Thursday, December 31, 2009

Reports on Rettig in Florida

As Shinskie struggled down the stretch many BC fans pinned their hopes on incoming QB recruit Chase Rettig. The California QB is in Florida this week as part of the Under Armour All Star game. The early reports from practice are mixed.

This report from a Gator site didn't think much of his Day 1 performance:
He has a big lead on Boston College verbal commitment Chase Rettig (Sierra Madre, Calif./San Clemente H.S.) who brings up the rear of this group.


As you can see, there is not much detail there. Read into it what you will.


On the other hand ESPN, which is broadcasting the game, had a more positive spin on Rettig's first day:

Chase Rettig (Sierra Madre, Calif./San Clemente), who is headed to Boston College, is not the most celebrated quarterback here, but he showed great underneath zip during passing drills and seemed to take control of the offense.


None of this really matters as Rettig will be on campus in a few weeks and competing on his own merits. Let's hope he makes things interesting.

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Showing all aspects of BC basketball against South Carolina

I am on the road and don't have ESPN U, so I had to follow online. You didn't need to watch the broadcast to feel the excitement, frustration and eventual relief of the game. The win is important as it is our last chance at a quality out of conference win. Here are my thoughts. (As always, feel free to leave yours in the comments.)

Likes

-- Better shooting from Sanders.
-- Solid foul shooting, including making shots in the final minute.
-- The big first half lead. It showed this team can be explosive when it needs to be.
-- The rebounding differential. Even with a smaller lineup, we controlled the glass.


Dislikes

-- Trapani's struggles shooting.
-- Letting them back into the game. South Carolina narrowed the deficit to 3. This team needs a killer instinct.
-- Unsettled rotation. We need to figure something out before ACC play.

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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Once again BC tops TV ratings

Per ESPN's tweet, the Emerald Bowl was the highest rated game of the weekend. USC certainly helped, but one thing that is consistent in all of our bowls, is that BC brings in the eyeballs. Now if we can ever convert that into tickets...

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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Football 2009 In Review: Top Surprises

This was an annual feature until last January got thrown upside down by the coaching chaos. I will look back on the season in four parts. Let's begin with the positive: top surprises.

1. Mike Morrissey
Everyone loves a walk-on story, but rarely does a walk-on work his way into the starting lineup. Morrissey isn’t exactly our “Rudy” though. He was a “recruited walk-on” meaning TOB and company liked him enough to give him a shot to earn a scholarship but offered no guarantees. Having contributed occasionally in his first few seasons, Morrissey broke out this year – just when the depleted LB corp needed him most. Since his father was in the NFL and walk-ons have to work extra hard, Morrissey showed good instincts in coverage and reading Ds. What surprised was his speed. He was good in coverage and outside or some bad tackles in the Emerald Bowl, was pretty reliable all season. Morrissey is not a game changer or have the upside of LeGrande (the guy he split snaps with) but he was a crucial part of the season and did more than expected.

2. Chris Pantale
Pantale was a well regarded recruit and we heard good things coming out of his redshirt year, but he exceeded most expectations. The team's third leading receiver was also a capable blocker. I guess what most impressed me about Pantale, was his toughness and hands. It seemed like he pulled in a bunch of passes with someone drapped all over him. If anything we didn't get him the ball enough -- especially in the redzone. It will be nice to see him mature in the offense and add a little more size.
3. Ryan Quigley
Punters are rarely appreciated, but Quigley was very good this year. 30% of his punts went pinned the other team into the redzone with only 5% rolling for touchbacks. He got 77 punts off without getting blocked once. It wasn't all controlled either. He could boom them when he had to. In an ideal world, he would never punt, but watching Quigley punt this year was a pleasure.

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Monday, December 28, 2009

Blog schedule, the Toal patriarch and other links

Just a few links today, but I will have more decade and year in review stuff this week.


Here is a nice feature on Brian and Greg Toal's father. Although he doesn't have any more sons, Toal's relationship with BC remains very important as he is probably the most influential coach in New Jersey. Spaz needs to keep the Bosco pipeline going if he wants long-term success at BC.


HD gave Spaz glowing reviews for the season.



Incoming QB Chase Rettig is part of the Under Armour all star game this weekend.


A year ago Steve Addazio's knee surgery kept him out of the BC interview process. Now he is head coach (sort of) at Florida.

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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Second viewing thougths and grade report: USC

This was a frustrating game to watch back and not just because of the inexplicably bad officiating. [In addition to the poor replay decisions, there were several bad spots and as noted on the broadcast, they were slow on the whistles -- which is very dangerous.] The frustration came from how close this could have gone the other way. Some of the mistakes were on Shinskie, but then some of our best like Harris, Kuechly and Claiborne also made errors.


Offense: C+

One season into his career and I don't think we know what we have in Dave Shinskie. This game didn't clear up anything. There are moments when he makes some really nice throws. His pass to Jarvis between the zones stands out. Yet other passes were late or one-hopers or forced. He also lost focus on a shotgun snap and still is not using his outlets and checkdowns. The good news is that he looked good with a moving pocket and on a few runs. He also is willing to stand in the pocket and make a throw (I just wish the throws were better). His scatter shot throws in the second half limited the offense. Let's hope he takes his game to the next level next year.


Harris' fumble was a killer. I know the ball was slick and field was sloppy, but in the red zone you have to hold on. I also wish he would hand off on occasion out of the bazooka/shotgun. On the positive side, he made some nice cuts and ran through a bunch of USC tacklers. McCluskey was good in limited action. I wish he had been healthy all year.


Rich Gunnell might have moved up a few draft boards with his performance. Good runs, good hands and surprising speed. Larmond didn't get many chances but fought hard for some tough catches. Jarvis started strong but had a few passes he should have pulled in.


The offensive line played well. The inside guys like Tennant, Claiborne and Richman all looked good. When USC had success it was on stunts on the outside. Lapham struggled a few times. Castonzo was solid.


The Tight Ends blocked well but weren't involved in the passing game all that much.


Shinskie wasn't good but Tranq didn't help him much in the second half. We waited too long to get the focus back on the running game and we called too many pass that were too dependent on Shinskie making good throws and good reads. Why not simplify with quick slants or quick outs? Why not more throws to the backs or TEs? Putting all these long, slow developing plays on Shinskie are high risk, high reward. Would they use that sort of scheme with a 18 year old against USC?


Defense: B

The defensive line didn't make a ton of plays but they also didn't get pushed around. Solid effort overall. Scafe was good. Albright showed more burst and speed than he has all season. Newman played really well. Giles made a few plays. Ramella was quiet. The others DLinemen didn't see as much action.


The LBs made great plays yet all had major mistakes. Morrissey and Kuechly both missed tackles on the first TD. Morrissey failed to wrap up a few other times. All the LBs blew their coverage assignment on the second TD. McLaughlin missed some tackles. LeGrande was ok.


