Thursday, January 31, 2008

Can BC beat Carolina?

The oddsmakers have BC as a 21.5 underdog. We are coming off two tough losses and facing the best team in our conference on the road. I am not optimistic about tonight. The little hope I have is based on Maryland's upset of UNC at home earlier this month. BC beat Maryland. Like Maryland, BC runs the flex. We have a chance, right? Not really. Maryland didn't beat UNC so much as UNC played poorly and still only lost by 2. The Heels shot .380 from the field. They run an up tempo offense that is predicated on fast break points. They are rarely going to miss that often.

There is hope. Regardless of how it happened, Maryland showed the UNC is not invinceable. If BC is to win the following needs to happen:

-- Slow pace. BC needs to keep this game in the 60s. BC also needs to focus on transistion D. Too many mental lapses have allowed opponents to score easy buckets.
-- Get the the foul line. When we've played well against Roy Williams' teams it has been by getting to the foul line. We don't have the inside players we used to, but there is no reason that the big men and Rice can't penetrate and draw fouls.
-- Don't turn the ball over. Due to UNC's tempo, possesions are critical. We don't rebound well, so protecting the ball becomes that much more important.

I hope we win. Stealing this game could change the course of the season. But it is going to take a near perfect performance.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

First reaction to 2008 schedule

This schedule has been floating around the past few days. I was waiting for an official announcement, but since the Globe went ahead and published it, I figured I might as well weigh in too. My thoughts follow. Please add your own in the comments section.

Aug. 30 at Kent State
Sept. 6 vs. Georgia Tech
Sept. 20 vs. Central Florida
Sept. 27 vs. Rhode Island
Oct. 4 at Florida State
Oct. 18 vs. Virginia Tech
Oct. 25 vs. Clemson
Nov. 1 at Wake Forest
Nov. 8 vs. Notre Dame
Nov. 15 at North Carolina
Nov. 22 vs. Maryland
Nov. 29 at North Carolina St.

A good start
Last year notoriously opened with three ACC games. This year we get a MAC team at a neutral site (although technically it is a home game for them), Georgia Tech at home in the second week under their new offense, a good but beatable Central Florida team at home, an off week and then URI parents weekend. That is manageable. Regardless of how much the offense struggles, our defense should be enough to win those games. 4-0 is likely.

Tough midseason
Putting aside Florida State's recent inconsistency, we have not matched up well against them. On the road makes things that much more difficult. Our second break in the schedule doesn't add much. I would have preferred it later in the season when everyone is more beat up. VT and Clemson are probably the two best teams on our schedule. Fortunately we've played well against both recently and have both at home. At Wake to start off November...not an easy game. This stretch could go about ten different directions.

The final four games
Notre Dame cannot be as bad as they were last season, so that makes this game tougher. But it will be at home and our team and fans will be pumped up. UNC on the road is a tough game but winnable. I expect Maryland to have another down year. Closing out at NC State against TOB is an interesting twist. He'll be in year 2 of his rebuilding, so I like our chances there.

On paper this schedule is less demanding than last season's. Of course once we played the games, we saw that some were tougher than others. It is very early and there are still many things we don't know about our own team, but I think this sets up well for BC. Our new offense gets a few winnable games under their belt before the true tests. I am optimistic and think this will play out well.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Midseason Prouty Ratings

When you drop a few games and have a tough road ahead, everyone has an explanation for why things are going bad and what should be done. I've been attributing the recent struggles to the Freshmen. Upon further review the Freshmen's play doesn't tell the whole story. Take a look at the Prouty Ratings (Prouty is an efficiency measurement used by some college hoops stats guys).

Prouty Rating
[ {Points / (Field Goals Attempted * 2 + FTA) } +
{ (Points + Assists * 2 - Turnovers) / Minutes} +
{ (Rebounds + Steals + (Blocks / 2) - Personal Fouls) / Minutes} +
{ (Minutes / (TEAM TOTAL MINUTES / 5) } * Team Winning Pct} ] / 4

While not perfect, the rating attempts to measure a player's contributions by combing offensive stats, possession stats (defense) and productivity. Here's how the BC players ranked at this point in the season.

Rice 0.486
Sanders 0.416
Raji 0.402
Spears 0.393
Blair 0.339
Roche 0.332
Paris 0.326
Oates 0.315

As you can see, the freshmen are not the problem. Sanders and Raji have been two of our most important players. I think the bigger issue is the front line. All have had their moments, but none of the big men have been consistent enough or productive enough offensively. Our style of play rewards inside players with easy baskets and plenty of rebounds. We're not getting that from Spears, Blair and Oates.

I would like to see some improvement from everyone but I really think the key to the second half comes back to the freshmen. I think we've seen the upside of the front line players. If we want to squeak into the tournament (or worse, avoid a terrible second half), it is going to be on Raji and Sanders to become even better. If they improve their rebounding and are a little more careful with the ball, I think we can weather the storm of the next two weeks and make a late in the final weeks of the season.

TC and Jay McGillis and other links

Another benefit of Tom Coughlin in the Super Bowl is the attention the Jay McGillis story is getting. The Herald and New York Newsday wrote of Coughlin's continued commitment to Jay and the McGillis family.

Here's a short interview with Jared Dudley.

Bob Ryan lost his son Keith Ryan (BCLS'95) to an apparent suicide. There is nothing I can really say other than to offer thoughts and prayers.

Former BC player (who was on campus less than two months) Corey Eason is headed to UMass. Best of luck to him.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Snee story and more Draft stuff

Nice feature on about Giants guard Chris Snee.

The notes section of this story mentions Tribble's struggles at the Senior Bowl.

This profile has Silva going anywhere from the 3rd round to the 5th.

Early enrollee Josh Haden is hoping to start this season. Related to that, this Rivals notes column mentions the rebuilding Jags has to do with the offense. I think most fans assume that it will be Crane as the Ryan replacement. I think Jags is honest when he says the spot is open. Don't be surprised if Davis or Boek emerge this spring.

Weekend roundup

A little R&R with the family kept me away from the blog and a TV during the VT game. From the write ups and second-hand information, it seems like inexperience came back to haunt at the wrong times. Just look at the end of the forces OT on a miracle only to be totally outplayed in the extra five minutes. This week is now critical. The team could be a major hole by next Sunday.

Former BC player and coach Mike Holovak died this weekend. Holovak was 49-29-3 during his time at the Heights.

