Saturday, September 29, 2012

Running into a wall...on purpose

Clemson is better than BC. If you win by 14 on the road and take a knee instead of going for another score, you deserve the win. Yet Clemson did not play that well. We could have won this game, but our inability to make a stop on defense, some very conservative play calling and bad punting cost BC any chance of pulling off the upset. Hats off to Alex Amidon who is really playing well.

I will post second viewing thoughts and grades late Sunday night.

In-game comments post: Clemson

The Clemson games have generated some of the most memorable in-game posts, whether in victory or defeat. Let's hope this is a special day and the team bounces back from our rough start. Leave your thoughts and comments below.

You can also follow me on twitter.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Game Watches: BC vs Clemson

Although this game will have national coverage, it can always be fun to watch with your fellow Eagles. If your chapter is hosting a watch and it is not listed, post a comment or send me an email.

Atlanta Game Watch

Hudson Grille
4046 Peachtree

Chicago Game Watch 
Tripoli Tap 1147
West Armitage Avenue
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 477-4400

Dallas Game Watch 
Christies Sports Bar
2811 McKinney Avenue
Dallas, TX 75204-8567
(214) 954-1511 

New York City Game Watch
Joshua Tree (on 3rd Avenue btw 34th and 35th Streets)

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

San Diego Game Watch
The Beer Company
602 Broadway
San Diego, CA 92101

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

Washington, DC Game Watch
Irish Whiskey Public House (formerly Porter's)
1207 19th Street, NW Washington, DC

ICYMI: links from the week

Clemson's biggest playmaker Sammy Watkins will miss Saturday's game with a virus. That has shifted the point spread a bit. Also, it looks like Bobby Swigert will make his season debut.

As you may have read, one of Hockey's top incoming players Frank Vatrano is no longer enrolled at BC. It was not a BC issue, but an NCAA clearing house issue. What's interesting is that he is working to keep his college eligibility even though he is no longer a student.

Controversial Connecticut WR David Coggins is no longer committed to BC. This is probably best for everyone as you never know what the NCAA might say about his future eligibility.

Soaring to Glory's hockey previews continued with their look at Kevin Hayes.

Volleyball beat UVA Thursday.

More evidence that Matt Ryan is a better pro QB than people realize.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

This is cool

Some of you may have seen this on Facebook, but more need to watch. I know that they've played together before, but it never gets old.

BC-Clemson preview

Last season's Clemson preview was the first time I ever predicted a BC loss in a game preview. I didn't trust Spaz and thought the team was demoralized. Surprisingly the team played hard in Death Valley, but it was Spaz who played not to win. When we were down in 29-14 in the second half and he still had us eating clock instead of trying to score quickly. This year I expect Spaz to shorten the game again, but I think we are much more dangerous in that scenario than we were last season.

Hot Seat Thermometer
This is Gene's final home game as Athletic Director. Describing Gene and Spaz's unique relationship would be difficult but one thing can be said without bias: "Spaz got the Head Coaching job because of Gene." No other program or AD ever came calling for Spaz as a head coach. BC's new AD is likely to share the view on Spaz held by the rest of the Athletic Department and football world and not the view held by the outgoing BC AD.
Temperature: Even though the weather is supposed to be bad this weekend, it will feel like Indian Summer for Spaz.

Overlooked Storyline: Clemson has a lot to play for
The main storyline this week is about Clemson's potential hangover after losing to Florida State. The narrative asks if they can bounce back. Overlooked in that discussion is that Clemson still has a lot to play for this season and need to beat BC because of what's still at stake. They cannot afford a loss to us if they hope to catch Florida State and a loss to us would end any potential at-large BCS bids.

Three Simple Keys
1. Keep them out of the endzone. Watching the Northwestern game was painful, but that model is the only way to beat Clemson. I imagine we will play way off all game and just hope to tackle what's in front of us.
2. Score early. The only way BC is going to dictate pace is with an early score. We won't win a shootout.
3. Get pressure with the front four. We haven't done it yet, but that is the key to the game. Boyd can run. We need to get him before he turns broken plays into big gains.

Gambling Notes
-- Spaz lost his first two ACC games of the 2010 and 2011 seasons
-- Spaz is 0-6 against ranked teams
-- The home team is 4-3 in ACC games between Clemson and BC

Spaz's record currently stands at 21-21. If he loses, his winning percentage will fall below .500 for the first time as head coach at BC.

Scoreboard Watching
I watched a good portion of the Miami-Georgia Tech game. The Hurricanes had a million chances to fold, but kept fighting. It will be interesting to see how they play against TOB. The game will also serve as a barometer of our chances against the Pack.

I hope to see...
No fumbles from our running backs. The running backs have not been perfect, but I think some have been unfairly scapegoated.

BC is in trouble if...
Clemson scores a touchdown on the opening drive. The paces and the tone of the game need to be established early.

Bottom Line
Once again my rationale thought process is being overcome by my desire to see BC win. I've been talking myself into it all week. I just think Spaz will pack it in and force Clemson to make mistakes. I think Rettig will move the ball on them and put up some points. I think it will come down to a few fluky plays and BC steals it.
Final Score: BC 24, Clemson 19

Do all ADs leave BC a better place than they found it?

Whenever anyone writes or talks about Gene's tenure (myself included) they always include some sort of caveat that "BC Athletics is in a better place than he found it" or some similar sentiment. Since I was a student during the transition from Gladchuk to Defilippo, I have vivid memories of what it was like then and where things are now and thought it might be time to compare the transitions. Because of the progress of BC as a whole and the growth of college athletics, most BC ADs could say they left BC a better place than they found it.

Being an AD is highly political and involves two things people hold dear (money and sports). Unless an AD moves on before opinions change, he or she are going to step on enough toes to the point where everyone wants him or her gone. It happened with Gene and it happened with Gladchuk. To give people perspective on Gladchuk and his parallels to Defilippo, let me breakdown the major issues then and their relevancy now.

Gladchuk's major accomplishment was the renovation of Alumni. This was as big a facilities project as any Gene has done. Much of the momentum and fundraising was based off of Tom Coughlin's success, but it was still on Chet's watch. BC facilities were definitely in a better place after his tenure.

When Gladchuk tookover BC in 1990, the Big East was only a basketball conference. During his time, the Big East expanded multiple times and added football. The new conference earned a national TV deal on CBS and gave a boost to many of our non-revenue sports. It was still an awkward combination of schools, but BC was in a better more secure place than they were when he started.

Graduation Rate
BC won the College Football Association's Academic Achievement Award three times under Gladchuk. If anything this speaks to a culture and emphasis on the student aspect of "student-athlete" that predates both Chet and Gene. Like Gene, Chet deserves credit for preserving this part of our culture, but I don't know if he or anyone can claim they made it better. It is a BC thing, not an AD thing.

Gladchuk was able to raise a lot of money and create new things for fans and alumni to sponsor or buy. However, like Gene, he stepped on some big donors' toes. (Once again, it is the nature of the job.) And like Gene, the fundraising aspect of his job is the only area where you could question if BC was better off. He raised previously unprecedented levels of money, but also burned enough bridges that the new guy had to come in and repair relationships.

Athletic Department Operations
Gene's defenders will tell you that he took over a Department in the dark ages when it came to how we promote, market, licenses or sell Boston College Athletics. The same could be said about Gladchuk. He was taking over for the revered Bill Flynn, who still did things in an old school fashion. BC was never ahead of the curve in this area, but Gladchuk left the school in a better place.

