Sunday, September 30, 2007

Second viewing listening thoughts and incomplete grade report: UMass

Although this game was on ESPN360, my ISP is not a participant. This meant I couldn’t watch it live or watch the replay. That makes grading this game nearly impossible. In fairness, I’ll give everyone an incomplete and just post my thoughts by areas. Keep in mind that this is based on what I heard via Cronin and Meterparel on the radio broadcast and what some people who did see the game have shared with me.

Offense: N/A

I cannot tell what is going on with Ryan. I’ve asked others and no one could pinpoint the problem. His passes were off at times, but he gunned some others perfectly. He also got lucky that a few of his forced passes weren’t picked. Someone else mentioned that the pocket is collapsing around him quickly and he is rushing his throws. I don’t know. Next week will be telling. I am hoping it was just two off days. The important thing is that he did enough to win.

From the sound of things the offensive line did not play that well. Ty Hall was back in for Ramsey. Cherilus got whistled for two dumb penalties again. That’s been a problem for two seasons now. Someone needs to get through to him.

Ryan Thompson was back in the mix. Good for him. Gunnell made some big catches. Robinson as well. Challenger was MIA. Jarvis made a play. My concern is that we didn’t make more plays. Some of those balls must have been catchable. I am also disappointed that these guys couldn’t get more separation. I know UMass has talent, but our WRs continue to get roughed up by everyone and have for two seasons. We need to adjust: more moves, fighting back, finding openings…whatever it takes.

It sure sounded like Andre Callender ran hard and helped save the game. 32 carries. 4 catches. Huge day. His second half running helped save the game. Brooks was the only other one to get carries and he did nothing. I have no idea how Newman played, but Thompson worked from the backfield, so I am wondering how much time Newman even got.

I don’t know what to make of Logan’s play calling. From what I can tell, we kept throwing deep when the short stuff was there. I wonder if giving Ryan all this freedom is hurting us. Is Matty looking for the big play when he should be dumping off? Does Logan need to reign him in? I don’t know. The three and outs are frustrating but not for why you think. I have no problem with being aggressive. What bothers me is that this sputtering seems to be coming in the second and third quarters. Are teams figuring us out? No idea. Logan, like Ryan, will be interesting to watch next week. I expect a bounce back game.

Defense: N/A
The defense is much harder to get a feel for. Things I liked: finally getting some pressure on the opposing QB. Continued to control the opposing team's running game. The first half we shut them down completely. I also liked that we got many of the second teamers in and they contributed.

Things I didn’t like: the mental lapses that allowed UMass to get back into the game on a few big plays (it seemed like they were picking on Morris). I also was shocked when they allowed UMass and their backup QB move the ball down the field in the fourth. The game was on the line and they didn’t make plays. Not good.

Special Teams: N/A

This is killing us. It seemed the kicks and coverage were better and the punting was strong. The punt returns or lack of returns are killing us. We continue to get pinned and lose the field position battle. That will make a difference in the second half of the season. If Tribble keeps waving for the fair catch, then we should give someone else a shot back there.

Overall: N/A

I am flying blind here, so no overall grade. I am glad we won. I am disappointed we didn’t play better, especially after last week’s struggles. Regardless of how ugly it got, Jags and the coordinators do deserve credit for keeping it together and getting the team to the win.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Ugh. Thankfully that is over

No WTF, but ugly and pathetic. If Army wasn't a wake up call this surely was. Bowling Green is a good team and we are going to have to get much much better this week. I didn't see the game but these are my thoughts:
-- Ryan seemed like he was pressing. Why is he going deep when they are giving us the short stuff?
-- The Oline should have dominated. It sure didn't sound like Ryan had much time and the backs didn't have great holes.
-- We are allowing too many punts to roll.
-- This team needs a kick in the butt. We controlled the first half yet letdown in the second. That cannot happen against the remainder of our schedule.

I can't watch it back so my partial grades will be up earlier than usual on Sunday.

In-game comments post: UMass

Since this game is online, I'll pop my head into the comments occasionally. Go BC!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Rooting guide

Now that the first quarter of the season has played out, it is time to start looking at scoreboards. While BC ultimately controls its own destiny, it is always nice to see your rivals lose to someone else. With that in mind here is who I am rooting for and against this weekend.

Clemson vs Georgia Tech
BC needs Georgia Tech to win and preferably in a crushing fashion. A GT win would make our victory over the Jackets seem more impressive and it would put Clemson below us in the division.

Alabama vs Florida State
This is where my guide becomes a little more subjective and hunches replace actual common sense. In the common sense world BC would want a fellow ACC team to whip an SEC team. This gives our conference credibility. In my mind FSU losing is better. From a distance it looks like this FSU season could go either way. If they get beat Saturday, perhaps they start packing it in during conference play. If FSU mails in the season, that is one less competitor for the division title.

