Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Ohio State should turn to TOB

Despite the occasional pleasure I get in watching his tired act in Raleigh, this is a serious post. I think Tom O'Brien might be the perfect guy to help Ohio State rebuild their program and reclaim their reputation. Aside from TOB's age (he would turn 64 in during the 2012 season) everything else makes sense.

Ohio State will have a tough time hiring an A list coach
The general assumption seems to be that Ohio State will get an A list head coach. Primary speculation focused on Urban Meyer. I think getting a top guy will be easier said than done. Meyer's health is still in question. This is also a guy who railed on about the corruption of college football on his way out the door at Florida. Does this fit the profile of a guy willing to step into a powder keg? I also don't think any other top guy with a job will take on Ohio State without knowing the full impact of potential sanctions. Given the timing of the USC case, it is unlikely all the sanctions will be known by December 2011 (which is when Ohio State's search will begin).

TOB has the profile that will sell to recruits, most Ohio State fans and the NCAA
He's an Ohio guy. He's a disciplinarian (with less hypocrisy than most college football coaches). He'll recruit Ohio hard. He'll beat Michigan. He'll leave the program in better shape than he found it. He has no association with Tressel nor any of the other boosters. He has a history of following rules.

When USC replaced Carroll with Kiffin, it was a slap in the face to the NCAA. They replaced the rule breaker with one of his lieutenants and a guy who was earning his own sordid reputation in Tennessee. Hence the punishment under Kiffin was severe. With TOB, Ohio State would be making a clean break and hiring TOB for his reputation.

TOB would take the job
Many (myself included) assume this will be TOB's last season. But the like all football coaches, the old Marine does have a healthy ego. He also feels like he has never been given enough credit for what he's done. If he "rebuilt" Ohio State it would solidify his career legacy and give him one final, big pay day. Plus this is the situation TOB seems to love -- low expectations and high upside. It fits his MO and his experience.

Whoever Ohio State hires will be a transitional coach through the sanctions and rebuilding. If that path is inevitable, the school might as well go with the squeaky clean Marine, endure the five years of boredom and come out smelling like a rose for the next young hot name.

Monday, May 30, 2011

A bad year for BC to under recruit Ohio

Ohio has long been one of BC's most important recruiting territories. In addition to our niche in Cincinnati, BC has picked up players around the state with a focus on Cleveland area schools. Now that Jim Tressel is out and Ohio State's future uncertain, it would seem like a good time to make a move or close on some kids who had Ohio State on their radar. Unfortunately BC is only still targeting eight players in Ohio and only one has an Ohio State offer in hand. It's not too late to get more aggressive or go after Ohio State commits. The most promising OSU verbal with a BC ties is Tight End Blake Thomas. He is saying the right things about sticking with the Buckeyes, but there are two major things any school will use against these recruits. The unknown of the new coach and the likelihood of heavy sanctions in the next five years.

I understand how some don't think we should pray on these kids emotions and they should want to attend BC regardless of what is going on at Ohio State. That's fine in theory, but the reality is that other schools will target Tressel recruits. BC is missing an opportunity if we don't do the same.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

BC connection to the Stanley Cup and other links

When I don't have a rooting interest in a sporting event, I usually look for an obscure BC connection and then root that team. In the case of the Stanley Cup, the BC connection is pretty obvious -- the owner's son Charlie Jacobs is a BC grad. Since I am not aware of many BC fans and grads from Vancouver, I am guessing most casual fans will be rooting for the Bruins.

Former Eagle Dave Emma's star crossed NHL-career led him to financial management firm specializing in helping professional athletes.

Here is another good feature on former BC assistant and new Providence head coach Ed Cooley.

This is from earlier in the week, but in case you missed Donahue discussing his incoming recruits.

Friday, May 27, 2011

First recruit! and other links

Well BC landed its first commitment of the 2012 class today with Offensive Lineman Win Homer. [FIXED] The Virginia prospect also had offers from UVA and Virginia Tech. It is a nice get and hopefully will open the floodgates for other verbals.

Here is some video of Win in action:

While the NFL lockout lingers, Brian Toal readies for his opportunity with the Jets.

Cody Pittman is one of many QBs on BC's radar. Texas QB Boeing Brown will attend BC's camp this summer. Casey Cochran has Ivy offers and BC visited him recently, but he is hoping to open more eyes this summer.

