Monday, November 30, 2009

More honors and other links

Congratulations are in order for Anthony Castonzo and Luke Kuechly, as both were named first team All ACC. Boston College, North Carolina and Miami were the only schools with multiple first-team selections. Montel Harris and Matt Tennant are part of the second team. Honorable mention and freshman will be out later this week.

The ACC also named Kuechly the defensive back of the week for his play against Maryland.

HD placed BC 6th in her weekly power rankings.

Multiple sources are leaking this and I put it up on Twitter, but BC is going to the Emerald Bowl. Nothing has been officially announced yet since there are some contingencies for other bowls based on the results of the ACC Championship Game. However, we are not part of those contingencies and will be in the Bay Area the day after Christmas.

Soccer loses and other weekend links

The men's soccer team season ended with a 6-4 loss to Drake in the NCAA tournament. The high scoring affair put an end to the uneven season. The nice point is that they ended the season well and now regularly expect to make the playoffs. For those who missed it, the women's team got bounced from the NCAAs by Stanford on Friday night.

Everyone has us going to San Francisco to most likely play Stanford in the Emerald Nut Bowl.

HD gave Steve Aponavicius a helmet sticker despite his one miss.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Basketball back on track (for now)

After the disaster in the Caribbean, I feared that the season could unravel as early tonight. Fortunately we beat Providence without Rakim and without making a 3-pointer. I didn't see the game, but it looks like we were much more efficient on offense, better on the boards and less careless with the turnovers. If anyone saw the game, feel free to leave your thoughts below.

Winning is what matters

Congratulations to the seniors and Spaz. We didn't win the division, but 5-3 is an accomplishment.

As for the game, it was much closer than it had to be. I grew frustrated with the redzone play calling and also thought we screwed up the clock management/prevent defense...again. Regardless, we won...again. Now we just have to wait for our bowl news next week.

I will be traveling Sunday so I won't have the second viewing thoughts and grades until late Monday.

In-game comments post: Maryland

This is our last football game for a few weeks. It is also Spaz's chance to end the regular season on a high note. Let's go Eagles!

I will be at the game and not online. Leave your thoughts and comments below.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Turn out to watch BC and the Terps

Despite our travel rep, BC fans turn out for Maryland. I am sure that much of that is due to the large alumni population in the DC area. Because of large gathering of Eagles the DC Club is hosting a pregame tailgate. Here is the info:

Alumni Association is hosting a pre-game tailgate inside the Samuel Riggs IV Alumni Center, located on the University of Maryland campus, from 12:30 until 2:30 p.m. Kickoff is at 3:30 p.m. The Alumni Center is located next to the stadium.

I don't think I will make it to the tailgate but I will be at the game. I'll be in Section 2, Row FF with my dad and wife. Come by and say hello if you are there.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

BC-Maryland preview

In my opinion this is the least intriguing game we've played in years. Not much is at stake. I don't think we play a particularly exciting brand of football. Maryland doesn't have much to play for. It defines anticlimactic. That said, I will be there in person and always enjoy the game day experience.

Narrative talking point that you’ll tire of by the end of the game.
"Is this Friedgen's last game..." There are plenty of conflicting stories on whether or not Maryland is ready to make a move with their head coach. My fear is that Maryland will come out motivated and playing well and we will be forced to listen to various iterations of "they are trying to win this one for their embattled coach." Friedgen always moves the ball against Spaz. If he does again Saturday it won't be because his team has extra motivation.

Three Simple Keys
1. Stop the run.
Maryland ran for 196 yards last week and nearly upset Florida State. If they do that to us, we could be in trouble.
2. Limit turnovers. Shinskie has been reckless lately and now he enters the gaming trying to win the job for next year. Let's hope the pressure to perform makes him more conservative and not more of a gambler.
3. Contain Torrey Smith on kick returns. He's talented and gives them a boost via field position. We need to kick it away from him or keep him from breaking anything big.

Gambling Notes

-- Spaz is 1-3 against the spread on the road
-- Friedgen is 5-3 in his final game of the regular season
-- BC is 2-1 all time in College Park
The current line is BC-6


BC's new apparel provider will be Under Armour. UA was founded by two Maryland students and the Terps were the first team to wear Under Armour gear.

Scoreboard Watching

Watch whatever you want at this point. We are not in the mix for Tampa. We are 99% certain for the Emerald Bowl in San Francisco. If anything root for the ACC teams in out of conference matchups like Georgia Tech and Florida State.

I hope to see…
BC with a positive turnover margin. (I still can't believe how many plays the defense made last week that were given back by Shinskie.)

BC is in trouble if...
BC is down at halftime. I think last week was a lesson in how we are not the best team to try to come back throwing the ball.

Bottom Line

I think BC will win this game. I do fear the Turtle in that Fridge can always move the ball on Spaz. We've won these games in the past with turnovers. I think that will be the model this weekend too. Although there is nothing on the line, a win is important. We need to end the season on a high note.

Final Score:
BC 28, Maryland 17

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Guest Blogger: Turtle Waxing

Esquire from Turtle Waxing is back to tell us about the Terps and the Fridge's future. My answers and his questions are below.

1. Your offensive line was a problem earlier in the year. Is it still the main issue on offense?

TW: The line probably had its best game of the season last week against FSU but it is still a weak spot on the offense. Left tackle Bruce Campbell is capable of playing at an All-ACC level but has missed a number of games due to injury. He finally looks like he is shaking the rust off and dominating. There are a number of young kids mixed in the bunch and while right tackle R.J. Dill has struggled at times he also seems to be improving. The constant shuffling of the line due to injury and performance issues has not helped matters. With the mobile Jamarr Robinson at quarterback it helps the line's pass blocking. When Chris Turner was healthy he was like an old Drew Bledsoe at quarterback: he could make some plays with a weak arm but was likely to take a drive killing sack because he held on to the ball too long.

With RB Da'Rel Scott back from injury the running game is much better.

2. You've only held one opponent under 20 points all year. Obviously there are problems on defense. Is there one aspect of the D that is creating most of the issues?

TW: Lack of talent and experience. The defensive line is a patchwork affair and there are not any guys in that group who would scare a decent offense. The front four do little to disrupt the running game or rush the passer so I would guess the problems start up front, just like with the offense. The linebackers are decent but not great in coverage and have struggled when blockers get by the DL into the second level. With the problems at defensive end the outside linebackers have been beat to the edge by speed backs for big gains.

Defensive coordinator Don Brown plays a blitzing style that will give up big plays. The corners have struggled in one-on-one coverage when they are hung out to dry on the blitz. The safety play has been slightly disappointing as Terrell Skinner and Antwine Perez are big hitters but have failed to make big plays.

To be fair the defense has held the offense of Virginia (13), Duke (17), Clemson(13) and Rutgers (20) to 20 points or less but special teams mistakes and Chris Turner's history of giving touchdowns to the defense either through interceptions or fumbles has inflated those scores.

3. What do you think will happen with Friedgen after the season? What do you want to happen? In hindsight, do you think the coach in waiting situation was a bad idea?

TW: That is the $100,000 question. Right now it seems likely that both Friedgen and offensive coordinator (head-coach-in-waiting) James Franklin will be back next season. There doesn't seem to be the political will to pay out the $5 million required for both coaches given the current economic climate and fiscal deficits in the state.There have been painful cuts to staff and departments to close the budget gap and I doubt paying $5 million for a buyout and then committing the same financial resources to a new staff would play well.

