Here is an article on this season's freshman class. They are not highly-regarded, but TOB seems unconcerned.
Sunday, July 31, 2005
Thursday, July 28, 2005
More ink on the Georgia boy headed to BC. Not a ringing endorsement. I’m going to be a double-homer and say that he is going to be the Atlanta version of Glenn Foley and not another stiff.
Here is another article on the new voice of Boston College Football. This is a nice feature, but Meterparel should be warned that most diehard BC fans already hate him from his work on Dennis & Callahan.
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
1. Who are your rival(s)? I smell a conspiracy. I think this line of questioning is just an excuse for hundreds of BGS readers to write “BC is not our rival!” My response: “doth protest too much.” BC-ND doesn’t have the long-running history of other rivals, but it does have many important elements: student bodies and alumni networks that are very similar and have overlap outside of the schools, a unique feature (the last two Catholic schools playing IA football), a few memorable moments and most importantly bad blood. I’ve already given my perspective on the past, present and future of this rivalry, but thought I would expound on one aspect that the guys at BGS asked about -- pranks. Since there is little to do in South Bend on a Friday night, Notre Dame still holds good, old-fashioned pep rallies. In the fall of 1997, my drunken roommate stumbled upon the rally and did what until then was unthinkable -- he heckled the fans and speakers. He was shouted out and didn’t think much of it until it made the papers, was mentioned as a motivating factor by the players and Bob Davie and generally pissed off Irish fans. This was the start of a mini-tradition of BC players and fans being generally rude and obnoxious on any trip to South Bend. They can look down on us and demand to take us off their schedule, but with every little piece of turf we take and with every BC win, the rivalry becomes more heated.
2. Size up your chances in your rival games this year. Ugh. We’re in a new conference and not playing Notre Dame. Can someone talk Holy Cross into returning to Division IA?
3. If you could start up a new rivalry with another team, who would it be? BC fans are going to hate me for this, but I honestly think we should play UConn every year. Their litigious ways and slanderous comments during the Big East split makes it unlikely we will ever play them again, but I think it would make a good rivalry based on location and the fact that BC fans, in general, hate Uconn fans. Never has a nice run in chick hoops generated so much arrogance in a school and its fanbase. Talk to a UConn fan and you would think that their school is better than Harvard and has the athletic potential, success and history of Notre Dame, Alabama, UCLA, Michigan, Tennessee and Kansas combined. To sum it up, I would enjoy kicking their teeth in every year.
4. Overall, what do you think the best rivalry in college football is? No game consistently combines the history, passion and relevance to the national scene like Michigan-Ohio State. Plus you know it was Jim Tressel who trashed Michigan in The Sporting News preview.
5. Lastly, game trophies. What are the best and worst rivalry trophies out there? I love Paul Bunyan's Axe. It’s always funny to see uninsured, unpaid young athletes run around like crazy with sharp things. Worst rivalry trophy: the Maloof Trophy (New Mexico-New Mexico State). The trophy is not that embarrassing, but if you are going to win something from the Maloofs, wouldn’t you rather have courtside seats for the Kings, or a night in the Real World Suite at the Palms? A trophy? Couldn’t they at least arrange for Trishelle or Peja Stojakovic to hand over the trophy at the post game ceremony? No Maloof-related celebs…that’s gotta be a letdown for the players.
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
My hometown paper’s esteemed college writer (BTW, am I the only Blog Poll member who likes Tony Barnhart?) led with a BC angle.
The Greenville paper likes the love BC is showing the ACC.
The Sun-Sentinel rehashes our final two years in the Big East.
The writers honored Kiwi as the Preseason Player of the Year. I hope his haircut doesn’t have a Sampson-like effect.
In Bowl news, the ACC locked up eight bids for 2006. But the conference is still short invites for this year. Look for Swofford and any of the teams on the outside to start begging for slots in this year’s fourth-tier bowls.
Finally, here is a picture of TOB holding court with reporters.
I never would have pegged him as a Mountain Dew drinker.
