Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Guest Blogger: Observer College

With no opponent this week, I thought is was time to evaluate BC sports. Yet most of you know how I feel. What we needed to read is an informed expert opinion on who we are and where we belong. For that I invited Observer College to guest blog this week. You may know OC from his enlightened responses on this blog and other message boards. He truly has his finger on BC sports and the world at large and I thank him for taking the time out of his hectic schedule to educate us all on BC. Consider it noblesse oblige. Below is his state of the union on BC sports.

OC: Your school's fanbase suffers from a dearth of expertise as far as understanding the world of intercollegiate athletics. This saddens me, particularly as many of you don't seem to recognize your ceiling. Your Eagle in Atlanta must feel the same way, as he asked me to share my views on BC as you prepare for the stretch run in football and the start of the basketball & hockey seasons. Although I am very busy right now in the midst of the academic year, I have graciously taken time from my work so that you people may learn about your rightful place in the world of NCAA sports.


First, I'll note that I really don't pay much attention to hockey. Go to the most basic issue: Where on Earth do you get your recruiting ratings? You're stuck piecing together high school stats, equalizing them with Tier II juniors, ignoring Major Junior hockey because they're ineligible, yet they compete with NCAA teams for players, blah blah blah. It's all just too confusing for me. You don't have summertime tournaments in Las Vegas or combines in Piscataway where you can just see everyone at once (or read Farrell or Lemming to get the same info for a very reasonable price--email me for subscription details). Plus, if something called "Bemidji State" has the nerve to make it to hockey's Final Four, then there's something deeply wrong with the sport. No thanks, I'll pass.

Basketball (for the NOW types amongst you, yes, obviously I mean "men's" B-ball)

Have to say that I was pleased for you to see that the ACC Media ranked your men's basketball team #9 in the preseason ACC poll. That's quite a step up for your players, most of whom competed in the outdoor parking lots on the AAU circuit and never caught a whiff of the royalty of college basketball (Boeheim, Calhoun, Fraschilla, Lavin, Phelps). I will say, however, that you have cost a lot of people a lot of money over the years, going off and "beating" North Carolina and Duke and silly things like that. I have no idea if Tim Donaghy's allegations about Dick Bavetta and Tommy Nunez are true, but any MBA can tell you that you can glean great business lessons from nonfiction or fiction.

The smartest thing the ACC could do would be to install an officiating scheme applying the lessons taught in the Donaghy allegations. Is the ACC not the most powerful when Duke and North Carolina are dominant at the top of the league? Does not the ACC benefit most when a team with hot underclassmen like a Georgia Tech lurks right behind, with kids we've been reading about since 6th grade? So why wouldn't the ACC apply the lessons Donaghy describes above and laugh all the way to the bank? Remember the ACC has revenue sharing. It would seem like the universities that comprise the ACC have a fiduciary duty to do so, on behalf of those who pay tuition to these institutions.

One of the things I don't like about Skinner is that he doesn't seem to have much for the things you need to do if you're going to be touted as a great basketball coach. Perhaps it's not innate to him, but I don't see him jumping up and down on the sidelines, carrying on about what his boys need to do on the floor so that commentators can discuss what a great job he does. I don't hear him appearing on sports talk radio shows the way you need to if you're going to build up your reputation as a phenomenal coach. Finally, I don't see the passion you get from a Calipari or a Pitino or a Krzyzewski. Coach K in particular instills in his team a quest for success, a collective drive to utilize their skills to the fullest, to trust themselves and their teammates to leave not one dollar from a shoe contract or an endorsement deal on the floor at the end of the day, season or tournament. All for one, etc etc.

With Skinner, I see someone who trusts his players too much, who lets them compete and then reap the glory when they win. Without seeking out credit for himself, without even appearing on the ESPN Monday Night March Madness preview show with John Saunders in Chicago! I mean, can you imagine!??? He worked in the same building as Tom O'Brien for ten years, and he never learned how to work with the media??? Couldn't he at least have placed a daughter or niece or someone in Bristol to start her career, to hang out with Steve Phillips or someone? Egads.

People talk about Smith, Dudley, Bell, et. al. as great players. I have to say, that leaves me cold. These were non-entities on the AAU circuit, so they didn't have a preexisting following when entering college. Furthermore, players leave but coaches stay. Skinner doesn't have much business sense, as in not promoting himself very much he really withholds promotion from CBS and ESPN. That's rather selfish, and obviously disappointing for someone who as an employee at a Jesuit university should actually try promoting "Jesuit values" like giving of oneself to a higher cause.