Gladchuk hired Tom Coughlin...and Dan Henning. He also screwed up the hockey program before lucking into York. In basketball, he inherited JOB and was ready to fire him, if not for some lobbying from alums and due to JOB's wife losing her battle with cancer. It was a mixed bag to say the least. Henning was really what did him in. When any AD is so closely tied to a bad football hire at a football school, it is going to generate a lot of criticism. TOB and Al Skinner both came in during Chet's last days, but he was not the main decision maker on either. He was a lame duck who wanted Randy Edsall. Sullivan and Leahy made the final decision on both coaches. Both turned out to be just what BC needed and led the school to success over the next decade. BC was in a better place, but it really wasn't Chet's doing.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

One bad unknown recruit doesn't spoil the whole roster

When BC picked up a commitment from another player off our radar, the Spaz critics came out in force. They fear that by loading up on lower-level talent, Spaz is leaving his replacement with huge roster issues. I don't think it will be a problem. While we will lack some depth and leadership, I think a new coach will look at the inherited roster as a chance to get his own players into his system that much faster. Regardless of how Spaz's final recruiting class comes together, there will be plenty of open scholarships in the next three years.

Here are some things to consider...

1. Spaz's first full class uses up their five years in time for the new coach's first full class. They were originally 21 scholarships. Because some played as true freshman, their churn will be up even faster. But 21 is still a close enough place holder for a baseline for the class. For purposes of this exercise, call the 21 spots Class 1 for the new coach.
2. Spaz's second full class was 23 scholarships. By the same churn rate, every player from this class should open up a recruiting slot in our new coach's second full class. For purposes of this exercise, call the 23 spots Class 2 for the new coach.
3. Spaz has underrecruited each year and backfilled with scholarships to walkons. Fortunately most of those walkons were and are upper classmen. Right now there are four scholarships that fall into this category. Those extra spots will probably be used in this transitional class, but even if they are spread out, that still provide plenty of flexibility for the new coach.
4. A coaching change will mean accelerated attrition. This number is less predictable put on average BC loses five players over the course of a football season to some sort of attrition (permanent injury, transfer out or kicked off of the team). Assuming we get to six annually for the first two years (because of the coaching change), that once again gives the new coach plenty of flexibility to shape his recruiting classes.
5. The NCAA allows for 85 scholarships for football and only 25 at most per recruiting class. 
6. According to the recruiting sites, BC plans on keeping this Transitional Class small and will only add a few more players. For purposes of this exercise, estimate it at 21 commitments.

Transitional Class: 21 commitments
Class 1: 21 commitments
Class 2: 23 commitments
Walkons graduating out of our system: 4
Estimated attrition over the first three seasons: 18

Even in the worst case scenario where our new coach comes in and dislikes nearly all of Spaz's incoming recruits, this one class won't be a long-term issue. And even if someone like Marquis Little is lacking ACC talent, he is just one player. At worst all of these recruits in the transitional class are just depth and warm bodies. By Year 3 more than half of the players on the roster will be the new coach's. If he's aggressive in his roster management, he could have as many as 50 players in his first two full classes. That's a lot of talent and a reminder of how quickly rosters can turn in college football.  

I know that the classes don't line up perfectly as they graduate but the point of this was to demonstrate how the rosters churn and anticipate the flexibility the new coach should have. We will be young in his third year, but we will be his team.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Don't boo Gene on Saturday

I hate telling fans what to do, but I want to be a bit preemptive with this post. We are in the final days of Gene Defilippo's tenure as AD, so I imagine BC will make note of it in some way on Saturday. While many frustrated and angry fans might want to voice their dislike one last time, the appropriate response is to clap or not do anything at all. Booing accomplishes nothing. He is being replaced. BC is headed in another direction. Gene's legacy is still to be determined, but even without knowing what happens next for the department, you have to credit Gene for always doing what he felt was right for BC. Booing sends the wrong message and is not who we are. Although many of the coaches he fired didn't get a clean good-bye, it is how things should be done. Let Gene leave knowing that most BC fans took the high road.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Hockey No. 1, depth chart and other links

USA Hockey released their Preseason Poll and the defending champs are still on top. BC, Minnesota and Michigan were the only teams to receive first place votes.

BC picked up another commitment when Connecticut Linebacker Marquis Little announced his decision over the weekend. We can't seem to get Massachusetts or New Jersey kids any more but are cleaning up in Connecticut and Ohio. I expect this recruiting class to change dramatically come December. Spaz will either be back and able to poach a few kids or a new coach will come in and try to keep most of the class.

Bobby Swigert is back on the depth chart. The only real surprise is Running Back David Dudeck breaking the chart ahead of Kimble.

Spaz was happy with the off week.

CBS still has BC at the bottom of their ACC Power Rankings.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Saturday practice and other links

Despite the bye week, there was still action in Alumni Saturday. The football team held a practice in preparation for Clemson. I am actually in favor of this. It is too early in the season to give the guys time off and we've seen this team struggle with the basics at times. An extra practice can't hurt. (Photo provided by Andrew C.)

Soaring to Glory will be unveiling their hockey preview in the coming weeks. Based on the thoroughness of their football previews, you should definitely check it out.

The ACC announced the kickoff time for BC's game with Clemson. It will be on ESPN2 at 3:30 Eastern.

Women's soccer beat Virginia Tech, while the men beat San Francisco.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Bye Week Scoreboard Watching

BC's not playing, but much of today's action impacts our season. Important games of note include:

  • Army at Wake Forest. Both teams are on our schedule and both are still considered potential wins. If Army hangs with Wake on the road, I fear they will give us a tough game at West Point.
  • Miami at Georgia Tech. Georgia Tech's offense has been clicking. If Miami can't slow them down, I fear how we will handle them.
  • Clemson at Florida State. We will be heavy underdogs to both, but Clemson is more pressing since they come to Alumni next week. If they pull off the upset, we could become their trap game. If they get crushed, I think they will want to take it out on us.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Father Himes's Homily and other links

While many of us spent last Saturday getting frustrated by the BC-Northwestern game, thousands of BC alumni and members of the BC community gathered for the Sesquicentennial Mass at Fenway Park. BC posted a video of Father Himes's homily. It is not sports related but definitely worth the watch for those know Father Himes or missed the celebration.

Steve Logan is now on Twitter. So far it is mostly promotional updates for his radio show, but he won't be able to keep his personality out of social media for long. He's already slipping in wine comments and critiques of ESPN.

Paul Myerberg -- the mainstream media writer who has been most critical of Spaz -- is moving to USA Today. Congratulations to him. He deserves the bigger platform.

Volleyball lost to Georgia Tech.

Field Hockey lost to Virginia.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

What the "Athletic Department background" aspect of the search tells us

We don't know who the new AD will be, but as I wrote yesterday, Leahy and Sullivan have made it pretty clear that it will be someone with experience in a college Athletic Department. Initially I hoped that BC would be more adventurous in their thinking, but understand why their path is taking them in this direction.

With Notre Dame coming into the ACC, the conference situation is secure. Notre Dame will also open up the media contract, but the ACC doesn't need a BC AD to negotiate or lead those deals. What we need now is a very good leader who can fix many of the problems facing BC athletics.

Many sports need new facilities, more attention from their high ranking AD officials and financial support. Leahy and Sullivan recognize this. By focusing on someone who has direct experience in a Athletic Department, they are shortening the adjustment period and learning curve. The new leader will still have to learn about BC, but not about how to run an Athletic Department nor navigate the NCAA's minefields. The new AD will be expected to make immediate impact, first in football and then throughout the department.

BC will also need a major athletic capital campaign, but that won't be approached in the first phase of the new AD's tenure. Leahy and Sullivan have made it clear there is immediate more work to be done repairing BC athletics.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Filling in the gaps around Blauds post on Sean Frazier

Early Wednesday Blauds posted an update predicting Sean Frazier would be BC's new Athletic Director. Of course he hedged his post with this quote at the end:
Which means that while I fully expect Sean Frazier to be the next BC AD, I will not be stunned if it is someone else.

