Sunday, December 02, 2007

Quick thoughts on Champs, Bowls vs playoffs, BC's ceiling, Jags, and BC fandom

Still haven't watched the game back. I will have my second viewing thoughts and grades up late Monday night. Until then, here are my quick, somewhat stream of consciousness thoughts on the hot topics of the moment.

No surprise. It is a disappointing bowl because of the lack of history and the opponent. However, I am more convinced than ever that BC fans really need to stop being snobby about bowls. This isn't Boise. It's Orlando against Michigan State. Fans waiting for a big bowl or some name are missing out. I went to Jacksonville. The ending stunk. But I saw BC in a new place and had a really good time Friday night and before the game. The BC fans I came across in the parking lots and in the seats were having fun too. I've seen BC play in front of about 2,000 people against Temple. I've seen BC play in the freezing cold in random bowls. I could go on and on. You know what each trip all had in common? They were fun. If you have the time and resources -- especially if you don't have kids yet or you're old enough that your kids are on their own -- start traveling to a few BC games. It's worth it. I had plans for Christmas week already but I might make a side trip in and out of Orlando to see this group of guys' last game.

BCS, bowls, playoffs
Others are saying it much better than I am, but this system is a joke. The only championship BC fans should ever worry about is the ACC one. Everything else is as subjective as figure skating. The bowls are not merit based. Never have been and probably never will be.

BC's ceiling
Many fans are saying we'll never be more than we are now. I strongly disagree. I think we'll take a step back for the next couple years, but the past four years showed that if the ball bounces another way here or there, BC does get to that next level. Teams like Mizzou, Kansas, Illinois, and teams like Wake Forest the year before show that any team can put it together for one season. BC should expect to have a winning record every year, compete in the ACC every year and win the ACC occasionally.

The season is not officially over and I haven't watched back the ACCCG yet, but I can say this definitively now: Jags did a great job this season. He was a breath of fresh air. Had us in every game. Won more regular season games than any BC coach. Won six conference games (something that had never been done). He and his staff (who I have been critical of at times) overachieved. We had serious roster flaws on both lines, in the special teams, and at some of the skill positions. They did a great job. I'll spend the offseason talking about the future but for now Jags deserves our appreciation and thanks.

BC fandom
We have many great fans. We need more. I know there are many reasons why we cannot compare to other schools, like the size of our alumni population, like the pro sports aspect of our location. I know that many of the bowls are far and expensive to travel to. Those are all reasonable, but ultimately excuses. We can do better. I'll spend some of the offseason digging deeper into the issues.

What's left to say?
Jags' to do is easy. Win the Champs Bowl and keep building. Champs may be viewed as a letdown but we need to win.

If you are a BC fan and you are frustrated about our lot in the landscape, then you need to speak up (and probably speak with your money too). Let Gene know we need a playoff. A playoff would kill the bowl system and BC fans would no longer have to worry about Boise and the like. We could just focus on winning the ACC. But you also need to think about traveling to future bowls and ACC championship games. We are never going to shake this repuatation without a big turnout.


Angry Eagle said...

I'm in would coulda shoulda land like everone else, but at the end of the day I think the Champs Bowl is appropriate for this flawed team, and it is a step in the right direction. In years past, we have been a second tier team that went to third tier bowls because of the system (tired subject). This year we were a second tier team that ended up in a second tier bowl. That's fine. We lost it on the field, and we deserve what we got. Any team that gets spanked by a poor Maryland team and a so-so FSU team (at home) can't gripe about missing the Orange Bowl.

As for the game, I was generally pleased with Logan all year, but my one gripe was the gutless, TOB play calling in big situations against VTech. Third and 1 at the VTech 30 in the 4th Quarter, knowing you are going to go for it on 4th and one, you throw for the endzone and take the f*cking game by the throat. You don't play not to lose and run between the tackles on consecutive plays (and yes I was screaming this at the TV before it happened). Notwithstanding all else that went wrong yesterday, in my view that was the game. VTech had balls when it counted and we didn't.

Gint said...

Couldn't have said it better myself. Great trip, atmosphere Friday night was great. Yeah it sucks losing, but the Vtech fans were gracious, we went back to the landing Saturday night and every single fan was talking about how scared they were with Matty Ice with the ball late in the game, they felt very fortunate to win and in all it was a good competative game. I'll certainly go to the next ACC CG BC plays in.

