Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Revisiting the Thanskgiving Weekend problem

The Syracuse SB Nation bloggers asked this week if BC-Syracuse can ever become a rivalry if it is played on Thanksgiving Weekend. Their logic is two-fold. First the weekend is filled with established rivalries, so the BC-'Cuse game will rarely gain national attention. Their second issue is that with students off campus and many Alumni and fans not near each respective campus, the atmosphere and ticket demand will never be maximized. I agree with their logic and think BC should never play a home game Thanksgiving Weekend.

I don't want Thanksgiving Weekend home games for the simple reason that the atmosphere is subdued. Even when we are really good it is an effort to get students back on campus. If you are flying that weekend, you are likely not changing your tickets. It also puts a strain on BC fans from beyond the Boston area to get back during a holiday weekend that is also one of the busiest travel weekends of the year.

If BC completely avoids home games Thanksgiving Weekend, then the Syracuse series has to find another date, because as it stands now, BC is hosting Thanksgiving Weekend every other year. Another permanent weekend might give the series a little bit more notoriety. Without the Syracuse series, BC can just be the road team for whatever other ACC team is not in a rivalry game. (It would be a rotation of NC State and Wake).

Football is a fun part of of Thanksgiving Weekend. I love watching BC play. Let's keep up the tradition...just not at Alumni.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Second viewing thoughts and grades: UConn

As the game played out, I was frustrated that Addazio kept going with Wade. In hindsight it wasn't as bad, but still no less frustrating.

Offense: B-

As I've mentioned Wade started off horribly and then moved into just mediocre. I know the drops hurt his stats, but he was also off on some throws and looking to check down when there were bigger plays downfield. Perry played but didn't get to do anything.

Dillon carried the team again. He's getting better and better at waiting on his blocks and avoiding tackles in traffic. His power is amazing. Carrying three UConn guys into the endzone was fun to watch. Hilliman had his best game of the season. He was decisive and blocked well.

The drops were terrible for many of the WRs and TEs. Smith had a bad one that probably would have been a first down. White dropped more than one. Sweeney too. Garrison had a really nice grab for his TD. They did block well as a group. UConn was ready for Thadd Smith on the sweeps.

The OLine dominated. Aside from the rushing, Wade was rarely in danger. The times that UConn flushed him out of the pocket were often because he held it too long.

UConn has the worst pass D in the country and we couldn't exploit them through the air? That was on Loeffler (and Addazio). Even with the drops, there wasn't enough passing. Why not sharpen that area up? Fortunately the ground game was some dominant.

Defense: B

The DLine didn't seem that aggressive but I assume they were being conservative and doing their best to contain. Allen was active. Ray made some nice tackles. Merritt did a good job collapsing the interior. Smith was fine.

Lamont played well and once he got settled in seemed to adjust to UConn's offense. Schwab was fine. Bletzer was okay.

Cheevers played well. His first pick helped change momentum. Torres had a great run back on his as did Denis. Harris was fine. Yiadom was fine.

The gameplan was very conservative. I don't think BC's issues and the significant yards they gave up were schematic and on Reid. Instead it was more of an effort issue. In the beginning guys were quick to buy on the play action and not disciplined in their coverage. And there was bad tackling. UConn also added yards and points when we eased up and put the second teamers into the game.

Special Teams: D

I know the field was a mess and the weather was bad, but I don't know if you can keep going with Lichtenberg. Some of those misses were bad. Would you trust him if the game is on the line?

Walker's kick returns were good.

Das Boot's kickoffs were not as far again. Maybe it is the weather.

Knoll punted well, though he did have a shank.

The kick and punt coverage were good.

Overall: B

I hated how flat this team was to start the game. Addazio is supposed to be a motivator, yet this team had low energy, looked sloppy early on offense and allowed too many big plays. I know things improved, but this UConn team was terrible. A good team would have built a big lead against us and been much harder to put away. A game at Fenway shouldn't need hype. A killer instinct to put away a poor UConn team should be part of the program.

My other issue with Addazio is how he managed Lichtenberg. His confidence must be shot. Why keep sending him out there?

The good news for Addazio was that even with all the issues to start the game, he didn't lose his cool (like the last time at Fenway). We had an overwhelming depth and talent advantage and won. He got the team bowl eligible again and has a chance to keep improving. Now get rid of the Carrier Dome jinx.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Basketball bounces back

The true test will come during ACC play, but BC Basketball acquitted itself relatively well during the Hall of Fame Tipoff. They lost Saturday to a pretty good Texas Tech team and then bounced back Sunday to beat La Salle. BC now stands at 4-1.

The best part of the La Salle game was Robinson filling up the stat sheet. It was easily his best game of the young season. We are now at the point where BC has multiple weapons and can be competitive even if one guy isn't at his best.