Although we allowed 350 passing yards, I thought the DBs played well. Davis had a pick and some nice tackles. Bowman made some solid tackles and made a great read on his INT. Despite the cushion, Gause was solid in coverage. Rollins wasn't thrown at much, but did well supporting the run and making good tackles. Fletcher and Johnson got on the field but weren't as involved in the action.

Special Teams: C

Stevie missed a PAT. We were ultra conservative on our kick offs and punt returns.

Smith had some nice runbacks on the kick returns.

Overall: C+

The defensive scheme was conservative and worked (for the most part). The special teams decisions were conservative and didn't cost BC (for the most part). Yet surprisingly the offensive scheme had many aggressive throws in the second half and probably cost us. In general, it seemed like Spaz had the guys mentally and physically ready. Things just didn't go our way. All our other losses this year could be blamed on coaching. This one was partially just some back luck. Now let's hope Spaz can start a new bowl streak next year.

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Saturday, December 26, 2009

And the rollercoaster comes to an end...

When people tab BC as an overachieving, "little engine that could" type program, they kind of undersell the kids we have and their talent. Tonight showed that. I am not for moral victories, but we weren't outclassed by USC. We lost because of poor QB play, a couple of blown assignments and a few bad calls. It was exciting and when Bowman picked off Barkley, I thought we were winning this game. It wasn't to be...


Not ideal, but 8-5 (5-3 in the ACC) given all that happened has to viewed as a successful season. Congrats to the players and coaches for fighting through a variety of unexpected obstacles. Now let's build on this for next year. Ever to excel.


I'll have grades and second viewing thoughts up late Sunday night.

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In-game comments post: Emerald Bowl

Tonight is the end of one of the most unpredictable and emotional 12 months in BC football history. Let's hope we end it on a high note.


I will not be online during the game so leave your thoughts and comments below.

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Friday, December 25, 2009

Guest Blogger: USCFootballNews

There are many USC bloggers out there, but I've always been partial to Mike from Lex Icon and his USC twitter feed USCFootballNews. (His blog is a mix of personal stuff, links and USC news. His twitter feed is all SC.) This has been a weird season for the Trojans and no one knows what to expect on the 26th. I've asked Mike some questions about his favorite team. His answers are below.

1. Much has been made of the academics suspensions and the McKnight case. How much of an impact will these events actually have on the field of play?

USCFootballNews: The academic suspensions are going to hurt. Spicer is not a starter, but he gets significant playing time and has the ability to make big plays. Tyron Smith is a starter, but if there is anyplace USC has the depth to withstand a loss right now it is on the offensive line. If someone goes down, the Trojans will miss him a lot more. The big loss is Anthony McCoy. Without him, USC's offense struggled this season. USC likes to throw to the tight end, and McCoy was a big play threat. His replacements have struggled with dropped passes - including several sure touchdowns - and without McCoy, USC's third-down offense is not nearly as effective. McKnight's situation is a big distraction, and Pete Carroll has noted that McKnight's mental focus is not back yet. If McKnight does not play, Allen Bradford should be able to fill his spot capably. A lot of Trojan fans think Bradford is the better all-around back, even though McKnight is USC's leading rusher.

2. Unlike past seasons of the Carroll era, many teams have been able to run the ball on SC this year. Is talent the issue or the new defensive coordinator? How do you think Carroll will adjust for BC?

USCFootballNews: It's hard to tell how much this season's defensive struggles can be attributed to coaching, inexperience or a drop in talent. Given that USC has had several outstanding defensive performances this season against excellent offenses and outstanding running backs, I suspect that inexperience is the bigger problem. It's difficult to replace a defensive coordinator and four NFL-quality linebackers in a season without having problems with consistency. If you believe the high school rankings, the talent is still there. Experience and maturity are lacking. Regardless of the coordinator, Pete Carroll has always been the architect of USC's defense, and he has developed a reputation for putting together good defensive game plans for big games, given enough time. It's not too much of a stretch to believe that Carroll will have USC's defense playing at a high level for this game.

3. It has been a great run under Carroll until this season. Is this year a temporary setback or are the dynasty years over?

USCFootballNews: With the talent USC brings in each year, the Trojans are probably going to continue to have great success, but winning 6 or 7 straight titles is a feat that won't be easily duplicated. That they managed to reload several times since 2002 without missing at least a share of the Pac-10 championship is remarkable, and it required a combination of excellent talent, coaching, execution and luck. This season, the luck ran out, and the lack of experience on the field and the sidelines is showing. In 2004 and 2005, when USC made mistakes or got unlucky breaks, their amazing talent (Bush, White, Leinart, Jarrett) was enough to overcome the little problems. This year, the talent is strong, but it isn't quite as good as the amazing collection of skill position players they had in the Bush/Leinart years.

I tend to believe that great teams usually have to have great quarterbacks, and that the emphasis on quarterback play is well-placed. In 2009, USC played a true freshman quarterback all season, and it has cost the Trojans some games. As Matt Barkley continues to mature, USC should get closer to the level it has played at during the last 6 seasons. If that happens, the setback will be temporary, and the Trojans could be back in a BCS bowl or even competing for the national championship as early as next season. On the other hand, if Barkley turns out to be mistake-prone by nature, and not just because of his inexperience, USC could have a couple of tough years coming.

4. What is your prediction for the game?

USCFootballNews: If it rains, anything can happen, and if USC falls behind early, this could remind Trojan fans of the 1992 Freedom Bowl. However, I don't think it will happen, and I think USC will win by a touchdown or less.

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Game Watches: Emerald Bowl

Need a break from the family? Want to watch a BC game amongst BC folks? Support your local game watch. Or you can turn the game watch into a family event. Bring your parents or in-laws or whomever. Your local chapter will appreciate the patronage. And those who are on the road, a game watch is a good place to still feel at home. If there are others hosting, place them in the comments section.



Albany Game Watch

Jillian’s
59 North Pearl Street
Downtown Albany

Atlanta Game Watch
STATS
300 Marietta Street NW
Atlanta, GA

Boston Game Watch
GameOn!
82 Landsdowne Street
Boston, MA 02215

Chicago Game Watch
Trinity Bar
2721 N. Halsted (Diversey & Halsted)
on the border of Lincoln Park and Lakeview

Cincinnati Game Watch
Mulligan's on Madison Rd.
Hyde Park, OH

Los Angeles Game Watch
Sonny McLean's
2615 Wilshire Blvd.
Santa Monica


Milwaukee Game Watch

Old Man McGoos Pub
Mequon, WI


Minnesota Game Watch

Majors Sports Bar (Gold Room)
6440 Wayzata Boulevard
Golden Valley, MN 55426

Nashville Game Watch

Private room at the Marriott Cool Springs


New York City Game Watches

Still
192 3rd Ave @ 17th
Manhattan


Pat Obrien's
88st and 2ave



New Jersey Game Watch

Green Rock
Hoboken, NJ


Orange County, CA Game Watch

Sharkeez - Huntington Beach
211 Main St
Huntington Beach, CA 92648-8136



Phoenix Game Watch

Gallagher's Sports Grill
7575 N. 16th Street, Phoenix





St. Louis Game Watch

Llywelyn's Pub
Webster Groves, MO

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Merry Christmas


Merry Christmas to all. I hope Santa left some BC gifts under your tree.

