Friday, September 30, 2011

Soccer at NC State and other links

The men's soccer team travels down to NC State for a match Friday night. The team is off a strong start and improve their ACC record.

It is always nice when a top Florida LB prospect is also the son of a former Eagle.

More Hot Seat talk on Spaz. What's interesting is that I don't think we will be looking for the same type of coaches that other hot seat schools will. held two different Q&As this week. One with soccer star Alaina Beyar and one with hoops soph Gabe Moton.

Antonio Garay is getting plenty of attention for his new ride.

Here is a nice article on Mark Spinney's little brother.

Game Watches: BC vs Wake Forest

This game is on TV so most of your sports bars should have access to it. This might be the start of a winning streak. Get on the bandwagon and enjoy the game in the company of your fellow Eagle fans.

Chicago Game Watch
2721 North Halsted Street
Chicago, IL

Denver Game Watch
Icehouse Tavern
1801 Wynkoop St, No 150
Denver, CO 80202-1098
(303) 292-3775

Los Angeles Game Watches
3600 Highland Ave.
Manhattan Beach
(310) 545-8811

1220 W. Burbank Blvd.
(818) 556-6550

New York City Game Watch
Vertigo Bar & Restaurant
26th & 3rd
New York

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

San Francisco Game Watch
Shanghai Kelly's in San Francisco
2064 Polk Street (corner of Polk & Broadway)
San Francisco, CA 94109

A chance to support the Kevin Eidt fund

As part of their golf tournament in his honor, the family of Kevin Eidt '00 have will host an auction this weekend. There are multiple BC-related items including ticket and parking to the Florida State game. Any bit helps and all proceeds from the fund go to educating kids. To learn more about Kevin, the fund and what you can do to help, check out the family's website.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

BC-Wake Forest preview

Last week I wrote about "rock bottom." Although it was just UMass, avoiding embarrassment and winning the game was a step in the right direction. This week's question is can our recurring issues (OL, DL, Rettig's accuracy, and red zone scoring) be masked against an ACC opponent? I've been Mr. Sunshine and think the team will play better. I still we will win at least four games with Wake being one of them. Wake is on an upswing, but I still like the matchup.

Overlooked storyline for the game: BC-Wake heading for a break? The Wake Forest series is the only series BC carried over from our Big East days. This will be our 9th consecutive season playing the Deacons. With the the possibility that Pitt and Syracuse could enter the conference next year, there is a very good chance the divisions are shifted and BC and Wake Forest end up on opposing sides of the conference. If that happens we might play Wake Forest less often. That might not seem like a big deal to those on the outside, but we've numerous close and memorable games. I'll be sad to see them off our schedule.

Three Simple Keys
1. Try different looks against Price. I've watched good portions of Wake's games against Syracuse and NC State. In both, he had time and found open receivers. If we don't mix things up -- like our frustrating game against Duke -- he will pick us apart.
2. Go deep. If you think our corners are challenged wait until you see Wakes. I also think pushing the ball downfield will open up our running game a bit.
3. Passing to our RBs. Given how aggressive teams have been with our WRs and in flushing Chase out, I am surprised we haven't passed more to our RBs. Now that Montel is really back, both he and Kimble should get three or four catches each.

Gambling Notes
- Wake Forest is 1-3 in Alumni
- Jim Grobe is 0-2 against the spread against Spaz
- Spaz is 11-6 at Alumni
The current line is BC+2.5

Since the series resumed in 2003, five of the BC-Wake Forest games have been decided by less than a touchdown.

Scoreboard Watching
A similar theme to last week's scorboard watching...future heavyweights on our schedule. If Clemson can come out of Lane with a win, they can claim a deserved spot atop the polls (they won't get it). Since I am not a big believer in Dabo, I think VT wins.

I hope to see...
Very little punting. Wake is improved, but you can still score on them. BC needs to be consistent and aggressive on offense. The winner of this game will be the first team to score 30.

BC is in trouble if…
We cannot establish the run. Montel is finally back, which means BC will and should focus on the run. If we cannot consistently run, we are in trouble.

Bottom Line
This might not make sense, but I think BC plays the game we should have played against Duke. Instead of getting picked apart, I think we pressure Price and force some turnovers. I also think the offense will be more effective.
Final Score: BC 31, Wake Forest 27

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Money, money, money and other links

This story on college salaries in Boston made the rounds this morning. The BC angle was pretty clear, Gene and Jags both made over $1.1 million in 2009. Of course Jags was not even coaching BC in 2009, so it was a nice severance deal. I am not one to harangue about people being overpaid. Go get yours and all of that greed is good stuff. My concern though is that once again BC is selective in who gets paid what. Based on this article, Gene is among the most highly compensated ADs in the ACC. Yet we rarely pay top dollar for a coach. Why does BC feel they can overpay for one role and pay less than market (BCS salaries) for an arguably more important role -- that of the coach. The other thing this article validates is that there is no financial reason to keep Spaz any longer than needed. If BC could afford to pay two head coaches in 2009 (Spaz and Jags), then BC can afford to pay two head coaches in 2012.

