1. Coming off a very difficult loss to a rival that has now beaten them eight straight times, Notre Dame faces another that's beaten them six straight. Can Notre Dame end the losing streak against BC or will the combined weight of the USC loss and recent history against the Eagles be too much to overcome? Explain.
While the possibility certainly exists that an emotionally drained and physically beaten ND team takes the field against BC on Saturday, I don't think that will be the case. After having lost to Michigan this season, in another hard-fought and tough rivalry loss, the Irish bounced back with a win over a Michigan State team which is looking increasingly solid as the year moves along. So prepared was Notre Dame that they actually jumped on top of the Spartans for a quick 13-3 lead, that actually might have been worse. I would expect the same type of effort this week against the Eagles for two reasons: 1) while Charlie can be maddening as a coach, he has done a good job in keeping the team focused on the game this week and letting go of the last one and, 2) there is going to be a huge, noticeable drop-off in talent between USC and Boston College. Don't get me wrong, BC is a good team and the Irish should not take them lightly; but after taking one of the premier teams in the country to the wire just a week ago, I imagine the Eagles are not going to be nearly as daunting.
2. Not unlike Notre Dame's defense, BC's offense has been pretty erratic this season. While in their most recent win, they rolled up 480 total yards and scored 52 points; in their two losses, they've averaged 109 yards and 11 points. Which BC offense and which ND defense show up on Saturday? Why?
Let's start with the Irish. At this point in the season, I think it's fair to say, Notre Dame's defense is not going to become formidable all of a sudden. While it's nice to think that the combination of talent on both the coaching staff and roster will suddenly gel; after six games, I'm just not buying it. As a result, I see this week's defensive performance being flawed, aggravating and beneath a Pop Warner team comprised of children with rickets. That leaves us with the BC offense. While they have had moments where they've looked, dare I say, 'dominant'; their talent and experience level would suggest something else entirely. I see BC playing better than they have in their previous losses (see: Notre Dame's defense, shittiness of), but still making enough stupid mistakes to allow the Irish to win without any last-second heroics.
3. Does anyone seem primed to have a Robby Parris-like breakout moment against the Eagles? If so, who is it and why?
Shaq Evans. Heading into the USC game, all signs were pointing to him being on the verge of a breakout. Unfortunately, illness prevented him from playing last week against the Trojans. This week, he'll be in there and, since the Irish will likely be without Parris, Evans will get a chance to shine against a team allowing over 200 yards passing per game.
4. It's been an and up-and-down year for Boston sports. After a strong start, the Red Sox folded in the second half of the year. The Patriots, meanwhile, seem to be on the upswing after a 59-0 dismantling of Tennessee. For their part, Boston College has seemed as though their season could go either way. Ultimately, will the Eagles be the Sox or the Pats?
Were it not for the fact that they play in the abysmally bad ACC, it would definitely be Sox. However, since the post-ND portion of the Eagles' schedule looks like a big, fat helping of meh, I would have to default to the Pats (who play in the NFL's version of the ACC, the AFC East). If BC doesn't win eight games against the rogues gallery of suck they play this season, I'll be shocked.
5. While most Irish fans refer to BC as "Fredo", tell me to which other cinematic character you would compare the Eagles.
Sling Blade. Lumbering and mentally deficient, the Eagles are also a team that has proven capable of inflicting great harm if one is not careful with them.
Her Loyal Sons get into the brawling spirit!
Charlie's Nasties are screaming for vengeance.
Domer Law is looking for a beatdown of BC.
One Foot Down looks forward to ND going beyond Thunderdome against the Eagles.