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Thursday, December 24, 2009

BC-USC preview

We are playing USC in two days. Doesn’t that seem weird? I know this version of USC is not the team that ruled the college football world earlier in the decade, but Pete Carroll will still be on the sideline. They’ll have their mega-band and horse and all the other pomp and circumstance. The game is in California. Sure, it is the Emerald Bowl not the Rose, but I am more excited about this game than most of the bowls we played during the past ten years.

Narrative talking point that you’ll tire of by the end of the game.
"Both of these teams have a bright future ahead in 2010…" With these lower tier bowls, the broadcast team often tends to build on the bowl game as spring boards for the next season. Don't buy into it. Sure, both teams will return most of their 2009 talent, but you never know what will happen between now and then. Look back to last year's Music City loss. Could anyone have predicted what happened with our coaching staff, with Herzy or with our QBs? This game is just a game.

Three Simple Keys
1. Establish the run and stick with it. USC allowed 173 rushing yards a game and got gashed in their losses to Oregon and Stanford. BC needs to follow the same plan and put the game on the line and Harris’ shoulders.
2. Give Barkley a variety of looks. Their freshman QB will be without some of his best weapons. Our heavy dose of Spaz zones should keep him off balance and lead him to force things.
3. Red Zone scoring. It almost cost us Maryland. Tranq needs to add a few new wrinkles (play action perhaps) and convert every opportunity.

Gambling Notes
-- BC is 4-4 against Pac 10 teams all time
-- USC has covered the spread in four of their last five bowl games
-- BC has not been an underdog in a bowl game since 2004
The current line is BC+ 7.5


Factoid
I don’t know if he will mention it on the air, but ESPN’s play-by-play man Joe Tessitore is a Boston College grad.

Scoreboard Watching
I watch parts of most bowl games, but none of them really matter. Also, don't get caught up in the ACC's post season success (or lack thereof). The only thing that will help the perception of BC nationally is beating USC.


I hope to see…
Someone other than Harris get carries in the bazooka/wildcat. The concept loses its effectiveness if Harris keeps it every time. Plus there were some big runs to be had if he had given it up during the Maryland game.

BC is in trouble if…
USC gets big plays. Even though they are not what they were, they still have plenty of people who can score quickly. BC needs to contain. The cushion, bend but don't break mentality should work here. We need to execute and play smart.



Bottom Line
I have a good feeling about this game. I think USC will come out strong but we'll hold them. By the second half, we'll have established the tempo and pull away in the fourth quarter.
Final Score: BC 28, USC 17

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Likes and Dislikes from the UMass win

I didn't get to see the game, but I listened to Ted and Bill on satellite and followed online in the second half. Regardless of UMass' record, it was a good win and a nice boost into the break. We don't have much wiggle room left in nonconference play so every win counts. Here are my thoughts. Leave yours below.


Likes

-- Reggie Jackson's night. A solid, high energy, low mistake evening.
-- Sanders controlling things early. Nothing was falling and Sanders made some tough baskets. He also posted up, which should be a no brainer for him.
-- Improved defense. We were patient with their driving and forced turnovers and blocks. Probably the best defensive effort of the season so far.
-- Josh Southern coming off the bench.
Maybe this will be a good fit...he came in and added a spark and converted on some open looks.

Dislikes

-- Missing too many close baskets.
Sanders, Trapani and Raji all missed some bunnies. This happens too often and will kill us in ACC play.
-- Getting outrebounded by 14. Part of the difference was BC's ability to steal the ball. Part of it was the smaller lineup. But BC needs to maintain its advantage on the boards.
-- Inconsistent rotation. Roche was hurt. Raji got dinged. We don't know what to do with the big men. Skinner's got to mix it soon.

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Spaz spin and other links

This quote in the Globe from Spaz ruffled a few feathers on the message boards:

“Hopefully it’s not a 76-second knockout.’’

One quote doesn't define a season or a coach, but I think that quote coupled with a few others reinforces the belief that Spaz (at times) plays not to lose. This game isn't for a championship, but it can set a precedent for the Spaz era. Let's hope the guys come out fighting.


Regardless of their record, Spaz still thinks very highly of USC.


NECN ran a fluff interview with Gene. There are some nice shots of campus though...

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Kuechly praise and other links

Luke Kuechly got the full feature treatment from Rivals. He modestly attributes much of his success to "not getting blocked." Having watched his games back, he's not totally off in his assessment. There were many times when he wasn't blocked. But it wasn't just blown assignments, much of it was Kuechly's speed and instincts getting to the play and making plays no one would have expected.


BC added another commitment in Brockton DB Dominique Williams.


Here is a preview of the bowl game. I will have my normal preview on Christmas Eve.


This mailbag has a focus on BC.


Good to know that the guys will be volunteering a bit while in San Francisco.


Jared Dudley made the cover of a fitness magazine in Arizona. For Dudley fans, it is not too late to join Arizona BC fans at the Dudley meet and greet January 8. Contact Chapter President Jim Gruber(jim_gruber@yahoo.com) for more details.

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Monday, December 21, 2009

Trouble in Troy and other links

While the McKnight issue still remains unresolved, USC lost three players to academic suspensions. The biggest loss will be TE Anthony McCoy.


The Wall Street Journal dives into the recruiting ranking arguments by looking at the relative success of BC and USC. In my mind this sort of validates my argument that the rankings are skewed towards the powers. They sight 2006's top guys. By then USC was in the middle of their recent dynasty. Anyone they talked to was going to get an inflated value by the recruiting rankings. This ESPNLA article also looks at how the Trojans fell to Emerald Bowl status.


Here is news on one of our latest under the radar football recruit.


Rich Gunnell is sad to see his time at BC come to a close. It is sad since he's been a credit to the program.


There are lost of logistics in getting the team to California.


Women's soccer freshman Victoria DiMartino was named Freshman of the Year by Soccer America.

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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Things get better against Bryant

As expected BC took care of Bryant Sunday afternoon. Bryant is not very good, but that doesn't mean you can't take some positives out of the effort. BC shot better, made their foul shots and played better defense.


With the size and athleticism advantage, BC dominated the boards and blocked a lot of shots.

They areas for concern? 3-point shooting was terrible again. Paris also turned the ball over too much. Sanders still has rust.


UMass will be a real test and the sign if things are back on track.

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Saturday, December 19, 2009

USC news and other links

One of USC's top players, RB Joe McKnight gained the attention of the NCAA for allegedly using a booster's car. We will see how it impacts the bowl game.


Reggie Jackson is working to become a better shooter.


Dominique Davis made his commitment to East Carolina official.

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Friday, December 18, 2009

Decade in Review: Ten "We are BC" moments

This is another look back at this momentous decade in BC sports. The following are not necessarily historically important or even real moments per se. What I tried to capture here were 10 moments that were unique to the BC experience and made us laugh, cry, smile, yell or whatever else. The theme is that these are only things a real BC fan can relate to. (This category is wide open so leave your suggestion below.)



