Monday, October 31, 2011

Kickoff time for NC State and other links

BC's final home game of the season will be a 12:30 kickoff and carried regionally on the ACC Network. It might also might be the last time Spaz and TOB are on the same field together!

The ACC named Finch its offensive back of the week. Things used to be simpler when there were just players of the week. Duece would have won it most weeks with that sort of game.

Maryland fans are getting some well-deserved criticism for the poor showing on Saturday.

Here is the ACC's preview of BC basketball.

The weekend was a good one for the hockey team as they remain undefeated in Hockey East play.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Second viewing thoughts and grade report: Maryland

The second viewing was encouraging. It shows that our line can block someone. It also showed that BC can still have a dominant defensive effort with our simple base defense. What was a little disconcerting was that we strayed a bit from the model defensively later in the game. I was happy with the performance. I guess we will soon find out if it was because Maryland was so bad or if we are getting better.

Offense: B

Chase Rettig wasn't asked to do much but unfortunately he was still a little off in some of his passes. But I would toss most of it up to timing and the elements. The biggest surprise -- and perhaps the telling sign that the weather impacted things -- was that Chase couldn't get his Hail Mary into the endzone. But overall, I think the win has got to be a confidence builder.

Finch might not be as fast or powerful as Williams or as reliable as Harris, but he showed he's got good vision, patience and is hard to take down. I am willing to overlook the fumbles because it was so wet and terrible. Everyone had an issue with it. What's interesting is that he passed the 200 mark without any huge runs. Instead it was just a series of eight and nine yarders. Not a highlight reel, but obviously welcome. Williams had a nice day too. Williams best plays were actually as a lead blocker on Amidon's endarounds. No way Amidon gets the TD without Williams paving the way. Sinkovec is getting more time and doing a fine job blocking. Kimble played on special teams, but for some reason wasn't part of the offense.

Anderson started the day with a catch but did most of his work blocking. Swigert got one catch and wasn't heard from much the rest of the day. My biggest frustration was Larmond not tracking down Rettig's corner pass early in the game. It was a great throw that he should have been able to track down. Maybe the mud slowed him down. Amidon only caught one ball, but looked good on his runs. He manages to turn the corner well and has good speed. (I know the wildcat is now passe, but maybe we should break it out once a game with Finch/Amidon.)

The much maligned offensive line played a nearly flawless game. They dominated at the line of scrimmage, got to the second level and even did a good job pulling and trapping (which as been an issue). Vardaro played really well. Spinney deserves credit for much of the space opening up in the middle and for snapping the ball well in this environment. Both tackles were good as was Ian White.

Sometimes play calling is simple. You run something until the other guy shows he can stop you. If he can't you keep running. Although that over simplifies, that still is sort of what Brock did. Take the runs to Amidon. They were technically different plays from different formations, but they had the same spirit and net effect. I was hoping that BC would take advantage of Maryland's zone, but the weather didn't support throwing a lot. And we took advantage of Maryland's soft front anyway.

Defense: B

Appiah might now be our best Dlineman. He is taking up space, close to the action and making plays with good effort. Ricci looked better. Holloway had some nice moments -- like the tip. But also a few that were just so-so. Mihalik was good. Edebali was fine but didn't have a big impact. Abdesmad played but didn't do much.

Kuechly didn't have a ridiculous tackle day but made a big impact. Not only did he have the INT, but he also had a great read and tackle for a loss on their end around. Luke's handling of the option also kept them from using it much. Keyes played close to the line (almost over the center) and did well. Duggan looked good. Clancy was okay but didn't get a ton of PT. Divitto was good and good in coverage.

Hughes had some good tackles early but missed a few late. Sylvia did a good job tackling and showed good instinct on the interception. Williams played well. Rositano was okay. Fletcher was fine but not near much of the action. Noel made some nice plays before he got hurt. ALJ had two chances to track balls in the air for INTs but didn't pull them in.

The defense was simple and standard BC for most of the first half and it worked. However later in the game, BC used more of its new 3-4 and also didn't bring much pressure. Of course, Maryland started moving the ball and scoring. I also wish we had brought more pressure. We used the blitz well last week. Why back off?

Special Teams: D

There isn't a whole lot to go on here. We didn't do anything on punts and half of Maryland's kickoffs were onsides.

However, Freese had trouble with his field goals. That's on him and its also on Spaz for attempting them in such crappy conditions.

The punt returns were a little off too. Asprilla had a block go through his arms. He also lost contain on their rugby style (that bounced off of Naples's ankle).

Overall: B

BC wasn't overcome by the elements, BC bounced back from some mistakes, and BC beat a bad team on the road. That's what a good, well coached team should do. Any of the issues (like going prevent a little too early) would be nitpicking.

But as I said after the game, the fact that BC played well is hardly an endorsement of Spaz or his future. If anything it is an indictment of our awful start. We can quibble about expectations and things out of Spaz's control, but I think it is clear we should have more than two wins.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

A win is a win

On an ugly day in a sloppy game, BC got a much needed win. I don't know about all of you, but I am pretty happy. Winning is always better than losing. And with this win, this team avoids a lot of "worst BC team since..." categories at the end of the season. In fact with the way I feel, I am hoping we make a strong run to close out the season.

Big congratulations to Duece Finch who had a career day. Once Kimble gets healthy our backfield will be loaded with play makers.

As for the Spaz apologists, nothing that happened today changes my stance on his future. If anything, I think today confirms this team should have a much better record than they do.

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

In-game comments post: Maryland

A battle for the basement! Reports are that the rain is coming down hard. Let's hope it clears up by game time. I don't know if the rain helps us, but still like our chances. And even with all the nonsense that has gone on, I desperately want us to run the table and get to a bowl game. Regardless of how you feel about Spaz, you'd have to admit that would be a more fun way to end the season than how it is likely to play out.

Leave your comments below.

You can also follow the dialogue on twitter.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Everybody loves Ice Jam and other links

Give credit where it is due, BC has turned "Ice Jam" into something. The second annual event went off without a hitch and all the reviews were positive. WZBC took advantage of the event and interviewed plenty of players. Remember to give them a listen now and then during games.

BC continues to graduate a high percentage of our athletes. We tied Duke and only trailed Notre Dame in graduation rate succes.

Mark Herzlich will be on 60 Minutes this Sunday.

Game Watches: BC vs Maryland

Our nomadic DC Eagles have a game in their backyard this weekend, so no worries on their game watches. But what is up with Boston? I know the game will be on NESN, but no word on official game watches.

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

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, October 27, 2011

BC-Maryland preview

Despite more losses there were glimpses in the Clemson and Virginia Tech games that made you think we might be able to compete against lessor teams. Now we are playing a lessor team. After a promising start Maryland looks awful. And their style of play works well with ours. I am actually feeling good about this matchup.

Overlooked storyline for the game: Randy Edsall -- BC's constant Bridesmaid.
Randy Edsall made a big deal out of getting the Maryland job and claimed it was his dream job. BC fans know that his real dream job was in Chestnut Hill. He thought he had the role when we hired TOB. He wanted it when it opened up in 2006 and 2009. Now that ship has passed. Even with all his success at UConn and our frustration with various coaches at BC, I've never viewed him as the one that got away.

Three Simple Keys
1. Forcing Turnovers.
When O'Brien is good, he's making smart plays and avoiding turnovers. For many years we lived off of the well timed INT. We need that to disrupt Maryland.
2. High percentage passes. Maryland plays plenty of zone. Rettig should have time to make short, well timed passes.
3. Clock Management. It seems like we have bigger issues, but this has been chronic. Spaz often talks about margin of error. Well if he wants to win, he better be judicious with his timeouts and when we should eat clock vs when we should speed things up.