Best season in a long time, highest rating #2! BC was in every game, and all 3 Ls could have been Ws had BC just made fewer mistakes. I think you're spot on, let's go win the bowl, close recruiting season strong and see what Jags comes up with for next year. I'm excited about where the program is heading.

Brian said...

One minor comment on the fans: while I appreciate everyone that went to Jacksonville to support the Eagles, please leave your Boston Red Sox gear at home. Not to point out anyone specifically, but I saw a lot of fans wearing just Red Sox gear (no Eagles gear) to the game.

You aren't supporting the Boston College Eagles by wearing Red Sox gear. I understand that you are proud of your baseball team, but you are not supporting your team and are perpetuating the media perception that we are just a pro sports town.

Go BC!

Brian said...

Here was another *classic* t-shirt design at the ACCCG:

"Flight to JAX: $XXX
Ticket to ACC Championship Game: $XXX
Something else: $XXXX

Yankees Suck!!!"

Come on, guys. We are all "yankees" in the eyes of some of these ACC schools' fans. At least design t-shirts that are relevant to the sport you are watching.

ATL_eagle said...

Yeah, I had to shake my head when a guy near me was talking the Santana trade for 10 minutes on his cell during the game.

Puppydog said...

This was the first time I had traveled to a BC event like this since the NCAA basketball game in 1968! I have been to games before, including the Maryland game this year, but this was way different. I couldn;t believe how much this seemed to be at a higher level. Jacksonville, while not much in the way of atmosphere, had signs everywhere - on lampposts and at the airport and on electronic billboards around the city. Friday evening at Jacksonville Landing was great. I was there with two of my adult kids and they were both blown away. Neither had gone to a 1A school (one to James Madison, one to Denison in Ohio) but the both said that I "had made them BC fans for life." The FanFest area was great, the merchandise was great. I would have bought a ticket to Miami immediately if we had won. I'll do this anytime in the future the school gives me the opportunity. Now, if they only allowed the sale of beer in the stadium....

Brian said...

Puppy dog - there was a section of the stadium that sold beer (you had to drink it in the lobby though). But inside the stadium, when I asked, the woman at the concessions stand said that the ACC mandated that beer couldn't be sold.

Big Jack Krack said...

That's probably why so many people stayed inside for long stretches watching the game on the big screen tv's.

If you're a fan from the Boston area or the northeast, how you could pass up a beautifully perfect day and drink beer inside is beyond me.

Big Jack Krack said...

Spoken by a true reformed beer drinker. I guess in the old days, I may have been in the Stadium Club as well. :)

JOC BC07 said...

1. Buy your beer inside
2. Pour into pepsi cup
3. Enjoy

BC education at work.

I flew into Jax from Chicago Saturday morning. No doubt, the town did quite a bit of marketing around town for the game. The locals simply didn't care. Signs literally everywhere promoting it.

I walked to the stadium from my hotel and maybe I took an unfortunate route, but it seemed like it was 10:1 in favor of VT fans around the stadium.

I sat with my dad in the "touchdown club" (aka the good seats) in the back row of 108. This was a blessing because no one could tell me to sit down because no one was sitting behind me. The whole "down in front" attitude from the BC fans in the good seats really has to go. I saw several altercations between younger, more recent grads who wanted to show some energy, and old codgers complaining that their wives can't see.
I understand the donors get the best seats, and they're old for the most part. But this was frustrating.
I agree %100 that fans have to leave their Sawks gear at home. No one cares.
Jax did a fine job preparing for the weekend. I don't think they could have done much more, and the turnout was still weak, thus, the game has to move.
I will never miss an ACCCG as long as BC is involved.
See you in Orlando.

Big Jack Krack said...

I'd like the ACCCG to be moved to Charlotte. I think the pro stadium there would be filled with energy, and it's a logical mid-point, so to speak. So what if there are 4 ACC teams in NC. It's an ACC area and more fans will turn out, even if their teams are not involved. It's possible to get very good weather in Charlotte in early Dec. as well. But if not - so what - it's championship FOOTBALL in December. Charlotte's a pretty good town.

Many of us could scope the place out ahead of time (BC Club of Charlotte; I live 90 miles south, etc.) and develop a solid plan of hotels and places to meet for the event.