I don't think Blauds knows for sure. From what I gather, the only people that truly know where BC is in the process are Father Leahy and Leo Sullivan. This is what I do know that Blauds either doesn't know or left out:

  • BC has a Board of Trustees meeting on September 28
  • Representatives of the Flynn Fund met with Sullivan and Leahy and both explained that they want a new AD in place soon, so that he or she can make a full evaluation of the football program. Even if someone is not named October 1, the process will not drag on much longer.
  • Leahy and Sullivan also told the Flynn Fund that the new AD will be from the Athletic Department world and have football experience. We won't be following the recent steps of Michigan, Notre Dame and USC by hiring a high-profile alum that doesn't have hands on Athletic Department experience. 

I don't know if it will be Frazier. He seems like a fine candidate and I will write more on him if and when he gets the job. But I do agree with Blauds that this process will be over soon.

One more thing...this is Sean Frazier's profile picture on Twitter:

Openings still available in Kevin Eidt Memorial Scholarship Golf Tournament

I've mentioned this event in the past, but wanted to remind the BC community that the annual Kevin Eidt Memorial Scholarship Golf Tourament is approaching.

This year's event will take place Sunday September 30 at Wayland Country Club. The golf outing is the primary funding source of an annual scholarship, currently worth $15,000 a year, in the CSOM Honors Program.

In addition to the usual golf fare and regular registration, this year the Eidt family and organizers have a BC/ND middle campus parking pass available by auction. More information is available on the golf outing specific site is: or they can contact Kevin's brother at:

Not so fast on the UConn-ND Fenway game and other links

As often happens when these rumors arise, they are quickly shot down. On Tuesday Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick called reports of a pending Fenway game inaccurate. But just because the Irish might not be interested or might not be able to schedule the game in 2014, doesn't mean that a similar game won't happen. BC needs to be involved in those discussions and find the right game and opponent to showcase the team and the Park.

Amidon's breakout season moved him onto the Biletnikoff watch list.

Nick Clancy's ultra-productive Saturday earned ACC honors.

Tabor's Tevin Montgomery is still interested in BC.

The Herald posted a feature on future Eagle Mackay Lowrie.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Notre Dame-UConn at Fenway!?! Red Sox have some explaining to do

Rumors are floating that Notre Dame might play UConn at Fenway in 2014. If this is true, our new conference brethren and our marketing arm owe BC a big explanation.

I've long been an advocate or playing a game at Fenway. As concerts and hockey games have shown, the gimmick of watching an event in Boston's most famous stadium creates an added demand and sense of excitement. A bowl game would be perfect, but a one-off regular season game would be as effective. BC, given our location, our history of playing at Fenway and our partnership with the Red Sox, should be the first college team to return to the historic park.

The other problem is allowing UConn and Notre Dame into our backyard. If the Irish play a game in Boston on years when they don't play BC, it lessons the demand of their future games at Alumni with BC. And UConn is doing anything it can to be relevant throughout New England. Gillette is not an option because of UMass, so it is not surprising they would try Fenway. We can't let them. Would Rutgers let them play in the Meadowlands?

I am sure BC doesn't want to play at Fenway because we would miss out on a home game. But I imagine the net revenue would be as good if not better at Fenway. Plus we could play there on a Thursday night without any local obstacles. But if BC really wants to protect our territory, we should finally push for a Fenway Bowl. That would satisfy the Red Sox, give us a close bowl game and keep our rivals out.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Talent: 2009 vs 2012

On Saturday Eagle Outsider posters questioned if any of our current starters would start for our 2007 or 2008 teams. To me that felt like an argument designed to make any BC team look bad. 2007 and 2008 were epic years when a variety of different factors (including talent) all came together. What I felt was a more reasonable comparison was Spaz's first year as head coach 2009.

The 2009 season had a millions reasons to fall apart but didn't. BC was coming off the confusing coaching change and the devastating news of Mark Herzlich's cancer. Plus all the quarterbacks on our roster were new to college football. Yet to Spaz's and the players' credit, that team did enough to win and made a bowl game. Since 2009 we've been on a decline and although talent is a factor, it is not the only issue. Just compare the talent of our current roster to 2009.

2009 Offense:
WR -- Justin Jarvis
WR -- Rich Gunnell
LT -- Anthony Castonzo
LG -- Emmett Cleary**
C -- Matt Tennant
RG -- Thomas Claiborne
RT -- Rich Lapham
TE -- Chris Pantale**
FB -- Lars Anderson
RB -- Montel Harris
QB -- Dave Shinskie

Which current players would start now? Rettig is starting over Shinskie now. Pantale would start if he were healthy. Cleary is already a starter (although at another position). Other than that, maybe Wetzel at Right Tackle. It might not be obvious, but I would start Amidon over Justin Jarvis. Amidon's current run is much better than Jarvis's best at BC.

The real drop off comes at the offensive line and at running back. But once again, that's Spaz's problem. He ran off Harris and has yet to find someone as reliable (in three years!). He also has not developed the OL well. Things may be getting better, but OL should never be a weakness for BC. I don't think Spaz ever appreciated our legacy at the position. If he did, he wouldn't have let their performance slip as far as it did.

2009 Defense:
DE -- Alex Albright
DT -- Austin Giles
DT -- Damik Scafe
DE -- Jim Ramella
SLB -- Mike Morrissey
MLB -- Mike McLaughlin
WLB -- Luke Kuechly
SS -- Marcellus Bowman
FS -- Wes Davis
FC -- DeLeon Gause
BC -- Roderick Rollins

Which current players would start now? Look at that unit above. Is it all that different from the group that just allowed Northwestern to run 100 plays on us? We miss Kuechly, but 2009 Kuechly wasn't 2011. I would also argue that Clancy and KPL would start over Morrissey and McLaughlin. The 2009 secondary is better at every position, but still not an all star squad. Although neither were ever all conference, Ramella's and Albright's consistency was much better than our current DEs. Scafe was very good, but I would say Ramsey and Appiah are as good if not better than Giles.

[Also note that current players Colin Larmond, Jim Noel, Mike Marscovetra, and Kaleb Ramsey were all on the two deep.]

I could go back to some other randoms years under TOB and also find a roster of similar talent. I don't think our 2012 team is filled with future NFL stars, but historically similar BC teams have won more. There are many factors in play, but head coaching is the biggest factor. When I say Spaz is not a good coach, it is not just about his terrible interviews or head scratching use of timeouts. It is also about how we approach recruiting, how we develop players, how he interacts with his staff, how we practice and how we prepare for games. I also think it is about passion and belief. The 2009 team overachieved in part because there was still a level of confidence and belief left over from the 2007 and 08 teams. That's gone now and we will need a new coach to change the attitude.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Second viewing thoughts and grade report: Northwestern

This was a terrible game to watch back. There were dozens of plays that could have turned the game in another direction. Wasted opportunity after wasted opportunity. If we are at home during bowl season, this will be a game that everyone looks back on as one of the reasons. Hopefully the coaches and players will use the bye week to regroup.

Offense: C-

I thought Rettig played better than he did against Maine. He made tight throws and did a good job looking beyond his first read. By my count he had nine throws that were either dropped or missed by his teammates. If just two of those are pulled in, Rettig is over 300 yards and we probably win the game. But it is not just throwing, he's also getting much better about buying time in the pocket. The one nitpick might be some of his deep balls. A few were overthrown or thrown out of bounds. But he was the reason this game was even close.

