The only thing tight end Tommy Sweeney, offensive lineman Chris Lindstrom, and safety Will Harris could do was stare at their phones, refresh their feeds, and wait for something to come along their timeline.
While Boston College played out the final moments of the bowl announcement waiting game, the Eagles were as clueless as anyone about where they might land.
Even head coach Steve Addazio was out of the loop.
“Sometimes you have a little contact with the bowl people along the way,” said Addazio. “But I’m sure, like everything else, there’s a lot that goes into these things. There’s a lot of little checker/chess moves.
“I think I said after practice Saturday, I go, ‘I don’t care who we play, where we play, when we play. I don’t care if we play in the parking lot, I don’t care if we play on planet Pluto. I just know we’re going to go play a bowl game and we’re going to have a chance to be together and we’re going to have a chance to do some great things’,” Addazio said.
It wasn’t until about 15 minutes before Addazio walked into the Barber Room at Yawkey Stadium that the Eagles found out their destination.
As it turned out, the Eagles won’t have to play on Pluto.
They’ll make the trip to Dallas the day after Christmas to face Boise State in the First Responder Bowl at 1:30 p.m..
“I think everyone else knew before even we did and we were sitting right here,” Harris said. “We finally got the information, we knew where we were playing, we knew who we were playing, so now it’s time to get to work.
The First Responder Bowl replaces the Heart of Dallas Bowl, which debuted in 2011 after the Cotton Bowl moved to Arlington, Texas.
This will be Boston College’s fifth bowl appearance in six seasons under Addazio. BC is 1-3 in bowl games under Addazio, who has taken the Eagles to more bowls than any coach since Tom O’Brien coached the Eagles in seven straight from 1999-2005. O’Brien’s 2006 squad played in the Meineke Car Care Bowl but defensive coordinator Frank Spaziani served as interim head coach for the 25-24 win over Navy after O’Brien accepted the head coaching job at North Carolina State.
The Eagles (7-5) locked up bowl eligibility early after starting the season 7-2, but three straight losses to end the season dashed their chances at a glitzier postseason landing spot.
But a matchup against No. 23 Boise State comes with its own intrigue. The teams played in the 2005 MPC Computers Bowl, with the Eagles besting the host Broncos, 27-21. Boise State (10-3) has been an elite program in the Mountain West Conference, winning at least 10 games in six of the past eight seasons.
“They’ve got a long history of making big plays in bowl games,” Harris said. “It’ll be very interesting to get the film on them.”
Preparing for a team they’ve only admired from a distance adds to the allure, Addazio said.
“I don’t know them specifically,” Addazio said. “I mean I have not watched them or anything on tape although I’ve always watched them through the years when I catch them on TV and I know what their history is . . . I’ve never played Boise. I’ve never really seen Boise up close and personal. I just know very well their reputation and what their history’s been. So I’m excited about it. I’m looking forward to it.”
BC’s plan is to have offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler, who last week was named head coach at Bowling Green, to remain on staff through the bowl game. He’s expected to return to BC in two weeks when the recruiting period ends, the dead period begins, and the Eagles get into serious bowl preparation.
“He and I have talked about it several times,” Addazio said. “But we’ll see. We’ll see how that goes. I mean, he’s got a job to do, too. But that’s the plan right now. Plans change. Things come up. Stuff happens. I’m not really concerned about it. We’ve got really good coaches here.”
Sweeney, Lindstrom, Harris, and defensive end Zach Allen will also participate in the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., on Jan. 26.
“It’s going to be a tremendous opportunity,” Lindstrom said. “I’m so thankful that the guys on our team are also going to be there. But first, before that happens, I’m trying to end my BC career and as a senior class try to do something special here and that’s get our eighth win.”
The Eagles haven’t won eight games since 2009 and, after squandering opportunities to get it done late in the season, it’s been on their minds.
“It’s the only thing, really,” Sweeney said. “The game’s 24 days from now? That’s the only thing that matters. We’ve been working to get it for a couple weeks now and we’ve got a good opportunity to do so here.”Julian Benbow can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.