As for other OL prospects, Colby Cyburt has a BC offer.

These links are from earlier in the week, but some may have missed them...BC's gameday experience is lacking but things are not as bad as this article portrays...Rettig is taking to Rogers' new schemes.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Blaudschun finally recognizes Big East mess

One of the most frustrating things about the move from the Big East to the ACC was the media coverage in the Northeast. How many times did we hear or read that "BC doesn't belong in the ACC"? Ironically one of the biggest culprits was BC's beat writer Mark Blaudschun. Rarely did he or other Big East loyalists publicly state what a financial windfall the ACC move was. Nor did anyone emphasize how much stability the move brought BC. No, instead they fed the narrative that BC might one day "move back" to the Big East. Now it appears that Blaudschun has finally realized that the Big East is doomed in its current configuration.

No one knows what the future holds for any of these conferences. The college football media like Blaudschun think they do, but their track records show how out of touch they are. In the next shuffle, BC could be one of the schools left out or on the short end of someone's power play. But one thing is sure, leaving the Big East was one of the best moves we've ever made.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Analysing APR

BC once again produced very strong Academic Progress Rates. There are some interesting numbers to ponder. First, read the press release:

Boston College Sports Teams Receive High Academic Marks

Boston College’s varsity sports teams scored big this week when the NCAA released its annual Academic Progress Rate report. The average APR score of the 28 BC teams that were counted was 989 – 19 points above the national average (970). Every BC team scored 960 or above, and six teams – men’s fencing, men’s golf, men’s skiing, women’s lacrosse, women’s skiing and women’s tennis – scored a perfect 1,000.

Boston College’s football team scored a 971 – a full 25 points above the national average. The men’s basketball team scored a 972 – 27 points above the national average.

“Boston College is, above all, an academic institution,” Director of Athletics Gene DeFilippo said. “Obviously we want to field competitive sports teams, and we want to win, which our teams do. But when we recruit student-athletes, we tell them they have an opportunity to receive a degree from one of the greatest universities in the country, and our mission is to ensure that they are successful. Once again, we are very proud of our student-athletes’ accomplishments in the classroom.”

Boston College fields teams in 31 varsity men’s and women’s sports; the NCAA does not include men’s and women’s sailing in the report, and BC’s women’s fencing score was not counted as the team consisted totally of non-scholarship walk-ons.

Every Division I sports team calculates its APR each academic year, based on the eligibility and retention of each scholarship student-athlete. Teams scoring below certain thresholds can face penalties, such as scholarship losses and restrictions on practice and competition. Rates are based on the past four years’ performance. Each scholarship student-athlete may earn one point for being eligible and one point for retention per semester for a total of four points per academic year. The total points are then divided by the number of potential points each team could have earned. That percentage is then multiplied by 1000 to provide each team with its APR. The NCAA has established 925 as the cut-off mark. Any team below that standard may be subject to penalties.

Overall, the Atlantic Coast Conference’s sports teams are among the most successful in the classroom. The average of all ACC teams exceeded 980.

Boston College’s APR Scores:

Baseball 984; women’s field hockey 993; football 971; men’s basketball 972; men’s cross country 990; men’s fencing 1000; men’s golf 1000; men’s ice hockey 965; men’s skiing 1000; men’s soccer 982; men’s swimming 996; men’s tennis 963; men’s indoor track 992; men’s outdoor track 996; softball 996; women’s basketball 979; women’s cross country 993; women’s golf 960; women’s ice hockey 992; women’s lacrosse 1000; women’s rowing 993; women’s skiing 1000; women’s soccer 996; women’s swimming 995; women’s tennis 1000; women’s indoor track 997; women’s outdoor track 997; women’s volleyball 994.

The most surprising number for me was football's. I assumed that recent attrition --with some of it due to academics -- would leave BC in a much bigger hole. But because it is a "progress" snapshot over four years, one outlier shouldn't dramatically change the numbers. Basketball was surprisingly strong (which Skinner never got enough credit for). The only program really lagging is hockey. But the nature of that sport and our position within it will mean many will not graduate.

