Thursday, November 21, 2019

BC-Notre Dame preview

This is the last stand for Addazio. Despite what I wrote just last week, I think the mood has changed to the point that beating Pitt next week is not enough. I don't know what Leahy, the Board and Jarmond are feeling, but the fanbase has certainly checked out. Even at a place like BC -- where the fans don't run things -- you can't let your customer base continue to erode. Right now under Addazio, we are on the road to nowhere. It is up to the coach and the players to show the community that we are wrong and there is still fight and hope.

What's on my mind (not TOTALLY related to this game)
Earlier this week Addazio had Ricky Brown, Josh Beekman and Rich Gunnell address the team to tell them the importance and history of this game. I don't think Addazio intended to frustrate long-time fans like me with his actions but it did. Just 15 years ago, this was THE game on the BC calendar. All the fans cared. Many traveled. The media made a big deal of it. The players came out of the locker room with passion and energy. It was great. Now it shows how short institutional memory is that Addazio has to bring in people to remind the ream that this game used to mean something. How about this coach, if you want it to mean something, how about actually win a big game? How about actually play to the level of a ranked opponent? How about comeback when down? How about managing a game in a way that helps your team? If you want it to matter, then win the stinking game! Addazio didn't have an annual game with the Irish built into the schedule like TOB did, but he has done nothing to show that he can upset teams on a consistent basis nor that he can get the team to win games that are of extra importance. Now stop talking. Stop making excuses and go win the damn game.

Three Simple keys
1. Play action passing. The Irish pass D is not good. As much as I believe in sticking with the run, I know that early play action will work and help BC move the ball.
2. Tackling. I don't think the team will suddenly become tackling machines, but we've had an off week. Let's hope they worked on it. One or two more tackles and they would have won the Florida State game.
3. No field goals. Don't bother. The Irish can score. We will need seven instead of missed 3s. Just keep going for it on 4th down.

Gambling Notes
-- Addazio is 4-9 coming off a bye
-- Addazio is 0-2 vs the Irish
-- Addazio is 1-16 vs ranked teams
The current line is BC+20

It has been eight years since our last trip to South Bend. That is the longest break in between trips to South Bend since BC began playing there in 1987.

Scoreboard Watching
Nothing really matters at this point. Win a game and we are going bowling. We are only looking at the lowest of the lower tier bowls, so the impact of other ACC teams is minimal.

I hope to see...
The team playing with emotion. If you believe the rumors, the players expect a coaching change. It can be hard to get up for a game at this point in the season if you feel there is nothing on the line. I don't know how they feel about Addazio and if they will want to go "win one for the Gipper" (if you will) but they still have each other and the school. Let's hope they come out ready to play and win the game. Although it might not mean much, it would mean everything in the long run.

BC is in trouble if...
Notre Dame builds a double digit lead in the first half. We all know Addazio's teams are not known for comebacks. I would really be shocked if they came back in this sort of situation.

Bottom Line
Can Notre Dame be beaten? Yes. Can BC score enough on them to win? Yes. But it is going to take a great defensive effort. I don't know if we have that. I also clearly don't trust Addazio to push the right button.
Final Score: Notre Dame 38, BC 24

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Perspective on Addazio at BC and among his peers

Tuesday got a little heated on the BC-twittersphere after two different ESPN talking heads started defending Addazio in response to BCI's "fire Addazio" post. The ESPN crew's case for keeping Addazio was weak but the points that hit a nerve were "it is hard to win at BC, we (the fans) are taking seven wins for granted and be careful what you wish for." I spent a long time on Twitter shooting holes in that argument, but I wanted to use this post to provide more perspective.

This is Addazio's seventh season. BC has given him plenty of time to build and shape the program. There has been plenty of time to put one great season together. There have been plenty of games to learn from and adapt. He hasn't and will be very lucky to win seven this year. What he is accomplishing is not impressive when you compare it to his BC peers, his ACC peers and the other coaches hired for the 2013.

Addazio when compared to modern era BC coaches

Jeff Jagodzinski -- 2 seasons, .714 Winning Percentage
Tom O'Brien -- 10 seasons, .625 Winning Percentage
Tom Coughlin -- 3 seasons, .614 Winning Percentage
Jack Bicknell -- 10 seasons, .517 Winning Percentage
Steve Addazio -- 7 seasons, .500 Winning Percentage
Dan Henning -- 3 seasons, .458 Winning Percentage
Frank Spaziani -- 4 seasons, .431 Winning Percentage

ACC Coaching Tenure
Another reminder that BC has been patient with Addazio and given him plenty of time is ACC Tenure. Addazio and Dave Doeren are tied for the third most seniority in the conference. Doeren has a very similar record. Dabo obviously has an incredible record. Cutcliffe's run at Duke doesn't look great based on winning percentage, but he has been much better than his predecessors, which is something Addazio can't claim.

