Thursday, July 31, 2014

Why the ACC needs to wait on the 9th game

BCI posted two good schedule-related articles Thursday. The first deals with Elon dropping BC from their 2015 schedule. Like Brian, I am not worried about finding an opponent and hopefully we will try a FCS free schedule for a change. The second issue covered was how the ACC-Notre Dame schedule works. Long story short, the ACC continues to bend over backwards for the Irish and BC won't play them that often. The Irish issue leads to a host of other questions, but the biggest remains who will the ACC teams without traditional non-conference rivalries play to fill their power conference requirement? Brian hints at readdressing a 9th game. However, the conference can't do least not for a while.

The 9th ACC game should only be an emergency move. Because other than adding another team, the 9th game is one of the last playing cards the ACC has to reopen its TV deal. Those new ACC games would be new, valuable content to ESPN and our other TV partners.

The other reason to wait on the 9th game is because no one really knows how the playoff selections will work. The ACC -- with its 8-game conference slate, Championship game and challenging non-conference schedules -- may be a manageable path to the playoffs. Why add a 9th game as yet another playoff hurdle? Then and if the selection committee punishes the ACC's conference schedule than the Conference can expand the schedules.

I am not concerned about BC and the ACC's place in the landscape of the Playoff. Once we are good enough, the conferences will finaly know how to get teams into the Dance. For now, let's hope the 2015 scheduling mess finally gets solved.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

BC-UMass line and other links

Online betting sites rolled out more of their 2014 odds and bets. BC opened as a 14.5 point favorite against UMass. That seems about right to me. The oddsmakers still don't expect BC to do munch within the division.

ACC Sports cacluted the safest and most pressure filled jobs in the conference. I think BC's tenure average is a little skewed by short tenures for Coughlin, Henning and Jags. In general I think BC is fairly paitent with our coaches. Afterall, we did give Spaz four years.

Women's Soccer released their 2014 schedule.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The best part of the ESPN Carwash was a podcast

Tuesday was Day 2 of the ACC's ESPN Carwarsh. Addazio was part of the group of coaches who made all the rounds at ESPN's Headquarters. The coach talked about replacing QBs and Andre Williams with ESPN Radio, various shows and ESPN writers. But of all the interviews, I think Addazio's session with Ivan Maisel was the best.

They cover the usual stuff and Addazio gets in his toughness cliches, but he also spends a good deal of time explaining how BC became a power running team. He explains why he hasn't visited Stanford and how it pays to be different. Addazio still comes off a passionate and a salesman (especially when compared to some of the other coaches on the podcast), but this was another example to show that he is more than the stereotype.

Things like the Carwash are important and the behind the scenes looks are fun. But I think BC fans should be most excited that we have a coach who has innovated at this level, but also can communicate his vision for the school and how it fits with the team he has.

Monday, July 28, 2014

How many 5th years is too many?

BC's best teams have always been experienced. But in the past most of those classes were made up of rosters that redshirted and developed in Chestnut Hill. For a variety of reasons BC rarely had JUCOs and transfers. With the rise of the post-graduate 5th year transfer, BC finally has a sweet spot to fill in the roster gaps. Addazio grabbed Matt Patchan last year and backfilled the roster this season wtih Tyler Murphy, Ty-Meer Brown, Shakim Phillips, and Ian Silberman. The benefits of 5th years are well discussed: no academic risk, short scholarship commitment, phyical and mental maturity. However, we rarely address the risk associated with the strategy. Addazio needed an influx this year and will probably need more next year, but at what point does BC want to start weaning itself of 5th year transfers?

The biggest challenge posed by depending on 5th years is knowing who and how many are available. BC lucked into Murphy and a lessor extent to Shakim Phillips. Without them we would be starting a freshman at QB and have little depth at WR. Prior relationships with both players helped get them to BC, but both had options and both could have gone elsewhere. Unlike recruiting a high schooler or even a JUCO player, the annual 5th year pool lacks depth. Thinking you can pick up a quality player to fit critical needs is foolish. One day your luck will run out.