This article isn't BC related, but I found it interesting. In a play on Moneyball, the writer identifies college football coaches and programs who exploited inefficiencies in the market place. In a way, BC did this under TOB for many years, by focusing on excellent line play as a way to mask shortcomings at skills positions. I hope whomever takes over the program after Spaz has an OLine background or at least respects that it needs to be BC's focus.

The Hockey East coaches voted BC No. 1 in their preseason poll.

More BC hockey games will be televised nationally this season.

Future Eagle Dan Crimmins was featured in this article.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Talent/Recruiting narrative is pretty hollow

Monday on my drive home, I heard Mike Mayock tell the guys on 790 The Zone that BC's problems are because of Jags's disinterest in recruiting. We've heard this in the past and will hear it again, but it just doesn't hold up on many levels. I am not trying to be a Jags apologist again but I can't let another Spaz excuse slide. I won't even get into if talent was the reason we lost to Duke, Northwestern and UCF. Instead just look at recruiting. If we are losing because of talent, the current staff needs to only look in the mirror.

1. The current roster.
Any way you slice it, the majority of the current roster is comprised of Spaz guys. There are 77 active players currently on scholarship who went through the recruiting process (I am including Hampton Hughes as a Jags recruit). 28 of them committed to BC under Jags. Four committed to BC under TOB. That leaves 45 of the active players as Spaz recruits. If you want to get even more technical and go by the coach who signed them, only 19 of the current the current 77 players signed under Jags. The remaining 58 players signed with Spaz.

2. Mike Siravo
The role of a recruiting coordinator differs from staff to staff. On some teams the Recruiting Coordinator is the lead talent evaluator and lead salesman. On other staffs, the RC serves as more of an administrator who coordinates the process and other assistants' moves and decisions. BC has never spelled out Mike Siravo's job, but given how it appears in the media, he is our primary salesman and frontline recruiter. Every player on this current roster signed with BC under Mike Siravo. Does the head coach influence approach, what BC sells, who we offer and who we don't? Sure, but Siravo is the common link between every player on the field. If recruiting was a problem under Jags, why has his recruiting coordinator stayed on for an additional three years?

3. The rest of the staff
Frank Spaziani is in his 15th season at Boston College. Bill McGovern is in his 11th season at Boston College. Ryan Day, Mike Siravo, Ben Sirmans, and Jeff Comissiong are in their fifth seasons at Boston College. If Siravo and Spaz can only do so much, where do you want to assign blame with this crew? Every player signed by BC was evaluated and recruited by 60% of the current coaching staff. These are the staffers who put together this team. They didn't inherit anything. Everything that has happened as far as players leaving or underperforming or not buying into Spaz, happened on their watch too.

4. The recruiting rankings
I am not a big believer in the recruiting rankings, but they serve as an objective, generally accepted industry benchmark. Using (which has followed the BC program more closely), this is how our last ten classes stacked up nationally.

2012: Not trending in the top 50 -- Spaz
2011: outside Top 50 -- Spaz
2010: 47 -- Spaz
2009: outside Top 50 -- Spaz
2008: 33 -- Jags
2007: 46 -- Jags
2006: 37 -- TOB
2005: 49 -- TOB
2004: 24 -- TOB
2003: 24 -- TOB

If you want to point to declines, it started before Jags ever returned to college. He maintained the historical BC talent level. The ratings on Spaz's recruiting are not as strong.

I don't think talent is our current issue. It's coaching. But I find the excuse making even worse. The season is far from over, but given how our coach is quick to point out flaws without taking any blame himself, I have real concerns about how this season and Spaz's tenure will end.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Putting dollars around attendance numbers

BCI posted a great piece on our attendance this season. If things go well, this will be our third lowest average attendance figure since Alumni expanded in 1994. The only two seasons with worse averages than our current trend line were 1997 (TOB's first season) and 2009 (Spaz's first season).

The numbers are bad, but what does it mean in revenue? The answer is enough to hurt BC's bottom line but not enough to make wholesale changes just to boost attendance. Let's do some back of the napkin math.

Spaz's average attendance: 36,597

Average attendance for a competent BC coach (avg of TOB and Jags): 40,824

Unsold seats: 4,227

Now you have to estimate the value of the unsold seat. BC has done extensive discounting the past few years, so a fair number is probably under the face value of the ticket. But there is revenue value in getting someone on campus. Those people eat and spend money. So, say that the average value of an attendee is $15.

Now assuming six home games, the lost revenue due to Spaz is $380,430.00 (4,227 unsold tickets x $15 x six home games)

Now this unsold seat number is all very conservative. If you use a full Alumni as the barometer the stats become even less favorable to Spaz. Another factor in this is donations. I hear anecdotally that Flynn Fund donations are down, but don't even have solid projections on any of the data.

There are more important things to the Head Coach's job than filling Alumni. At this point, I want Spaz to focus on winning. The guys who worry about ticket sales should already be worried about a variety of things.

Blogpoll ballot

The teams that most impressed me this week were UNC and Georgia Tech. I had it on in the background as I watched BC. I think Georgia Tech will give everyone on their schedule problems and I admired UNC for hanging with them.

