Sunday, August 31, 2014

BC vs Pitt a history

Although there isn't a lot of passion around our series with Pitt, there is plenty of history. The teams first played each other in 1959 and then faced off fairly consistently as both were eastern independents. After the formation of the Big East Football conference, the teams played annually until 2004. Pitt leads the series with 16 wins, but both teams dominated long stretches of the matchup. Since we won most of the Pitt games since I became a real BC fan, I only tend to remember the losses and their importance. Two truly standout.

BC played Pitt on Halloween in one of ESPN's Thursday night games. This was at a time when Thursday night games were a huge deal. BC seemed to be in a daze the whole night and there were plenty of missed tackles and blown assignments. The performance was so bad that rumors started spreading that some players purposely threw the game. That wasn't the case, but the gossip and investigation led to the infamous "Gambling Scandal."

At the time this we didn't know the importance of the loss, but it would cost us a Fiesta Bowl appearance as much as the loss to Syracuse did in the season finale (the Panthers actually won the Big East's BCS slot by virtue of a four-way tie). BC came back to tie the game late in the fourth during a huge day for Paul Peterson. However, TOB played for OT on the final possession and we lost in OT. It was a bitter way to end it all since we had lost to Pitt two years earlier on sloppy Heinz Field while TOB played it to conservatively.

As we renew the series, I know it won't all be easy, but I hope the rare losses are less painful or impactful.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Murphy puts on show against Minutemen

While the win over UMass is only one game, this BC offense will feel different from any we've seen in 25 years (or maybe even 35 years). Unlike past run-first BC squads, this one truly has a mobile QB. It was Tyler Murphy's feet that kept drives alive and it was Tyler Murphy's run that finally broke open the game. The transfer QB also threw a nice TD pass to Josh Bordner. It wasn't a perfect day for Murph or the D, but it was a good start. This is the type of game that builds confidence, yet also leaves the coaches with plenty to improve.

I am on the road, so I don't know when I will put up the grades and second viewing thoughts, but it will probably come Monday. Before then, I will have some other post and thoughts on the game. Including some pics from people at the game.

In-game comments post: UMass

A new season starts against an old foe. However, now UMass is FBS we can call it the "Battle of the Bay State." If the season is going to be special, it starts today. Leave your comments and thoughts below.

You can also follow me on Twitter.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Game Watches: UMass

Labor Day Weekend makes scheduling Game Watches a little tricky, but some local BC Chapters are getting the season off to a strong start. The game is on ESPN3 so that means watching a stream somewhere. But the good news is that most bars will stream any game if enough fans get together. If your Chapter is hosting an event and it is not listed, post it in the comments section.

Chicago Game Watch
Nic and Dino's Tripoli Tap
1147 W Armitage (Armitage Brown/Purple Line L)

Dallas Game Watch
Corner Bar
4830 McKinney Ave.

New York City Game Watch
Joshua Tree
513 3rd Avenue (between 34th and 35th Street)
New York, N.Y.

San Diego Game Watch
The Beer Company
602 Broadway St.
San Diego

San Francisco Game Watch
Shanghai Kelly's
2064 Polk St.
San Francisco

Tweets of the Week

Thursday, August 28, 2014

BC-UMass preview

Despite this nonsense, no one really cares about this game. But I will keep pounding the drum that good UMass Football is good for BC. Will this game make much of a difference for either team or football in the Bay State? Probably not. Even if the Minutemen pull off an upset, few outside the hardcore fans will remember it years from now. In 2014 this game is not about building a rivalry or changing the football culture in New England. It is about BC starting its second season with Addazio. And for that, I am excited.

What's on my mind (not totally related to this game)
For me -- and a few other BC fans -- Mark Whipple is our bad penny. When he was winning big at UMass, he seemed so much more dynamic than TOB. When the BC job opened, so many expected him to get the job. Now years later as he has bounced around college and the NFL, his luster is certainly gone. I don't begrudge him, but I don't look back on what might have been had he taken over in 2007. Will he be able to lift UMass out of the depths of FBS? I don't know. It is a young man's game and UMass' commitment to football is always in doubt. If it doesn't work out in Amherst, I am sure he will show up somewhere else in football where he will face BC.