Gambling Notes
-- Spaz is 0-2 against the spread when playing Maryland
-- BC has been favored in Spaz's last two meeting with Maryland
-- BC leads the series 5-3
The current line is BC+7.5

Maryland head coach Randy Edsall and Offensive Coordinator Gary Crowton first worked together at BC under Tom Coughlin.

Scoreboard Watching
Florida State hosts NC State. Both are approaching. I clearly have lost faith in Spaz, but part of me knows that we can win more games. NC State and FSU are both winnable in the sense that they are home games and we are facing flawed teams. It will be interesting to see if TOB's guys can hang with Florida State on the road.

I hope to see...
A controlled passing attack. There is no reason we cannot dink and dunk on them. Put Rettig in the shotgun and let him hit soft spots in the zone. I will be dissappointed if we attack downfield or go heavy run.

BC is in trouble if…
We cannot keep pressure off of Rettig. Edsall runs a very similar defense to Spaz. We should not be surprised and should be able to hold up their front. If we cannot, then 1-11 no longer becomes a possibility. It becomes a certainty.

Bottom Line
I don't know why, but I have a good feeling this week. I actually think we will pull out a close, hard fought game. We are due for somethings to break our way and I think Maryland has many issues too. I think BC gets up early and holds off a late comeback from the Terps.
Final Score: BC 27, Maryland 24.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Guest Blogger: Turtle Waxing

Like BC, Maryland's season showed promise. They had a returning star at QB, a new Head Coach and produced a solid win against Miami in their opener. Since then it has been all down hill. To figure out what went wrong and what we can expect this weekend, I asked Esquire from Turtle Waxing some questions. His answers are below.

1. Explain to an outsider how the QB controversy makes sense. It seemed like O'Brien was a budding superstar. Is this all on him or has the staff screwed up two promising QBs?

Turtle Waxing: One of the common theories is that the new spread system by OC Gary Crowton doesn't fit O'Brien's skills as a west coast style QB. The mediocre offensive line has had some struggles, LT Justin Gilbert has been out all year with a torn knee ligament and G Andrew Gonnella is out with a broken leg, which hasn't helped either QB. The receiver corps has been underwhelming with the departures of Torrey Smith and Adrian Cannon from last year. Smith's ability to stretch the field has been sorely missed this season. Even with all that O'Brien hasn't played well. Since the opening game against Miami his play has consistently declined every game culminating in a dreadful performance against Temple in a 38-7 defeat and his awful play against Georgia Tech before getting benched. Right now O'Brien is 9th in the ACC in passing efficiency and 10th in passing yards per game so he is well behind his peers in the conference as there are four or five sophomore QBs who are ahead of him. Looking back on his 2010 season it appears O'Brien was a bit overrated. Against the top 3 passing defenses he played (Clemson, Miami, FSU) O'Brien completed only 49% of his passes and threw just two touchdowns to six picks. The new system, losses to skill position players, and playing from behind have all contributed to O'Brien's struggles but the larger truth is that he has not played well.

2. How has Edsall changed the approach from the blitz heavy stuff that Don Brown ran?

Turtle Waxing: New DC Todd Bradford has totally scrapped Don Brown's system. I think the biggest loss of the offseason was the departure of Brown to Connecticut. It took a few years but his pressure scheme was really starting to pay dividends his final season at Maryland. The Terps now play a fairly vanilla 4-3 style defense. They don't blitz much and play a great deal of zone underneath. Injuries have decimated the defense but this was a poor unit even before all the starters went down. The secondary has forced turnovers and even returned two for touchdowns but surrender big plays too often and are allowing 3rd down conversions at an astonishing rate of 53%. As much as the offense has struggled this year the defenses' total collapse has been a far bigger reason for all the defeats.

3. Instead of focusing on Edsall, I want to ask about Friedgen after the awful 2009 season. BC looks like we are facing a season like that. You guys brought him back for 2010. I am of the opinion that once a coach has a season like that in Year 3 or after, you need to make a change. Do you think sticking with Friedgen after a terrible year was wise? Did it put Maryland in a better place when you made a coaching change a year later?

Turtle Waxing: If former AD Debbie Yow had the funds I think Friedgen would have been out after his 2-10 season and coach-in-waiting James Franklin would be the head guy instead of coaching Vanderbilt this season. With a cash strapped athletic department she had no other choice, in part because of the stupid head-coach-in-waiting deal she had made with Franklin, so she had to sit tight and ride out the last lame duck year under Friedgen. His 9-4 record that was largely smoke and mirrors gained him an ACC coach of the year award (now we know what those are worth) but greatly complicated his departure which was a foregone conclusion. Friedgen's sniping in the press this season has been an inevitable result of that messy situation. I think Maryland would have been better off had they been able to remove Friedgen after his 2-10 disaster but poor planning by the AD and a budget crisis made the decision for Maryland. It doesn't appear to have turned out very well. I don't see what Boston College stands to gain by sticking with their current staff for another season if they have the cash to buy out the contracts. How many excellent college coaches have a 2-10 season on their resume?

4. What is your prediction for the game?

Turtle Waxing: Even with the roller coaster this team has experienced and the myriad of injuries this group has stayed fairly cohesive even when overmatched by the likes of Georgia Tech and Clemson. It will be interesting to see if the Florida State rout was a sign that the players are starting to crack and mail in the rest of the season. My guess is that Edsall will go back to O'Brien and that he will play well enough for Maryland to pull away from BC at home in a bit of an offensive shootout.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Basketball Previews: Meet Patrick Heckmann

When you are building a team you plan carefully, you scout and recruit a certain type of player and you find guys who can play at the ACC level. But as with the best plans, sometimes you need a little luck. It seems like Steve Donahue lucked out by finding Patrick Heckmann after he had put his first full class together.

Heckmann isn't necessarily your prototypical European player. His outside shooting is inconsistent. He also likes to drive to the basket and uses his athleticism. Heckmann has played at a lower level club in Germany (ho hum) but also played well for the German national team (great news). It was on the national team where Heckmann started gaining U.S. attention. Heckmann was one of the lone brightspots of he recent U-20 season.

Heckmann came to the U.S. to prove himself and because he likes the American style of play. BC became a fit because of our offensive style of play and the chance to play right away.


Like Clifford, there has been good "buzz" on Heckmann since he's been on campus. In addition to his surprising athleticism, he's supposedly got good handle and may be able to spend some minutes at the point.

The question is how quickly he can adapt to BC and the ACC style of play. Europeans are often tagged as "soft." Heckmann has the athleticism and body to drive through contact and defend. Also, BC will need him to sharpen his 3-point shooting. If he can't convert those 3s, teams will just play off of him and not let him drive.

The future

I think Heckmann will have a short but memorable career at BC. If he really is a star in the making, I think he'll be playing professionally in Europe or the NBA within two years.

I know he bypassed pro ball in Europe to test himself and get a degree, but I think the temptation will be too much. But if Donahue can get two years out of him and he is a star, BC will have been served well by this last second signee.

