Sean O'Shea column / The soft side of ND Coach Charlie Weis / Click here

Brian Boru Clarke's Fighting Irish blog / ND football program a ghost of what it was / Click here

It’s a shame that for the rest of the Notre Dame football season, Coach Weis will be horrifically criticized after every single game. Now, this comes with the territory of coaching the Irish, yet I think it’s pretty ridiculous.   

Even when the Irish win, the heat rarely distinguishes.

Fortunately, the schedule down the stretch for the Irish isn’t anything to panic about, which should be of assistance to Weis. And it starts on Saturday when BC comes to town.

When Boston College has the ball

QB Dan Shinskie doesn’t throw the ball more than 30 times per game. In fact, he’s yet to eclipse 29 passes. If this turns out to be the case on Saturday (I’m expecting he might pass that mark) expect Notre Dame to be in good shape. 

The Irish rush defense has been improving each week. Against USC, they only let up 132 yards on 33 carries and at Purdue, they gave up a mere 74 yards on 24 carries. I mention those teams because they have extremely talented tailbacks, just like BC has. 

Montell Harris is coming off a career day, in which he ran loose for 264 yards. But if BC is going to be one dimensional in this matchup, they’re not going to be successful. 

They must find a way to get receivers Rich Gunnell and Colin Larmond Jr. going early and often to keep Notre Dame from stacking nine in the box. 

Offensively, the Eagles have struggled heavily on the road. And this has all the potential of breakout game for the Fighting Irish defense if that trend continues.

When Notre Dame has the ball:

Well, let’s see; even the one of the best defenses couldn’t keep Notre Dame off the scoreboard. Except for the final few plays of the game, Clausen had USC on their heels in the second half. He’s rolling, and so is the Irish offense.

Coach Weis already announced that WR Robby Parris is ready to go, which is huge for the Irish. While he isn’t near the same level as Mike Floyd, he does add big play capabilities.

Even though the Eagle’s defense boasts nine upperclassman starters, there’s no slowing down the machine that is Jimmy Clausen. BC gives up 220 pass yards per game, which translates into (let me do some in-head calculations…) 400 passing yards for good ol’ boy Jimmy. 

BC doesn’t have a corner that can directly take on superstar Golden Tate either. But then again, I’m not sure anyone in the country can cover that kid. 

Another thing to look out for; BC’s defensive line has only 10 sacks on the year. Now they’re going up against a veteran offensive line. Horrible news the Eagles.

To sum it all up:

Although Notre Dame hasn’t beaten Boston College in their last six tries, all signs are pointing to victory this year. BC has been inept on the road and the Irish are hungry to get back on the field. 

If the Irish can stop Harris from lighting the grass on fire, this could get ugly. But I’m not ready to predict an indestructible defensive performance just yet. 

But as we all know; the best defense is a good offense. And Notre Dame has just that.

Prediction: ND 33, BC 21