Three Simple Keys
1. Rush for 250 yards or more. We are a young team and Whipple knows how to prepare for Brown's Defense. If we want to control the tempo and the scoreboard we need to run the ball over and over. I don't care if one runner dominates or if it is a group effort. I just think we need to run for at least 250 yards to win.
2. Convert field goal attempts. Freese was one of the underappreciated aspects of last year's team. Howell is not nearly as sharp. Conditions and the surface should be pretty ideal. He needs to build his confidence.
3. Get at least three sacks. Because of their history, I expect a little cat and mouse between Whipple and Brown. But even if we ease off of the blitzing, there should still be some pressure that comes organically.

Gambling Notes
-- Addazio is 3-0 in season openers as a head coach. (All were against Villanova.)
-- BC has lost five straight road openers.
-- BC leads the series 18-5.
The current line is BC-17

BC last played in Foxboro in 1987. We lost to Penn State 27-17.

Scoreboard Watching
I am interested in how Pitt does against Delaware. This is a short week for both teams. Delaware is a good FCS program, but Pitt should win. The best indicator for our game is if Delaware can run the ball on them.

I hope to see...
Murphy look really poised. I don't think we are going to air it out. I also don't think the environment will create much pressure on him. But that doesn't mean that he won't be nervous or make mistakes. Ideally he will look like an experienced fifth-year senior. If he's calm and confident, it can carry BC a long way this season.

BC is in trouble if...
UMass scores early. I know Villanova took an early lead last year and we came back, but this is different. The game is on the road. We are playing an FBS team. We are young. Things could unravel. That is why I want to establish the run in the first quarter.

Bottom Line
I don't think anything will be easy this year, but I am not truly worried about blowing this game. I think we have enough of a talent advantage, that our inexperience won't be an issue. BC will take control in the first half and win by a comfortable margin.
Final Score: BC 31, UMass 13

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Official Basketball schedule released

Aside from the coaching change the biggest difference between last year's basketball season and this one will be the schedule. Although the previous staff's commitments to the Coaches vs Cancer games and the Puerto Rico Tip-off could not be changed, the rest of the non-conference schedule is easier. BC plays Harvard and Providence as usual, but also takes it easier with Marist, Maine and UMass-Lowell. The new ACC's rotations kick in too. We get Louisville for the first time as a conference foe and Pitt comes back to Conte.

Brian noted the abundance of 9 PM starts, but to me that is a non-issue. Attendance is going to be terrible this year regardless of when the games are played. Christian understands this but he's not going to go out and shake every student's hand to get them to games. His marketing plan is about winning basketball. TV dictates so much, we are going to see 9 PM starts from here to eternity. It is up to BC to provide winning basketball and rethink the capacity and configuration of Conte so that it is right-sized for the demand. We play Notre Dame, Syracuse and UNC in heart of the season at home. If we are playing good basketball and near .500, I think crowds will be decent.

Scheduling undid last year. That won't be the case this year. Confidence means a lot in basketball. I hope fattening up on the non-conference teams makes us more competitive come ACC play.

Depth Chart for UMass

BC released the official Depth Chart for the UMass game. Nothing really surprised as most of these names had been floating around the various message boards for days.

The mild surprise based on last season is Duggan starting over Daniels. But it was rumored through the summer that Duggan was playing very well. I am sure both will see plenty of action. Once you see it on paper, you realize how big our starting WRs are. I imagine they will be blocking often.

What is not listed who else will get on the field when we go with Jumbo packages. Last year Betancourt was usually the first one off the bench.

