Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Decade in Review: Ten worst moments

This is another look back at this momentous decade in BC sports. I will get the pain out of the way with a recap of the lowest of the lows. (As always feel free to recount your own BC horrors in the comments section.)

1. Syracuse 2004

Some readers have told me to let this game go already. I don't think I ever will. Part of me changed as a BC fan that day. In fact, I had so much frustration and emotion after that I decided to start a BC sports blog only a few days later. This loss is the worst in my opinion because the stars will never be as aligned as they were that day. BC was 60 minutes from a BCS bowl game. The supposed ceiling was going to be busted. All we had to do is take care of business against a lame duck Syracuse team at home. You know what happened. The loss stinks. In retrospect trying to win with Matt Ryan is his first start was a daunting task. But what made the day so terrible is that we didn't even show up. We were run over from the very first drive and Syracuse never looked back. It was a gutless performance on what should have been TOB and BC's crowning achievement.

2. The Jags firing

Others might view this as a great moment of the last ten years. I won't and hope that history doesn't get scrubbed or rewritten by the victors (in this case, GDF). You can listen to all the rumors out there regarding Jags, but at the end of the day BC was not better off for firing him when and how they did. He blew it. Gene blew it. And it never had to be that way. Jags' two seasons were exciting and filled with emotion and hope. Would it have burned out or blown up eventually? I don't know. Will Spaz be the better long term solution? I don't know. I do know that I felt pretty low when this happened and I think BC sports suffered because of the pissing match between our current AD and our former coach.

3. "We're up, aren't we?"

BC fans are a forgiving lot. We all wanted to believe that TOB was going to get it one day and bring us beyond the near misses. However, this throw away quip to Erin Andrews during halftime of a BC-Miami game was the final straw for many BC fans. I wrote a lengthy post in response to that game and TOB's comments. We may be guilty of reading too much into what he said. For many though it symbolized TOB's stubbornness, lack of a killer instinct and lack of personality. As for a low moment, most BC fans were finishing their turkey and wondering "how long do I have to put up with this attitude." The answer was not for long.

4. Any time Bob Hohler wrote about BC.
[I am using Hohler as an entry to capture two aspects that stink as being a BC fan. 1. The Boston media's relationship with the school. 2. As much as we hate to admit it, sometimes our jocks are not choir boys.] If something bad happened in the last decade off the field with BC sports, you could count on the Globe to send Bob Hohler over to campus for a quick hit piece. The Globe never asked their normal BC beat writer to cover potential scandal. That would have been too risky. If the beat guy pissed off BC, he might lose access. So instead the Globe would send a hatchet man and we'd lose the beat guy's perspective and access. Hohler's accounts always seemed to overstate the wrong doings and often took overly negative takes on the circumstances. I know it was not Hohler's fault when BC athletes got in trouble. But he and the Globe took the bad news of the '00s and added an extra bit of negativity each time.

5. Tom Mutch's inappropriate relationships with his players.

Mutch crossed the ultimate line when you are a coach. It was swept under the rug, but that doesn't make the situation any less shameful. Mutch deserves most of the blame, but BC is also at fault for not uncovering it earlier. If not for sexting, Mutch might still be coaching at BC.

6. Losing to Villanova in the 2006 NCAA Tournament.
There are a few different NCAA tourney losses that I could have put in here. The reason I felt this was most painful is because it was probably the best collection of talent BC had in the Skinner era. We played so well at times in that game, yet lost on some bad calls and mental lapses. If we were going to make a run, that was the team that should have done it.

7. Patrick Eaves collision with Joe Exter.

Although he was the scapegoat, this wasn't Eaves fault. As for why it makes my worst moments, I guess because of how dangerous and violent the incident was. We enjoy these sports and forget how much these kids are sacrificing each time they step onto the field or ice. If this had happened in the Youtube era, Eaves would have been national news.

8. Sean Williams getting kicked off the basketball team.

Williams might be the greatest waste of talent to ever come through BC. He blew multiple second chances and let his team and his family down. Sean's love of weed will always leave BC fans wondering what could have been.