Monday, October 24, 2011

No ignoring offensive failure

As defenders and critics of Spaz get more entrenched in their respective stances, I suggest we look at the objective issues. The biggest is the failure of the offensive side of the ball under Spaz. In an era of video game scoring, BC remains unable to put points on the board. In 30 games against FBS opponents, Spaz's teams have only scored more than 20 points nine times. They are averaging over that time 18.5 against FBS opponents. BC has failed to exceed 20 points for nine-straight FBS games. We were fortunate that Spaz's first two teams used defense to cover up this glaring issue. That's not the case of late.

Now there are a whole host of reasons as to why the offense has struggled. But all those issues cannot rationalize the end results. We are failing on offense. We are failing in how we plan it, how we execute it, how we teach it, and how we practice. When the parts are greater than the whole and areas of weakness are not addressed through recruiting or schemes, then you are failing.

Spaz's background has been defense. But as head coach it is also his job to empower the offensive decision makers and help them build for success. We are not doing that.

Focus on the positive. Let's hope we get better soon, but ignoring the elephant in the room is not going to change the scoreboard.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Second viewing thoughts and grade report: Virginia Tech

This was a rough game to watch back because we had our moments. But we are still so flawed on the offensive line that it ripples into our QB play, our play calling and even our defensive strategy. I still fault Spaz for most of this as you will see below. We are not playing to win and we are not getting better on the in key areas. That's on the coach.

Offense: D

Rettig's game fell into what has become his pattern for the season. He was really off on some throws. He held the ball too long at times. He forced some throws. And then he would do something awesome. The kid is tough and is getting no time. But we need him to be better with his throws and decision making. I am still a big believer and think he will be very good, but right now he is still very inconsistent. I like to believe that if we gave him better protection he would be a great QB.

Larmond started strong but we need more. The fumble was terrible and although VT was jumping him early, he's got to win some of those battles. Swigert's hands weren't great. Elliot did okay. Coleman caught a tough pass. Amidon was ok. Anderson made a really nice catch. Pantale made a nice play. Both Tight Ends need to be more involved in our passing.

Finch is one of the bright spots. He runs hard. He shows good vision. He's good catching the ball and he can make some things out of nothing. He still needs to get a bit more consistent on blitz pick up. Williams ran through some tackles but at this point probably doesn't have Finch's vision...which you need with this line. Sinkovec was at FB. He wasn't as good as Dan Williams. I would get into the logic of switching them around at this point in the season, but there are so many head scratching roster decisions surrounding this team that it is best captured in another post.

The good news regarding the offensive line: our guys blocked someone on the screens. The bad news was most everything else. Cleary played pretty well. Spinney was okay. Everyone else was bad. White got beat a few times. At lot of pressure came from Wetzel's side when he was blocking no one. But missed assignments are nothing new with this crew. Vardaro struggled.

I don't know what Dave Brock is trying to accomplish with this scheme. You see moments of aggressiveness (which we need) but they are often random or desperate. We don't build towards them with things like play action. I also think he needs to keep things simple at this point. We are so limited in so many ways that we need to play to our strengths and make Rettig as comfortable as possible. Take Rettig's TD run. It was a classic zone-option read. Why don't we use that play more often? Chris Crane showed that a well executed zone-option read can open things up. We also have no answer for their aggressiveness against us. There are numerous reasons for our offensive struggles, but at some point Brock's got to get more points on the board.

Defense: C-

The DLine didn't change the game, but they were solid enough. Ricci is starting to play better. Appiah also looked good. Rudolph got some snaps. Mihalik is playing well considering his inexperience. Dan Williams was fine back on this side of the ball (although we should have kept him on O). The bigger disappointment was that Holloway and Edebali didn't make any big plays. Both are very experienced and have shown some flashes, but neither have really stepped it up this year. We need that at some point.

We have the best collection of linebackers you'll ever see on a one win team. Keyes looked good...especially adding pressure from the edge. KPL played well. Duggan was good in limited time. Divitto was also good on the edge. Kuechly was effective. The only LB who didn't have a great game was Clancy. He seemed a step behind especially in pass coverage. When he and ALJ were on the same side of the field they got burned a few times by the quick out/bubble screens.

Noel looked good and made some good tackles for losses. Fletcher had a bit of a rough day in run support and in pass coverage. ALJ still plays way too far off and allows some easy throws. He also had trouble tackling against the bubbles. Asprilla looked good and made some tackles. Williams didn't play a ton but was ok. Hughes needs to stop throwing himself at people and start wrapping up on tackles. Rositano was ok. Sylvia was very good at times and bad at others. He hustles and is a pretty good tackler but made a stupid personal foul penalty.

We went with a heavy dose of 3-4 throughout the game. I appreciate it on two fronts. First, we have good depth at LB and are thin at DL. Second, it is something new. So many teams are ready for BC just based on the fact that we rarely diverge from our base and blueprint. I also liked that we blitzed heavily in the first half. The challenge was the second half. We continued to blitz but not at the same frequency nor the same effectiveness. My biggest problem was easing up before the first half. It only allowed three points, but it changed the mentality of the game.
Special Teams: B-

The Special Teams have actually been a bright spot on the season. Evans hasn't broken anything but still had good returns. So did Swigert on his one chance. Quigley kicked well. (Although he had a touchback on Spaz's dumb punt.)

Overall: D

I appreciate that BC tried new things. I appreciate that we showed some spark in the first half. But the inept handling of the last drive before the half cannot be ignored. Curious play calling. Head scratching clock management. Disorganization out of a timeout. Ultra conservative decision making on offense. Then capping it all off with passive Defense that allowed VT to move the ball down the field with ease. As I've said, that has nothing to do with injuries. It has nothing to do with past coaches. It was purely cowardice and ineptitude from this head coach.

Then later in the game after our second TD, the announcers and VT are expecting an onside kick. There was 9:12 left. We needed multiple possessions to keep any hope of staying in the game. Spaz kicked it. We wouldn't get the ball back until 3:43 after they scored again.

Spaz made an effort to show more passion. At the half he tried to fire up the team in the tunnel. What I don't think he understands is that while the "rah rah" is a nice first step, this team needs a lot more. We need a coach who is also willing to take chances and have his team prepared.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

In-game comments post: Virginia Tech

The Virginia Tech games have provided some of the most passionate "in-game comments" posts on this blog. Let's hope that this game turns into a huge surprise and a great victory!

Leave your thoughts and comments below.

You can follow me throughout the game on Twitter.

Friday, October 21, 2011

I want to win

I want to clarify a few things based on recent feedback. I haven't picked BC to win because I am now at the point where I really don't believe it is possible. I am not rooting against BC. I want BC to win every game. Spaz could run the table and you wouldn't find anyone happier than me. I am not rooting against Spaz. I don't need to. He has already made his bed. But I am rooting for the players. They've been dealt a bad hand and for the most part are playing hard. I almost always root for and side with the players. They will be part of BC and members of our community long after anyone from the staff or administration is gone.

The only way to end the apathy is with winning or change. I don't think Spaz and his staff have any idea how to fix the winning part, so it is up to BC to make the change. Until then, I will keep cheering for BC and hoping that I am wrong about the current situation.

Game Watches: BC vs Virginia Tech UPDATED

Although the results haven't been game watch friendly, the kick off and regional coverage are great for game watches. Think of it this way, if we win you get to share your excitement with other BC fans. If we lose you can talk hoops and hockey with other BC fans.