The running backs are getting much of the blame, but the problems weren't really on them (other than Finch).  In general this week, the holes weren't there. Kimble looked good and I think we need to use him more. If only as a outlet for Rettig on passing plays. Williams didn't do much but this week it wasn't about missing holes or waiting for blocks to develop. Finch couldn't get much going. The fumble was bad. At this point he needs to know to use two hands in traffic. I don't know why this is still an issue.

For me the most confusing part of this team is the offensive line. They've done a great job as a unit pass blocking. Running blocking is a different issue. Most of our runs were zones and the guys failed to get much of a push or to the second level. On a few occasions they did trap and pull and it wasn't successful. Individually Cleary was good, but needs to get better push running. White played well. He and Wetzel had great blocks on our fourth down play (it was our best run design of the day). Vardaro struggled. He was beat on pass plays a few times and struggled on some run plays too. Gallik was okay but had a terrible drive-killing snap and a bad penalty late.

Coleman is really coming along. His hands are improving as are his route. We need to get him the ball more. Elliot looked good. Evans was fine. Amidon made some nice plays and is cleary Rettig's primary target, but he's got to improve on the drops. The first drive should have ended in a TD and there were a few other plays that could have been made. He's clearly playing hard and carrying the offense nearly as much as Chase, but we have very little room for error and the drops are terrible.

We ran the ball 21 times and that felt like ten times too many. It wasn't anything complex. Just normal inside zone runs, but the holes weren't there and we killed drives. What I would like to see is Kimble and Williams in the backfield together. Whenever we do use that formation, it causes great play action opportunities. I wish Martin would just throw, throw and throw some more and then go to the run when we are up or the other team is not waiting for it.

Defense: D+

The defensive line remains a disappointment. We can't close on a QB, we can't collapse a pocket and we missed tons of tackles. Plus it seemed like they were constantly a step slow. Appiah played better and seemed to get more active as the game went on, but he's still not playing as well as he did at the conclusion of last year. He needs to disrupt the line more. I don't know what's going on with Mihalik. He never seems to be near the action and hasn't built on last year's promise. Ricci and Quinn were non-factors. Rudolph was okay but didn't do much. Edebali has his usual hustling self but didn't get on the field much after getting knocked for a loop. Wujciak got extended time but didn't get to do much. All of the Ends struggled with contain. We got burned by cutbacks repeatedly. Abdesmad played but did make big plays. These guys have to do more. There were plenty of problems on D, but these guys were No. 1. If they weren't missing tackles they were getting pushed around. That's got to stop.

Clancy played his heart out. He's not covering mistakes like Kuechly but he is still covering a lot of ground and very productive. KPL got called for a killer penalty early but made up for it with some great plays late in the fourth. Steele Divitto is struggling. He missed more tackles than any other linebacker. And teams keep throwing at him in coverage. I think we need to play more nickle and give him a break. He's still talented and still made plays but he is the weak link among the LBs. Duggan played a bit and was fine.

It was a weird day for the DBs. I thought they struggled early but played better as the game progressed. Sylvia is trying to make big plays and might be the only guy who didn't miss a tackle on Saturday. Rositano missed some tackles and didn't play much later in the game. Noel missed some early tackles but made a huge hit that forced a NU fumble (of course we didn't get it). One things that I don't know for sure -- but I believe based on watching the game back, is that the safeties got beat as much as the corners on the deep balls. There was no safety help on NU's biggest pass play. Jones is a good tackler but still struggles in coverage. Asprilla was okay. Richardson played a bit and was fine.

Kain Colter is an average college quarterback. He was their backup last year and was in the middle of a QB controversy prior to this game. Yet for the second year in a row, he looked like an All-America candidate against us. How did we not adjust? Why didn't we spy him more. Why weren't we ready for his cutbacks? Why did we wait so long to bring linebacker blitzes? Where were the corner blitzes? It was a terrible game plan. Sure we kept them out of the endzone most of the day, but they picked us apart and we couldn't get them off the field. Also, why aren't we using the second team LBs more? Our guys were out there for 100 plays! Mix it up. See if someone can make a play.

Special Teams: B-

The kick returns were solid. I like how Evans runs with confidence.

Freese made all his kicks.

The punt coverage was fine.

We didn't return a punt.

Overall: D+

Two things killed us against Northwestern last year. We scored before the half and then allowed the Cats to march right down the field to answer. We also did a poor job containing Colter. That is why so much of Saturday seemed like deja vu. Spaz is a defensive guy. Could he not add or do anything that would have helped us? Why didn't we blitz more early? Spaz laid the foundation for our bend but don't break philosophy and it killed us Saturday.

His clock management wasn't as bad, but Matty416 made great point about Spaz needing to kick a field goal late. When completed a pass to Amidon to NU's 19 yardline, we should have kicked the field goal. There were 23 seconds left and we needed two scores. If we were going to win, that was the only way to pull it off. But I don't think Spaz was thinking like that. He never does.

This is Spaz's fault

Spaz's mouth piece is blaming Finch. Posters on Eagle Action are saying that it is on the players or that we don't have enough talent. But this loss and the current state of BC Football is Frank Spaziani's responsibility.

I believe that we have enough talent to win. Certainly as much talent as Northwestern. But even if you think our talent is inferior or MAC-level, that is still Spaz's fault. He's in Year 4. This is his roster. These are his players. If they are not getting better, it is because of him and his coaches.

You can't blame Jags. He's been gone four years. You can't even blame Gene at this point. Sure he meddled and influenced many of the decisions Spaz had to live with, but Spaz knew what he was getting into with Gene. He knew the environment. And now Gene is gone. Most of Gene's pets on the coaching staff are also gone. If Spaz wanted to make an impact or unleash his pent up genius, now is the time.

You can't blame injuries. Every program in the country deals with injuries plus Spaz doesn't even use all his allotted scholarships. Maybe one more scholarship player would be able to fill in for the injured. Recruiting has been on a steady decline and we missed out on huge opportunity this recruiting season. But Spaz doesn't care about recruiting or at least care as much as he should. His primary assessment of a player seems to be based more on if he will commit to BC on our timeline (during the summer) not about if he is the best use of a scholarship. If Spaz cared about recruiting or winning now, he would have tried to get a Penn State player. Even TOB -- who has never been known as a slick talking recruiter -- picked up a Penn State player.

We allowed Northwestern to run 100 plays for 560 yards. But they didn't run us out of the building. A more talented team would have. A more talented team wouldn't need 100 plays to win by nine. The talent was even, but our head coach -- a former defensive coordinator -- couldn't make enough adjustments to win.

When you allow 100 plays it is a failure in scheme, execution and by individuals. That's on Spaz. But this is not knew. Apologists and excuse makers will say that Spaz was dealt a bad hand or that BC's limitations are finally catching up with him. All of that is nonsense. We are losing to schools that don't have huge institutional advantages over us. Spaz is 6-8 against private schools. He's gone through four offensive coordinators are still can't score on a consistent basis. Our fundamentals -- blocking, catching, tackling -- are deteriorating.

Spaz leads a program with a couple dozen staffers and 100 players. It's not just Xs & Os. It is about his approach to people, how hard he works, how smart he works, what sort of environment he creates for the players and coaches. All those actions manifest in the games and it is clear with each game that Spaz is not fit to turn BC around.