The other issue is the holding back scholarships for 5th years. BC has plenty of scholarships right now due to roster imbalance and attrition, but in most years there won't be four spots. BC will have 99% of their scholarships committed early in each recruiting cycle.

I don't know what's ahead for BC recruiting. As the roster turns there should be less need to grab older 5th years. All the players will be Addazio's and he'll be responsible for scholarship distribution.

I applaud Addazio's aggressiveness and creativity. Without them, we wouldn't be as strong a team. I just hope we soon get to the stage where BC has so much talent in house that we don't need to scramble with 5th years.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

More opponent previews

As the season nears, USA Today keeps posting more team previews. Since our last update, the site added Pitt and Syracuse breakdowns. As always Paul Myerberg does a great job with these write ups.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Trojan trap and other links

The Big Lead called our game with USC a trap for the Trojans. It makes sense given their new coach, cross-country travel and coming right after Stanford. Even if USC struggles this year, it would still be a huge win for BC and Addazio in Year 2.

Andre Williams got the NYT feautre treament during Giants Training Camp.

Future Eagle Nolan Borgersen is ready for his final high school season.

Other sites covered this earlier in the week, but ESPN noted how strong BC's recruiting efforts have been in Massachusetts.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Tweets of the Week

2014 Poster

BC released their 2014 promotional poster. It is certainly a change from past years, but I like it. Replacing the action shots and guys in uniform with the Gasson rotunda and the seniors in ties and blazers is different. Plus it reinforces the image and structure that Addazio is selling. These things are more about marketing to future players than current fans but this poster works on both levels.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Analytical love for Matt Ryan and other links

With the cliched talk of "elite" QBs, I feel like I am constantly defending Matt Ryan. The only person who might be a bigger defender of Ryan is Grantland's Bill Barnwell. Barnwell has Ryan in his Top 10 and ahead of Brady, Brees and Eli. I hope the Falcons bounce back this year, but more importantly I hope casual fans start to realize how well Ryan has played the past few years. Kuechly also made Barnwell's Top 25.

Andy Gallik made the Preseason All ACC team.

Earlier in the week EDSBS assigned parts of our galaxy to ACC teams. The BC analogy is probably fair.

Steele Divitto is ready for Jets Training Camp.

Miami is recruiting New England players this cycle.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

2014 Preview Questions: How good is the Atlantic Division?

Winston's game-changing Hail Mary.

The ACC Media predicted a 6th place finish for BC. Considering how Carolina-centric the crowd is at the Media Days, our lowely standing is not a surprise. But is BC really that bad? Is the Divison that good?

Florida State returns their Heisman Trophy winning QB and much of the talent that won the National Championship. I think even the most biased BC fan will admit that the 'Noles will be good this season. Clemson lost a lot of their best skill players, but given their recruiting the past five years, I think it is fair to rank them above BC. Transitioning to a new conference could cause problems and they are also replacing lost stars, but Louisville comes into the division with arguably the best offensive coach in the conference. That will be a tough game. But after that, I think there are a series of teams that all have major questions. 

Syracuse -- reason why they might finish below BC. Still relatively young. Tough schedule could hurt momentum. Terrible passing game. We play them at Alumni. 

NC State -- reason why they might finish below BC. Coming off a terrible season. Breaking in a new QB. Still very young. 

Wake Forest -- reason why they might finish below BC. Tough schedule that could torpedo the season. Making major schematic changes from previous staff. Clawson started slow at his previous stops.

