Thursday, November 15, 2018

BC-Florida State preview

Regardless of how we did last week or who we played this week, everything was going to feel like a comedown after Gameday and Clemson. We've seen it before with even more talented and consistent BC teams. That means it is up to Addazio to push the right buttons and make sure that they build off of last week and not let the season slip away.

What's on my mind (not totally related to this game)
Now that we are eliminated from the Division title, I don't know how Addazio or BC fans will define a successful season. Is it about ending the season ranked? Is it about winning a bowl game? I don't know. Personally, I want to see BC win the last two games and then win the bowl game. This is Year 6. We need more than just ho-hum finish.

Three Simple Keys
1. Sack Francois five times or more. FSU's OLine might be the worst in the conference. There is no reason we shouldn't bring a lot of pressure.
2. Use plenty of zone reads. Regardless of the BC QB, this is a simple play that should move the chains and open up other things.
3. Get explosive plays. I don't trust either QB to methodically work the ball down the field. We need someone -- maybe Smith or Dillon -- to break some big plays.

Gambling Notes
-- Addazio 0-2 at Doak
-- Addazio is 16-15 after a loss
-- Taggart is 2-19 vs ranked teams
The current line is BC-1.5

This is the first time since 2014 that we've played Florida State on a Saturday.

Scoreboard Watching
The most relevant game for BC fans is the Notre Dame-Syracuse matchup. I don't know what to expect out of Syracuse next week. They haven't been great on the road this year and the weather will be an issue.

I hope to see...
Big plays from our WRs. We are targeting the TEs and RBs more in the passing game. I would like to see some more strikes to our WRs, who I believe have upside and can make plays against this FSU team.

BC is in trouble if...
Brown doesn't play. I know Perry is prepared. I know everyone believes in him. I know that he had flashes last Saturday. I just fear that if he plays Addazio will be so conservative it will be impossible for BC to win.

FSU is really bad. Even if we struggle on offense, their Offense is worse and their D is not great. I think we grind them down with the run game and pull away in the second half.
Final Score: BC 28, FSU 13

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Basketball gets early wake up call from IUPUI

There is no beating around the bush, BC had a horrible home loss Wednesday night to IUPUI. This is not uncommon for BC basketball over the last ten years and unfortunately it is all too common during the Jim Christian era. Yes we lost a lottery pick, but there is enough incoming and remaining talent that this shouldn't happen.

This wasn't some flukey game where we a mid-major got lucky with a bunch of 3s. This was just a disjointed BC team that didn't shoot particularly well, missed ten foul shots, didn't play smart D and turned the ball over.

I know it is early and the staff is working in the young players, but does this team look as talented as it is rated? Or as talented as it should be at this point in Christian's tenure?

I know Martin Jarmond has been able to spearhead a lot of fun initiatives as AD, but lurking near is a coaching change. If Christian can't get more out of his team, then the change will come soon.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Reading into the preview

This is the ACC Network's preview of the BC-Florida State game. It has the usual stuff but what really got my attention was how down Willie Taggart seemed in the video. I know it is just a press conference, but I hope his lack of energy is an indicator for how his team is feeling right now.

Monday, November 12, 2018

BC optimistic about Brown

After speculation regarding his spleen and lung circled over the weekend, BC and Addazio somewhat cleared the air on the status of Anthony Brown. The Coach said "Anthony Brown had an abdominal injury. He is day-to-day, but is doing well.”

BC won't elaborate on the specifics of the injury. We know Brown was hospitalized and multiple Clemson reports said it was related to the spleen. Addazio expects Brown to practice Wednesday and there doesn't seem any reason why he won't play against Florida State. Addazio talked up Perry as well during his press conference and seems confident with either option. I am far less worried than I was 24 hours ago. I am going to assume that Brown will play and will have full mobility.

As for why Clemson reports would be more detailed and is pretty typical. If you remember years ago, Clemson news sources had accurate information about Matt Ryan being in a walking boot while the Boston media was silent. I think our media tends to defer to BC on matters like this, especially when related to player health. How would a Clemson radio show host have the info? From their coaches or medical people who were at the game. All things considered, it is a tight network and they all talk.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

BC to provide update on Anthony Brown on Monday

Anthony Brown's injury was serious enough to be taken to the hospital -- which Addazio confirmed in his postgame -- yet not obvious from the replay. Addazio termed the injury as "internal." This has led to lots of rumor and speculation on message boards and twitter among BC fans and Clemson fans. I reached out to BC for an official status update and was told one would come Monday.