Maryland vs Rutgers
A Maryland win helps the conference, our national rankings and our New Jersey recruiting. Go Terps!

Louisville vs NC State
Like the FSU game, logic gets thrown out the window due to my grudge. I have no problem with TOB going 1-11.

Duke vs Miami
Neither impacts our ACC standings. I guess I would like to see Duke win. Helps our Florida recruiting and makes Ted Roof’s job a little safer. (I believe Duke might be interested in hiring Logan as their head coach. That would be bad for BC.)

Virginia vs Pitt
Big East vs the ACC. I’ll finally toe the conference line. Go UVA!

UNC vs Virginia Tech
Neither team is in our division but VT is on our schedule. I want them to have a few setbacks before we play them. Go Tar Heels.

Friday news roundup

Not a lot of news today. Later this afternoon I'll post a rooting guide for the weekend.

Northview High School, which is about 10 minutes away from me here in suburban Atlanta, is home to many children of former NFL stars. Their QB is future Eagle Justin Tuggle.

Here is an update on former Eagle Jeremy Trueblood.

Bob Hohler wrote an interesting article in the Globe about the UNH QB up for murder and his relationship with Doug Flutie.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

BC-UMass Preview

When I was a student in the mid-90s BC didn’t play DIAA teams. New bowl eligibility rules and the expanded season opened the door for these opponents to get back on the schedule. I was never in favor, but now accept it as a fact of life. Even the big boys soften things up with DIAA fodder. USC and Notre Dame seem to be the lone marquee holdouts. As much as I’d love to see BC go exclusively DIA, there is no sense in taking on the extra challenge if all the other ACC teams have at least one game against a lower-level team. And to Gene’s credit, if you we’re going to play a Playoff Subdivision Team (what an awkward designation), you might as well play the one in your backyard. Thanks to Appalachia State, our team and fans are not taking this game lightly.

Theme that won’t be discussed on television ESPN 360. UMass head coach Don Brown indirectly played a role in the BC coaching search. As most of us remember, former UMass head coach Mark Whipple was the leading candidate to replace TOB. Supposedly Whipple hit some sour notes in his interview, including how he envisioned his coaching staff. Brown was on the Whipple’s staff list as a probable defensive coordinator. Gene will never go on record (or even off record with me) as to why Brown and Whipple’s other cronies were unappealing, but his instincts paid off. I doubt our D would be playing as well or our team would be 4-0 if we had revamped our Defense and our Offense.

Three simple keys
1. Blitz pick up. As UMass74 explained, the Minutemen will come after the Ryan. Against Georgia Tech Callender and the offensive line did a good job but were whistled for plenty of holding calls. The effort on Saturday needs to be cleaner.
2. Protect the ball. A fumble and two picks made the Army game much more interesting than it needed to be. Let's avoid that this week.
3. Get to Coen. We have proven we can stop the run. Yet, we still haven’t put much pressure on any of the opposing QBs. If this team wants to win a championship it needs to start rattling some of these passers.

Gambling notes
-- The last three DIAA games BC has played have not had betting lines
-- BC has won 14 straight at home
-- BC is 17-5 all time vs UMass
There is no line on the game

What would be a pleasant surprise? After last week’s struggles and other teams losing to DIAA teams, I would be surprised with a one-sided game. I think UMass will make it interesting for a half.

What would be a letdown? Not getting Chris Crane out there for more than one drive. I expected Crane to see more action last week. If he doesn’t play more this week, he might not see significant time all year.

What would be a shocker? A loss. I don’t even want to think about it.

Bottom line
UMass is a good team and could beat some DIA foes. I don’t think it will be us. Their strengths (running on offense, blitzing on defense) play too much into our strengths. I think they will play hard and move the ball a little, but ultimately BC will pull away.
Final score: BC 38, Umass 13

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Publicity train keeps rolling

Thanks to the message board folks and the readers who emailed the following information.

Matt Ryan got a multi-page spread in Sports Illustrated. Nothing new in the article but a great chance for non-BC fans to learn a little more about Ryan.

Ryan isn't the only one getting some attention. Jags gets a full feature on

Even Kige Ramsey is on the Matt Ryan bandwagon.

Guest Blogger: UMass74

Although BC enters this Saturday's game as a strong favorite, we know better than to take the Minutemen lightly. In order to get a better perspective on the team down the Pike, I've asked UMass blogger UMass74 to answer a few questions about our latest opponent.

1. Appalachia State-Michigan is in the back of every BC fan's mind. UMass runs a more conventional offense than App. St. What can BC fans expect from the Minutemen have the ball?