9. Getting snubbed by the ACC during their first attempt at expansion.

It all worked out in the end, but the ACC's original expansion to 11 was very scary at the time. BC did everything right yet got left at the alter due to conference politics. When it happened, I thought we were facing a long uncomfortable life as the unwanted team in the second rate Big East.

10. BC getting their bubble burst in 2003.

Every year there is a team that deserves to make the NCAA Tournament that doesn't. In 2003 it was BC. All the talking heads came to our defense, but it didn't matter to the selection committee. It was a shame as Troy Bell's BC career ended in a second round NIT loss to Temple.

[Ed's note. There are many more losses that I could have included, but also wanted to touch on other sports and other issues that were frustrating, maddening or historically bad.]


perkindc said...
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perkindc said...

UW Milwaukee 2005 2nd round.

Worst moment ever for me as a BC fan.

mod34b said...

"but at the end of the day BC was not better off for firing him [Jags] when and how they did"

I beg to differ.

but great post

ORDEagle said...

Miami game in 2001 when Ed Reed scores on the fluke interception. That Miami team is considered on of college football's greatest and we were about to take it in to beat them. It defined "bad beat" to me before I knew that term from gambling. Something like that always seemed to happen to BC.

Dan said...

Shinskie throwing away, literally, a great performance by our defense that stopped a high powered offense in our last trip to South Bend for the forseeable future and thus ending our streak against the Domers.

I hoped that would be his Matt Ryan Syracuse moment but after UNC, eh maybe not.

Goberry said...

How quickly is life going by these days? I half expected to read about the gambling scandal when I saw the post title, only to realize that it was thirteen years ago.

Ry said...

bc vs no dak in providence for the 2000 frozen four final. the image of mottau down on one knee dejected inside his own cage after trying to stop the empty netter is one that i will never shake.

Frank C. said...

the syracuse loss was not only the worst BC moment in the last decade for me, it was also the worst moment in sports history for me. the depression i felt that day stands above anything else. even the unthinkable 2004 yankees collapse

come to think of it, 2004 really sucked...

i really hope there will be a "best of decade" post to help my awakened bc nightmares go away this week.

chicagofire1871 said...

1. Syracuse '04
2. Syracuse '04
3. Syracuse '04
4. Miami fluke deflection/INT 2001
5. MSU wins Nat Champ in hockey
6. Villanova beats BC in tourney

For me everything else comes far after these 4 disasters

Kevin Cote said...

you gotta let this jags thing go...

where does he coach now? oh that's right he doesn't. yes it was handled poorly and brought negative attention to BC; however, jags walked into a team prime to make a run and that's what happened. plain and simple, he shouldn't have forced gene's hand.

BCDoubleEagle said...

"the stars will never be as aligned as they were that day. BC was 60 minutes from a BCS bowl game."

The same scenario happened in the ACCCG in 2007 & 2008.

ATL_eagle said...


The reason I think Cuse 04 is different from the two ACCCG is that we were at home against a terrible team. In the ACCCGs we were underdogs to good VT teams.

ATL_eagle said...


There are plenty of Frozen Four losses that stung but I think the pain of 2000 was offset by the 2001 title.

SectionKK said...

I don't disagree about Syracuse in 2004. Horrible. But what about Miami in 2001? The image of Ed Reed running the length of the field after the ball bounced into his hands still haunts me. Those two and the loss to 'Nova in the tournament would be my top three.

IwishIwasin8B said...

Lets not forget the back to back losses in 2007 to a weak FSU and an even weaker Maryland. These two losses ended the dream of a national title and dropped BC from #2 in the nation out of the top 20.

BCDisco said...

I would definitely put the Jags firing in the top 10, but maybe not as high as 2. In my opinion, Gene has regained some credibility now that Jags is unemployed (as of this writing). However, I agree Gene handled it poorly. We had a great thing going with Jags and his staff. Too bad Jags turned out to be a bit of a flake. Spaz and his staff just aren't the same.

That Syracuse loss definitely deserves to be in the number 1 spot.

