DeFilippo Chat debrief
Gene sat for the masses Tuesday afternoon. As readers know, I submitted three questions. Only one was used. Here is the exchange:
Bill (Atlanta): Can you clarify the ACC bowl arrangement? It seems that if the majority of teams are 5-3 and 4-4 in conference that BC will still fall to the least desirable bowls. Was there any discussion of not forcing a team to a certain bowl in consecutive years?
BC Director of Athletics Gene DeFilippo: In the new ACC bowl agreement, there is a strong desire on the part of the conference not to send teams to a particular bowl in consecutive years. This policy is prevalent in most other conferences as well.
I am thankful he took the question. Unfortunately the answer was not exactly what I hoped. It really didn’t address BC’s bowl appeal amongst the middle of the pack ACC teams. More importantly it doesn’t sound like the consecutive year issue is policy -- just a “strong desire.” So this could mean back-to-back trips to San Fran or Boise should we fall in the middle of the conference. But ultimately, the team can control its destiny by winning. Win the conference and you don't go to a crappy bowl.
As for the other chat topics, you had the usual favorites (tailgating rules, baseball field, reinstating lacrosse) and some off the wall ones (changing the helmets, AD staffing). The real focus turned out to be scheduling. Gene mentioned discussions with LSU, shed light on the Texas rumors, reinforced that we will not be playing UConn and then talked about our potential series with Syracuse.
I am all for an annual game with Syracuse. They are relatively close. We don’t have a heated rivalry, yet do have a history with them (they are our most frequent opponent still playing DIA football). They play in a BCS conference. This would be a good thing.
However, Gene clearly stated that we will not be playing powerhouse after powerhouse. I was at BC during the 1995 season and saw us take on Notre Dame, Michigan, Ohio St. and Michigan State. That schedule was a death march and should never be repeated again. But there is a middle ground between those four and this year’s out of conference slate of CMU, Maine, Buffalo and BYU.
BC is not at the level where our fans will come out in droves to see us play anyone. Look at this season’s slow season tickets sales. There is very little interest in some of these opponents. Padding the schedule will only dull interest and hurt TOB and BC’s credibility with the media and, more importantly, with frustrated fans.
This is my suggestion for an acceptable out of conference schedule.
1. Limited DIAA opponents. Every school is adding them to their respective schedules and that is not a good thing. But BC would be crazy not to play one a year when everyone else is doing it. However, it should only be limited to New England schools and always played on Parents Weekend (which is nearly always a sellout). BC should never play a DIAA team from outside our region, because there is really no way to justify it. When we play Maine or New Hampshire, we can explain it as helping regional football and giving back to schools that support our summer camps.
2. One non-BCS school. Seeing two MAC schools on the schedule makes me cringe. You just can’t take it seriously. And there is so little upside to the games. We are expected to win and look ridiculous if we lose. And if we are going non-BCS, it doesn’t always have to be a MAC school. Why not play a Sun Belt team or team from Conference USA? The novelty of seeing say, Houston, would be more exciting than playing Ball State again. I would also love to see the service academies as a regular part of our schedule again. BC has a nice history with Army. They would be an acceptable opponent in any season.
3. Make Syracuse a permanent addition. I know this cannot happen until the Notre Dame series ends, but as stated above, this game just makes sense.
4. Schedule one traditional power annually. This team must be from a BCS conference and has to have the intangible “this team means something in college football” status. For example: Missouri is a BCS team. No one in Boston would care if they came to the Heights. On the other hand, Nebraska, even in down times, would get some attention. Now I know that these big names come with all sorts of catches and conditions (i.e. 2 for 1s, an uneven cut of the gate). It doesn’t have to be this way. BC is in a position of strength. We have an appealing enough name and conference TV contract to know that nearly any home game against a BCS school will be nationally televised. I would say there are at least 30 schools whose name alone would excite our fans. Finding enough for short term series should not be a problem.
Gene is a good AD, but I hope he realizes that after nine years some of the same old excuses and explanations are getting tired and hollow. And spinning our unreasonably soft schedule is one that has already worn thin.