UMass74: Appalachia State runs a spread offense. They have excellent team speed and they run that offense to perfection -- as Michigan found out. In the National Championship Game, UMass held the Mountaineers to less points and yards than did Michigan. However, we only scored seventeen points and that's not enough against an excellent team like Appalachian State.

UMass mostly does a two-back offense. We try to establish the run first and then pass. We are third in the CAA in scoring offense with 37.7 points/game. We've averaged 178.9 yards/game rushing and 4.9 yards a carry. Our best TB is Sr. Matt Lawrence 6-1 220 transfer from UConn. He averages 6.3 yards a carry and has 5 TDs. Our second back is Tony Nelson a 5-10 210 pd TB who averages 6.1 yards a carry.

Our QB Liam Coen is on track to break just about every UMass passing record. He's completed 68% of his passes for a 160.23 pass efficiency rating so far this year. He does not scramble unless he has to.

UMass' leading receivers are SR J.J. Moore 6-0 201 who currently has 25 receptions for 336 yards and 2 TDs. Moore also stands high in UMass record books. Our other wideout is Rasheed Rancher who stands 6-5 200 and has excellent speed. He has two of the top five longest receptions in UMass history.

One negative note is our First-Team All-American TE Brad Listorti 6-4 255 has a back injury and has not played a down for us. He will not be back until at least the middle of October. He would have been a help against BC.

Our special teams are excellent. Our kicker Chris Koepplin is four-for-four in field goals and is averaging 64.9 yards per kickoff. J.J. Moore is our punt returner and he has one TD. Our primary kick returner is DB Courtney Robinson 6-0 195. He has a 100 yard return for a TD.

Overall, if we get Listorti back, this offense seems to be as good, if not better than the one that took us to the National Championship Game.

2. Some bad DIAA/playoff subdivision teams have moved the ball and scored against UMass. How do you think they'll plan to attack a BC team scoring 30+ a game?

UMass74: I don't agree with the first part of that question. Holy Cross, Colgate, Towson and Maine are a combined 7-3 against their non-UMass schedule. They are 0-4 against UMass. Towson has suffered some severe injury problems and is going down hill, but they were healthy when they played us. It is true that Maine is not a good team this year compared to the squad that went toe-to-toe with Nebraska a couple years ago.

UMass plays aggressive defense. We'll blitz off the bus. Against Towson we blitzed 50+ times. UMass typically plays 17 or 18 different defensive players in a game and will run many defensive packages.

We do have six new starters this year and pass coverage has been spotty. However, as the players get more experience together things have improved. Points scored against UMass have gone 30-17-13-7. We are 1st in forced fumbles in the CAA and #2 in scoring defense (16.8), rushing defense (83.8 yards/game), and total defense.

Our defense has excellent team speed. Last year we held Navy to 289 total yards --their lowest total in two years at that time.

3. Umass is always supposedly considering a jump to DIA. Where do you stand on the idea?

UMass74: I'm an agnostic on the idea. I really like the FCS/I-AA playoff system. Bowl games are just exhibition games. The big problem with staying where we are is the instability in the program. About once a decade we have to go through a "Oh-my-god, we don't have any money, lets kill the football program!" period. That's really dismaying. University of Albany just petitioned NY for a $60 million stadium. They'll likely get it. I don't think UMass will get the any support from the state legislature. Massachusetts is "special" in that regard.

4. What's your prediction for Saturday?

UMass74: Well, Boston College has a very good club this year. The Eagles (like most BCS/I-A teams) should have a significant advantage in size and talent on the offensive and defensive lines. Also those extra 22 scholarships make a difference. They have a Heisman candidate at QB. We match up well with the Service Academies. Not so well with Boston College. Still, we have the potential to win the game if BC does not pay attention. FCS/I-AA teams have been knocking off I-A teams at a rate of one or two a week this year.

My heart says UMass wins 24-21 on a last minute field goal. My mind says BC just has too much talent this year and the Eagles win 35-17.

To read more on UMass and even see some old BC football programs, check out the UMass Football Blog.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

What point differential tells us

After the game I said that winning ugly games by 20 points is a good indicator. While margin of victory and point differential over the course of a season are not foolproof, in general, they are a good indicators of how good a team is and how lucky or unlucky it has been.

Take our three most recent 3-0 starts (two under TOB and one under Jags) and compare the fourth game.

W – BC 19, Ball State 11
W – BC 21, Penn State 7
W – BC 27, CT 7
Point differential through three games: 42
Fourth game
L – BC 14, Wake Forest 17
BC lost on a “fluke play” (we’ll get back to that concept) to a game, but still inferior Wake Forest.

W – BC 31, Central Michigan 24
W – BC 34, Clemson 33
W – BC 30, BYU 23
Point differential through three games: 15
Fourth game
L – BC 15, NC State 17
BC lost on a “fluke play” to an inferior NC State team.