The News & Observer looked at how the current all ACC team was ranked by the recruiting experts when they were high school prospects.

Here is an interview with BC baseball coach Mik Aoki.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Coughlin at BC and other links

Sorry for the link heavy posts this week. An entire week without a basketball game created a lull for news and analysis. Basketball and recruiting will pick up soon which should create for plenty of blog fodder. I'll also work to get some historical stuff together on QB changes.

The USA Today took an interesting angle -- looking back at the last time Coughlin played David to an undefeated Goliath. Good quotes from former BC SID Reid Oslin.

Another mock draft, another prediction that Ryan heads to Atlanta. I am keeping my fingers crossed.

Here’s a draft preview on Dunbar. It’s on the money (in my opinion) and expects him to go in the late rounds.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The coolest thing the band has ever done

Now if they could only do that on skates.

ACC invites and other links

Even though the ACC had a decent showing in out of conference play, the perception outside the conference is that the ACC is down. Take a look at this post in the Big Lead that focuses on BC. You're going to hear a lot more of this line of thinking as the season progresses. In my opinion the problem lies with the disappointments like NC State and UVA. When preseason favorites fail to live up to hype and flawed teams like Miami make early runs, the conference appears to be down. Consensus seems to be that the ACC will get five teams in the tournament. I think that's fair, but it is way too early. There is still a chance that six and maybe even seven ACC teams will be dancing in March.

In other news, BC grad and Philly blogger Enrico is subject of a nice write up in the Inquirer. Even if you don't follow Philly sports, his blog the 700 Level is worth checking out.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Another Ryan award and draft speculation

Matt Ryan won the Manning Award. The prize doesn't have a long history but has the unique twist of being awarded after the bowls. Congrats to Matt.

Mel Kiper thinks Matt is the best QB in the draft and the only QB likely to go in the first round. In his latest analysis he sees Ryan landing with the Falcons. I'd love to see him in Atlanta, although I don't think he'd make it to many game watches.

In this recap of the Senior Bowl workouts there is a small blurb on Gosder. His play has been mixed so far.

The last question in this mailbag mentions BC's recruiting.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Flaws with the recruiting rankings

Skeptics and believers alike should read SMQ’s deep dive on recruiting rankings. [Relevant BC note -- we continue to outperform our recruiting rankings.] He concludes that "the rankings are a serviceable baseline for expectation." I am still in the nonbeliever club.

Although I think there is some value to following recruiting, I remain unemotional about the process. The payoffs are just too far away and there are too many outside factors that impact a program from signing day to the time a player hits the field.

As a public skeptic of the recruiting rankings, let me explain myself a bit. Talent matters. The team with the better talent will win the majority of the time. But I don’t think the rankings are a perfect (or even a very good) measure of talent or a good forecast for on the field results. The pillars of my arguments undermining the rankings follow. As always, let me know what you think in the comments section.

Recent history
The major sites use their consistently high rankings of programs like USC, Oklahoma and LSU as examples of how their system works. This boast ignores the actual timelines of these programs accents. UCS, Oklahoma and LSU all won championships and moved into or returned to elite status with respective coaching changes. Carroll, Stoops and Saban all won early in their tenures with less regarded talent. Once the programs established themselves their recruiting took on positive momentum and the recruiting sites followed. Now, nearly a decade later, it is easy to say “we [Rivals, Scout, Lemming] had USC class of 2003 ranked highly and it produced XX Pac 10 titles and XX first round draft picks.” These same sites never wipe the egg of their face when they could have said “our rankings of the late 90s USC classes never would have forecasted their first Championship under Carroll.” Florida provides another example of coaching versus recruiting rankings and how these sites can luck into their forecasts. Ron Zook was hailed by the recruiting sites for the classes he brought to Florida. His performance on the field left the Gator fans disappointed. Enter Urban Meyer. He wins a national championship in his second season. Recruiting sites boast: “see we knew Florida had talent!” Yet how do they explain Urban Meyer going undefeated at Utah with a bunch of two stars recruits? Or turning around a lightly-regarded Bowling Green earlier in his career? Coaching is the easy explanation. Unfortunately for Rivals and Scout, it doesn’t sell subscriptions. Recruiting news does.

Real life
This is something I didn’t appreciate until I had to make and witness personnel decisions in the business world. Although athletic evaluation is less subjective, when trying to fill roles or hire companies determine criteria for a position and then go and find people for those roles…just like sports (the subjectivity comes when placing a greater weight on personality versus tangible things like size and strength). Even the best companies make mistakes. I am sure anyone reading this who has hired someone has seen the perfect candidate not live up to expectations, while the guy or girl you had doubts about rises to the occasion. Heck, there is even something to be said of coaching someone into his or her role. I am sure readers have seen or developed people to become better than they were or outperform their peers who had better degrees or more experience, etc. Why should we expect things do be different in college sports? Bringing in the people with the best resumes in the business world is a start but doesn’t assure success. Bringing in the most sought after recruits in college football is a start but doesn’t assure success. It is about making them better and fitting the pieces together.

The NFL has a much more qualified applicant pool from which to draft. They have hundreds of hours of footage of likely draftees playing at a very high level. Collectively they are the best talent evaluators in the sport – yet they get things wrong too. It’s the nature of the process. If the best miss when identifying prospects 30% of the time, why should I expect talent evaluators from the national sites to get it right even 50% of the time. They are dealing with a much wider sample size and trying to forecast a process that has many more variables.

I think the rankings become a self-fulfilling process not a baseline. The sites try to stay ahead of the curve with the supposed measurable but there is a lot of luck, hot air and betting on the right programs and coaches. Any evaluation process is going to be filled with with hits and misses. What Tom Lemming or Mike Farrell thinks doesn’t really matter. What matters is that the coaching staff has a good eye for talent, knows how to sell kids on the school and style of play, makes them better once they get on campus and then gives them the plays to beat the guys across the line of scrimmage.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Good take on Cherilus' draft prospects and other links

This is a pretty fair evaluation of Gosder Cherilus. Given how inconsistent he was this past season I still think he'll slip into the second round. But what do I know?

Saturday night the hockey team pulled off a tie in a game BU dominated. Any moral victory was ruined with the news that Brock Bradford broke his arm for the second time this season and is done for the year.