The final thought that hit me as I looked at the page, was how much of the team is already Addazio's. We clearly pay attention to the attrition and turnover, but seeing the roster really hits it home.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Season Prediction Part III: what will happen

Last year BC overachieved. Some of that was luck, but a lot of it was coaching. I felt Addazio played to his strengths while still instilling his values and philosophies. While putting that sort of imprint on a team doesn't guarantee permanent success, I do think it will serve BC well as he navigates through his second season. We are also experienced in a few places that can mask a lot of issues (QB and OLine). Yet I am still a realist. I don't think we will win the ACC, but I do think we go bowling again. It won't be easy, but my gut tells me it will still be fun.

Here are my official predictions for the season.

What Will Happen

at UMass. Win. We pound them and I also think Don Brown will know just what to do against his old buddy Whipple.

Pitt. Win. I think this will be one of the toughest games of our peer programs. But I think we can steal a win at home against a solid Pitt team.

USC. Loss. USC doesn't smother the offense again, but we still cannot overcome their talent advantages.

Maine. Win. Maine might be a decent FCS team, but we are not going to lose this game.

Colorado State. Win. I don't like the matchup against CSU. I still think we win, but it won't be pretty.

at NC State. Loss. NC State should be much better this season. I also think the first road game of the season will be a challenge.

Clemson. Loss. I fear that some of the games we kept close last year won't be close this season. 

at Wake Forest. Win. Wake will have trouble stopping our rushing attack and BC nears bowl eligibility. 

at Virginia Tech. Loss. I don't think Virginia Tech is all that good, but I do think road wins will be tough to come by this year.

Louisville. Loss. This is the toughest part of the season. The defense struggles and the rest of the schedule looks daunting. 

at Florida State. Loss. This is ugly. All of us are wondering if Addazio can rally the guys in the final week.

Syracuse. Win. Another tough, close game. BC pulls it out to get to six wins and become bowl eligible.

6-6 (4-4) leaves BC eligible for bowls but totally unwanted. ESPN and the ACC force us on the Bitcoin Bowl in Tampa. To offset the lack of BC tickets, the bowl selects USF as our opponent. It becomes a virtual road game but that doesn't bother our hardened team. We win a close game and finish 7-6. It is not a historic BC season but it sets the right tone for recruiting and Addazio's future. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Captains announced and other links

BC announced their 2014 Captains. They are Josh Bordner, Sean Duggan, Andy Gallik and Dominique Williams. It is an interesting collection and I always appreciate when it is not the best players elected captain (other than Gallik, I wouldn't say the others are obvious choices based on past performance). I hope that the honor means that the team thinks these guys are ready for a big season or that they are putting thought into the vote and electing true examples for team leadership. Or hopefully both and these captain are good guys ready to have great seasons. I know that the tradition and legacy is drilled into these players, so I am sure they are all honored.

Tim Joy injured his knee and will miss the entire season. Fortunately we have depth at Linebacker. I wish him a full recovery and hopefully he can redshirt and play two more years.

UMass released their depth chart for the game. BC's is floating out on message boards, but the official chart has yet to be released.

Season Prediction Part II: best case scenario

Things don't always go wrong. Sometimes every bounce can go your way and you end up overachieving. I don't feel that way this year, but who knows? Maybe things will go our way. If Murphy has a big season and if the defense improves as Brown's units do in Year 2, we might be the surprise team of the ACC. I don't think this will happen, but it could.

Best Case Scenario

at UMass. Win. Not even close. BC controls and the offense looks great without Andre Williams.

Pitt. Win. This is a close game, but BC creates a few turnovers that kill Pitt drives.

USC. Win. This is a signature win for the season and it is early. BC catches USC a bit jetlagged and benefits from playing them a week after Stanford. We pound away and win by a healthy margin.

Maine. Win. The backups play and BC is off to a 4-0 start. Everyone is pumped.

Colorado State. Win. Not a great game, but another win. BC enters the Top 25.

at NC State. Win. Like CSU, this is another game where BC does not play particularly well, but still escapes with the win. It is the luck I hoped for plus a good rushing attack.