Austin Game Watch
The Upper Decks
301 Barton Springs Rd
Austin, Texas 78704

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

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, October 20, 2011

BC-Virginia Tech preview

I read the BC message boards, other bloggers and BC related tweets. I also have plenty of Facebook friends who have BC ties. Sadly not one of these people said anything about "missing" BC football last week. There is always a little bit of apathy and bandwagonism surrounding BC sports. Losing only pushes more of our fans from the passive to the apathetic camp. That's why this game is important. BC needs to show some sign of life. BC needs to play well and play hard. If we get blown out in Blacksburg, the second half of the season could be a long and boring drive. I would call it embarrassing, but that would require that more than a few thousand of us care.

Overlooked storyline for the game: The former Tight Ends coach is not getting Tight Ends involved in the passing game
Due to how and when he came to have the job, current Offensive Coordinator Dave Brock is not coming under a lot of scrutiny. For the most part our offense has seemed a lot like the scheme we ran under Gary Tranquil. One difference however is how little we are throwing at our Tight Ends. In part we have been using them as blockers, but as teams plan for that, counter and passing opportunities should open up. You would think the guy who coached that group the past three years would do more with them. Maybe we will see that in the second half of the season.

Three Simple Keys
1. Run after the catch. Getting the ball to Swigert in space worked against Clemson. I would like to see more crossing routes in this game with the hope of breaking a big play again.
2. Stopping the edge rushers. Our tackles struggled with Clemson's speed on the outside. I expect Virginia Tech to attempt the same. We will need the TEs and RBs to help out and give Rettig a little more time.
3. Don't allow big plays in special teams. Spaz is right on one account, we have very little margin for error. We cannot allow them to Beamer ball us.

Gambling Notes
-- Spaz is 0-2 against the spread when facing Virginia Tech
-- BC is 3-5 all time in Lane Stadium
-- Since this series moved to the ACC, BC is only averaging 14.5 points per game against the Hokies
The current line is BC+21

Although we've played VMI, a Marine team from Quantico and William & Mary, UVA, Richmond and Virginia Tech are the only programs BC has played in the state of Virginia.

Scoreboard Watching
I'll be watching Maryland and Florida State. Both are inconsistent and in our near future. If the game is lopsided in favor of one team, it will give me hope that we can still upset the loser.

I hope to see...
BC play as if we have a chance the whole game. Because things are so bad we probably haven't harped on Spaz's "giving up" down two scores at Clemson. If we are down two scores in this game, I want to see a no huddle offense! At least try!

BC is in trouble if…
Virginia Tech gets up early. Simple, sad and true. Comebacks are hard in any circumstance. Harder against the Hokies. They are impossible when your coach won't adjust his gameplan.

Bottom Line
I predicted a BC loss for the first time last game. It didn't feel good. But once again I don't see us winning this game. I think the guys will have a better start but won't convert in the redzone. I fear we will force some things and they might get a pick-6 or two. I don't think the final score will be close.
Final Score: Virginia Tech 35, BC 9

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Basketball Previews: Meet Dennis Clifford

Steve Donahue said that when he first saw Dennis Clifford, he thought to himself: "he could be a really good Ivy League player." When you are the coach at Cornell that's a great endorsement. When you are the coach at BC, that's the ultimate backhanded compliment. Yet here we are, weeks away from the season and all everyone is talking about is Dennis Clifford. It could be that Donahue's first official BC recruit might turn out to be the biggest surprise. Clifford might turn out to be a really good ACC player. But before we get too far ahead, let's look at where he came from and where he might go.

One of the reasons Clifford didn't generate much high level interest was his level of competition. He played at Milton Academy and AAU ball with the Bay State Magic.

But you cannot teach nor hide height. He is a legitimate 7-footer. That was going to get attention eventually. Clifford is also a decent shooter and has good post moves.

Since Donahue's megaclass hit campus all the talk has been about Clifford. People have been surprised by his agility and how well he moves for a 7-footer. His skill set is stronger than expected. He can play inside and move outside to knock down shots.

But we've heard about plenty of Power Gym superstars before. Clifford is still raw and still untested against elite ACC bigmen. Even if he becomes a good ACC player, he won't be one in three weeks. He'll still be a tall, developing freshman.

The future
I expect Clifford to have an uneven freshman year. He'll have huge defensive assignments and if he shows any offensive skills, he will certainly be the other team's focus.

BC and Donahue obviously have faith in Clifford. They brought him to the ACC media day. We also don't have many bigs so he's going to get serious minutes this year. Who knows if he'll ever be more than a good ivy league player, but it should be fun to watch him develop.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Mizzou move good news for ACC and other links

While the ACC has come out stronger in the latest expansion shuffle, there was still the 14th SEC slot hanging out there waiting to be filled. If the ACC lost one of its teams to the SEC, it would have a ripple effect that would impact BC. Now it looks like Missouri is finally SEC bound. That should leave the ACC as is for at least another round of TV contracts. It also means no UConn and no Notre Dame in the ACC for now. I expect that once the SEC is officially done (for now), the revised ACC-ESPN TV deal will be announced.

Former Eagle Anthony DiCosmo is now a Vice President with Nickelodeon. Glad to see him doing well. I can't even imagine the hype that would have surrounded him had internet recruiting existed in the 1990s. He was a huge talent.

I see what Heights and Lows did here. They talk about our history with Virginia Tech and where it falls in the new conference and make a slightly passive suggestion that Pitt and VT should have a cross division game instead of BC. They use geography as an excuse. Why not just say it plainly: we don't want to play Virginia Tech every year! I am on board with that.

Monday, October 17, 2011

3 PM Kickoffs are the new thing and other links

BC's game with Maryland will be another 3 PM kickoff shown on a regional sports network (probably the same one that showed Clemson and Wake Forest). As I've said, I will take a hard to find, weirdly timed TV game over an internet game any day. The good news is that the "fifth" ACC game on a Saturday is now televised at all. Previously that had been the domain of I imagine this related to the ACC's relationship with ESPN. Whether these are now contracted to be aired (although they weren't aired last season) or ESPN is pressuring "ACC Network" affiliates to carry games, it is a win for BC. I think we'll see a few more 3 PM kickoffs before the season is over.

As BCI mentioned, we are underdogs against the Hokies again and haven't been that good against the spread when playing Beamer's guys.

We are at the bottom of the ACC power rankings.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Blogpoll Ballot

Although I have an SEC team No. 1, I actually think a team from another conference will win it all this year. Clemson is flawed but they showed major heart in coming back at Maryland. I also think Wisconsin is very good. I haven't seen enough of Stanford to say if they can do it too. As you can imagine...BC didn't receive any votes.

Games I watched
UVA vs Georgia Tech 75%
Clemson vs Maryland 75%
USC vs Cal 25%
Oregon vs Arizona State 25%
Michigan vs Michigan State 25%

SB Nation BlogPoll Top 25 College Football Rankings

Eagle in Atlanta Ballot - Week 8

Rank Team Delta
1 Alabama Crimson Tide Arrow_up 3
2 Wisconsin Badgers Arrow_up 3
3 Clemson Tigers Arrow_down -2
4 LSU Tigers Arrow_down -2
5 Oklahoma Sooners Arrow_up 1
6 Oklahoma St. Cowboys --
7 Boise St. Broncos Arrow_up 9
8 Kansas St. Wildcats --
9 Stanford Cardinal Arrow_down -2
10 Virginia Tech Hokies Arrow_up 2
11 Penn St. Nittany Lions Arrow_up 13
12 Illinois Fighting Illini Arrow_down -3
13 Michigan St. Spartans --
14 Michigan Wolverines Arrow_down -6
15 West Virginia Mountaineers Arrow_up 2
16 Oregon Ducks Arrow_down -1
17 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets Arrow_down -7
18 Nebraska Cornhuskers --
19 Louisiana Ragin Cajuns --
20 South Carolina Gamecocks Arrow_down -6
21 Arizona St. Sun Devils Arrow_down -1
22 Georgia Bulldogs --
23 Washington Huskies --
24 Wake Forest Demon Deacons Arrow_down -11
25 USC Trojans Arrow_down -3
Dropouts: Auburn Tigers, Houston Cougars, Rutgers Scarlet Knights, Arkansas Razorbacks, South Florida Bulls, Baylor Bears, Texas Longhorns

SB Nation BlogPoll College Football Top 25 Rankings »

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Bye week: your chance to comment on non-BC games

Sign No. 1 that I am getting old: I fell asleep watching BC's 4-2 loss to Denver. The good news was that they had a good crowd. The bad news was Conte was hot again and the ice was bad. The guys play UNH tonight.

