The potential is there for a very special Friday night at The Heights in a little under two weeks.
Really, any Friday night home game for Boston College has a different feel to it, as the annual Red Bandana game in honor of 9/11 hero Welles Crowther tends to bring out the best in both the team and the fans.
However, there should be a little extra juice in the step for the Eagles aside from the obvious reasons. A few weeks ago, maybe it did not seem like this, but BC has a very real shot of beating Miami, which will also be coming off a bye.
For as much as BC fans have been disappointed with losses to Purdue and NC State, how do you think Miami fans feel at the moment?
The Hurricanes came into the season as a top 10 team and lost their opener to LSU, 33-17, in a game where they trailed by 30 at one point. None of Miami's wins since then have been particularly impressive, and it just lost to a very average Virginia team on Saturday, 16-13.
The LSU loss you can understand, but Miami simply looks like one in the long list of teams that are OK, but not truly dangerous compared to the elite teams in college football. Overall, it feels like Alabama and everyone else, and the everyone elses can all sort of knock each other off at any moment.
That means BC, which will likely have a healthy AJ Dillon, bolstered by the emotion that every Red Bandana game brings, can put a true signature win on the board when Miami comes to town.
Sure, Miami may be overrated this year, but so was Florida State last fall, and when the Eagles crushed the Seminoles at Alumni Stadium, it was a big win over a top-tier program.
That's what the Eagles can accomplish again, and it's very much in play as they head into their toughest stretch of the season.
Just get better
The whole cliche about trusting the process and getting better every day is old and tired, sure, but that's exactly what UMass must do when Coastal Carolina comes to Amherst this Saturday.
Essentially, this game is all about what the Minutemen have learned when it comes to stopping the run. That's the central issue with this defense, which has been near the bottom in the nation in too many categories.
The Minutemen are coming off a loss to South Florida where they allowed 58 points and Bulls running back Jordan Cronkrite to rush for 302 yards.
Of course, for the team to have any success going forward, these are not sustainable numbers.
Coastal Carolina enters Saturday's contest with a legitimate ground attack at 242.2 yards per game, which is the 17th-best mark in the country. Only two teams — UConn and Bowling Green — have allowed more yards per game on the ground than UMass.
Is this a recipe for disaster? Maybe, but it is also a chance to show marked improvement, and after a bye week, that's vital.
We picked a great game to go to Friday night when we saw Needham travel to Milton, but we also ended up missing what turned into a classic between Holy Cross and Harvard.
It was a big night for Massachusetts natives for Holy Cross, as quarterback Geoff Wade (Needham/St. Sebastian's) threw two touchdown passes, running back Domenic Cozier (Milford/Milton Academy) rushed for two scores, running back Peter Oliver (Auburn/St. John's of Shrewsbury) rushed for 57 yards, and defensive lineman Benton Whitley (Springfield/Minnechaug HS) notched a sack and two tackles for loss.
But in the end, it was the foot of Harvard's Jake McIntyre that stole the show, as he kicked four field goals, including a 25-yarder as time ran out to seal the 33-31 win.
Back at it
When Assumption returned from the Northeast-10 bye week with a 26-20 overtime win over Southern Connecticut, maybe there was the sense that the 5-1 Greyhounds, who are still unbeaten in conference play, escaped with one as huge showdowns with New Haven and LIU Post loom in the next two weeks.
Perhaps the game was a little closer than expected, but we do know for sure that quarterback Cody Williams, who threw three touchdown passes this weekend, gives Assumption the type of triggerman to keep the Greyhounds in the game against either of their next two opponents.
Division 3 shakeup
We are still not exactly sure what to make of our upcoming NCAA Div. 3 Mass. rankings now, as Merchant Marine pulled off the 17-14 upset at Springfield College this weekend.
Merchant Marine is a good team, and came into the game with the Pride with its lone loss to MIT, which is still unbeaten.
Does this mean MIT is really the best D3 team in Massachusetts, and not Springfield?
Right now, you'd have to say that might be the case, but those teams will get to settle a lot of these debates on the field when they meet in the regular season finale on November 10 at MIT.
There is one game left in the MIAA regular season (went by fast, didn't it?), and we have yet to touch on one of the biggest stories of the season.
If Canton beats North Attleboro Friday night, the Bulldogs will win their first Hockomock League title in . . . we don't even remember the last time this program accomplished that feat. The Bulldogs made two Super Bowls in the 1980s, but ever since the 90s rolled around, Canton has not been anywhere close to that level.
We've been told for a few years now that the Bulldogs' current junior class is terrific, but you need more than one good group to win in that league.
Regardless of what happens Friday night, the Bulldogs have to take stock of what they have accomplished this year and be very proud of it.