I don't know when Spaz's tenure will end (though I think it is coming) but don't ever let him or his supporters pass the buck on his time as head coach. This is his mess and his record.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Fire Spaz (2012 edition)

I know it is early and we are only 1-2 but I think it is time to start calling for Spaz's job again. All the same old problems resurfaced today's loss. Anemic offense (once again unable to score more than two TDs), bend but don't break defense to the extreme, and sloppy, sloppy play (drops, penalties and missed tackles). I hoped Doug Martin and Chase Rettig would make this season fun. Instead I just feel bad for them. Chase Rettig is the Job of BC quarterbacks. The guys around him drop or fumble away scores, his defense can't get the other team off the field and we cannot run the ball.

Spaz is not going to fix things. I still think we are better than we are playing, but this guy is not making the adjustments to take advantage of our manageable schedule.

I will have second viewing thoughts and grades up late Sunday night. I might have a vent before then. I am frustrated but feel like this whole lame duck season has been a waste of everyone's time. That game wasn't fun to watch and I fear we are going to have this empty feeling over and over again this fall.

Even Job thinks Chase Rettig is catching some tough breaks.

In-game comments post: Northwestern

This is our first road test and a chance to gain a little bit of national respect. Or it could be a long day against a tough Northwestern team. Since it is sort of BC's birthday, I think we are due for some good luck.

I know plenty of people will be at Fenway or in bars, but feel free to leave your thoughts and comments below.

You can also follow me on twitter.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Game Watches: BC vs Northwestern

This game marks BC's debut on the Big Ten network. For those in the midwest or with a satellite, this is probably not a big deal. Others -- especially those without a sports package -- will have to search for a Big Ten Network option. Of course you can always watch it with your fellow BC fans at a Game Watch. If you are attending the Mass at Fenway, please know that many plan to go straight from the celebration to the bars on Lansdowne to watch the game.

Austin Game Watch
The Tavern
922 West 12th Street
Austin, TX 78703
(512) 320-8377

Charlotte Game Watch
BlackFinn Saloon
210 E. Trade St. (The EpiCentre)
Charlotte, NC 28202

Chicago Game Watch GO TO THE GAME!!!
Tripoli Tap
1147 West Armitage Avenue
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 477-4400

Dallas Game Watch 
Christies Sports Bar
2811 McKinney Avenue
Dallas, TX 75204-8567
(214) 954-1511

New York City Game Watch
Joshua Tree (on 3rd Avenue btw 34th and 35th Streets)

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

San Diego Game Watch
The Beer Company
602 Broadway
San Diego, CA 92101

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

Washington, DC Game Watch
Irish Whiskey Public House (formerly Porter's)
1207 19th Street, NW Washington, DC

Thursday, September 13, 2012

BC-Northwestern preview

Last year's game against Northwestern was very telling. BC did enough to win, but a few bad plays, questionable clock and game management, and the inability to stop a scrambling quarterback cost us the game. All the issues became recurring problems throughout the season. Some of those problems still exist, but I feel like we have enough new elements to mask those issues. But because it is a non-conference road game, I feel like Saturday will once again be an indicator of how we will handle the rest of our schedule.

Hot Seat Thermometer
One week can make a difference. BC won easily and Notre Dame joined the ACC. What's there to worry about, right? In a way this game is all house money for Spaz. As the underdog, lame duck on the road, few expect us to win. Yet if he does win or even comes close, there will be those who say "look how hard this team is playing for Spaz!"
Temperature: It's still warm, but the winds coming off Lake Michigan makes things feel better

Overlooked storyline: the return of the Illinois crew
Only our recruiting focus has reverted back to Ohio this year, prior to that we really started making inroads at the Catholic programs in the Chicago area. This game will be a homecoming of sorts for Cleary, Clancy and Sinkovec and a few others.

Three Simple Keys
1. Shutting down their WRs. Usually our DBs are outclassed by the other team's skill guys. Not this week. We can contain their WRs. We can't let them get extra yards and cannot let them make big plays.
2. Establish the pass first. You can talk me into a vanilla approach against Maine, but not against Northwestern. Let's come out passing first and then, when we have the lead, start killing clock with the run.
3. Attack downfield. Syracuse and Vanderbilt both challenged NU and had success. We should press them deep too.

Gambling Notes
-- BC is 10-30-1 all time against Big Ten teams
-- Spaz is 7-9 on the road
-- Pat Fitzgerald is 6-6 vs BCS teams
The current line is BC+3.5

The last time BC lost in Evanston (1993), the followed the loss by winning their next eight games.

Scoreboard Watching
Wake Forest-Florida State has the most relevancy to our season. We face both and this game will be a test of which team is for real. Not much was expected of the Deacons, but they already won a conference game. Florida State is expected to be a national power, yet hasn't played anyone yet. We'll know a lot more about both after the game.

I hope to see...
BC get to Colter and/or Siemian. In last year's game, there was nothing more frustrating than watching Colter nearly get tackled only to escape and turn a negative play into a big gain.

BC is in trouble if...
we kick field goals instead of scoring touchdowns. Earlier in the week I touched on our redzone issues. Northwestern can put up points on anyone, so for us to keep pace and win we need to get 7s instead of 3s!

Bottom Line
There are a millions reasons to doubt BC this weekend, but I am rolling with my hunch. I watched a portion of Northwestern's Syracuse game and didn't come away feeling the Cats were all that good. I think we trade scores with them for the first half, build a little bit of a lead in the second half and then hold off their rally late.
Final Score: BC 35, Northwestern 31

ESPN saved the ACC, but can kill it again via a Notre Dame TV deal

The ACC is basically saved and we can mostly thank ESPN. The network didn't break the bank on the Big XII TV deal nor pay a premium for a Big XII Championship game, making Clemson and FSU less desirable.   ESPN also signaled to the ACC that adding Notre Dame would generate additional TV money (bringing us closer to revenue parity with the other major conferences). Now we have football stability, added prestige and a significant exit fee preventing future defections. Everything seems great. But there is still a looming crisis with Notre Dame at the center.

NBC and Notre Dame
As part of the ACC deal, Notre Dame gets to keep its football revenue. The Irish home games are currently broadcast on NBC and the average fan assumes that relationship will carry on in perpetuity. That's not the case. NBC is not happy with Notre Dame right now. NBC/Comcast planned on bidding for the Big East TV deal for its NBC Sports Network. Notre Dame's move just devalued and destabilized that potential property. The deal also strengthened NBC Sports' biggest rival in ESPN. While Notre Dame is still an important draw for NBC, will they pay a premium for the TV rights when their current deal expires? I don't think that is a given anymore. CBS, Fox and ESPN will also be eager to cut a deal with Notre Dame. If it becomes a bidding war, I don't know if NBC will still want to partner with Notre Dame. And if they do, will they still allow Notre Dame to dictate so many terms. NBC wants to build its cable network. The Irish so far are hesitant to play their games there. Also, Notre Dame wants the majority of their home days during the day. NBC would rather have them at night.

ESPN and the ACC
Although ESPN is the ACC's exclusive partner, they are not precluded from bidding on Notre Dame's football rights. Think about that conflict for a second. When the NBC deal comes up, ESPN could conceivably give Notre Dame $50 million a year. They could enrich one member of the conference far above all the others. They could give one member of the conference all their preferred time slots and create special programming. While the Irish are independent, they will be playing five ACC teams a year and taking a portion of our non-football money. How fair will this partnership feel if this situation plays out? Notre Dame would be dumb not to take the money and favoritism. It has always worked towards their advantage.

My advice to ESPN
Playing favorites with Texas nearly unraveled all of college football. No matter how enticing it might be to finally bring Notre Dame into the fold, do not do it at the expense of the ACC. Any ND football deal should have the same payout the Irish would get as if they were a member of the ACC. Who knows, that is more than NBC is paying now and may be enough to close the deal. Branding is important to Notre Dame and so is association. They might prefer to be with ESPN at the expense of more money from NBC/Comcast.