The women's basketball team keeps improving after last year's rough season. Sunday they beat Wake Forest to improve their ACC record to 3-2.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

BC guys in the Super Bowl

Congratulations to Chris Snee of the New York Giants and Dan Koppen of the New England Patriots. They will be representing OLine U in the biggest game of the year. Congratulations are also in order to Tom Coughlin. He's a Syracuse grad, yet we all know he's a BC guy at heart. I'll be rooting for the Giants. Although I am in Atlanta now, I spent my formative years a few exits north of the Meadowlands during the Parcells era. My passion for pro football has waned somewhat but old loyalties die hard. I would also like to see the injured Kiwi pick up a ring with a GMen win.

It should be an interesting time on a Red Sox-Yankee game in February.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Sometimes freshmen play like freshman

A promising first half quickly went down the drain. Not much went right as the night progressed. Here are my thoughts:

-- Spears on the boards. He didn’t have a great night but Spears hit the boards hard and provided some needed points.
-- More positive minutes from Oates. He was only on the floor for 18 minutes, but he hit a big shot and provided some good D. We should’ve gone big more in the second half.

-- The play of the freshmen. Combined they shot 8-25 from the field, 3-11 from the line, turned the ball over 6 times and committed 10 fouls. This is to be expected with young guys in the ACC. You just hope they don’t all struggle on the same night. Raji, Paris and Sanders forced too many bad shots and struggled defensively. The good thing is that we have a week to get them back on track.
-- Foul shooting. Doesn’t take a genius to put this together.
-- Turnovers. As the announcers properly pointed out, BC kept turning the ball over and getting lost in transition

The tough thing about losing a game like this is that Virginia didn’t play that well and we still lost by a ton. A quirk in the schedule leaves these guys plenty of time to lick their wounds. Let’s hope we see the team that killed Wake not the one who played so poorly in the second half.

Football links

This shocked me -- Scout thinks we are a Top 20 team next year. I appreciate the enthusiam...I just think Scout is underestimating the potential struggles of the offense next season.

ProFootball Weekly ranks Matt Ryan as the best QB in the upcoming draft.

Draft Insiders thinks Parcells might take Ryan with the first overall pick. (Thanks to Staar and Tim for the link.)

Friday, January 18, 2008

BC-BU in the New York Times and other links

I am ashamed. It's a real low for this blog when the New York Times is posting BC hockey stories and I am not. I like hockey and love Jerry York. It is just the one sport where being displaced from Boston really has its disadvantages. In the past I've seen one game a year (if I am lucky) and didn't have much to add. With ACC Select I really can't use that excuse anymore. Saturday night I'll be using ACC Select and hopefully will be able to watch both the basketball and hockey games. Also, I'll have an upcoming hockey guest blogger in anticipation of the Beanpot.

In the second portion of this article, you'll see that BC asked super recruit Colin Larmond not to play basketball this year. I feel for MoBeard, but it is a smart move for Colin and BC.

Here is the Kenpom profile of UVA's basketball team. They are coming in with a three-game losing streak and are 0-2 in the ACC. I still think it will be a very tough game and JPJ can get very loud. Should be a good game and a good gauge for our season.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Murphy going to Florida and other links

Prized basketball recruit Erik Murphy committed to Florida. Erik's father Jay starred at BC in the '80s and many had hoped he'd follow in his father's footsteps. No dice. Best of luck to him.

As much as I would love to have Murphy this study puts some numbers around Al's ability to win with under recruited players.

A Mass website will be covering Justin Tuggle and other high school players at the All America Bowl.

Neighborhood battle takes an unexpected turn

On occasion I interact with parents of BC athletes. One of my first recommendations is “don’t read the BC message boards.” I base this advice on history and the nature of the forum. Mostly unmonitored and relatively anonymous posters pick apart all aspects of the players and coaches lives with little worry about fact, slander or the consequences of their posts. I am not condemning the medium. I am active on one board and have spent numerous hours reading and enjoying both. They are vital to BC sports. However, every message board (including those outside of sports) builds up its own patois, list of references and humor that can easily be taken out of context by outsiders. At the end of the day, message boards are not for the faint of heart. If you are easily offended or sensitive, it is best to avoid and ignore them.

That preamble leads me to this bit of news via the Brighton blog: community activists are aware that they are being discussed and mocked on the BC message boards. For better or worse, BC is getting involved. The school has apologized for the behavior of the boards and may take action against Scout and/or Rivals.

In my opinion, BC should steer clear of this whole mess. Neither site is owned or officially affiliated with the school. If these remarks had run in the reader comments section of a Herald or Globe article, would the school feel the need to get involved? In my opinion these activists will never be happy with any BC solution for the Brighton campus (nor any changes to the main campus). Engaging in dialogue about these offensive comments or apologizing for the actions of anonymous message board posters just distracts from the bigger issue at hand -- the land. The neighbors have shown very little flexibility or willingness to discuss realistic solutions. Acknowledging this message board nonsense or even taking partial responsibility just reinforces the activists firmly-held (and unlikely to change) beliefs that BC and its community are a bunch of ogres trying to destroy Brighton.

As for the comments themselves…I don’t condone them. They are in poor tastes. But I don’t think anyone should give them any attention. I’ve seen much worse on the internet. The reality of today’s world (where anything can be said on a message board or blog and personal information is readily available via google) is that the minute these Brighton folks got involved and started writing, campaigning and giving interviews they opened themselves up as targets. (I should know. I receive all sorts of random and often harassing emails from people who don’t like BC sports.)

I would love to see this all get resolved. BC needs the Brighton campus. It would also add to the community around campus. But any long-time observer of the situation can tell you this won’t end smoothly or soon. Let’s move forward. The focus should be on solutions that work, not offensive online nonsense.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Draft news and other links

Here's a thorough profile on Ryan from the Baltimore Sun. Ryan looks like he might skip the Senior Bowl. I don't think it will impact his draft status. The biggest factor is who gets hired where. Teams like Baltimore, Miami and Atlanta need new QBs. But will there respective new head coaches want to go in that direction? I could see Ryan going anywhere from 1 to 15. Wherever he lands, he'll be fine.

Notes on Silva and Dunbar from the Shrine Game. Jo-Lonn is turning heads. Silva is not.

SMQ is taking a look back at the ACC. Part I here and Part II here.

Paul Peterson joined the staff at Southern Utah.

College Hoops Journal broke down every bubble team.

"You ain't Doug Flutie!"

I don't even know where to start on this clip...