1. Mark Herzlich’s battle with cancer
I specifically avoided putting Mark’s battle with cancer in either the best or worst moments. As I said when the news first broke, it was so overwhelming that it couldn’t simply be categorized as bad or worst. His valiant fight back, the people he inspired and the joy he brought to BC cannot be captured by the term “best.” Finally putting Mark on any list seems premature. Thankfully his story is not over and his future is bright.




2. Superfan to kicker (the Steve Aponavicius story)

He’s been around so long and his story has been rehashed so many times that I think we forget how goofy, remarkable and fortunate this whole series of events were. A kid sitting in the stands with body paint and a sombrero stepped out onto the field and eventually became our all-time leading scorer. It is a Disney story, only true. Sure there were plenty of times we could have used a better leg, but Steve worked hard and got better every year. When you think back to this past ten years, Sid Vicious will be one of the first things that comes to mind.



3. Celebrity fan Tim Russert
I don’t know if this happens at every school, but being BC parent can suck you into BC sports within one season. No one served as a better example of that than Tim Russert. He was our highest profile fan and became legendary around campus for his passion, friendliness and sense of humor. The BC portion of Russert’s identity was only a fraction of who he is or what he meant, but I think BC fans will always hold it dear. Because, at the end of the day, it was something we could all relate to and at its roots, was just about a father and son bonding over sports.



4. The Duke scuffles
Despite the first three items on this list, the decade was not all smiles and soft light. We also had some moments of toughness that made me proud. I am not big on moral victories, but two separate incidents with Duke basketball still put a smile on my face. The first happened early in the decade. Duke handed the 2001 team its first loss of the season and late in the game Duke guard Jason Williams taunted us with some ball fakes. Not one to be trifled with, Kenny Walls body checked Williams into the scorer's table. Of course holier than thou Coach K labeled BC players thugs. Fast forward to the 2006 ACC Championship game…BC and Duke are in an epic back and forth, when floor slapper Greg Paulus “inadvertently” threw a punch at Louis Hinnant. Like Walls, Hinnant didn’t take shit from anyone and promptly shoved Paulus back. Both got technicals and Hinnant played the half of his life after that. BC came up short, but I was proud.




5. The BC offensive line destroys UVA after Brad Butler’s cheap shot on Kiwi.
In thinking about this incident, I am amazed this story wasn’t bigger. Think of the press that this year’s punch in the Boise State-Oregon game received. But that is not why it is on the list. After the smoke cleared and Kiwi was hurt and Washington was ejected, and BC buckled down and ran over Virginia. The offensive line in particular played inspired football and won one for Kiwi.



6. BC-Notre Dame on First Take
The rivalry has been rehashed a million times. We know we dominated on the field, but I still smile when thinking about this dominant performance by then BC student Jeff Weinstein on First Take. Jeff handled himself with class and the ND kid looked like an arrogant blowhard.

7. Italics Numbers and the Angry Chicken Logo
This decade saw BC provide a much needed refresh to our logo and uniforms. Instead of a classic look or a new cool design, we got italicized letters and numbers and the Angry Chicken logo. We also got ten different shades of maroon and gold. We are finally moving on from Reebok to Under Armour. Let’s hope we take off the italics so I can tell the difference between a 6 or 5 on a uniform.

8. BC and Texas play the longest college baseball game in history
The only BC baseball those of us outside of New England get to see is the game against the Red Sox in Spring Training. So I didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to watch online as the boys take on Texas in the NCAA tournament last spring. Little did I know that I was about to witness the longest game in college baseball history. BC lost, but it was such a unique game and unique experience (there was a whole group of us posting on message boards all through the night), that I will never forget it.

9. BC on Youtube
Online video predates the ‘00s, but Youtube and its competitors made it so easy to post and view that it really changed the dynamic of being a sports fan. There are a million funny and cool BC clips online, but here are some of my favorites.









10. BC-Clemson lovefest
The move to the ACC wasn’t about rivalries. It was about money. But the bond BC and Clemson formed early is one of the more pleasant surprises of our new home. The football series saw four classic games and this year’s bizarre triple rain delay. Every other year the Orange clad Clemson fans invade Boston and seem to enjoy every minute. Every other year more and more BC fans make the trip down to Death Valley to experience real tailgating and their big time game day environment. When Clarence Megwa snapped his leg and was hospitalized with a coma, Tiger fans sent him hundreds of letters wishing him well. We won’t ever replace Notre Dame and South Carolina as true rivals, but I think what we have is better…in a way. It is based on respect and hospitality and fun. Who would have predicted?

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Decade in Review: Ten most important people

This is another look back at this momentous decade in BC sports. The following are the men who did more to shape BC sports than any other. (As always feel free to tell me who I overlooked or overrated.)



1. Gene DeFilippo
Gene has many critics. They are quick to point out that much of BC's success the last decade came on the shoulders of coaches he did not hire. Gene also rubbed plenty of fans and alumni the wrong way with his heavy handed practices on Donor Based Seating and tailgating. Yet there was no one who was more influential on Boston College sports in the last 10 years. Gene's micromanaging changed the direction of our fundraising efforts, closely protected the image of the school with the media, and enhanced some of the things BC already did very well (graduate players, etc.). All his good deeds and mistakes are just a drop in the bucket compared to the most important accomplishment of Gene's tenure, which was getting BC in the ACC. Gene's people skills and politicking are the main reason we were involved in the initial ACC talks and stayed involved even when hope was lost. If you want to know what a difference a good AD makes, look at Pitt and Syracuse. If they had someone like Gene on their side, neither would still be stuck in the Big East. Gene is far from perfect, but this was his decade and BC is better for it.





2. Frank Spaziani

During the longest sustained success of BC Football there was one constant -- Frank Spaziani. Spaz's consistent defenses kept BC in countless games when we should have been overmatched. He took on a bunch of "great offensive minds" and came out ahead. He rarely got the attention or recognition he deserved. Most importantly he made the players on the defensive side better with his teaching and with his schemes. Spaz's ultimate legacy will be his record as head coach, but we shouldn't over look how much he helped BC in the '00s.


3. Jerry York

In the past ten years, Jerry York has won four Hockey East Titles and three Beanpots. He led BC to six Frozen Fours. And most importantly brought home two National Championships. If a basketball or football coach had that sort of success at BC, we would probably rename the school after him. York has been the best coach on campus during the past ten years and one of the best guys around. Let's hope we get another ten years from him!



4. Matt Ryan

It is appropriate that BC put Matt in their commercial shortly after his graduation. Ryan embodies everything we want in a BC athlete. The fact that I also could have filled the Top Ten moments list with just his highlight also makes his time at BC important. He's a gentleman, a fierce competitor, a winner, and a good guy. We are fortunate that we got to witness his coming of age this decade and we are also fortunate that he will be a great ambassador for the school over the next ten years.