Games I watched
BC-UMass 100% (twice)
Cincinnati-NC State 50%
UNC-Georgia Tech 25%
LSU-West Virginia 50%
Florida-Kentucky 20%

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Second viewing thoughts and grade report: UMass

Usually the second viewing makes me feel better after losses. Saturday was sort of the opposite. For a few weeks now, I've said repeatedly that this team is close. Yet in the win I saw some of the recurring issues that have cost us games. This week those issues didn't cost us, but they were still glaring. But we have a win and a chance to build on things. Let's hope this season is actually in turnaround.

Offense: B

Rettig was aggressive, which was good. But I feel like some of his passes would have been INTs against better defenses. I don't know if it was his timing or what, but the off target throws were of the longer variety. I did like when he tucked and ran. He needs to do that more often. He also showed decent pocket awareness, but like the slightly off throws, I don't know if he could have gotten away with it against a better team. Shinskie got some mopup duty. I don't know what that means for the backup role.

I know he didn't have any explosive plays, but it was nice to see Harris back. You could see what we've been missing. It was reassuring to see Montel make the first tackler miss. Williams was good and seems to be doing better reading the holes. Kimble had one big play and that was it. Finch made the most of his mopup duty. Maybe he can break into the regular offense. Dan Williams continues to play well at FB.

The offensive line was still an issue. I was disappointed to see the number of breakdowns and lost one-on-one battles. White had a few mistakes. Spinney got penalized as did Cleary. Wetzel probably looked the best. Gallik was pretty good.

Larmond had the big day. What was most impressive was his ability to adjust his routs and his ability to win one on one battles. Swigert made some nice plays. Everyone else was fine. I was glad to see Anderson get a TD. He does a good job blocking s it was nice to see him rewarded.

I liked the play calling. I am sure part of it was based on the talent disparity, but I appreciated the downfield passing. If we are ever going to get the offense moving again, it will be with big plays.

Defense: B+

What was disappointing is that the DL didn't dominate against UMass. Neither Holloway nor Edebali put consistent pressure on the QB. Quinn drew some double teams, but didn't do as much. Like Quinn, O'Neal was on the field a lot without making big plays. Williams looked good. Rudolph was okay.

Some of the LBs aside from Kuechly forced their way into the spotlight. Devitto and KPL obviously had the biggest plays with their respective turnovers. Clancy had a good day too. Kuechly did his usual. What was unusual was how often he was chasing the QB on blitzes and delays. Maybe that will be a new wrinkle.

Well at least we adjusted to the bubble screen. I think it shows what a difference Noel and Fletcher can make. Both looked good. Both did a good job supporting the run. And they made some good takles. Hughes had his best game yet. Rositano was fine.

I don't think the scheme was all that unique from what we've been doing for the past few weeks. I guess the adjustment was having the corners play a little closer to the line, and as I mentioned, having the linebackers blitz a bit more. It was successful. But as a whole, there isn't much to take away from the game.

Special Teams: D
How can we have decent kick coverage all year and then allow a touchdown by UMass? I think it was in part because the team had a lead. But we are not good enough to lose our edge. It was also in part because the team got out of place and -- no one could catch the Levengood. Amidon tried but where was the rest of the team?

Glad to see Freese boucne back. Quigley had an uneventful day.

Kimble looked good on his returns.

Overall: B-

These sorts of games are the ultimate "no win." If the game had been close, I would have killed Spaz. Yet I don't give him a ton of credit for the big win. I guess what concerns me is that both lines are still issues. When is the head man going to get improvement out of each?

BC had its most uneventful week of the year and it resulted in a win. Now let's hope Spaz builds on this.

Our killer schedule is looking easier

We all thought this season's schedule would be a challenge. Yet even some of the teams we've already lost to -- like Northwestern and UCF -- have come back down to Earth. I don't trust Spaz to make the adjustments for us to have a big run, but there is no reason it can't happen. I think we will get to at least four wins, and if our staff gets its act together, we could still get to six wins.

Very winnable games
1. Maryland has the type of offense that can pick apart our defense, but they clearly showed they are vulnerable. Not only did West Virginia light them up, but yesterday they got destroyed by Temple! They will probably be favored (since its their home game) but that is a winnable game.
2. NC State looked terrible the other night. If anyone knows how to prep for Bible's offense, it's Spaz. This year they don't have the Wild Card in Russell Wilson keeping plays alive with his feet.
3. Wake Forest earned my respect with their game against NC State. But they also blew a game against Syracuse. If we can contain their offense, their defense is vulnerable.

Those are the three wins that can get us to four. The following all look tough, but I think at least two will be close enough for us to steal a win.

Games where we need some breaks
1. Notre Dame is still Notre Dame. Weird things happen when underdog BC teams go to South Bend. Plus the Irish have shown the bad habit of playing down to their opponents and turning the ball over. I think we go all in on this game.
2. Miami falls at an interesting time in our schedule. We could be playing for a lot or a little. If we are sitting on five wins, I expect us to treat it like the Super Bowl.
3. Florida State is still very talented and will be a heavy favorite when they come to BC. That said, they've now dropped two games. Plus we get them at home on a Thursday. Could be a fluky game.
4. Clemson looks great right now. That said, I could see them taking us lightly. I also don't trust their Head Coach. The talent is there, but will he manage them as the pressure builds?
5. Virgnia Tech will be very tough. They are probably the best team left on our schedule and it is at Lane. Last time Spaz went there, we rolled over. I would be shocked if things were different this time around.
FSU has now lost two games. Granted both were tough opponents and close, but we have them at home.

