Monday, October 29, 2007


BC fans had hoped that Gameday would be coming to Boston. They're going back to Oregon instead. I don't have a problem with that. Oregon-Arizon State is the better game. I do have a problem with two of ESPN's main college football analysts -- Mark May and Kirk Herbstreit. Both take a dismissive attitude towards BC and our national hopes. Unfortunately, since the polls and the biggest award in the sport are decided by voters, these two actually have influence. This is a problem. As Gunslingers presciently explained two years ago the national sports media creates storylines ahead of time and then does everything in their power to stick to it so that they look that much smarter. When something unexpected happens, they don't know what to do. Let's say BC drops one game before the season ends. Is there any chance we will be in the National Championship mix? No way. Because we have heard endlessly how great this one-loss LSU team is. It gets worse. Watch this weekend -- Herbie and May will both have the winner of Arizona St-Oregon ahead of BC in their polls. And if Oregon wins, look for all the pundits to move Dixon ahead of Ryan on Heisman ballots.

There is only one way to counter this -- keep winning. Jags philosophy is perfect. Just focus on Florida State. As SMQ lays out, if BC wins its remaining games it will be very difficult to deny us a shot. The computers love us. It's the pollster who are the problem.

But none of this will be an issue in Saturday's game. Just beat Florida State!


Brian said...

This irritates me. My good friend is an Oregon Ducks fan and I have to hear constantly about how the Ducks are better than the Eagles. This is undoubtedly because his CFB consciousness is filtered by the national media who are largely dismissing BC as a national title contender (don't get me wrong, we do have some members of the media in our camp at this point, but there still seems to be a lot of BC apologists out there). The College Gameday crew especially needs to be a little less biased as they are probably the most influential filter to the national consciousness of college football out there.

Simply put, if any of the national media pundits saw us coming, we would have a lot more backing at this point in the season. We weren't ranked in the preseason top 25 because no one saw us coming.

Also, I strongly feel that if you replace the name "BC" with "Florida State," "Miami," "Virginia Tech," or "Clemson," there would be no question that a team from the ACC that has gone 8-0, 4-0 would be the #1 or #2 team in the country.

Go Eagles! A semi-national, primetime, convincing W against Florida State will go along way to moving more of these pundits over into our camp.

Big Jack Krack said...

Right on, Brian - "A semi-national, primetime, convincing W against Florida State will go along way to moving more of these pundits over into our camp."

At this point I'd almost like to simply ignore the "experts".

I hope (know) the players and coaches will stay focused on FSU. In some ways this game will be very difficult following such an emotionally draining victory in Blacksburg - especially if FSU "shows up".

Let's go BC - let's close out the 3rd quarter of our season with a decisive victory, and no injuries.

Eagle0407 said...

In fairness, I think I must have heard Herbstreet saying how Ryan's play in our comeback was the first "heisman moment" of the season about 4 times and he seemed like he wanted gameday to come here. I think Mark May also picked us to win on the pre-game show thursday night. Jags and Ryan have to be two of the most likeable guys in the game, so it definitely says a lot about many of the hacks that make up the media (especially in Boston) if this team isn't fully embraced.

I do have a problem with Bill Simmons refusing to even discuss BC right now. Even though he is not a player in the college football scene at all, he could be, and considering his readership among Bostonians he could get more people interested. I think his hatred towards BC is perplexing. Didn't we all route for Holy Cross when they almost upset Kansas a few years ago? How can anyone who likes sports not love this BC team? How about extending an olive branch and having him as a guest interview?

SectionKK said...

In some defense to Herbstreit, as much as a pains me to do it, he was a very strong defender of Matt Ryan against major BC hater Colin Cowherd on Friday. You could tell though that he was not very high on BC as a team. Here's the link:

Also, I don't have a huge problem with Gameday going to Oregon, but weren't they already there once this year?

Brian said...

Eagle 0407 - I agree with you that the likes of Herbstreit, Stewart Mandel of SI have said positive things about Matt Ryan's play. Where we still disagree is BC's current strangehold of the #2 spot in the BCS. While they might like Ryan, they believe our #2 rating is fraudulent, as Bob Ryan put it.