5. Al Skinner
This week is not ideal to talk about Al Skinner's impact on BC sports over the last ten years. But a few bad losses cannot overshadow Skinner's many accomplishments during the '00s. Skinner is not your stereotypical college hoops coach, but he was the right guy for BC and has provided great performances and exciting basketball.


6. Troy Bell

I felt the need to place Bell right behind Skinner. Skinner deserves most of the credit for BC basketball's success but if not for Bell, Skinner might not still be here. Bell put the team on his shoulders and provided a template on how to win at BC. He rewrote the BC record books and earned numerous individual and team honors. BC was basketball wasteland when Bell arrived. Ten years later, we are a consistent tourney team. Thanks, Troy.


7. Tom O'Brien

TOB's legacy is somewhat diminished by Jags and Spaz's success in the post TOB era. But you cannot overlook all that TOB did in his time at BC. He is the program's winnigest coach and provided much-needed stability during the '00s.


8. Mike Mottau

There are so many BC hockey players that you could point out as critical to the past decade or as representatives of BC sports. I selected Mottau because he was the only star of the past ten years to win the Hobey Baker award. Mottau also served as a success story for York to recruit with. Many of the talented players who came to the Heights were hoping to be the next Mottau. We haven't had a Hobey Baker winner since, but we've had plenty of great hockey.


9. John Swofford

Swofford was the visionary behind the ACC's expansion. When his first attempt fell short of the goal, he stayed focused and got BC into the conference. As I've been mentioning over and over, the move to the ACC was by far the most important event of the past ten year and it all started with Swofford.


10. Father Leahy

Leahy is not hands on when it comes to BC sports. But he picks his moments well (coaching changes, conference changes, etc). BC is coming off a great 10-year run and it was all on Leahy's watch. He deserves credit for not screwing it up and providing the right kind of leadership.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Decade in Review: Ten best moments

This is another look back at this momentous decade in BC sports. The following are the moments where BC came out on top and we were all on cloud nine. (As always feel free to recount your own BC highs in the comments section.)



1. BC joins the ACC

While the move to the ACC doesn't have the defined moment that a victory provides, there was no bigger deal for BC sports than moving to the ACC. The revenue, security and branding the move ensured helped take BC sports to the next level. Father Leahy and Gene deserve credit for getting the ACC back to the table after the first attempt fell apart and for closing the deal when the second chance arose. The fact that BC has been very competitive in the new conference is the cherry on top. In the ever changing world of college athletics, BC now has a permanent place at the table and a world class conference for our athletes and fans.




2. BC's comeback in Blacksburg

It lacks the historical importance of Flutie's Hail Mary, but Ryan's comeback in Blacksburg will remain his defining college moment and the highlight of one of BC's best seasons. It had all the elements you want: a national TV audience, a win despite the clock and the odds, and a total team effort. The magical season did end but for a moment it seemed like it was our turn on top.



3. The 2001 National Championship
When Jerry York took over the hockey program in 1994, many wondered if BC could ever rebuild and return to its former glory. This title was the culmination of that rebuilding effort. After near misses the prior years, this was also proof that BC could win the big one.



4. The 2001 Big East Championship

Much like Jerry York, Al Skinner took over a program in ruins. His first few years were real struggles, but Troy Bell's strong freshman year offered hope. The 2000-01 season started off surprisingly well and never really slowed down. BC won the regular season and then capped it off with a BE Tourney run at MSG.



5. The 2004 Big East Championship
I'll concede that the BC Women's run in the 2004 Big East Tourney has probably been forgotten by many BC fans. That unfortunate because it was a huge accomplishment and the highlight of women's sports in the past ten years. (Plus they beat the UConn women in route to the finals, which is always nice.)


6. The basketball team starts 20-0

Like some of the moments above, it felt like the team could do no wrong. And this wasn't a cream puff, fluky streak. We beat Clemson, UCLA, UConn, West Virginia, Georgetown and a host of other real programs. It also saw the emergence of Jared Dudley as a dominant player. The second half of the season included an early exit from the Big East Tournament and a disappointing showing against UW-Milwaukee but the start of the season will be tough to top.


7. Beating Notre Dame in the green jersey game

The Irish were undefeated and in their latest "return to glory." Handing them their first loss was important but the jerseys were also a statement. Wearing special uniforms for the BC game was acknowledgment that we were a special game and a rival. This was the signature win of the TOB era.


8. The 2008 National Championship
If the 2001 Championship was the culmination of the rebuild, this title showed that BC could do more than just make the Frozen Four. It also relieved the sting of the two tough losses in the 2006 and 2007 Championship game.


9. Winning at Clemson in 2007
Another Ryan comeback and another classic with the Tigers. The difference with this game though was that it clinched the division title and put BC in the ACC Championship game.


10. Beating No. 6 Duke in 2009

There are plenty of other basketball wins that could have made the list, but this game marked a couple of milestones. 1. we finally beat Duke. 2. It legitimized BC's earlier win at North Carolina. 3. It gave BC another resume win. 4. It happened in front of a home crowd. 5. We finally beat Duke.

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Honors keep rolling in for Kuechly and other links

Luke Kuechly continued to earn recognition for his outstanding play this year. Sports Illustrated named his second team All America. (Castonzo earned honorable mention from SI.)


CFN named him first team.


The Sporting News handed out accolades to some BC freshman. Chris Pantale and Kuechly made Freshman All ACC. Kuechly made their first team, national team too.


Jared Dudley has become a dangerous shooter from long range.


Did anyone else know that the BC band performed at the Heisman ceremony? Pretty cool.


The guys from BC Draft held an interview with Johnathan Coleman.


Freshman Steven Whitney earned Hockey East Rookie of the Week honors.

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Decade in Review: Ten worst moments

This is another look back at this momentous decade in BC sports. I will get the pain out of the way with a recap of the lowest of the lows. (As always feel free to recount your own BC horrors in the comments section.)



1. Syracuse 2004

Some readers have told me to let this game go already. I don't think I ever will. Part of me changed as a BC fan that day. In fact, I had so much frustration and emotion after that I decided to start a BC sports blog only a few days later. This loss is the worst in my opinion because the stars will never be as aligned as they were that day. BC was 60 minutes from a BCS bowl game. The supposed ceiling was going to be busted. All we had to do is take care of business against a lame duck Syracuse team at home. You know what happened. The loss stinks. In retrospect trying to win with Matt Ryan is his first start was a daunting task. But what made the day so terrible is that we didn't even show up. We were run over from the very first drive and Syracuse never looked back. It was a gutless performance on what should have been TOB and BC's crowning achievement.




2. The Jags firing

Others might view this as a great moment of the last ten years. I won't and hope that history doesn't get scrubbed or rewritten by the victors (in this case, GDF). You can listen to all the rumors out there regarding Jags, but at the end of the day BC was not better off for firing him when and how they did. He blew it. Gene blew it. And it never had to be that way. Jags' two seasons were exciting and filled with emotion and hope. Would it have burned out or blown up eventually? I don't know. Will Spaz be the better long term solution? I don't know. I do know that I felt pretty low when this happened and I think BC sports suffered because of the pissing match between our current AD and our former coach.