David Cutcliffe (12 seasons): 71-77 (ACC record 36-60)
Dabo Swinney (12 seasons): 126-30 (ACC record 75-16) 
Dave Doeren (seven seasons) : 47-39 (ACC record 21-32)
Steve Addazio (seven seasons): 43-43 (ACC record 21-34)

Coaches Hired for the 2013 Season
Finally there is the group of coaches who started at their respective jobs the same time Addazio started his time at BC. Believe it or not, 30 coaches took new FBS jobs that year. Only five still hold that same job. This is how Addazio stacks up among his peers.

Gus Malzahn: 60-29
Skip Holtz:  54-34
Dave Doeren: 47-39
Steve Addazio: 43-43 
Mark Stoops: 40-44

Once again, BC appears patient. 25 other teams who made changes entering the 2013 season have changed again. BC is still employing Addazio and he has the the second worst record of the remaining coaches (and one could argue Mark Stoops' 10-win year more than offsets for being four wins behind Addazio).

I want change. There could be an argument not to make the change, but the ESPN crew's argument that Addazio is accomplishing a lot at BC doesn't hold up historically or nationally.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Can Addazio still save his job?

While nothing has ever been said publicly, I think the consensus among those around BC Football is that Steve Addazio's seat has never been hotter. Sitting at 5-5, his odds of another winning season are not great. Plus there is a general feeling of disappointment in the losing and the excuses. While harder to measure -- because they're not vocal -- there is also a growing apathy among the fanbase.

But just because I want change doesn't mean that is guaranteed. BC, like all colleges, is very political and a big decision like this is not simple. Jarmond has a boss and his boss answers to a Board of Trustees. I think both Father Leahy and the BOT could keep Addazio around if the following happens:

1. BC beats Notre Dame and Pitt. This would leave us at 7-5 with a lot of public momentum. The casual BC fans would be ecstatic about the Notre Dame win. It would also mean Addazio would enter the bowl game with a chance at eight wins. His contract would still be favorable to BC and he has a decent recruiting class coming in. I don't see BC making the move in this situation.

2. BC wins big over Notre Dame and loses to Pitt in a close game. While this scenario would reinforce the Addazio critics' narrative, I think a resounding victory over a ranked Irish team would give him enough breathing room to lose to Pitt the next week. 6-6 would put BC in a bowl and give the team another shot at seven wins.

But those are the only two scenarios where Addazio is safe. He has to beat Notre Dame. He also cannot get blown out in either remaining game. This is speculation on my part, but the narrative paths are taking shape and the narrative is important to all the parties involved. Not all seven wins are created equal and BC's leadership needs support of the BC community. If they want people buying in on Addazio Year 8, the coach needs to pull out a big win and avoid any more embarrassments.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Basketball starts 2-0, yet I remain skeptical

BC Basketball improved to 2-0 in this new season with its win over USF Sunday. I am probably coming off like a bit of a Scrooge, but I am still a bit pessimistic about the season ahead. We beat Wake but they're terrible. The USF game was a good defensive effort and a nice road win, but the team turned the ball over 27 times. That can't happen going forward if the team wants to win.

The good news is that Thorton seems like one of those guys who is going to be a player. While this rule isn't fool proof, BC guys who make an impact early tend to be really, really good. 

BC takes on High Point Wednesday. I know the heart of the ACC schedule is on the horizon, but Christian's first test will be handling the soft part of the schedule. Every year he has a hiccup during these games. Let's hope that doesn't happen this year.

Saturday, November 09, 2019

All Addazio's issues on display in loss to FSU

In the postgame handshake, FSU's interim Head Coach Odell Haggins could be seen and heard repeatedly telling Addazio that he "is a hellavu coach!" I can see why an old school coach would appreciate Addazio. His teams play a style that nearly all current coaches grew up playing. He is a grinder. He wears his emotion on his sleeve. And if you only pay attention to BC as you prep for the game, you might appreciate all Addazio does vs all the problems his team consistently has. For those of us who have watched Addazio up close for seven years, this game was just a microcosm of our frustrations with BC's coach.

The D is bad and not getting better. The defensive issues are talent and scheme. BC missed two field goals too. While that is beyond frustrating, Addazio's approach and management of the game related to our kicking woes was moronic. Field goals are not as valuable as perceived in general in football. Addazio should know that. There have been millions of statistical studies to confirm that. Second, field goals are historically high risk for his teams. Finally he has one of the best olines in the country. Nearly any drive in field goal territory should be considered four-down territory. Third and long? Run the ball and get it to fourth and short. Fourth and short. Run again. Even without a 100% success rate, that model will pay off more than us kicking bad field goals. 