If Tampa gets the bid, I fear that it may be like JAX - not much local fan support, although I don't know for sure. It may be easier to book a flight to Tampa than JAX. Don't know if anyone else is bidding - so D.C. or Baltimore would be out.

On another note, the Raleigh News and Observer has mentioned Steve Logan as a possible Duke candidate (also Georgia Tech). Some of my business colleagues in the area think he would enjoy the Duke job as the pressure would be low and he could use the "chip" on his shoulder to motivate. The ACC needs Duke to step up and become competitive.

One of my associates is Notre Dame all the way - he said: The blocked extra point was the turning point. I know there is no such thing as "Momentum" but I think the VT kids really raised their game after that play. It happened close to the end of the 1st half and VT came out and slammed the door shut in the beginning of the 3rd quarter. It's amazing how the Hokies can do that type of stuff and just thrive on it. Ryan was having an excellent game up until that point.

It definitely was a close game with the exception to the final score. I don't think BC needs to hang their heads on this one. Hell VT was one key loss away (LSU loses to Tenn) from being in the Championship game - and BC can take pride in keeping them out as well.

Earlier today I sent this to my Virginia Tech colleague:
My congratulations to Virginia Tech - they played tough defense, especially at the end and scored when they had the opportunity. Best of luck against Kansas in the Orange Bowl.

Well, I was at the game and we're really talking about a small number of plays. This was an even game, and while I’m not afraid to lose, and VT won fairly and squarely - this was a 1 or 2 point game. The final score really irked me. By the way, it’s no disgrace to lose to the number 3 ranked BCS Bowl team.

What follows is not an excuse on my part, but my way of letting this go. Now I know what VT fans felt like 5 weeks ago.

Our injuries really caught up with us, even though it may not have been obvious. The BC players played their hearts out, I felt. A lot of people are bewildered why Coach Logan didn’t go for the throat, etc. I think he worked with what he had - the offensive line’s inability to hold off the VT defensive charge long enough for Matt Ryan to go deep. I was on the 50 yard line and with binoculars can tell you that a lesser quarterback would not have had the success Ryan did have. The VT defense was stiff.

Our kicking game lost this game for BC. We were down to our number 2 kicker, but also we had a “volunteer” long snapper. The timing may have been off just a tad.

Our kicker (ranked number 1 in the nation coming out of high school in San Diego) Billy Bennett was laughing and joking before the game - and kicking fairly well. Even with a bad back he could have kicked an extra point, never mind a couple a mid range field goals.

So we gave them 2 points in the first half - blocked point after and run back = 2 points for VT - and maybe left 6 on the field for ourselves - decided not to kick a FG once and one was "blocked". I say “blocked” because the soccer kicker has a very low trajectory, and basically never got it up, kicking it right into the VT line.

But let's be conservative and talk about the blocked field goal and the blocked extra point. BC should have gotten those at this level.

We go in at halftime leading 20 to 14 instead of tied 16 to 16 - that was not a good sign, and in a game like this, every BC fan knew it. Also, I thought BC mismanaged the clock with 5 1/2 minutes to go in the first half - and gave VT enough time to score. I found that very curious in this type of game. No clock management. But give VT credit. They seized the opportunity and scored.

The second half is all defense, with VT waiting for BC to make a mistake. They score and go up 23 to 16. At this point it should be 21 to 20 Virginia Tech.

We all know the rest. BC drives down the field, VT tightens up and with 2 minutes to go, any other team would have been kicking the go-ahead field goal - BC 23, VT 21. I think under those circumstances our defense might well have held them. VT could have marched down the field in the final 2 minutes and kicked the winning field goal for a 24 to 23 win. Or maybe a td = 28 to 23 - or it (shoulda) coulda remained 23 to 21 BC. That is how close this game was.

Anyway - tough loss. This was not a 30 to 16 game by any means. Most VT fans understand that - and they were very gracious. - telling us how fearful they were coming down the stretch.

And that last pick - not Ryan's fault at all - you could see disaster coming all the way because the coaches failed to get the call in on time, and by the time the players got "set". there were only 2 seconds on the play clock. When I watched the replay, even the announcers were yelling that BC had better hurry up and get the play off.

The VT defense had almost a free shot at him. His pass was batted away and picked off. I would have liked to see Adibi fall down in jubilation, but that’s not the real world.