I agree that Ryan, Jags and Logan are three of the most likeable guys in the sport. Ryan and Jags particular say all the right things in interviews, it seems.

I guess I have to keep in perspective that BC at #2 is challenging the BCS system for yet another year. If we run the table and play in the NC game, it will cause all sorts of shockwaves through the sport as some team with one loss (read: LSU, Oregon, Oklahoma, WVU) will feel they have a legitimate case to be playing in that game besides BC. This will be 7 of 10 years that the BCS will end in controversy. It almost seems as if the objection isn't with BC - how can it be since we've done nothing but what has been asked of us? - but rather with the Bowl Championship Series as is currently in place.

If there was an 8 team playoff (I won't get started here), I think the critics are quieted and we just come out of the 2007 season as the best team in the ACC. A nice story with Matt Ryan's senior year, first year coach Jags success, etc. Because if BC is the #2 team in the country, they will have to prove it by playing a tough SEC / Pac 10 / Big 10 / Big East opponent to get to that game.

But because we are again threatening the #1 v #2 system that the BCS has in place, the objection seems to be less with BC as a team and more with the BCS. That the BCS could allow a potential national title game with one non-traditional participant is no doubt scary in the eyes of the media, networks and the NCAA.

Brian said...

The Bill Simmons thing irks me too. My problem is less on the BC disses (there have been 2 in the last two weeks when he gives his Patriots spread pick, and numerous others throughout the year) but more on the topics he writes about. When you reach a certain level of national identity on the sportswriting scene, I think you have to be a little less biased in your choice of topics. I mean, you write for, not the Boston Herald. I can't imagine any ESPN sportscaster being this much of a homer on national television (could you imagine if all Herbstreit gushed about was how good Ohio State was?)

As one of my colleagues put it, I'm looking forward to the 15th consecutive Simmons article centered on Boston (exc BC) sports since Columbus Day.

Us Jesuit institutions gotta stick together. I have nothing against Holy Cross. Why you gotta hate Simmons?

Keep up the great work, ATL.

Brian said...

One final thing: Unfortunately, I was forced to listen to the Stephen A. Smith show on ESPN Radio Friday during the long drive back from Blacksburg. He had Desmond Howard on and they both just ripped into BC's ranking and Matt Ryan's Heisman chances. It wasn't pretty.

Took me down a few notches from my high from the victory the night before.

downtown_resident said...

The interesting thing is that it appears that the most well-known members of the voting media seem to hate us the most. I believe it's because their preseason predictions are the most widely known, and they believe they have the most to lose from a huge BC run.

The 66 voters in the AP poll can be tracked here:

Nearly 2/3 of them voted BC #1 or #2. They're all lesser-known guys from local newspapers. Only 10 voters slotted BC below #5-- including Craig James, Kirk Herbstreit, Chris Fowler and Ray Ratto. (Mandel had us at #4, putting him in the bottom third).

The good news here is that (1) the opinions of the big names seems to have no influence on everyone else, and, of course (2) the AP Poll is pretty much meaningless.

Brian said...

Wow. The Gunslinger article was spot on. Find and replace "Auburn" (2005) with "BC" (2007) and that pretty much describes our season in the eyes of the media.

You have to love the imperfect science that is the Football Bowl Division of collegiate football.

testing thing said...

You are right about the pollsters! What does BC have to do to get more 1st place votes than LSU? We go on the road and face a top ten ranked conference oppoent and win. They do it and lose! That VaTech win though makes BC unpassable if they run the table (including the ACC title game). So we'll have 2 big wins after the halfway point in the season.

I wish the conference title games were either non-existent or mandadtory, because it's not right that the Pac-10 and Big Ten winners get a pass to the BCS without having that last difficult game.

Brian said...

Wake keeps winning (boost to SOS), and Clemson and VTech will be ranked when we play them. #2 is ours for the taking.

Big Jack Krack said...

I enjoy all of the comments and they are all right on.

Now let's get back to the matter at hand - preparing for Florida State. I don't care how mediocre they are (compared to their historical greatness during the last 20 years I guess)they are still very dangerous.