If it was financially possible I would prefer that Friedgen be bought out. I think the Friedgen era has run its course at Maryland and some new blood with a better focus on recruiting would improve the program's fortunes. He has done some great things for the school and football program but asking for repeated raises every time he went to a bowl game and then going 35-37 the last few seasons sealed his own fate in many ways. I don't want Franklin made the head coach either so it is best to clean house and start fresh.

The coach in waiting contract was a horrendous mistake. Much worse than the Friedgen extension, which at least made sense at the time, in that Franklin had little track record other than washing out as an NFL position coach and offensive coordinator at a middling Big XII program. The contract that he was given guaranteed him either $1
million or a five year contract at the average of ACC head football coaches. With Clemson's Dabo Swinney making it to the ACC title game and triggering large contract bonuses Franklin's deal would approach Freidgen's current deal of $2 million per year. Putting $10 million dollars into a young assistant who appears overwhelmed with the responsibilities of offensive playcalling would be insane. If the athletic director was as smart as she thinks she is should would have called Franklin's bluff, as Boston College has done recently, and told him if he could find a better job to go take it. Odds are it would have been easy to hire him in a few years once Friedgen was on his way out and at that point Franklin might have even proven he is capable of being a head coach.

4. What is your prediction for Saturday?

TW: I think you would have to go with Boston College in this game. There is always the possibility of a rally around the leader moment with this team but they have lost so many close games I doubt some fire in the belly will change much. I don't see the offense moving the ball as well on BC as they did against a bad FSU defense. The key in my mind will be Boston College limiting turnovers. If BC doesn't turn the ball
over I think they will win comfortably. If Don Brown's blitzes force BC into mistakes then you could be in for a tough battle. My prediction is that BC will win going away, 31-17.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Herzy doing well after surgery

Sandy was on Twitter to share the good news regarding Mark's surgery. He expects to be on the sideline this Saturday. That is clearly something for which we give thanks.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Paradise lost

I and many others had aspirations of BC being a sleeper this season. I am questioning that now after another dismal showing in the Paradise Jam. We were without Sanders, but that is no excuse for losing in such a fashion. BC controlled in the first half and then got blown away in the second. The defense did not perform well and the offense doesn't seem to know who or where to go with the ball. That shouldn't be happening with a veteran team.

All is certainly not lost, but the guys need to regroup quickly. The Providence-Michigan-Miami stretch is approaching and we need to win two of those to right the ship.

Sorry for the delay in grades

It was a issue with my "blogger" account.

Dana Bible has cancer and other links

Sad news from Raleigh as former BC assistant Dana Bible has been diagnosed with leukemia. Keep his family in your thoughts and prayers.

November 23 marks the 25th anniversary of Doug Flutie's famous Hail Mary. You often hear how Flutie changed BC, but Forbes notes that it changed the college TV landscape. Here is a refresh for those who were born after the famous day.

Luke Kuechly was named ACC Freshman of the week.

Both soccer teams continue to advance in their respective NCAA Tournaments. The men face Drake next Sunday. The women play Stanford on Friday.

Incoming QB Chase Rettig's season is over after losing in the California playoffs.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Second viewing thougths and grade report: North Carolina

I thought UNC was going to be a tough matchup but didn't see the game playing out this way. Unfortunately we wasted a good defensive effort and another solid game form Harris.

Offense: C-

It is now safe to say Shinskie is regressing. The lone sign of improvement was his ability to checkdown to Harris and Pantale. But can you applaud the few instances of checkdowns when he keeps chucking it up into traffic? In addition to his bad decisions, were a couple of really off target throws. The first INT was too high. He threw some deep balls that couldn’t be caught inbounds. He overthrew a few other guys over the middle. UNC has a good pass rush, but Shinskie also held the ball too long in the pocket. Marscovetra didn’t get much time to prove himself, but his INT was also bad.

Harris did everything we could ask. He had tough runs. He made something out of nothing on the numerous runs. He got to the outside and made good reads and cuts throughout. It was a shame to waste such a good effort in a loss. McCluskey didn’t get to do much.

Despite our lousy passing stats, the WRs played well. Gunnell did a good job of finding soft spots and making the catch. Jarvis made a nice catch. Larmond didn’t get much thrown his way.

Pantale looked very good again. All the TEs blocked well and helped Harris break his big runs. Anderson had a pass that he should have caught.

When you see Harris put up good rushing numbers, does that mean the offensive line played well? I say no. I think this was their worst performance since Virginia Tech. Costanzo struggled at various times with their speed and looked like he blew an assignment in one of our red zone runs. Richman looked okay. Claiborne got overpowered a few times before he went down. Lapham got beat on the fumble that was returned. The guys did have their moments when things got better. They were good on many run plays, but there were plenty of miscues that caused Shinskie to force things up.

Let me clarify this since the offensive coordinators are often the whipping boys for message boarders and bloggers. Tranq is a better play caller than Bible. I don’t think he is as good as Logan. Yesterday, I felt he called some good plays (I loved the counters to take advantage of UNC’s aggressiveness.) I also like that he likes to throw the ball downfield. But his goalline plays were too conservative and he didn’t help Shinskie out with once it became clear that Shinskie was having a bad day. Where were the short passes or some of the quick outs? Why keep putting it up into traffic against a team of ball hawks? I but most of the blame for the offense on the Shinskie, but Tranq didn’t do him any favors.

Defense: B

You saw how much a difference maker a healthy Scafe can be. He was making good plays throughout and showed good speed too. Giles made one of the best plays of his career with the INT. Newman was okay. Rossi had a decent game. Ramella was ok.

Kuechly had another game where he was all over the field. McLaughlin's final game at Alumni was solid and better than his past few weeks. Morrissey and LeGrande both played very well. Together the LBs were better in coverage than they've been the past few weeks and also filled the holes quickly when stopping the run.

The DBs played really well. Rollins saved two different TDs and made some nice tackles. Davis played really well, as did Bowman. It was probably the best they've played in tandem all season. Gause made a few mistakes, but was okay. Fletcher was good.

It was a shame wasting such a solid defensive effort. We rarely blitzed but I think the game plan was solid. It kept Yates off balance. We slowed their run game and forced turnovers.

Special Teams: B

Quigley punted well.

LeGrande didn't break anything, but ran hard.

Gunnell had one return.

Steve made his chip shots.

Overall: C

Shinskie's mistakes were clearly the big issue. I did like that Spaz's guys fought back and made it interesting. What caused me to nudge Spaz down though was kicking field goals down 21. Hindsight showed that it wasn't the difference, but once again I think it reflects attitude. You are down big and have a chance to turn the game. Why kick field goals? Giving up on bigger scoring opportunities just puts that much more pressure on your defense. I also didn't like that Spaz didn't challenge the fumble that McLaughlin recovered while he did challenge the spot on the 3rd down. The spots are rarely overturned on review. When your QB is melting down it is tough to win, but I felt like Spaz didn't necessarily push the right buttons. Now we are playing for pride. Let's see how they respond.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Giving it away

For the first time in a long time we are officially eliminated from the Atlantic Division race. A weird game in that we were out of it early, made it interesting and then fell apart again. Congrats to the defense though more making things happen and playing hard.

I'll have second viewing thoughts and grades up late Sunday.

In-game comments post: North Carolina

It is the home finale and a must win. Let's hope the guys go out on top.

I will not be online during the game. Leave your thoughts and comments below.