Now this has been a very interesting autumn. Over the past two years you have cost the ACC by showing up twice in the ACC Championship Game. You have had no respect for preseason expectations, harming the reputation of those like Andre Ware who generate jobs in Bristol. Indeed, as one prominent expert noted, in 2007 you "held hostage" the #2 ranking in the polls. You have had an awful nerve to act as if your record should determine your place in the ACCCG or in a Chick-fil-a Bowl, causing heartburn, consternation and speechlessness in Waffle House locations from Spartanburg to Atlanta to Jacksonville.
• You were rated poorly in the preseason.
• You had a terrible recruiting class.
• You lost your Head Coach, The Successor.
• You lost Herzlich, of course.

Yet you're 6-3, which on the surface of things should be upsetting. Yet I actually have a warm place in my heart when it comes to what has happened this football season. After much reflection, I think I can place my finger on it:

You finally seem to "know your place".

Don't get me wrong, it's a process. Coach Spaziani does the best he can in talking down expectations, and he has worked really hard to rebuild relationships with the people who matter: Dienhart, Blaudschun, Dinich, etc. And Spaz has made progress too, as Lou Holtz called for Spaziani to be considered for Coach of the Year. Nevertheless, it's a work in progress. To paraphrase Coach Spaziani's esteemed mentor Tom O'Brien: "You know, sometimes it's not the coach, sometimes it's the arrows in his quiver that need to improve."

As you all know, Coach O'Brien first said this after the embarrassment of the Boston College player desecrating the hallowed turf that Rockne the Great traversed. We saw the same viewpoint when his quarterback, Matt Ryan, failed completely in the Syracuse game, ruining Spaziani's brilliant 15-yard umbrella cushion and desecrating Coach Bible's bubble screen offense. Luckily, O' Brien had a future starting CFL quarterback coming off redshirt, so he didn't have to go down that road again. And you know, when you have people like 2-star receiver Rich Gunnell acting as if he has some sort of right to even step on the same FIELD as Recruit of the Year Jimmy Clausen, never mind mouthing off to him(!), you're so embarrassed that your program is set back another two steps in public perception.

Yet you really seem to have learned your place in college football. I like what your Coach Spaziani did at Clemson, conceding that Death Valley is really intimidating and that you would be fortunate to avoid a blowout. Plus, he said that on television in the halftime interview, declaring to the powers that be in Bristol, New York, and Charlotte that there is a new sheriff in town, one who gets it.

Later, you played Lane Stadium. Now, you caused a lot of heartburn a couple of years ago when you won down there, as that probably clinched your place in a bowl outside of Boise. I was glad to see, though, that the lessons regarding your place appeared to begin sinking in. Note your quarterback Dave Shinskie's statement after the VT loss:

“They’re Virginia Tech, they’re the No. 5 team in the nation. They’re quick, they’re agile and they’re going to get to you."

Finally, you told us loud and clear at Notre Dame that you finally recognize your ceiling. I have to admit, I was getting a little nervous after your goal line stand to preserve your 3-point lead. I thought: What's with Bowman, Kuechly et. al., going rogue (credit Palin, Sarah) with this "never surrender" nonsense. But then Coach Tranquill reasserted control masterfully:
• First Down: QB Sneak.
• Second Down: Dive play.
• Third Down: Off-tackle run.
• Fourth Down: Punt.
Punted from your own six, ND takes over at midfield, swoops down the field, and there you go.

What I liked about this is that you didn't pull this "You know who else we're tough for, the people we play" silliness. No Brent Musberger exclaiming: "You don't do this to Penn State in Happy Valley" after Coughlin threw the ball down the field to score before halftime in the 1992 BC-PSU game. No sense that, you know what, we can throw the ball, take a safety if we have to, and free-kick from the 20 still up one.

Instead, you said: 'You're Notre Dame. We respect you. We honor your pedigree, your success at the Signing Table, and all that you do for college football by giving us a platform on NBC. We're thankful for Coach Weis's graciousness to us, and certainly nobody wants to see him fired." And understand, in these difficult times for the NBC-Universal (see Show, the Jay Leno), that your gesture was most appreciated.

