I was at BC when Bill Parcells sparked the turnaround in Patriot Football. His success, combined with the Krafts and obviously the Brady/Belichick combo turned the region into a Football mad hotbed. At the time and periodically since, I have read about how this passion trickled down to the youth levels and more kids than ever are playing youth football in New England. I also read that the quality of youth and high school coaching in the region improved dramatically. Then you throw in UMass and UConn jumping to FBS in the past two decades. This should be the best time ever to recruit out of New England! We've had 20 years of football passion and growth. The kids who were born during that era should be on BC's roster now or on our development radar! Yet, it is the same old same old. Where is the talent? When does the bumper crop mature?
On Saturday both UMass and BC will call on plenty of talented players who came up in the state. But given the population, there should be more. I know the usual excuses are still in place (the demographics of the region, the popularity and diversity of youth sport options, the weather, etc.) but there is still something missing.
Even if UMass grows their program and BC becomes a perennial contender, I don't think Massachusetts is ever going to become like Ohio or Texas (on a relative basis). If the Patriots hugely popular run couldn't deliver on new talent, college success isn't. Plus the new fears about head injuries are also going to scare off parents.
This will leave BC to continue going outside the region to fill out the roster. But I hope that soon BC coaches start looking at local basketball, lacrosse, and hockey talent and find a few more athletes who slipped through the cracks or who should really be playing football. There's got to be some out there.