Wake Forest is probably

Saturday, September 24, 2011

That is more like it

Put all the whining from fans and bloggers (like me) aside. Forget that it was UMass for a minute. Ignore the things that still need to be fixed. At the end of the game, we had more points than the opponent. Doesn't that feel better? Now that 0-12 is avoided, there are still plenty of winnable games on the schedule. Let's just keep getting better.

I will have more later tonight and second viewing thoughts late Sunday night.

In-game comments post: UMass

The big news of the game is Montel Harris' return. Let's hope he stays healthy, looks good, and adds a bright spot to the season. The game is online so that should keep the comments section hoping. As always, leave your thoughts below.

I will probably have the occasional tweet during the game.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Game Watches: BC vs UMass

Because this is an game some bars may not have it on a big screen. However, so BC hangouts are coming through. If your ISP is still not providing, check out the BC message boards. Someone usually finds a pirated internet feed.

Chicago Game Watch
2721 North Halsted Street
Chicago, IL

Los Angeles Game Watches
3600 Highland Ave.
Manhattan Beach
(310) 545-8811

1220 W. Burbank Blvd.
(818) 556-6550

New York City Game Watch
Vertigo Bar & Restaurant
26th & 3rd
New York

San Francisco Game Watch
Shanghai Kelly's in San Francisco
2064 Polk Street (corner of Polk & Broadway)
San Francisco, CA 94109

Thursday, September 22, 2011

BC-UMass preview

The worst part about a free fall is you don't know when you will hit rock bottom. Would a win this weekend signal a turnaround? I guess. But we still have eight more games against BCS teams. My biggest hope -- other than a win -- is that the guys actually have fun. That sounds cliche, but I've seen bad BC seasons before. No one -- especially the players -- enjoy it.

Overlooked storyline for the game: Tempo
UMass -- while not Auburn or Oregon yet -- does play at a high tempo. For example they ran 77 plays last week against URI. We are still very thin on defense and fast-paced game could create some other issues.

Three Simple Keys
1. Stop Jonathan Hernandez. He's really their whole offense. For a smaller back, he has shown pretty good durability. BC needs to contain him, especially in the passing game. I could see him killing us on late releases out of the backfield.
2. Run after the catch. You can question our playmakers against the teams we've played so far, but you cannot question that we have more explosive talent than the Minutemen. If our guys cannot make plays in space and cannot run away from UMass, we will have problems.
3. Avoid sacks. Blame the line. Blame Rettig. Regardless, we've allowed some drive killing sacks. Can't let that happen this week.

Gambling Notes
-- UMass's last two FBS games have been decided by less than a touchdown
-- BC hasn't lost to a FCS team in the conference play era
-- BC hasn't lost three-consecutive home games in back to back years since '97-'98
The current line is BC-10.5

Even though they have made regular appearances on our schedule lately, we have only played UMass 23 times. For comparison sake, we've played Villanova 45 times.

Scoreboard Watching
The game to make note of is Clemson-Florida State. Both look like they are worlds better than us. It will be interesting to see if Clemson can build off of their big win or if FSU will bounce back from their tough loss. At this point, our only hope is that one of them takes us lightly.

I hope to see...
A healthy Montel Harris break off 200 yards. Montel has never been some sort of highlight real player. What he lacks in Barry Sanders moves though, he makes up for in tough runs. Those, in their own way, are also fun to watch. If he plays well, it could be a silver lining to the season.

BC is in trouble if…
UMass dinks and dunks us down the field. At some point the guys are going to have to step up and stop more drives.

Bottom Line
There are a few fans out there hoping we lose this weekend. The thought is that a BC loss would be enough to force a coaching change. I can't do that. I am not optimistic that a change would be made and I never want to see BC lose. I think this weekend we get a reprieve from our pain. BC looks more explosive on offense and wins by more than one score.
Final Score: BC 30, Duke 20

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Montel Harris decision

As Duke made its comeback on Saturday, I was reminded of another blown lead under Spaz -- the 2009 Florida State game. That day BC retook the lead based on a big play from Montel Harris. Now that Harris may play, I am wondering if he will make a difference going forward.

The answer really depends on Montel's health. If he is 100%, I do think he can make a difference. While Williams and Kimble have shown some upside, neither are a versatile as Harris and neither have Harris's ability to make consistent positive yards in traffic.

If he is not 100% and cannot cut or doesn't have 100% strength, Harris might not be any more effective than our other RBs.

I don't believe in giving up. I want BC to win and play hard for the remainder of the season. Spaz is the lost cause in my mind. But Montel is not. So what do you do? I would wait a week. We should beat UMass without him. If he is still pain free after two weeks of practice, then you play him for Wake. If he's not ok prior to Wake you shut him down for the year. He's earned the rehab time, plus the redshirt would give the apologists one more excuse for this year.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Expansion news (where I actually defend Gene) and other links

Former Big East Commissioner Mike Tranghese and his hand-picked successor John Marinatto have been ranting about the latest round of conference expansion to anyone who will listen. As always they're overly reactionary, emotionally, and parochial in their perspective on basketball. For most BC fans this drudged up a lot of memories about our old conference and our unpleasant departure. I think the Big East was important in the landscape of college sports and important for BC. But it was never as important as anyone from the Big East thinks it was. And the fact that it still draws its leadership from Providence College basketball cronies shows how limited their perspective is...on everything. The reality of alliance was that it could never be sustained on basketball alone. That is why they added Miami first. That first expansion should have been the writing on the wall of the basketball schools. If they wanted to have a future, they should have started major football then. UConn did. Others did not an have been paying the price every since. They can take all the pot shots they want at Gene, but he did the right and smart things by moving us to the ACC. And I hope tons of BC fans show up at the first ACC Tourney game at MSG!