America said...
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ObserverCollege said...

Worst moments? Uh, you missed a few:

1. Failing to pay Tom O'Brien the $3 million per year he is worth. Instead he got the same package in Raleigh, once you account for cost of living and the commute time to Daniel Island.

2. Notre Dame, 2002. Good long term as the interloper was exposed. But 8-0 is 8-0, and a lot of money was lost that day.

3. FSU 21, @BC 28 (2009). A good, decent man lost his job after this result. A man who had devoted years to the welfare of his athletes' feet, being sure that they had the best access to the best selection of athletic footwear one can possibly find. And recruits flocked to his benevolence, as FSU finished at the top February after February. Yet somehow the administration became focused on "wins" and "losses", while the rest of the nation suffered. All because your coach momentarily forgot his place. Shameful.

America said...

agree with most of this however there are a couple I would change.
First of all the Syracuse '04 game is so far ahead as number one that it should be on it's own. Not only was it the worst momment in the decade it may be the worst loss ever for BC and frankly it was one of the worst days of my life (my long term girl friend at the time also broke up with me that day.

I don't think the Jags fireing belongs on this list and niether does the Mutch issue.

What about the FSU and Maryland game from Jag's first year and the that ACC title game.

America said...

AND THE 2001 MIAMI GAME! That would have been a rush the field rip down the goal post win! (especially because it would have been revenge for what happened in 99 when we were up by 21)

AHC said...

I think the loss to Michigan State in hockey was one of the worst losses I've seen. I was physically sick and depressed for a week.

That and being so close to knocking off #1 Miami. Some people were comparing Miami to the all time great teams at the time because of their unbeaten streak.

cullenmi said...

I still remember being a Freshman home for Thanksgiving in TX and having to go to the local bar with my Dad at noon and asking for the BC-Syracuse look and getting a glare like we had 5 heads for not asking for any of the Big 12 games. We were in all BC gear and within the first drive the game seemed out of reach as they ran all over us. My Dad and I still discuss how depressing it was and still confused on how our solid defense just got manhandled. I just looked up the review on BC's website. First play from scrimmage was a 69 yd run. Just gross.


Laxman said...

Love this blog but I think you're feelings about GDF and Jags are beginning to undermine your credibility. Jags was great for the 2 years he was here. But Jags was done, he had given up on recruiting long before the Jets came calling and GDF drew a line in the sand. Could it have been handled better? Probably but the fact was that BC was about to have another coach who had one foot out the door. TOB wanted another college job, Jags wanted out of college all together. He just didn't like it. I actually think it may wind up being one of the best things that happened this decade, not the worst.

I had forgotten about the Exeter incident. He's now the goalie coach for Team USA, great to hear. Its a shame that Eaves was made out to be a villain by an incompetent referee.

Lally said...

What about Herzlich announces he has cancer? I know that his future looks bright now, but at the time that was a big 'pit in the middle of your stomach' type feeling.

Marco C. said...

Went to BC from 2004-2008 (probably the most exciting period in BC athletics) and would say losing to Nova was the worst.

Big Jack Krack said...

Love all the posts.

I'm glad Joe Exter survived.

Timmy said...

What you didn't mention, but everyone obviously remembers, is that Syracuse's Diamond Ferri played on both sides of the ball and was responsible for three touchdowns. The man haunts my nightmares.

I've blamed myself all these years. I wore a sombrero that entire game. Such hubris!

mod34b said...

Laxman, I agree with you on the peculiarity of ATL on the Jags issue. Sorry, ATL, seems your usual objectivity is clouded on this one -- although you have certainly been consistent on this issue since the firing.

Yes, Jags should have been canned for being a snake and undermining the program. E.g., How could he tell recruits he was in it for the long haul?

But, I do agree that Gene was pathetic at the news conference. Gene, aka George Castanza, came across as a buffoon:

"We're really good friends and this is a very difficult thing to do," DeFilippo said at a news conference.

"I love Jags. I'm not going to say anything bad about Jags. He was a really good friend when he came here, and we're still really good friends."