W – BC 38, Wake Forest 28
W – BC 37, NC State 17
W – BC 24, Georgia Tech 10
Point differential through three games: 44
Fourth game
W – BC 37, Army 17
BC wins against an inferior opponent by a comfortable margin despite uneven play.

As you can see not all starts are equal and point differential is not perfect. 2004 and 2007 had a very similar differentials through three games yet very different results in game four. In 2004 we lost to Wake on a late bomb. BC had dominated but couldn’t convert in the redzone and had three missed field goals. It truly was a “fluke” play and BC was unlucky. Contrast that with 2006. BC escaped Central Michigan, and won two games that where they were generally outplayed (Clemson and BYU). Then NC State happened. While it seemed unlucky at the time, it was probably more of a case of BC’s luck running out. The common trait in both 2004 and 2006 losses was that BC did not play its best game in the losses…which brings us to this season. Army was clearly the worst performance of the season, yet the team won by 20. Talent explains part of it, but the other part is aggressiveness and style of play. Even when misfiring, Logan is relentless and doesn’t eat clock. Increasing number of possessions when you have the talent advantage should produce winning football. Contrast that with TOB’s clock eating mentality. While TOB’s close to the vest, conservative style might steal a game or two, it also invites games to be stolen by inferior opponents on “fluke plays.” And playing TOB’s way in college football, where there is no postseason tourney and there is a premium on minimizing losses is limiting to a teams championship aspirations. In college football you have to be perfect every week. You must play to win and winning big helps.

Now Jags aggressive stance guarantees nothing. It can all come to a halt at any minute or be undone by one off day, but the style of play and the results are important in college football. Winning ugly yet still winning by 20 indicates that we should have a very strong season and Jags' aggressiveness is about winning championships.

ACC move's impact on admissions

The move to the ACC was ultimately about sports, but the Globe featured an article on its impact on admissions. While applications are up from ACC country, the article mentions that matriculation is not. I think matriculation will catch up in a few years and more importantly, it will continue to have a positive impact on fan support. We need more students and eventually alumni who root for BC first. Passion for college sports is unrivaled in the south. Getting that mindset further ingrained into BC will help ratings, merchandise sales and most importantly travel reputations.

Monday, September 24, 2007

BC crop circles (sort of) and other pics and links

This is cool...

I wouldn't mind coming home to this. It might violate a few rules in my HOA though.

Game shot from Shayne.

ESPN U will broadcast the Bowling Green game. Games on the U have a low-rent feel to them, but it is better than watching on your PC via ESPN360.

Ryan TD and other links

Here's a nice shot of Ryan's TD to Robinson.
It is a fairly straight forward play, but you have to admire his ability to hit Robinson in a tight hole. The pass should have led BRob a little, but the timing and the route look like they would have gone right into the umpire, so Matt wisely or instinctively avoided the ref and hit Robinson's right side.
Also reminder to all those students with camera phones and other devices -- take some more TD videos. You're in a great location, so share the wealth.

This is from last week, but here is Ryan's Q&A with the New York Times. The Heisman talk is nice but very premature. As the guys at the Ryan for Heisman blog pointed out, since the BCS started only one player has won the Heisman and not played in a BCS bowl (Ricky Williams). For Ryan to get the famous trophy this year, we are going to have to win and win and win.

Finally, Georgia Tech fans are not proud of their behavior during the BC game.

Hello everyone!
I want to talk about a subject today that is very important to all of us. That subject is the reputation of our institution and, ultimately, ourselves.
Being a Ramblin' Wreck has always meant something very special to me. It is a badge of honor earned from hard work, perseverance, learning and failure. It is proof to myself that I could succeed as long as I focused and worked hard. It continues to be a source of confidence and rock-solid pride.
Many of you may not realize what happened at the Boston College game Saturday night. Unfortunately, poor judgment on the part of a number of our fans - some were students, some were alumni, some were simply fans - resulted in Georgia Tech being represented on national television by spectators screaming obscenities en masse at referees, insulting the opposing team and its - fans and hurling debris on the playing field. The game had to be interrupted five times to deal with this misbehavior. Ultimately, 28 people were ejected from the stadium.
The excuse for all of this was some unpopular calls by the referees. But there can be no excuse for the lack of basic sportsmanship, common courtesy and decency. You should also be aware that alcohol consumption played a significant role.
The administration, the Athletic Association and our student leaders are working together to keep this situation from occurring again. Your help is needed as well.
By far and away, we have very gracious Georgia Tech fans, and we need your help in creating a family-friendly experience in our stadium for everyone who comes to see the game - no matter what team's colors they are wearing. We want to be able to bring our families, including our children, without them having to endure inappropriate language and boorish behavior.
Friends, when people think of Georgia Tech we want them to be proud of the reputation of this wonderful, classy school with a great tradition of strong academics and athletics.
Every now and then we have to step up and be who we really are. Now is that time. Thanks for your help!
Sincerely yours,
Joe Irwin, IM 80
president, Georgia Tech Alumni Association

Alumni Association Contact Information
Joe Irwin
president, Alumni Association

Blogpoll Ballot

I bumped BC down a little in my own ballot. It wasn't a top 10 performance. However, our resume is still strong enough to be a Top 10 team. In the real polls BC moved up slightly (12 in AP, 11 in Coaches). I am not worried about the polls. Like the Heisman talk, the polls will take care of themselves as long as BC keeps winning.