The ACC teams are currently powerless, so if ESPN gave Notre Dame a huge TV deal, there isn't much we could do initially. But the bad blood would undermine the league, ESPN's relationship with the ACC, and conference stability for years to come. These sorts of dominoes combined with the new playoff and NCAA frustration could lead to a football mega-conference split. If ESPN does value college sports and values its ACC deal, hopefully it will think big picture when it comes to dealing with Notre Dame.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Notre Dame to ACC as non-football member

ESPN reported that Notre Dame will join the ACC as a non-football member. Rumblings started this morning but there has been plenty of speculation for months. According to ESPN the Irish will commit to playing five ACC teams annually in football. Given that Pitt and BC are regular opponents, adding three more ACC teams is not much of a hardship on Notre Dame. I assume the deal also allows Notre Dame to keep its NBC deal for football.

The good news
In the changing landscape of college football this gives the ACC one of the few remaining chess pieces. I assume there will be some sort of bowl partnership in the relationship. While the politics of the new playoff are still to be determined, you would have to imagine Notre Dame's vote and interests will now be more closely aligned with the ACC. Adding the Irish for also is probably enough of a trigger to reopen our ESPN deal again to get some more money.

The bad news
It is partial membership with no rumored transition date to full membership. We only need to look back to our Big East days to know that the Irish will do everything in their power to keep their football independence. The other issue is this probably means the ACC will add a 16th team to balance things out. That means were are probably back in a conference with Rutgers or UConn again.

Guest Blogger: James Quintong

Last year I asked ESPN's James Quintong about his alma mater Northwestern. Now it is time to take on the Wildcats again, so I asked him back to get us up to speed on NU. Although he's a Cat, James's brother is an Eagle, so he's familiar with BC and our recent struggles. My questions and JQ's answers below. 

ATLEagle: Last season BC prepped for Persa. Of course Colter started and killed BC on the ground. Now Colter is less than 100% and NU is playing two QBs. Who plays Saturday and how should BC try to shut the offense down? 

James Quintong: I still think Kain Colter will start on Saturday despite a subpar passing game against Vandy. Part of that, though, was due to some uncharacteristic drops from a solid NU receiving corps. Colter did make up for that with a great game-sealing 29-yard TD run late in the fourth quarter. Overall, Colter is the most dangerous player in the offense given the many ways he make plays, running, throwing and even catching the ball. However, Trevor Siemian has shown he can lead the team in late situations (he was under center for the go-ahead field goal against Vandy), and he's probably the better "traditional" quarterback. I think NU can put up points no matter who's at quarterback, although each gives the team a different look. However, the early star on offense this season is speedy junior Venric Mark, who was already a huge factor in the return game during his career (and returned a punt against Syracuse for a TD) and now has become the 'Cats' go-to running back. He may be a little guy (listed at 5-8, 175 pounds, and teammate Tyris Jones compared him to Gabby Douglas in training camp) but he looks comfortable carrying the load so far. He might be the key to stopping the NU's attack at this point, as he can open things up even more for the quarterbacks, or at the very least bail out the offense if the quarterbacks aren't getting the job done.

ATLEagle: Syracuse put up a ton of yards and points in the opener. Last week, NU contained Vanderbilt. Which unit is the real Northwestern defense?

James Quintong: I was impressed by NU's defense in the second half against Vanderbilt, although I still think the defense is a little bit closer to the one that got lit up by Syracuse. In fact, Vanderbilt was making plays in the first half before the 'Cats turned things around later. The secondary is still somewhat vulnerable, and the pass rush has had its moments, although the run defense has been pretty decent so far. The one thing that has helped NU in both games this season is forcing turnovers at critical times. Both turnovers against Syracuse turned into TDs, while NU stopped a late first-half Vandy drive with a fumble (opening the door for the second-half comeback) and sealed the win with another fumble recovery. Linebacker Chi Chi Ariguzo has been the big-play guy so far (getting both turnovers against Syracuse), while defensive end Tyler Scott had a sack and a forced fumble against Vandy.

ATLeagle: The Wildcats are 23-16 under Fitzgerald at home. Spaz isn't great on the road. Would you consider Ryan Field a tough place to play in general? Any advice for BC fans making the trip? 

James Quintong: The 'Cats have done pretty well with nonconference home games under Pat Fitzgerald, but during Big Ten play, it's not unusual for Northwestern fans to be in the minority at Ryan Field, given the huge alumni contingents from places like Michigan, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Iowa and Illinois making the relatively short trek to Evanston. So I wouldn't necessarily consider Ryan Field to be a huge homefield advantage, generally speaking. I would imagine the atmosphere at Ryan Field for this game could be similar to my experience at last year's game at Alumni Stadium with decent pockets of BC alums within a stadium that won't be anywhere close to a sellout. The area around the stadium is very nice (FYI: it's about a couple of miles from the main Evanston campus, which is worth checking out, especially in the areas overlooking Lake Michigan), and it's also accessible via the El train for those coming in from Chicago or downtown Evanston.

ATLeagle: What is your prediction for the game? 

James Quintong: After a while, I think I've just become used to high-scoring shootouts with this Northwestern team, and I can see BC throwing the ball a lot on this defense (I remember Chase Rettig throwing for 375 yards against NU in last year's opener). I still think the 'Cats have more than enough weapons to keep up, and playing at home will help. Since I'm used to close nailbiters against teams of relatively similar stature, I'll go with NU 31, BC 27.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Red Zone issues and other links

CBS's ACC bloggers looked at conference scoring so far and we are at the bottom of the conference when it comes to red zone conversion. It's a somewhat misleading stat considering we've only played two games and fumbled a sure touchdown out of the endzone. But BC does need to improve and needs to score more. With our defense I think we'll be in a lot of high scoring games.

CBS also posted a solid preview of our matchup against Northwestern.

Kudos to's Jack McCluskey. The season is still young but he's been producing good and original coverage of BC football. His latest was a post on BC's receivers.

BC runner Moira Kenny earned ACC cross country performer of the week honors.

The ACC named Volleyball's Katty Workman freshman of the week.

2012 Welles Crowther Red Bandanna Run

One of the few good memories of last season was the Welles Crowther story gaining national attention. Welles' heroism on September 11 has been well known among the BC community for many years. The Outside the Lines piece on the anniversary of September 11 brought the well-deserved spotlight to Welles and his legacy.

Welles' time at BC remains important to his family and they will once again hold their annual Red Bandanna Run. The 2012 event will be held October 13. You can learn more about the run or supporting the charity on the Red Bandanna site.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Eagle Marketing Youtube Channel and other links

I wanted to take a moment to recognize the good content coming from BC's YouTube account "EagleMarketing." They are posting many interviews. The most recent was with Steve Donahue regarding the team's trip to Spain. Based on the views listed, not many of you watched it, but it is worth your time. Donahue emphasizes the growth of the team and how it will help as the develop here at BC.

Sinkovec x-rays came back negative, but what I found interesting is that BC contacted other Under Armour schools about shoe issues.

Another one of Doug Flutie's nephews is a rising quarterback in Natick. It will be interesting to see how and if BC recruits him.

We are at the bottom of the ACC Power Rankings.

Blogpoll ballot Week 2

I didn't post my preseason blogpoll ballot and I didn't get around to voting last week. Sorry...real life gets in the way some times. But at this point I will continue to post blogpoll ballots as a log of games I watched and rate those teams accordingly. 

Games I watched
BC vs Maine 100% (twice)
Maryland vs Temple 25%
Cincy vs Pitt 75%
Georgia vs Mizzou 75%
ULM vs Arkansas 25%

Second viewing thoughts and grade report: Maine

I didn't get the warm fuzzies watching this game back. There was a lack of crispness and no sense of urgency in the team's play. I know we won comfortably, but it shouldn't have been so sluggish. Many of the big plays weren't about our guys dominating but about their guys making mistakes.

