ND Will Be Up For BC

Boston College has won the last five meetings between the schools, but the Irish say that they will be ready for the Eagles this season. Coach Weis knows all about the area from his time with the Patriots, but the staff also gave a player the chance to explain what this game means to BC.

Irish fans know the history of the Notre Dame-Boston College series all too well.

The so-called ‘Holy War' began in 1975 with Notre Dame winning the first four matchups before suffering a heartbreaking loss in 1993 that cost the Irish a National Championship.

The Eagles followed that up with another win in 1994 before Notre Dame reeled off four consecutive wins from 1995-1998. The teams split the matchups in 1999 and 2000, but BC has won the last five, including a ‘Green Jersey Game' that marked the first loss of the Tyrone Willingham era at Notre Dame.

Although Notre Dame leads the series 9-8, it is still considered a disappointment by most fans.

As the two largest Catholic collegiate athletic programs in the country, there is a natural rivalry.

"It's pretty much two of the same exact schools. Two Catholic schools that have got similar tradition, similar academics," Jimmy Clausen said. "They're just both real similar to each other, and I think that's why there's such a big rivalry."

One theory behind Boston College's relative success in the matchup is that the Eagles play with a chip on their shoulders because they feel that they get treated like little brothers although in some Notre Dame circles BC is looked at more as the older, yet less capable sibling.

Weis is familiar with the area from his time with the Patriots.

"I lived in New England for nine years. I lived up there. And I know that there's a lot of very similar compositions in the schools," he said. "I have a lot of respect for Boston College, and I know that they'd like nothing more than beating Notre Dame. And conversely we'd like nothing more than beating them just the same. But I know that living up there for nine years, I think that you could see that this would be one of the ones that they've got a big asterisk on their schedule."

The Notre Dame staff was fortunate to be able to rely on a player to hammer that point home to the rest of the team.

Barry Gallup Jr. basically grew up at Boston College where his father, Barry Gallup Sr., was a record-setting receiver in the 1960's and currently serves as an associate Athletic Director.

"We have a big edge by having Barry Gallup here because Barry Gallup has been in that locker room, the BC locker room, previously against Notre Dame when he was a young man growing up," Mike Haywood said. "He gave an explanation of, ‘Hey fellas, this is what BC thinks and this is how important this game is to them. This is what happens in the locker room during that point in time. So you have to understand the intensity that they're going to come out and play with.'"

"We took it in and we're going to do what we can do to achieve what we're trying to go for," James Aldridge said of Gallup's talk.

Clausen also took something out of the Wellesley (MA) native's speech.

"He just said that they're going to be ready to go come Saturday. His dad is an AD there and he's real familiar with Boston College and the Boston area and stuff like that, being from there," Clausen said. "He just told us that we've got to be ready. The fans are going to be ready to go. It's going to be a tough environment, and we've just got to be ready."

Weis mentioned the fact that the Eagles have had Notre Dame's number lately, but also said that this year's team has only faced Boston College once, a 24-17 home loss last year.

"I go back to last year. That's it. That's as far as I go back. We played them last year," Weis said. "I thought it was a competitive game. We had some games last year that weren't competitive. This wasn't one of them. They were a really good football team last year with a lot of veteran guys playing for them."

The Irish players have been told all about what the game means to BC, but they made sure to make it clear that the game means plenty to them as well.

"I think what some people forget is that we're getting up for the game too," Sam Young said.

Dan Wenger echoed his offensive line mate's comments.

"We know that there is a certain rivalry and everything. For us, it's a matter of really that Boston College is next on our schedule so that's who we have to play," Wenger said. "I'm not worried about if this makes their season, if this is whatever game you want to call it. If that's what it is to them, to me it's our next step in trying to make this program what it is and what it used to be. They're a very good team, I'm just working hard this week to try to do whatever I can to put ourselves in a position to win."

That is exactly how Weis expects his team to be thinking.

"I'm putting a lot of importance on this game with the fellas this week," he said. "By the time we play there, I don't think it's going to be any more important to them than it is to us."

Pat Kuntz was recruited by Boston College coming out of high school and has an understanding for the players on the other side.

"We have the same kind of kids that come to each school and it's just tough guys who come out and see who can get the best of each other," he said.

Kuntz is not worried about Notre Dame being treated like the Yankees in Fenway Park.

"Oh, I'm ready, I'm ready," he said. "I like going into to hostile environments where people don't like me. I like to shut them up."

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