Games I watched
BC-Army 100% (twice)
Texas A&M-Miami 50%
Oklahoma-Tulsa 25%
UVA-Georgia Tech 25%
UGA-Alabama 75%

1 Southern Cal --
2 LSU 1
3 West Virginia 3
4 Oklahoma --
5 Florida 3
6 Ohio State 4
7 Texas 2
8 California 3
9 Oregon 6
10 Boston College 2
11 Wisconsin 3
12 Clemson 1
13 Kentucky 4
14 South Florida 2
15 Michigan State 8
16 Missouri 10
17 Rutgers 1
18 Georgia 1
19 Virginia Tech 1
20 South Carolina 13
21 Alabama 9
22 Arizona State 4
23 Penn State 12
24 Miami (Florida) 2
25 Virginia 1

Dropped Out: Kansas (#21), Purdue (#22), Louisville (#24), Air Force (#25).

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Second viewing thoughts and grade report: Army

Playing up and down to your competition was a significant flaw of many TOB teams. This team didn’t play down to Army, but did enough stupid things to give the Cadets a glimmer of hope. Watching it back was enlightening but didn’t make me feel any better.

Offense: B-

There is now a blueprint on how to play Matt Ryan. When Army stopped sending guys at him midway through the second quarter, their defense became more effective. With three down linemen and eight guys dropped into coverage, Matt pressed and had to force some throws. He did adjust with some success with the first two TD drives in the second half, but Army (and NC State two weeks ago) made Ryan look worse by letting up and not blitzing. I judged nine of his passes to be off target. That’s gonna happen when you throw it 50+ times but he was not his sharpest. I liked seeing him run a bit. If this is how teams are going to play us, he’s going to have to fight his instincts to look for the big TD and run a little.

Callender played well again. He didn’t spend as much time blocking as he did last week, but really is showing great ability in the zone scheme. He sees the hole and excels through it. And managed to be productive on a day when the line did not play well. The one blemish: AC did drop what should have been a Ryan TD pass. LV was ok, but is still too quick to give up on the line and make something happen on his own (without success). McLuskey was off to another strong game until his knee got twisted. True freshman Newman stepped up in his place and looked effective in a few plays.

Purvis and Loyte should hold their heads high. They played well and Purvis especially has shown the ability to tack on a few yards after he catches the ball. Robinson was productive but had a few passes he should have pulled in (not a true drop, but catchable balls). Challenger also had some good moments but the fumble was terrible. In review it looked like he was down, but a senior should know to protect the ball at all times. Gunnell and Megwa looked good. Jarvis’ play on the sideline was nice. In total only three bad drops for the entire unit.

The offensive line did not play very well. Clif Ramsey had all sorts of trouble and was eventually replaced by Ty Hall. Castonzo did nothing of note (good or bad). Tennant looked okay but much of the penetration came from the middle of the line (even after Ramsey was pulled). I am not sure if the penetration was Tennant’s fault for missing his keys or if this is just a general weakness in the zone scheme. Poles looked good but still got called for a dumb holding call. Cherilus, like Castonzo, didn’t do anything to note (which shouldn’t be the case for a first rounder). There were also a few times in the stretch runs when the left side got stuffed. Not a good sign. Ultimately when Army tested us to run and we didn’t respond until AC broke it late. The offensive line should take that as a challenge.

I have no problem with Steve Logan calling pass plays when other coaches would be killing clock. I have no problem with Steve Logan calling pass plays deep in our own endzone. I have a teensy bit of a problem with Steven Logan still calling pass plays when the other team is dropping eight and daring us to run. Logan knows more about play calling than I ever will and I do trust him and have really enjoyed this season. But this one small gripe is somewhat legit. I think other teams will employ the same strategy as Army and Ryan and Logan will have to adjust and call a few run plays. But overall Logan does deserve credit for producing 37 points and over 580 yards of total offense.

The Defense: B

The defensive line regulars had their moments but no one played well for 60 minutes. Brace was disruptive early but faded late. Willette had one of his better games. We had a Albright sighting after a pretty slow start to the season. Ramella made a few plays but didn’t look as good as he did at the beginning of the year. Giles was quiet. Rossi got some solid minutes but let an INT fall through his hands.