NFL scouts know that if they can get some blocking for Ryan, he'll have success against professional defenses. Matt Ryan will be a very high draft pick and we are very proud of him.

But look at our injuries, BC - unbelievable. I am listing these to show how far our program had come this year.

If you told me that we would be in this ACC Championship Game right down to the 2 minute mark without our best linebacker Brian Toal (Shoulder surgery) , best defensive lineman B.J. Raji (academics), best offensive lineman Ryan Poles (torn Achilles) , (shutdown) cornerback DeJuan Tribble (knee) , Defensive End Alex Albright (broken arm), speedster and kick returner Jeff Smith (Concussion - I wish him well - he was capable of breaking a long one at ANY TIME; he is reportedly done with football for life), our long snapper Jack Geiser (knee injury), PK Billy Bennett, (chronic bad back) Strong safety Wes Davis (concussion; neck injury), Free safety Marty Bowman (broken something) and linebackers Dunbar and Pruitt playing on guts alone, through ankle injuries etc, I would have said no way.

So I think the future looks bright for BC. And the difference between a very good year, and a great year, and a memorable year is the injury factor.

As I mentioned. VT pressured Ryan all day - he had no time to set for a long pass. Hats off to VT - BC had its chances. This was an even game and I’m proud of that.

Go Virginia Tech - beat Kansas.

P.S. Orlando is a better fit for BC fans in terms of bringing the family to Disney World, etc. We’ll never - EVER - beat out a team like Clemson to the Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta - they will fill the place and it’s not about won loss records. It’s about fannies in the seats, restaurants, and hotels, etc. I understand that.

Having said that - if they don’t want us, we don’t want them. Bostonians and BC fans (who tend to reside in large cities) HAVE ALTERNATIVES.

The Bowl System is a JOKE. Drop the 12th game and design a playoff system for Heaven’s Sake.

My colleague's answer was:
Heck of an analysis Jack and pretty much right on the mark. We got some good production out of Glennon (fortunately, because BC stuffed the run pretty much all day). I thought our D was going to collapse in exhaustion since they were on the field for so long but they really finished strong. Until Adibi had that last ‘pick’ I was pacing around the house with a sensation resembling dread.

That first blocked FG and the extra-point runback were gifts. The Hokies were just getting blown out in the first half but the score didn’t reflect it. If I had to see another 8-yard screen or bootleg completion I was gonna scream. Wait a minute – I did scream – lots of times.

So Kansas is up next. I love it – it will be fun to really get a depth-sound of the quality of the ACC with a match-up like that. Good luck against the Spartans! Go get ‘em.

James said...

I don't think it sends the right message to quibble about the attire choices and conversations of those who actually went to the game. At least they purchased tickets and lent (some) support to the team.

As for solutions for the future, offhand I would suggest selling tickets for the game long before knowing if the team will be in the game or not and, if allowable, have season tickets packaged with a required deposit for championship game tickets that is refundable if the team fails to make the game. Option 2 is clearly far-fetched, but is something I would commit to if I was not on the West Coast and had season tickets. This could potentially apply to the bowl game as well, but I think that would be much more difficult to put over on the fandom as an ACCCG means something, while the GMAC, Emerald, Boise, Music City and Champs bowls truly mean very little, except to the hard-working kids on the team who represent essentially the sole reason that we should accept the invite to the 4th bowl as the clear 2nd in the league.

Brian said...

JOC BC07 - I'm glad someone stepped up and shared the Pepsi cup trick. I thought I was the only one.

But why not sell beer at an ACC Championship game?

Brian said...

james - I have to disagree. Quibbling over what shirts your fans wear at the game isn't the issue, its not wearing the appropriate attire. Just look at other team's fan attire:

VTech - 10,000 fans clad in either orange or maroon at the ACCCG.
Clemson - Nearly 80,000 fans in orange or purple for the @ Clemson game.

BC fans at ACCCG - 3,000 fans in maroon and gold. 500 in Red Sox gear. A handful wearing Patriot jerseys. The older crowd wearing button-down shirts. How does this show fan unity?

If you ask me, this is embarrasing. You don't see Hokie fans showing up in Washington Redskins unis.

Brian said...

Big Jack - I'm afraid Tampa would be the same deal as Jacksonville. I also think that Tampa is now de facto Big East territory (USF). As you point out, Charlotte is the epicenter of the conference.