Beyond Brown's personal health, the news is critical for the Florida State game and the remainder of the season. BC will go from a favorite in the last two game to a potential underdog. Let's hope the news is good and Brown is in for a speedy recovery.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Great day turns to frustrating night

It is already starting. If you read social media or message boards, some BC fans are vocally frustrated with BC coming up short in a big game again and think Addazio didn't do enough or play for the win. The Offense was frustrating to watch, but I don't know if things would have been drastically different with Anthony Brown. Clemson's DLine was that disruptive. Regardless of where you are on the QB debate, everyone has to acknowledge a great performance by the BC defense. They contained the hottest offense in college football and made plenty of big plays. The Special Teams also deserves credit for an early spark. 

We are not ready to challenge Clemson yet. That is clear. But if Addazio is a very good coach, he will still finish strong and figure out how to score potentially without Brown and with Dillon at less than 100%. 

There is a lot of good takeaways from Gameday and certain players and as always, lots of questions. 

In-game comments post: Clemson

It is all been pointing to this. Not much else to say. Let's do it!

Leave your thoughts and comments below.

You can also follow me on Twitter.

Friday, November 09, 2018

Friday picks

I picked these games, but the only one I'm really focused on is happening in Alumni.

Picks in bold

Ohio State-3.5 at Michigan State

Maryland+1 at Indiana

Troy-1 at Georgia Southern

Kentucky-5 at Tennessee

Virginia Tech+3 at Pitt

Washington State-6 at Colorado

Oregon+3.5 at Utah

Temple+4.5 at Houston

Miami+2.5 at Georgia Tech

Texas-1.5 at Texas Tech

Last week I was 5-5. I am 52-47-3 on the season.

Thursday, November 08, 2018

BC-Clemson preview

When you are involved in a long-term goal, there are many obstacles and setbacks along the way. But overcoming and enduring those issues are mentally part of the process. You're prepared for problems and prepared to pick up pieces. One thing that is hard to prepare is when you get to "the moment." The point where the past meets the present and it is all supposed to happen. That's the tough part. That is the real unknown. In football it is about how the staff and 90 something kids handle it. This is the time. This is why they all do what they do. Now can the deliver?

What's on my mind (not totally related to this game) 
All the hype has led to a rehashing of the "people in Boston don't care about BC sports" narrative again. This is wrong. Media coverage doesn't equal interest or "care." Just because sports radio is not talking about BC or we don't get much traditional print coverage doesn't mean anything. BC will have 45,000 people on hand to see this game. Only the Patriots will draw more at one time this month. More people will watch this game (and most of our games) than watch the Bruins or Celtics regular season games. If BC were to somehow make a playoff run, it would be a bigger TV draw than anything the Bruins or Celtics do all year and only really trail the Patriots and Red Sox playoffs. There is passionate interest and plenty of casual interest. Vocal BC fans should stop worrying about the media interest and just enjoy the moment.

Three Simple Keys
1. Aggressive game management. When faced with a Clemson powerhouse, we've seen Addazio go very, very conservatively. Who can forget all the times he punted at Death Valley when he had the ball in Clemson territory? He needs to go for it more often and unleash his big Special Teams moments to help build confidence and momentum.
2. Get to Lawrence. We can't let him sit back and throw. The Clemson WRs are too good and will win those one on one matchups (like NC State did). We need to bring extra pressure and at least have the pocket collapsing.
3. A perfect game from the Oline. This won't happen if there are no holes for Dillon and/or his backups. This won't happen if Brown is rushed or has no throwing lanes. We need to Oline to dominate like the best BC lines have done in the past.

Gambling Notes
-- Addazio is 0-5 vs Clemson
-- Addazio is 1-9 vs teams ranked in the Top 10
-- Swinney is 34-17 on the road
The current line is BC+20

This is the latest into the season that Clemson has travelled to Alumni for an ACC game and only the second time they've played in Alumni in November.

Scoreboard Watching
Assuming we take care of business, the most important game for our future is Virginia Tech-Pitt. The winner of that is in the driver seat for the Coastal and could be a critical future opponent.

I hope to see...
Storming the field.

BC is in trouble if...
Brown completes less than 50% of his passes. We don't need him to be great, but we can't have him hurt us. He needs to hit the easy stuff, keep them honest with his legs and maybe make two true deep throws.

I am probably fooling myself, but I think things are lining up for a big night for BC. I think we get up early and Clemson struggles to adjust to the cold or pressure or whatever gets them off schedule. We get a little conservative in the second half as Clemson comes back, but hold on in the end.
Final Score: BC 28, Clemson 24

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Perception matters and Jarmond understands

This week is a big deal, but it beyond football, it is an opportunity for BC to shine. The one person who seems to really understand that is Martin Jarmond.