Monday, July 25, 2005
Maybe they are adjusting to the new surrounds, but they both wrote straight-forward “mail it in” stuff from their first ACC Football Kickoff. Both writers focused on Will Blackmon, who has been written about to death this summer. No new info (Will adjusting, used both ways, he’s excited, etc.). Normally no one would notice these “C” efforts and even fewer would care, but now fans can read any writer online. “C” efforts look even worse, when a writer from another part of the country takes a fresh look at BC star Mathias Kiwanuka. Kudos to the writer, Mike Harris. Instead of focusing on Kiwi’s Ugandan background (old news), he broke the story about Kiwi’s hair (new news) and provided a deeper explanation of why Kiwi came back for his senior year (Coach Willis). I read a ton of BC stuff and the last place I expect to learn about our players is from newspaper writers who don't cover BC.
Sunday, July 24, 2005
Saturday, July 23, 2005
Thursday, July 21, 2005
In real news, the ACC Sports Journal published an article on BC recruiting which includes good quotes from TOB and short profiles of some of our recent commitments. Most BC fans know our pitch, but it is interesting to hear TOB confirm it.
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
Despite my presence, BC did not travel well to the 2001 Music City Bowl. It was a great game and TOB’s first win over a ranked opponent.
In reading all of these bowl articles, I’ve notice a common theme -- every committee plans on moving their date closer to New Year’s Day. This façade is funny to me. Like playing in the MienkeCarquestInsightGMAC Bowl is much more prestigious on December 30 as opposed to December 27. And that the date is the only reason people don’t travel to these games. The fact is that they are disappointments for many fans. When the whole season is built around conference championships and BCS games, it is hard to get the juices flowing for the third-level games. And as much as the committees want the 30th or 31st, ESPN is still calling the shots. They can only broadcast so many games and would rather have a Bowl Week, not a Bowl Long Weekend. As long as ESPN is the only game in town, Music City will be played whenever Bristol deems it appropriate.
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
Under Tom O’Brien BC defined predictable. One of the hallmarks of the BC season was a focus on the ground game, with the featured back passing the 1,000 yard mark. Then came 2004: A dynamic QB and a platoon of young and injury-prone tailbacks led to a shift in the offense. Andre Callender, L.V. Whitworth and A.J. Brooks all played well and showed potential, but collectively they could not match Derrick Knight and Horace Dodd’s production from the year before.
|Running Backs||Attp per game||Yds per game||TDs|
**I did include Ross' stats, did not include QB rushing
This season, I think BC will revert back and focus on the ground game. I expect to see attempts increase and hopefully production will as well. I like all three and think whoever wins the role will have a great season. And if anyone struggles early, expect a quick hook (exhibit A: Dodd in 2002, exhibit B: Ross 2004). So here are the guys fighting for the starting job:
Andre Callender showed the ability to catch the ball and has the most elusive style of the three.
L.V. Whitworth is more of a power runner -- he’ll hit the hole and whoever is standing in his way. Fortunately in the Tire Bowl he showed the ability to adapt and finally ran around and away from defenders.
A. J. Brooks showed the best burst and seems to have the most speed. His big play ability could be needed, but I think the coaching staff has already tagged him as the No. 3 guy. Meaning he is unlikely to get a shot at the starting job. In fact, I bet after summer practice the coaching staff will potentially redshirt him. A.J. was supposed to redshirt last season, but injuries to Andre and L.V. forced the staff to use him.
While their styles are slightly different, their areas in need of improvement were all very similar -- staying on their feet, reading and reacting to the blocking and staying healthy.
Mark Palmer will start the reason at fullback. I think he can have a big season and could be a good safety net for Quinton Porter in the passing game. But blocking is the fullbacks first resposibilty in BC’s offense. If he doesn’t block well, Paddy Lynch will get some snaps. (If Lynch and Palmer struggle, I would like to see Whitworth used as Fullback. But there is no way Mr. Predictable would try that.)
BC will run the ball. And then run some more. I expect to see a healthy Whitworth run for 1,000 yards. Callender running for 500 and catching a few balls. Brooks will probably draw the short straw, but will hopefully benefit from a redshirt year.
Monday, July 18, 2005
Ross is a big kid (TOB’s QB prototype) and plays for a perennial power here is Georgia. He is not as heralded as other Metro Atlanta QBs, but had interest from many other ACC schools. What excites me -- aside from the Atlanta aspect -- is that he plays at a high-level of competition. I think one of the differences between Paul Peterson (who came from a high-level Junior College) and Quinton Porter and a lesser extent Brian St. Pierre, was that Peterson played with and against many DIA players prior to BC. Porter and BSP did not. Walton sends kids to division IA and IAA schools every year. Ross should be prepared for the pressure, speed and rigors of playing in the ACC.