If you like Tracy Morgan and you like Doug Flutie, you'll probably get a kick out of this interview that turns into improv of Morgan as a football coach.

WARNING: For those who are at work, are put off by Tracy's humor, or NSFW language, just skip this entry.

(Big thanks to Tim for finding it.)

Miami pics

Thanks to Steve N. for capturing some of the action and sharing them with this blog.

With the late start and the snow, I worried that the building would be empty. Fortunately the students are back and showed up. The lower bowl did seem to fill in as the game wore on. As the team gets better, the crowds will get better.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

What a diference a week makes

Another conference game, another very good outing. (Robert Morris, who?) Outside of a sloppy three minute stretch late in the game, the team played superb basketball. Here are a few thoughts.

-- Sanders' decision making. He is making leaps and bounds in his development. He seems much more comfortable in the set plays and is making good passes. I also like Sanders' versatility along the baseline.
-- Half-court defense. We are still not rebounding particularly well, but our switches and discipline have been much better.
-- The different line-ups. Al never goes deep into his bench but this mix of guys gives us more flexibility than he has ever had. We can go big or little. We can load up on wing players. He's used Blair and Oates on the court at the same time. The different looks will pay dividends later in the season.

-- Struggling against the press. We have multiple guys who can handle the ball, yet we had Oates dribbling against pressure. Why? Al doesn't micromanage the game, so the small guys need to come up and help out.
-- Rice's shooting. He played well and made his free throws late...but I am concerned about another rough night from the field. He's having the worse shooting year of his BC career. I hope he gets on track soon.

There is still a lot of basketball to play but the ACC season is starting to look a little more manageable. This team is certainly making progress.

Is this a different Miami?

With most of our ACC basketball relationships still in their infancy, Miami is the closest thing we have to a history when it comes to ACC hoops. Due to the Big East relationship, we've played them nearly annually since 1992 and in many cases twice a season. BC has dominated the series. We are 21-8 all-time against Miami and 19-7 in conference play.

Miami comes into the game with their highest ranking and probably their best team in eight years. Some are dismissing their fast start because they beat up some patsies. I am not. Not only did they beat a Providence team we lost to, but they also have solid wins over Miss St and VCU.

As for what the experts think...the game is a pick'em on the sports books. Kenpom has us as a slight favorite.

Two cents take on the game
I haven't seen Miami this year so take this for what it is worth. This squad is not big, yet they block a fair amount of shots and have good defense. The key for BC will be pushing the tempo. If the game is in the 70s, I think we win. In the high 50s, low 60s, we're in for a fight.

Monday, January 14, 2008

The new kids

A growing phenomenon in college football has finally taken hold at BC. Following the lead set by Anthony Castonzo last year, Codi Boek, Donnie Fletcher, Josh Haden, and Max Holloway have all become early enrollees. Sometimes referred to as greyshirting or green shirting, early enrollees are football players who enroll in the second semester and immediately started participating in team workouts and practices.

In addition to having their new players practicing with the team, the program benefits from scholarship flexibility. The scholarship of a player who enrolls early count towards a previous year’s scholarship limit. So for recruiting ranking purposes these four guys will be part of our 2008 class. From the NCAA’s perspective they will be part of our 2007 class.

Why hasn’t BC done this more often? I’ve never been given a good explanation. I’m sure BC had concerns about kids rushing through high school or feared prospective players loading up on bad credits just so they could graduate early. Now many of the elite prospects structure their high school curriculum around graduating early. With so many other schools successfully integrating these athletes, there is no reason BC shouldn’t.

I don’t think this will change the face of the program or give us a competitive advantage. We are just following a trend. Castonzo showed that the added spring practice can be huge difference. Don’t be surprised if all of these guys see the field next year.

My first day as a BC student was a bright, beautiful late summer day in September. These four (two of whom call California and Florida home) are getting a different setting for their first days. Welcome to New England, boys!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Sunday links

Jags' offense dominated the Hula Bowl.

Here's an update on Craig Smith.

Alex Gibbs is back in the NFL so he probably won't be consulting BC this season. Here is a long but very good explination of the zone blocking scheme.

Saturday, January 12, 2008


These weren't the same sleepwalkers from the Robert Morris game. The play was crisp and shots were falling. It was probably the best basketball we've played since the 2006 ACC Tournament.

I'd like to write a unique take or uncover a factor in the success. It wasn't one of those games. Everything just went right. We probably could have beaten anyone playing like this. Our 3s were falling. Our tip-ins went in. We used tight flex at the right times and spread it out at other times. The D was solid. Some days it all comes together (how is that for insight?).

Rice's second-half response. Rice's shots weren't falling in the first half. I worried about a continued cold streak. In the second half he played much better and drew fouls. He also benefited from Paris running the point and moving to the shooting guard.
Spears' shot selection. I've been critical in the past when he starts moving away from the basket. Not an issue tonight. He got some easy points early to help spark things.
Oates! Another good outing from Oates. As long as he is hitting his 3s, you won't hear my complain. The minute he cools off though, he needs to stop looking for that shot.

When you win so decisively, there's not much to complain about. My only gripe was the transition D. We did not get back and let Wake score some easy baskets. If we do that against UNC, the Heels will run us out of the building.

Miami is up next. This might be the best Hurricane basketball team in a decade. Anything can just depends on which BC team comes to play.

Central Florida official and other links

Our schedule is set. Central Florida will come to Boston next season. BC will return to Orlando in 2011. This is a good game for BC. I'll have more this game and our schedule next week. (Thanks to the group of guys who sent the link today.)

A nice feature on BC Guy and current New York Giant Chris Snee.

Three BC teams were honored for their sportsmanship.

Buried in this notebook is a short blurb on Troy Bell playing in Italy. (Thanks to Bill P. for the link.)

Friday, January 11, 2008

Sleeper, Bubble team or NIT?

Expectations were low for the basketball team. Preseason, we were picked anywhere from 8th to 11th in the ACC. A good start, followed by a sloppy holiday schedule and concluded with two ugly non-conference losses has further muddled the outlook. How good is this team? I don't know. The ACC slate will tell us that. What this team needs to accomplish to continue our current tournament run is a little more clear.