BC is off for a few days and then takes on Colgate Wednesday. A big test comes next week when we play Providence. I know I am still cautious about this team's potential, but the first two weeks have been a good step forward. 

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Boring but bowl bound

BC came out flat, but in the end it did not matter. BC trounced UConn at Fenway. Dillon made up for Wade's uneven performance. Hilliman also had his best game of the season. After a rough start, the D also adjusted. The score should have been even more one-sided, but BC couldn't convert extra points and UConn got some garbage points late in the game.

Beyond the game, the big issues of note were freshman EJ Perry playing and BC locking up a bowl bid. I will have more on both issues this week.

I will be traveling so I don't know if I will have the grades up Sunday night. I will have something up. Stay tuned.

Below is my Post-game Periscope.

In-game comments post: UConn

We've got UConn at Fenway. It should feel special. I hope it is a blowout. Let's get things back on track.

Leave your thoughts and comments below.

You can also follow me on Twitter.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Friday picks

Picks in bold

TCU-6 at Texas Tech

Minnesota+7 at Northwestern

Texas+3 at West Virginia

Fresno State-2.5 at Wyoming

UMass+4.5 at BYU

Georgia Tech-6.5 at Duke

Army+2.5 at North Texas

Arizona+2.5 at Oregon

Texas A&M+2.5 at Ole Miss

NC State+1.5 at Wake Forest

Last week I went 7-3. For the season I am 53-53-3.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

BC-UConn preview

This is a layup game. A gimme. A cupcake. I don't care who starts at QB, BC should win with ease. I feel confident. And I know that is the worst feeling to have. We know how this could end. If Addazio does screw it up, there will be Hell to pay with the fans, his new boss and obviously the blogosphere.

What's on my mind (not totally related to this game)
I don't know if I will ever change my opinion of UConn. In sports, I have always found them insufferable. Even something like Women's Basketball -- where they have clearly been the best -- they come off like bullies and blowhards. The Big East lawsuits will always serve as a sign that they were the most jealous and petty school in the Northeast. I think Gene D. screwed up a lot of things, but keeping UConn out of the ACC (in favor of Pitt) will always be something for which I thank him.

Three Simple Keys
1. Don't let UConn's QB beat us with his feet. The Huskies made a QB change this week and the new guy Pindell can move. BC can't let him have big plays on the ground.
2. No mistakes from BC's QB. I know Addazio said he needs more than a game manager, but he also can't have someone who kills drives. So no INTs and no fumbles.
3. Get 200 yards from Dillon. If Dillon can pile up big yards, that means good things are happening. It will also help BC's D and control the tempo.

Gambling Notes
-- BC has never lost to UConn
-- Addazio is 1-4 at neutral site games while at BC
-- Addazio is 13-15 coming off a loss while at BC
The current line is BC-21.5

This will be BC's 77th game at Fenway Park.

Scoreboard Watching
Louisville could eliminate Syracuse from bowl contention this week and change the dynamic of our game with the Orange.

What I hope to see...
I want to see Levy get more snaps in the backfield. If you are taking Dillon out on passing downs, put in someone who will block well and pick up a late blitzer.

BC is in trouble if...
We allow UConn to score early. They are looking for any sort of momentum. BC can't let that happen. Take their team and the crowd out of it early.

I know BC is a heavy favorite, but I don't see the game being lopsided on the scoreboard. I think the weather and BC's QB uncertainty lead to Addazio going very conservative. I think we pound the ball and end up with a comfortable but not overwhelming lead.
Final Score: BC 31, UConn 17

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

NC State loss didn't seem to impact BC's desirability to bowls

If BC had pulled off the win against NC State and run the table, we might have elevated into a higher level bowl. Now it seems like we are back where we started in the lowest rung of ACC games. Most experts see BC still going to the Pinstripe Bowl (here and here). Detroit is still in the mix. El Paso could happen. I think most BC fans would prefer the Pinstripe. The location -- while cold -- is accessible to a good portion of our fans. Most seemed to enjoy our last game there. Plus it would likely be against a Big Ten team so there is a chance to get a respectable win. But this is not settled. There are a few variables that will impact the ACC bowl pool. Here are some of the unknown issues.

1. Will BC win a sixth game? Without that, we stay home.
2.  Will Syracuse win a sixth game? To do so would involve beating BC. If they beat us Thanksgiving weekend, they will probably take the Pinstripe slot.
3. Will Florida State win a sixth game? They also have to run their table. On name alone, they would probably pass BC in bowl selections?
4. Will Pitt or Duke become bowl eligible? I don't think either would take a Pinstripe slot over BC, but they would become interchangeable on the other ACC games.

I don't think all the ACC teams still alive will make bowls. If they do, then suddenly BC is looking at even lower rung bowls. But now all we can do is take care of our business Saturday. Win that game and BC is going somewhere.