Going Forward

At this point, you are tied for first in the Atlantic Division, but Clemson holds the tiebreaker. If you win out, I suppose you'd belong in the DC Bank Bowl given your likely record. Faculty at your school insert their business into your program far too much, so the least you could do would be to tell them you're going someplace where you can do some learning: Congress, World Bank, ESPN Zone, etc.

However, you never know with Clemson. They do all the right things, particularly the way they promise their top running back recruit the first carry of the coming season (you know, the guy who started ahead of Montel Harris, Jamie Harper). But then the kid fumbles and they lose to Alabama, they lose their confidence, drop a game to someone like Duke, and you people wind up ruining urban economies all over the South.

So, the best thing going forward would be for you to drop one of the coming games. There's an argument for you to lose to any combo of UVa, UNC and/or Maryland. But to just lose games won't get your Coach Spaziani the Coach of the Year trophy.

The lesson, of course, is in what happened with 4-star recruits Haden and now Okoroha. Quite simply, you just don't know how to treat esteemed college football players with an extensive high school pedigree. PC-types get all hyped up with the University's reputation, that they put the cart before the horse. They forget Coach Barry Switzer's famous paean to integrity:

"I want a university that our football team can be proud of."

So here you are, with one 4-star recruit transferring and another suspended. When these guys should have been playing the vast majority of the time based on their work in high school. As College Football Expert Brad Zak so eloquently implied: How are 4-stars supposed to respond when you can't figure out how to treat them?

The best thing to do would have been to give out starting positions based on recruiting status and seniority. No more starting a 2-star like Castonzo as a true freshman and such nonsense. You win the UVa and UNC games, building your case as the surprise in college football.

Then you suspend Haden, since he's transferring anyway. Plus you suspend Okoroha. Couple these moves with the Prevent Offense/Defense, and you get a narrow loss on the road to a desperate Maryland team. Have Blaudschun throw out some rumors of food poisoning to imply you lacked, that's right, the arrows in your quiver (you're learning, little Eaglets--good for you!). As Chris Fowler would say, "Frank Spaziani fought so hard to overcome his players' lack of talent and the inherent obstacles at Boston College which is why you should attend Florida if you want to work on Wall Street. Despite all this, nobody could have expected they'd have a chance to win a title going into their last game of the season!"

What's the response to all this?
1. John Swofford invites you down for an all-you-can-eat buffet at the Sonic Drive-In in appreciation for all your hard work.
2. Lou Holtz introduces you to the crowd as you receive your Coach of the Year title in Orlando—a d├ętente moment if there ever were one, and
3. Leeman Bennett generously picks up your tab at the Ghiradelli Chocolate Chip Cookie outlet in San Francisco.

Really, that is what would make us all smile. You stay away from games that matter, you preserve the hierarchy of college football, and your head coach who gets it winds up #1 in Dienhart's book.

And I have warm memories to carry me through the dark days between Signing Day and the release of Phil Steele's football yearbook in the summertime.

Cheers and best to all of you!



CT said...

A 2-star blogger for 2-star upstarts says, "Bravo!"

Here's to the upended apple cart...

Eagle1 said...


You lost me at "dearth." I hope that ATL didn't have to pay you on a per-word basis. My eyes hurt.



Lenny Sienko said...

”I have been assured by a very knowing American of my acquaintance in London, that a young healthy child well nursed is at a year old a most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled ...”

Unfortunately, OC is not Jonathan Swift.

BCBCBC said...

I thought this was a sports blog? And you let this idiot guest blog for you? First - his act isn't even funny. Second, his schtick is old and all it does is take swipes at Spaz and the football program, while lamenting that the "glory days" of Jags are long gone. Typical for you Atlanta....but pathetic nonetheless. You must be a proud fan.

smh said...


Brez said...

I can't believe I just read that whole thing. I think the reason so many people don't realize OC's schtick is satire when he comments on blogs is because satire is supposed to be funny.

campy said...

Is it April 1 already?

mod34b said...

ATL -- is this really you? I hope not. this was bad.

BCNorCal07 said...


Satire is funnier when you make yourself part of the joke. ALso, when it is a joke.

Andrew said...


Here we go again. A sports blog? Yes, yes it is. Did OC not discuss sports?

If its not funny, take reading the blog off today, chief. No one made you read it.

Way to take a swipe at someone who provides quite a service to a number of interested BC alums.


Get the (expletive) out of my alma mater.

BCMike said...

^ ^ ^ ^


BCBCBC said...