Where we are
Real Time RPI: 110
Sagarin Rating: 109
Pomeroy Rating: 91
ESPN Bracketology: 11 seed with 7 ACC teams getting in
Bracketology 101: Last four out
Power Conference Rating: the ACC is 4th

Despite what ESPN says, if the season ended today we would not be invited to the Big Dance. In fact the Robert Morris loss and the Kansas blowout will stay with us long past this week. Unless we have a winning ACC record, those two games will have us on the bubble.

If we have a winning ACC conference record...we're in. No question. The conference is not at its best, but this wouldn't be debatable.

If we go 8-8 in the ACC...we are probably in. We will be called a bubble team, but since the ACC expanded with Florida State, every only one ACC team with a 8-8 conference record or better has not been invited to the tournament.

If we go 7-9...I think we are out. Robert Morris comes back to haunt.

If we go 5-11...that would leave us at 15-15. We are not even going to the NIT.

I still think 7 wins is possible. First the team needs to get out of its funk. A strong showing against Wake this weekend would be refreshing.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Football 2007 In Review: Offensive MVPs

The three Offensive MVPs are so obvious it is hard to come up with a unique take or anything insightful. (My fear is that we won’t truly realize Ryan and Callender’s value until we see their replacements next season.) Changing schemes could have been a disaster. The example these three set and their outstanding production made the transition better than anyone could have anticipated.

1. Matt Ryan. For the third straight year Ryan provided that precious mix of production and heart. Allowed to audible for the first time, Ryan became a college Peyton Manning – making numerous adjustments on the field. Predictably this led to him breaking nearly every single season passing record at BC. His flirtation with the Heisman, BC’s dance near the top of the polls, and our coming up short in the ACC Championship game may have added a tinge of disappointment to BC’s and Matt’s final season. It shouldn’t. Matt had a fantastic end to a great career. Now when you talk BC QBs, it is no longer the big two (Flutie and Foley). It is the Big 3.

2. Andre Callender. 'Dre was our leading rusher and receiver. Not much else to be said…other than the huge leap he made in production! Here are some facts and figures to emphasize the point. Prior to this season, Andre caught 62 passes in his career. This year he caught 76. Prior to this season, Andre had scored 8 touchdowns in his career. This year he scored 13. Although he had been our leading rusher as a Sophomore, Andre had never carried the ball more than 150 times during a season. This year he had 211 carries. Last season he ran behind an offensive line that included two NFL draft picks (and a probable third in Cherilus) and averaged 4.3 yards a carry. This year with a less experienced line that struggled with a new style of play, he averaged 4.6 yards a carry. Oh, and he was on the receiving end of one of the most exciting plays in BC history. This huge step forward wasn’t from some bench warmer. AC has been a contributing player for three years. I never would have expected this sort of season. In the past he had a reputation for fumbling and taking plays off. Not this season. He was hard working, tough and smart. He may have been our best blocker too. I still can’t believe he didn’t get first team all ACC. Callender will be missed.

3. Ryan Purvis. Like Callender, Purvis went from solid platooner to All Conference. Not asked to block as often or in the same way, Purvis was able to blossom as an outlet receiver for Ryan. His good size and surprising speed proved to be a good matchup over the middle. Outside of the occasional drop, Purvis was sure handed and crucial to our comebacks against VT and Clemson. Another guy who shattered his previous bests, Purvis did everything asked of him and more.

Alumni links

The Bobcats trip to Boston sparked a few notes on Jared Dudley. The first is in the Herald and talks about his struggles to get on the floor. I hope he hangs in there. He's got potential...Charlotte is just a bad situation for him (and a lot of other players). In the notes section of this article he also talks about his playing time.

In the notes section of this article, Duds give the lowdown on Skinner. Nothing new -- Al is hands off and you need to be smart and motivated to succeed at BC.

In football news, Matt Hasselbeck gets the royal treatment and talks about BC a fair bit in this article.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Final Blogpoll ballot

I have no idea what to make of the season. I also don't think LSU is that great. The ranking below is a hodge podge of resume, records and good old-fashioned subjectivity. Playoffs anyone?

2 Georgia
3 Kansas
4 Southern Cal
5 Missouri
6 West Virginia
7 Oklahoma
8 Virginia Tech
9 Ohio State
10 Boston College
11 Texas
12 Tennessee
13 Auburn
14 Florida
15 Brigham Young
16 Arizona State
17 Clemson
18 Texas Tech
19 Illinois
20 Michigan
21 Wisconsin
22 Cincinnati
23 Oregon
24 Virginia
25 Oregon State

Early Draft Coverage of Matt Ryan

Here are some quick scouting reports on Ryan, now that he has officially moved from college star to NFL prospect.

These guys have a good take but underestimate Matt's arm. Ryan can make every throw and is pretty accurate. I felt the INTs were more about his gunslinger, "I can squeeze it in there" mentality than inability to read defenses.

Jags is obviously very high on Ryan too. I've always felt the Hasselbeck comparison was valid.

Leading up to the NFL draft I'll have more on Ryan and the other BC prospects.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Honors all around and other links

The ACC named Stefanie Murphy the ACC rookie of the week...for the fifth time! Congrats to her and the surprising women's team.

The Football Writers Association named Jags the best first-year coach in college football.

Anthony Castonzo made the Sporting News' all-freshman team.

The second part of this article provides an update on future BC basketball player Evan Ravenel. Seems he lost his cool recently.

This link on a potential game with Rutgers has been passed around the message boards the past few days. I didn't post it earlier because everything is still up in the air. My guess is that we play either UCF or Rutgers but not on Thursday, September 11. With the tentative ACC schedule that would give us too short a week to prep. We'll see how it plays out.

Top 10

The bowl season shake out put BC in a tie for 10 with Texas in the final AP poll. Congrats to the staff and players. Although it is only a number there is a world of difference between 10 and 11. It was a memorable season and hopefully will serve as a building block for things to come.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Robert Morris?

We lost to Robert Morris tonight. I am going to avoid the likes and dislikes or any similar dissection because I did not see or listen to the game. It seems like Rice was cold again and the team lost its cool. Let's try to keep it in perspective. Better Skinner teams have lost to worse programs than Robert Morris. We are still young and still coached by Al. This will happen. We just got a major wake-up call before ACC play. This team beat Maryland and a good URI team. The ACC is tough but 6-8 conference wins is still reasonable.

For those who did see the game, please add anything of value in the comments.

Football 2007 In Review: Defensive MVPs

Outside of Silva, picking the top three defensive players was difficult. On a whole the defense played well and many different players stepped up at various points. A started strong (Brace, Tribble) only to fade late. Others (Akins, Albright) struggled early and were playing great as the season closed. The following three guys were our best performers.