The press release doesn't mention that as an Athletic Department BC had the third highest national rank behind Notre Dame and Duke. Why does it always have to be Notre Dame and Duke?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Clemson talent and other links

Reader Jeff sent along this link comparing Clemson and BC's talent. What's interesting is how this study captures so many misnomers. First he is working the assumption that the recruiting services are good at evaluating mid-level talent. Second, there is the issue of coaching. As much as I criticize Spaz, I think our staff is better than most of the other ACC staffs -- especially Clemsons. Finally depth isn't as important as the recruiting services would have you believe. In most programs, the best players play the majority of the minutes. The writer acknowledges the limitations of his post, but doesn't point to the real problem -- Clemson recruits are often overrated.

HD thinks Ramsey will have a big year. I think the DLine will exceed most expectations but have my doubts Ramsey will become a game-changer.

Caroline King is one of three Eagles headed to the NCAA East Regional for Track and Field.

The Rugby team will play in the Collegiate Sevens Championship next week.

Monday, May 23, 2011

TV musical chairs and other links

When the Pac 10 announced their mega TV contract, many ACC and BC fans were left wondering why our deal looked so small. As with many things surrounding college football the answer is complicated. Today's announcement that the Big East will wait until next year to sign their respective deal confirmed the basic issue that game times and timing is all that matters. The ACC signed our deal before NBC/Comcast was in play. We only had Fox to leverage. Now the Big East has no one to leverage as Fox and ESPN have filled most of their time slots. One thing the ACC can learn from the Pac 10 is the value of off hour games and a longer regular season. If the ACC wants more money, they need to expand to nine regular season football games and 18 regular season basketball games like the Pac 10. The ACC should also explore the Friday night games that the Pac 10 will play. Because of time zone issues, the ACC can't play the late night games like the Pac 10, but I would be willing to have 11 AM kickoffs in the ACC if it meant more money.

If you haven't been following the Q&As with the incoming basketball recruits, now is a perfect time to catchup. Here is Dennis Clifford's.

A few people have asked why Reggie Jackson pulled out of the NBA's combine in Chicago. Supposedly he has some nagging injuries. My guess is that he has assurances he will be selected by certain teams and is now trying to protect that. By skipping the combine he avoids injury, looking bad or getting a less desirable team interested.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

2011 Position Previews: Quaterbacks

New season. New format. Instead of a digestible combo of factoids and opinions, I am going to write in a more narrative, free style post. As always, feedback is appreciated.

Have you ever watched 1984 Boston College-West Virginia game on ESPN Classic? Whenever its on, I find myself sucked in. I'll watch until the end as BC goes down on downs. I know how the game ends. I know BC lost. Yet all logic and rationale in my brain is turned off as a wait for Doug Flutie to change history. "I know they lost," I tell myself, "but it looks like Doug is going to do it..." Special quarterbacks will make you believe weird things.

Some schools get by on gimmick or a system. Some overwhelm you with waves of speed and talent. Neither has been BC's M.O. Our high points tend to be based on a group of kids coming together at the right time around the right Quarterback. That history is why I still have hope for the Spaz era. If we are going to rise again in the next season or two, I think it will be because of Chase Rettig and in spite of our coaching.

But I am probably pinning too much hope on Rettig. But the alternative is no hope. No upside. Prolonged boredom and despair brought on by Shinskie and Marscovetra. Sorry, I am a Catholic and a BC fan, not a nihilist. I need to believe. If Rettig isn't the answer, I am sure I will rationalize the upside of the next guy just to stave off the pain. "Maybe the time on the bench has changed Shinskie..." "I hear good things about Suntrup..."

Let me segue from feeling to a few facts that will hopefully inspire some positivity surrounding our quarterback situation. 1. This is the most experience we bring into a season without a senior starter in more than a decade. We are the only ACC team that has two quarterbacks with more than nine starts apiece. 2. Rettig attempted and completed more passes as a freshman than either Hasselbeck, St. Pierre, Porter or Ryan. 3. His completion percentage was within fractions of Shinskie's mark as a freshman. 4. Rettig was 5-4 as a starter.

The biggest unknown in all this is how Rettig or any of the other QBs progress under Kevin Rogers. How he works with our QBs and what he asks them to do could easily derail my "next big thing" narrative.

Although I welcome metrics and measurement in sports, one of the things I love about college football is that the development curve is so steep, severe and sudden, that a kid can blossom overnight. Who would have predicted that Flutie or Foley or Ryan would become what they each became based on their appearances. All you need is potential, opportunity and a spark.

