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Countdown Q&A - Week 7, Boston College

NCAA FOOTBALL: OCT 07 Clemson at Boston College Photo by Malcolm Hope/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

After an extra week to sit around and stew in the misery that was Virginia (the game, not the state) I know I’m ready to get back to watching the team actually play, rather than just talk about it. So lets take a moment about it (dammit). This week I’m joined by fellow SB Nation writer Niraj Patel from over at ‘BC Interruption’ where they love Boston College and they love..

Niraj: Hey!

...interrupting people? Lets jump in this mess like our postseason lives depend upon it.

I think coming into 2021 Boston College fans had some high aspirations and a few games into the season it appeared like they might be a legit contender in the ACC. Losing their QB Phil Jurkovec hurt those odds for sure, but from an outsider’s perspective it appears the fanbase is in a bad spot right now with how the last couple games played out. What’s the vibe around the football program right now?

Boston College v Clemson Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images

Woe is us. We sure had some high expectations, and some of us went quite bold. In hindsight, I think the bold picks were right, but alas it just wasn’t meant to be after Jurkovec went down early in game two. After losing to Clemson in heartbreaking fashion and then NC State in demoralizing fashion, the immediate vibe was one of despair full stop. Questioning play-calling, quarterback change, the whole gambit shy of fire the coach. Now that cooler heads have prevailed, while there are still some of these calls, I’d put the current vibe at cautious skepticism/optimism. This was the first big loss of the Jeff Hafley era that left us with this sour feeling. Our expectations have been reset and we’ve been brought back to Earth. Everything that could have gone wrong, went wrong in this last game. I truly didn’t see much of a talent gap between the two, it was really all about execution. I’m now looking at how the coaching staff can get the players to respond and overcome adversity. They can still be in the top half of the ACC and they can get back on track.

Maybe it’s a bit of revisionist history on my part, but it seems like Boston College always has a stout defense (even when Louisville hangs a crooked number on them). This season appears to be no different as they’re Top 5 in the ACC in yards allowed and a notch under 20pts/g (19.5) on average. What makes the BC defense a tough opponent in 2021?

There have definitely been a number of shootouts when these teams have met, but you’re pretty spot on with a few exceptions. Stout defense, physical offense, with a great offensive line. This defense actually had a lot of questions heading into the season losing some key guys at linebacker and a thin defensive line. Still big questions on the line, but the defense has done an excellent job on third down. Hafley’s expertise is in the secondary, and the guys back there (Brandon Sebastian, Josh DeBerry, etc.) have been stout. Turnovers are the big missing piece right now. All things considered, the line has played alright, despite struggles generating pressure.

As I noted above, losing Phil Jurkovec was a big hit to the offense this year. We actually saw a little of Senior Dennis Grosel last year in this game but what has he brought to that side of the ball since sliding into the starters role?

It’s funny, Grosel has actually seen action the past two years. Anthony Brown was badly hurt two seasons ago, and he came in to toss three touchdown passes. He brings a little bit of a different element to Jurkovec. Jurkovec has a big arm, but Grosel has yet to connect on a deep pass which has really hindered the offense. He is more mobile however. Not to say Jurkovec is a statue by any means, but Grosel has a bit more spring in his step to get going and make the play. He comes with a lot of experience, now being called in to start games each for three straight seasons. He probably had the opportunity to play elsewhere this offseason, but chose to stay and provide that veteran backup and leadership.

Louisville is a college sports town so the Cards will get the focus year round for diehards in football and basketball. Not so much up your way. When typing this question the ALCS is still up for grabs but assuming the Red Sox take care of business, does the hype around BC football take a back seat when the “Sawks” are playing for trophies?

Aerial View of Downtown Boston Photo by David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Oh boy does it, despite how much the social media teams try and spin all of the pro-sports as a great thing. Not to say that it’s not — I’m not one to quantify the effect it has. But BC has always taken a back seat. The pro teams in the areas being perennial championship teams has not helped in that regard. The city has the expectation of winning, and BC just doesn’t/hasn’t really competed in quite some time. You get put aside real quick. Just looking at this past Saturday’s game with the Sox playing in the late afternoon before BC’s night game — there was plenty of talk of delaying some folks’ arrival (I think the game was put to bed by then, but surely played some interference). It doesn’t help with the sheer number of colleges in the area too which has led to a number of rivalries even though the others don’t have football. College hockey is big among these schools and so the loyalties to the one big college in town just isn’t there. Still, there is a good strong alumni and fanbase in the community, and this season has brought them out in full force. There is a feeling of rejuvenation with the new administration, and that hope is putting energized butts in seats.

Louisville leads the all-time series 7-6 but after taking four in a row they have lost three of the last four to the Eagles, including the one score game last year up at your place. Louisville is sitting at a 6.5pt favorite mid week but it’s dropped a bit since it opened meaning folks are leaning towards BC on the road. How do you think this one plays out? Are the Eagles a win away from bowl eligibility or do they leave taking a three game losing streak to the Carrier Dome?

Off the bat, I was all in on BC. I still am BUT am a little more cautious because of Louisville’s back to back losses and them coming off a bye week now. I think BC comes out hungry and angry given how they felt after the game. Things have to break right on the turnover end for the Eagles too, and I’m counting on it. I believe in this coaching staff to respond and coach up the players to look forward and get better. It’s a process, but I think BC edges this one in another close shoot-out with one or two balls going our way. BC 40- UL 38


Big thank you once again to Niraj for answering a few questions for me. If you care to hear more from him than just this post, give him a follow over on twitter right here, and also follow the BC Interruption site here. Hopefully their weekend is filled with joy and laughter and puppies and rainbows until 4:00pm Saturday and then they experience deep sorrow and eternal sadness (too much?). Cards need this win, badly, lets go get it.