|AD Gene DeFilippo isn't certain where BC will bowl. (FILE/MATTHEW J. LEE/GLOBE STAFF)|
The attitude is positive, upbeat, and confident.
"If you would have told me at the start of the season that after nine games we would be 8-1, I would have said, 'I'll take it,' " said Boston College athletic director Gene DeFilippo yesterday.
Despite a 27-17 loss to Florida State Saturday night, BC still can accomplish much more this season. The prime focus entering Saturday night's game at Maryland is the Atlantic Division title and a spot in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game in Jacksonville, Fla., Dec. 1.
And the Eagles do not need anyone's help to reach that goal.
Beat Maryland, Clemson next week, and Miami Nov. 24, and the Eagles will be playing in the ACC title game, with a bid to the Orange Bowl on the line.
But what of the other possibilities? Usually by the first week in November, there is some indication of where teams will wind up in postseason play. Not this year.
"The only thing that is certain is that we don't know and the bowls don't know how it's going to work out," said DeFilippo, who has done his best to market his team to bowls that make their choices on many factors - television ratings, fans traveling - other than won-lost record.
DeFilippo knows the bowls will do what they feel is best for the bowls. In the case of those affiliated with the ACC, only one thing seems certain: The Eagles will not be playing in the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville Jan. 1.
Here's why. The Gator Bowl gets the third selection in the ACC bowl process, behind the Orange Bowl and the Chick-Fil-A Bowl. If the Eagles lose in the ACC title game, the Gator Bowl almost certainly will not invite BC back to Jacksonville. And if the Eagles do not make the ACC title game, they would have too many losses for the Gator Bowl to consider them.
A logical scenario would be for BC, with an 11-2 record and a loss in the ACC title game, to receive strong consideration from the Chick-Fil-A Bowl in Atlanta Dec. 31. But that, too, is iffy since BC's reputation as a traveling team is still shaky among the bowls.
But at 11-2, with wins over the main competition (Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, Clemson), it would be hard to ignore the Eagles. In that scenario, the Chick-Fil-A Bowl might bank on a strong presence on the other side of the matchup with a Southeastern Conference team such as Georgia, Alabama, or South Carolina.
The parachute for BC - barring a total collapse - would seem to be the Champs Sports Bowl in Orlando Dec. 28 against a team from the Big Ten.
"We are right in the thick of things," said coach Jeff Jagodzinski. "All we've got to do is take care of our business and just come back against Maryland and go play football, and we will."
The Eagles are likely to face Maryland without linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar, who suffered a high ankle sprain against Florida State. Linebacker Tyrone Pruitt, who also sprained an ankle, is more likely to be ready.
BC at Maryland
What: ACC football
When: Saturday, 8 p.m.
Where: College Park, Md.
TV/radio: Ch. 5, WEEI (850)