3. "We're up, aren't we?"

BC fans are a forgiving lot. We all wanted to believe that TOB was going to get it one day and bring us beyond the near misses. However, this throw away quip to Erin Andrews during halftime of a BC-Miami game was the final straw for many BC fans. I wrote a lengthy post in response to that game and TOB's comments. We may be guilty of reading too much into what he said. For many though it symbolized TOB's stubbornness, lack of a killer instinct and lack of personality. As for a low moment, most BC fans were finishing their turkey and wondering "how long do I have to put up with this attitude." The answer was not for long.




4. Any time Bob Hohler wrote about BC.
[I am using Hohler as an entry to capture two aspects that stink as being a BC fan. 1. The Boston media's relationship with the school. 2. As much as we hate to admit it, sometimes our jocks are not choir boys.] If something bad happened in the last decade off the field with BC sports, you could count on the Globe to send Bob Hohler over to campus for a quick hit piece. The Globe never asked their normal BC beat writer to cover potential scandal. That would have been too risky. If the beat guy pissed off BC, he might lose access. So instead the Globe would send a hatchet man and we'd lose the beat guy's perspective and access. Hohler's accounts always seemed to overstate the wrong doings and often took overly negative takes on the circumstances. I know it was not Hohler's fault when BC athletes got in trouble. But he and the Globe took the bad news of the '00s and added an extra bit of negativity each time.





5. Tom Mutch's inappropriate relationships with his players.

Mutch crossed the ultimate line when you are a coach. It was swept under the rug, but that doesn't make the situation any less shameful. Mutch deserves most of the blame, but BC is also at fault for not uncovering it earlier. If not for sexting, Mutch might still be coaching at BC.


6. Losing to Villanova in the 2006 NCAA Tournament.
There are a few different NCAA tourney losses that I could have put in here. The reason I felt this was most painful is because it was probably the best collection of talent BC had in the Skinner era. We played so well at times in that game, yet lost on some bad calls and mental lapses. If we were going to make a run, that was the team that should have done it.


7. Patrick Eaves collision with Joe Exter.

Although he was the scapegoat, this wasn't Eaves fault. As for why it makes my worst moments, I guess because of how dangerous and violent the incident was. We enjoy these sports and forget how much these kids are sacrificing each time they step onto the field or ice. If this had happened in the Youtube era, Eaves would have been national news.


8. Sean Williams getting kicked off the basketball team.

Williams might be the greatest waste of talent to ever come through BC. He blew multiple second chances and let his team and his family down. Sean's love of weed will always leave BC fans wondering what could have been.


9. Getting snubbed by the ACC during their first attempt at expansion.

It all worked out in the end, but the ACC's original expansion to 11 was very scary at the time. BC did everything right yet got left at the alter due to conference politics. When it happened, I thought we were facing a long uncomfortable life as the unwanted team in the second rate Big East.


10. BC getting their bubble burst in 2003.

Every year there is a team that deserves to make the NCAA Tournament that doesn't. In 2003 it was BC. All the talking heads came to our defense, but it didn't matter to the selection committee. It was a shame as Troy Bell's BC career ended in a second round NIT loss to Temple.

[Ed's note. There are many more losses that I could have included, but also wanted to touch on other sports and other issues that were frustrating, maddening or historically bad.]

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Monday, December 14, 2009

My BC All-Decade Team

Everyone is putting together their Decade in Review posts, so I thought I would get the ball rolling with my all decade teams. I was pretty subjective in my selection and tried to think of guy's individual season as opposed to careers. Therefore a guy like Alex Albright made the second team at DE based more on his sophomore season. Toal's career was injury filled, but his freshmen year was amazing, so he made the team. I considered any player who played during the '00s. The toughest calls were the offensive line positions. With only two teams, I had to leave off some great players like Augie Hoffman, Pat Ross, and Paul Zukauskas. Leave you thoughts or selections below.

First Team Offense


QB -- Matt Ryan
RB -- William Green
RB -- Derrick Knight
TE -- Sean Ryan
WR -- Rich Gunnell
WR -- Brandon Robinson
OT -- Marc Colombo
OT -- Anthony Castonzo
OG -- Josh Beekman
OG -- Chris Snee
C -- Dan Koppen

First Team Defense


DT -- Ron Brace
DT -- BJ Raji
DE -- Mathias Kiwanuka
DE -- Antonio Garay
LB -- Mark Herzlich
LB -- Jolonn Dunbar
LB -- Ricky Brown
CB -- Dejaun Tribble
CB -- Will Blackmon
S -- Ryan Glasper
S -- Jamie Silva

First Team Special Teams

K -- Steve Aponavicius
P -- Johnny Ayers

Second Team Offense


QB -- Paul Peterson
RB -- Andre Callender
RB -- Montel Harris
TE -- Ryan Purvis
WR -- Dedrick Dewalt
WR -- Will Blackmon
OT -- Jeremy Trueblood
OT -- Gosder Cherilus
OG -- Clif Ramsey
OG -- James Marten
C -- Matt Tennant

Second Team Defense


DT -- Tim Bulman
DT -- Doug Goodwin
DE -- Nick Larkin
DE -- Alex Albright
LB -- Mike McLaughlin
LB -- Josh Ott
LB -- Brian Toal
CB -- Jazzmen Williams
CB -- Lenny Walls
S -- TJ Stancil
S -- Paul Anderson


Second Team Special Teams

K -- Sandro Sciortino
P -- Kevin McMyler

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Ticket sales start strong and other links

It seems that ticket sales are strong for the Emerald Bowl. Little if any credit is given to BC. I know we are not bringing the band, but I think we will have a good showing from the Bay Area BC fans.


BC added another member to this year's recruiting class in OL prospect Andy Gallik. He seems like a prototypical BC lineman. Gallik was recruited by Dave Brock, who is shaping up to be the best hire of Spaz's offseason.


ACC Sports took a look at Spaz's defensive philosophy and results.

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Sunday, December 13, 2009

What to make of the basketball team

Lapses are expected in any basketball season. Skinner teams are notorious for their their hiccups and no shows against some of the worst teams on their schedule. Unfortunately for this team, with the loss to URI, we now have four losses in the first ten games. Even if URI, Harvard and Northern Iowa end up being better than we anticipated, a good team shouldn't have lost all three. Losing all three is a sign of bubbles. It also negates any momentum from the Providence, Michigan, Miami run. Now there is no wiggle room. The team cannot lose another non-conference game and probably needs to win 9+ ACC games. No way we get in with a 8-8 ACC record.


As for Sunday's game, here are my thoughts...