Finally let me share a frustrating play from a frustrating and draining season.

Do you know why this play gives me hope? Because it all fell apart and Rettig kept fighting...just like Flutie did against West Virginia. The special ones always believe in themselves more than we believe in them.

Liebe for Heckmann

(Yes I plan on using German incorrectly in the headlines related to Heckmann over and over. Ich bin ein Blogger!)

Looks like I wasn't the only one excited about Patrick Heckmann. Fran Fraschilla is known for his occasional hyperbole, but my initial reason for excitement still stands. We only need a few prospects to pan out and Donahue has enough pieces that we will surprise people this season.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Wanting to believe in Chris Herren

Chris Herren's new book is stirring old memories and lingering questions. We arrived at BC at the same time but under very different circumstances. I met Herren once and sat up close for his first and only game at BC. Before he could truly recover from his injury or give BC fans more memories, he bolted to Fresno State. Shortly after the transfer, Will McDonough dropped the hammer on Herren in the Globe announcing to the world Herren's drug problem. Those of us on campus had already heard the rumors. For the next few years there was a lot of "what could have been"s regarding Herren and his time at BC. I never bought into the talk. I always thought Herren was more hype than substance. If he hadn't arrived as a local star and book subject, no one at BC would have given Herren a second thought.

My doubts about Herren the player were also influenced by the questions regarding Herren the person. The guy was his own worst enemy and with each recovery I became that much more skeptical.

Because we are close in age and are both fathers, I have new empathy for Herren. Reading the excerpts of his new book, has me rooting for him for the first time since 1994. Yet I still have serious doubts. Is he sober now? Is this all an act to keep his name out there and sell a few books? Is his co-author Bill Reynolds (who put Herren in the spotlight as a high schooler) doing him a disservice by putting someone who cannot handle the public back in it?

Every time someone tells Herren's story, they use BC as a turning point. The Heights is where it began to unravel. Because I was there I should care. I didn't for a long time. Now I do. Now I want to believe. Let's hope this is finally his happy ending.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Slow start to football recruiting

As of today BC does not have a verbal commitment for the 2012 football recruiting class. For a point of reference, below are the respective commitments of our fellow ACC programs.

Clemson -- 3 verbal commitments
Duke -- 3 verbal commitments
Florida State -- 10 verbal commitments
Georgia Tech -- 2 verbal commitments
Maryland -- 3 verbal commitments
Miami -- 9 verbal commitments
North Carolina -- 2 verbal commitments
North Carolina State -- 3 verbal commitments
Virginia -- 4 verbal commitments
Virginia Tech -- 11 verbal commitments
Wake Forest -- 1 verbal commitment

Now before I get labeled a Spaz hater (again), let me put out all the excuses or rationalizations as to why BC is still without a single commitment.
-- "We are taking a small class and therefore need to be more selective"
-- "Spaz likes to go hard after having kids in our camps"
-- "BC takes extra time to find the right fit"
-- "It is hard to recruit to BC because __________"
-- "The staff is still cleaning up the mess left behind by Jags"
-- "Early verbals are pointless. BC has better luck finding late bloomers/under the radar guys"

As you know I don't buy any of this. I don't particularly care about the recruiting ratings but I do care about rightsizing recruiting classes. We will need bodies come Signing Day and like any good pipeline, you need a steady flow of prospects. Even if BC wants to take their time and not rush, they can only sit on the sidelines so long. Other than having a good pipeline, my other concern is the ability to sell BC. I won't always second guess who the staff likes, but I do question their sales message. You should always have some kids who are willing to commit the minute you offer. BC has enough of an edge and is selective enough in who we offer, that a recruiter should be able to leave a house with a verbal. Why isn't that happening? I don't think we will ever get a definitive answer. We will probably get a verbal shortly just to appease the critics like me. But overall, I think this is a trend we should watch. Regardless of how you feel about Spaz, he is unlikely to be around when the recruits of 2012 are SRs. So however this class is handled will have an impact on BC for years to come.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Criticism of Donahue's recruits and other links

While I've been gushing about Donahue's incoming recruiting class, others are not so enthusiastic. Even though the class is not full of McDonald's All Americans, as I've said, the real upside is that the guys come with defined skills sets. My only criticism is that the class is too big and will leave us with holes in the coming years.

