Five Keys to Beating Notre Dame:
1. Create Turnovers- One of the talking points about Notre Dame this year has been there abysmal turnover margin and the fact that they've lost every game where they lose the turnover battle. I do think that our defense can create turnovers and that will be key to winning. As I said, I expect Kelly to have his offense firing on all cylinders. If we create turnovers and slow them down a bit and have them thinking of South Florida, USC, and Michigan we may have a chance. It should be noted, however, that two years ago BC won the turnover battle in South Bend, but still came up short.
2. Hold onto the ball- We have had difficulty with turnovers ourselves this season, but more importantly turning it over in the red zone. Against FSU, Finch fumbled close the goal line when the game was still within reach. Two years ago, Montel fumbled on the Notre Dame 1 on what could have been a game winning score. Protecting the ball ourselves, especially in those red zone situations will be huge.
3. Shut Down Floyd- Michael Floyd has 922 yards over 10 games this season. Damn impressive. However, it also means ND's offense is vulnerable if Floyd can be contained. Their next leading receiver has just 589 yards over 10 games. Michael Floyd is the key to this offense. In 2008 BC had no problem containing Golden Tate. Containing Michael Floyd can cause struggles for Notre Dame.
4. Make the most out of our two quarterbacks- Let me first state that I am not of fan of flip-flopping Rettig and Bordner throughout the game. I think it has the potential to disrupt and already weak offense. That said, the last two games have shown that utilizing Bordner in the right situations can throw off opposing defenses. Rettig should be given the majority of snaps and be allowed to conduct the offense, but bringing in Bordner on short yardage situations or to throw the defense off balance could give us an offensive edge.
5. Play up the rivalry- A few years ago, Jags made the point to his team that nearly all of them had not been actively recruited by Notre Dame, giving the team a chip on its shoulder. BC teams generally already have a chip on their shoulder, but none more so than when we play Notre Dame. This game is just as important for the players as it is for the fans and alumni. In the past BC has stepped up to the plate in this game and taken it to the Irish. I hope that Spaz and the staff have played up the rivarly this week and have the team extra motivated to go in and win in South Bend. Motivated individuals can do amazing things in the right situations. This game could be one of those situations for BC.
I will be in attendance in South Bend for the game. It is the first time I am making it out there and am looking forward to taking it all in. Since I am leaving Boston tonight, this may be my last opportunity to post before the game. I will do my best to stay in contact on twitter, but can't make any promises. I wish everyone making the trip out to South Bend safe travels. See you all in Indiana.