SU dislikes BC. But not for the reasons you think
It’s been delineated, discussed and dissected, ad infinitum, for two days now. Talk of Boston College’s decision to spurn the Big East and join the Atlantic Coast Conference has reverberated from Boston Common to South Beach.
But, somehow, none of the analysis and hand-wringing has permeated the Syracuse football team’s locker room. The Orangemen have made themselves oblivious to the move, keeping their focus on the field and out of the board room.
No easy feat, considering SU, in an ironic twist, will play the Eagles on Saturday in the Carrier Dome.
‘A lot of people are trying to build that up,’ SU senior tight end Joe Donnelly said. ‘I’m sure (reporters) want me to say that, but if I said it, I would be lying. It never even crossed my mind. That’s not me just being politically correct and cordial, that’s just really how I feel.’
Said SU head coach Paul Pasqualoni: ‘It will have no impact on the game at all. There are just too many other things to think about.’
So BC’s defection won’t give the Orangemen any extra emotion. But then again, they didn’t need it anyway. Several SU players have built their own reasons to make BC a special opponent, without any help from shifting conference affiliation.
yracuse had just lost, 41-20, to BC at Alumni Stadium, and a cold and cranky Donnelly already began thinking about the 2003 game against the Eagles. Donnelly didn’t need any ACC controversies. A hatred of BC already festered inside him.
‘After losing that game last year, riding on the airplane back, I was thinking, ‘Man, my senior year, I do not want to lose to this team,’ ‘ Donnelly said Monday. ‘I hated Boston College. I think I hate Boston College more than any other football team.’
Syracuse seniors have developed a burning rivalry with the Eagles. Since they arrived at SU, the seniors have lost to BC in two of three games. Since Saturday could be the final time Syracuse and BC meet as Big East opponents, SU wants to even the score. The chance won’t be there much longer.
‘We owe them one since I’ve been here,’ junior guard Matt Tarullo said.
he ACC fiasco? Last year’s loss? Both good reasons for SU quarterback R.J. Anderson to dislike Boston College.
But the state that BC is in supercedes those.
‘There’s that animosity,’ said Anderson, a city boy from Plainville, Conn. ‘I’m not really a fan of the state of Massachusetts, personally. It has nothing to do with Boston College. I just hate the Red Sox. I hate the Celtics. I hate the Patriots. I really don’t like anybody out there. I don’t like the nightlife. I don’t like anything out there.’
And what would Dave DeAmato, a Massachusetts native and SU’s long snapper, think of that?
‘Everybody knows,’ Anderson said. ‘It’s no secret. I hate everybody.’
Anderson, now a senior who’s started in parts of three seasons, has developed a Gibraltar-sized chip on his shoulder. He’s particularly bitter toward BC, and not only because of what state it lies in. Last year, Anderson sat on the cold, wet sidelines of Alumni Stadium watching Troy Nunes.
Now, Anderson has a chance to vindicate himself.
‘We have to win,’ Anderson said. ‘It’s the biggest game of the season. At 4-2, going into Pitt, we’ll be all right. I can’t see us going 3-3. That’d be rough. It’s tough coming back from two in a row.’
anked No. 1 in Massachusetts and loaded with future BC players Peter Shean, Nate Hasselbeck, J.P. Comella and Derrick Knight, Xaverian Brothers High School was supposed to decimate Everett High School in the 1999 state championship game.
Diamond Ferri wouldn’t allow it. Though Xaverian won on a last-second field goal, Ferri, then a running back and now SU’s strong safety, earned respect for underdog Everett.
‘My goal is to beat up on them and punish them,’ Ferri said. ‘They were the supposed No. 1 team in the state. I had like 230 yards. Comella and Knight combined had like 42 yards. Whatever. That’s all I have to say.’
Saturday is personal for Ferri. He’ll look across the line of scrimmage and see players he’s been facing for almost eight years now.
‘It’s just going to mean a little more to me because I’m playing against guys I used to play against,’ Ferri said. ‘I’m play against a school that recruited me hard as one of their top prospects. I guess I have a little something to prove.’
Ferri’s gotten past the state-title game. But he’s still stuck on last year, when he didn’t have the chance to play against his longtime opponents. He sat out the season for personal reasons.
‘There’s gonna be payback for last year,’ Ferri said. ‘I wasn’t here. I didn’t have a chance to play the game. I want to go in the game and give them what I feel. I want them to feel my pain.
‘If they’re leaving the conference, we want to send them with a loss.’
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