Sunday, June 23, 2019

UConn is dumb and so are the BC analogies

UConn is leaving the AAC to return to its roots in the Big East. This has been met with applause and head scratching in the college sports world. I am firmly in the head scratching camp. In my opinion, this move is risky and borderline nonsensical. I predict that UConn, in trying to reclaim past glory, will only sink all their future endeavours. I also think that anyone saying BC should do the same should also realize how silly that would be.

The Big East is dead
Whatever UConn thinks it is going to find in the Big East doesn't exist anymore. Yes there is still a tournament in Madison Square Garden and yes many of the teams they play are familiar, but the Big East is not the Big East of the '80s or even the Big East of the 2000s. TV audiences are smaller. There are fewer elite teams. The geography is spread out to the Midwest. Are the UConn fans who were disinterested in Memphis or Tulane going to turn out for Butler or Creighton?

It is coaching
While Villanova's success shows that you can win National Championships out of the Big East, UConn already won a title out of the AAC. Villanova's success was driven by Jay Wright. UConn's struggles post-Calhoun were just as easily attributed to coaching as conference. The AAC has legit basketball programs in Memphis, Cincinnati and Central Florida. UConn couldn't have beaten any of them lately. That's not because their players and fans long for the Big East. It is because their teams were bad. Maybe coaching will fix this, but changing conferences won't.

Giving up on Football will drag all sports
While their fans seems to think this move will give their programs new life, I think it will kill all their sports. Every coach who is recruiting against UConn can say, "they killed their football program. What will they kill next?" While I don't have a clear look into their books, I can't imagine this will improve athletic department revenues. We know the Big East TV deal is small. We know that football will be lucky not to lose a ton of money as an independent. Plus they have a $10 million AAC exit fee. Will ticket revenue from basketball and donations be enough to offset those decision?

Don't talk about BC and UConn
Predictably UConn's decision sparked talk from the pundits that BC should consider the same move. This is stupid beyond so many levels, namely the money, but also because the ACC is an entirely different group of schools. BC wants to be associated with Duke, Syracuse, Notre Dame, etc. Even those who don't care about sports realize that benefit to BC. Plus unlike UConn -- which declared itself a basketball school to the world -- BC is a football school. Our most public moments have been football related. Our fans and alums care more about football than any of our other sports. And football has given us an identity.

As has been proven out time and again in college sports, any team can compete from any conference. The key is always finding the right coach and giving that coach the right time and support to turn things around. Whatever failings BC or UConn have had in the last decade have not been one of conference affiliations. They've been bad hires or bad decisions. Both schools have challenges. I hope that BC is on the right path to fix ours. I am pretty sure UConn just made their problems worse.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Bowman made the right decision

Congratulations to Ky Bowman. Although the BC guard wasn't drafted, he did sign a deal with the Golden State Warriors. Given the Warriors' depleted roster and their need for cheap talent in the hopes of retaining Thompson and Durant, Bowman should get a legitimate shot at making the team. The difference between being a first round pick and a second is bigger than being a second round pick and an undrafted free agent. Second round picks are discarded by NBA teams all the time. The other blessing for Bowman is the renewed commitment to the G-League. Teams actually use it for true development now. It is not lucrative nor glamorous, but if the Warriors send him down, he will have a chance to comeback.

I don't know if Bowman will bother completing his BC degree. I would hope he does. Even in professional basketball, he would probably need it in most post-playing jobs (coaching, front office, etc). I know BC does help these guys the best they can with completing course work in the offseason or through distance opportunities. 

Despite a happy ending, I wish BC would be at the forefront of a rule change to allow players to return if they are not drafted in the NBA or NFL (call it the Hamp Cheevers rule). If BC is going to take a stand on paying players, why not make this stand too? Give players the chance to earn in the real world, but return if they change their mind or are given bad advice. If this is truly about developing them or giving them an education, changing that rule would seem like the something BC should believe in and support. 

I hope Bowman has a great career. He was fun the watch the past few years and I thank him for what he did for BC.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

A look at the roster shuffle

The transfer portal has been up and filled with BC-related names, but not many answers from BC or the press. We got some answers Wednesday. Matt McDonald, who had been on the portal for a few weeks, is headed to Bowling Green. He will join fifth year Grad Transfer Davon Jones and former BC OC Scot Loeffler. While Addazio can't talk about it right now, I assume both had his blessing. When the season ended Jones seemed iffy on social media if he would even be asked back. McDonald showed promise in the Spring Game, but I think he still faced an uphill climb on the depth chart. Reuniting with Loeffler give both a chance to see the field. Addazio's son is on Loeffler's staff, so this has to be seen as friendly.

