B.C. Takes a Page From Irish Book
DURING Monday's predawn hours on a very culturally correct classical-music station in Boston, two women - a news anchor and a program host - used their segue to talk college football. The next concerto could hold a minute for a discussion about ``The Game,'' which in this case wasn't Harvard vs. Yale, but Saturday's epic struggle between Boston College and Notre Dame.
One of the radio voices described the drama as ``riveting'' and the fourth quarter ``as the one quarter of college football to have seen this season.'' The comments, while parochial, were not overwrought. Boston College's stunning 41-39 victory was truly a classic. To beat Notre Dame in South Bend on the final play - a 41-yard field goal by a walk-on, former soccer player - was a fairy-tale ending for a school that already has bronzed another magical moment: Doug Flutie's spectacular 47-yard touchdown pass with time expired against Miami in 1984.
Only a year ago, BC had been badly humbled by the Fighting Irish, 54-7. Some felt that a particularly heavy spanking was administered as ``repayment'' for a disrespectful appearance by some Boston College rooters at Notre Dame's pregame pep rally.
Whatever the reason, Boston College was on a mission to prove that they belonged on the same field with their Catholic brethren. And for three quarters, they had Notre Dame's number, executing brilliantly in all phases of the game. Early in the fourth quarter the Eagles led 38-17, but then the entire weight of Notre Dame football seemed to kick in, and the Irish roared back for their first lead of the day, 39-38, with 61 seconds left.
Just when a new page in Irish football legend was about to be written, Boston College moved into the position for the game-winning kick.
For Notre Dame, it was a bitter ending to what would have been an 11-0 regular season. It also was an emotional crash from the previous week's 31-24 defeat of top-ranked Florida State in what was billed as ``The Game of the Century.'' That game, too, went down to the wire. BC (8-2) is now at the pinnacle in the ``feel good'' department, yet the Eagles have one regular-season game left Friday against a very strong West Virginia team that is 10-0 and beat fourth-ranked Miami on Saturday. Touching other bases
* The National Football League is supposed to announce Nov. 30 which one of four cities - St. Louis, Baltimore, Memphis, Tenn., or Jacksonville, Fla. - will join Charlotte, N.C., in fielding an expansion team in 1995. Some speculate that the month-long delay in awarding the second franchise was to allow St. Louis to put a better bid together. St. Louis is the largest TV market without an NFL team.
* Now that Mary Pierce's father has been banned from the women's tennis circuit because of his volatile and abusive behavior, maybe Mary will begin to blossom. Signs that this may be happening came during last week's Virginia Slims Championships in New York, where she knocked off Gabriela Sabatini and Martina Navratilova in consecutive matches, marking the first time she'd ever defeated top-10 players since turning pro in 1989. Pierce, ranked 16th, eventually lost in the semifinals to Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, runner-up to Steffi Graf.
* Donna Harris Lewis, the widow of Boston Celtics star Reggie Lewis, showed a lot of class last week by going public and continuing a tradition that she and her husband had started four years ago: giving out Thanskgiving turkeys to needy Boston residents. Reggie's teammates helped her distribute 700 birds in the lobby of Northeastern University's Matthews Arena, where Reggie, who died last summer, played college ball. Now, she reportedly plans to initiate a similar giveaway at Christmas time in Baltimore, Reggie's hometown.
* One can understand how an autographed football or a game uniform of a Super Bowl quarterback might sell, but his boyhood furniture? Troy Aikman's chest of drawers brought $650 at last week's auction in Dallas to raise money for the Cowboy quarterback's very own charity, the Troy Aikman Foundation, which assists children in need. Since this was the ``first annual'' auction, the organizers may be challenged in a few years to find any belongings from Aikman's adolescence. By the way, the game-used items brought top dollar: An Aikman jersey sold for $5,500.