FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — The statue of Doug Flutie outside Boston College's Alumni Stadium was playfully defaced this week when someone — presumably by a UMass supporter — draped a Minuteman jersey over it. Flutie retweeted a photo with the comment: "Ew."
That's probably the first time in a long while that the folks in Chestnut Hill gave much thought to their cross-state rivals.
Boston College and UMass will meet in their season openers on Saturday at Gillette Stadium, the home of the New England Patriots and the off-campus host for the Minutemen since they moved up to the Football Bowl Subdivision in 2012. While Boston College spent last year righting itself in the Atlantic Coast Conference and returning to the bowl rotation, UMass has struggled since moving to the FBS as a member of the Mid-American Conference with back-to-back 1-11 records.
So while the game is being billed as "The Battle of the Bay State," UMass has some distance to go before it replaces the Boston University hockey team as a legitimate BC rival.
"Are we ready to play at an ACC level? We will find out," UMass coach Mark Whipple said. "It's a tough opener, but one our guys will be excited about."
UMass hasn't had much of a home-field advantage in the mostly empty stadium it borrows from the Patriots, winning there just once in two seasons. Still, BC coach Steve Addazio was concerned that his players might be awe-struck when they walked into the home of the three-time Super Bowl champions so he brought them down for a quick preview.
"As you would expect, the bus pulled up and the guys were gawking," Addazio said. "They saw it, so now the next time there won't be a lot of that. That's why we did it."
Here are some things to look for in Saturday's game:
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