I guess this means more beach time

A few years ago BC went down and won the Paradise Jam. It was an unexpected run and announced that they were a team to be reckoned with. I thought this year's Jam would be another spring board. Instead we lost to St. Joes Friday. The big news is that Sanders went down early with an ankle injury. The team hung with Hawks but couldn't take a lead in the second half.

The good news is that the team rebounded well and the PGs were careful with the ball. We also made our free throws.

The area of concern is the porous defense. St. Joes got too many easy baskets and too many open looks from 3.

Instead of facing Purdue, BC will now deal with South Dakota St. in the consultation game.

I hoped for a better result but we've bounced back from plenty of early season stinkers in the past. Let's hope Sanders is not out long and the defense gets better quickly.

Friday, November 20, 2009

How to watch tonight's basketball game and other links

For those of you trying to watch BC's opener in the Paradise Jam, try this link.

We now have an official hot dog.

HD held a quick Q&A with Marcellus Bowman.

Game Watches: North Carolina

The game is on ESPN 2, but that doesn't mean you cannot watch it among BC fans. Check out your local chapter's watch. There are only a few games left!

Atlanta Game Watch
300 Marietta Street NW
Atlanta, GA

Chicago Game Watch
Trinity Bar
2721 N. Halsted (Diversey & Halsted)
on the border of Lincoln Park and Lakeview

Dallas Game Watch
Christie’s Sports Bar
2811 McKinney Avenue
Suite 22
Dallas, TX

Los Angeles Game Watch
Sonny McLean's
2615 Wilshire Blvd.
Santa Monica

New York City Game Watches

192 3rd Ave @ 17th

Pat Obrien's
88st and 2ave

Phoenix Game Watch
Gallagher's Sports Grill
7575 N. 16th Street, Phoenix

San Diego Game Watch
RT's Longboard Grill
1466 Garnet Avenue
Pacific Beach, CA

San Francisco Game Watch
Shanghai Kellys
2064 Polk St
San Francisco

Sarasota Game Watch
Gecko's Grill & Pub
5585 Palmer Crossing Cir.(Clark Road & Honore Ave.)
Sarasota, FL

Washington, D.C. Game Watch
Porter's Dining Saloon
1207 19th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036

Thursday, November 19, 2009

BC-North Carolina preview

I hate entering this game with our destiny still dependent upon Clemson losing. Fortunately the noon start means the guys will take the field with an open mind and no idea what will happen between Virginia and Clemson later in the day. UNC cannot win their division, but they are on a definite upswing. This should be another tough game.

Narrative talking point that you’ll tire of by the end of the game.
“Alumni Stadium is a very tough place to play. BC is undefeated at home…” As you’ve probably read and heard already, BC has a chance to go undefeated at home for only the second time since 1985 (the 2006 team also went undefeated at home). I don’t want to diminish our fans or stadium, but I don’t think Alumni has suddenly become some sort of house of horrors for visitors. This streak is more about the tough team, the schedule and a little luck. Let’s hope that one day the tight quarters and the weather are complimented by a raucous bunch of fans who get their early and make noise throughout. Right now though the home field advantage is really due to the guys on the field.

Three simple keys
1. No missed assignments up front. Carolina doesn’t do many exotic things with their defensive line. It is more about using their talent and speed to blow up what we are trying to do. In my opinion the game will come down to how our offensive line handles their front four.
2. Get the third and fourth options involved in the passing game. I’ve been harping on this for weeks, but it takes on even more importance this week. UNC will be locking in on Shinskie and looking to pick off everything. If we are going to win it will be because he is passing to Megwa, Flutie, Harris and McCluskey, not Larmond/Gunnell and Jarvis.
3. Stop the run after the catch. Last year the Heels had our secondary spinning sideways with runs after the catch. Nicks is gone but they still have playmakers on offense. Our DBs need to wrap up anyone near them.

Gambling Notes

-- Butch Davis is undefeated against BC
-- BC is 6-2 at home in the month of November since entering the ACC
-- BC is 6-0 against the spread at home this season
The current line is BC-3.5

BC has played North Carolina twice in NFL stadiums but never in Alumni.

What I hope to see…
McLaughlin have a big day. He’s one of the rare two time captains in BC history. This is his last home game and he’s played half a season and not at 100%. I would love to see him go out on a high note with some big plays.

BC is in trouble if…
Shinskie decides to give a few more “what the hell” chucks into triple coverage. If Virginia was able to turn those into scores, North Carolina surely will.

Bottom Line
I’ll be honest, I don’t have a great feeling about this game. North Carolina is a bad matchup for us defensively and I don’t know if we will score enough points to win. I think it will be sort of a plodding, close game that turns on one big play. I am holding out hope for a win, but don’t expect a pretty performance.
Bottom Line: BC 20, North Carolina 17

New look for The Heights and other links

In honor their 90th anniversary The Heights has updated their web site. Definitely check it out and I recommend reading the Heights' sports section on a regular basis. Over the past few years it has been the launching point for some very good BC writers.

In other news to be proud of, BC continues to be the leader in graduating its student athletes. Football should be especially proud since it is only one of six programs with a rate above 90%.

Disney is honoring Herzlich with its Disney Spirit Award. Well deserved. I wonder if they have optioned his movie rights already!

Although we've had a special connection with the Cincinnati area, even the folks back in Ohio realize how special Luke Kuechly is.

Since we bypassed hoops recruits last year, these are the names you need to know for next season.

Like Kuechly, I don't know where we would be without Montel Harris.

The Seniors are looking to close out their final home game with a win.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Guest Blogger: Tarheel Monthly

In the past we had Turner from Heelsblog guest blog here. Turner is now with Tarheel Monthly but still has the scoop on one of the hotter teams in the conference. Last year UNC smashed us in Chapel Hill. Will we get the same sort of team this weekend? To find out, I asked him some questions below.

1. The Virginia loss and some of the early offensive struggles, led to many writing off the Tar Heels and their season. What happened then and how are things different now?

I have no idea what happened against Virginia. It was one of the most inept displays of offense I have ever seen. Carolina rushed for a grand total of 39 yards. As someone who enjoys watching football (even if I removed myself from pulling for one team or the other), I hated that game. There wasn't a touchdown scored until there were less than six minutes left.

What happened after that was the Georgia Southern game, which you can't really take anything from, and the Florida State game. The defense believed going into that game, 'If the offense just scores xx points, we'll be fine." Well, the offense did its job, putting the team up 17-6 going into halftime, but the defense simply collapsed. After that game, the defense realized it had to make plays and not just rest on 'We're pretty good.' Since then, they've really taken charge and asserted themselves (seven INTs in the past three games).

On offense (somewhat because of Shaun Draughn's injury, but even before that), Butch Davis has started to rely on Ryan Houston as more of an every-down weapon rather than simply as a short-yardage back. He's done a good job of moving the ball and moving the block. The return of Zack Pianalto has been huge in boosting T.J. Yates confidence. He knows he has a check-down with sure hands.

2. The defense has been dominant. They shut down the run and pick off a lot of passes. Is there an area where they are vulnerable?

The defense is ranked No. 8 in the country, and they're on a hot streak as of late. The run defense has been remarkable the past three weeks. I'm sure some of that is due to silly play-calling by other teams, but VT's Ryan Williams is legit. Not sure Miami used Graig Cooper like they should have, but that's not Butch Davis' fault. Two suggestions to opposing offenses: 1) Double-team Robert Quinn. Otherwise, he's going to blow up your left tackle. He's one of those players who's just fun to watch. 2) Throw away from Kendric Burney (three picks last week). Strong safety Da'Norris Searcy got hurt last week and I'm not sure of his status, so Melvin Williams may start.