I don't care about Herbstreet, May, Corso, Simmons. Cowherd, Bob (Traitor) Ryan, Mandel, Smith, Howard, etc. We are better than these guys - let them have their opinions (for now). As Coach Jags says - If a recruit doesn't want Boston College, we don't want him. BC gets a certain kind of player - why waste time on disinterested recruits or sports commentators who have their own agenda?

This is a wonderful, special story this season. These bozos can enjoy it or loathe it - let them wallow in their own bitterness.

Meanwhile, this special group of players and coaches have some serious preparation to do - and we are here to support them!!!

There was a comment about Jesuit Institutions sticking together - wouldn't it be nice if every Jebbie College adopted this BC Team as their own (cousin) and publicly cheered us on. Maybe someone in the Sports Information Office should run with that one.

Let's go BC - Beat Florida State and send Bobby Bowden into his (well-deserved) retirement.

Brian said...

Jack - I believe we are the only FBS (formerly known as I-A) Jesuit university with a football program. The only other I-A Catholic school program is ND.

Can you imagine? Certainly it wouldn't kill Georgetown and Gonzaga to cheer us on in football. :p

Big Jack Krack said...

Hello Brian:

That was my thinking - we are the ONLY Jesuit College or University playing major college football. Assuming there are many college football fans in the sister institutions, wouldn't it be nice if some of them gravitated to us. I guess it's pie in the sky, but I was just having fun with the thought - trying to get as "national" as we can. My brother is a Holy Cross Alum and is (secretly) rooting for us. As you say, it wouldn't kill Georgetown and Gonzaga to cheer us on in football.

Boston College
Canisius College
College of the Holy Cross
Creighton University
Fairfield University
Fordham University
Georgetown University
Gonzaga University
Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley (associate member)
John Carroll University
Le Moyne College
Loyola College in Maryland
Loyola Marymount University
Loyola University Chicago
Loyola University New Orleans
Marquette University
Regis University
Rockhurst University
Saint Joseph's University
Saint Louis University
Saint Peter's College
Santa Clara University
Seattle University
Spring Hill College
University of Detroit Mercy
University of San Francisco
University of Scranton
Weston Jesuit School of Theology (associate member)
Wheeling Jesuit University
Xavier University


Brian said...

It would be nice for them to cheer us on for football, but when it comes to basketball, this is another story. There are some perennial powerhouse college basketball programs in that list - Gonzaga, Georgetown, St. Joe's, Holy Cross, Xavier and even Creighton usually wins their division. :p

Big Jack Krack said...

This is my last one - I promise. (I'm sitting in a hotel room in the Raleigh area, and flying to NYC in the morning - so I'm doing college football tonight).

I just jumped on Phil and his highlighted question is "Which ranked team will mostly likely be upset by a non-ranked team?" The majority of fans (18%) are picking BC to lose to FSU. There are about 20 games listed.

It's a small poll - and big deal - what does it mean?

One thing that is indicated - we had better be prepared and play very well Saturday night. That's what it all comes down to now What have you done for me lately?(This week).

Let's go BC - we CAN do this - we CAN beat Florida State University!!!!!

JP from Dorchester said...

Great blog.... Actually, Saint Joe's adopted BC as their football team at the beginning of the season. It was mentioned here on this blog in late August some time. Not sure about the other guys though. As an alum of both schools (BC BS 02, SJU MA 06) I'm glad the kids at SJU did that. They are passionate sports fans and I''m sure it helps that Matt Ryan is a local Philly guy.bch1998

ToTheHeights said...

I don't think the rhetoric that I have been reading about Herbstreit on this blog has been all that fair. I think that he is one of the best, if not the best, college football analysts and he is the most accurate with his opinions. I have watched him very closely this season and I am positive that if we keep winning, he will buy in. He is as strong Ryan supporter and with Tebow injured I think his Heisman voice will get louder.

For the most part, we got to #2 because other teams lost. Both Herbstreit and Fowler said that if we beat VT then they would shoot us up their rankings. Unfortunately for 56 minutes of the Tech game we didn't look very good. (The weather, the VT defense, the atmosphere, playing 4 cupcakes before VT were not in our favor).