All this week, the average temp in Charlotte is 60 degrees. So long as you dont move the game back to prime time, I think this is fine weather. It is football, after all.

Big Jack Krack said...

Hello Brian:

Thanks for your comments and input from the Big Apple.

I think the flights from Boston, New York, Chicago, Washington, DC, to Charlotte (CLT) would be pretty plentiful and the fares would be reasonable with some foresight.

I fly from CLT to LGA all the time (I like it better than Raleigh - RDU or Columbia - CAE)and I get great deals as long as I don't wait too long.

It's also driveable from the NE - with drivers switching off and others sleeping, etc. There would be many reasonably priced hotels that are acceptable for those not able to shell out too much. It's very driveable from Atlanta and other locations with loyal fans.

The big thing is that we'll be more organized next time. This is going to become BC's most important game and our goal every year.

JOC BC07 said...

On a positive sidenote:

I sat by Castonzo's parents on the flight back to Chicago on Sunday. It's easy to see where the kid gets his character. Really great people...

At one point, before we took off, they had Anthony on the cell phone and after they said their goodbyes, they passed their cellphone around to the young BC fans on the plane so they could talk to "a real BC football player."

After what I'm sure was a painful loss for the young lineman, he was on the phone talking to random nine year olds, thanking them for coming to the game and what not and to be sure to watch number 74 in the next game.

If they weren't already, tell me those kids aren't immediately BC fans for life...

I think this is what Jags meant when he said BC recruits a certain kind of player; a certain type of person.

Brian said...

Jack - thanks for your posts all season. Hope to meet you at the bowl game.

Yes, CLT is a major US Air hub. I flew through Charlotte on the way to Jacksonville both ways. It would have been much nicer to not make the second leg of each trip this past weekend. ;)

I also flew to Charlotte for the Clemson game, as its only a ~2 hour drive to Clemson from there.

Some might say fans didn't travel to UNC when we played them in 2005. But I would say the stage is much bigger. Everyone who went [to the ACCCG] this year will be back, and we'll bring friends. It will take some time.

Unfortunately, I think we could have sped up the bettering of BC fans traveling with an Orange Bowl birth, but instead this will be a more gradual process, building on all the fans that are going to make the trip to Orlando.

clweagle said...

Being from the Tampa Bay area, I agree that a repeat of Jacksonville attendacne would happen here unless FSU or Miami is in the game.

Big Jack Krack said...

Hello JOC BC07:

Nice story. I have been using Mr. Castonzo as an example all year. Number 74 never quit on a play all year as far as I could see - maximum effort each game. The kid is already inspirational and I hope he can keep up the pace - Major College Football and Biochemistry. I get tired just thinking of it.

Working for a pharmaceutical manufacturer, our biochemists (the ones I see all the time) are also impressed by Anthony.

Great post and story.

BCinAthens said...

Jacksonville was my first BC game since graduating in the Flutie era , ditto for my wife.

Orlando..will be our second.
Only a 9 hour drive from Athens!

thanks to atleagle blog for motivating us.

harrow said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
eagleboston said...

We probably won't have to worry about the ACC Championship game for a few years until Jags gets his own players in the system.

Having said that, I still think we could win 8 or 9 games next season if the stars are aligned.

Defensively, we lose Tribble, Silva, Dunbar, Morris, Larkin and Pruitt from the starting line-up. However, Toal should fill in nicely for Dunbar and Raji should be back next to Brace on the line. There will be a big drop off from Tribble and Silva and that is the biggest concern defensively. Also, we have to replace a punter who was the best BC punter in years.

Offense is a mixed bag. We lose 2 linemen, but we have a lot of young linemen that should be ready to fill-in. Virtually all of the receivers return. Unfortunately, TOB did not recruit many running backs the past 3 years. The one he did bring in, Jeff Smith, appears to be done for his career. Brooks has been a bust and should be kicked off the team. That leaves 2 incoming freshmen as our only running backs. Ouch! We need to bring in a JUCO or convert a couple players to running back in case the freshman get hurt or just wear down by the middle of the season.

Then, the proverbial 3rd rail: how do we replace Matt Ryan? I wonder if the coaching staff has much faith in Crane given that they went out and recruited a JUCO. Hopefully, he will be as good as our last JUCO, Paul Petersen.