This article takes down Tranghese's nonsensical rant on WFAN.

The Big East is saying the will keep Syracuse and Pitt for 27 more months. I doubt it comes to that. The Big East will have to find a solution for their other schools soon and therefore won't need or want to hold onto the defectors.

In recruiting news, BC lost out on Canaan Severin. He's headed to UVA to play for Mike London. I don't get too caught up in recruiting rankings but it is disheartening to see how many local prospects we missed out on this year.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Simple suggestion for the new ACC

If the ACC sticks with 14 teams, the conference can keep the two division format. (16 teams would probably require four, four-team divisions.) There is a lot of talk about geography in the new set up, but I suggest that the split be along historical lines. I would scrap the current configuration and align the teams like this:

(big) East Division
Boston College
Virginia Tech

Atlantic (coast) Division
Florida State
Georgia Tech
North Carolina
NC State
Wake Forest

With this set up, you reunite most of the former Big East members in one division. Miami gets to play near their northern alumni. The (overblown) travel costs are somewhat mitigated. Maryland -- the long-time whiner about Tobacco Road's influence -- gets to play the conference newbies. The ACC purests get their own division. The only real loser in this setup is UVA. They have historical ties with most of the ACC. Lumping them in with the old Big East would diminish that. But if you assured UVA their annual game with UNC, they might be on board.

While competitive balance is hard to predict, this split captures current strengths and programs that have inherent historical advantages.

This seems so simple, it probably won't happen. But as I mentioned previously BC's future schedules will have a very familiar feel to them.

Quote of the day

From the Globe:

DeFilippo dismissed any notion that Spaziani’s future at BC is in doubt.

“Spaz is a terrific coach and doing a great job" he said.

I think at this point, Gene is so tied to Spaz's tenure that Spaz could survive an 0-12 season.

Also, I don't agree with Gene's assessment of Spaz doing a "great job" but I do think the team is close to breaking through and will rattle off some wins here shortly.

Blogpoll ballot

BC is the best 0-3 team in the country but they don't have rankings for that.

Games I watched
Duke- BC 100% twice
Navy-South Carolina 25%
OU-FSU 50%
Iowa Stat-UConn 50%

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Second viewing thoughts and grade report: Duke

One of the reasons I like reading Michigan blog MGOBlog is because Brian works in game theory and probabilities into his reviews. In the one of his wrap ups of the crazy Notre Dame-Michigan game Brian quoted Brady Hoke on the final :08 seconds:

“With eight seconds left? We had two timeouts, so we were at least going to give it a shot in the endzone. If Denard would have scrambled and got tackled, I think we had enough time to call a timeout. I may have gone for the touchdown and gone for the win [anyway]. Why not? I mean, you play to win. That was a good win.”

Spaz drives me nuts in a lot of ways, but what confounds me is his unwillingness to adjust his style or strategy as the game conditions change. Forget that he's blown double-digit leads before, the biggest concern is that with the game on the line, he limited his number of opportunities to score! He spiked the ball when he didn't need to. He kept running without taking a shot into the endzone. If you are ahead you can rationalize conservatism and playing for the kick. When you are down, you cannot. You need to press until you take the lead!! Later, in the defense section, I will get into Spaz's signature scheme coming back to haunt him.

Spaz apologists can shift blame to multiple people, but no one else controls our approach, time management and strategy. The missed kicks hurt, but Spaz had lost the game long before with his approach.

Offense: D+

Rettig has moments of brilliance, some moments where he shows his age and then makes some flat out bad throws. What concerns me about the bad throws is that there is often no need. He has time. He has enough strength and often has good footwork, so I don't know why some of these are off. On the bright side Rettig looked great and made good decisions on the broken plays. Maybe we should use more shot gun and just let him chuck it over and over.

Swigert made some nice catches. Larmond was good. Coleman made a nice catch, but is still raw. For example, he should have been ready for Rettig's back shoulder throw. Pantale and Anderson were good...I wish we tried to get it to them in the redzone.

Kimble's TD was nice, but I was more impressed with some of his catches in traffic. He has good hands and uses his body well in one-on-one matchups. Carrying the ball wasn't as effective. It was nice to see Finch back. He might be better at cutting and blasting through the hole than the other two guys. Williams showed great power but still doesn't have that elusiveness nor instincts in traffic. Dan Williams did a great job as a lead blocker.

Wetzel and Clearly both played well. Too bad the interior guys weren't as strong. I don't know what is up with Richman. It doesn't seem like he is 100% as he had some mental lapses (missing late blitzers) and got overpowered. Gallik was ok. White probably had his most uneven performance of the season. Vardaro was ok.