If we win out including ACCCG, I will guarantee you that Herbstreit puts us at #2 or #1 in his ballot and that he advocates BC in the NC game. In fact I will be shocked if he doesn't and calls for a 1 loss LSU team to jump us.

Another ESPN personality who has been extremely pro BC this year is Jim Rome. I never liked Rome until this year, but he has said some great things about BC, Ryan, the school, and the program we run.

I must reiterate what a piece of trash Bob Ryan is. Buying into South Florida over BC? And they lose to the University of New Jersey and UConn? Now we will have to hear how great the UConn team is before we get some good press for BC. What a jerk. I hope he gives his diploma back.

Brian said...

I have to disagree with the fact that Herbstreit and Fowler will have us at #1 or #2 at year end if we win out the rest of our schedule. All things being equal, if the likes of Ohio State, Oregon, and LSU win out the rest of their slate, then I don't see any reason for them place us ahead of them if they aren't doing so today.

I've watched a lot of College Gameday this year, and for weeks Herbstreit has been picking against us. Wake, Ga Tech, Notre Dame and VTech games I believe. I'm not convinced they change their tune this late in the season.

I think there's more truth to that Gunslinger blog post than we care to believe.

Agree that Bob Ryan is trash. Although I didn't watch last Sunday, apparently our boy Lupica was sticking up for BC against Mitch Albom on Sunday's The Sports Reporters.

Go Eagles!

Brian said...

This just in: BC @ Maryland game, another 8pm kickoff! ABC.

ATL_eagle said...

TotheHeights, I strongly have to disagree. If BC, LSU and/or Oregon all run the table, Herbie will be pounding his desking saying LSU and/or Oregon needs to leapfrog BC.

Eagle in Brighton said...

Prognosticating the Gameday Crew aside, two things:

1.) Lupica (though a BC grad) doled out heaping praise on Matt Ryan and defended BC's ranking genuinely for the a full 2-3 minute segment on last weeks sportsreporters. As a fan of the show since Dick Schapp held the reigns, it was a nice to see.

2.) Xavier Lee (FSU's on again, off again starting QB) is suspended for the next two games (including BC). The more line-up shake-up, the better from my perspective.

eagleinexile said...

Don't forget that ESPN's love of Oregon is really transferred love from USC. According to the rules, the love should have to sit out a year, but this is ESPN not Demetrius Jones. USC lost the worst upset in history and only fell 8 spots, Michigan fell over 20. If that does not tell you how deep USC's hold is on the national picture, I don't know what will. Since USC lost, and Cal has shown that it is once again, a pretender, someone in the PAC-10 has to abosrb all that love, and why not the Ducks? After all, the only reason they were ranked was because they lost to a good Cal team and beat a bad Michigan. Now that the Cal loss is no good, hey they beat USC, the greatest team ever. If I was from Arizona State, I'd be burning ESPN in effigy more than BC fans. And look at the irony, 1 loss Oregon teams in the past were passed over for 2 loss ND and Texas squads. Now they are getting their moment at the expense of 2 undefeateds (BC,ASU). I say, and I hope this makes the Rooting guide, go Sun Devils.

Footnote: Ryan is #1 on ESPN Heisman's Watch with 12 1st place votes, the most by anyone to date.

Brian said...

eagleinexile - I'm torn here. Although I agree wholeheartedly that the Oregon love has been "borrowed" love from USC and the Pac-10, I don't know if we should root for Arizona State this weekend.

I mean, a convincing Arizona State victory will help Matty distance himself from Dixon in the Heisman race. (I'm not wholly convinced Dixon is even a Heisman threat to be honest, considering he plays on the west coast, and is it Dixon or Stewart that's the biggest stud on that team?)

The flipside is if Arizona State runs the table, they could challenge us and have a legit case at the #2 spot in the BCS (that is, if we take care of business).

Eagle in Brighton said...

I'm conflicted as well, but my thought process is this (hoping we are able to run the table, which in itself is a tall order): considering the media hype is more behind Oregon (with their close loss to Cal, W v. USC, etc.) I'd rather see them lose, simply to quell their momentum among pundits.