3. You are in Year 3 of the Butch Davis era. How would you assess his performance so far? This is probably the best collection of coaches the state of North Carolina has had in place at one time in decades. Do you think the other programs will limit the upside of what Davis can do in Chapel Hill?

I think Butch Davis has done a terrific job of managing expectations and building the program. He's taken a patchwork roster, found the right spots for guys and really built a cohesive team. Bruce Carter and Quan Sturdivant were high school quarterbacks, and Deunta Williams came in as a wide receiver. Now they are part of one of the nation's best defenses. Davis' tenure has really followed the old Bobby Bowden, 'lose big, lose small, win small, win big' formula. He went 4-8 in 2007, but six of those losses were by a touchdown or less. I think an 8-4 regular season with a one-point bowl loss in 2008 might have exceeded expectations. Because of that, an 0-3 ACC start this season was certainly a disappointment, but I think this team is learning how to win. Losing is no longer contagious, and it really can be if a coach is in over his head. I thought this team could be better but have a worse record in 2009 because of it schedule, but they've surprised me. They've definitely lost at least one they shouldn't have, but you could make an argument that they've won one or two they weren't supposed to.

As for your second question, at first I thought you were talking about the programs at UNC (basketball, baseball and football), and I was all set to talk about the recruiting advantages those teams give each other. Oh well. I guess you're asking about Tom O'Brien, David Cutcliffe, Davis, Jim Grobe at Wake and Skip Holtz at ECU. I think whatever it takes to establish the legitimacy of college football in the state of North Carolina, it's a good thing. These programs have always recruited against each other, and they'll continue to do so even as the caliber of player increases. I think Davis has established pipelines in Florida and through his NFL connections, so I don't worry too much about another program limiting UNC's upside. I really, really like David Cutcliffe (probably because he hasn't beaten UNC), and I honestly believe that a good Duke program is good for North Carolina. That rivalry means very little if the teams aren't decent. Tom O'Brien can continue to shoot himself in the foot with his "best in the state" lines, but he's 2-0 at State against UNC, so I can't talk too much. But really I believe that increasing the quality of play around the state can only help each school. If one program gets left in the dust, it's their own fault.

4. What is your prediction for Saturday?

No idea. I'm sorry, but I really haven't seen much of BC this season, mostly because y'all (there's that word) are in the other division and aren't a traditional rival. I do know that the Eagles have surprised this season. (How are you liking Gary Tranquill?) Montel Harris will be huge in this game, either stopping him for the Heels or getting him going for BC.

It would be really easy for me to say I think Carolina's on a roll (I do) and they should win, but I would think that against just about any opponent they could face this weekend. But there is another team across the field; it's not as simple as just completing a task. So just based on the last three weeks, I'll say North Carolina 24, BC 20. But really I have no idea.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Ho hum: we beat St. Francis

Another tune up went well as BC beat St. Francis tonight. I didn't see it, but I am encouraged by a few things...

Tyler Roche is locked in from 3. We made most of our free throws. We didn't let them hang around.

What I am bothered by is our poor shooting from 3 by everyone else. We will need to make those, especially against inferior teams.

Anyone who actually saw the game is welcome to leave his or her thought.

Blogpoll ballot

I bumped up every conceivable ACC but BC. Why? Have you seen the results of the The Coulter/Kos Award this year? I don't want to be responsible for cursing BC. As for the non superstitious votes, I am starting to waiver on Florida. Fortunately on the SEC side, things will be settled on the field.

Games I watched

-- BC-Virginia 100% (twice)
-- Florida-South Carolina 20%
-- Notre Dame-Pitt 50%
-- NC State-Clemson 50%
-- Auburn-UGA 20%

1 Florida
2 Alabama
3 Texas
4 Cincinnati
5 Georgia Tech
7 Boise State
8 Pittsburgh
9 Oklahoma State 1
10 Oregon 3
11 Virginia Tech 4
12 Ohio State 4
13 Brigham Young 4
14 Clemson 5
15 Stanford 5
16 Penn State 5
17 LSU 5
18 West Virginia 5
19 Oregon State
20 Wisconsin
21 Temple 3
22 Navy
23 North Carolina
24 Nebraska
25 Rutgers
Last week's ballot

Dropped Out: Houston (#9), Utah (#11), Miami (Florida) (#12), Southern Cal (#14), Auburn (#18), Idaho (#25).

What to make of Shinskie's stats?

Last year when Jags kept excusing Chris Crane's play because he was a "rookie" I felt it was a cop out. This season I am more willing to accept the "rookie" tag as an excuse for Shinskie. Crane had four years in the program and two with Logan. Shinskie was in Spring Training in Florida this March while our team was installing Tranq's offense. There is a difference. My concern with Shinskie though is that we seen progression followed by regression. I was hoping for the learning curve to be on a steep uptick by now. But let's not use eye balls to decide where Shinskie is. Instead I will dig up a chart from last year. It is not totally apples to apples since Shinskie had cameo appearances outside of his seven starts that are in his stats below but does give a good benchmark of where he is relative to our past QBs.
QBW-LAttemptsComp Pct YardsPassing TDsINTsRushing TDs
Brian St. Pierre6-118055%1,1861560
Quinton Porter4-318259%1,2931451
Paul Peterson6-119461%1,4961360
Matt Ryan6-124659%1,621975
Chris Crane6-120057%1,2496109
Dave Shinskie5-220353%1,4951291

Does this confirm what many of us are "seeing?" I would say that based on the stats you can say that Shinskie's not as accurate as he needs to be. He is aggressive though and willing and capably of going long.

This weekend Shinskie will face a very good defense with a ball hawking reputation. Let's hope he has another progression and is ready for the challenge. To win the division we can't have "rookie" mistakes.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Marylad kickoff announced and other links

The Maryland game will be a 3:30 start and carried on ESPN U. I will actually be there in person and look forward to meeting some of you. This means we will not play a primetime game this season. The last time we had an all day game schedule was 1997 (TOB's first year).

The experts have been making bowl projections all season. Now, as the schedule comes to an end, the predictions become a little more accurate. That said there doesn't seem to be a consensus on BC Yet. SI says Music City again. The ESPN guys are divided between Emerald and Champs. HD says Emerald. Since we don't control our own destiny, I will predict Emerald too.

The Hockey team lost to UVM on Sunday.

Suns bloggers are growing to love Dudley.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Second viewing thougths and grade report: Virginia

It wasn't a fun game to watch live and not particularly fun to watch back. Maybe it was the awful direction of the 360 broadcast. Maybe it was the dark picture. Maybe it was the lifeless crowd. But the game lacked energy and I wish our guys had done more to change the mood. Although we weren't crisp, there were a few encouraging signs.

Offense: C

Shinskie wasn't a total disaster, but it wasn't a good road game. He is still locking in and not working his progressions. This first INT was costly but not terrible...he was just a little late on the throw. The second was a pure chuck. He also got lucky that a few others weren't picked. He needs to learn when to run as he had chances to get some cheap yards on scrambles. The good news though is that when he has time he can throw some really nice balls (like Larmond's dropped TD).

The offensive line played very well. They gave Shinskie time for most of the game and opened up holes for Harris. Aside from Lapham's penalty, the right side played really well. Outside of a getting beat once, Castonzo played well. Richman played in the first half, but Cleary played during crunch time. Both looked good. I am encouraged since UVA uses a lot of different looks and the line needs to play well if we plan to beat UNC.