1. Jamie Silva. This is the no brainer. He led the team in tackles and interceptions. Was a great run stopper. Greatly improved his coverage skills. Silva was smart, instinctive and a player who got better each year. He was a pleasure to watch and was as important to the season as anyone else on the team.

2. Mark Herzlich. I was surprised that Herzy didn’t get more postseason recognition within the ACC. Because of our heavy rotation of linebackers, he wasn’t able to roll up the stats like Silva, but Herzy was very, very good this year. Watching the games back can often expose the guys on D. They miss tackles or are in the wrong place all the is the nature of the sport. You don’t stop the offense on every play. But watching back, I rarely found myself throwing the remote because of something Herzy didn’t do. If he needs to work on anything, it’s his pass coverage…yet saying that, the guy still tipped a few passes and had an INT.

3. Jo-Lonn Dunbar. Injuries and a few quiet games kept Dunbar from having the season he did last year. But his absence during losses to FSU and Maryland showed his value to our scheme. Even in his limited role against Clemson, Dunbar made a few important plays. He had a few rough patches in the Bowl, but not enough to but a black mark on a good season and a great career.

Thoughts on and a review of Bruce Feldman's Meat Market

My wife gave me Bruce Feldman’s Meat Market for Christmas. It was released last fall so some of you may have read it already. If you like college football, enjoy a good non-fiction, fly on the wall book and want to know more about college football recruiting, this is the book for you. A quick read with the fascinating Ed Orgeron as the protagonist, the book really exposes the recruiting process.

For those who don’t care about Ole Miss football or Coach O, I’ll break down what I found relevant to BC football.

A look at the USC recruiting model
Orgeron worked on Pete Carroll’s staff and duplicated USC’s recruiting structure at Ole Miss. Under Jags, BC has also implemented the Carroll model for recruiting. Outside of the intensity of this format, the Carroll style abandons word of mouth and the major recruiting sites for the staff's own evaluation. There is an emphasis on the staff watching tape together and the head coach making the final call on all recruits. Like USC with Carroll, no one can offer but Orgeron. The assistants do not have autonomy, although they are expected to be very aggressive. Orgeron is not concerned with star ratings nor with what other programs have offered a recruit. From what I gather, the current BC staff shares Orgeron’s passion for being the first to offer when they feel they have “discovered” someone.

Stars don’t matter
For all the weight fans put into star ratings on Rivals or Scout, the coaches don’t think twice about it. They also seem as dumbfounded as we are about who is rated high and who is rated low. In the opening of the book, the Ole Miss staff evaluates all the name QBs from the class of 2007. It is interesting to read what they thought of these guys -- including two prospects BC pursued (Matt Simms and Stephen Garcia). To show how flawed the ratings are, you need look no further than Ole Miss recruit Robert Elliott. Elliott was a star high school running back from rural Mississippi. When he receives an Ole Miss offer and verbally commits to the Rebels, the recruiting sites bump him up to four stars. This rating draws the interest of other name programs like Florida State. Meanwhile the Ole Miss staff is concerned that Elliott can even compete in the SEC. They have no idea why he is ranked so high. The ranking goes to Elliott’s head. He feels Ole Miss is taking him for granted and disrespected by Orgeron’s pursuit of other RBs. In the end Ole Miss is spurned by the other recruits, so they find themselves literally camping out on Elliott’s doorstep. And this is a recruit they are unsure of!! In the end Elliott commits to Mississippi State. He did not play this year.

The staff is more important than most of us acknowledge
The head coach is the epicenter of the program. Coordinators draw our praise or ire depending on which way the wind is blowing. Ultimately the staff is critical to a programs success of failure. Just because you are a good coach doesn’t mean you are doing your job. You also have to bring in recruits. Orgeron’s frustration with Art Kehoe is very telling. Kehoe is a renowned Oline teacher and coach. He helped get Ole Miss linemen to All-SEC status. But he also comes off as a disinterested recruiter. That doesn’t work in Orgeron’s world. In college football assistants have to do it all. Putting together a good staff is almost as important as putting together a good gameplan.

Geography doesn’t matter
This is not a point that Feldman makes…it’s actually mine. Too often we hear about how BC is handicapped by the lack of good football players in New England. While that does impact where we recruit, it doesn’t dictate our success or failure. As Feldman points out, Mississippi produces more NFL (not just college!) players per capita than any other state. So sitting on such fertile recruits, Ole Miss, Miss St and Southern Miss should all be elite programs, right? Not exactly. Talent is only part of the equation. You also have to keep kids in the program (a problem for Orgeron), develop them and then give them a strategy to beat your opponent.

In summary, great book on an still misunderstood, but vital process.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Rocked by the Jayhawks

Not a surprise. We needed to play much better to pull off the upset. Some good things and some bad. Here are my thoughts.

-- Sanders looked very good. He made some tough shots and played smart. The announcers pointed to the trash talking as a spark for Kansas. I really don't blame Sanders for that nor do I think it turned the game. The Jayhawks were getting in his face and weren't going to let that lead slip away.
-- Oates!. Another solid game from the big guy. He hustled and made some smart plays.
-- Paris covering for Rice. He didn't fill Rice's scoring, but he still handled their pressure and ran the offense pretty well.

-- Rebounding. This is going to kill us all year. No one rebounds that well and against a tall athletic team like this we gave away too many second chances.
-- Interior D. Blair needs to do more than block shots. He needs to also box out and get more rebounds.
-- Spears shot selection. He shouldn't be taking the fade aways from 15-feet.

Toss this up to a learning experience. I think how the young kids hung in there despite not having Rice and being down.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Mini Kansas preview

Kansas hits Boston Saturday in what will be the biggest non-conference game at Conte since Duke visited during the Troy Bell years. For those with short memories, the Jayhawks wiped the floor with us in Lawrence last year. This year's team might be even better than that one. Kansas is versatile in style and plays good defense. To say this will be a tough test or a primer for the ACC season is an understatement. The only team in Kansas' league that is left on our schedule is North Carolina. So why even play? Well I didn't say we can't win.