There were simple plays I liked that were perfect calls at the perfect time: like Kimble's screen. We also had some more play action and downfield throws. All of that was positive. Yet there were still multiple drives that were just ugly. Even though we didn't win, I think Brock called a decent game. I don't think he was the problem.

Defense: D
I've been killing the DTs, but this week the DEs didn't do much. Quinn made the most news with his boneheaded penalties. He also started flushing their pocket late in the game. Now we need him to wreck havoc earlier in the game. Ricci was ok. Rudolph was ok. Harris Williams was fine. But as a group they just didn't make enough plays.

I don't want to diminish Kuechly's big day, but KPL was just as good. Luke covered more ground, but KPL was able to be disruptive in their backfield, had some great plays closing on their runners and is getting better in pass coverage. Divitto was solid. Clancy was fine. A few other LBs got on the field but didn't make big plays.

Fletcher was good again. Noel was really good...he did a great job tackling and also helped out on tackles in his area. Louis-Jean was pretty good but didn't play as much. The bigger issue were the safeties. Sylvia has really good instincts but his good plays were negated by his bad ones. He's also got to wrap people up and not just throw his body around. Williams screwed up on their TD where he didn't get the player or the ball. Rositano looked ok. Hughes looked better but still didn't make a big impact play.

We faced this same offense last year and watched them move the ball at will. Why did we think this year would be any different? We couldn't get pressure. We couldn't stop the run. We gave them the flats and they took it. We finally went to man coverage but still gave them huge cushions. What was that going to accomplish? They could still complete the passes. I understand that our defense is built on forcing the other team to make precise passes...and it is usually effective. But when facing a team that wants to dink and dunk in the passing game, you have to mix it up.

Special Teams: F
Freese made two nice kicks...oh, yeah, he also missed an XP and the game-winning field goal. I hate killing a kicker, but he's got to make the easy ones. They're more important since they are a higher percentage play.

The big head scratcher was the squib to end the first half. But are we really surprised by failure to grasp time, distance and timeouts?

I don't know why we started doing the Rugby style punts. Quigley's been one of our most consistent performers. Why screw it up.

Rositano's block was nice. (Did you know that was the first block during Spaz's tenure?).

Our kick returns were fine.

Overall: D

Some would say that losing to Duke would earn an 'F.' I went with a 'D' because we did have a chance to win the game. BC is close, unfortunately the schedule starts to get tougher

I lost hope in Spaz a long time ago. Now my hope lies with the players and assistants. BC is a special place and this team is better than its record. I hope that pride and competence make a difference and we start winning some games despite of the clueless game management from our head coach.

ACC expansion: BC's world just got bigger and smaller

As most of you know, the ACC is expanding to include Syracuse and Pittsburgh. The move was necessary and impacts BC in a variety of ways. While the details are still to be worked out, here are some of the ways this will impact BC. And as I said in the headline BC's world got bigger and smaller at the same time.

How BC's world got bigger.
No one knows when or how this evolution of the conferences will all stop. But everyone predicts a few Super Conferences will control everything. With the ACC expanding to 14, the conference has solidified its position among the power players. As a member in good standing and located in a Top 10 TV market, BC is assured a seat at the table. If the Super Conferences break away from the NCAA, we will be part of it. A playoff? The ACC will have access. As long as the BCS is around, we will be in position there too.

This will also mean an influx of TV money. These things are always about money. Once the Pac 12 hit the lottery with their TV deal and Texas got its own network, the ACC's once lucrative media contract seemed dated and small. The ACC knew their deal was below market. One of the triggers for a new deal was expansion. Now we can go back to ESPN and the other players and get a lot more money. And that means more money for BC too.

The ACC will probably get a TV network out of this. Did you want to watch all sorts of random BC sports? Get ready then because a lot of non-revenue sports programming would probably fill this channel.

This might also not be the end of this all. Our conference could very well expand to 16. If it does, then it BC isn't part of a conference any more. We'd be part of a cartel.

How our world gets small
Remember how the ACC move meant new rivalries and new locales? Well we will soon be in a conference with Pitt and Syracuse again. My prediction is that we will also be in some sort of division with them too. And if the ACC goes to 16 and goes to four pods/division/etc, we will certainly be clustered with former Big East members.

If the ACC gets its own network, that will mean even less coverage on the ESPN family of networks. While I would gladly trade games for real TV, I think losing coverage on ESPN feels a little smaller. It means we are not getting the random eyeballs and general sports fans that always catch a game or two on ESPN.

Finally, this means more of a closed network. If we go to nine ACC games, add UMass to the schedule and keep the FCS team, that really only leaves one other out of conference game per year. That just means fewer unique opponents and fewer opportunities to travel to our fans in the midwest and west coast.

Bottom line
If things stay like this, the ACC is now an even better place for BC. The new money, old faces and closer geography all ease some of the lingering issues BC has had in the conference. It also provides stability and a conference of peers. Regardless of what happens on the field, the money and winnable conference will always give BC a chance to excel.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

New ways to lose

Not a whole lot to say. There is plenty of blame to go around, but you have to question our inability to adjust to Duke's offense.

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

In-game comments post: Duke

Rock bottom or ready to rock? I guess we will find out which one BC football is shortly. Despite all the nonsense, I am still optimistic about today's game. Let's hope the team shows their true potential.