As you've probably read, those incoming recruits will be playing Penn State in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

Have you heard the rumors about potential basketball transfer Allen Huddleston? Don't read too much into them yet since he's shooting them down on Twitter.

In other Twitter news, former Eagle Brady Heslip has changed his physique at Baylor.

BC baseball wraps up their season against NC State this weekend. Although it has been very disappointing, I still have faith in Mike Gambino. Consensus is that Aoki left the cupboards bare and that Gambino's recruiting efforts are paying off.

This is from a few days, but definitely a worthwhile read on former BC basketball player and new grad Burnett Adams.

I've been a bit surprised by the reaction to the Jim O'Brien to Emerson story. Most are shocked that he is willing to coach in Division III. But those scratching their heads are overlooking how many bridges he has burned over the years. And although it was lifted, remember that JOB was banned by the NCAA for a few years. I obviously am not a big fan, but I hope for Emerson's sake it works out.

HD is definitely creeping onto the BC bandwagon. Now she sings Kuechly's praises here and here. She also sees good things ahead for Rettig. Now I wonder if BC doesn't perform well this fall, will she finally call out the staff?

Donahue can become a personality if he uses Twitter right

Steve Donahue has been a breath of fresh air around BC basketball. However, that didn't translate into increased interest. With his transitional year now becoming a full rebuilding year, ticket sales and excitement is not likely to grow this season. That has a chance to change via his new foray into Twitter.

The nascent social media platform still doesn't have the power of Facebook, but Twitter is a better avenue to two important constituencies -- the media and college students.

The media loves a good quote or a good angle. A major conference coach who "gets" twitter and can provide them with some good sound bites will get a lot of play. Just look at former BC assistant and current Hofstra head coach Mo Cassara. In a crowded media market and from a midmajor school, the new coach has used Twitter to make a name for himself. He regularly interacts with the media via his tweets and retweets things that he likes. It shows he's engaged and the media and bloggers following his team eat it up. Donahue could do the same and since he is at a higher profile school, he could reach an even bigger audience.

The other group that has the potential to react to his tweets are students. One way to get some of the bandwagon SuperFans caring about losingrebuilding basketball might be to build a cult of personality around the coach. Think Bruce Pearl (minus the rule breaking). If Donahue is interacting and engaging BC students on Twitter, they may show a little more passion and loyalty to him during the season.

I don't think Twitter is going to change the face of BC basketball, but it is another path. We've tried other things without success. Maybe Donahue can do it himself in 140 characters or less.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Can BC benefit from the NFL lockout?

With the latest court rulings, it looks like the NFL owners now have the upperhand in their labor negotiations. If the rumors and posturing is to be believed, the NFL might not actually play games until November. If this happens, being located in a "Pro Market" becomes a huge opportunity for a school like BC. Of course with BC's luck, if the Patriots are not playing, the Red Sox will likely have a deep run into the postseason and get of the fan and media attention. BC is also hamstrung by ACC schedules and limited marketing budgets, but here are some simple things BC can do to take advantage of any NFL void. Add your thoughts in the comments sections.

1. Create a lockout ticket package.
BC has four home games before October 2. It is fair to call most of them undesirable to non-BC fans. Ironically the game early home game with most appeal to Patriots fans might be UMass. But regardless of how good or bad these opponents are, it is still live football. Maybe BC could package a the four games at the "price of one NFL ticket" or some other gimmick.

2. Unprecedented media access.
The media will get bored talking labor over and over. To get attention BC needs to be much more open with its media. Let the practices be wide open. Get the talk stations over to campus for live broadcasts. Have a "wrap up" show Sundays in place of the normal NFL preview shows. Of course this opens BC to criticism and armchair quarterbacking -- which the folks in the Yawkey complex hate -- but the added attention is worth the few callers who might say "Spaz sucks."

3. Move the UMass game to a Sunday and get it on NESN or local TV.
This is the most risky proposition. If BC moves games it runs the risk of the lockout ending and going head to head with the NFL. Of all the games to move, UMass makes the most sense. It is easy travel for UMass. It has a local tie. The Boston media would eat it up. Even if the game is lopsided, it would be an unprecedented showcase for both programs.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Time for the media to pick apart Reggie and other links

Although Reggie Jackson decided to keep his name in the NBA Draft, opinion is still mixed. This ESPN report weighs Jackson's lack of resume compared to other players in the draft and recent NBA success stories. Charlotte has two first round selections and their beat reporter calls Jackson "intriguing".