I know purists would like to relay solely on the play on the field, but in terms of rooting interest, you have to approach this with a degree of sensationalism, because at the end of the day, these polls and the BCS is as much a popularity contest as it is reflection of talent/records on the field.

With that said, without a Pac-10 championship game, ASU is Oregon's last legitimate opponent, while ASU still has USC on the schedule. One more loss for both programs would be most desirable for BC, and the most likely scenario for this to occur would entail an Oregon loss this week.

Impromptu rooting guide:

This Week:

Two Weeks out:

Go Eagles.

Eagle in Brighton said...

By the way, RE: Bill Simmons: if you're a Boston/NE sports fan, the mans great, but we don't "need" his tacit support any more than we need any other writer's support. At the end of the day, what matters is winning out, the computer's and two pools of voters.

I would posit the lackadaisical support from the Gameday crew (which disproportionaly skews anti-BC when compared to national/provincial voters) is a much greater hindrance than BS's silent treatment, but even that can only go so far to determining BC's ultimate position (ie. no effect on computers)

Brian said...

Eagle in Brighton - Totally agree. Machines don't lie.

For your rooting guide, I'd rather see Wake > UVA to bolster strength of schedule, then see Wake < Clemson in two weeks.

We also want Maryland > UNC for the same reason. At 1-3 Maryland isn't really a threat for the ACC Atlantic crown, so this will help our SOS as well.

Might I also throw in there:

OSU > Wisconsin

I don't know about you, but I'd rather see OSU win out and in the National Championship over an Oregon or LSU squad. Also, I don't want the #1 bullseye on our team. I think it's an unncessary distraction at this point in the season, seeing that we are still in the drivers seat.

Eagle in Brighton said...

That's a good point in terms of OSU.

To be frank, I think Michigan and Illinois will be serious opposition to an undefeated OSU run. Not only do I agree that a delayed OSU loss would be preferable in terms of BC expectations/attention, it actually might be more probable.

Brian said...

OSU gets Illinois at home. Not sure how much of a threat that is. Agreed @ Michigan could be the end of OSU's National Title hopes.

Storyline that no one will talk about: our on paper strength of schedule, before the season started, against the ACC Coastal. Let's be honest. @ VTech, @ Georgia Tech and Miami looks formidable on paper. Subtrach an @ Georgia Tech or a Miami for @ Duke or UNC, and the road is a lot smoother.

5 games, a tall order. But we can do this. Go Eagles.

ToTheHeights said...

"TotheHeights, I strongly have to disagree. If BC, LSU and/or Oregon all run the table, Herbie will be pounding his desk saying LSU and/or Oregon needs to leapfrog BC."

Bill, I'm on the presumption that Herbie is reserving judgment on us until we win out. Is it fair? Not by any means considering how OSU was exposed in the NC game last year, have a lesser team this year, and are the unquestioned #1.

Darius said...

If BC runs the table, who's to say anyone else will? We would probably end up #1 by the time the regular season played out. Herbie and Fowler and Craig James and whoever else can scream all they want about more deserving 1-loss teams, but it'll just be more transparent and implausible to the bulk of voters that matter. The simple truth is that not many teams get through a 12 or 13 game schedule undefeated. There have been 3 seasons with this extra game so far--2002, 2003, and 2006--and those seasons have seen 2, 1, and 1 BCS-league teams go through undefeated. Each of these undefeated teams has played for the title.

The unfortunate additional fact is that the team in each of those seasons that was #1 going into the bowls has lost the championship game.

X said...

BC obviously has to prove itself to the nation. They don't come in with a history or sexy name-recognition like OU, LSU, etc. Instead of worrying about the pollsters, they need to worry about doing everything they can to focus on one game at a time and run the table.

A one-loss BC team will not have a chance to make it to the title game, but an undefeated BC team will force everyone to think.

If BC wants to get escape public doubt, they'll have to earn it the hard way, from the ground up. BC is in uncharted territory, and it's not the fault of the pollsters that BC hasn't established a football history. But they can start one.

It seems Jags is doing just that and worrying about his team first, and public opinion second.