Tuesday, December 01, 2015

More info on future schedules

Per FBschedules.com, BC added Ohio to the 2020 schedule. By itself that is not a bad game or a big deal. However, in the context of all our future scheduling, it is terrible. Bates and Addazio keep shrugging and explaining that they are penned in by past commitments and conference switches and that is why our non-conference schedule disappoints. They will also say that it takes years to schedule another Power 5 team. There are elements of truth to all of that. But it also covers up their desire to keep the schedule soft. If they really wanted to add some challenges to the future, they would be doing it now. Instead they are locking in winnable games.

Bates is also misreading the college landscape and his own fanbase. I do agree that winning easy games is probably a better perception decision than losing hard ones. Recruits, the media and most fans look at W-L first and not who you played. However, by 2020 Addazio should be beyond padding the win total. If he still needs those Ws in his 8th year, then something is wrong. At that point he should be established enough that BC can take a risk. If he's not, then there will be pressure to fire him whether we are beating Ohio or losing to Alabama.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Transfer time UPDATE

Rumor moves to fact as both Marcus Outlow and Sherman Alston are gone. This is natural after a bad season and one that was disappointing for both players. Best of luck to them. Alston had his moments at BC. Unfortunately for Outlow, he never really did.

As frustrated as a I am with Addazio, this sort of attrition is natural. Now it is on him to go and get good replacements.

UPDATE: Gowins is gone too.

How much will the Offense really change?

During interviews over the past week, Daz made reference to changing the Offense next year. That's promising. At least he recognizes that things are broken and is indirectly owning up to the fact that injuries alone are not the reason BC couldn't score. But just because he referenced changes, doesn't mean we know exactly what he will do.

The conversations implied a "pro style" offense. Like "spread," "pro-style" can be a catch all term in college football. Implied is that it is an offense with throwing QB, Tight End, and multiple read passing trees. It is not a Texas Tech style five wide and nor is it Urban Meyer's Florida Offense. Current teams running "pro style" in college would be Michigan and USC. And for those with recent BC memories, "pro style" would include pretty much all the Dana Bible/TOB Offenses.

We know pro style can work at BC. We know we can recruit for it. If anything, compared to the spread, it puts a premium on OLine play. Even with the struggles of this year's OL, I think most BC fans will buy into a system that depends on OLine. On a basic level moving to pro style at BC is perfectly acceptable. The problem for Addazio comes in two forms: what to do with current players and what to do with current staff.

Because Addazio likes a power spread, the roster shakeup won't be too bad. We have Tight Ends. We have fullbacks. We have a good mix of size and speed at WR and even with transfers we have enough RBs. Quarterback is a question mark. Darius Wade seems to have enough skill to be a pocket passer in a pro system. Does Jeff Smith? Does John Fadule? Does Troy Flutie? Can incoming recruit Anthony Brown? If none of these guys can pass, we are screwed again. Regardless of style, Daz will always be run-first, so the running backs will be the primary playmakers. But can any of the QBs make enough plays for BC to move the ball? Will any have trouble learning another new system?

The other question is how will Addazio restructure his staff. If he is making a style change and keeping Todd Fitch as the primary playcaller and architect, Addazio's might as well get the moving boxes out. If Todd Fitch was some sort of genius in pro style, yet boxed in by personnel and Addazio's preferred approach, then both are idiots for wasting this season. The more likely explanation is that he's a mediocre to bad OC and changing systems won't do anything. Addazio could also turn to Brian White. White has OC experience in run-first pro style at Wisconsin. Under normal circumstances I would be on board with that, but White's time at Syracuse doesn't have me believing he's a miracle worker. And he hasn't called plays in nine seasons. Plus he's is associated with this season's mess. If White had the answers, why didn't he help the team/Fitch improve this year? The most likely outcome and the one that is easiest to sell to the public and to recruits is a new OC and playcaller. Who will that be (Scot Loeffler?) and what can he really do, won't be known for a few weeks.

Even if this is all part of rebuilding, Addazio spent a lot of goodwill. The next decision on OC needs to be the right one or else he won't get to make a fourth OC hire.

The good and the bad of the weekend

Aside from football there were plenty of highs and lows this weekend for BC Sports.

The Good
The Men's Soccer team advanced to the Elite Eight with a win over Georgetown. The game came down to Penalty Kicks with BC prevailing. They take on Syracuse next.

Also, Men's Hockey continued their hot start with a win over RIT.