I don't know if BC will finish 4th or 7th in the Atlantic. But I don't think the division is loaded. Outside of Florida State every team is flawed. The bottom of the Division is manageble. It is just a matter BC covering our flaws better than our peer programs. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

College Football's MLS ideas and BC

The WSJ posted an interesting article last week on College Football programs looking to the MLS for marketing, game day experience and ticketing ideas. What's interesting to me is that programs that might not have much in common with the MLS are looking for answers in the soccer boom, yet the stadium size and locals markets are so different. BC, however, probably has more in common with an MLS' teams issues than a big SEC school. Our stadium is smaller, we are in an urban setting and we compete with bigger teams.

BC is not mentioned as a team looking to the MLS, but fortunately we are already doing things they recommend. Stadium improvements are the most obvious, but we are also tracking individual student attendence and rewarding loyalty.

What the MLS is also improving the food at the stadium. Food is rarely mentioned as the problem with BC sports. But maybe it is something BC should address. An improved team will always have a greater impact than improved concessions, but it doesn't mean something can't be done.

I rarely go to games so I am always an armchair QB on the issue. But I think that the only way to get Alumni and Conte filled is to make it an experience you cannot get at home. Winning is important, but everything else matters too.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Addazio fired up: Coaches' turn at the ACC Media Day

Day 2 of the ACC Media Days meant it was Addazio's turn to talk. He was his usual passionate, confident self. Media Poll results also came out and the assembled group picked BC to finish 6th in the Division. For the Coach, that is just more motivation.
“It doesn’t sit well with me, I’m not going to sit here and lie to you,’’ Addazio said. “But, I understand that. One season doesn’t mean a lot. I think, if anything else, it’ll fuel the fire. I’ll make sure we’ll talk about that as a football team when we get back.

Addazio didn't say anything ground breaking. He was repeatedly asked about replacing Williams and the new offense. Occasionally during his one on ones, something interesting would pop up, like Swiggert's progress.

Here is the Coach talking about expectations for this season. I like using Charlotte as a goal, but any bowl would be an accomplishment.

OVerall it was an effective day for Addazio and BC. He said the right things and represented BC well.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

ACC Media kick off links

Sunday was the players' day to speak with the ACC media. Andy Gallik and Dominique Williams performed well and answered questions in a thoughtful, safe and consistent way. As much as we would love for these guys to be a colorful quote, it is probably best that they have smart but boring answers.

Both players answered plenty of questions about replacing Andre Williams.

As you can see from BC's coverage, there was still fun to be had.

The school also released its updated roster Sunday. The only big news was an official status on Shakim Phillips. BC is also using "GS" as a new listing for 5th year/graduate students. Seeing all the GSs on one page is a reminder that this staff has been very creative in adding depth and patch working their roster.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Getting a look at Tyler Murphy

Considering how dependent we are on him this season, we really don't know much about Tyler Murphy. The Spring Game and his stats tell a bit of the story, but did many BC fans watch much Florida Football last year? Fortunately there are a few Youtube clips that provide a little more insight into Murphy's abilities and his experience in game situations. Obviously Florida ran a different offense from BC's and he was surrounded by different players, but the few glimpses are encouraging. Murphy can certainly create and make something out of nothing. He's also shown that given time, he can make pocket passes. Take a look at this series.

This is his first TD.

As you can see, his first instinct is to run. 

This one is not exclusively focused on Murphy, but in it you get to see him throw from the pocket and run.

Here is another set that is not exclusively Murphy but includes more passes.

Does a couple of games in the SEC mean that Murphy will hit the ground running this Fall? Unlikely. But that limited experience is still valuable. He's used to the speed and different defensive looks. Plus Murphy showed that his basics are strong enough to execute our offense. He can throw and he can run. Let's hope he does a lot this season for BC.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Tweets of the Week

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Foster joins Baseball (officially) and other links

After weeks of rumor and speculation, BC finally confirmed that Jim Foster joined the Baseball staff. I will stick by my initial reaction that this was a good hire and a surprising career move for Foster. I hope big things are ahead or he has a deal to take over if they don't. Gambino needs his steady hand, especially now that Chin is gone.'s preview of BC is very complimentary to Addazio. After going from Spaz to Daz, I think most BC fans agree that coaching matters.