The women's lacrosse team was knocked out in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

The baseball team beat Le Moyne 4-0 on Sunday.

Interest in BC target Brandon Arcidiacono is growing. He's added some offers from our usual competition.

BC has not offered a scholarship to Pennsylvania QB Matt Johns. He seems like a decent plan B for the position.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Irrational exuberance over German import

As Eric Hoffses reported yesterday, German G/F Patrick Heckman committed to BC. Normally a late signee doesn't make a class, but I sort of feel that Heckmann represents why I am so optimistic about next season. No one can fill the void left by Reggie Jackson, but I now feel that Donahue has enough pieces to be competitive next year. This is my rationalization...

1. We just need offense
BC was competitive to varying degrees during the Skinner era without playing great defense. Donahue's track record at Cornell was highly efficient offense and soft defense. His first year at BC only solidified that reputation. I am not approving of this approach nor do I think BC can ignore it forever, but in a limited window of preparation and with a young team, I am all for emphasis on one aspect of the game. Donahue proved he could install a system quickly.

2. Round pegs for round holes.
While this year's team will be very inexperienced, they we all recruited for their current skill set. I understand that good players can play in any system, but we had serviceable players that weren't used much last year because of their limitations (Elmore, Dunn).

3. Some of these guys will emerege.
I have no idea if Heckmann will be any good. I like that he was recruited by Michigan. What I like is that he can handle the ball and drive to the hoop. Now driving to the hoop on the European circuit is different from the ACC, but really BC only needs one effective slasher. That's why I like the signing. If Humphrey isn't the slasher we need, now we have another option in Heckmann. Clearly not all of these recruits will be ready or pan out. But you just need one effective point, one spot shooter from the perimeter, one big man who can pass, and one slasher. Given the depth of this class, I am pretty confident that Donahue will find some good minutes from many of them.

5. Incredibly low expectations.
In every article on Jackson's decision painted the situation at BC as dire and rebuilding. I have been one of the few optimists. But among the students and regular fans any signs of life will be welcome. If this team approaches eight ACC wins, everyone will be buzzing about BC's young guns.

I am probably setting myself up for disappointment with all of this. But I am excited about the unknown and the hope of things to come.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Herzy caught in Condon-Pats spat and other links

I tweeted it during the Draft, but NESN expanded on how Tom Condon's testy relationship may have impacted the Patriots thoughts on drafting or signing Mark. Fortunately most NFL teams are pragmatic and will sign Mark if it makes sense for them (regardless of who reps him).

The big news of the day was the release of the ACC's TV schedule. Currently BC is slotted for six televised games, but more are likely to be scheduled. The big news are the increased ACC regional games. In the past there was only one, which led to many relevant ACC games being placed on ESPN3.com. Now with occasional ACC regional double-headers, more games will be on TV.

BC is involved with QB Nathan Peterman.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Herzy passing on UFL and other links

Mark Herzlich predictably decided to pass on the UFL for now. The UFL's contracts didn't allow for immediate release to the NFL, so that would have given him an abbreviated rookie year NFL this season. And based on all the gossip, I imagine some NFL team has let Mark's agent know that there is demand for him as an UFA.

As I tweeted earlier, HD is on the BC bandwagon. She also is tracking some of our players returning from injury.

The ACC named BC freshman Softball outfielder Tory Speer player of the week.

Illinois Lineman is Johnny Caspers gaining interest from BC.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Perspective on the next basketball season

Reggie Jackson's departure has only been official for two days, yet many BC fans have written off next year's basketball season. Once again we are all guilty of forgetting the past. While we will certainly have some rough moments next year, I don't think things will be terrible. I doubt things will ever get as bad as Skinner's second year. Just look at Al's situation and compare it to Donahue's.

Returning talent
1998-99 BC returning players
Kenny Harley
Jonathan Beerbohm
Dwayne Pina
Nicolas Dunn
Julian Bah
Jim Boland

Harley, Beerbohm and Pina were the returning contributors. The rest were guys who never got off the bench and were not factors in Skinner's rebuild.