Sign No. 2 that I am getting old: on BC's off week I am going to Disney on Ice. Before kids I would use BC's bye weeks to go to see other teams. Now I see princesses skating. But it will definitely be more fun than watching Spaz lose again.

I will watch the afternoon games and have a few comments later.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Blaudschun thinks 5-1 is the same as 1-5

For a guy who has written a bunch of garbage over the past month, Globe writer Mark Blaudschun outdid himself today. He looked back at four of BC's losses that had key turning points and spun that BC could be better than their current record. Now after showing where things went wrong, he reals it back a bit, but entertaining the idea is really laughable. I don't know if Blauds or anyone else at BC believes it, but they are hoping the fans and the rest of the college football world believes it. The problem isn't losing close games. The problem is playing close games. This was a similar issue when TOB was in charge so I think it speaks to an outdated philosophy that Spaz employs (maybe it is a George Welsh thing). In any sport -- but especially football -- you need to press your advantage and press your upside. If you play too close to the vest you invite inferior teams to steal games. So every time Spaz's wastes a possession or every time he huddles when down by a lot of points, he is hurting the team in a more direct way than any lousy recruiting class. But just to completely blow up the "bad bounce, one play" theory, let's look back at Spaz's career. What Blauds fails to recognize is that luck evens out over time.

2006 Meineke Car Care Bowl
-- Navy fumbles when they should be killing clock. BC recovers, kicks a field goal and avoids upset.

2009 Wake Forest
-- Wake fumbles two yards away from the goalline. BC wins after blowing a double-digit lead.

2009 Florida State
-- Tied at 21, Greg Reid drops an easy INT from Dave Shinskie in BC territory. BC keeps driving and a few plays later Montel Harris breaks away from the game winning TD.

2009 Virginia
-- UVA is called for pass interference in the endzone late in the fourth. BC scores on the drive and holds on to win 14-10.

2009 Maryland
-- After leading all game, BC allows Maryland to score a late TD. The Terps attempt the onside with 1:30 left. BC recovers and wins.

2010 Clemson
-- Donnie Fletcher intercepts Kyle Parker at the BC 9 yard line early in the fourth quarter. BC holds on to win by six.

2010 Duke
-- BC allows Duke to move the ball down the field and holds off a goal line rush with seconds left on the clock.

A lot of things happen over the course of a career, but Spaz is 17-16 as a head coach at BC. No more, no less. Those wins are his and so are those losses.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Ice Jam is back and other links

When the inaugural Ice Jam was announced, no one knew what to make of it. Take a dash of hockey, include a little hoops, throw in some Vanilla Ice and ask Bob Costas to host. It could have been a disaster, but turned into a great, positive event. The second annual Jam will take place October 27. No announcements have been made regarding the entertainers invited to participate this year. But once you've seen Ice and Costas everything else pales in comparison.

Kuechly keeps moving up the NFL raft boards. For BC's sake I would love him to stay, but it doesn't make sense if you are a first rounder.

Here is more on our newest recruit Joe Rohan.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

New hoops recruit and other links

2012 prospect Joe Rahon committed to BC and Steve Donahue. Rahon fits into Donahue's developing template as he is from California, has some mid-major offers and is a shooter. Because the 2011 class was so big, Donahue can be somewhat selective with this class. I expect a few more verbals especially once the staff has a better understanding of what their new players are lacking.

This article captures the young dynamic of this year's BC basketball team. I know they haven't played a game yet, but I am excited for their potential. I expect us to struggle in November and December but think we will be competitive in the second part of the season. Eric Hoffses also had a good article on this year's team.

Steve Donahue is onboard with the expanded ACC. But when he talks about the "talk" regarding the Big East in Boston, I can't think is giving too much weight to the Globe's work. I really don't think the average Bostonian sports fan thinks twice about Big East basketball.

One of TOB's Massachusetts recruits just decommitted from NC State and is in talks with BC. Doyle is saying that he wants to play QB at the next level. At this point I think BC can slow play him until signing day and see how the class fills out.

BC is already targeting 2013 recruits, including New Jersey linebacker Buddy Brown.

Gene still Gene even when apologizing

Call it a back track. Call it a retraction. Call it falling on the sword. Whatever the situation, Gene publicly apologized for speaking out of turn regarding ESPN's role in the ACC expansion.

Yet, Gene couldn't leave well enough alone with just a simple apology and misunderstanding of a quote taken out of context. No, he had to make it about him and stir up the BC-UConn stuff again.

"...while I harbor some ill feelings toward the University of Connecticut regarding the lawsuit, depositions and derogatory comments from UConn officials when we announced our decision to join the ACC, it was inappropriate to express personal feelings that might have been construed as the position of Boston College or the Atlantic Coast Conference."

Now this would slide with most BC fans if it wasn't part of a pattern. Too often Gene takes things that are personal and reacts without thinking of its impact on BC (see the Jags firing, the Spaz hiring, etc). He is an employee of BC, not BC sports himself. Plus it has been seven years since the Big East lawsuit. Don't you think it is time for Gene to let the UConn stuff go?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Hockey No. 1, tv news and other links

I never give hockey enough attention, so it is important to note that after a great opening weekend, they are now No. 1 in the national polls.

The Virginia Tech game will be a 3 PM ET start on a regional network. Most likely which ever station carried the Clemson game in your market.

The Coaches Hot Seat blog has a long section on BC yet most of it is directed at Gene. They even included an AD's hot seat in honor of our AD (of course Gene is only No. 2 there).

Bruce Feldman calls our season one of the most disappointing. It is a relief to read the national guys calling this season what it is. My fear was that most would just dismiss it as "a fluke under such a great defensive mind in Spaz."

Future Eagle Akeel Lynch had a great weekend. As did NJ commit Dan Crimmins.

Great post here from Heights and Lows on how BC gave up at Clemson. The best line on our rolling over -- "it also was the moment the ass-kicking went from 'perceived' to 'consensual.'"

Other ACC bloggers are shooting holes right through Blaudschun's ACC-Big East article.

Even HD hedging a bit on the Spaz excuse train. She realizes that there are bigger issues and that the fans are unhappy.

Connecticut prospect A.J. Zuttah is hoping for a BC offer.

Interesting post on how style of play is important in marketing college programs in pro cities.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Gene's Big East ESPN comment is snowballing

Mark Blaudschun wrote another love letter to the Big East this weekend. His premise -- that the ACC's expansion was all about basketball -- was pretty flimsy. So flimsy that Gene had no problem going on record to refute it. The only problem was that in refuting one theory, Gene sparked an entirely different controversy. Here is the quote:
"We always keep our television partners close to us," he said. “You don’t get extra money for basketball. It’s 85 percent football money. TV - ESPN - is the one who told us what to do. This was football; it had nothing to do with basketball."

