College Football Preview: Notre Dame vs. Boston College
BOSTON ó No one needs to tell Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis how people around here feel about his school: He saw the rivalry between Boston College and the Fighting Irish up-close as an NFL assistant with the Patriots.
“I lived in New England for nine years, and I know that there’s a lot of very similar compositions in the schools,” he said this week as he prepared for his first visit to Chestnut Hill as the Irish coach. “I have a lot of respect for Boston College, and I know that they’d like nothing more than beating Notre Dame.”
The feeling is mutual ó and perhaps even stronger in South Bend, home of the once-proud program that’s lost five straight against the only other catholic school playing major college football.
“It’s pretty much two of the same exact schools, two catholic schools that have got similar tradition, similar academics,” Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen said. “The fans are going to be ready to go. It’s going to be a tough environment, and we’ve just got to be ready.”
Boston College players know that Notre Dame (5-3) has big ó probably bigger ó rivalries with Southern California, Michigan and just about everyone the Irish play. But the Eagles (5-3) cherish their victories against a program that claims 11 national championships more than any others.
BC coach Jeff Jagodzinski prepared his team to visit South Bend last year by playing the Notre Dame fight song on a continuous loop in the Eagles’ locker room. Players expected a repeat, but Jagodzinski reminded them they’d have the home crowd with them this time.
“Around here, all you need to say is, ‘Notre Dame is coming to town.’ It’s going to be awesome, and I can’t wait to get out there,” BC linebacker Mike McLaughlin said. “They like to say they don’t think our game’s as big as maybe the USC game. They play so many big games. But it’s hard not to get excited when you run out on the field. I think it’s going to be special for both teams.”