As always, leave your thoughts and comments below.

I will probably be on Twitter throughout the game.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Severin nearing decision and other links

Canaan Severin, Massachusetts' top player and one of BC's top targets is nearing a decision. It doesn't sound too promising but maybe there is hope BC can sell him hard this weekend.

Duke's backup QB is injured.

A new mental approach has made all the difference with Charlie Davies' productivity.

Damien Woody plans to lose more than 100 pounds now that he is retired from football.

This CT QB has a BC offer based on his work at BC's camp.

Game Watches: BC vs Duke

Before or ESPNU provided national coverage to lower-tier games, we were subjected to regional telecasts. Those Regional Networks led to BC fans meeting up in sports bars with satellite dishes. Well for our ACC opener, we are back on a regional network! That's a perfect time for a Game Watch. I can't imagine these watches have been very festive. Maybe this weekend will begin the turnaround.

Chicago Game Watch
2721 North Halsted Street
Chicago, IL

Dallas Game Watch
Christies Sports Bar (back right corner)
Ste 22, 2811 McKinney Avenue
Dallas, TX 75204-8567
(214) 954-1511

Denver Game Watch
Icehouse Tavern
1801 Wynkoop St, No 150
Denver, CO 80202-1098
(303) 292-3775

Los Angeles Game Watches
3600 Highland Ave.
Manhattan Beach
(310) 545-8811

1220 W. Burbank Blvd.
(818) 556-6550

Orange County, CA Game Watch
Spelly's Pub and Grille
40675 Murietta Hot Springs Rd.
Murrieta, CA

New York City Game Watch
Vertigo Bar & Restaurant
26th & 3rd
New York

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

San Francisco Game Watch
Shanghai Kelly's in San Francisco
2064 Polk Street (corner of Polk & Broadway)
San Francisco, CA 94109

Thursday, September 15, 2011

BC-Duke preview

We've reached a point where the games provide relief from all the other worries, injuries and nonsense surrounding BC football. To call this a "must win" is a bit of hyperbole, but a win would sure be nice. Without a win over Duke, BC will have even more trouble selling tickets for the next two weeks and there will be plenty of pressure on Spaz and Gene to do something. Spaz keeps trotting out "expect the unexpected" to explain the vibe. I get where he is coming from, but my expectations are a little different. I expect BC to play much better and win the game.

Overlooked storyline for the game: Kimble's return game
He hasn't provided a Jeff Smith or Will Blackmon moment yet, but I think Kimble's aggressiveness on returns will pay off soon. He is clearly not afraid to bring the ball out of the endzone. We also need that spark too since at this point every bit of field position counts.

Three Simple Keys
1. Stop the run. For the first time this season we won't be facing a running QB. We need to revert to our base defense and do what we've traditionally done well.
2. Put more pressure on Renfree. BC sacked him twice last year. BC needs to do more of the same this year. We cannot let Renfree pick us apart again. Last year he almost stole the game.
3. Rettig needs to complete more than 20 passes. If Rettig is that successful, it will mean that our passing game was effective, we drove the ball multiple times and we are keeping our defense off the field.

Gambling Notes
-- Spaz is 0-2 in ACC openers
-- Cutcliffe is 5-11 in ACC road games
-- Cutcliffe is 6-18 coming off a loss while leading Duke
The current line is BC-7

Duke only has two players from Massachusetts so this won't be much of a homecoming.

Scoreboard Watching
The biggest game for us is Oklahoma vs Florida State. We need the 'Noles to win for conference pride. A strong FSU team also helps our BCS rating and our bowl attractiveness.

I hope to see...
BC giving Rettig the time to throw. Our oline hasn't done its job so far. Now we need them playing with more consistency and Rettig to make good decisions.

BC is in trouble if…
We are trialing at halftime again. At this point does anyone really trust our offense to generate real points or come from behind?

Bottom Line
I think BC wins this game. The teams will have similar gameplans to last year's meeting. Only this time the game is in Boston and we have some offensive help. As for the first game with Brock calling plays, I just want points...and just enough points to win.
Final Score: BC 28, Duke 17

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The right way, the wrong way and the BC way

I don't care about Kevin Rogers. I don't really care about Spaz or Gene either. All three are handsomely paid and know the perils and uncertainty of their chosen profession. I do care about BC, its current players and its alumni. The Rogers disaster is part of a bigger issue. Instead of a calm steady leadership, BC seems to be in a constant flux of politicing and drama. For the most part, that dynamic has provided BC with a certain level of success. But like most chaotic situations, it is not sustainable. And even beyond simple sustainability, I am concerned for the players. They are about to endure another change and it is not their fault.

The blame for the sudden changes lies with Gene and Spaz. Since allowing TOB to walk, Gene has used his position to go beyond the norms of an AD's responsibilities to be sort of a football GM. Spaz gets blame for being the ultimate enabler. He played his cards with Gene to stay on staff and has deferred to Gene enough to get the job when it opened and get an extension last year. Spaz is not unique. Jags played a similar game with Gene to get the job in 2006. But despite both of their relative successes, that is not healthy.