The "ESPN told us what to do" line has sent conspiracy theorists over the edge. Everyone knows ESPN is the bully and power behind college sports, but very few will say it. Now Gene has. In addition to the Big East fans and administrators going nuts, he's also pissed off other schools within the ACC. Of course no one at ESPN Headquarters is too happy with him either.

The people loving it though are the media. CBS, Deadspin, The New York Times, The Daily News, The Big Lead, and Business Journals have jumped on the story. I expect a few more news outlets will join the story soon. ESPN is obviously silent.

Unless this becomes a legal issue -- and you never know when UConn is involved -- I don't see this creating any real pain for BC, Gene, the ACC or ESPN. But he has made himself a target of criticism and ridicule again. BC doesn't need that and he doesn't need that. If our losses keep piling up, look for many to take glee in his failings. I guess my only hope from this is that more checks are put in place to balance out Gene's power regarding the direction of our athletic department.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Second viewing thoughts and grade report: Clemson

Watching a game back after being there in person is probably the best of both worlds. I get to hear things I didn't in the stadium and get to see angles that you can't from the corner endzone. But most telling though is seeing the players in person. These guys are capable enough to be better than 1-5 and are certainly playing hard. Watching this back confirmed that they are not well coached. As for the game, there were some good moments. Just not enough of them. You see flashes of potential from many but we don't play with enough consistency yet.

Offense: D+

Rettig started off a little rough. He missed a wide open Swigert with an errant pass. He also threw the ball away too early. The fumble wasn't his fault but he's got to be more aware about the short widow to get the play off. Yet despite the bad start he never seemed rattled. He made some really nice throws. Other than the INT, I don't think he forced things. If anything we need to pass more if we ever hope to win.

No Harris, no Williams, no problems. Finch looked good. He got some tough yards and he also hits the gaps well. I think he'll be pretty good as our lead back. Kimble didn't break a big one, but looked good too. I also like him catching the ball...which made him motioning out to a WR position more credible.

Swigert had a career day. What was most encouraging is that he got some space and was actually able to get yards after the catch. Larmond made some tough catches, but like last week, I felt he sort of gave up on their INT. He's got to adjust and at least fight for the ball. Donte Elliott finally caught a pass. Anderson dropped one and also had a few issues blocking. Pantale wasn't even thrown to.

Cleary's had a pretty good year until this game. He had real trouble with their speed rushers. He was better in the run blocking. Ian White had his best game in weeks, but also made a boneheaded hands to the face play that cost us a TD. Spinney played well. Vardaro was better and pretty good in run blocking. Wetzel was okay, but like Cleary, he had some issues with their speed on the edge.

How do you expect to beat an uptempo high scoring team only throwing the ball 20 times (23 if you count the sacks)? We were just way too conservative. Plus I think with Swigert and Larmond making some tough catches and adding Kimble into the mix, I think we can be a passing team. But restricting attempts is not going to get it done. I have nothing against Brock so far, but his play calling is looking very much like Tranquill.

Defense: C

Quinn hustles, but didn't really change the game or make a big impact. Appiah played much better. Mihalik was a nice surprise and closed well. Ricci played a little. Holloway and Edebali started but saw their snaps decrease a bit. Both were fine.

I know that Kuechly is a great player, but right now he is not playing to his own usual high standards. He admitted he missed an assignment on their big 4th down conversion. He also got beat in pass coverage. Divitto made some good plays rushing the passer but was so-so in pass coverage. KPL was better in pass coverage. Clancy got on the field a bit. The big surprise was Duggan. He's covering a lot of ground and looking good. Josh Keyes also got serious playing time and acquitted himself well.

Jim Noel had a really good game. He made some nice tackles and covered a lot of space. His fellow DBs did not. Fletcher got burned on their deep go route. He had position and couldn't win the one on one battle. He also had some missed tackles. Not his best season so far. I have to imagine he's not 100%. Sylvia is real hit or miss. He makes some great heads up plays and other times has me shaking my head. Early on he was slow in picking up guys in his zone. He also had another play where he took out his teammate instead of the opponent. But then he made some good moves as the game wore on. Rositano wasn't as active. Williams was okay. ALJ is getting better but wasn't as active or near the action as past games.

After getting picked apart early, I actually liked BC's adjustments. We started subbing in more guys. We also started bringing pressure including a nice blitz from Noel. The team also seemed ready for Clemson's various gimmicks. The biggest issue was not stopping enough drives when they had big plays. We were decent on third down and obviously slowed them in the redzone. It just wasn't enough. Oh, and I am tired of the passes to the flats going uncontested.

Special Teams: B
If we want to discuss silver linings or bright spots, I think it is now safe to say the Kimble-Evans kick return combo is our best since Jeff Smith's freshman year. Both show good speed and the ability to make miss. They also seem to find soft spots. I think we are getting close to breaking one.

Collectively there was good blocking on the returns. Clancy had a great one on Evans' longest.

Swigert hasn't been as explosive, but made good decisions and is willing to return borderline fair catch situations.

Quigley was solid.

Overall: D+

Clemson has more talent and played better. Normally that wouldn't frustrate me or earn a terrible grade. But what upset me was our approach after getting the ball down 29-14. We didn't even attempt any sort of hurry up or no huddle. I am sure Spaz could rationalize the move by saying our offense needs to master the normal situations before going no huddle, but it basically amounted to surrender. If we had any hope of winning, we were going to need time. Those are the sorts of decisions that Spaz cannot blame anyone else for. It is a mentality and approach that is just plain sad for any school. It is really sad when it is your team.

BC is getting better. The young guys are starting to make some plays. Now we just need a leader who can get them to play winning football.

I don't think Gene appreciates the give and take of Twitter

If you are an Athletic Director and your team is headed towards its first losing season in 13 years and your controversial, handpicked coach is floundering, you might want to keep a low profile. Or if you are Gene DeFilippo you can use your new twitter account to take a passive aggressive jab at your own fans by mentioning one of their hot buttons.

Here is what Gene said via Twitter during the Clemson pregame.

@BCGeneD Gene DeFilippo
Very impressive to see ALL Clemson fans in their seats 10 minutes before kickoff, in time for the National Anthem.

It didn't take long for the BC fanbase to retort. Highlights include:

@amartin1004 Adam Martin
@BCGeneD BC fans would be too if they'd had 7 hrs to tailgate first like clemson fans.

@BCHysteria A.J Black
@TheSeanMcMahon I was kind of numb to this whole game. Now I am just pissed off because of our passive aggressive AD. Thanks @BCgened

@sleepkins Garv
#FireGDF RT @BCGeneD Very impressive to see ALL Clemson fans in their seats 10 minutes before kickoff, in time for the National Anthem.

@SaturdaysOnShea Saturdays on Shea
Disappointed by @BCGeneD 's earlier tweet about Clemson fans. Seems like a backhanded comment at BC fans @BCHysteria @BCMike22 #WeWereBC

@EdzoRyan Ed Ryan
Just stop it. RT @BCGeneD Very impressive to see ALL Clemson fans in their seats 10 minutes before kickoff, in time for the National Anthem.