Also, here is a BC preview from Pack Pride. Some things are a little off, but that is to be expected. I am sure fans of other ACC schools will note my mistakes when I start talking out of my ass previewing their teams.
Friday, July 15, 2005
Kenpom shoots holes in the home-court advantage myth. He uses the difference between the ACC and Big East as his springboard into the research. Basically it is tough to beat Duke because of Coach K and the five guys on the floor, not because of the Crazies.
My shilling for EverydayshouldbeSaturday continues with this link. This time they list their ACC All-Name team. Kiwi, Jazzmen and Tribble make the cut.
Thursday, July 14, 2005
Nice article on our two Columbus boys. I’m glad someone finally admitted that they let the Fiesta Bowl slip through their fingers.
Here’s an article from the News & Record on our lack of rivals in the ACC. These things take time and I would gladly have the blank slate of the ACC than the litigious BS of the Big East.
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
1. Which unheralded player on your team will be the hardest to replace? Which seemingly inconsequential player could make the biggest impact? While he received enough ink from Eagle in Atlanta to be considered overheralded, I have to go with Paul Peterson. The Mormon Flutie converted more Catholics than Brigham Young. More importlany he made BC football fun again. I have admitted to my hetero-man crush on Peterson many times. As for seemingly inconsequential player making a big impact, how about BC fullback Mark Palmer. The success of our running game is most often attributed to our massive line. The fullback was overlooked until Palmer struggled with his blocking last year. He has great hands, but needs to open holes. If he is serviceable enough with his blocking to stay on the field he could be an underrated offensive weapon.
2. Which regular-season game that won’t feature your team would you pay the most money to see this season? Why? I am going to actually list a game that I was going to attend for free. Here’s the story. My wife’s company has a pimped-out suite at Sanford. We only use it once a season when there is not a BC conflict. This year we were scheduled for the Arkansas-Georgia game. At the same time, we’ve been blessed and are expecting our first child this winter. Birthing classes are Saturday mornings in October, so I’ll miss our trip to Athens. But no fear, the baby will not interupt my viewing of BC football.
Bonus: Which rivalry game would you most like to attend? This question is harder to answer. All the storied rivalries have some appeal. But I am a patriot and a traditionalist, so I’ll say Army-Navy.
3. If your team were a rapper, who would it be and why? (Read Straight Bangin' to understand this joke.) This is easy. BC would be House of Pain. Both groups’ styles are straight forward and really white. Both are lacking in the skillz and skill positions. And as Notre Dame fans will be quick to point out: both try too hard to be Irish. (I don’t believe that BC wants to be Notre Dame, but I had to beat the Notre Dame fans to the punch on the joke.)
The Fenway Sports Group is slowly flexing its muscle. To read this article you have to subscribe to some yokel paper in Washington. Don’t bother. I’ve signed up and read it so you don’t have to. Highlights include:
- FSG is involved in more than just BC. They are dealing with signage and selling MLB.com’s ads.
- BC was a natural first step and the ACC aspect made it very appealing to the Red Sox.
- ISP doesn’t usually like partnering with others, but the Red Sox’s name and the Boston College aspect made it worth the risk.
- None of this money counts towards MLB revenue sharing. I applaud the Red Sox on this last point. Like the Yankees, they have a valuable brand for which their owners paid an exorbitant amount of money. They have to pay off huge debts and budgets and the Kansas City Royals and Devil Rays are not entitled to every penny the big market guys earn, especially when the teams are aggressive and are trying to grow their businesses.
Here is an article on Chris Snee and his recovery from a mysterious illness. Not only is he a BC alum, he is married to a BC grad and his head coach (who is also his father-in-law) is former BC coach Tom Coughlin.
Finally I am on my way to Canada to kick Korey Banks’ ass. How dare he cheap shot my boy, Paul Peterson?
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
SI.com published Athlon Sports' BC preview. It is pretty straight forward and covers what is in their preseason magazine. I'm kicking myself for already buying the mag at Borders.