Hey Andrew - you think its providing quite a service to post negative things about the BC football program on your blog? That's precisely what Atlanta is doing by letting this idiot guest blog for him. Observer College hates Gene D and Spaz just like Atlanta does....but what good does it do to rip apart the football program on an open blog? This "service to BC alumni" is actually a disservice to the BC football program and players.

modest34b said...

andrew -- too angry. let BCBC make his comments.

Andrew said...


Fine. If you don't like what ATL blogs/posts/ruminates about on here. Then don't read.

I for one enjoy the content, and thinks its pretty weak to come on here and rip him for a blog in which he dedicates his own time.

And yes, I think its a service to get a well informed opinion on the state of BC football, not just some blind idolatry of whichever figurehead we trot out to coach this team.

And please, lets get some examples of the "disservice" that ATL provides for the BC players.

BCBCBC said...

Observer College is a "well-informed opinion"? That's a joke. The disservice is having OC come on his blog and bad-mouth the football program. The disservice is calling out the coaches as quitters. Legitimate gripes about strategy or gameday decisions are perfectly reasonable. Posting baseless negative stuff like this just because you miss Jags is irresponsible.

conlonc said...

wait, wait, wait - there's supposed to be "responsibility" in blogging? Are you kidding me?

CatabEagle said...

I nominate that sourpuss BravesBill as the secret identity of Observer College.

BCMike said...


Observer College is a schtick. It's satire. He's actually a BC fan who enjoys playing the role of an ND fan who hates BC and uses intentionally faulty arguments to do so.

So, think of it as a roast basically.

Not that I haven't grown tired of the schtick (I have), but he's actually a big BC fan.

modest34b said...

If he is truly a BC fan, his substandard BC education is showing through. Very BackUp College if you ask me.

BCBCBC said...

I know its a schtick (even though it has never been funny). But his schtick when it comes to football is different - he is clearly anti-spaz and thinks that the BC program is doomed because of it.

Does a "blogger" have responsibility. Of course not. But I would think a true fan of the program wouldn't post this shit.

conlonc said...

I've always been more amused by the enraged responses to the schtick than the actual comments themselves.

I've also seen him be anti-jags, anti-o'brien, anti-anything BC - as the situation sees fit.

you're very protective of spaz it seems. you in the family?

Erik said...

Now I'm questioning if BCBCBC is shtick by complaining?

ATL_eagle said...


I invite all sorts of guest bloggers and rarely edit what they write. I also allow for commentors to write pretty much whatever they want. Observer College is a welcome voice and I thank him for taking the time to share his opinions with us.

ndblows said...

you are a total loser observer college. stop bashing bc. what the fuck do you mean "our place in college football"? DONT BE MAD CUZ WE HAVE MADE ACCOMPLISHMENTS THAT U NEVER EXPECTED. i get the feeling u r a notre dame fan. WHO THE FUCK IS JIMMY CLAUSEN THAT RICH GUNNEL CANT STAND UP TO HIM? RICH GUNNEL IS JUST A GOOD A PLAYER AS CLAUSEN. CLAUSEN IS HIGHLY OVERRATED AND GUNNEL IS UNDERRATED. notre dame takes advantage of weak teams and loses vs the good teams. they got lucky vs bc. I CANT WAIT TIL 2010. NOTRE DAME WILL GET ROCKED BY BC!

Darius said...

So, uh, you guys take this internet commentary thing pretty seriously, eh?

I enjoy ObserverCollege's posts and contributions. What some here (i.e. BCBCBC, ndblows, etc.) fail to understand is that the schtick is not the satire, not the funny part. Yes, the schtick itself has gotten repetitive.

Rather, the satire is the response. That's the underlying genius. Those of you who are getting all bent out of shape ARE OC's joke. And that joke gets funnier every time you tell it for him. Well done, all.

Coast said...

Hahaha, jeez, some people need to take it easy and relax. Just because someone says a mean thing on the internet doesn't cement it as truth.

Obviously an anti-BC thing stings, but you really can't see any humor in it? None? I think it was pretty funny.

It doesn't mean I think BC sucks. It doesn't mean I should feel bad about hurting the feelings of the BC football team because I laughed at something on an opinion blog.

If you worry about what some stranger says on the internet about a sports unit, you must have a lot of sleepless nights.

modest34b said...

Darius the Putz -- Gee thanks for the enlightenment. We could never figure that out without your insights. Genius, hardly.