Herzlich deserved the game ball because he played better than everyone on the field. He’s great run stopper. Showed how he can cover. He played hard and smart throughout. Dunbar had a few moments and looked good on the goalline, but did not play with his usual consistency. Pruitt looked lost at times…it was a real step back from his great play last week. McLaughlin looked ok. Francois looked good despite not getting tons of minutes. Akins looks like he’s running in cement shoes. The announcers made reference to his weight. Something is off because he isn’t nearly as explosive as he was last season.

Army didn’t throw at Tribble much and he looked overpowered when trying to shed blocks. Morris had one of his better games and has been a real surprise of the season. Anderson didn’t play great and has trouble in pass coverage. It wouldn’t surprise me if Bowman sees more of Anderson’s time in the next few weeks since he played well against Army. Bowman made some real strong tackles throughout. Strong game from Silva (but many of his contributions came on special teams).

Spaz went basic throughout. Very little blitzing and straying from the three-down look he used frequently through the first three games. Many of Army’s yards came off of big plays not from schemes. I think that is more on the guys losing focus, not on what Spaz planned. Nothing special, but the defense was the best part of the game.

Special Teams: C-

As I mentioned in my initial post-game comments, the special teams looked like a Petercuskie unit. We fair catch nearly every punt. We fell asleep on the fake field goal. The kickoffs are finally going deep…only to see our coverage fall apart. Aponavicius was a mess. Why are we even going for 43 yarders with him? Geiser had some low snaps but did not have as rough a game as the announcers claimed. My biggest problem with the special teams were the kick returns. For the second consecutive week and on two separate returns on Saturday the returners allowed the ball to bounce around without any sense of urgency. Unacceptable. That is a mental error and shouldn’t be happening with two SRs in the fourth game of the season.

Overall: B-

Style points don’t count in the win-loss column and winning bad games by 20 is a great indicator for future success (I'll have more on that later this week). Hopefully this is the worst of it. I’m glad Jags went after the team and showed his disappointment. It was an uneven effort but like the good efforts, you have to learn from the game, move on and get ready for UMass.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Ugly but I'll take it

My dad is out of the country and called me after the game. "Hey, congrats! Another win." I had to explain this wasn't the type of game where the final score or even game stats told the whole story. But after the start of the season, I am willing to accept sloppy, frustrating 20-point wins.

Initial thoughts:
-- The line play was uneven but got better once they pulled Ramsey and put in Hall
-- Dropping into heavy zone is probably the best way to play Ryan
-- The defense played well
-- The special teams looked Petercuskie-esque

I'll have my second viewing thoughts and grade reports late Sunday night.

In-game comments post: Army

Hopefully this game will not be interesting. Since it is on TV, I will not be online during the game. Leave your comments and thoughts below.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Army reminder, video and other links

A reminder to all those in attendance this Saturday: pay your respects to Army and their fans. As some of you know, in a recent game against Navy, Rutgers fans got out of line with classless heckling against the Middies. I hate telling people how to cheer, but I think we can make an exception when playing the service academies. Cheer for BC, boo the refs but treat the Cadets with respect. Lecture over.

I assume that most people reading this blog check out the Herald and Globe, therefore I only highlight articles from either paper when they mention something a little different. In this case I want to point out the strange language in the Jeff Smith article. It discusses his recovery from a preseason concussion, yet slips in his academic struggles and his potential transfer. There has been much specualation on what is keeping Smith out and if he'll come back. It would be a shame if he never plays DI football again for nonhealth reasons because he has so much raw talent.

Here's an article on redshirt Dan Mulrooney. He's saying all the right things.

Want to know what Keving Challenger said into the camera after he scored Saturday night? Here's a short little clip with audio.

In another old school YouTube moment, I came across this preview of the 1992 BC-ND game. In the actual game the Irish smacked us around and also provided inspiration for the huge upset in 1993.

As reader Mike L. pointed out Matt Ryan is a nominee for the Davey O'Brien award and fans can actuall vote. Register to vote here.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

BC-Army Preview

Let me remind fellow fans -- take nothing for granted. Many dream seasons have been ruined by one misstep. The players and coaches are saying the right things. Let’s hope they are ready for Army. Also for fellow displaced fans, this might be the last time you see the team for a few weeks as there is still no announcement on the coverage of the UMass and Bowling Green games.

Theme that won’t be discussed on television. This is probably the most important game of Chris Crane’s career. The general assumption is that Crane will inherit the starting QB role next fall. I am a little more skeptical. I think Jags and Logan will enter the spring with an open mind. Crane can get a huge step up on the two freshmen (Davis and Johnson) and any potential recruits by showing his command of the offense against Army.