2011-12 BC returning players
Gabriel Moton
Danny Rubin
[Word is Cahill will be a GA and not a contributing 5th year.]

On paper, Skinner's returnees were deeper and better, but all were single digit scorers with limited skill sets. The upside of Moton and Rubin is that they are both specialists. Neither can carry a team but Rubin will hit open shots and Moton is a good defender.

1998-99 Transfers
Michael Cotton

2011-12 Transfers
Matt Humphrey

This is speculative, but I am leaning towards Humphrey as being the better option here. His stats at Oregon were pedestrian but there has been good word of mouth about him from BC for a while. Cotton had a big impact his first year at BC. His minutes and production went down as a senior and as Bell arrived.

1998-99 Recruits
Willie Deane
Osei Millar
Timos Papadimitriou
Brian Ross
Clinton Sims
Kenny Walls

2011-12 Recruits
Jordan Daniels
Lonnie Jackson
Ryan Anderson
Kyle Caudill
Eddie Odio
Dennis Clifford

This area is not in doubt. Donahue has more size and rated players hitting campus this fall. More importantly the California contingent come having played together on the AAU circuit. They are not in the same class as Duke's incoming recruits, but they are not pushovers.

What it all means
So even if Donahue's situation is better than Skinner's second year, that is not the most optimistic benchmark. The team was 6-21 and only earned three conference wins. Donahue could roll out five kids from the Plex and get six wins. I actually think the style of play and a heavy dose of 3-point attempts will allow BC to play beyond our talent and experience. But at least we know we've comeback from these sort of holes before.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Weekend roundup

The bubble hasn't been kind to BC lately, but it came through for the women's lacrosse team. This will be the first NCAA Tournament for the program. They face lax powerhouse Northwestern this Saturday.

The softball team finished seventh in the conference and will face North Carolina in the ACC Tournament this weekend.

Wake Forest swept the baseball team this weekend.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Reggie's gone (officially now)

Although it looked like he might come back to BC, Reggie Jackson decided to keep his name in the NBA Draft.

We won't know if this was a good or bad move until the actual Draft. Word is there are enough teams interested that he should be selected in the first round. Regardless, I think Reggie will be a good pro. He's very versatile offensively and has a great frame for perimeter defense in the NBA. The only things he is missing has been consistent defensive effort and the ability to be a true point guard.

This is obviously a setback for Steve Donahue, but the coach must have known for weeks. The only brightside is that expectations will be very low. If Donahue can keep his new squad competitive it will be a good sign for future seasons.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Castonzo, Swords get one last honor and other links

BC named Anthony Castonzo and Carolyn Swords Eagles of the year. The highly decorated and accomplished pair join past winners like Doug Flutie and Matt Ryan.

While most predictions are doom and gloom, this assessment of BC with and without Reggie Jackson is closer to how I feel. We will be better with Reggie, but will surprise people regardless. Jackson has to make his decision this weekend.

Baseball lost to Wake dropping their record to 16-27.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Miami-BC back where it belongs

The most important game in BC history was played against Miami the day after Thanksgiving. This season -- in a nod to 1984 -- the two teams will meet again in an afternoon slot the day after Thanksgiving. Although this may be ESPN and the ACC's attempt to cash in on Flutie's Hail Mary, BC should try to lock down this slot any time we play Miami.

Even if we didn't have the history with Miami on that date, I think BC should jump a the chance. First of all, it is a national TV game late in the season. Regardless of how we play or how the 'Canes play, this game will happen. It is the benefit of playing in a slot other than Saturday. If playing in unique timeslots helps our coverage, I am all for it. A Friday game on TV is 10 times better than ESPN3.com on Saturday.

The second reason BC should play in the "day after slot" is because it is a branding opportunity for BC fans and borderline fans. What other game provides that? Unlike other teams, we don't have a rival on a certain week every year. Year to year we don't have an assured opponent or TV presence on any weekend. If we agreed to play in this timeslot every year, it would help reinforce the brand and tradition of BC football.

Finally, playing Miami in this slot is a competitive advantage. It will always be cold in Boston on these dates. It will be warm but not unbearable in Miami. That means we avoid their worse conditions while they will have to face our worst. Our record against Miami stinks, but playing them late in the season improves our chances to even the series.

