Tuesday, April 17, 2012

What other teams can win championships at BC?

Jerry York clearly this championship thing figured out. We are also a perennial power in sailing. But in both of those cases BC benefits from some cultural and geographic advantages. We have great coaching and great athletes in both sports, but they are also working from a great foundation. With that in mind, I've been wondering which other BC teams have a basic foundation for winning a National Championship. I also through out current coaches when considering the likely hood. For example, we could have Nick Saban as our football coach and I still think we would be more likely to win a National Championship in basketball. The current championship system in football is so stacked against a school like BC. I grouped them by revenue sports and then national sports and then specialized/niche sports.

Revenue Sports
1. Women's basketball
2. Men's basketball
3. Men's football

Of the revenue sports, I think women's basketball has the best chance to win a national championship. First, their championship is decided in a tournament. Second ACC teams, private schools and teams from the northeast are the power players in the sport. With the depth of female talent in the northeast, there is no reason BC women's basketball couldn't be one of the elite. We also have a desirable campus and unlike the men's game -- with its elite players focused on the NBA -- BC can sell its academic credentials to the best high school players. While less likely, I still think the men could win a National Championship. The survive and advance aspect allows for a team with a talent disadvantage to get hot and make a run (see Butler, VCU and George Mason). But as much as those Cinderella stories make the Big Dance interesting, none of those underdogs has actually walked away with the title. The Champions have been traditional powers with the best players. If BC were to win, it would be as sort of a hybrid champ. We would be the underdog from a power conference. Football is not going to happen. As we saw in 1997 BC would have to be perfect AND watch all the more traditional powers lose at least once. Fortunately I think we are moving towards a playoff. But even then BC is going to have to earn an auto bid because it would take a miracle for us to get one of the few at large bids.

National Sports
1. Women's Ice Hockey
2. Men's Soccer
3. Women's Soccer
4. Women's Lacrosse
5. Women's Rowing
5. Women's Cross Country
6. Men's Cross Country
7. Field hockey
8. Softball
9. Baseball
10. Volleyball
11. Women's Tennis
12. Men's Tennis
13. Golf
14. Women's Swimming
15. Men's Swimming
16. Track & Field

I believe BC could be a powerhouse in Women's sports. First I think our Women's Ice Hockey team is close to a breakthrough. In a few years I could see us winning the men and women's Ice Hockey Championship in the same year. Our ACC Championship in soccer showed that BC can win at an elite level. We just need to do it in the NCAA Tournament. If you look at the rest of the list you realize that BC could be a power in Women's Sports. Peer programs in Women's soccer and Women's lacrosse are racking up Championships. BC has the appeal and the geography to do the same. We've had past success in Cross Country. The key there is recruiting and fortunately BC has shown the ability to bring in top running talent. Scholarships are an issue though. The other sports all suffer from similar issues: facilities, talent, geography and traditional. Tennis, Golf, Baseball, etc. are all dominated by big schools from sunny states. BC cannot change the weather but we would need to invest in some serious building if we ever want to compete in some of these sports. The same goes for swimming and track. We can't be a serious player to recruits if we don't have facilities.

Regional Sports
1. Fencing
2. Skiing

Fencing is improving and could be a factor. Skiing may have a chance. Eastern schools have won, but they tending to be closer to slopes.


Benjamin said...

Great article Bill

Matt said...

Well said. You should include Debate in your list. This is really as much of a sport as a few of the other sports/activities you mention. BC's Fulton Debating Society has quite the history but we are still longing for a national championship...but it will come!

I do want to add that the question isn't really about a national championship. You need to crawl before you walk. BC needs to win a BCS bowl in football or Final Four in Basketball before National Championships get into the discussion. I think BC Basketball in a final four is likely to happen sooner than football winning a BCS bowl. Yet, both are much more realistic goalposts for the near future.

EB said...

You failed to mention sailing here: a varsity sport at BC that partakes in national competition against Olympic level talent. BC has won numerous national championships over the last few years in sailing due in large part to great coaching.

Patrick said...

Men's Cross Country should be moved down the list. Only school in the ACC with no scholarships.

John said...

If we had men's lacrosse, it would be national championship material. BC has unique advantages: 1) the northeast is a hot bed for lacrosse, 2) Catholic/Jesuit highschools are primary feeders to D1 programs, 3) the ACC is the elite league in mens lax, and 4) the schools BC "identifies" with are lacrosse powerhouses (ND, Nova, GTown, the Ivies) etc. In 4 years when BU's mens lax program is up and running, I suspect we will see a lot of regret among BC Athletics that we cant find a way to field mens lax. It is clearly national championship material