Three simple keys
1. Stop the run. Sounds easy, right? BC has one of the best run defenses in the country. This week the challenge will be a little different. First, Army is a fairly productive rushing attach. Second, Army has three weeks of game film to breakdown and find weaknesses in our defense. Expect Army to come out hard and with a few new wrinkles.
2. Continued improved special teams. The kickoffs were much better against Georgia Tech, as was our punting. But the kick returns and punt returns were a little shaky. I would like to see Tribble actually return something instead of just waiving for a fair catch.
3. Stay focused. The last time BC played Army, the Black Knights drove down the field for a TD on their first drive. BC recovered and went to win handily. But you cannot always come out flat and expect to recover.

Gambling Notes
-- The last first year BC coach to start 4-0 was Amerino "Moody" Sarno during the abbreviated 1943 season
-- BC hasn’t started 4-0 since 1999
-- BC covered a 27-point spread in their last game against Army
The current line is BC-27.5

What would be a pleasant surprise? Coming out of this game injury free. This team is starting to look like the walking wounded. Let’s hope they stay healthy through this non-conference stretch.

What would be a letdown? A close game. BC is riding a wave of good publicity right now. If we squeak by Army, the talking heads will start questioning our ranking.

What would be a shocker? Losing. Even when I was forecasting worst-case scenarios for the season, I never envisioned actually losing this game.

Bottom Line
The team is playing so well I honestly wish we were playing another conference game this Saturday. I think Army will make it interesting for the first quarter, but eventually BC will pull away
Final Score: BC 40, Army 16

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

"TOB's sorry, baby" and other links

Sundaymorningqb is known for his insightful look at college football, but he can occasionally spin out some satire. Here is his latest masterpiece: TOB begging for one more chance.

Matt Ryan is chatting on ESPN at noon ET on Thursday.

The highest ranking I've seen for BC yet.

Primer for Army

I couldn't find an Army sports blogger, so I decided to do a quick little overview on the Black Knights. (I'll have my regular game preview Thursday.) These are things you might not know about the USMA's football team.

Army does not run a gimmick offense anymore
They are still a run focused team and do have a few misdirection plays in their attack, but they are mostly a balanced, modern offense. Ultimately I think they will need to mirror Navy and Air Force if they want to win. The move to a pro-style came under Bobby Ross and hasn't been altered by his successor Stan Brock.

BC has a long history with Army
I know fans gripe out the softening of our nonconference schedule with the service academies. I have no problem with Army as an annual opponent. They are a convenient road trip for our New York-area fans, they do things the right way, and the game always seems to get picked up by TV. We have to have some cupcakes, so it might as well be Army instead of a random MAC team. (Now, I will concede that we should never play Army and a MAC team in the same season.) I also prefer Army as a regular opponent because we have some history with them. BC has played the USMA 35 times. We've only played Villanova, Holy Cross and Syracuse more. Nova and HC are not coming back on the schedule any time soon, so let's keep Army on there for tradition sake.

Army can be a giant killer
I am glad Jags spoke of keeping BC focused, because Army has given BCS teams plenty of scares. In 2004 they beat Cinci, USF and almost upset TCU. In 2005 they scared Iowa State. Last year they nearly upset Texas A&M in Texas and did upset Baylor a week later. And I am sure many BC fans remember the pounding Army gave us in 1995.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

A tale of two offensive lines

Despite the penalties on Saturday night, BC’s rebuilt offensive line deserves credit. They took on the most aggressive front seven in the ACC and held their own. Watching the BC line improve each week and absorbing all of the problems the Notre Dame Oline is having, I thought I would use the two units as an example of how inexact recruiting rankings can be and how important coaching (and position coaching) can be.

For those BC fans who are unfamiliar with the recent Irish struggles, you can get a good overview at Blue-Gray Sky. In summary, their line is porous, seemingly lacking in basic fundamentals and the main reason the Irish cannot move the ball.

I am shocked on two fronts: one the Irish line is stocked with kids who snubbed BC and two, I grew up watching the Parcells’ Giants and actually like Charlie Weis. How can he let this happen?

Weis apologists are blaming Willingham and saying the Oline is very green, very young and not that talented. I don’t buy it. Look at Notre Dame’s Oline starters and then compare it to BC’s Oline. (note: I used “year” because BC and ND classify redshirts differently.)

Notre Dame
Recruited by BCRivals Recruiting StarsCareer StartsYear
*BC was not listed in his final four, but I believe we did offer

Boston College
by ND
Rivals Recruiting StarsCareer StartsYear

For non-BC fans who might read this, let me give you a little background. Cherilus has been a very good four year starter. Poles started last year, but was yo-yoed in and out of the games and has been very inconsistent prior to this year. His early play has been one of the bright spots of the season and new staff. Tennant, Ramsey, and Castonzo were all Midwest kids with MAC and/or lower BCS offers.