Women's Hockey stayed unbeaten with a win over Northeastern.

The Bad
I don't know what happened to the basketball team. They looked young but promising against Michigan State. They followed that loss by sleep walking through a game with a respectable UC Irvine. That loss you could rationalize. The final game of the Wooden was against a bad Santa Clara team. That game was a must win and BC blew it. It wasn't even close. The team looked lost. The defense was lifeless and the offense consisted of Eli Carter chucking it.

Young teams are going to be inconsistent, but I would never expect wild swings like this. Now Jim Christian has to get a hold of things and get the guys ready for Penn State. 

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Second viewing thoughts and grades: Syracuse

Saturday was a mixed bag. Some players finished the season strong and played like they cared. Others didn't. It happens when there is little at stake. What's frustrating is that like so many other games this year, BC could have and probably should have won this game.

Offense: C-

Jeff Smith wasn't as bad as his passing stats indicated. He wasn't good through the air, but the INTs were not bad decisions...just somewhat unlucky. Wofford and Robinson dropped catchable balls. And a few were purposely thrown away. His running was his best of the year. He finally kept the ball on more options and it led to a few longer drives. If Daz follows through on his plan to change the offense, then this was probably Smith's last start. I still think the kid has potential. He and BC didn't find it this year.

Tyler Rouse ran hard and made some nice cuts. Willis only played sparingly. Wofford blocked well enough and missed a pass that came his way. Wilson got one touch.

Robinson looked bad. I know he's new to the position, but there is no excuse for so many drops. Smith caught the only pass that counted. Callinan blocked well but also got called for a penalty. So did Dudeck. The Tight Ends didn't catch anything either, but the Burke, Sweeney combo blocked better than Tight Ends have all season.

The Offensive Line was really inconsistent. One play they would look good. The next it looked like they would get Smith killed. Monteiro looked good on the run plays. He missed on a few pass plays. Harris Williams had his best game of the season. Bowen struggled. Baker had some good moments. It was his assignment that tipped the second INT.

The passing game was a mess, the blocking, the catching and Smith's throws. But I feel like if we had used this offense -- Pistol with heavy read option -- all year, we win six games. That may sound silly in a loss, but I feel that sort of commitment would have sprung bigger plays from Smith and might have opened other things. How fitting that Fitch called his best game in our season finale and we still lost.

Defense: C+

Landry and Abdesmad had great games. Wujciak and Gutapfel did not. Those two guys have been huge difference makers all year. Saturday Wujciak looked a step slow and got pushed around. Gutapfel made some mistakes and missed tackles. Kavalec was okay. Moore missed a tackle. Ray got in some action.

Milano was very good. Yet if he makes the INT late, we go to OT. Daniels played well enough. Strachan had a few issues in coverage but was fine.

Simmons played well. Yiadom looked back to his preinjury form. Johnson was just ok. McClary was fine. Harris was ok.

Because Syracuse does a lot of funky stuff (lots of old school options and pitches), you have to play back. Brown didn't get super aggressive and I feel like it cost us. We should have put more pressure on. That was not a good offense and we allowed them to move the ball too freely.

Special Teams: C+

Walker was one of the bright spots of the season. I look forward to him returning kicks next year. We've also been very good in our blocking on returns.

I was glad to see Lichtenberg make a field goal. What was up with the kicks out of bounds? Both were costly.

Howell was fine. As was the punt coverage. We didn't return any punts, but Smith handled them without issue.

Overall: D

Some might wonder, why the lower overall grade when each unit rated higher. No one unit played all that well on Saturday, but all playing poorly leads to another bad grade for Addazio. Most frustrating was his willingness to eat yet another possession before the half. I was also frustrated he didn't use his timeouts earlier on the final drive, but the way Cuse moved the ball meant it didn't matter.

Losing another close game is bad luck but also bad coaching.

Saturday, November 28, 2015


During the offseason Steve Addazio will surely talk about injuries and bad luck. This team was also young. And next year things will get better. More games close games will break BC's way. Young players will improve. New players will emerge. But none of that excuses how bad this season went, including Saturday. Total offensive ineptitude, haphazard execution, questionable 3rd decisions, stupid penalties, and wasting huge opportunities.

This was BC's first winless conference season. The longest losing streak since 1978. The W-L record is masked by two wins that BC bought against FCS cupcakes.

Addazio has a lot to fix this year. When the offense is this bad, it is not purely a talent or age issue. The whole approach and the coaching shares the blame.