Boring and tired, yes.

Coast you're a knucklhead head too.

CT said...

What Darius said. You knucklehead head.

Geez, relax. His message is the same everytime...yes...but he's also chuckling at all 28 comments.

It beats trying to learn something new from a guest blogger about an upcoming ACC game when they"if we can stop BC running the ball, we have a good chance, but I don't know...maybe..."

Boring and tired...yes.

eaglephile said...

Excellent work ATL. It's about time you gave someone of OC's caliber a shot at the blogging game. The fact that he has been relegated to the comments section for so long is a traveshamockery.

Now, if we could just get the readers (BCBCBC) to appreciate the subtle nuances of OC's writing, we might be ready to take our rightful places at the Emerald's and Music City's of the world, both as a team and as a fan base.

Darius said...

"Darius the Putz -- Gee thanks for the enlightenment. We could never figure that out without your insights."

Well, DustBowl, the evidence would indicate that, in fact, you in particular could NOT have figured that out without help. And I'm still relatively convinced that you don't actually "get" it. Good luck in your future endeavors, Lieutenant Steve.

morrina said...

Aside from the endless banter about whether we think OC's satire is funny or not....that official Mike Krzyzewski site makes me want to vomit. As if I didn't hate him enough, how f***ing full of himself is this guy.

Unknown said...

That was hilarious! Keep up the good work.

Erik said...

I have a dream....
My dream is that BC fans would use the same energy they use to react to Observer College, and apply that toward making noise on defensive 3rd downs or cheering the team as they come out of the tunnel.

modest34b said...

What Erik meant to say: "can't we all just get along and sing in harmony..c'mon guys can't we make my really stupid dream a reality. Can't we all sing Kubaya in the stands!"

Kumbaya my Lord, kumbaya
Kumbaya my Lord, kumbaya
Kumbaya my Lord, kumbaya
Oh Lord, kumbaya

Someone's singing Lord, kumbaya
Someone's singing Lord, kumbaya
Someone's singing Lord, kumbaya
Oh Lord, kumbayah

Someone's laughing, Lord, kumbaya
Someone's laughing, Lord, kumbaya
Someone's laughing, Lord, kumbaya
Oh Lord, kumbaya

Someone's crying, Lord, kumbaya
Someone's crying, Lord, kumbaya
Someone's crying, Lord, kumbaya
Oh Lord, kumbaya

Someone's praying, Lord, kumbaya
Someone's praying, Lord, kumbaya
Someone's praying, Lord, kumbaya
Oh Lord, kumbaya

Someone's sleeping, Lord, kumbaya
Someone's sleeping, Lord, kumbaya
Someone's sleeping, Lord, kumbaya
Oh Lord, kumbaya
Oh Lord, kumbaya

modest34b said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
modest34b said...

oops, sorry erik forgot a few lines

Someone's coming out of the tunnel, Lord, kumbaya
Someone's coming out of the tunnel, Lord, kumbaya
Someone's coming out of the tunnel, Lord, kumbaya
Oh Lord, kumbaya

Someone's making noise on 3rd down, Lord, kumbaya
Someone's making noise on 3rd down, Lord, kumbaya
Someone's making noise on 3rd down, Lord, kumbaya
Oh Lord, kumbaya
Oh Lord, kumbaya

Andrew S. said...

Forget ObserverCollege... everyone grab their pitchforks + torches and storm Mike Felger's radio studio! He called us (and Rich G) a bunch of crybabies!

Raj said...

WOW. Seems like people need to lay off the red bull.

Either way- big games ahead. Head out to FSU bars and cheer on FSU this weekend. Hoping for a Clemson collapse

baba ganoush said...

Am a '79 grad in Charlotte. ACC country. I've been through good and really bad with the eagles. Like watching them exceed expectations every year lately. Best thing about rooting for a top 25-30 team which is what ours' are. But since we joined the ACC we have won more foots than anyone but VT and more hoops than anyone but NC and Duke. In that time r the only school 2 finish in top 20 in both in same year (once and but for a bb loss in last minute would have been twice). Not great but good and makes for enjoyable/heartbreaking/interesting watching. We r what we r. I never heard of OC and, unless I am on the receiving end of an insurance sales cold call am pretty sure I won't hear from him again. I like sarcasm and wish I had read some in the last week. For those of you who believe he has a clue or that there is an "it", I would suggest that there is a nude emperor you should meet.