McDonald leaving also explains the recent commit of Florida QB Daelen Menard. Commits that come in late may usually have a story. Menard is small and dealt with injuries, hurting his chance to play at a high level. I am fine with taking a risk on him and Brian White and Addazio's hit rate on under the radar guys from Florida has been pretty good. Menard will hopefully continue that pattern.

Incoming transfers include former Miami OL Hayden Mahoney and former Clemson DE Richard Yeargin III. They join the long-announced Danny Dalton. Will any of these guys change the program? Probably not but like the Florida history, Addazio has a good track record of turning discarded P5 players into contributors at BC.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Baseball's bubble burst

After making an impressive run in the ACC Tournament, the Baseball team's season came to an end when they didn't make the field of 64 for the College World Series. They've been playing some of their best baseball the last month of the season, but the slow start to the year and some tough early losses hurt their resume. The ACC is well represented with seven teams. Hopefully one of them wins it all.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Lax comes oh so close again

For the third time in three years, the Women's Lacrosse team made it to the National Championship game. And for the third time they came up short, this year losing to Maryland 12-10. Despite the loss, the Senior Class leaves BC as the most accomplished in school history and can claim they put the program on the map. But where are things headed?

The history of NCAA Women's Lacrosse is relatively short. Maryland has been the premiere program, but they are in the heart of lacrosse country. The better model for BC might be Northwestern. They had a decade run when they came on the scene from a non-traditional lax school and won a series of National Championships. BC has yet to break through to win the big one, but there is no reason to think that they can not be perennial contenders.

The key will be next year. Acacia Walker-Weinstein has proven to be a great program builder. But now with her most talented players leaving, can she recruit and develop others? I think she can and as I have said before, I think like Jerry York, once she breaks through things will just take off from there.

Sunday, May 05, 2019

More than sports

The BC Sports community lost two of their most beloved members this weekend in Andy Jick and Marie Grip. 

If you are reading this blog, you've probably read BC message boards or BC Twitter and know Marie Grip as Dixie Eagle. Like myself, she was a BC grad married to a BC grad living in the South. She reached out to me very early on in the blog and has been a great voice of reason for me and others for years. She was a realist without being a pessimist, someone who could be empathetic but also critical, all why showing a great sense of humor and grace. That's a tough combination to pull off online. And for those who did get to know her through BC, she was very genuine. As I tweeted, I never met her in person, but feel I knew her well. Putting so much time into sports and the subcommunities around them doesn't really make sense if you step back. The time, the money, the emotion...even in at its best is fleating. Yet those moments you do get and get to share with interesting people, make it worthwile. There was more to Marie than BC sports, but I am glad I got to know her through BC sports.

Although I met Andy Jick when I was a student, I didn't know him like I knew Marie. Jick has been part of the fabric of BC sports for two decades as the PA announcer for basketball and other sports. With his passing, numerous tributes went up online about his character and kindness. He will be missed and hard to replace.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Fenway finally gets a bowl

For the longest time, I've argued that BC and the Red Sox should spearhead a bowl at Fenway. Now it is finally a real thing. The first yet to be named bowl will kick off in December 2020 and feature an ACC team and an AAC team. You might as well just call this game the BC bowl because we will be in it more than any other team...and I am okay with that.

The reason I am okay with BC playing in a freezing bowl, down the street from campus is because the whole bowl season is a farce. These are glorified exhibitions that ESPN gets on the cheap during the holidays, propped up by sponsors and corrupt bowl committees. While the playoff is an improvement, the bowl season is still a mess and further and further from a meritocracy than it was 20 or 30 years ago. While every ten years or so BC lines up a decent opponent, in a somewhat desirable destination where our fans will buy tickets (NYC, Orlando, San Fran), most of the time we are in places and games that no one cares about. Heck the most interesting moment of Addazio bowl era was our game in an empty Cotton Bowl getting cancelled.

The allure of playing at Fenway is diminished, but we have history in the park. We won't get treated as second class citizens and some BC fans will actually get to attend the game. That is all good. If you view these things as made for TV events, the weather and location matters even less.

So welcome to the party Red Sox. Now let's get back to winning bowl games.