Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Midsummer Bowl speculation

Earlier in the summer Gene hit the road for Q&As with various BC alumni chapters. The talks were well received and generally positive. One theme that came up a few times was BC’s bowl selection issue. Gene’s assessment of BC situation (AND I AM PARAPHRASING WITH AN OVERLY FLIPPANT TONE): “it’s the BCS or bust.” Gene’s point wasn’t new. I think every BC fan expects to be passed over for the second tier bowls and left playing out our season in the third tier in late December.

At this point I don’t fault the Athletic Department for our bowl challenges. Gene’s politicking led to the ACC instituting the “BC Rule” that limits bowls bypassing teams. Athletics also coordinated the busing program for the Champs Bowl that proved effective. If we want to improve our bowl standing BC fans need to travel better (but that debate is for another post). The intent of this post was to give you the outlook in mid-July.

I am a little more optimistic than Gene. Here is my assessment of our bowl chances:

Orange/BCS game
Outlook: not hopeless
As we learned last year, anything is possible. The elite games are in our control. If the defense is great and if Clemson collapses we could win our way back into the ACC Championship Game. From there, it becomes win and you're in.

when Hell freezes over
The Gator was already leery of BC before the 2007 ACC Championship Game. Our poor ticket sales for the event didn’t change perception. The Gator’s strong desire to select Notre Dame with its Big East slot also complicates matters. There is no way the Bowl would want a rematch of a regular season game.

a longshot
Some of you are probably scoffing at this but there is a chance. Follow this scenario:
• Clemson and Virginia Tech are selected for the BCS and Gator
• A group of ACC schools are all lumped together with a similar conference record
• The SEC representative is a known travel commodity and a sure sellout (think Alabama, Tennessee or South Carolina)
If those things happen the Peach may forego a team with a better travel reputation and take BC for TV reasons and to appease the ACC and ESPN.

better than you think
Who would have thought that any bowl would want to invite BC two years in a row. A couple things worked well for us with the Champs folks. We delivered the highest rating in their history. We sold more tickets than they anticipated. And we also sent the team early and brought the band. BC embraced the bowl like we never have before. That can go a long way. Assuming the marquee teams and/or the Florida-based schools are not on the table when it comes time for the Champs to select, we stand a decent chance of being asked back.

Meineke Bowl/Charlotte
not happening
No way will they take us for the third time in five seasons…especially when they are highly likely to have a few schools within driving distance from which to choose.

Music City
The ACC is sort of a tough fit for this Nashville Bowl. No ACC team has traveled all that well to it. The organizers expect the SEC fans to buy the tickets. Our last showing in Nashville wasn’t impressive in the stands, but seven years later have passed. The bowl organizers may be willing to give BC a chance.

San Fran/Nut Bowl
book your hotel now
If we fall down the pecking order, San Francisco will gladly take us. Our last trip out there was surprisingly successful at the box office and provided a strong TV number. We can also boast of our alumni network on the West Coast. My gut is telling me this is where BC will end up this year. It could be worse, like say…

[I am closing my eyes, covering my ears and making loud noises so that I don’t have to acknowledge that this might happen again.]
I’ve calmed down. Yes, this could happen again. The only saving grace is that our last appearance (with BC whining and the Boise people insulting Kiwi) left such a bad taste in everyone’s mouth, that Boise might do what it can to take any other team.

Capital Bowl/DC
could happen
If BC is barely eligible this is where we could find ourselves. Not a bad spot all things considered. We’d get a decent turnout and be on the East Coast. The bowl would probably want Maryland or Virginia over us and there would also be some reluctance about another BC-Navy bowl matchup.

None of this will be settled until the final week of the season. But if this is important to you, do your best to travel and pray we avoid Boise.


Alex F. said...

Good post, I agree that we're likely headed to San Fran and quite frankly that's a much more appealing destination than Charlotte, both from a travel and from a football point of view (would you rather play somebody like Oregon or Cal, or somebody like Rutgers or USF? No brainer). And payout is split equally in the ACC, so economically it's about the same (travel costs would be more, admittedly).

Helping our bowl odds this year is that I think the ACC will finally get two teams in the BCS. I think there's a good shot either BC, Clemson, or Wake wins 10-11 games but doesn't win the division. That team would have a good shot at an at-large BCS bid (if it's Clemson they'd be pretty much guaranteed one).

Alex F. said...

As for the "book your hotel" comment....thankfully I have a lot of family and friends in the area, so I won't be facing the prospect dropping $300/night in San Fran the week between Christmas and New Year's. ($300/night at the bar, maybe)

Erik said...

Philly, ACC won't get two teams in the BCS until they can win a game with their one team (1999 and counting). As long as the SEC keeps slaying 'em, I don't see it happening. The country would need a lot of 3+ loss teams winning leagues.

Unknown said...

i was at a talk that GDF gave on the west coast and you're right - the politician's spin that he put on "BCS or bust" was pure euphemism.

personally, i'd much prefer "BCS or bay"!

Alex F. said...

Erik--I don't see, say, the Sugar Bowl passing up a chance to take a 10- or 11-win Clemson team. If these bowls cared about the actual football BC would've gone to the Peach (or even BCS) last year and Notre Dame wouldn't be able to get into the BCS by going 8-4.

My guess is that Clemson chokes away the division with a loss to Wake/BC/FSU but still ends up 10-2 or 11-1 and gets an at-large bid, leaving the Peach probably stuck (due to the one-win rule) with the ACCCG loser for better or for worse.

Big Jack Krack said...

I agree that we may be limited unless we go all the way. I don't care if we ever go back to Jax, although it would indicate that we had a pretty good year. I always wanted to go to Atlanta, but that's one where the stars have to be lined up properly.

I guess we showed some potential in Orlando last year. Basically, the more important the Bowl, the more BC fans will go. So, after the BCS, Atlanta, and Jacksonville - what's left.

We won't go to Charlotte, but when we were the Big East representative playing UNC before a packed house, it was a great experience. Charlotte is a pretty good bowl - but not for us as the ACC representative.

Orlando, Nashville and San Francisco are what we'll get without a super season. We should boycott Boise (It's their home field, for crying out loud.) Washington has potential, except it indicates a .500 season.

This is all the more reason to enjoy the season - every one of these ACC games is like a playoff game, and our games with UCF and ND will be tough. Hopefully Kent State will be relatively smooth for our new players. RI - well what can one say? 10 or 11 great games, 8 of which are like playoff games - very intense.

Orlando, Nashville, SF here we come - or maybe better!!!!! These bowl games give us extra practice to get ready for the following season - and for fans to have fun.

Big Jack Krack said...

P.S. I'd like to see us in Charlotte in a couple of years for the ACC Championship Game. Charlotte is a very nice city and the ACCCG will be much more exciting there. It may do pretty well in Tampa Bay - but Charlotte is a great spot for that game.

We won't go to Charlotte for the Bowl - but we definitely want to go there for the Championship Game.