Harris had another strong game. It was pretty routine for him at this point -- found good holes and always seemed to fall forward. McCluskey got involved in the passing game and showed nice hands.

Certainly a mixed day for the WRs. Painful drops from Gunnell, Jarvis and Larmond...all of which could have been big plays. Fortunately the guys bounced back and also made some big plays.

Pantale is doing a good job of finding spots and then adding yards after the catch.

I don't know what to make of the play calling from Tranq. I loved all the play action as it did catch them off guard. I also liked the aggressiveness with the deep balls. I also liked throwing to the flats to Pantale and McCluskey. Yet we still only scored twice (in part becuase of Shinskie's mistakes). Also I felt we got too conservative at the goalline on the second TD. I also didn't like the play calling under 3 minutes. But overall, Tranq had a good plan for UVA...we just didn't execute at key moments.

Defense: B-

I know Scafe is far from 100%, but he played and looked good. He wasn't particularly disruptive in their backfield but was making tackles and occupying space. Newman played well. Rossi and Giles didn't make many plays (good or bad). With everyone banged up, I don't know why were are not rotating Dlinemen more. These guys are gassed and it is not like they are all playing so well that we can't give them a rest here or there.

Kuechly was very good and probably had his best game in a couple weeks. He did a good job tracking down guys who were on the other side of the field. McLaughlin was okay but missed a few tackles again. Morrissey was good including the big play to seal the game. Morrissey also looked better in pass coverage. LeGrande also played well.

Wes Davis had a strong game. Rollins made some big plays and also did a good job supporting the run and making tackles. Not much activity near Fletcher or Gause. Bowman had some tackles.

Like the offensive plan, I thought things were good until late. We didn't generate much pass rush but contained Sewell for most of the game. There wasn't a ton of blitzing (although it worked when we did). The only gripe was the prevent on the final drive. We let them move the ball too easily considering the time left in the game.

Special Teams: B

Kickoffs were fine.

Kick returns were uneventful, but I like the LeGrande/Gause combo.

Punts were fine. I thought the Bowman penalty was bull.

Gunnell fair caught most, but still showed some aggressiveness at times.

Overall: B-

A win is what is important but I didn't feel great when it ended. As I've already hit hard, we went conservative too early. Why not pass on the final 3rd down? I did like Spaz showing a little more emotion in this game than he has on some other games. I just wish he would show a little more killer instinct.

The reality of clock management

One of the areas that I will be critical of Spaz in my write up will be his ultra conservative game management. After moving the ball out of our own end successfully with run and pass, Spaz starting killing clock once we got to midfield. The problem with that idea was that there was still way too much time left on the clock. Sure he forced Groh to burn his timeouts, but timeouts are fairly disposable in college football. Because the clock stops with a first down, you can easily drive the field with two minutes and never need a time out. Take a look at just this one example of actual elapsed time during Virginia's final drive.

After a few first downs, UVA has the ball at midfield. There is 1:38 left. The clock is stopped because of the first down. Sewall is throwing.

He checks down (which BC is giving him) and completes a pass for seven yards. Notice it only took him two seconds to complete the pass.

Virginia is in two-minute mode so they line up quickly and are ready to run the next play. The clock reads 1:22.

So let's review. By design BC wanted to force something underneath to keep the clock moving. That worked. UVA completed the pass short of first down. Just what BC wanted. Yet they only ran off 16 seconds and are now in BC territory. Is that really a winning strategy?

Spaz has seen plenty of comeback in college football. Why is he still going so conservative now that he is calling the shots? On BC's final third down, we ran off ten seconds and forced Virginia to burn its last timeout. If we had thrown on 3rd down would the game have been that different? That ten seconds and 1 TO is not what won the game.

The results of close games tends to even out over time. So far Spaz is 3-1 in close games this year. If he keeps playing so conservatively another one is going to go the wrong way.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Staying alive

It certainly is a game of inches. This had all the makings of a WTF game. We were flat against a lame duck coach. We allowed a non offensive touchdown. Consistent players kept making mistakes. Weird calls and then throw in your random chain problem. Yet we didn't let those things spoil the day and held on for the win. This keeps hope alive for the division. We now need to run the table and hope that UVA upsets Clemson next week.

I'll have my grades and second viewing thoughts up late Sunday.

In-game comments post: Virginia

Clemson won earlier, so this is now a must win. Let's hope our road woes are behind us. Go BC!

I will be online during the game but will probably not be leaving comments. Leave your thoughts and comments below.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Busy Friday night

Basketball won despite the suspension. It was a career night for Tyler Roche.

The women's soccer team advanced in the NCAA Tournament by beating Harvard.

The men's soccer team lost to NC State. Despite the loss they should still make the NCAAs as an at large.

Starters suspended

We will be without Sanders, Raji and Dunn against Dartmouth and for the next game. No specifics are given other than the violation of team rules. I was told from unnamed folks that this is not a big deal or a sign of a bigger problem. It is more BC being BC.

Game Watches: Virginia

ESPN 360 put a little damper on the Game Watch momentum. But below are the troopers including the UNOFFICIAL Denver Watch. If you can't get 360, get yourself to one of these places.

Chicago Game Watch
Trinity Bar
2721 N. Halsted (Diversey & Halsted)
on the border of Lincoln Park and Lakeview

New York City Game Watches

192 3rd Ave @ 17th

Pat Obrien's
88st and 2ave

San Francisco Game Watch
Shanghai Kellys
2064 Polk St
San Francisco

UNOFFICIAL Denver Game Watch

Frank & Joe
1108 York Street
Denver, CO 80206

Thursday, November 12, 2009

BC-Virginia Preview

Like last year BC needs to run the table if they want to get to Tampa. Unlike last year though, they need a little help. (I will get to that later.). But we can't worry about what happens in Raleigh. BC just needs to get it done against Virginia.

Narrative talking point that you’ll tire of by the end of the game. "Al Groh's last days..." Groh is on the hottest of hot seats. Depending on how Virginia plays, I imagine the broadcasters will either paint it as the team rallying behind their coach or a team that is giving up. Neither is true. BC has faced enough lame duck coaches to know that the situation is very unpredictable. How the players respond is only a portion of what goes into the game or why a team loses. I often wish chaos on our opponents. Although UVA is bad, I don't see it this year. If we lose it won't be because Groh's kids played for him. If we win it won't be because they gave up. It will be that BC has better talent and execution.

Three Simple Keys

1. Use screen passes. We've been terrible at screens all year. We will need to use them this weekend. UVA still comes after the QB and they've been burned by screens all season.
2. Don't allow non-offensive touchdowns. UVA's offense is anemic. We can't help them by allowing a special teams return (which we are due for) or some sort of defensive score.
3. Stop the run. Virginia has some talent in the backfield, we can't make the game easier for them by allowing big chunks on the ground.

Gambling Notes

-- This is Spaz's first game as a road favorite
-- Groh is 6-7 against the Atlantic division
-- BC is 0-5 in their last five games on natural grass.
The current line is BC-4


BC has played UVA, VMI, William & Mary and even a Marine team from Quantico but this is our first game in the state of Virginia not against Virginia Tech.

Scoreboard Watching

There is only one other game of any importance this weekend -- NC State vs Clemson. We need the Wolfpack to pull off the upset. Root for TOB like you never have before.