"I love Jags, I really do," DeFilippo said.

Channeling George, it might have went like this:

"Gene is not happy. Gene Loves Jags. Gene is Jags' very good friend. Gene is firing Jags. Gene is very upset."

Claver2010 said...

Jags had to be in there. We just beat the #1 team in the country at their place after a ho-hum start when there was rumblings of them going undefeated. Like it or not merrymen, Jags produced something that no coach has been able to do, bring us to a conference championship game and look at the team he did it with in 2008. There were times our D had to outscore our offense, when we were down I would hope that our team would punt it away as our D had a better chance of scoring/creating a turnover than our offense driving a long field.

I think the one complaint I have is not including the 2007 NCAA championship team. We were coming off a last second off of the post the year before and I don't think people realize how good and hot at the time that team was. After the Beanpot final that team did not tie or lose a single game, that's two months worth of going undefeated in the playoffs, 13-0-0. In the HE & NCAA playoffs we were outscoring opponents 35-10 at an average of 5 to less than 1.5, there was only 1 2 goal game and 2 three goal games the rest >4 goal margin which is insane. You also have to remember that the NoDak team was insane (already contains NHL all-stars) and was deemed the NCAA championship game.

As always, great job ATL. Very scared about the future of football though.

ATL_eagle said...


I will cover the Herzy story in another post.

As for my Jags stuff...I've always been pretty upfront about which side I took during the situation. But even if you take a step back and don't pick sides, I think the whole fire winning coach in bizarre standoff and hire passed over DC after a quicky interview process was a bad moment for a program that had spent most of the decade running like a fine tuned machine.

mattfitz said...

The 2001 Miami game produced the best Heights headline that I've ever seen: "The 1 That Got Away". Another side note: what made it particularly bad is that Ed Reed didn't intercept the ball (that I would be more inclined to accept. DE Matt Walters did. Reed stripped it from his own teammate and went the final 90 yards but that only added insult to injury.

Bravesbill said...

The fluke loss to Miami in 2001 definitely deserved to be high on the list. Nothing can compare though to the Syracuse loss. I remember staying in the dorms over T-day break to attend the game. it was bad enough that Syracuse won, but it was made worse by how they won. Syracuse dominated the first half and BC seemed completely done until they returned a punt for a TD right before half. Then they flat out did not play in the second half. Not to mention that Syracuse's 4th string RB, who was a safety by trade, ran for about 200 yards and a few TDs. That game made me sick.

The other game that made me sick was BC's loss to MSU in the Championship. MSU was a 3 seed going into the tourney. BC dominated for most of the game but choked the game away halfway through the third period.

Big Jack Krack said...

Losing to Villanova should be in the Top 3 - certainly the Top 5.

Up 1 with 3 seconds to play - and what do we do? Give up an easy pass right under the basket for a layup - after a TIMEOUT.

Williams blocked it too late = goaltending and BC is eliminated.

Where was the basic coaching - the basic basketball awareness and knowledge?

What a heartbreak!

blockparty said...

losing to duke in the acccg in 2006, i believe. then losing to nova in the sweet 16. craig on the SI cover. Jinxed us.

conlonc said...

claver2010: there were only 2 other chances for BC to get to a conference championship game before Jags, so I'm not sure that point is very strong.

I find it interesting that some fall back on the "well we made the 2008 CG" argument. When you go 5-3 in conference, you need help to make the CG. In both 2008 and 2009, BC went 5-3. They both went 1-2 in the coastal and 4-1 in the atlantic. They both beat WF, UMD, NCSU, FSU, and lost to Clemson. You know what the difference was? Not anything Jags did. It was the fact that Clemson won 6 instead of 4 games. That was the only difference in making/not making the CG game. If Clemson wins 5 or 6 games in 2008, they are in the CG. And since we lost in '08 and '09 to them, it was beyond BC's control.

Kevin Cote said...