-- Handling the press and free throw shooting are problems...but not the more troubling problems. Both areas have often been an issue for Skinner teams. We still could have won with the turnovers and missed foul shots.
-- The major problem remains defense. URI was 9-15 from 3 (and many of those were open looks) and interior D. How many times did they exploit mismatches or get cuts to the basket?
-- The other issue is our offense. We got impatient on offense and didn't set up the flex enough. We don't need to take 3s. The Dudley-Smith teams rarely took them. Instead we need to work for better shots in the flex. We only had 11 assists! That is troubling. These guys are veterans and should know where to find points in the offense.
-- We need to find a good lineup. Sanders probably tried to do too much tonight, but the bigger problem is that we now lack a good plan for minutes. I think Jackson needs more playing time. I have no idea who should sit more. My guess is that our best lineup is Sanders-Raji-Trapani-Jackson-Paris.


I still have faith. Al tends to pull things together and there is still a lot of talent on this team. But they need to play much, much better from here on out and it starts at D.

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Saturday, December 12, 2009

Another hockey win and other links

The hockey team beat Providence 3-1 in a Hockey East game Saturday. This is BC's best start since the 2003-2004 season.


This is an interesting article on Under Armour and its impact on basketball recruiting (HT: BCI).


BJ Raji is upsetting some division rivals with his comments on the Bears.


The Giants will lean on Kiwi down the stretch.

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Friday, December 11, 2009

Who is Weber State and what are they doing on BC's schedule

When Hofstra dropped football, it left an immediate hole in BC's 2010 schedule. We hoped and prayed for an interesting replacement. Most expected another DIAA/FCS team from the north east. Instead we got Weber State. Needless to say this is a missed opportunity.


I don't mean to slight Weber State in any of this. They are a nice school with a fine athletic tradition. But they are a DIAA program from Ogden, Utah. People wonder if the southern ACC schools register with the casual Boston fan. Can you imagine the head scratching that will go on when they hear we are playing Weber State?


But let me put aside any slights to Weber for a moment and address the reason this is a missed opportunity.

1. The DIAA game should always be strategicly placed in the schedule.
We are opening with Weber on Labor Day weekend. I predict 25,000 for the game. If we had placed Weber on Parents Weekend, we could have approached a sellout.
2. It throws out the "good for New England" game.
When BC first started adding DIAA teams back to the schedule, Gene spun the games as good for New England. Most cynics saw through it, but there were some legitimate benefits. The regional schools always brought decent crowds and BC was able to get a safe win and provide a nice pay day to a fellow New England university. As Northeastern showed, all DIAA schools need money. Instead of benefiting UNH or Maine or some other New England school we are paying a Utah program to be our patsy.
3. We put a damper on any buzz related to Herzy's first home game.
This game could be Herzy's return to football. It should be on national TV. Now we will probably be lucky to get an ESPN 360 feed. I know you can't build a schedule based on contingencies. But ESPN, BC and the ACC should have done more to arrange for a good opponent for Herzy's sake.


I understand that Gene was under time constraints. I understand that playing another FBS school would have made the schedule unnecessarily difficult. But there had to be a better resolution than Weber on Labor Day weekend. It is too bad we didn't find one.

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Brian Kelly from a BC perspective

Prior to our 2006 game against Central Michigan, I wrote the following:
This could serve as Brian Kelly’s audition for the BC job. Yes it is the longest of long shots, since TOB is not leaving Chestnut Hill any time soon. But if CMU were to hang with us and go on to a winning season, people would take notice. We will search a conference like the MAC for our next coach. With a few winning seasons, a Mass native like Kelly would certainly be on the short list. And if (God forbid) CMU beats BC, look for some BC fans to try to hire Kelly on Friday.


Little did I know we would make a coaching change after the season. Kelly wasn't in the mix of candidates to replace TOB though...because he had already moved on to Cincinnati. If Kelly hadn't taken the Cincy job, he certainly would have earned an interview with Gene.

Now, three years later, the Massachusetts native has ascended to the highest profile position in college football. Will he be the one to finally turn around our Catholic rival? I don't know. At the time of their respective hires, I thought Davie, O'Leary, Willingham and Weis would all be good fits for the Irish.


While I have no love for Notre Dame, I am not naive or myopic when it comes to their potential. Despite what most college football fans and talking heads say, Notre Dame is not irrelevant. A good coach can win there. Kelly might be that guy. If he's not, the Irish will be making a change again in three or four years.

As for BC, Kelly and what could have been, I don't have any envy of the Irish. Kelly could have done good things at BC, but there are plenty of very good coaches out there. Right now I wish him luck right up until we play them.

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Excited for USC and other links

ESPNBoston began its coverage of the Emerald Bowl with this article. As you would hope the guys are all excited to play USC. The link also includes a video with Andre Ware, who infamously predicted a terrible season. Ware doesn't mention his prediction in the clip.


Nathan Gerbe scored his first NHL goal on Wednesday.


Herzy won the Disney Spirit award Thursday night. As soon as the video of his speech is on the internet I will link to it.

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Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Harvard? Again? Really?

This wasn't supposed to happen. The team was ready. They were supposedly focused. We were coming off an impressive string of victories. Yet we lost to Harvard again. I still can't believe it. I didn't see the game, but followed online. If you did the same, you will know how we lost -- we shot poorly and played poor defense.


Where do we go from here? Like last year, we need to regroup quickly. Our resume is spotty so we will probably be on the bubble all year. Let's hope Sanders gives this team a boost.

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Phoenix BC fans: Meet Jared Dudley

Having attended the Matt Ryan event here in Atlanta, I strongly suggest any aagle fans living in Arizona to come out for the Jared Dudley meet and greet. Details are below. Congrats to the Phoenix Chapter for putting this together.

BC alumnus Jared Dudley is in the middle of a great season with the Phoenix Suns, and the BC Alumni Association Phoenix Chapter has arranged a meet-and-greet with Dudley following the Suns' January 8 game at US Airways Center in downtown Phoenix. Jared will join BC alumni and friends for a group picture, and the Suns will have other great giveaways for all attendees. The BC Phoenix Chapter will also receive recognition on the US Airways Center jumbotron.

The Suns have put together three discounted ticket options for the BC Phoenix Chapter. While the largest number of people thus far have expressed interest in purchasing tickets at the Lexus Club, everyone who attends will be a part of the meet-and-greet with Jared regardless of the ticket option selected. Wearing of BC gear is encouraged as well. As always, friends and family are welcome, and please contact Adriana Clifton '98 at adrianaone@yahoo.com or Jim Gruber '98 at jim_gruber@yahoo.com with any questions.

Place your order as soon as possible, because the Suns' hot start has tickets going fast and there may not be seats available at the December 21 deadline!

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Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Pete Carroll rebuilding other links

Pete Carroll is hoping to use the Emerald Bowl as a new spring practice and hoping to reenergize his team. I don't know if that is good news or bad news for BC.


Chris Crane is part of the new Arena Football League. His former teammate Jolonn Dunbar's season is over now that he has been put on injured reserve.


The Band/Bowl controversy is now getting mainstream media attention (LA Times, Globe).


BC grad Joe Joe Tessitore will be the play-by-play man for our bowl. Joe does a great job and I am sure he won't let his alumni status impact his calls.