I hope to see…

Shinskie play a road game without a bunch of turnovers and mistakes. This is not Blacksburg, Clemson or even South Bend. The stadium will be empty. We are experienced. There is no reason to get road jitters in this environment.

BC is in trouble if...

Virginia has allowed a ton of sacks this season. If we can't get to their QB(s?) it is probably a sign that they are moving the ball.

Bottom Line

I don't expect this three game stretch to be easy nor do I take any game for granted, but I think Virginia is a good matchup for BC. We can score enough points and they are mistake prone on offense. That plays well to our style. I think we get the road monkey off our back and win comfortably.
Final Score: BC 28, Virginia 10

Paris's path to Boston and other links

The Globe published a great feature on Biko Paris. When outsiders predict 9th place finishes, I think they are underestimating Paris' ability to fill Rice's shoes.

BC beat Duke in the ACC Tournament and advanced to semis. The Eagles take on NC State on Friday.

The Herald published Mike Morrissey's story of going from walkon to starter.

Although I don't think it will be a big theme this weekend, this game does mark Spaz's return to Virginia. He didn't leave there on the best of terms and was one of the scapegoats of their collapse after being No. 1.

Playing New England is special for Jamie Silva.

Given what we've been discussing on the blog, it is interesting to note that on average only 37% of the Rivals 100 make it to the NFL. Also that Rivals thinks BC is one of the better programs at finding players for our system.

The offensive line feels they are getting better every week.

Former Eagle Shamari Spears is starting his UNC-C career off on the right foot.

The women's basketball team and hockey team picked up some early commitments.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A friendly debate with Brad Zak

Following my critical post on Brad Zak's ESPNBoston article, Brad reached out to me to defend himself. We took our email conversation and moved it here. I think we see things differently but at least Brad has more space to explain his position. As always you can leave your thoughts on recruiting and player development in the comments.

In an attempt to defend myself from the skewering I took last week, I'd like to clarify a few of the points I made in my ESPNBoston article on Josh Haden's transfer. First of all, I wasn't questioning BC's ability to develop talent, professionals such as Matt Ryan (3-star recruit) and B.J. Raji (2-star recruit) show that BC can prepare players for the highest level. My argument; however, was that it is troubling for BC not to get production from the four and five star recruits they are able to bring to campus. When we are only bringing in two, maybe three top recruits a year it is crucial that we are able to utilize that talent. Schools such as USC, Ohio State and Florida can afford to miss on a few when they are bringing in around 20 four to five star recruits a year, but when you are only bringing in a couple, their performance is put at a premium. I do concede that some guys such as Toal and McMichael were afflicted by injuries and that hampered their production on the field, but I would argue that regardless of injuries BC needs a top-level recruit to come to Chestnut Hill and shine in order to persuade other big-time prospects to follow suit. For BC to take the next step toward making it to the Orange Bowl or consistently being ranked in the top 15, they will need to start utilizing and then bringing in additional top-rated talent.

There are a lot of different goals and arguments in place surrounding your article. First let's table the common ground. Players are important. The team with the best players is more likely to beat the team with inferior talent. Recruiting is vital because it is the method in which a program gets better players.

My problem though with your original article and your defense of it now is still the added emphasis on the highly rated recruits. I think the recruiting systems are deeply flawed and miss as often as they get things right. Sure there is a correlation between winning programs and top recruiting classes, but I still challenge anyone to show me that there is a causation between the two. The top programs' recruits are favored by the flawed evaluators. The system never anticipates the decline of programs like Miami and Florida State just to use two ACC examples. The evaluators also failed to identify the top talent that the NFL drafted out of BC and Wake Forest of late.

Maybe Josh Haden didn't truly merit four stars. How did he get them? Because of his brother's success? Because he was strong for his size? Because he dominated on a lower-level Maryland league? Did he get them because the Rivals evalutors were tipped off of BC and Florida's early interest? I don't know but once he was put on a different playing field he showed he wasn't as good as Montel Harris. And as a BC fan we shouldn't really care as long as the team performs well. If another player comes down the trail and is turned off by Haden's experience at BC, then he isn't a player we need or want.

Recruiting is a lot about self-selecting. Our model is proven to be pretty good and has us competing for the ACC every year. That is what we should be asking for. Setting a goal to have top 5 recruiting classes annually would be a wasted effort since the system is not designed to reward teams like BC. If we want to get to the next level, we just need to get better at finding the right guys for BC, not more four stars.

I think there always has to be an emphasis on higher rated recruits for the program. Now not every highly rated recruit is going to be a big hit and national recruiting is definitely an imperfect science. Scouting is never a guarantee (just look at every NBA and NFL draft) and when dealing with 18 year old kids you have to expect some misses. You can always bash recruiting when looking at individual cases, but a Dr. Saturday article from January pointed out how team rankings can have some hand at indicating success. After a lot of calculations he concluded that the "more talented team" according to the recruiting gurus won two-thirds of the time in 2008, by a little more than a touchdown per game.

I think as BC fans it is in our nature to always feel a little slighted by the national media since year after year they pick us to finish near the bottom of the ACC, despite our success. I am not of the belief that the evaluators favor certain programs. The best athletes are attracted to the most successful football schools and that is why the same names continually pop up on the Rivals rankings lists. I don't think that BC is disrespected by evaluators; we just take a Moneyball-like approach to recruiting by valuing qualities that not every school does. For instance, the A's were able to keep up with big market clubs by valuing walks, and OBP, while BC values intangibles, character and mental toughness to keep them competitive as they lag behind in the recruiting rankings. We aren't necessarily getting the best athletes in all cases, but we are getting guys who slate very well into our system.

Also, I don't think Rivals is suited for predicting lulls for programs such as Miami and Florida State because their troubles are also attributed to factors such as coaching and poor character. Miami has had 9 first or second round picks in the past four years. They were hurt by the coaching turnover and poor off the field conduct (see: 7th Floor Crew). Florida State has had six first and second round picks in the past four years. Florida State's problems have been centered around coaching as many around the program wonder if Bobby Bowden's still alive. They might not have lived up to their lofty standards, but there is still high level talent coming out of these programs. On the other hand a Rivals systems can help show teams that are on the upswing because their is increased talent coming into the program. Alabama was not in the Top 25 for recruiting in 2003, 2004, were 18th in 2005, 11th in 2006, 10th in 2007, and 1st in 2008. The increase in recruiting has mirrored their resurgence in the SEC and on the national stage.

BC has had a lot of trouble with very athletic players these past few years. We've seen C.J. Spiller and Tyrod Taylor run circles around us as we continually have trouble bottling these explosive players up. We need better athletes to be able to handle guys like this, scheming can only go so far. Losing out on Haden and other top recruits hurts us because our reputation follows us to every recruit. We need to bring in top level athletes to reach the next level, and when a previously highly touted prospect transfers, it can only hurt the BC recruiting pitch.

I understand Doc Saturday's findings, but the once again the whole system is designed to empower the top programs. Big deal that the higher rated ranked class beat the lower ranked program 2/3s of the time. It doesn't take a genius from Rivals to say Florida has a better recruiting class and then look smart when Florida beats Vandy 2 out of 3 times (or more). Florida has natural advantages over Vandy and the gurus tend to reinforce those advantages by favorably ranking the players that are drawn to Florida or Alabama etc.

You also mentioned Alabama. Do you think their current position in the college football landscape has to do with the 2006 recruiting class or with bringing in a world class coach? Also, I think their "recruiting rise" is misleading since they were coming off probation and disruptive coaching changes. The gurus aren't dummies. They aren't going to put a team in transition with limited scholarships in the top 10 of their prediction.