Thus, I would not even be concerned with an ACC Championship because there will be a drop-off next year. How large a drop-off depends on injuries and coaching. The good news is we won't get teased with the BCS once again only to have it yanked away.

harrow said...

Guys complaining about old people wearing button down shirts is ridiculous. Yes, younger people and alums should go crazy and wear whatever. I am sorry however that BC fans have class. What is wrong with wearing a button down shirt and BC hat. BC fans are not going to wear starter jackets like other schools. Furthermore, can we stop comparing BC fans to any other schools but ND, Stanford, Duke, Northwestern, etc. We are a small academic school , period. We will never, NEVER have fans or support like a state school. I grey up in a state with two big schools. I obviously went to neither, but I still have an allegiance. This is something you are born with, whether you go to the university or not. BC does not or will not have this. That's not to say we can't do alot better with what we have. However, I see more similarities at a Harvard-Yale game tailgate and a BC tailgate than say a Clemson-NC St matchup. Its apples and oranges period. That said we CAN compete for the ACC every year. I am not making excuses, but for the most part the fans won't change too much. And don't give me the BS of eep south schools having people dress classy, ie frats. Again, these are state schools where people are born into their allegiance. Their father and grandfater was in their frat and they never leave their state. Seriously, have you ever met anyone from Bama or Ole Miss or LSU having a career outside of their state. Football is a fabric of society there. Its not in the Northeast nor never will be. In fact I find some of the behavior in the deep south bizarre regarding college football.

Sr.Atlanta said...

ATLEagle I agree with all your points. Orlando Bowl is not bad. Just wish it was in Jan.

Except for the end of the game...the ACCCG weekend in J'ville was a great time!

We had our chances but could not get the job done.

Interesting aside...I saw Ty Hall's (BC #78) Dad during the game and noticed he didn't have his famous BC adorned Helmet. (Yes, I am capitalizing the "H". I think it is an important piece of BC memorabilia) When I caught up with him after the game, he told me the stadium security didn't let him bring the famous Helmet in!! (I've been to 5-7 games in the last two years and he ALWAYS has been allowed in with the Helmet) "That's why we lost" were his exact words.

I know Ty is a senior, does he have another year at BC left? If not, I hope someone is going to put the Helmet in the BC HOF/ trophy room.

Not sure if I'll make it to Orlando.

Go Eagles!

Brian said...

eagleboston - I share your concern about the future QB situation, but I recall saying the same thing after Hasselbeck, St. Pierre and Peterson left.

I think we will be OK next year at QB. Plus, I am cautiously optimistic that our receiving corps is bolstered by the addition of Colin Larmond next year. You can see Gunnell / Megwa have a lot of raw talent, just need to put it together every play.

WRs - Jarvis, Larmond, Gunnell, Megwa, Robinson
TE - Purvis

I like that group.

Brian said...

harrow - I'm not complaining about fans wearing button down shirts and a BC hat. Some piece of BC gear would be appreciated and you would hear no complaints for me.

I'm complaining about the fans that show up wearing no BC gear at all (no hat, nothing). Coincidently, these are the same fans that asked us to sit down as soon as we got there, which probably says something. The same fans that didn't get excited at all for anything that happened on the field.

Also, the excuse that we are not a big state school that you are born into rooting for is just that, an excuse. You need look no further than Notre Dame football, Duke basketball as examples. Both private, non-state affiliated schools.

You can be born into being an ND fan too, born into a Duke basketball fan. Sure, past successes and a national TV contract help attract ND fans from all over the country, but there is no reason we can't share similar success in our fan base. BC football is something you can be born into, it will just take time in my opinion. Call me an optimist.

downtown_resident said...

harrow, you can purchase collared BC shirts at the BC bookstore (my dad wears his proudly). Perhaps someday the bookstore will have enough on the ball to offer gold versions, but they definitely have some very classy maroon shirts.

Big Jack Krack said...

Hello Eagleboston:

I agree that it's tough to lose
Tribble, Silva, Dunbar, Morris, Larkin and Pruitt from the starting line-up. However, as you say, if Toal and Raji come back next year, our defense will be solid. Replacing Tribble and Silva and Johnny Ayers, the punter will be difficult. How about the PK situation - that must be rectified.

