Always trying to expand our reach here at Atlantic Coast Convos, we made some new friends over at Major Onions, which focuses on Chicago sports, the Big Ten and the SEC. And given this weekend’s B1G/ACC battle between Northwestern and Boston College, I decided to have a Q&A with them on Saturday’s matchup. Editor-in-chief Keegan Goudie was great enough to answer some questions below (thanks, Keegan!), and be sure to head over there to see my thoughts on the game as well.
Which BC player most concerns you on Saturday?
Major Onions: Chase Rettig will obviously have all the pressure on him coming into the game. The big question will be whether that pressure remains during gameplay. Boston College has good size on the O-line, and the key will be making sure Rettig is comfortable in the pocket. The unit is led by left tackle Emmett Cleary (6-foot-7, 313 pounds), whom ironically I had the ‘pleasure’ of guarding my senior year football season (my back still isn’t the same). If Cleary and the rest of the Eagle’s O-line has a solid outing, Rettig will have plenty of time to tear up a weak Northwestern secondary.
After two games, it looks like Northwestern has a quarterback controversy on its hands. Any preference who comes out victorious?
MO: As Pat Fitzgerald said, “having two quarterbacks is a good problem to have”. From a program perspective, you have to call BS on a dual-QB system in the long-term. I think Pat Fitzgerald should be weary on making a harsh decision too early, but I think Trevor Siemian is making a statement for the starting job. His unforeseen ability to exceed in clutch and late moments of games is something you can’t teach. Those are what you look for in a program quarterback. His numbers aren’t overwhelming, but I don’t see why Fitzgerald doesn’t make him the BMOC at Northwestern.
NU’s pass defense was horrendous against Syracuse, but greatly improved against Vandy. Which pass D will we see this weekend?
MO: I think they’re going to pummeled. Chase Rettig has been on fire, and Northwestern’s secondary has been ice cold. In just two games this season, Rettig has thrown for 660 yards, five touchdowns, and one pick while completing 57.8 percent of his passes. The Wildcats will do everything they can to contain junior WR Alex Amidon, but it should be pointed out that Rettig’s five TDs were to five different receivers. That’s a scary number for an already timid 113th ranked passing defense.
MO: Notre Dame is becoming a punch line around the Midwest. While I wont get started on my criticisms for Notre Dame overall as an institution, I don’t see the B1G being a fit for such a high-maintenance program. In terms of football specifically, the Big Ten has its share of fueled rivalries, but it thrives off unity. This isn’t exactly coming from a ‘Domer’, so we’ll save that discussion for another time.
What are Northwestern’s chances to play for a Big Ten title in 2012?
MO: 0%. Northwestern still has a few years ahead of them until they get to that point. With that said – they’re (along with Stanford) becoming a quintessential example of athletic success in a school with strict and admirable academic standards. I think Michigan State steals the B1G title this year, but I won’t count Northwestern out of contention. As long as an elite-program doesn’t snag Pat Fitzgerald from the program, we should expect to see good things from the Wildcats for years to come.
Final score prediction?
MO: Hearts with Northwestern, but head is saying 27-17, Boston College.