@steve_acampa Steve Acampa
how not to connect with your fans RT “@BCGeneD: Very impressive to see ALL Clemson fans in their seats 10 minutes before kickoff

@runhappy625 Kelly
When we were good, wasn't a prob! RT @BCGeneD: Very impressive to see ALL Clemson fans in their seats 10 minutes before kickoff"

@Salvuccim Michael Salvucci
@BCGeneD maybe if you put a competitive football team on the field for your fans they'd do the same? #BCFootball #firespaz

@GoanEmcee Goan Emcee
@BCGeneD Very impressive to see ALL Clemson fans support a competent coach who leads a team to more than one win. #firespaz

@ChrisFollett Christopher Follett
BCPD should teargas tailgaters at kickoff. RT @BCGeneD Very impressive to see ALL Clemson fans in their seats 10 minutes before kickoff.

@ADavo10 Adam Davison
@BCGeneD they are in their seats because Clemson is fun to watch. BC slowly kills fan interest one handoff at a time #FireSpaz

@sullidop Stephen Sullivan
@BCGeneD understandable, they're excited to have a top 10 team

@SoaringtoGlory Soaring to Glory
Our AD is bashing his own fans and the FB coach is burning the program to the ground...yeah BC!

@mandylizz Amanda
Way to continue being a hypocritical douche, DeFilippo

I am sure Gene will delicately defuse this situation by tweeting on Donor Based Seating, Men's Lacrosse and of course extending Spaz's contract.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

No moral victories in Death Valley

Finally back from Clemson. My biggest takeaway from being there in person is how much these guys want to win and play better. The sideline celebration after our first score was like we had clinched the ACC Championship. The players are looking for anything positive. But it wasn't to be. Rettig was shaky early and once he settled down the line didn't do him any favors. I thought our game plan was way too conservative given the circumstances.

I'll have grades and second viewing thoughts up late Sunday. I may have an anti-Spaz post before then.

In-game comments post: Clemson

Death Valley has produced two of my favorite BC memories: our OT win in 2005 and clinching the Atlantic in 2007. It also was host to the lightning delayed Spaz-Tranq offensive disaster in 2009. Let's hope today adds to the fond memory category. I will be there in person rooting on the players and ready to boo Spaz. You can find me in Section V, so certainly stop by and introduce yourself. For those watching at home, please leave your thoughts and comments below.

You can follow me during the game on Twitter.

When all else fails, turn to BC Hockey

The hockey team began its season on the right note by beating Michigan State 5-2. BC will face North Dakota in the next round of the Ice Breaker Tournament.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Game Watches: BC vs Clemson

Maybe we should rename these "local alumni events where a BC game might be on in the background." At this point watching these games is not that fun, but at least you can commiserate with people who share your pain. Also for those in D.C. please note that the guys there are rallying to restart the game watches. When it happens we will let you know.

Austin Game Watch
The Upper Decks
301 Barton Springs Road

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

Blame game

Gene is now in full on blame mode and lowering expectations. He says everyone but Virginia Tech has an off year and although he is not quoted directly, I imagine someone from BC provide the Globe with the line of thinking that Jags' recruiting is the issue. We will hear this more and more in the coming weeks. But like the gambling scandal long ago, blaming someone else and using past coaches for current issues is lame. If you hear anyone say this season is not Spaz's responsibility ask the following questions:

1. Is Spaz doing a good job with the talent he has?
2. Are Spaz's gameplans maximizing our talent and our chance to win?
3. Is Spaz managing his staff well, specifically at Offensive Coordinator and offensive line?
4. Do you think BC should beat fellow private schools like Northwestern, Duke and Wake Forest at home?

Then if the Spaz apologists continue with the talent/recruiting issue ask these simple questions:
1. If Jags recruiting was an issue, why do we still have the same recruiting coordinator?
2. Are you satisfied with Spaz's recruiting efforts and trends?

Finally the simple question for anyone still defending this mess:
1. Do you think Spaz will lead us back to an ACC championship?

Things are bad and there are several people and things to blame for our current situation. But we could go a long way towards fixing many of the problems with the right head coach. Spaz is not that guy.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

BC-Clemson preview

For the first time since I've been blogging, I really don't feel like BC can win this game. We've been underdogs many times, but there was always a part of me that felt "if X happens and Y can do this, and they screw up..." Not this time. For an underdog to have a chance you need a coach who believes and designs a gameplan that can exploit the other team. I don't see it this week, especially without Montel Harris.

Overlooked storyline for the game: the midseason replacement
Although some are calling for it, I don't expect Spaz to get fired midseason. If BC makes a change, it shouldn't be until after the season is over. If you want an example of why you don't make a change midseason, you need only to look across the field. Dabo Swinney was an interim who did well enough to keep the job. While that seems like a great thing now, I feel like Clemson would have been better served to follow a process and look beyond Tommy Bowden's staff. (And even though things are humming now, I don't think Dabo is a great coach who will deliver every year.)

Three Simple Keys
1. Play fast. This might be totally counter intuitive given that Clemson wants to play uptempo, but I think if we came out in a shotgun, no huddle offense, it would surprise them, put Rettig in a rhythm and take pressure off of our OL.
2. Make Boyd run. Is anyone else sick of watching teams kill us with bubble screens? Let's press a little in coverage and rush the passer. I know he can run, but I think that is less dangerous than getting picked apart again.
3. Get the ball to Kimble and Finch in space. We cannot consistently execute a screen pass, but I still think we should get the ball to Kimble and Finch in the passing game. Both have the chance to break something.

Gambling Notes
-- Spaz is 4-4 in ACC road games
-- BC is 2-3-1 in Clemson all time
-- Clemson hasn't started a season 6-0 since 2000
The current line is BC+21

Current Clemson Offensive Coordinator Chad Morris was visited by Jeff Jagodzinski when Morris was still coaching high school football in Texas.

Scoreboard Watching
Central Michigan at NC State. NC State might be our last chance at win No. 2. Let's see if they play down to their MAC opponent. If they struggle, it might provide BC with a little hope.

I hope to see...
BC keep Clemson out of the endzone. Like 2009, I think this might be one of those games where they attempt a lot of field goals.

BC is in trouble if…
Clemson scores in the 30s. Even if Spaz agrees with me and we go uptempo, I don't think we can score more than 28.

Bottom Line
I want to win. I want to win in the worst way. I know the danger in a strong second half is that we might not fire Spaz, but that doesn't matter to me at this point. These games have become painful and dull. It would be nice to have BC feel real again for a game or two. As much as I hope though, I don't see it. I think Clemson runs away with this game.
Final Score: Clemson 42, BC 10

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Montel Harris out for Clemson

Per the Globe:

"Montel had an MRI and he had a little swelling so we are shutting him down," said Spaziani. "They just did the MRI. I haven't had time to discuss with Montel, but he isn't playing this week and next week we have off."

I don't know what Montel wants, but I hope he shuts it down for the season. He can still get a medical redshirt and comeback for his fifth year.

Round up of growing Spaz criticism from national outlets

The national guys are starting to weigh in with Spaz comments. Some are more critical than others and some deflect blame from Spaz to Jags or Gene. In the end though I think Spaz will be judged by his record and how the team responds in the second half of the season. Of course the best line of the week was from SBNation as they quoted an exchange between two BC fans on BCI.

SBNation's Exchange of the Week:

SoaringToGlory: Never in my wildest dreams did I think we’d be flirting with a 2-win season.

CSOM_97: FLIRTING? We are whoring ourselves out on a cheap crack-infested strip in a bad part of Detroit on the off chance Richard Gere happens by with our second win

SoaringToGlory: Please tell me no gerbils will be harmed in the making of this football season. That would be the last straw.