BC might not be the best at selling bowl tickets, but look what happens to the TV ratings when we are not around. This has to be a major disappointment to ABC/ESPN and the ACC as the game was moved to prime time to help ratings.


Finally, here is a better version of Jackson's dunk.

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Monday, December 07, 2009

No band in San Fran and other links

No link on this first tidbit, but the band will not be making the trip to California. Supposedly they are just another victim of the terrible economy. Really though it is no surprise. We rarely bring the band to these sorts of things. It is a shame. We should at least bring the pep band. Maybe next year the band can start raising funds before the season and go regardless of the funding from the Athletic Department.


The ACC named Corey Raji the player of the week.


Incoming football recruit cJ Jones was named Gatorade Player of the Year for Delaware.


One of the gifts from the folks at Emerald will be a new watch.


This is an interesting article from the WSJ regarding the growing ranks of Haitian immigrants playing football. I find it interesting since BC has been recruiting Haitian for many years now.



No movement in HD's latest power rankings.

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Likes and Dislikes from the Miami win

At the outset of the season, I said we would know about this team after the Providence-Michigan-Miami stretch. I didn't anticipate a sweep all while playing without Sanders. I and the rest of the college basketball world would be very high on BC right now if not for the no show at the Paradise Jam. Still beating Miami was important today and highlighted many of the team's strengths. Here are my thoughts. (Leave your comments below.)


Likes

-- Rebounding (obviously). Like the Michigan game this team won the game on the boards. It was twofold. It improved our efficiency offensively and also limited their opportunities. The closest thing we have to a great rebounder is Raji, but all the guys are good rebounders for their positions and seem to undertand the importance of working the boards.
-- Getting to the line. They shot six free throws. BC shot 25. Although conversion wasn't great, getting to the line like that is a good sign. Skinner's best teams always drew a lot of fouls.
-- Reggie Jackson. He had some mistakes and missed a bunch of 3s, but Jackson is proving that he can make big plays down the stretch and is comfortable in that role.

Dislikes

-- Scoring droughts. As we allowed them back in the game, we had no offensive answer. We need one play or one player that we can count on to break another team's run. Right now, we don't have one.
-- Pressure. We didn't handle Miami's pressure well in the second half and they used it to chip away at the lead.
-- The officiating. I hate pointing the finger at the refs, but they blew the charging call on Jackson and I felt they were giving Miami whistles down the stretch.

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Sunday, December 06, 2009

San Francisco sounds good to me

As expected, BC is headed to San Francisco for the Emerald Bowl. What wasn't expected until late last night was BC's opponent -- USC Trojans. Yes, that USC. The one with Pete Carroll, a slew of five-star recruits, history, tradition, etc. This happens to be the worst USC team since Carroll's first year, but it is still USC. It is not only a real bowl opponent, it is a college football heavyweight. I will not be in San Francisco, but I encourage any of you who have the time and don't have other obligations to head out west. This bowl might not have a storied history, but you'll get to see a good team in a good park in a great city.

Here are the pros and cons of the Emerald Bowl. Leave your thoughts in the comments.

Pros
-- Great destination
-- Great name opponent
-- In prime time
-- Will be the only game on at that time
-- In a city with a good BC alumni base
-- USC won't bring the same crowd that other potential opponents like Cal or Stanford would have
-- USC might not be especially motivated or excited to play in this game
-- AT&T is a cool park (for fans)
-- A chance for a signature win for this year's team
-- A chance to get to nine wins
-- A chance to see and be seen by California recruits


Cons
-- USC is USC in name only and not that good this year
-- December 26
-- Very far from most BC fans
-- While a great city, San Francisco won't be all that thrilling or warm for the players
-- The game is played in a baseball stadium, which is part novelty but part joke. The endzones but up against the walls and both teams share a sideline
-- No history for the bowl and very little excitement among casual fans or recruits

This is a great opportunity and better than most of the recent bowls BC has been in. I don't expect a huge showing, but hopefully BC fans can rally behind this event. And one final reminder to anyone going: buy your tickets from BC! We only get credit when you buy from our ticket office.

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Weekend round up

I'll have separate posts on the basketball game and the bowl, but here are some links from the weekend.


Ramella received the Scanlan Award at the annual team dinner. The Scanlan is the highest award given to a BC football player and represents on the field and off the field success.


Below is a video clip of Reggie Jackson's "charge" in the final minute of the game.


The BC women beat Monmouth this weekend.

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Saturday, December 05, 2009

BC takes down BU

The hockey team remained red hot with a 4-1 victory over Boston University at BU. This follows the win over UMass on Friday. BC is unbeaten in their last five and will certainly move up in the polls.

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Friday, December 04, 2009

Hockey starts weekend off on right note and other links

BC moved up the Hockey East standings with a win over No. 9 UMass Friday night. The guys face BU Saturday night.


Future Eagle Kevin Pierre-Louis was named the Gatorade Player of the Year for Connecticut.


Herzy received a standing ovation when he accepted the Commissioners Cup at the ACC awards in Tampa.


The Michigan media caught up with Josh Southern after our game against the Wolverines.


The selections haven't even been confirmed and already the Stanford media is complaining about playing BC.


For those who missed it, Charlie Davies is doing better and thanking his fans.

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Thursday, December 03, 2009

An opening in BC's schedule

Hofstra abruptly dropped their football program this morning. That leaves BC with an opening in their 2010 schedule. No word on who BC might look to in order to fill the void. I expect we will find another FCS (DIAA) school. I would love to see another FBS (DIA) opponent.

You can check out other teams' future schedules here. If we go FBS, the Big Ten might have some openings. UConn is also available since they were supposed to play Northeastern.

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Pics from Ann Arbor

Thanks to Kelly Z for these shots from last night.



















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Bounce back night for BC hoops

Michigan may be overrated, but that was a big win for the basketball team last night. It was also my first chance to watch them play this season. Here are my thoughts. (Be sure to add yours in the comments section.)

Likes

-- I appreciated the defensive effort. The guys limited second chances by rebounding well. You also saw a little bit of 2-3 zone, which I don't think Michigan was expecting. There was good help D and even some good one on one battles late in the game.
-- Patience on offense. As mentioned by everyone (Globe, Herald) Raji got a ton of easy baskets. He also converted at a great rate. I don't think you can depend on Raji to carry the team, but last night should be a lesson to everyone of how to get points in this offense. When Sanders returns I hope he works towards the basket like that and doesn't start chucking 3s.
-- Transition and handling the press. BC did a great job in transition and burned Michigan with a few fast breaks. They also got back on D and broke the press when Michigan applied it. Maybe up tempo and pressure won't be an Achilles Heel this year.

Dislikes
-- Letting Michigan back in the game. The final score doesn't show how much BC controlled. They let down a bit defensively in the final few minutes. We cannot do that against good teams.
-- Free Throw Shooting. Raji missed late and the others missed a few. Corey will be fouled late in the game until he shows he can make them.

In other news, the BC women bounced back too with a nice win over Iowa.

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