I don't spend too much time on recruiting news, but this signee caught my attention. Bill has big shoes to fill if he remains a QB. (By the way, Bill is Doug's nephew -- not his son.)
Monday, July 11, 2005
The deal also shows the growing influence of the Red Sox in BC marketing. Meterparel is an announcer for the morning program on the Sox Flagship station and the Fenway Group helped put this pairing together.
First where you won’t see BC: any BCS game and Charlotte. Last year was our best chance to put BC in the BCS. As optimistic as I am getting about this season it would take a string of miracles topped by us winning the ACC championship in Jacksonville to qualify for a BCS game. Not going to happen this year. You can also cross Charlotte off since we went last year as the Big East rep and they will always pick an ACC team within driving distance.
Where we might go: Gator Bowl or Peach Bowl. While the Peach would be a dream come true for me, I would be equally happy with the Gator. Both are long, long shots. The Gator invite would only happen if these specific dominoes fall. First, Notre Dame would have to qualify for the Big East slot. Their fans would buy enough tickets to offset BC’s poor travel record and the TV ratings would be appealing to the network. But -- here is the rub -- to get the invite BC would have to have a strong enough conference record, but still lose to the division to FSU. Because if BC makes the ACC Championship game and loses, we are not being invited back six weeks later. Ticket sales would be terrible. The Peach Bowl will only happen if we win the division and then lose in Jacksonville. I also think the Peach would only consider us if our SEC opponent guaranteed a sellout (Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, Tennessee or South Carolina).
Where we are probably going: Boise or Champs (Orlando’s JV Bowl). I would prefer Orlando, but with the god-awful bowl games we’ve played in, it is only a matter of time before we are on the Blue Turf. These slots are all determined by who has been where and what matchup makes the most sense travel and television wise. Season records take a back seat to money (just look how UVA got jobbed last season).
Of course there is also the “fill a slot” route which we have taken before. This is where BC is barely bowl eligible and doesn’t get one of the guaranteed ACC slots. In this case we would fill whatever slots cannot be filled by someone else. Unfortunately this scenario is much more likely than the Peach Bowl.
Friday, July 08, 2005
A poster on Eagle Action brought this picture to my attention. It is former BC athletic director Bill Flynn touching up the logo on the basketball court. I don’t know the date but imagine -- based on the hair and logo -- that it was taken in the late ‘70s. It is a nice tribute to a guy who put his heart and soul into BC athletics. It is also a sign of how things have changed in college sports. Now there are whole teams of people working in these departments and the AD is a CEO, not a down and dirty, do what must be done, jack of all trades. Can you imagine an AD from any Division IA school doing this today?
Thursday, July 07, 2005
The defensive line has one of the best players in the country and two question marks.
ACC fans should learn the name Mathias Kiwanuka now since you’ll hear his name over and over in the pregame preambles on TV and radio. Kiwi has speed and size and is probably a top ten pick in next year's NFL draft. I don’t expect him to dominate in the ACC because he is going to be the focal point of all opposing offensive game plans. Last year, when he was more well known, some teams were able to neutralize him for long periods. Kiwi has speed, but is still somewhat slender and has trouble with double teams.
Kiwi will probably be a combine monster, but what is most overlooked about his style of play is his relentlessness. He really plays to the whistle and has been known to make downfield tackles and pick up a sack after getting knocked down and/or held. This style of play keeps us in games and will hopefully serve as a good lesson to his inexperienced teammates.
The only other experienced player on the D-line is Al Washington. Al is a little undersized to play the interior, but has been very reliable. He only collected a few tackles last season, but that was somewhat expected given that Bulman, Kiwi and Mettling were always around the ball. I don’t think he’ll have an all-conference season, but I do think he take advantage of Kiwi’s double teams.
The real pressure is going to be on the other spots. There is an assortment of guys who will get playing time. At End, Nick Larkin played well in spot duty last season but he is lean like Kiwi. He and Jake Ottolini (who he’ll split time with) will need Ron Brace and Justin Bell to take up space at the other tackle spot.
The rest of the unit is pure speculation. Jerry Willette, Ryan Thompson, B.J. Raji, and Jeff Burns will all get a chance to play. I am going to follow a hunch and say that Keith Willis will surprise and get serious playing time by the end of the season. Who knows? These guys are all blank slates. Hopefully they get good coaching.
