Four times this year, and, well, every year, NU plays an out-of-conference opponent. The question arises: who are these guys? Some people only want to know who they are in a football sense, but, to truly understand our opponents on the gridiron, you have to know where they come from, so football strategy can wait. I plan on getting to know these universities a little bit better with posts on each college, mainly with info gleaned from their wikipedia pages.
This week's victim: Boston College.
NOTE: This will be by far the weakest edition of Next on the Chopping Block yet. Not that it isn't good, just that between me (a New York sports fan who has been to Boston several dozen times) and Loretta (Boston resident with plenty of thoughts about Boston College football) we have a lot of things to say on the topic at hand. We can't spit them all at once.
Where: Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. Which is to say, Boston, out in the woodsy areas to the west of Boston, if you follow Commonwealth Avenue far enough, past the pretty landscaped part in Back Bay, past Kenmore Square, past B.U., past where it gets all curvy, past where you start thinking you aren't in Boston in anymore. (Chestnut Hill is a village that is comprised of parts of Boston and two of its suburbs, Newton and Brookline.) I actually like Boston a lot as a city. Unlike most of the places I make fun of, I really enjoy spending time in Boston. (Well, I've never been to most of the places I make fun of. I've never been to Somalia either, but I've heard enough that I have no intentions of going. Same goes for, let's say, Pittsburgh.) It's pretty and there's things to do. That said, Bostonians, different story.
Size: 9,099, or 1.08 Northwesterns. Small for a FBS school, by any means.
Stadium: Alumni Stadium, which seats 44,500. (Hey! That's smaller than ours!) Built in 1957, Alumni Stadium is yet another stadium that makes me wonder why I included "stadium" as one of the things I thought would be intriguing about these posts. The Patriots played there in 1969! They were in the AFL!
Mascot: The Eagles. That's it. Just the Eagles. If you're familiar with BC as the "Golden Eagles", as I have seen them referred many times, you're mistaken: that's never been the team name, you're thinking of Southern Mississippi. However, BC is itself to blame, as the school definitely has an avian identity crisis: gold is one of the colors, leading you to believe that they would be Golden Eagles, as would the fact that when the school had a live mascot in the 1960's, they had a Golden Eagle. There's even a gilded statue of an eagle on the campus. However, the logo features a Bald Eagle, and the mascot is Baldwin, which, as you might guess, is a bald eagle. I sense the school is being noncommittal about changing the name to the Bald Eagles, which they would do if they supported America. Summary: Boston College = terrorism.
Mascot if I ran the school: Either the Fighting Jesuits or anything with a non-rhotic R sound in it, like "Car-Parkers" or "Harvard Yards". Jesuits, because I believe every school should have a Notre Dame-styled mascot that implies actual inter-race/religion/nationality strife in hopes of clearing the world of all actual conflict, and the other one because I'm not funny.
Notable Alums: BC has done rather well in this department: you've got former Democratic candidate John Kerry, though, now that I look into it, he only went to law school there, which is kind of a cop-out, Leonard Nimoy - NERDS - and Ed McMahon. From the world of sports media, there's the world's current worst columnist, Mike Lupica, Northwestern-grad-competitor Bob Ryan from Around the Horn - say, if Adande/Blackistone put together more wins this week than Ryan does, that means we win, right? Well, too bad, I sure as hell am not sitting through an episode of Around the Horn to find out - and Lesley Visser.
Current NFL Players: A pretty decent 25, including some QB's named Matt in Matt Ryan, aka Matty Ice, and Matt Hasselbeck, aka Matty Light. (By the way, readers of the site: have you ever been presented with a situation where you can drink Natural Light or Natural Ice and chosen Light? Yes? BANNED. BANNED FOR LIFE. Same goes for Keystone. Weaklings.) Other notable dudes include BJ Raji of the - do I have to say it? - World Champion Green Bay Packers, Mathias Kiwanuka, and Damian Woody, heh, woody.
Difference between the amount of times Boston College has been to the NCAA Tournament and the amount of times Northwestern has: 18, including three trips to the Elite Eight. I have some fond memories of BC basketball, as one of my favorite collegiate players of all time, Sean Williams, went there. Williams had two passions: getting high and swatting the crap out of anybody who took any shot anywhere on the floor. With Williams, Jared Dudley, and Craig Smith - both of whom I think are pretty underrated NBA players - the Eagles went to the Sweet 16 in 2006. Other BC NBA players of note are Howard Eisley, who I am on record as saying is my least favorite basketball player of all time, for no reason, and Dana Barros.
Elsewhere in BC sports: Hockey. Hockey hockey hockey. Beantown loves its hockey, and the Eagles men's hockey squad have won four times, including twice in the past four years, and have appeared in 22 Frozen Fours, producing countless NHL-ers. But for my brother's sake, I'm going to point out that Boston University has their number in what is probably the best rivalry in college hockey. BU - who, unlike BC, has no football team and a middling America East squad who eked out a 16 seed in the last NCAA Tournament - has five NCAA titles to BC's four, and 29 victories in the Beanpot - which pits BC, BU, Northeastern (Oh, Northwestern? How do you like Boston?), and Harvard - to BC's 16. BU leads the all-time series in the Green Line Rivalry (as the Wikipedia calls it, you see, they're both on the Green Line) 125-112-17. I can guarantee that short of writing a series of 500-word screeds about why I think individual players on Boston College's football team are horrible human beings and deserve to die, this brief paragraph about how I think BU has a better hockey team than BC will make BC fans angrier than anything. They have recent history on their side, with the most recent Beanpot in hand as well as the 2010 national championship and a five-game winning streak, but I say, kiss the
rings pots, gentlemen.
Like I said, there's a lot more coming this week.