Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Debunking the “it is hard to win at BC” myth

A common fear out of this process is that we cannot do better than TOB and that he dramatically overachieved at the Heights. I don’t buy it. Historically BC is a winning program.

Since its inception, BC football has a winning percentage of .580. Not championship level, but look at some of the schools with supposedly better histories than ours [NOTE: All Winning Pcts are through 2005, as this season is not complete]:

NC State -- .509
Virginia -- .533
Maryland -- .532
Georgia Tech -- .593
North Carolina -- .572

Now look at some of the programs that we get lumped with when critics say “BC will be the Baylor (or Northwestern or Vandy) of the ACC”

Baylor -- .506
Northwestern -- .433
Vanderbilt -- .505

BC has historically outperformed all of these folks. Our history is strong and the foundation is there to support a winner. And that foundation has only improved as the program built new facilities, switched conferences and seen the school’s profile become much more national.

But more than 100 years of football does not tell the whole story critics say: “Guys like Leahy or Coughlin or TOB skew that average and BC really sucks!” History disagrees. Even if take out the high points of those three guys and look at key figures of the modern era, the numbers are encouraging.

Mike Holovak was our primary coach in the 1950s. His winning percentage -- .623.
Jim Miller was our primary coach in the 1960s. His winning percentage -- .586
Joe Yukica was our primary coach in the 1970s. His winning percentage -- .648.

Does that spark fear that things are suddenly going to drop off or that TOB was some sort of miracle worker?

But people say, “that was then, this is now.” Let’s look at another era -- BC performance since the DIA split. Our historical winning percentage drops to .545. But that is still winning and still better than many of our peer programs. And this era includes disastrous tenures from Clebek and Henning. Yet what happened once we fixed the mistake of these two coaches? More winning football. “But TOB went to more bowls, won more games, did great things, etc.” Timing is everything. He coached in a era where expanded seasons make it easier to win more games and go to more bowls. TOB and Coughlin won at a similar rate (TC -- .618, TOB -- .625) and outperformed our historical success rate by a similar margin (TC – 4% better, TOB – 5% better). However TC's short tenure prevented him from exploiting the bowl gluttony. Notice also that while TOB passed Yukica in wins, he did not win at the same rate as Yukica (.648).

So regardless of who the new coach is, he will inherit a program that is in good shape and a proven winner.