While an AD hires and fires coaches, the reality of the job is that the AD's impact on the field of play is very limited. However, the experience of the fans, media and players outside of the game is all under the Athletic Department's control. Jarmond never provided specifics about what he was going to change at BC, but slowly through big and little things, he is showing he is committed to improvements (alcohol sales, raising money for facilities, better food service, social media interactions, numerous road trips, etc). GameDay will be a culmination of all he's done in his short tenure.

GameDay coming to BC is mostly about football and timing, but it is also due to the work of the Athletic Department to court ESPN and sell a story. But this is also a TV show and Jarmond knows that. He got Herbie to send a message to BC fans about showing up for the show Saturday morning.
He also leveraged the moment to extend tailgating hours in the hopes of driving people to their sits at kickoff. Alumni needs to be full when the lights come on at 8 pm. ESPN/ABC want the game to feel big and a packed house does that.

Even if the game doesn't live up to the hype, Jarmond needs the BC fans and the BC experience to shine through. It will keep two importantconstituenciess (media and donors) happy.  Being loud, active and on time will increase the chances of BC hosting again and ESPN coming away happy.

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

How does Addazio do as a big underdog

The spread for the BC-Clemson game opened at BC+17.5 and seems to have moved to +18. While big, the point spread is a bit encouraging. It was worse against Clemson just last year. Here are all the times Addazio was a big underdog while at BC and the final results.

2017. +34 at Clemson.
Final Score: Clemson 34, BC 7

2016. +25 vs Louisville.
Final Score: Louisville 52, BC 7

2013. +24 at Clemson.
Final Score: Clemson 24, BC 14

2013. +23 vs Florida State.
Final Score: FSU 48, BC 34

2017. +21 at Louisville.
Final Score: BC 45, Louisville 42

2016. +20 at Florida State.
Final Score: FSU 45, BC 7

2014. +17 vs USC.
Final Score: BC 37, USC 31

2014. +17 at Florida State.
Final Score: FSU 20, BC 17

2015. +17 at Clemson.
Final Score: Clemson 34, BC 17

2016. +17 vs Clemson.
Final Score: Clemson 56, BC 10

2017. +16 vs Virginia Tech.
Final Score: Virginia Tech 21, BC 10

2016. +15 at NC State.
Final Score: BC 21, NC State 14

2016. +15 vs Notre Dame.
Final Score: Notre Dame 19, BC 16

As a two TD or more underdog, Addazio holds his own. Against the spread in these games he is 9-3-1. In true W-L, he is 3-10, which isn't bad for a big underdog.

Monday, November 05, 2018

The biggest games at Alumni since expansion

BC has hosted Gameday before and had plenty of road tests. But it has been less common for these big matchups to be home at Alumni Stadium. I decided to look back at the critical home games since Alumni expanded in 1994. The larger venue, the expansion of the Notre Dame series and our transition from independent football to conference allowed more big games to come to Chestnut Hill. As you will see, my list is not always about the ranked team. Sometimes the big games were when our fans were engaged and ready for something special. I also based these on the feeling prior to the game and not the outcome. Here's my Top Ten list.

1. No. 8 Notre Dame, 1994
BC wasn't ranked at the time and the enthusiasm for Dan Henning was limited, but the fanbase was still pumped for Notre Dame's first trip to Alumni. The upset of Notre Dame from the year before was fresh, so people were also looking to continue the celebration and feel of that moment. BC went on to thrash the Irish again. It was probably the best moment of the Henning era.

2. No 2. Clemson, 2018
This weekend is setting up to be a huge moment in BC Football. Although we've had success under Addazio, it could be argued that BC Football hasn't mattered for a decade. That changes if we win this game and win the Division.

3. No. 1 Miami, 2001
There are plenty of parallels between this game and this week's Clemson game. Miami was in the middle of an incredible run and had arguably the most talented team in college football history. For added drama, BC's best playmaker William Green was suspended for this game. BC executed the perfect bend but don't break gameplan and nearly pulled off the upset, until Ed Reed saved the 'Canes' season.

4. Syracuse, 2004
This was supposed to be a formality. It was the final home game of the season against a lame duck Orange team. It was supposed to be wrap up BC's first Big East title and first major bowl since Flutie. It didn't end well.

5. No. 8 Florida State, 2005
This was the first time BC hosted Gameday. One could argue that hosting Gameday was an even bigger deal then (I have an upcoming post on the diminishing profile of Gameday). It was also our first ACC game and the first time Florida State and Bobby Bowden visited Alumni. Bowden was a legend and Florida State was an annual contender. We joined the ACC for this sort of moment.