The Jags-Gene incident was bad for the program overall, I agree. But to continue putting Jags up on this pedestal is unfair. Simply put he came into a situation with an excellent BC team (non of which were his recruits) and gained national publicity because 2007 was the year of upsets so BC raced up in the polls and because he implemented an offense that catered to a superstar in Matt Ryan.

Keep in mind Jags took us to the Champs Sports Bowl and the Music City Bowl...not the Orange Bowl

Claver2010 said...
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CT said...

The Syracuse game has to be #1.

They were bad. We were at home. There was no conference championship game to win. They were so demonstrably better that day that it almost defies explanation. Ah, BC.

Didn't Pitt go on to lose to Urban Meyer and Utah in the Fiesta Bowl that year? That could have been us.

Because it's bigger, the '06 Villanova game over the MSU national championship game. But really, BC choked away both, as BC has been wont to do. We were better than a very good 'Nova team that day. Outcoached with 3 secs left. Surprise, surprise. And didn't MSU score to tie the game inside the final minute? How did I know that would happen? Oh, that's right, we. are. BC.

I'd put the '01 Miami game #4, if only b/c that Miami team was ridiculous, we played as well as we could, and we had a shot at home to win it. Disappointing? Extremely. Worst moment? Miami was too good. We made Dorsey look pretty pedestrian, which didn't happen again until he got to the NFL. Oh, and BC didn't choke away that one. Just a bit of bad luck on the short slant. I may have broken a remote control, though. No, yeah I definitely did.

I don't get the whole "ATL is biased wrt Jags" thing. Um, last time I checked, it's a blog. Not a Globe article. The 'stache gets a 4 yr recruiting class to prove himself.

And though the poster who said the recent four year run was the best stretch for BC athletics might be right (hockey sucked when I went), I'd say the greatest two games would be the '93 ND game and the '94 UNC tourney game--one of the biggest upsets in tourney history. And us thirtysomethings got that.

Why do I think the Top 10 Best Moments of the Decade will be harder to think up?

conlonc said...

Liking/disliking Jags has nothing to do with whether it was a terrible moment for the school. No matter what side you fell on or whom you thought was right, the situation looked bad for BC. It was bad publicity because BOTH figures were a part of BC. No matter who was right or who was wrong, it was a national story that reflected bad on BC.

Kevin said...

Great post. I was at "Crush the Orange Weekend" and that was the worst ever. I agree w/ some of the Jags comments. No way that's #2 even given ATL's man crush

I also think #'s 6 and 8 should be higher. The Villanova loss was so tough b/c that team had such potential. For #8, w/ Sean Williams that team has Final 4 written all over it. But as his subsequent behavior as shown, we probably did the right thing.

Finally, I agree the MSU hockey loss should be on here as well.

Brett said...

I remember my roommate put a hole in our wall in Edmonds after the Nova game. It was horrible.

Andrew S. said...

Often overlooked is when Patrick Eaves broke his neck in Conte Forum. The arena was dead silent for 10+ minutes and I'll probably always remember watching Ben Eaves go flying off the bench to his brother's side before the refs even blew the play dead.

I'm right there with the people who have given accounts of how crappy it was to lose the Nova game. The whole campus was ready to have a major celebration.

Another smaller moment that might deserve an honorable mention worst of the decade was the 1st play of BC's career in ACC football... Quinton Porter rolls out right and throws a pick 6 in front of a packed and stunned Alumni Stadium.

Adam M. said...

Something I haven't seen mentioned: how about last year's hockey season? Not only did we miss the tournament, but our most hated rival won the national championship on a HUGE fluke goal, and went 3-0-1 against us on the season. Throw on top of that a 6-1 loss to Northeastern in the first round of the Beanpot, and the fact that our three biggest rivals (BU, UNH, NU) all had good seasons and were in the NCAAs. Last year was as bad as it gets as a BC Hockey fan. Definitely not the worst moment this decade, but it's up there.

cullenmi said...

Great Call Andrew S. Gameday was there, it was a night game, whole stadium is going nuts, Porter rolls right, Pick-6.

It was almost comical how predictable that offense was under Bible.

JP said...