Keys to pulling off the upset:
-- Chuck and make a lot of 3s. Kansas' perimeter defense is so-so. We will have trouble scoring inside and running the tight flex, so we might as well let Rice, Raji and Roche throw up some 3s.
-- Limit turnovers. The Jayhawks are not ballhawks and won't apply the same pressure UMass did. As long as we play controlled, we should be ok.
-- Defensive rebounds. This will be up to Spears and Sanders. If they combine for 16+ boards, we'll be in good shape.

With this young team and this sort of opponent, I think we just have to hope they stay competitive. A win would be fantastic. A close loss would be something to build around. A blowout might be discouraging.

For those going, enjoy the rare non-conference treat and take pictures.

Friday links

Jags is one of the Hula Bowl coaches. I believe Logan is joining him on the staff.

Here is a unique article on Kevin Challenger from a French-Canadian paper. It seems like it was written in french and then translated.

As predicted, BC was involved in the highest-rated Champs Bowl since the bowl moved to Orlando. That marks the third year in a row that a bowl has earned its highest rating with BC as a participant.

A few more Champs pics

These are courtesy of TokenMom

Can BC crack the Top Ten?

A Top Ten finish seemed likely after the Champs win. Things looked even better when all those around us starting losing on New Year's Day. Now Kansas won and West Virginia won and we may be on the outside looking in.

Although it doesn't change our record, the difference between finishing No. 9 or No. 10 versus 11 in the final polls is important. Perception counts in college football. Selling the season and the program as "Top 10" makes a difference with recruits and the media.

There is still a chance. Take a look at the current AP Poll. (I used the AP because the BCS only determines the champion. The AP is the poll of record for all other slots.)

1. Ohio State
2. LSU
3. Oklahoma -- L
4. Georgia -- W
5. Virginia Tech -- L
6. USC -- W
7. Missouri -- W
8. Kansas -- W

9. Florida -- L
10. Hawaii -- L

11. West Virginia -- W
12. Arizona State -- L
13. Illinois -- L

14. Boston College -- W
15. Clemson -- L
16. Tennessee -- W
17. Texas -- W

18. Wisconsin -- L
19. Brigham Young -- W
20. Cincinnati -- W

21. Virginia -- L
22. Auburn -- W
23. South Florida -- L
24. Boise State -- L
25. Arkansas -- L

LSU and Ohio State have yet to play but the loser of their game will not fall out of the Top 10. Other highly ranked losers (Oklahoma and Virginia Tech) are also unlikely to fall out of the Top 10. West Virginia will surely move into the Top 10. Florida and Hawaii will move out. That leaves one spot -- presumably 9 or 10. We will move past Florida, Hawaii, Illinois and Arizona State. While that might seem like enough, there is an outside chance that Texas and/or Tennessee could leap frog us into the Top 10. Both have stronger names and better bowl wins. We're also hurt by the ACC's weak showing in the postseason. Keep your fingers crossed. It would be a nice way to wrap up the season.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Champs Bowl pictures

I am having camera issues, so my pictures are still stuck on my new Christmas present. Thankfully BCDF22 filled the void with his shots from the game. He did a great job capturing the crowd and some of the rough edges of the Citrus Bowl. Enjoy.

Boxscore breakdown: Longwood

Since I was 1,000 miles away and didn't listen to Ted, my only account of the Longword game were the recaps and box score. (The Herald article included some nice background on who the heck Longwood is.) Given Longwood's limited history, I am guessing that we are the first team to play Longwood and Kansas back-to-back. Since this game was a tune-up, not much can be derived. Here are my thougths. If anyone actually made it to COnte, let me know what you saw.

Good things
-- Rice's performance. No worries about any prolonged funk. Rice was sharp. We need him to be at his best Saturday.
-- Sanders controlled effort. As I have said, at times Sanders seems a little rushed. Last night's stats speak to a very even performance. I also like his rebounding.
-- Minutes for almost everyone. With the ACC schedule around the corner, this may be the last time some of these guys get on the floor.

-- Lapses. It doesn't really show up in the box score, but in the recaps Al mentioned periods of flatness. I am not too worried. Young teams are going to have moments like that. Let's hope it is out of their system when the Jayhawks arrive.

Addressing the Jags rumors

Peter King has been banging the drum for Jags as a potential NFL head coach all week. That combined with the openings in Atlanta, Miami and Baltimore have a few BC fans feeling nervous that we are about to lose our coach. I have no scoop, but I am really not concerned about losing Jags this year. Do I think he'll be a BC lifer? Probably not. And if he continues winning at the Heights other NFL teams and college programs will come calling. But let's look at the current NFL openings. I don't see Jags fitting in for different reasons.

Atlanta Falcons -- I think Jags would listen to returning to Atlanta and working for Arthur Blank. I just don't think Blank can make this hire. It would be a PR nightmare locally. First he dumps Jim Mora Jr. because Mora was too much of a players coach. Then you bring in Bobby Petrino, who jumps right back to college after one year. So to fill the void you're going to hire a Jim Mora assistant from college football? Not going to fly and I don't know if Jags would want to take this job right now. From a salary cap situation the team will be in a hole for a couple of seasons.

Miami Dolphins -- the good news, you get to work with Bill Parcells. The bad news, you get to work with Bill Parcells. Despite the shadow and the potential of Parcells micro-managing I am sure the opportunity is intriguing. But Jags is not part of the Parcells coaching tree. I just don't see the Tuna hiring him when there are a dozen guys around who he knows and trusts.

Baltimore Ravens -- Don't have much of a feel for this job. However, Ozzie Newsome's last three hires have all been from within the NFL. Don't think they'll go the college route.

Football 2007 In Review: Biggest Disappointments Woulda, Shoulda, Coulda

In the past I labeled this post the biggest disappointments. The title and the tone were perceived as overly harsh (mainly by Mrs. Atl_eagle). Ultimately I appreciate all of our players and thank them for their work and contribution to the school. However, that doesn’t mean they all performed at the level that was expected of them or didn’t blow an opportunity or two. Because this is a public forum and because I am not an expert, people may say this post is out of line. Yet similar things are being said in coaches' offices and scouting rooms. As always, especially when I take on a touchy subject, please let me know what you think.

1. AJ Brooks. He was supposed to be one of the players to benefit from the coaching change. No longer in the doghouse and given a new offense to maximize his talent, there was a chance for something big (or at least the chance to become a regular contributor). Instead he fumbled away this fresh start early in his season. Later he added onto his costly fumbles with an equally costly off the field fracas. His return next season remains in doubt. If he does return, hopefully he take advantage of his third chance.