But instead of debating the rankings, let's go back to the main premise again: that BC fans should be concerned with how we deal and develop four stars. I have made it clear I disagree with that focus and want to offer a counter to the Haden anecdotal situation. My situation shows a missed opportunity for BC but one that flew under the radar for most BC fans because the geniuses at the ranking services didn't put the same four star tag on Kyle Koehne. For those of you who don't follow recruiting as closely, Koehne was a 3-star offensive lineman from Indianapolis that BC thought very highly of last year. We ended up losing him to Florida. There was disappointment among those who follow recruiting but not the hand wringing you see when BC loses on a four star. Why? Because he was not a skill player and was only a 3 star. Yet I think his ranking was yet another indictment of the system. If BC -- a school with a great history of evaluating Oline talent -- has the kid at the top of their board and Florida -- which doesn't recruit just anyone out of Indiana -- thinks the kid is going to be a star, why is he only a 3 star? I don't know. Maybe the Midwest evaluators from Rivals didn't anticipate that he would get national interest. Maybe they thought he was too skinny to play Oline at the SEC level. Maybe since he was ignored by Notre Dame and Ohio State they didn't worry. Regardless, if BC wants to break our ceiling we need to bring in more Koehnes and not worry about recruiting rankings. If we identify a player for the top of our board we need to put all our effort into landing him regardless of his rankings. And once we get everyone on campus you play the best players and don't worry about egos or stars or anything else. Worry about winning.

As far as Alabama goes obviously the hire of Coach Saban helped bring them to back into the national spotlight, but arguably his biggest contribution was his ability to attract high level talent such as Andre Smith, Mark Ingram and Julio Jones. Without these highly-ranked players Alabama would just be another middle of the road SEC school with a world class coach. If you need proof look at how Steve Spurrier has struggled in South Carolina.

When I look at the Kyle Koehne situation I think it works against your theory that the gurus try to reinforce the rankings by bumping up players looking at Florida or Alabama. It seems by looking at his profiles, scouts thought he was very technically sound but his athleticism was questioned and most thought he would have to move to guard in college. If Rivals had gone back and changed his ranking from a three to a four star just because Florida began showing interest, wouldn't that show they weren't sticking to their assessment and favoring the top schools?

I'm encouraged by our ability to bring in a player like Shakim Phillips who has the potential to be a gamebreaking wideout for us. Look at the teams we've played and around the ACC and you'll find guys like Spiller, Taylor, Golden Tate, Ryan Williams, and Jonathan Dwyer who always have the ability to hit a big play. It should be no surprise that all those guys listed were at least 4 star prospects (Taylor and Spiller 5 stars), and that they had a big hand in either beating BC or in Dwyer's case most likely leading his team to the ACC championship game. From what we saw of Haden he probably wasn't the answer and would never have an effect like any of these guys. We can still be a very good team without Josh Haden or many four and five star recruits, but if we are looking to be a great team then I believe we'll have to start bringing in these top-rated guys.

ATLEagle: I agree that greatness is dependent upon great players. I just don't think we should trust the recruiting system to find and identify all those great players. If BC never gets another five-star recruit, you won't hear a complaint out of me. I will care once we stop competing on the field and will be alarmed when we stop seeing BC guys playing in the NFL.

Guest Blogger: The Good Ol Blog

The Sabre has a great model for UVA sports. They've got good, active message boards, unique content and they are independent of the major networks like Rivals or Scout. One of the other cool things they have is a blog called the The Good Ol Blog. In preparation for our game in Virginia, I've asked Kris from The Sabre a few questions. His answers are below.

1. You changed offensive coordinators in the offseason to a spread specialist but have been using a variety of looks this year. Do you think scheme has been the reason for the inconsistency or is it a talent issue? What do you think we will see this weekend?

The Good Ol Blog:
The offseason hopes of a new, explosive spread offense disappeared in less than a month. After two horrid outings against William & Mary and TCU, the Cavaliers scrapped the spread and went back to more pro-style sets. Is there some spread still sprinkled in? A little, but even then it's been modified from what Gregg Brandon used in the past. Other than an impressive outing at Southern Miss, though, the offense has been awful regardless of the scheme being used.

So that gets to the next part of the question - is it scheme or talent? Honestly, it's probably a little bit of both. The spread scheme didn't suit the personnel since the line can't block in space, the receivers can't get open, and the quarterbacks are inconsistent. Of course, that sounds a lot like talent issues too doesn't it? Ultimately, the offensive line's struggles are the biggest problem because there are times the rest of the players don't even get a chance to do their job. UVa is ranked among the worst teams nationally in Tackles For Loss allowed (112th, 7.5 per game) and sacks allowed (115th, 3.44 per game) - those are some telling stats for the play of the O-Line.

2. After getting things back on track the defense has broken down the past few weeks. What happened?

The Good Ol Blog:
The defense can't stop the run consistently and it gives up too many big plays. One quarter, the Hoos will look good and slow teams down. The next, teams march up and down the field with no problems. A lot of UVa fans still blame the offense for the defense's issues; the offense goes three-and-out frequently so the D is on the field way too much. It's the fatigue argument. Late in the third quarter and in the fourth quarter, I guess that's an acceptable argument. The problem to me is that the defense struggles at times before the fatigue factor can even set in. Bottom line: poor tackling and inconsistent run defense is killing this group.

3. Is there anything Groh can do to save his job? It is interesting that many of the potential candidates were tossed around for the BC job last year (London, Golden, Holtz) are on the UVA radar. Who do you think will get the job? Who do you want to get the job?

The Good Ol Blog:
No. At this point, one more loss locks in the third losing season in four years at Virginia. That will lead to a new coach anywhere really. Winning out won't happen, but even if it did, the fans have already moved on and that lost revenue/support will make the decision easy. As for potential candidates, there are plenty of names thrown around including Mike London and Al Golden as you've mentioned. Guys like Troy Calhoun at Air Force are also on the fans' wish list. I won't pick a favorite candidate at this time, but I will tell you two things I'm hopeful for with the new coach: 1. Media friendly and 2. Wins.

4. What is your prediction for the game?

The Good Ol Blog:
Virginia is far too inconsistent on defense and special teams to make up for a putrid offense. So really, this seems pretty simple to me. If the Eagles score 17 or 20 points, they'll probably win. If they score more than that, they'll probably win easily. At least basketball season starts Friday!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Blogpoll ballot

Even though I didn't have the commitment of watching BC twice, I actually didn't watch all that much football this weekend so most of this is based on record. I finally included Clemson. Maybe that will be a jinx to the Tigers. I have Georgia Tech high but I don't trust their defense. But as for what I did below, I'll give you my normal internet shoulder shrug.

Games I watched

Florida State-Clemson 75%
Notre Dame-Navy 25%
Georgia Tech-Wake Forest 25%
Oklahoma-Nebraska 20%
East Carolina-Virginia Tech 50%

1 Florida
2 Alabama
3 Texas
4 Cincinnati
5 Georgia Tech
7 Boise State 2
8 Pittsburgh 4
9 Houston 4
10 Oklahoma State 4
11 Utah 4
12 Miami (Florida) 4
13 Oregon 3
14 Southern Cal 7
15 Virginia Tech 7
16 Ohio State 3
17 Brigham Young 6
18 Auburn
19 Clemson
20 Stanford
21 Penn State 10
22 LSU 15
23 West Virginia
24 Temple
25 Idaho
Last week's ballot

Dropped Out: Iowa (#8), Arizona (#17), Troy (#18), Oklahoma (#20).