Reports out of Green Bay still predict Rettig will be a Practice Squad guy.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

ACC Hotseats

In his latest Mailbag, Stewart Mandel listed the college football coaches most likely to get fired. Former BC staffer and current Virginia Head Coach is No. 2 on the list.  London's ties to BC are deep (TOB is his OC and Spaz's son is walking on this fall). He was also a candidate for the BC job after Gene fired Jags. I preferred him to Spaz at the time, but it looks like he would have struggled at BC too. But London's situation is a reminder that more coaching changes are coming to the conference. They always do. And if we are holding steady with Addazio, coaching changes can be good things for BC.

Fired coaches usually mean a few things. The first is a bad season. Bad seasons from other ACC teams are good things for BC. It opens up bowl slots and can lead to easy wins. A fired coach can also mean a rebuild. Rebuild often lead to more bad seasons. Of course there is always the chance of a quick turnaround, but I expect Wake to struggle this year and it looks like NC State will still be rebuilding under their second year coach.

The majority of ACC coaches are safe. Fisher can do whatever he wants at FSU. Swinney still has good will from his most recent run (but he's got to start beating South Carolina). Duke and Pitt might have ceilings with their current coaches, but their respective consistency makes them safe. Syracuse, Louisville, Wake and UNC have enough invested in their current coaches, that changes are unlikely this season. I think Golden is safe but he's always a candidate for another job. Beamer is safe too, but his transition to retirement is looming.

The only other ACC Coach to truly join London on the Hotseat is Paul Johnson. I like Johnson and think Tech should hang on to him, but he's rubbed enough people the wrong way over the years that his goodwill might run out. There is also the perception among a group of their fans that his offense will never lead to a National Championship.

Virginia and Georgia Tech are not in division, so a shakeup at either place doesn't benefit BC directly. However, we recruit similar types of players and have moved recruiting deeper into both states under Addazio. If either coach gets fired, BC should be able to poach a reluctant recruit or two.

I am glad BC is out of the Hotseat circle for at least another year. Who knows? Maybe Addazio will be a winner and a lifer. For now, I just hope he takes advantage of the chaos at other programs.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Burke's story and other links

Sean Burke is the latest walk-on to earn a scholarship. BC has a long tradition of rewarding walk-ons, but handing them out now is telling. Using open scholarships probably means the staff is no longer expecting any other random 5th year transfers to arise. As for Burke, I am glad his commitment was rewarded. I hope he has a good year.

Women's Tennis sophomore Lexi Borr won the ITA Circuit Tournament Monday.

ESPN's David Hale thinks Josh Bordner is one of the ACC's Wild Cards. I know the staff was very big on Bordner's potential in the Spring. It will be interesting to see how he stacks up in August when there is a full depth chart at WR.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Suggestion to the ACC: move the ACC Media Days to Bristol, CT

If you follow any of the national college football writers on social media, then you know the SEC kicked off its annual Media Days on Monday. There were streams, cut-ins to other ESPN shows, clips, and plenty of pundit talk. This comes as no surprise since ESPN partners with the SEC on their new network. Because they have the most rabid following and a bunch of colorful coaches, the SEC has turned a series of press conferences into an event. All the other conferences are just playing catch up. The ACC has tried various ploys to get more attention, but I think there is only one move left: move the Media Days to ESPN's Corporate Campus.

While Bristol is not ideal for non-ESPN employees and doesn't offer the boondoggle aspects of most of the traditional ACC Media Days locations, it does offer a bonanza of coverage. If ESPN hosted the event it would make their "car wash" sessions seem quaint. Coaches and players could be on all ESPN outlets all day for three days. The rest of the media might not like it, but who cares? As long as the recruits see the ACC schools as elite and as long as ESPN becomes that much more invested in talking and promoting the ACC. 