Our defensive line is very good against the run. We really need to find the right combination to get a strong push on the opposing passer with 4 down linemen - without the blitz. Even though teams like VT bring the house often, their front 4 give the opposition fits - that's what we need. Is Claiborne any good? How about Nick Rossi?

We are very thin at running back, and the OL needs to prove itself.

I think we'll be okay with Chris Crane at QB while the coaches try out Dominique Davis, Chris Johnson, John Lowell, etc.

I know they want a mobile quarterback. In the meantime, Crane looks like he could be very good - but who knows?

I think we're pretty well stocked at linebacker, and the secondary might be pretty okay. This is what college football is all about.

How about Momah on the receiving corps - any potential there? He's got the height!

harrow said...

In response to your Duke and ND comments. ND is well maybe was, the defacto team for any catholic in america. You can't deny that, their subway alumni are huge. So no comparison. As for Duke I was referring to football. NC has bball in their blood, the Northeast does not have this for any sport. Also, if BC football had the success of Duke bball over the last 25 years, I guarantee you this conversation would not be had. That said Duke shows up at big bball events because that is the only plaee you can see them, Cameron is so small its tough to get a ticket. I guess the NE has hockey a bit in their blood. I find it so interesting that the Beanpot sells out and their are 12K BC fans there, yet they have trouble selling out Conte for most of their bball games.

Brian said...

harrow - I am merely pointing to two institutions that have enjoyed a lot of success and strong fan bases in the NCAA money making sports, within the argument limits you set (private, academics-first institutions like ND, Duke, Northwestern, Stanford, Wake). Heck, Wake won the ACC just last year.

Suggesting that BC will never have the fan base or success that other large, public state-affiliated programs have is defeatist in my opinion. There are traditional major college football programs that have been nothing short of awful the past 10 years and BC has been one of the most consistent programs over that same span.

If you look at the two NCAA revenue sports, football and basketball, we are ranked #6 in terms of strongest two-sport programs over the last 5 years.

To argue that you can't be born into BC football culture I don't think is fair either. The Flutie effect had a tangible effect on the university, admissions and helped thrust BC into the national spotlight. I'll bet that the season the Eagles had and the Matt Ryan Heisman campaign will also help shape the national spotlight on BC. If you look at blogs, Facebook posts and other online content that follows the Ryan campaign, a lot of these kids/fans are New England high schoolers. Waltham High, BC High. This season will have an effect in changing the culture. The move to the ACC will help us Superfans realize what real tailgating is like, how crazy die hard ACC fans are, and how fun college football can be. (I think another contributor to fan malaise was that Big East football wasn't fun, especially under TOB. We seem to be having a lot more fun as a team, and Jags is certainly a positive influence on this, which I think is a positive thing).

Attending the @ Clemson game the past two years, I've seen the BC crowd in attendance double. And given our close games with Clemson, the BC fans attending away games will only increase over time.

There are little things everyone can do to help out, starting with attending the bowl in Orlando this season and thinking positively on what the future could be like, given a little time and the contributions of all us die hards.

Go BC!

05Eagle said...

Brian, I think you optimism is admirable but I have to agree with Harrow. This year was great for BC and with each big win the bandwagon grew. That being said, the idea that the BC fan base will reach the levels of Notre Dame or Duke is unrealistic. Growing up I was a huge college football fan and lived and breathed notre dame football. I had no family ties to the school, but all I knew is that I was Irish, I was Catholic and their games were on TV every Saturday. I grew up in DC and many of my friends had the same passion for Notre Dame that I did, but I can't remember anyone ever mentioning Boston College. Those days are gone and nothing makes me happier than watching Notre Dame lose, but my friends still love the Irish, and I'm sure there are still plenty of young kids just like me back in DC that love Notre Dame and don't know anything about BC.

Despite all that, I love BC's fan base. My friends from BC and I follow BC sports with all the passion of any other college fans. The fact that we are outnumbered doesn't bother me. When BC does get over that hump there might not be as many people cheering, but the true BC fans will be there, and I'm sure we'll all be damn proud of the Eagles.

Wha said...

Kudos to your post. I think Jags has done a great job for you guys this year. I also think you hit the nail on the head about the overall fan turn out. Being a Clemson alumni (one of the Gnomes) it's a breathe of fresh air hearing this out of one of you guys instead of the four that complained about getting "gipped" floating around the tailgate a couple weeks ago. I do agree you guys get the short end of the stick on the bowls but you know why the bowls exist and it's not just about paying the teams. I hope you can help spur on your crowd and get the fan base built. It makes the games that much more fun for everyone.