I will have my grades and second viewing thoughts up late Sunday.

In-game comments post: Syracuse

This is our last game of BC Football for a long time. Let's enjoy it.

Leave your thoughts and comments below.

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Friday, November 27, 2015

Friday Picks Week 13

Championship games near, so this is my last chance to cherry pick my selections. I went heavy on the rivalries.

Virginia Tech-3.5 at Virginia

Ohio State-1 at Michigan

Georgia-4 at Georgia Tech

Cincinnati+1.5 at East Carolina

Duke-4 at Wake Forest

North Carolina-5.5 at NC State


Ole Miss-1 at Mississippi State

Florida-3 at Florida State

Notre Dame+4 at Stanford

Last week I was 6-4. I am 64-53-3 on the season.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

BC-Syracuse preview

One day this game will have juice. It is not this year. Even if the Orange rally around Shafer, do you think BC fans are going to get emotional about this loss? I view it as a must win, but to the rest of the college football world doesn't care and few of either teams fans do. Hopefully in the near future both teams come into this game with something on the line.

What's on my mind (not totally related to this game)
A few Addazio critics are pointing out the similarities between Shafer's record and Addazio's. To me it is not a fair comparison. Syracuse hired Shafer to continue Marrone's success. BC hired Addazio for a rebuild. Addazio's win percentage is not following the ideal path of a traditional rebuild, but he still deserves more time to see this out.

Three Simple Keys
1. Win the turnover battle.  The turnover battle didn't determine the winner last week, but with Syracuse's Offense it probably will. BC cannot cough it up and make things easier for the Orange.
2. Get 200 yards on the ground. If Smith get the majority of the snaps, then this becomes vital. BC needs to move the ball.
3. Build a lead. We've lost enough close games this year, plus we lost a close game in a our last trip to the Carrier Dome. Don't let this come down to the last possession. That's why BC cannot led Syracuse ride the emotional wave.

Gambling Notes
-- Shafer is 1-1 against BC
-- BC has never gone winless in conference play
-- BC is 3-11 in the Carrier Dome
The current line is BC-3

BC has not lost eight in a row since 1978.

Scoreboard Watching
Am I the only one curious to see how Notre Dame responds to their struggles against us? We probably did enough to keep them out of the Playoff, but a big win over Stanford might help them rise back up into the Top 4.

I hope to see...
BC shutout Syracuse. Think of what this season would have been like without the Defense. I would like to see them go out on top.

BC is in trouble if...
If they come out flat. I don't gather that Shafer is beloved, but you never want to let them ride the emotion of his last game.

I've called this a must win, but I do think BC will win. I think Syracuse will lose whatever emotion they have early in the game and the BC defense will control. Then Smith and Fadule do enough to get BC comfortably ahead.
Final Score: BC 21, Syracuse 10

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

All coaches should rent

A few days ago I was exchanging emails with a long-time and frustrated BC fan. I had to remind the fan that all of this is fluid. Every once in a while a school locks onto a Beamer type, but very few coaches end up being lifers. Just look at the ACC landscape. 

Clemson -- Dabo Swinney, 8th season
Duke -- David Cutcliffe, 8th season
Georgia Tech -- Paul Johnson, 8th season
Florida State -- Jimbo Fisher, 6th season
Virginia -- Mike London, 6th season
North Carolina -- Larry Fedora, 4th season
NC State -- Dave Doeren, 3rd season
Boston College -- Steve Addazio, 3rd season
Louisville -- Bobby Petrino, 2nd season
Wake Forest -- Dave Clawson, 2nd season
Pitt -- Pat Narduzzi, 1st season
Miami  -- will hire a new coach
Virginia Tech  -- will hire a new coach
Syracuse  -- will hire a new coach

Assuming Virginia fires Mike London soon, Addazio will have been around longer than half the coaches in the conference. And that is after just three years. Of the coaches with more seniority, who has the potential for real staying power? Maybe Swinney. Johnson is rubbing a lot of Georgia Tech fans the wrong way. Age and health will catch up with Cutcliffe. Fisher flirts with enough SEC and NFL jobs to know that he's looking beyond Tallahassee. Fedora could also be in the mix for the LSU job.

If you lost faith in Addazio this year, take the long term view. He will either bounce back next year, or he is probably not long for BC. And even if his ceiling is low, he's not going to be here in much beyond five or six years anyway. That's just the nature of the sport.