I don't know if this has ever been floated, but it should. The ACC has nothing to lose. They can always go back to Amelia or Pinehurst or wherever. But having Media Days at the center of the sports world makes too much sense not to try. It is what a smart, ambitious, forward thinking conference would do. It is what the SEC would do and that should be enough to beat them to Bristol.  

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Baseball change rumors and other links

Soaring to Glory and the College Baseball Daily are reporting the URI Head Baseball coach Jim Foster is expected to join Mike Gambino's staff at BC. It is an interesting move on a couple of fronts. Gambino gets a much needed, veteran adviser. However, even coming off a losing season, it is surprising that Foster would leave URI to work with a coach on the hot seat. I am sure BC paid Foster well and will get paid even if Gambino gets fired.

Herzy's fundraiser last week was a success. Thank you to those who supported the event.

BC's win over/under is 4.5.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Fitzgerald's summer and other links

Ryan Fitzgerald is playing well in the Bruins Developmental Camp. The article speculates that BC might move him back to Center from Wing.

In case you missed it, Andy Gallik and Dominique Williams will represent BC at the ACC Media Days next week. Gallik is expected. Williams is somewhat of a surprise. But having him there is a good sign. It means the staff expects him to have a strong season.

Interest is heating up in BC target, Donovan Mitchell. Louisville is the latest to offer the 2015 guard.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Tweets of the Week

Thursday, July 10, 2014

2014 Preview Questions: Is Steven Daniels the best player on Defense?

With all the "Dude" talk and Heisman hype, no one really mentioned that Steven Daniels had a great season. He was active. He was versatile and he was our best tackler. When Daniels got near someone he brought them down. When watching the games back, rarely did he miss a tackler and no one shook him off. He finished the year with 88 tackles (3rd best on the team). This season -- with so few impact players returning on defense -- might be Daniels' time to shine. He will either get swallowed up by the void left in the linebacking corp or take over and dominate.

Daniels' road to the Heights was lined with a few pot holes. He was supposed to be the next great St. X recruit. However, he spent a year Worcester shoring up his academics. Meanwhile the greatest St. X-BC player in school history, Luke Kuechly, was rewriting the record book at Daniels' position of Linebacker. Could anyone fill Kuechly's shoes? Daniels first season was okay but didn't project for his explosion as a sophomore. Last year he finally showed glimpses that he could live up to the St. X legacy.

I don't know how Brown will use Daniels this year. Daniels has enough speed to be used more often in blitz packages. But he can also be used to cover the space left open by other guys rushing. Either way I think he's going to be a difference maker.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

"Smart" Schedule, Take 2

Last season Steve Donahue put together one of the most aggressive basketball schedules in the country. Instead of gaming the RPI (as intended) it blew up, crushed the team and led to Donahue's departure. As always when things don't end well in sports, the new guy usually does things differently from his predecessor. Jim Christian is no different as BC released its 2014-15 non-conference basketball schedule and it is very different from last year and very manageable.

The team plays traditional regional rivals like Harvard, UMass and Providence and the backend of the USC agreement, but everyone else is a middling Mid Major. The team is also committed to the Puerto Rico Tip-off. If the team overachieves and makes a run at the bubble, that tournament will be their best chance to impress the selection committee and the computers.

I don't know what to expect yet from this team, but the schedule should give them a better start than last year's. Six of these games are easy wins and the Harvard, UMass and PC games are all winnable. There will always be concern from ticket holders about the game times or lack of appealing opponents, but that shouldn't be the focus in Year 1. Now we need to win and this schedule is the first step.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Recruiting roundup (football and basketball)

Don Bosco star Daivon Ellison narrowed his list and BC made his final four.

BC was the first to offer 2016 Arizona QB prospect Mason Moran. We offered as a QB but some think he might be a a good defensive prospect.

In basketball news, BC is making a major push for guard Donovan Mitchell. He plays for Brewster and was considered a Providence lean prior to BC's push.