Pat Forde's Forde Yard Dash:

Coach who should take the bus to work
Frank Spaziani (38), Boston College. Spaz was dealt a bad hand when running back and preseason ACC Offensive Player of the Year Montel Harris got hurt and missed the first three games. But still, the offensive ineptitude in Chestnut Hill has been sobering.

In Spaziani's first year as head coach, the Eagles averaged 24.8 points per game and went 8-5. Last year the scoring dipped to 18.5 points and the record to 7-6. This year BC is 1-4 and averaging 20.6 points -- but just 14.5 against FBS competition. And after playing four at home in the first five, the next three are on the road.

ACC Journal:

There Are No Winners In The BC-TOB Divorce

Pre-snap Read:
This season is turning into a disaster for Spaziani and Boston College. Just through the first week of October, the Eagles have lost to Duke for the first time since 1927 and at home to Wake Forest for the first time since 2003. And before that, B.C. was absolutely manhandled by a U.C.F. team that went on, after that victory, to lose to F.I.U. and B.Y.U. in consecutive weeks. This isn’t the Titanic. It’s not the Poseidon Adventure. Boston College’s season is going down like the Andrea Doria: it’s not like no one thought the Eagles were unsinkable, but few thought things would go so foul, so fast. Someone will be held responsible; Spaziani will be the fall guy, and I won’t argue that it shouldn’t happen.

The Alphabetical:

Q is for Quaeritur. Latin for "the question is asked," as in "who was the last ACC team to lose to both Wake Forest and Duke in one season?" Boston College, the double-barreled shotgun of eastern seaboard football failure just went off in your mouth, because you are the answer thanks to a 27-19 loss to Wake this past Saturday. We remind everyone that Boston College fired a perfectly good coach because he went on a job interview, and deserves all of this.

Yahoo! Sports:

FRANK SPAZIANI. Boston College fans seem like a basically patient, reasonable lot, especially when it comes to a guy who helped bring the program back from the brink in the wake of an epic gambling scandal in the mid-nineties. But the two most high-profile B.C. blogs on the web were unequivocal after Saturday's 27-19 loss to Wake Forest: It's time to fire Frank Spaziani as head coach. Like, yesterday.
With the loss, the Eagles fall to 1-4 — the one win coming against an FCS patsy, UMass — and have now lost home games to Northwestern, Duke and Wake Forest in a span of a little less than a month. Of course, that was supposed to be the easy part of the schedule. From here, forget extending the 12-year bowl streak: If they can't beat similarly flailing N.C. State on Nov. 12, they're spiraling fast toward 1-11.

Stewart Mandel:

And while I'm not sure whether to blame coach or athletic director for this one, Gene DiFilippo's well-intentioned but risky decision to fire Jeff Jagodzinski in January 2009 when he interviewed for an NFL job is costing Boston College dearly today. While Frank Spaziani is the easy target to blame for the Eagles' downward spiral (they're 1-4 so far this year), a team can't go through three coaches in four years and not have it affect recruiting.

Guest Blogger: Chili from DannyFordisGod

Clemson blog Dannyfordisgod a.k.a Block C shuttered its doors this year as its founders were off doing other real life things. Of course once they did, Clemson seems to have finally turned the corner. To get a better idea of what's working with the Tigers and what BC can expect, I asked Chili from the blog a few questions. His answers are below.

1. Everyone makes a point about Chad Morris's offense being uptempo and the new playmakers, but is that all there is to the change? In your opinion what are some of the factors in the transformation that are being overlooked?

Chili: The change in the offense has really been pretty thoroughly discussed. What isn’t covered as much is the effect this offensive success has on the defense and therefore the team as a whole. The offense is higher tempo, but even though they are more upbeat than last year they still manage to stay on the field longer than last year’s version, freeing up the defense a little. Last year our defense was outstanding but got really worn down because the offense could never give them any time to rest. There is a much greater balance this year, it seems.

2. Clemson is still allowing a decent amount of yardage per game. Is the defense not as strong as past years or if the uptempo pace impacting the defensive stats?

Chili: There’s been a slight defensive dropoff with the loss of Da’Quan Bowers and some other key players. Clemson is a very young team across the board, and it is taking the youngsters on the defensive side of the ball longer to adjust to the pace than it is for the offensive guys. The defense has given up some big “chunk” plays, but has been remarkable in the second half of games this year, allowing only one touchdown in the second half so far this season.

3. From the outside Dabo always seemed goofy and in over his head to me. You memorably mocked him on the blog. Now he's got the college football world by the tail. Is he an overlooked genius that is finally getting his due or was he just saved by a good OC hire? Where is Dabo in three years? If Chad Morris gets a head job next year, is Dabo back on the hot seat?

Chili: Dabo is an extremely emotional coach. When he’s losing, it’s easy to paint him as an excitable simpleton with more emotion and slogans than solutions. When he’s winning, it’s easy to see him as a fiery competitor who was smart enough to make the right hires around him to keep his job. Dabo was one of the best recruiters at Clemson and was many players’ favorite position coach, so he’s got some skill at coaching. I don’t think any of us have enough info on Swinney to make a real assessment of his skillset just yet, but it was his decision to hire Morris while many people (myself included) thought it crazy that he wouldn’t even interview Ralph Friedgen. Credit is due there, for sure. I think Clemson will lock in Morris for at least another year or so, but he’ll be gone eventually. I look at what happened to Clemson under Tommy Bowden after Rich Rodriguez left and hope that Clemson learns from that period of dropoff. With the way this season is going and how recruiting continues to roll along, I think Dabo probably bought himself some time off the hot seat.

4. What is your prediction for the game?

Chili: I think Clemson should win this one going away. 40-21 or somewhere thereabouts.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Two takes on the Spaz situation

The divide on Spaz will soon be the public narrative whenever BC takes the field. Every week at least one writer will take him down, while another provides some sort of cover. You saw it Monday with different takes from the student paper and local paper.

The first is Paul Sulzer of The Heights:

BC is still paying for the mistake of hiring an unqualified head coach. The Eagles are one of four BCS conference teams without a win over a Division 1 team. They might be touchdown-plus underdogs against all but two of their remaining opponents (Maryland and NC State). Their current recruiting class ranks outside the top 50, according to Rivals.

If the cupboard was bare before, it's about to become barren.

The second is from Eric Avidon of the Patriot-Ledger:

Spaziani has a pedigree, developing superb defenses for years as a coordinator at BC under Tom O’Brien and Jeff Jagozinski – the coaches whose sudden departures damaged two of BC’s recent recruiting classes, players who would now be in their third and fifth years in the program, respectively.

Now because one is a BC student and one is a professional, you might say that one is more informed or appropriately dispassionate. I would disagree. What is poor professional form is taking the depth argument at face value and not digging deeper.

Spaz could have veteran talent if he and his staff had managed things a little differently. There was no more obvious a reminder than Saturday when the Raycom broadcast flashed back to the end of the 2009 BC-Wake Forest game. In the winning play freshman Isaac Johnson knocks the ball lose and it is covered by Junior Wes Davis and freshman Alex DiSanzo. Now DiSanzo and Johnson were contributors as freshmen and on the field in the most important play of the game. Yet neither are with the program now when they would be Juniors. Spaz apologists will say that neither were good guys and didn't belong at BC. Johnson was from Everett and DiSanzo was from Don Bosco. Aren't those the type of guys BC has thrived with over the past 15 years? When does Spaz and his staff get the blame for not finding a place for those guys and keeping them as part of the program?