The Notre Dame line has had the same position and head coach for three seasons. The BC line has learned a new scheme, gone through two position coaches and a new head coach all in the last nine months.

Notre Dame’s green line has a combined 61 starts (through Saturday) and averages three years in their program. BC’s line, which handled the same Georgia Tech team that walloped ND’s line, has 65 starts and averages 3.6 years in the program.

I will grant the ND fans that Matt Ryan can make everyone around him look better, while ND has rotated QBs all season. In the end, this proves that recruiting rankings are only part of the equation. You also have to coach kids up and give them schemes in which they can succeed. Hats off to Jags and their most recent position coach Jack Bicknell for bringing this unit together and making the transition relatively seamless despite all the hurdles.

For those of you who like OLine play, here are few shots from Saturday courtesy of TokenMom.

Ryan bandwagon and other links

The Ryan bandwagon is getting crowded and ESPN is leading the charge. It amazes me that as the ACC preseason player of the year he was still under the radar for many folks.

The only DIA school thinking about scheduling UNH is BC.

More piling on Notre Dame. This will come into play with a post I will have up later today.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Pics from Georgia Tech

Ryan for Heisman and other links

There is always room for more BC bloggers, especially when they start out with such a clear purpose. BC fans welcome Matt and his new blog Ryan for Heisman.

Matt is not the only one on the Ryan bandwagon. Check out what Tim Russert slipped in at the end of Meet the Press.

The College Football News guys poke at TOB in No. 3 in this list.

Want to know what injured freshman John Elliott is up to? According to the last paragraph from this article he's recovering and hanging out at his old high school.

I'll post more pics this afternoon, but I wanted to point out this shot from Bobby Dodd that I took on Saturday night.

Those are empty seats for a primetime night game against a ranked opponent. Is Georgia Tech now bush league? No. Yet you'll hear BC critics and TOB mention our occasional attendance issues when talking about BC. Once again let me restate, I want a packed house every week, but attendence has nothing to do with what happens on the field.

Finally, I thought you Notre Dame haters would get a kick out of this clip.

FAQs from Atlanta

I enjoyed meeting or reconnecting with many of you on Saturday. A couple of questions came up and I just want to clarify a few things.

Do I hate Eagle Action and the posters there?

I don’t hate the Eagle Action posters. On the contrary, I like and know many of them. I haven’t been frequenting the EA boards much, but it has little to do with the posters. As for the Eagle Action writers, it is a mixed bag. Mike Shalin was always nice to me when I was a student and did a good job for the Herald. Steve Conroy does a good job with the Herald and is a very good writer. The other guys I don’t read enough to have a strong opinion on. I do not care for Mike Farrell and I’ve explained myself repeatedly here. I also don’t care for Eagle Action’s founder Mike Rutstein. Eagle Action hit its lowpoint with me during the coaching search when they threw out tons of rumors under fake bylines and outright plagiarized a few other papers. Because that shoddy work was done under pennames, you’ll never really get to the bottom of things (but I don’t blame Conroy or Shalin). Maybe things will get better with Yahoo’s acquisition of Rivals. Until then, I’ll keep my distance from certain parts of EA.

Am I going to start a Amazon wish list, take donations, etc?

While I appreciate the comments, I don’t do this for the money. This is a hobby and AOL and my fulltime job keep me comfortable. If you feel the need to “pay” for this content please give to the BC fund in your own name or click on my google ads every once in a while.

Where did I get the pants?

The pants are catching on. I saw four others wearing them Saturday. You can get your own at Pennington & Bailes.

Blogpoll ballot

BC has impressively moved up in the real polls (14 in AP, 12 in coaches). If all goes according to plan BC should be in the Top 10 in a week or two. In the blogpoll, I now have them as a Top 10 team. We’ll see how others react.

Games I watched
BC-Georgia Tech 100% (twice)
WVU-Maryland 50%
OK State-Troy 25%
Michigan-ND 25%
Tennessee-Florida 25%
Pitt-MSU 25%

1 Southern Cal --
2 Florida 3
3 LSU 1
4 Oklahoma 1
5 California 1
6 West Virginia 2
7 South Carolina 1
8 Boston College 4
9 Texas 2
10 Ohio State 3
11 Penn State --
12 Alabama 3
13 Clemson 4
14 Wisconsin 2
15 Oregon 5
16 South Florida 10
17 Kentucky 9
18 Rutgers --
19 Georgia 4
20 Virginia Tech 4
21 Kansas 5
22 Purdue 4
23 Michigan State 3
24 Louisville 14
25 Air Force 1

Dropped Out: Georgia Tech (#9), UCLA (#14), Nebraska (#19), Arkansas (#21), Texas A&M (#22), Washington (#25).

For full results of the blogpoll click here.