2. Gosder Cherilus. I actually feel bad for Gos. He was one of our best players last year. He dominated at Right Tackle. My only gripe last season were his occasional stupid penalties. This year he moved to Left Tackle. Two things happened -- his play declined and his penalties increased. He’d look good for times and then he'd get beat soundly by a pass rush or fall down on a run. It hurts because by all accounts he's a good kid who came back to improve his draft stock. Instead I think he set it back.

3. Dejuan Tribble (the punt returner). Tribble had a good season as a Corner. His punt returning was extremely frustrating. He was beyond tentative...almost passive in letting numerous balls roll downfield. This put us in precarious field position too many times. As Jamie Silva showed as his fill in, even the smallest return can make a difference.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Football 2007 In Review: Top Surprises

This is part 1 of my annual year in review. Here are the top surprises. Many players stepped up and a few others will be acknowledged in next sections but these three particularly performed beyond the preseason expectations.

1. Ryan Poles. Poles' great start was one of the early highlights of the season. I am not sure if it was the coaching change, scheme change or just old-fashioned maturity, but a guy who had been wildly inconsistent and never played to his potential looked fantastic to start the season. He was moving well and dominating his assignments. He’d be giving Ryan an extra second on a roll out on one play and then leading Callender down the field on the next. Watching it all finally click was exhilarating. The abrupt end of his year and college career was equally sad. Poles’ Achilles tendon turned into the OLine’s Achilles heel. After he went down our screens and running game were not as effective. I hope he is able to recover and make an NFL roster. If he plays like he did this fall, he can be an NFL lineman.

2. Taji Morris. Morris is another guy who had bounced around for five years. First he’s a DB, then a Running Back and then back to Corner. The only consistent thing about his career was minimal playing time. That changed this year. Thrust into the starting spot opposite Tribble, Morris played much better than I expected. He proved to be good in run support and a good tackler (a big requirement for Corners in our scheme). He never became an All-ACC, shutdown type, but in every good year you need some guys to play better than they ever have. Morris exemplified that.

3. Rich Gunnell. If this had been written before the bowl game, I probably would have featured someone else. But Gunnell deserves credit for the Champs Bowl and his growing playmaking skills. Early in the season he dropped a few balls and I thought he’d be just another in a long line of adequate BC WRs. However, the second half of the year saw him blossom into a sure-handed and smart wideout. His adjustments were noted in the Champs broadcast, but his same smarts paid dividends in the Clemson game. Rich also showed surprising speed and strength. Gunnell’s emergence, along with the return of Robinson and Purvis give me hope that whoever is throwing the ball for us next season may put up some good numbers.

Honorable mention for biggest surprises: Matt Tennant, Nick Rossi, and James McCluskey. A year ago, few BC fans would have predicted how well these guys would play given their history or limited experience.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Second viewing thoughts and grade report: Champs Sport Bowl

I finally got around to watching the broadcast. It definitely had a different vibe than watching it live in Orlando. Overall it was a good end to a very good season. Here are my thoughts and grades.

Offense: B

During the game I did not feel Ryan played well. He seemed off and missed bigger plays downfield. Watching back, I realized the effort was better than I originally thought. His passes were pretty sharp and he did a good job anticipating the pressure. His numbers weren’t great but there were plenty of drops. Not his best effort, but he went out with a win and is the only BC quarterback to play in four bowls.

The running game was anemic and neither AC nor LV did anything particularly special in the passing game. AC did provide a critical block in the first TD drive. Late in the game he had a few runs that burned clock. LV had a few good runs, but that stuff was negated by his dropped passes and a critical blown assignment that led to the Ryan fumble. McLuskey blocked well in the run game (the line was the issue) and ran well when asked.

The line ended their uneven season with an uneven game. The pattern of the past few games held true -- good games from Tennant and Ramsey, off night for Cherilus, decent game from Castonzo and nothing of note from the Hall/Anevski rotation. I was glad Ramsey got credit for his play early in the game. He really finished the season with a nice stretch of very good games. Tennant was solid as usual. The announcers pinned the exchange problem in the fourth on him, but watching it back I thought it was more on Ryan pulling away too early. Cherilus…ugh. I’ll have more on him in the year in review. He once again got called for a false start and had real trouble with their speed. One big positive about Gos…even though he didn’t have a great game, he was the first to back up his teammate during the numerous trash talking scrums.

Rich Gunnell put together another great game. I am excited about his future as his hands are better and he is making great adjustments. He’s also showing that he’s physical and fast enough to be a lead receiver. Let’s hope he build on his efforts next season. BRob struggled but was battling injuries. Jarvis had some big catches. Megwa dropped a few. Off night form Purvis. Loyte had a nice TD and one big drop later in the game.

Loved the game Logan called. Our running game did not work, but he kept them honest with the occasional attempt. In the second half, he started stretching the field with the deep ball. We didn’t put up many points, but considering MSU’s aggressive D and our drops, this was a good gameplan with good adjustments.

Defense: B

The Defensive tackles played well. Brace and Smith were very aggressive and I loved Smith’s hustle. Rossi played well and created the fumble that Herzy recovered. The defensive ends were not as good. Ramella and Larkin got pushed around and failed to hold contain when State ran off tackle. Even the second team D Ends, Deska and Giles had trouble closing on Hoyer.

Herzy had a great game. The play that stands out was his jump to bat the ball in the second half. It was instinctive and very athletic. Mixed game from Dunbar – many good plays but he got burned in the passing game a few times, including the first TD. Akins had a good game too. After a rough start to the season, he played very well down the stretch. Pruitt was quiet. With Dunbar out there, McLaughlin didn’t see the field as often.

Very good game from Tribble. It was good to have him back. Morris played well. Rollins also had a strong game. Gause saw less playing time. Anderson played very well. Good adjustments in the passing game and good run support. Silva – what else can be said? He ended his career with a perfect night. He did everything right and made big play after big play.

Special Teams: C

Our punt returns were good. Everything else, not so much.

The usually sturdy Ayers had a few shanks (although the punt coverage was decent). The kickoffs went deep…and were returned deeper. Our kick coverage has been good this year. Don’t know why it fell apart in the bowl?

Overall: B+

Once they shook off the first quarter rust the team settled in and looked good. At halftime we made the right adjustments. If not for the fumble, the game wouldn’t have been as close. Congrats to Jags on the 11 wins and a great first season.