As a whole the D-line should be solid. Kiwi’s presence alone will take a lot of the pressure off of the inexperienced guys. Plus they have a great group of linebackers and a respectable defensive backfield behind them. I worry about them stopping the run, but we don’t face that many running teams. If any of the unknowns steps up, this could be the best BC defense of all time. More likely, they'll all play okay and Kiwi will get manhandled and the linebackers will carry the team.
My former colleague Stewart Mandel wrote about the conference realignment. Although it seems obvious, he is the first one to point out the imbalance in the two ACC divisions. Florida State will be the division favorite every year, but there is no reason to think other schools won’t raise their level of play. And if Bowden’s career starts to mirror JoePa’s, any school could be playing in Jacksonville.
Finally, blogs are filled with media critics (including me). The raw reactions and the pointing out of the missteps of the mainstream pundits is one of the most interesting aspects of this medium. So when I laughed out loud at this rebuttal of Trev Alberts by Orson Swindle (one of the contributors to Every Day Should Be Saturday), I felt I should link to it despite lack of BC content. The Every Day guys are also participating in the Blog Poll.
Tuesday, July 05, 2005
Here’s an interesting story on a BC assistant getting snubbed for a job with the BU women’s hockey team...because he is a man. Gender bias works both ways, I guess. I wonder how many women apply for jobs with men’s sports? I am not a lawyer, but the BU coach was dumb for telling the candidate that he didn’t get the job because he had a penis. Gary Barnett is the only football coach I could see saying something like that.
Princeton named Mike Fassel its director of football operations. Mike is a good guy who has overcome a lot, so best of luck to him. If he stayed healthy last year (he got hurt horsing around in his dorm room) I think we would have beaten Wake and Pitt. While I would like to think his two BC degrees made the difference in the hire, his connections didn't hurt.
Here is an interview with John Swofford on the new ACC. They mention the U.S. News rankings, but I have a feeling that BCS rankings are (and will be) more important.
Sunday, July 03, 2005
None of this is funny, but I did laugh at the hit and run on Ted Kennedy's wife's car.
Here is their timeline on the recent problems.
In an attempt to add balance the Globe wrote about the football program keeping clean...except for that whole kidnapping thing.
Friday, July 01, 2005
As Gene DeFilippo said, this is probably the biggest moment in BC sports history. So I’ll start by thanking Gene. He is far from perfect, but his dedication, networking and politicing where the key to BC’s entry.
Thanks to John Swofford. While not totally what he envisioned, his bold moves created this new conference and for his selection of BC, I am grateful.
Thanks to the fans and adminstrators of Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech and Miami. Without their support BC could have been hung out to dry many times.
Thanks to all the coaches and athletes who have served Boston College in the last ten years. Without your success on the field of play, BC would not have been considered for this opportunity.
Thanks to all the great administrators and athletes (most notably Doug Flutie and Bill Flynn). The foundation you laid is the reason BC athletics have thrived in the past 20 years.
Thank you to Father Leahy. Many questioned your understanding and dedication to athletics when you arrived, but with this ordeal, you have proven your love of sport and the school.
Thank you to Father Monan. You saved and transformed BC many years ago.
Finally thanks to the Boston College alumni. Without our success, generousity, and spirit there is no BC. The life of a school is its students and alumni. The community we joined in our late teens is nothing without us. As the cheer says: “We are…BC!”
Ever to Excel
1. Al has got word out there that Williams will be back by January (and the OK State transfer rumors are false)
2. Good old-fashioned lazy reporting (unlikely since Katz has Al on speed dial) or
3. The brains in Bristol don’t think as much of Williams as Kenpom and I do.
First, a celebration letter from Gene DeFilippo. Here is our press release. Our new conference also made an official announcement. Check out the front page for the new conference logo and the big “It’s Official” headline.
The Globe and the Herald covered the celebration party at Fenway. Interesting to note that neither of the BC beat writers wrote the stories. While BC fans focused on the ACC, most of the media focused on Fenway potentially hosting an ACC tournament.
Finally, for some southern flavor, here is the News-Record’s coverage of the festivities.