Offense: B-

Rettig wasn't as crisp as last week, but I thought he still played well. The completion percentage doesn't tell the story either. Many of the incomplete passes were long, downfield stuff that is hard to complete Plus there were some drops. I liked his touch on some plays and his decision to gun it on others. He's the best thing about our offense right now. Bordner played but didn't drop back to pass once. I don't advocate running up the score, but it would have been nice to give him some meaningful snaps once the game was in hand.

The running backs were rightfully slammed for their play on the message boards. They all had big issues or mistakes. Kimble looked good early but didn't get much action after the fumble. I know what he was trying to do at the goalline but at this point he needs it drilled into his head to hold onto the ball. The same could be said of Finch. He did respond and looked fine after. Williams was ok. He still didn't get out into space much and had hands of steel on the pass that came his way. Sinkovec was blocking well until he got hurt.

I liked how Coleman played. He made some catches in traffic and showed good hands. I didn't love his throw. They've clearly been working on it, but the pass was way off. Amidon was fine. Evans looked decent.  Other than Parsons, none of the other TEs were even thrown to.

The offensive line was not as crisp. We were solid in pass protection (although the sacks allowed seemed like blown assignments). I was surprised we didn't dominate the run more. Clearly that was the gameplan but we didn't get the push we needed or open up some of the huge holes you would expect against an FCS team. The left side was better than the right side.

I loved the game Martin called last week. This game wasn't as pretty. I understand keeping it vanilla against an undermatched opponent, but I felt BC should have opened it up much earlier. I also think we should've given Bordner more to do.

Defense: B-

I'm really disappointed in the defensive line so far this season. I predicted big things and thought they would surprise, but other than Ramsey, they are all regressing from how they finished 2011. Ramsey made some nice plays again. Appiah got more playing time but didn't make a big impact. Quinn was fine. Rudolph was fine. Abdesmad looked better. Edebali was ok. I liked the activity from Wujciak. Mihalik needs to get more pressure on the QB.

A few people are criticizing Clancy but in my opinion his only crime is not being Luechly. I thought he played well Saturday in coverage and tackling. Teams keep attacking Divitto's side. He played better though. KPL had a quiet game.

ESPN was critical of Asprilla on Maine's missed bomb, but I think they were wrong. He wasn't beat. I think he was expecting Safety help, but the safeties bit on the play action. He got better throughout the game too. I liked what I saw from Richardson. Jones struggled (to put it lightly). Corners in our defense need to make lots of tackles and hopefully he will improve. Sylvia was fine but not involved in as many plays. Noel was also away from a lot of the action.

McGovern used a lot of basic, base defense. Unlike my critique of Martin, I don't have a problem with him not mixing it up more or bringing more pressure. Maine never sustained much and their only threats were early. In the second half it was clear that we were in control, so there was no need to do anything unusual or tip your hand for future opponents.

Special Teams: B

Evans' punt return was great. He got under it, controlled and then took off into daylight. It made up for some of his kick return. I'll take the questionable kick returns if he keeps breaking others. The aggressiveness has been missing from BC special teams for a few years.

Levano was fine and really only had one clankish punt.

Freese was solid.

One other note about Special Teams...McCaffery has been all over the place on Special Teams through two games. Since I've been doing these rewatches, that's been a great sign of things to come from that player. I don't know if the pattern will hold or if he'll earn more playing time, but keep a note of it.

Overall: B-

A win always earns a decent grade. So does a blowout. But as I stated in the introduction, this was as lifeless a 31 point win as I remember. That lack of intensity and letting Maine hang around for 20 minutes is on Spaz. The fumbles and drops keep happening. That's on Spaz too. I do appreciate that he finally used his timeouts correctly and got a score before the half. I also appreciate that the special teams are improving. But overall it wasn't a shining example of BC Football.

I guess we won't know what any of this means until next week.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

BC blows by the Black Bears

We are 1-1 and I still don't know how good we actually are. The stats in our win over Maine don't tell the whole story. We were sluggish and missed opportunities early. Our defense seemed slow and didn't do enough in the first half. The second half was a different story and saw us make big plays on defense, offense and special teams. Rettig's stats were not impressive, but I thought he played well too .

But a win is still a win...and when you trail a FCS team after one quarter, you just have to appreciate the W.

I will have second viewing thoughts and grades up late Sunday night.

In-game comments post: Maine

BC gets its chance to bounce back from last week's loss and Maine gets a chance to make national headlines. Let's hope it is a boring game (in a good way) and BC controls. Leave your thoughts and comments below.

You can also follow me on Twitter.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Rettig's breakout a sign of things to come

Rettig played really well on Saturday. Despite the many still doubting him, I think he's going to have a great season and thrive in the new offense. If we have a winning record it will be on his shoulder.

Too good to be a fluke
Even in today's era of wide-open college offenses, passing for 441 yards still means something. It was better than Matt Ryan's best day as an Eagle. It was just seven yards short of Foley's best at BC. In fact, the only guys ahead of Rettig on the single game chart are Flutie, Foley and Halloran. Miami is not the Miami of old but this was the third best performance against them all-time (behind only Flute and Cade McNown). These types of games don't come easy. I know Chris Crane had a 400 yarder too, but if you look back on his career, that was a turning point. He never approached that level again before getting hurt, but it was a sign that he could finally function in the offense. Even if Rettig just gets to Crane like numbers (which is a pretty low bar), we'll have a winnning season.

This wasn't just the OC changing things
I am President of the Doug Martin Fan Club but this breakout wasn't solely because of his offense. He's not some Mike Leach guy who just takes over and produces ludicrous passing numbers. His quarterbacks only surpassed 400 yards once last year at New Mexico State. In all his time at Kent State not once did one of his QBs pass for 400 yards. We threw because that is what the gameplan called for and because we were behind. But the success of the passing game was due to Rettig.

On other teams the day would have been bigger
I hate to downgrade our own players, but how many future NFL talents was Rettig passing to? How many of the skill guys who played on Saturday will make an All ACC team? Maybe Amidon. Maybe Kimble. But this was not some sort of all-star seven on seven drill. This was Rettig making tough, tight passes to below average ACC talent at the skill positions. And don't forget the drops. We would have had more TDs and probably more yards if even half the drops were caught.

Paying your dues pays off
It is not fool proof, but there is a strong correlation in college football of players maturing into the role after starting more than 20 games. Rettig's been the starter for a season and a half. He's dealt with multiple offenses and coaching issues. Now, I believe, he gets it. He understands how a play develops and he has a much better feel for the pocket.

The throws
The varied throws and the mix of darts and touch passes shows that he can put the ball where it needs to be. That may sound simple and easy, but it is not.

Maine won't tell us much, but I believe once we hit the meat of the schedule, we'll have the best QB in the conference.

Game Watchs: BC vs Maine UPDATED

This game is on ESPN3, so for many of you the best place to catch it on a big screen is at a BC game watch. If your local chapter is having an event and isn't listed below, email me or add the chapter info in the comments section.

Chicago Game Watch
Tripoli Tap 1147 West Armitage Avenue
Chicago, IL 60614 (773) 477-4400

New York City Game Watch
Joshua Tree (on 3rd Avenue btw 34th and 35th Streets).