1.) I was a freshman at the time and I thought how nice it would be that BC would make a BCS bowl in my first year...and then that happened. I remember thinking to myself "is this how our sports teams do things here?" It was the grand TOB WTF loss in football.

6.) I have a friend who went to Nova at the same time and I tell him how bitter I still am about that game. He tells me each time that he was hoping I forgot about it.

8.) I saw Sean Williams on campus near Edmonds the day he got kicked off the team. I was wondering why he was hanging his head, then I found out from a roommate.

And yet there's still so much more that could have been added. UW Milwaukee, the Frozen Four losses, etc.

bc said...

I know it was mentioned before, but the NoDak loss in the championship game in 2000 was a kick to the junk. The mod riots after the loss were very cathartic though - it's the reason they put up the fence around the mods (which was torn down during the riots the next year when we beat NoDak in the finals, and replaced by the more permanent fences they have now).

You mentioned Sean Williams, but what about Ryan Sidney - I know he was no where near as talented as Williams, but there were times that Andy Katz would reference Bell and Sidney as the best backcourt in the country. Then he broke his jaw and fell off the face of the earth.

blist said...

That '93 ND game and that '94 tourney run - beating both UNC and Indiana under Bob Knight, were great games. the only downside for BC sports then was hockey, which was under Cedorchuck (sp?) who sucked so bad they gave the job to Mike Millbury, who quit after what, two weeks? After the job he did with the Islanders, BC was blessed by Millbury quiting.

No doubt the Syracuse loss is the worst of this decade - had BC made it to the Orange Bowl as BE champs heading into the ACC.... Oh well . It was that game I decided TOB had to go, he had done the best he could here.

Minuteman Pen said...

I remember the Syracuse game like it was yesterday. I was in Charlotte visiting my brother. I had to pay to get the game, stomach virus went through the house and I watched that game. I was throwing up all day, literally and figuratively. Just awful.

Big Jack Krack said...

blist - If it wasn't quite time for O'Brien to go after the Syracuse fiasco in 04 - it sure was time after losing to a very mediocre Miami team over Thanksgiving weekend in 06 in the Orange Bowl before 25,000 fans (if that).

We had all the momentum and the bum sat on the lead. What a way to deflate a team. Probably dreaming about his move to Raleigh and his house in Charleston!

I believe winning that winable game might have put us into the ACCCG, even though we lost to Wake Forest. Come to think of it the loss to UNC that year was also a WTF loss.

TOB = "what if" personified. We had some great teams deserving of better offensive game plans. Heck, let the players call their own plays! (I wish Bible the best in his fight with Leukemia)

And while I'm at it, if Tranquill doesn't bolster up our plan for USC, I'll be calling for his head "Lima Charlie" - Loud and Clear. This is actually a huge chance for BC - even if it's the Emerald Bowl, and we had better take it and stand up to it!!

As several ACC fans have said to me - you're carrying the pride of the ACC on your back in that game!!!!!

eagleboston said...


I disagree with your assessment of Jags. He completely cashed it in on recruiting as was not an engaged coach of BC by the end of his second year. Further, he lost BC's first bowl game in years to Vandy, probably because he was not focused on BC but on getting other coaching opportunities. He is a lying snake and BC is better off to have him gone. He inquired about a job at Iowa freaking State for God's sake. If that is not a sign that he was done with BC than I don't know what is.

CT said...

I didn't know about Iowa State.

Yeah, anybody that starts looking around before you unpack your million-dollar Newton home has to have a pathology in there somewhere. Loved Jags' attitude. But even his supporters would admit he stopped (or never started) recruiting. Nice.

But the Vandy loss? Try Davis. He was awful. I mean, literally awful. Don't blame Jags for that one. He had one good throw that game--the TD pass to Larmond or whomever to take the lead in the 4th. And if it wasn't for a bogus roughing the passer penalty on Herzlich on 4th down on Vandy's final FG drive, that's a win.

With a crappy QB.

mod34b said...

What a difference a year makes. Dom Davis really did suck. Shinksie's got his issues, but I am very thankful to have Uncle Dave (hate that name).