Nostalgia and marketing are not the main factors when making a schedule, but they should be considered. In an ideal situation we would play Miami every year. Since we don't, the best thing we can do is make it a big deal when we do play Da U.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Some love for BC Crew and other links

While I am guilty of focusing on the big BC sports, I trust BCeagles.com to put the spotlight on the non-revenue sports. But that leaves a big gap on BC's excellent club teams -- like the BC Crew. This past weekend the Freshmen Men's 8 won the New England Rowing Championship. You can help their cause by voting them "crew of the week."

When the baseball team is not having trouble on the field, they are having trouble with the weather.

BC has an offer in to TE Adam Breneman.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Reggie speculation and other links

Even though the feedback regarding his draft status has been mixed, it looks like Reggie Jackson is keeping his name in the process. Andy Katz has Jackson on the list of those keeping their names in the Draft. I've been told that Donahue is ready to move on and put the scholarship to use. I hope there is a last minute change because both sides could benefit from Reggie playing at BC next year.

The UFL's strategy regarding player development and NFL contracts makes a lot of sense. Now -- during the lockout -- they may be able to sign some borderline players. In turn those players commit to the UFL season but can join and NFL team after the UFL season ends. Most agents are advising their potential NFL clients to avoid the UFL and wait for the lockout to end. Rich Lapham is waiting out the process with hope of NFL free agency.

A few of the ZBC crew held an interview with Matt Humphrey. The transfer will be expected to fill much of the void if Reggie does leave.

Here is Part 2 of BC Draft's interview with Chase Rettig.

BCeagles.com has been posting Q&As with our incoming basketball recruits. The latest session is with Kyle Caudill.

Monday, May 02, 2011

BC turns to young alums to help ticket sales

Disclaimer: BC doesn't release ticket sales data and trends publicly, so the information I am passing on is second hand for what it is worth.

Ticket Sales for the 2011 Football season are looking terrible. It doesn't take an investigative journalist or a numbers cruncher to tell you that. The empty seats at Conte and Alumni have been issues for years and things are only getting worse. There are multiple factors in play here and not all are unique to BC. With spring football wrapped up, the marketing and ticketing department are in the midst of their football ticket push. With a terrible home slate, they are wisely turning to Young Alumni to help fill the void. This is smart yet risky.

BC pushed this Young Alumni package via Facebook today. They are defining young alums as those who graduated within the last 10 years. Those Superfans can get a season ticket package for $150 and they get to sit next to the current students. That's the smart part. Hit the people with the time to attend games, give them cheap seats that you can't sell and help them make the student section louder. This is the Superfan generation so they are inclined to enjoy the BC football experience.

As I mentioned, this concept does have risk. If the Young Alums gobble up these discounts, it will only mask the real issues. BC's problem is that the older Boston area alums and non alum fans are not buying tickets like they did ten years ago. Is it the schedule, the ability to watch at home, the boring brand of football, the lingering bitterness over donor based seating, or the lack of true tailgating? I would say a little bit of everything. I've hammered the tailgating, schedule and Spaz issues to death, so that leaves us with Marketing. The Young Alumni Campaign proves that BC is willing to reach a specific audience with a specific promotion. Why not start hitting up other groups who may be interested in buying BC tickets but haven't in the past? Target BC parents! Target out of touch alumni in the Boston area! Hit the Boston sports fans who have never given BC a try! This season is going to be a disaster for ticket sales so you might as well try anything. Getting these forgotten or ambivalent sports fans into Alumni is the key.

If the Young Alums buy into the packages it will help BC short term and give the stadium an energy boost. But as I said, that only masks the problem. As other Boston area sports options better understand their potential customer base and ways to grow their market, BC is still churning through BC grads to save the day. We need to think bigger and market differently. Maybe some of the young alumni in BC marketing can use their influence to get BC to think beyond those who already bleed maroon and gold.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Mark's media tour continues

Because of the NFL lockout Mark Herzlich will not sign with an NFL team soon. That leaves him prepping for a team and systems that he doesn't know. Monday Mark will be featured in Peter King's MMQB column. Mark's snub is big news but I don't understand why his advisors are putting him in this position. An NFL team isn't going to sign Mark based on media. In fact, based on all the whispers, you would think that a free agent would try to bring as little negative media attention as possible.

Herzy wasn't the only prospect overlooked on Drat day.

Herzlich topped this undrafted list too.