Addazio really blew it at the end of the half when he didn't use his timeouts and purposely settled for a field goal attempt...which BC missed. 

I already want a coaching change. This loss might move a few more fans towards my opinion. We've seen everything we need to know. He is an okay head coach but so limited in his approach that he will never get BC to somewhere special. His floor and his ceiling are the same. 

The season is not over. I still think we can beat Pitt and get to a bowl. Addazio is the Houdini of the Hot Seat, so maybe he pulls off a huge upset of Notre Dame in two weeks. But it doesn't matter. He clearly is what he is and we've all seen enough.

Thursday, November 07, 2019

BC-FSU preview

Ideally if you were facing a broken team with an interim coach, you would want a big powerful offensive line to just run all over the checked out opponent.  Just keep things simple and break their already broken spirit. Conversely if you were a team with an interim coach and nothing to lose, you would want your one asset to be an aggressive offense with a few home run hitters who can keep you in the game and make the other team nervous. That is sort of the matchup this week. Both teams think they have a chance. It would have been much easier to guess the outcome of this game if Florida State had not fired Taggart this week. Instead we get a situation where anything can happen.

What's on my mind (not totally related to this game)
Aside from being the "Red Bandana" game, this is also Senior Day. It feels a bit weird that this is our last home game of the year, but I guess it is better than trying to have late November home games. With those dates, students are either leaving or gone if it is too close to Thanksgiving. It is just a shame that now with the ACC and Notre Dame TV deals our schedule tends to be very frontloaded in September.

Three Simple Keys
1. Safety help. By design Florida State likes to go deep on offense. When they see tape of our breakdowns, they will be even more tempted. Our Safeties need to help out and play smart, especially on deep balls.
2. Stick with the run, even if we get down early. I admire how BC handled the Syracuse game. Even when a few things didn't go our way early, they kept with the run. The same things could happen this weekend. BC needs to know that staying with the run will payoff.
3. Get Flowers more touches. Even simple jet sweeps will compliment the entire playbook.

Gambling Notes
-- The home team has won the last three games in this series.
-- BC is 5-12 vs Florida State
-- Addazio is 3-3 on Senior Day
The current line is BC-2.5

Odell Haggins is 2-0 as an interim coach.

Scoreboard Watching
If you haven't noticed, nearly all the ACC is around .500. That is not good news for us in the bowl pecking order. What we need are some teams who will get selected before us to get eliminated. It would start with Georgia Tech, who take on Virginia. Also see how NC State and Duke do against opponents looking to put up big scores (Clemson and Notre Dame, respectively).

I hope to see...
BC pull away in the first half. At this point, nothing will change how I feel about Addazio, but another blow out win does take away a bit of the sting of our bad losses this year. It helps change perception of BC around College Football.

BC is in trouble if...
FSU confuses Grosel. Our OLine is too good and won't allow him to take a beating. So it is really up to FSU to give him a lot of looks and potentially make mistakes.

Bottom Line
FSU is a bad team and poorly coached. Under most circumstances I think we win with ease. However the coaching change is a wild card. I think (and hope) BC plays smart and well and runs away with the game.
Final Score: BC 35, FSU 20

Tuesday, November 05, 2019

Florida State is reminder that BC is a good job

When BC makes its next football coaching change (a discussion point for a different time), there will be plenty of talk that "BC is a really tough job and no one would want it." I have always worked hard to shoot down this argument, but with BC facing an interim coach at Florida State this week, the difference between what is considered a good job and a bad in college football has never been more subjective.

Florida State fired Willie Taggart 2/3s of the way into his second season as head coach. His record in Tallahassee was 9-12. He will be paid handsomely but will never get as high profile a job again and never even got to bring in a full class of his recruits. And the Florida local, just lost his dream job. That -- in my opinion -- is a tough way to go.

Meanwhile Addazio is in Year 7. In that time he is only one game above .500, and 21-33 in ACC play. He has only won one bowl game. He's never won more than seven games. He's paid nearly three million annually. He gets to live in a great city. He may be under some internal pressure and hear from some whiny fans, but mostly gets to avoid the scrutiny that his peers in other P5 programs face. BC built him new facilities. The expectations are reasonable.

I don't know if Willie Taggart deserved to be fired. I've only seen bits of Florida State this year and what I saw looked like a mess. But my point is that where other schools are finicky and rash, BC can be patient and cautious. For a profession with some much chaos, the opportunity at BC should be appreciated.