A good program would hire a head coach and let him build the program how he saw fit. It wouldn't be about who is part of the staff or what influence the AD wanted or needed. We would set measurable benchmarks for success (wins, ACC championships, player behavior, and graduation rate). I am not calling for anyone's head yet, but when we make our next football change, the new head coach needs to be empowered and needs to start with a clean slate. If not, we will keep facing these same sort of disruptive problems.

Kevin Rogers was fired

I tweeted as soon as I heard. I know I was wrong on the Ryan Day as OC stuff, so take this for all that you deem it worthy.

The 'leave' excuse protects both sides from looking worse. In some sense, I actually understand making a change now. If the offense and the staff are not working, you better make a change while there is still time to save the season. I was told that Spaz and Gene were in agreement on the move.

I will post more as it develops. I expect many to say I am wrong on this.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

US News Rankings and other links

As much as we pay attention to BC sports, there are others within the BC community who follow the U.S. News and World Report rankings with the same sort of intensity. The magazine published their 2012 rankings and BC retained its position at No. 31. There is a lot of bottlenecking in the Top 25 and from what I understand, BC will always have a bit of an uphill climb due to lack of Engineering and Medical schools. Sports indirectly influences the metrics in a positive manner. Sports helps drive applications which in turn makes BC more selective. If BC is more selective, the rankings improve. If a National Championship in Football guaranteed we'd move into the Top 25 of the World News rankings, I think Leahy and Co would be willing to bring on Nick Saban!

Lost amid the Rogers news was confirmation that CJ Jones is done for the year. He is hoping to get a medical redshirt. Fortunately Donnie Fletcher is healthy enough to provide us with some quality in the defensive backfield.

The UMass game will have a 1 PM kickoff. will carry the broadcast live.

The ACC honored field hockey back Jacqui Moorfield with its player of the week honors.

Texas to the ACC is in play but contingent upon a lot of issues I don't see working themselves out.

Monday, September 12, 2011

We will never know... (Kevin Rogers' edition)

The timing on Kevin Rogers' leave is perfect and terrible at the same time. It changes the face of the season that's already begun 0-2. In a way there is no where to go but up. Would we have turned things around with Rogers? Was Saturday a sign of things to come? It doesn't matter now. We have a new guy responsible for the points and play calling.

We don't know what could have been with Rogers but we do know who is impacted the most by his departure. Here are the parties who will shape where we go from here.

Dave Brock
It made sense to promote Brock. He's the only one on the staff who has been an Offensive Coordinator in a BCS conference. And he recruited Rettig. If this season is salvageable, we will need Rettig to buy in and execute. Promoting the guy on staff who brought him in makes most sense.

Brock also has Spaz's trust. His connection to Spaz is via Tranq and he is not part of the Gene, Jags, TOB or UNH crowds. As pressure builds, Spaz will need people he trusts, so it makes sense to have his guy calling the plays.

Brock sat next to Rogers and Tranq in the coaches box. He understands the pace of the job and the assets on hand. And unlike a new face that BC might have bought in -- even on short notice -- no one will have the perspective of what we used to run vs what we are trying to do now.

I think we will be fine with him calling the plays. His record as OC at Kansas State and Temple was to use a spread-ish approach and was dependent on passing. I imagine he'll take whatever nomenclature we've adopted from Rogers, tweak it a little and use the plays that he thinks will work best.

Chase Rettig
Imagine what Rettig is thinking now. He committed to one OC only to have it change after his first full ear as the starter. Now the new guy is gone only to be replaced by the guy who recruited him to BC.

Rettig pressed a little last Saturday. Maybe Brock will find the balance between being aggressive and pressing.

How Rettig responds will probably determine the season and Rettig's career. If he doesn't not succeed now, he will probably see another OC before his time as BC is done.

Heavy is the head that wears the crown. Regardless of how involved Spaz is on the offensive side of the ball or how much input he had in hiring Rogers, this is his show now. He needs to do everything in his power to make sure Brock succeeds. He also needs to let Brock challenge downfield or whatever else might allow for more big plays.

Gene D.
This is Gene's get out of jail free card. If the season is a total collapse, Gene can point to this moment. "After suffering numerous injuries, the Eagles then lost their OC..." It will allow him to spin Spaz's results and say Spaz deserves to coach BC in 2012.

The fans
We lose nothing. I don't know about you, but I was unemotional Saturday night. After a certain point I didn't believe we would score. That was with Rogers. If the ineptitude carries over to Brock, it won't feel much different. However, there is always upside. Maybe this is the break we need.

Kevin Rogers taking leave

New Offensive Coordinator Kevin Rogers is taking a leave of absence for undisclosed health reasons. Dave Brock takes over as Coordinator and GA Ben Johnson backfills as Tight Ends coach. As I tweeted, we are in uncharted territory for the season. I will have more later tonight.

Blogpoll Ballot

With the NFL start and some real life interference, I didn't get to see as much college football as I usually do. Since I dropped some teams that didn't lose, this is in part based by what I caught my eye. Also, I gave UCF a huge boost. While there is some BC bias there, it is mostly because I think they are good and will win their conference. Here is my take on the top 25.

Games I watched
ASU-Mizzou 20%
South Carolina-UGA 50%
BC-UCF 100% (twice)
Alabama-Penn State 25%
Michigan-Notre Dame 25%
Wake Forest-NC State 25%