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HTS 2020: Boston College

We haven’t seen them since checks notes Ireland?

Aer Lingus College Football Classic - Boston College Eagles v Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Dedrick Mills and...four years of magic?
Photo By Cody Glenn/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Attentive folks out there might have noticed that there was no HTS last week. Why’s that? Well, the short answer is grad school is hard, with a side of “I’ve done this twice now and I don’t know what else I’d say even if I had any time this week.” The long answer? Well, I had to save up for Boston College, of course. Maybe.

Boston College Eagles

Opponent Background:

  • Conference: Conference: Atlantic Coast Conference (2005 - present)
  • Location: Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts
  • All-time Record: 679-499-37 (.574)
  • Home Stadium: Alumni Stadium (Capacity: 44,500)
  • National Championships: 1 — 1940**
  • College Football Playoff Appearances: N/A
  • New Year’s Six Bowl Games: 4 — (Orange: 1 - 1942 Cotton: 2 - 1939, 1984 Sugar: 1 - 1940)
  • Conference Championships: 1 — (Big East: 2004)
  • Division Championships: 3 — (2005, 2007, 2008)
  • 2017 Season Record: 6 - 7 (4 - 4 ACC)

Past Results:

  • Team Head-to-Head Record: 7-2-0 (.778)
  • Recent Meetings:

2007 - 24-10 Boston College (Atlanta, GA)
2008 - 19-16 Georgia Tech (Chestnut Hill, MA)
2012 - 37-17 Georgia Tech (Atlanta, GA)
2016 - 17-14 Georgia Tech (Dublin, Ireland)

  • Coach Head-to-Head Record: 0-0-0 (N/A)
  • Tech record against Boston College in this week’s venue: 3-0-0 (1.000)

2020 Football Schedule

2020 Football Schedule

2020 Football Schedule

Date Time (if known) Opponent Conference Historical Record Venue Result Attendence
Date Time (if known) Opponent Conference Historical Record Venue Result Attendence
September 12 3:30 p.m. (ABC) @ Florida State Atlantic Coast 11-14-1 Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, FL 16-13 W (1 - 0) 17,538
September 19 3:30 p.m. (ABC) UCF American Athletic 3-1-0 Bobby Dodd Stadium, Atlanta, GA 21-49 L (1 - 1) 11,000
September 26 12:00 p.m. (RSNs) @ Syracuse Atlantic Coast 3-1-0 Carrier Dome, Syracuse, NY 20-37 L (1 - 2) 0
October 9 7:00 p.m. (ESPN) Louisville Atlantic Coast 1-0-0 Bobby Dodd Stadium, Atlanta, GA 46-27 W (2 - 2) 11,000
October 17 12:00 p.m. (ABC) Clemson Atlantic Coast 50-32-2 Bobby Dodd Stadium, Atlanta, GA [REDACTED] L (2 - 3) 11,000
October 24 4:00 p.m. (ACCN) @ Boston College Atlantic Coast 7-2-0 Alumni Stadium, Chestnut Hill, MA 27-48 L (2 - 4) 0
October 31 3:30 p.m. (ABC) Notre Dame Atlantic Coast 6-28-1 Bobby Dodd Stadium, Atlanta, GA
November 14 Pittsburgh Atlantic Coast 5-9-0 Bobby Dodd Stadium, Atlanta, GA
November 21 @ Miami (FL) Atlantic Coast 13-12-0 Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, FL
November 28 Duke Atlantic Coast 51-35-1 Bobby Dodd Stadium, Atlanta, GA
December 5 @ NC State Atlantic Coast 20-10-0 Carter-Finley Stadium, Raleigh, NC
2020 Georgia Tech Football Schedule Arranged by Jake Grant

Chestnut Hill College Eagles

As I was typing that, I remembered that I won’t get to do this for North Carolina-Chapel Hill tonight and was sad. Anyways, on to the column.

We pick up the story of Boston College in 1893, when school president Edward Ignatius Devitt, against his best wishes, let two upperclassmen start a varsity football team. Boston College was a Catholic school, and, with a middle name like Ignatius, their president fit the mold pretty well, I’d say, but we can talk about saints and martyrs and Apostolic Fathers in a different column.