Monday, July 07, 2014

Phillips says he's coming back

BC can't talk about it until he's on campus and enrolled, but Shakim Phillips says he is coming back to the Heights.

Of course this has been long rumored and highly dependent on Shakim wrapping up his UConn degree this summer. All the various summer sessions at UConn conclude in July and August. As soon as he has his degree, he is eligible for practice at BC.

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Gorman pitching well in Cape League and other links

John Gorman is back in the bullpen during this Cape Cod League season. The good news is that he is playing well enough to earn a full roster spot.

Soaring to Glory moved their profile series to key RB Marcus Outlow.

If you're looking for a BC angle at the ESPYs, how about Johnny Gaudreau potentially winning top male college athlete.

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Basketball looking at late bloomer and other links

Connecticut big man Steve Enoch does not have a BC offer yet, but we are one of the many big programs now taking notice. Enoch's growth spurt and good summer showing have helped his standings. Enoch is a 2015 recruit.

Before the holiday, Florida DE Wyatt Ray committed to Addazio. Hopefully a signing like this will open up a recruiting pipeline with his high school traditional Catholic power St. Thomas Aquinas. Ray is big but might be able to play LB at BC.

The ACC named BC runner to Danielle Winslow to its All Academic team.

Friday, July 04, 2014

Happy 4th of July

Tweets of the Week

Thursday, July 03, 2014

2014 Preview Questions: How difficult is the schedule?

One of the less mentioned aspects to last season's bounce back year was our manageable schedule. Three very winnable games in Army, New Mexico State and Villanova, gave Addazio a good base for bowl eligibility. This year the schedule is not as friendly. But how difficult is it?

The experts think BC's got a challenging slate. Phil Steele ranks our Schedule Difficulty at 28 (second most difficult in our division behind Syracuse). As Steele points out, the NCAA's metric considers BC's schedule the 15th most difficult. Most of the computer models also factor in replacing Maryland with Louisville, a road MAC game and playing USC again. On paper it seems like this will be tough. However, when you break things down, I don't know if it is that much worse than last year.

The UMass game in place of New Mexico State is huge boost. NM State was a terrible team, but we traveled to them and their staff had a familiarity with our personnel. UMass is a road game where we don't have to travel and where half the crowd will be BC fans. Colorado State is respectable but we will be favored. USC at home is tough, but they will be breaking in a new staff and travelling a long way early in the season.

As for the ACC schedule...things seem manageable too.  We have winnable road games at NC State and Wake. Toss up games like Pitt and Syracuse are at home. Winning games under any circumstances is tough, but I think we could be favored in at least six of our games. For a young team with a new QB, that doesn't seem too daunting.

If you break it down into parts, the schedule looks fine. Go 3-0 in the "cupcakes," split with the ACC peer programs like Wake, Cuse, Pitt and NC State, and then steal one from the big boys of Clemson, VT, Louisville, and Florida State. That is a respectable six wins, especially in a transition year for a young team. 

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Dunbar's comeback and other links

Last season was a disaster for Jo-Lonn Dunbar. He missed the beginning of the year with a PED suspension and only played in seven games. The Rams even cut him. The team gave him another chance this year and he plans to make the most of it.

Outside of Gallik, most of our seniors seem like longshots for the NFL.

Soaring to Glory's continued their player preview series with Kam Moore.  He seems like the type that woud redshirt.

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Daz gets his second QB

BC talked to a variety of QBs this recruiting season, hoping to find the right second QB. With the commitment of Florida QB Jeff Smith, it looks like Addazio has found his final QB for this cycle.

Smith camped at BC, so the staff is familiar with his abilities. He's also has the size and speed to play another position if he cannot get on the field as a QB. Even if the staff expects Smith to switch positions, I still don't think they will take another QB. They have so many needs and a third QB is not one of them. With just a handful of scholarships left, it will be interesting to see what Addazio does next. We need some big bodies for the OL/DL area and could use another skill player.