What is the most memorable matchup in college football history? Army-Navy? Harvard-Yale? Alabama-Auburn? Texas-Oklahoma? How about Miami-Boston College?">
What is the most memorable matchup in college football history? Army-Navy? Harvard-Yale? Alabama-Auburn? Texas-Oklahoma? How about Miami-Boston College?">

All Hail Desperation

"I don't believe it! It's a touchdown! The Eagles win it...This is one of the most remarkable football games I have ever seen." -Brent Musburger <br><br> What is the most memorable matchup in college football history? Army-Navy? Harvard-Yale? Alabama-Auburn? Texas-Oklahoma? How about Miami-Boston College?

The series between the Miami Hurricanes and the Boston College Eagles has been nothing if not memorable. While the Eagles have only beaten the ‘Canes three times in a series of 23 games, the meeting is usually a hard-fought contest with the better team coming out on top. Ten times, the game has been decided by seven points or less, including Miami's heart stopping win last season in Chestnut Hill. This year, the Eagles fly south to Miami, and the Orange Bowl, to take on another Miami team ranked number one and steamrolling through college football.

While the rise of Miami football has been well documented, the Eagles have maintained a steady program marked by mediocrity. They have won at least ten games only twice (1940, 1984), and have seen periods of success in the early 70's, 80's and 90's followed by multiple losing seasons. Boston College often appears to be a program on the verge of greatness, yet that greatness is never fully realized. However, no amount of underachievement seems to matter when BC plays the Hurricanes. The Eagles have always played Miami tough, and probably always will.

Boston College and Miami first met in 1955. The Hurricanes won at home by seven points that year establishing the pattern that would come to mark the series even though the teams would follow different paths in the years to come. The Eagles' first win in the series came in a defensive struggle, prevailing 6-2. Boston College beat a Miami team that would eventually finish 2-8 in 1958. Another 2-8 Miami team would lose in 1975, but not before the Canes ripped off four straight wins against BC between 1960 and 1973. Following that loss, Miami and Boston College would play two hard-fought games in 1976 and 1979, with the Canes coming out on top in both. So far, Miami and BC had engaged in a tight series of skirmishes. Five games were decided by a touchdown or less. Even greater drama lay ahead.

The rivalry took a five-year break as Miami went on to capture its first national title in 1983. Boston College, meanwhile put together a successful run, posting at least 7 wins in three out the next four seasons. Coming into the 1984 season, Boston College boasted a bona-fide Heisman Trophy candidate in Doug Flutie, and Miami returned gunslinger Bernie Kosar who led the championship march the previous year. The game promised to be a shoot-out. The fulfillment of that promise would be more complete than anyone could have guessed. As you well know, Flutie and Kosar dueled it out in the Orange Bowl amassing over 900 combined passing yards, despite windy and rainy conditions. Melvin Bratton set a school record that stands to this day (recently tied by Willis McGahee last Saturday) with four rushing touchdowns. The lead changed hands several times. Winding down, it looked as though BC would win out after seizing the lead with minutes left, but Kosar led Miami on what appeared to be a game-clinching drive, culminating in a one yard Bratton touchdown. With only twenty-eight seconds left on the clock, Miami kicked off , and Boston College took possession at their own twenty-yard line. Three plays later, Flutie had moved the Eagles to the Miami forty-eight. The eventual Heisman winner dropped back to pass with 6 seconds left, and the rest is painful history for ‘Canes fans.

But there is revenge for those who have been wronged. Following that loss, Miami has run off a string of twelve consecutive victories against BC, including multiple blowouts. The next year, Boston College paid for their miracle in blood, as Miami won in a romp 45-10. But since the infamous Hail Mary, the Eagles have also suffered a fair share of heartbreaking losses to Miami. Seemingly, the sons of the program must atone for the sins of the fathers. Boston College fell short by a mere five points in Chestnut Hill in 1991. In 1997, the Hurricanes were ill with the effects of NCAA probation. However, Miami led big early against the Eagles. After a 69-yard Edgerrin James scamper only 54 seconds into the contest, Miami jumped ahead, building the lead to 24-3 in the second quarter. James, then a sophomore, set a Big East and Miami rushing record with 271 yards on 33 carries. But BC once again mounted a comeback and scored in the final seconds, and the game was plunged into the first overtime game in Big East history. Ryan Clement's 21-yard touchdown strike to Daryl Jones in the second overtime finished off the Eagles. In 1999, fifteen years after the Hail Mary play, BC stormed to a 28-0 lead, only to see Miami storm back to close the gap late in the game. The Hurricanes scored four touchdowns in the final quarter. Facing a fouth-and-17 on the BC 35, with no time-outs, Kenny Kelly hit Reggie Wayne on a 22-yard pass at the sideline. Andy Crossland nailed the thirty-yard field goal with three seconds remaining to seal the comeback and dash Eagle hopes of another win.

All these heart-wrenching losses pale in comparison to the devastating defeat Boston College suffered at the hands of the eventual national champions in 2001. Fresh in our minds, the Immaculate Deflection serves further notice that the football gods have not forgotten the debt owed to Miami. Will Boston College have to pay once more? Will we see a tooth-and-nail struggle capped with an unbelievable finish? Or will the Hurricanes exact revenge upon the Eagles for the scare in Chestnut Hill last year? Miami and Boston College have already combined to produce more fantastic finishes than any other rivalry in college football. Who can say with certainty how this Saturday's game will end?

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