Anyways, the proto-Eagles (they wouldn’t adopt the nickname until 1920) played St. John’s Literary Institute and MIT, whom they split the games with. Unlike Boston College, Georgia Tech has never lost to MIT in football. Though BC wouldn’t finish under .500 in the almost three decades from 1916-1944, not much ink has been spilled over most of that span. However, they did* win* a* national* championship* in* 1940*. This title claim is entirely spurious, though, as Minnesota won a nearly unanimous selection, taking 10 of the 15 selections. Stanford and Tennessee split the other five. Thus, Boston College’s title is even less legitimate than Central Florida’s because at least the Golden Citronaut Knight Guys got awarded by a selector. Of course, the Eagles did go 11-0 that season, while Minnesota went 8-0, Stanford went 10-0, and Tennessee went 10-1, but all three played Big Ten, PCC, and SEC competition, while the independent Eagles played Centre (not in their good years), Manhattan, Temple, Idaho, St. Anselm, Boston University, Georgetown, and Holy Cross. However, their redeeming factor? They beat Tennessee, noted selection, in the Sugar Bowl, as well as Auburn and Tulane.

They played okay in the rest of the 1940s, hitting their other zenith in 1942. I’ll let Wikipedia take the story of 1942 from here:

“Boston College won its first 8 games of the season, climbing to #1 in the AP Poll. All the Eagles needed to do to secure its second national championship in three years, and first ever AP title, was to beat rival Holy Cross (4–4–1) in the final game of the regular season. The result, however, was a stunning rout loss, 12–55. The Eagles team cancelled their planned post-game celebration at the Cocoanut Grove nightclub in Boston, which inadvertently saved the team from perishing along with 492 others in the Cocoanut Grove fire that occurred that night.”

This led to the creation of modern fire codes. Stunning.

The star of those early 1940s team? Mike Holovak. Who did they hire to begin the 1950s? Yep, Mike Holovak. Other than Boston College’s solid run in the 2000s, this would be the longest streak of winning seasons Boston College would see after their run in the 1920s and 1930s, and their most recent one-loss season came in 1954, when they went 8-1 and lost to a hapless Xavier team to essentially sink the season. They were not invited to a bowl game.

In 1957, the Eagles moved back to a newly reconstructed Alumni Stadium, after having essentially called Fenway Park home for the better part of three decades. The only games they filled up at Fenway were the rivalry contests against Holy Cross and Boston University, so this was probably fitting. Nowadays, the capacity of Alumni Stadium exceeds Fenway, anyways, so the extra capacity issue is now mostly a moot point.

Joe Yukica is the next notable coach for the Eagles. In his ten year tenure, Boston College had eight winning seasons, and notably played their first game against Georgia Tech, a 1972 contest at Grant Field. The Jackets, coached by Bill Fulcher, notched their largest margin of victory in the series, winning 42-10.

If there’s a reason to remember the 1980s for the Eagles, that starts and ends with their tight 1989 loss to Georgia Tech, which was notable for its 13-12 score and being one of the stepping stones to the 2-9 record that got their decade-tenured coach Jack Bicknell the axe. Oh, wait, I am told I missed something. Some guy named Flutie? Doug Flutie? He was in the CFL, right? Oh, he also threw the most memorable pass in college football history when his Hail Mary came down in Gerard Phelan’s arms, securing a 47-45 victory over the defending champion Miami Hurricanes in late November of 1984. His subsequent Heisman is often attributed to this play, but voting had already been completed before the play happened. Boston College finished 10-2, while Miami slid to an 8-5 record, but was still invited to the Fiesta Bowl. This is Boston College’s last two-loss season.

Tom Coughlin coached Boston College for a couple of years in the early 1990s, and led them to an upset of #1 Notre Dame, their first upset of a top-ranked team. Tech, though, got another win in against the Eagles in 1991, when Tech won 30-14 in their first-ever trip to Chestnut Hill. His tenure also saw Boston College join a conference for the first time, when they joined the Big East in 1991. However, the 1990s were most notable in Chestnut Hill for the head coach of the 1996 team, Dan Henning, figuring out his players were betting against the team and throwing games in order to make money with sports gambling. He reported the offenses to school officials and resigned at the end of the season. Tech and Boston College played another set of out-of-conference games in 1997 and 1998, which they split. Interestingly, the road team won both of the games.

A Miami fan must have edited their Wikipedia page, because they note that a failed upset of no. 1 Miami in 12-7, courtesy of a late heartbreaking interception as the Eagles were driving to win the game, is the most memorable moment of that season.

Boston College would rebound strongly off of that 2001 campaign, as they were a good-but-never-all-that-great team throughout the early 2000s. They won their only conference championship to-date when they finished tied atop the table in their final year in the Big East, along with Syracuse, Pittsburgh, and West Virginia. The former two were particularly salty that the Eagles left for the Big East, which definitely isn’t super ironic today.

Jeff Jagodzinski coached Boston College for two seasons, led by the golden arm of Matt Ryan, a very familiar face to us down here in Atlanta these days. That Boston College team would peak at no. 2 in the standings, which was essentially a kiss of death in that season. If you have not read the SB Nation retrospective on 2007, it is absolutely worth your time. Tech played the Eagles each of Jagodzinski’s two seasons, again splitting the contests. Again, the two road teams won. Of course, the Eagles still made it to the ACC title game both years, their second and third in their four years in the conference. They haven’t been back since.