Brian said...

You are certainly entitled to your opinion. I would suggest to you that the more BC fans believe that there is a ceiling to this program and a ceiling to its fan base, the more likely that will be the end result.

Programs rise and fall. With the programs swings go fan interest and attendance. There is nothing to suggest this is the ceiling for BC football, unless many BC fans believe there is. Then, it will happen.

Nadia said...

I would love to go to the bowl game and will be home in Florida for Xmas, but am a broke grad student in California. If anyone would like to donate 2 tickets I would love to don my superfan shirt and show my BC support!

CT said...

I think the culture with respect to BC's football program needs to change ON campus, with a concerted effort to make Saturdays a more unique experience. Sure there are things the BC AD can do to facilitate more support from alumni, especially with regards to away (ACCCG and bowl) games, and BC is saddled with the wine and cheese crowd, but change needs to be initiated internally, then worked externally. I know that Jags started the pre-game walk and that's a small step in the right direction, but does BC do, for example, pep-rallies on Friday nights? From the moment a freshman walks on campus, he/she needs to be indoctrinated into a unique ritual that drives up the intensity for Saturdays. You don't need a Greek system to do that. You need organization and desire.

Ultimately, sustained success breeds additional success.There are big-time recruits out there with speed that can spell 'chemistry,' run over and past guys on Saturdays, and get the talent level 'over the hump.' Systems and passports to the NFL are bigger attractions to five-star recruits than stadium-size and tailgating. Wide receivers go to schools that throw the ball, running backs to schools that run. In the end, the two or three week period of notoriety for climbing to #2 will pay dividends. And Jags can always say to parents, "we will graduate your son." This season will yield some capital to potential future Eagles. Our school was in the press. We've won 10 games in back-to-back years. There's life in Chestnut Hill. Rome wasn't built in a day.

I don't think the ceiling has been reached. Perhaps as far as ticket sales go...maybe...maybe not...but definitely not with respect to competitive results. The jump to the ACC would not have happened if the administration was content with the status quo. It's going to be exceedingly rewarding to prove that you can win big-time games AND graduate your players, rather than do one or the other. Sure, the big-time football schools graduate an astoundingly low % of their teams (and have even lower numbers for their black athletes), and thus we can't recruit the same kids. So what? William Green didn't bring us a BCS berth. The 'right' kids, the 'BC' kids, are being given a reason to choose us. Jags has charisma and a good football team. Will we ever be USC or LSU? No. But we can get close, i.e. be highly competitive year in and year out and still keep our integrity. There are, after all, only 10 BCS teams per year and even big-time football schools have down cycles (Alabama, ND, UCLA, Clemson, PSU, Nebraska, Texas A&M).

I'm usually pretty pessimistic by nature, but I feel surprisingly upbeat about the direction we're headed in at The Heights. I wish I was in college again, in fact. It's going to be a fun ride with the new coaching staff's approach to Saturdays. I have a sneaking suspicion that we'll be talked about next year, too.

I don't know if anyone has looked at Michigan State's results yet, but at first glance a 7th place Big 10 team hardly seems like a noteworthy opponent for the 2nd best ACC team. However, in their defense, they lost all 5 of their games by a touchdown or less, including games against OSU, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Basically, they're a mirror of our TOB-coached teams--win the ones you should, lose the ones you should. Since BC doesn't possess the ability (or team speed) to blow anyone of substance out, it should be a good game.

eagleboston said...

CT, I attended the Iowa vs. Michigan State game that Iowa won in double OT. Michigan State dominated the first half. They are a big, physical team and should match-up well with BC. In the second half, Iowa ran all over Michigan State to cut a huge deficit and tie the game. Iowa eventually took the lead, but a precision bomb by the MSU QB led to a TD to send the game into OT. Iowa won when a 5th string CB made a great tackle in the second OT.

Iowa is a horrible football team and I am not impressed with the Big Ten Conference. Thus, I think this is a typical bowl for us. We play a team about a tier below us and win the bowl to keep the streak alive. However, MSU will show up, so if we get too Mickey Mousy in Orlando, they can upset us.