More recruiting news and other links

Bobby Swigert is the latest prospect to join Spaz's staff. What's interesting about him is that he's been injured most of the year, yet still earned a scholarship AND he plans to play baseball for BC too. Swigert had a decent list of offers from schools like Michigan, Stanford and Nebraska. predicts we will be in Charlotte for bowl season. I would be shocked if they had us back for the third time in six years. If we don't luck into the ACCCG, we are going out to San Francisco for bowl season.

BC guy Brian Leetch was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame Monday.

BC will host first and second round games of the NCAA women's soccer tournament. The Eagles take on Harvard on Friday. Get out there and make some noise.

Brian Gibbons earned Hockey East Co-Player of the Week honors.

Monday, November 09, 2009

The changing face of BC new media

When I started this blog there was very little out there in terms of BC media. The Globe and Herald had extension of their print arms. Rivals and to a lessor extent Scout had BC sites focused on recruiting. Even was limited in its content.

Fortunately that has changed. is constantly improving and adding more content and features. But that is the tip of the iceberg. The University, some key members of the staff and some alumni are also reaching out in new ways.

Jared Dudley is using Twitter to show off his humor and video skills. With his improved play and comfort with the camera, is there any doubt Jared will be on TV when his career is over?

In this post, Basketball assistant Pat Duquette talks about the early signing period.

If you follow BC on Facebook you would know that the critically acclaimed TV drama "Friday Night Lights" filmed on campus recently. FNL goes for realism, so I hope they mention BC by name. Here is a shot of Connie Britton on campus.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

New recruit and other weekend news

Jarrett Darmstatter is the latest high school player to commit to Spaz. He is listed as a TE/DE. Check out his recruiting profile here.

After starting slow the Basketball team pulled away from St. Mike's en route to a win. It was only an exhibition but you have to like the the balance.

BC bounced back from Friday night's disappointment to beat Northeastern Saturday.

Here is a nice article on Rich Lapham. The Herald also covered BC's bye weekend.

With the way things shook out this weekend, HD sees us bowling in San Fran. I actually agree with her. The only way we will be a better bowl is to win the ACC.

Future opponent UNC just lost their leading rusher to injury.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Friday to forget and other links

The women's soccer team took a game into OT again. This time they were on the wrong end of the game that ended with BC scoring an "own goal."

The men's hockey team also had a rough Friday. Up 4-1 in the 3rd period, the let the game slip away and had to settle for a tie.

Skinner picked up his latest commitment in Papa Samba Ndao. Ndao is a 6'8 wing player who is expected to contribute right away.

Anthony Castonzo made ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District 1 First Team. Is it too early to start thinking Rhodes Scholarship?

With a 2-0 win over Virginia Tech, the men's soccer team concluded their regular season and finished 3rd in the ACC.

Here is a Q&A with former BC catcher Tony Sanchez.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Basketball Cheat Sheet

The highlight of last year's basketball season was the win over North Carolina at the Dean Dome. Yet it was all overshadowed as that night all hell broke loose between Gene and Jags. Unfortunately since then we've been bombarded with football drama since then and basketball hasn't been given its due. I am just as guilty. I never even finished my hoops grades. Now we are in November and the team opens their season with an exhibition against St. Michael's this weekend. So let's get to it and catch up with the basketball team...

What's new

Nothing really. It is the same staff and nearly the same team. Rice is gone but there are no new recruits or transfers. With other programs this might be a big deal. I actually think it is a bonus for BC. There is more than enough talent to go around and everyone is on the same page.

How will we replace Rice?

There is no one replacement for Rice. Most of his point duties will go to Biko Paris and Reggie Jackson, but those guys saw the floor last year. The beneficiary in minutes will probably be the big men like Ravenel and Dunn (assuming that Trapani and Raji get more time at the wings instead of the 4 spot this year).

As Paris has said, he'll be more of a distributor that Rice so I expect more efficiency on offense and probably more tight flex.

Rice does leave a gap though. He could be counted on to make big free throws down the stretch. No one on the current team has proven as consistent or clutch yet. Rice could also get his shot off against anyone. Sanders and Jackson showed that ability last year, but neither has done it as often as Rice and neither have his handle.

Who is going to step up?

Ravenenl was the subject of the positive summer whisper campaign. Hopefully he comes through. My bet though is Reggie Jackson. I think he can and will take his game to the next level.

With the six juniors it is harder to predict a break out season. Outside of some general maturity, what you see by the end of second year is often what you get. Of the six though, I think Sanders is most likely to make another leap and become an all conference type player. He was still so raw last year that I think better ball handling and more focus on defense can make him very dangerous.

When will we know about this team?

Skinner's team often leave you guessing. Just after the UNC win, we dropped a game to Harvard. The media picked us 9th in the ACC. I like most BC fans don't think things will be that bad. But we won't know for sure until Providence-Michigan-Miami stretch after Thanksgiving. Those three games will be good indicator if this is a team that will challenge for the top spot in the conference or sit on the bubble all season.

What is a concern?

Aside from the depth of the ACC, I am concerned about this team's defense. Individually none of the guys are great defenders and as a group they weren't very good last year. We didn't force many turnovers last year. That may change with Paris, but we don't know. We are also a bad defensive rebounding team. If we go big more often, that will hopefully improve.

Suggestion to help enjoy the season

If you like BC basketball but are not on twitter, I suggest you join so you can follow BC assistant Mo Cassara. Coach Cassara might be the biggest BC sports fan in the Athletic Department and I look forward to his updates on the team once play begins.

(Also, if you are going to join twitter you can follow me and whole bunch of other BC folks.)

What should the expectations be?

No one thinks we are a 9th place team. This team should be competitive and should be a tournament team again. If they land on the wrong side of the bubble, I at least expect a deep NIT run.

What is my prediction?

I think the team will start strong, hit some rough spots once they hit the meat of the ACC schedule. I think they finish well and make a run in the ACC tournament. That gets them off any bubble. I think they make the tourney as a 6ish seed, and make a nice run to the Sweet 16.

Regardless of how well it plays out, this should be a fun team to watch. Let's hope we get to watch them deep into March.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Haden speaks and other links

Josh Haden did the media rounds yesterday to explain his decision to transfer. He had nothing bad to say about BC, just that he felt it wasn't the right fit. I hope he finds what he is looking for at his next stop.

Huge win for the women's soccer team. They went to Penalty Kicks in the quarterfinal game.

Rich Gunnell also got some media attention Wednesday. First with this ESPNBoston piece and then with this feature on Pete Mitchell visiting Rich in practice. Gunnell is nearing Mitchell's yardage record.

Although it is an off week, Bob Ryan felt it was time to give Spaz a little attention.

BC came in at 59 in this preseason basketball ranking.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Andy Katz gets us ready for hoops and other links

Andy Katz is back with a profile of the basketball team. As usual Katz gets candid quotes from the staff and takes a very positive outlook on the team. Clearly no one around BC is concerned about the depth or lack of new recruits. Katz sees BC as a tournament team but doubts we will challenge for a title. I don't think we win a National Championship this season, but I do think we can make a run in the ACC Tourney.

Slam is not nearly as optimistic about our upcoming season.

The men's soccer team is one of the hottest in the country.

The ACC named Victoria DiMartino Freshman of the Year award in soccer.

ESPNBoston profiled Luke Kuechly.