Paul Johnson’s 2012 team would gash the Eagles 37-17 in Atlanta, the last year before the ACC went to 14 teams from 12, making the eight conference games with seven team divisions completely untenable and welcoming noted former legal opponents of the conference Pittsburgh and Syracuse. I miss the home-and-homes against the rotating opponents. Do I remember them as a fan? No, but I’m getting to that.

Since then, you only need to know about two things in particular in Boston College history: A. J. Dillon, their star running back of late, and GUYS BEING DUDES. GUYS BEING DUDES is, quite simply, Steve Addazio’s permanent addition to the cultural zeitgeist and his most lasting legacy in Chestnut Hill. Remember Vine? I remember Vine. It was better than Tik Tok. I can’t remember why, but it was better, because it was ours, not this new stuff. While I’m at it, bring back Yik Yak.

Anyways, all of this has been belaboring an important point - the most significant game between these two teams, in my humble opinion, is the most recent. Am I extremely biased, since it’s the first game Georgia Tech football played my freshman year of college? Yes. But that’s part of the charm of this column, I think. Is it by far the most exotic locale Tech has ever played a football game in? Yes. Have I asked far more rhetorical questions than I usually do or should ever? Also yes. All I’m saying is that when Justin Thomas found Qua Searcy on 4th and 19, Ricky Jeune for another 26 on third down, and Dedrick Mills capped it off when he rumbled into the endzone with 35 seconds to play to put Tech on top 17-14, the future looked bright.

And it indeed was bright that year. Georgia Tech defeated VPISU on the road that year, a Matthew Jordan-led slugfest, and added their most recent win against the school in Athens in, well, Athens when Brant Mitchell picked off a loopy Jacob Eason desperation heave to close out the game. That was a looping sentence that didn’t even mention The Leap, when Searcy lowered, lunged, and leaped over the Bulldog line into the endzone, which Harrison Butker followed by nailing the extra point to make it 28-27. We didn’t know how good we had it then, I’d say. When Tech sent off Thomas and Butker with their third SEC East win of the season, dispatching Kentucky in the Gator Bowl, Mills had three more years, but already had two disciplinary infractions.

Daniel Jones just tripped away a sure-fire touchdown. I’d laugh harder if that last paragraph didn’t make me so sad.

I argue the timeline diverged in August of 2017, as I stood in the Consolidated Rental Car Center at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. It was time to move back in at Tech, across the street from Caldwell Hall to Nelson-Shell (the ULC, for those of a certain age). And my phone was imploding with Slack notifications, because star B-Back Dedrick Mills had just been kicked off the team. This is where I’d argue our timeline diverges from whatever magic the 2014-2016 teams had.

Just think if Tech had been able to put the ball in surer hands against Tennessee. Or picked up the loose yardage needed to keep several drives alive against Virginia. Miami? I got nothing on that one. And we aren’t talking about that game at Duke - dang it, another time Daniel Jones tried to convince everyone he was a decent quarterback. But still. Flip the other two, and that’s a 7-4, bowl-bound record right there. I could keep going.

But for that bright and early opening day morning, the future was bright for Georgia Tech.

Why Boston College didn’t play that game at Alumni Stadium is beyond me. I guess it made enough sense for us, too, even if one fan’s quixotic quest to ship the Ramblin’ Reck to Ireland didn’t pan out. At the very least, all of the players got a once-in-a-lifetime experience that must have been unlike almost any other college football story. But, for the first time in almost a decade and a half, the Jackets will play the Eagles in Chestnut Hill.

I really, truly want to believe that Tech’s future is as brilliant as it seemed the next four years would be when true freshman Dedrick Mills came up from his four yard run covered in maroon paint with six more points to his name. If you asked me after Louisville, perhaps when true freshman Jahmyr Gibbs vaulted some Cardinals on his way to the south endzone, I probably would be inclined to say that it is.

Your mileage, as we look towards the Eagles two weeks later, may vary.

Tomorrow, Tech travels to the Alumni Stadium for the first time in ages. Tune in to watch on ACC Network, or it can be heard over the airwaves in the usual suspects, 680 AM / 93.7 FM and the Georgia Tech IMG Sports Radio Network. With the appearance of the historical matchup preview, that means it’s noon on Friday, and that concludes From the Rumble Seat’s regularly scheduled pregame content. Tune in tomorrow starting at 6:00 AM for How to Watch continuing through the gameday thread and the postgame recap. Go Jackets!