6. Maryland, 2008
Many of our biggest games under Jags were on the road, but the rollercoaster 2008 season culminated with a home game against Maryland. Win and BC wins the division. They pulled it off in a night game at Alumni and the place was rocking from the opening kick.

7. No. 4 Virginia Tech, 2000
Michael Vick and the Hokies were coming off a Championship game appearance and were a must see team. This was a national game on CBS when CBS still had a Big East deal. Vick would deliver one of the best performances I've seen by a visiting player.

8. No. 8 USC, 2014
Anytime a traditional power comes to Alumni, it is a big deal. The Trojans were supposed to be "back" and ready to reclaim their status as an elite team. At this point Addazio was just trying to prove that his early success was not a fluke.

9. No. 12 Clemson, 2006
While Florida State's first visit was a bigger deal historically, Clemson fans helped this one feel big. There was orange all around Boston and in Alumni. The teams went to OT for the second year in a row and for the second year in a row the good guys won.

10. No. 11 Michigan, 1995
Night games used to be much rarer in College Football and around BC. When Michigan came to town, it was a huge deal and also on a primetime ESPN game.

Honorable Mention: Notre Dame 2003, No. 22 Virginia Tech 2006, Notre Dame 2008, No. 8 Florida State 2013

Saturday, November 03, 2018

Levy sparks comeback at Lane

I always felt recruiting and talent accumulation was going to be Addazio's biggest strength. It paid off today as one of his backups -- Travis Levy -- made some huge runs to seal a critical win against Virginia Tech. With the win, BC now hosts Clemson for control of the division.

There were plenty of rocky moments in the first half, but the coaching staff and team deserve credit for rallying.

Now bring on Gameday!

In-game comments post: Virginia Tech

Lane Stadium has been the end of many BC hot streaks. But on occasion, we've pulled off a big win that propels us through the rest of the season. What will it be today?

Leave your thoughts and comments below.

You can also follow me on Twitter.

Friday, November 02, 2018

Friday picks

I went heavy on the away teams again. Hope things keep rolling.

Picks in bold

Texas A&M+3.5 at Auburn

Air Force+6.5 at Army

South Carolina-1 at Ole Miss

Michigan State-2.5 at Maryland

Georgia Tech-5 at North Carolina

Marshall-2.5 at Southern Miss

UTEP+1 at Rice

West Virginia+2 at Texas

Mizzou+6 at Florida

FAU+2.5 at FIU

Last week I was 6-2-2. I am 47-42-3 on the season.

Thursday, November 01, 2018

BC-Virginia Tech preview

I wasn't trying to jinx BC with my "what if" talk. I actually believe that things are lining up well for the BC home stretch. But the key is to execute on these winnable games. If BC really wants a special season, it would start by taking care of business Saturday.

What's on my mind (not totally related to this game) 
I haven't written much about Maryland's inept and tone deaf decision path, but I am glad they decided to fire Durkin. A program can rationalize all sorts of behaviour and culture from a college football coach who wins. But there is no reason to take on public criticism, fan revolt and recruiting challenges for loser like Durkin.

Three Simple Keys
1. Establish the run early. Last week Addazio had trick plays ready to go against Miami and it set the tone. This week BC needs to keep it simple and run straight at them until the Hokies can prove they can stop a power run game.
2. Don't give up huge Special Teams plays. Beamer is gone, but the "Beamer Ball" legacy remains. BC has been wildly inconsistent on Special Teams. It needs to be clean this weekend.
3. No dropped passes. Brown's passes can be a problem, but his teammates are not always bailing him out. This week we need great effort and hands from the TEs and WRs.

Gambling Notes
-- BC is 4-7 all time at Lane Stadium
-- Virginia Tech leads the series 18-8
-- Addazio is 2-3 vs the Hokies
The current line is BC-2

Spaz is the only BC coach who played Virginia Tech, yet did not have a win at Lane Stadium.

Scoreboard Watching
It is all about Clemson now. We need them to be No. 2 going into our game and to do that, they need to beat Louisville this week.

I hope to see...
Dillon at 100%. I think we can win with the sort of effort he gave last week, but if he is healthy, this game won't even be close.

BC is in trouble if...
If it comes down to field goals. Addazio needs to keep that in mind and stay aggressive in four-down territory. We need touchdowns, not long field goal attempts.

We are winning this thing. Addazio has been using all sorts of different types of running plays this year to varying degrees of success. This is the game where it pays off. BC emulates Georgia Tech's strategy and runs over the Hokies.
Final Score: BC 35, Virginia Tech 20