San Diego Game Watch
The Beer Company
602 Broadway
San Diego, CA 92101

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

Washington, DC Game Watch
Irish Whiskey Public House (formerly Porter's)
1207 19th Street, NW
Washington, DC

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Guest Blogger: Joe Sturzl from Maine Campus

There isn't a prime Maine Football blog so I went to their student newspaper to find a source that could tell us about the Black Bears. Joe Sturzl covers the team for the Maine Campus and answered my questions regarding this weekend's matchup and the future of Maine Football. Check out the Maine Campus for more on Maine sports.

ATLEeagle: You have multiple starters returning. What can BC expect when Maine is on offense?

Joe Sturzl: Maine is returning a veteran group on the offensive line, as well as All-Conference receiver Maurice McDonald and tight end Justin Perillo. Damarr Aultmann and Arthur Williams showed some promise as freshmen on the receiving corps as well. Sophomore running back David Hood received considerable playing time last year when Pushaun Brown was injured. It is an experienced group of guys who made it to the 2nd round of the FCS playoffs last year. The highest profile new face will be Junior Quarterback Marcus Wasilewski, who earned the starting job in pre-season. Coach Jack Cosgrove made it clear that he earned the starting job, and it was not by default. He is a smart guy who waited his turn and is now ready to lead the offense. This will be the first game of the year, so this will be the first time we will get to see how the offense does. They will be up for a challenge against a tough FBS opponent. 

ATLEeagle: BC had more than 500 total yards against Miami. How do you expect Maine to try to slow down the Eagles this week?

Joe Sturzl: Like the offense, Maine has a few key defensive players who are returning. Both starting cornerbacks that are back from last year, a defensive line lead by defensive end Michael Cole, and a Linebacker core lead by Arron Achely will have to lead this team to play at its highest level. This defense will have to lock down the receivers as best they can, and play a tough, physical, hard-nosed game. Boston College turned the ball over four times against Miami, including a pick-six and a defensive stand at the goal-line late in the game. If Maine's defense can keep the BC passing game in check, rush the quarterback, prevent big-yardage plays and creative turnovers, it will help their chances. 

ATLEeagle: Many New England FCS teams are either building up their programs or deemphasizing football. What's the future of Maine football?

Joe Sturzl: During the past few years there has been a lot of conference shifting, and the CAA and FCS have not been immune. The conference has seen its central base shift south, and it was looking like Maine and rival New Hampshire were going to be alone in the Northeast. However, Rhode Island, who was considering leaving for the NEC, has decided to stay in the CAA. SUNY - Albany is joining the CAA from the NEC, and SUNY- Stony Brook is joining from the Big South. That will make 12 teams in the CAA for 2013 (Georgia State is leaving after this year, its only year in the CAA). Even with the two Massachusetts CAA departures (Northeastern dropped football altogether after '09, UMass played its final full year in the CAA in '11) in recent years, the New York replacements will give the conference a balance of North and South. With all of this being said, after hockey, football is arguably the 2nd highest profile sport at Maine, there has always been strong community support behind the team, and Coach Cosgrove and his staff has consistently put a competitive team out. The future of Maine football is a bright one. 

ATLEeagle: What is your prediction for the game?

Joe Sturzl: There is no doubt who the underdog is in an FCS vs. FBS match-up. Boston College has a high powered offense, and it will take a great effort for Maine to stop it. It will come down to whether or not Maine finds a way to slow down BC's offense, hope BC repeats some of its same mistakes it made against Miami, and then capitalizing on each and every one of those mistakes. Maine stayed close with their lone FBS opponent Pittsburgh last year because they played up to Pitt's level and Pitt turned the ball over twice while Maine turned it over zero times. Another factor is that this is going to be the offenses first time playing with Wasilewski under center, and he will have to preform well in his first ever collegiate start. BC will also be looking to get to 1-1 after dropping its first game of the year, something the team cannot be happy about. Maine will have to hope a lot of things go their way and capitalize on BC mistakes if they want to leave Alumni Stadium with a W on Saturday afternoon.

BC-Maine preview

It's only Maine and it's on ESPN3, but I am generally excited about the game this Saturday. Despite the loss, I enjoyed the offensive product on the field. Another game -- especially against a weaker opponent -- allows us to see how Martin has changed things and monitor Rettig's progression. I also want to see the guys bounce back. There was a certain energy on the sidelines last week while we were ahead. That sort of confidence and fun is contagious and can carry a team. A big showing against Maine will help as we venture into the heart of the schedule.

Hot Seat Thermometer
While many of us considered the Miami loss to be a borderline moral victory, the reality was Spaz blew a 14-point lead against a decimated team and started his conference slate 0-1. The national folks think it will be more of the same as the season progresses. A win over Maine isn't going to do much to change things.
Temperature: Turn on the Conte Forum air conditioner now 

Overlooked storyline: What's up with the depth chart?
Spaz continues to juggle the depth chart and remains coy about some players' status. This game should be a comfortable victory, so all those true freshmen should play if Spaz does intend to play them this year. And guys who have been dinged up yet still played (see Appiah, Larmond) should either rest or play as if this were an ACC opponent.

Three simple keys
1. Avoid turnovers. The fumbles were costly last week. Coughing it up against an FCS opponent is the type of thing that can spark an upset.
2. Red zone conversion. Our early scores were runs or screens that busted open. I'd like to see us throw it into the end zone more this week.
3. QB pressure. Morris had too much time last week. The bend but don't break philosophy only works if you tackle. Right now we need to stop plays from developing by getting in their backfield.

Gambling Notes
-- Spaz is 9-8 following a loss
-- BC has not lost to a FCS opponent since joining the Big East Football conference
-- Spaz is 6-6 in the month of September
Because this is an FBS-FCS matchup, most major sports books do not have a line on the game

Jack Cosgrove has spent 28 seasons as a college coach. All but two with Maine. His lone stint outside of Orono was with BC in the mid-'80s.

Scoreboard Watching
I'll be watching Miami travel to Kansas State. Indirectly that game will tell us more about our team than our own game this Saturday. If Miami can go on the road and beat a ranked team, it will put our loss in a better light. If Miami gets trounced many will start to question how good our offense actually is.

I hope to see...
Another QB get some snaps in the second half. I am curious to see how Bordner or any of the other QBs adapted to the new system. I would also like to see how Martin adjusts the offense for each player's capabilities.

BC is in trouble if...
Maine keeps it close. These FCS upsets are rarely about the underdog pounding the BCS team. Instead they are usually ugly affairs that break for the road team when the big, bad FBS team chokes or makes a mistake. I don't even want this game close.

Bottom Line
I think BC comes out with aggressive offensive plays again. I see BC building a big lead and then taking it easy in the second half. I don't think the score will be as lopsided as the actual game is.
Final Score: BC 38, Maine 10

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Addressing the Corrigan rumors

Sunday night Steve Lively sent out an email to the BC Football Alumni profiling Army AD Boo Corrigan and reporting a rumor he heard regarding Corrigan as a candidate for the BC job. I was copied, as was Brian. In the past few days that email has transferred to message boards saying Corrigan is our next AD. I think this is all premature. Corrigan may end up as the hire, but I don't believe BC has made a decision yet.

Leo Sullivan is still traveling and still seeking input and feedback from friends of the program and university. At this point I don't believe we have a set group of finalists. Father Leahy has also been very busy with the start of school. I don't believe he and Sullivan have gone from still screening candidates less than a week ago to making a final decision.

Lively was a vocal critic of Gene and is likely hearing a lot of gossip (just like many of us). I do think Gene's treatment of him and some of the football alumni did impact the forced resignation. However, I don't think Father Leahy nor Sullivan are going to tip their hand to him in return during this process.

Corrigan would be a solid, conservative replacement. If his candidacy does progress, I will dig deeper into his Pros and Cons. Until then, I think we just have to be patient.