Stuck in the middle: too good to fire, too bad to embrace.
BC fans are in the most unenviable position in sports -- hopeless, frustrated and bored. And it starts at the top with Tom O’Brien. I don't have much of a solution, but I do have a few thoughts for each respective party.
To the TOB apologists,
For those who blame the players for the loss (and other losses), explain this: if the players change yet BC keeps losing to lame duck programs, whose fault is it? For those who credit TOB with our graduation success, explain this: if it is TOB’s work, how come BC has been graduating football players at high rate for 20 years? Did you realize Dan Henning won the graduation award while he was at BC? For those who think BC cannot ever be more than they are, explain Stanford and Northwestern’s Rose Bowl appearances in the last decade, explain Rutgers Lazarus-like rise from the dead, explain Wake Forest or Georgia Tech. My point. Plenty of schools have won the right way. Plenty have recovered or rebuilt after scandal. TOB has done a lot but is not a miracle worker. No one thinks BC should compete for a National Championship every year, but to think BC’s institutional and historical challenges prevent us from ever winning a conference title or excuses bad losses is a loser mentality. Our school motto is ever to excel, not ever to be pretty good.
To Sports Information and the Athletic Department,
Stop pushing these accomplishments: “most wins in a season”, “most wins by a senior class”, and the god-awful bowl streak to the fans and media. These are skewed stats that feel increasingly hollow as we finish our season in the same place over and over. The win total is padded by the longer seasons and the gross bowl expansion. These teams are winning more games because they are playing more games than the Flutie, Leahy or Coughlin teams. The bowl streak is also a really empty stat. Nearly half the NCAA makes bowl games. Past BC squads never had a chance to go to illustrious bowls like the ones held in Boise, Detroit and San Francisco. If TOB ever passes Bobby Bowden's 11-game streak, then he will have something to crow about. Until then, shut up about the bowl streak. I also hope the administration has the guts to tell TOB and his agents to stop whining to the media about his salary. He has done nothing to merit a salary in the top of the conference. If he leaves BC over money it will give both sides the face saving out that I think both might be looking for.
For those of you who want Bible (or Petercuskie or Spaz) fired,
It all starts at the top. If our play calling in big games is suspect again and again…it is on TOB. If our defense continues to have mental lapses or come out flat in key games…it is on TOB. If our special teams allow big plays or cannot find a placekicker after three years…it is on TOB. If the arrogant ass wants to tell ESPN “We’re up, aren’t we?” in response to a harmless halftime adjustments question…it is on TOB. Any fan could see that both our offense and defense needed to make adjustsments. I hope TOB was being snide and did realize we had to make adjustments. Because if he didn't, then our problem is not the assistants.
For those who want to see TOB fired,
I am sorry, but I cannot call for his firing. We need to raise the bar. We cannot allow the school or media to push his accomplishments beyond what they are. But despite his choking in numerous big games, I still don’t think he has done anything to justify his firing. You can talk about our watered-down schedule, but he has still won more than he has lost. His team’s aren’t as disciplined or perfect as we’d like to think but he still has not done anything to embarrass our school. I cannot root for him to fail, because he still represents BC and more importantly, his players are BC students and future alums.
So what do I think can or should be done?
Unfortunately we are stuck. I don’t think the Athletic Administration will ever do anything as they have been as quick as TOB to assign blame to others. I think our only hope is to voice your displeasure directly to the Alumni Association. Give money with a message or don’t give with a message. Regardless, handling our business as the BC family is the only way to go. Leahy needs to hear from us. Leahy needs to raise the bar with Gene and Gene needs to raise the bar on TOB.
That is all I've got. Post your comments below as I am open to solid suggestions. I am afraid that things will not change. TOB will never win the conference. BC will continue to go to lower-rung bowls. We'll see a slow decline until he retires like his mentor George Welch. And I think the BC community will feel the same way UVA feels about Welch: begrudging respect but very little love. And when it is all done, I think BC fans will remember TOB's shortfalls more than his triumphs.
Tell me I am wrong as I would love for things to get better.