Clemson. Loss. The Dream Season bubble bursts as we lose our first game.

at Wake Forest. Win. Wake is bad and I think we beat them in any type of season.

at Virginia Tech. Win. Although this is not a great Hokie squad, the win gets BC some more respect and gets us back into the Top 25.

Louisville. Loss. But then we fall right out again as a solid Louisville team puts up big numbers on our Defense.

at Florida State. Loss. The Champs are cruising and the game is not close. With the loss we are eliminated from the Division title.

Syracuse. Win. A solid end to the regular season. We avenge last season's heartbreaker.

The 9-3 (5-3) surprises everyone including most Bowl Committees. No one wants us but we cannot slip down too far due to our 5-3 ACC record. We end up in the Sun Bowl playing Stanford. We cap off the season with another upset win and finish with a 10-3 record and a Top 25 ranking. It is a huge accomplishment and has everyone on the bandwagon for the Addazio era.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Season Prediction Part I: worst case scenario

I couldn't be more excited about the season. I think Addazio did a good job of plugging holes and I think we can be competitive with most of our opponents. However, things don't always play out that way. This is my annual tradition of forecasting a season that goes off the rails. As a reminder, I don't think this will happen and I will make an official prediction later in the week. But if a few things go wrong, this is how the season could play out.

Worst Case Scenario

at UMass. Win. I am sure Whipple has extra motivation for this game, but that can't cover the flaws in his roster. It is closer than the spread, but BC wins.

Pitt. Loss. Pitt does the things we want to do, only they do them better. It is not a high scoring game, because both teams spend a lot of time running, but BC cannot keep it close. 

USC. Loss. Last year we played them amidst the chaos of Lane Kiffin...and it wasn't close. This year they are more than ready and the difference in talent is more noticeable.

Maine. Win. Like UMass, this isn't pretty but we do enough right to control the game and lock up a win.

Colorado State. Loss. One of the turning points between an okay season and a bad one. BC let's this game slip away and leaves us wondering if there is a guaranteed third win on the schedule.

at NC State. Loss. Our first true road game of the season and it does not go well. Murphy struggles and we start to wonder if it is time to play one of the freshmen.

Clemson. Loss. Remember the close, physical game at Clemson last year? So does Clemson. They take us seriously from the start and never allow a big play.

at Wake Forest. Win. Wake has a lot of problems and holes in their roster. Addazio still does enough to rally the boys and get an ACC road win. 

at Virginia Tech. Loss. Typical BC game in Blacksburg. We play hard but the big plays all go their way and we come out with a loss.

Louisville. Loss. Their offense destroys our defense as the heavy blitzing just leads to big plays.

at Florida State. Loss. At this point the Seminoles are cruising and looking to impress Committee members. They hang 50 on us.

Syracuse. Loss. I think this could be another close game that doesn't go our way again.

Even at 3-9, no one is calling for Addazio's head. Most understand this is a transition year. In this case, it leads to a few more transfers and another big recruiting class. But it does reset expectations for 2015 and puts pressure on the young guys to contribute. As I said, I am confident this won't happen...but it could. 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Brown signs and serves as model for Christian recruiting

As expected former Southern Miss wing Aaron Brown signed with BC. He's immediately eligible and will start working out with the team right away. After losing out on Terance Mann earlier in the week, locking up Brown is a good sign. Missing on Mann and getting Brown is probably a good look into Christian's future.

Christian has made it clear that he's not going to overload the 2015 recruiting class with freshman. I would expect four and a maximum of five freshmen coming in next year. He'll then back fill the open scholarships with more traditional transfers and a few fifth years. This makes sense on so many fronts. It breaks the cycle of long rebuilds led by one mega class that started with the Raji-Paris-Sanders class under Skinner and continued with Donahue's first full class.

Better distributing the scholarships and adding older players should lead to a more consistent program. If we are ever going to be elite, Christian will have to land a few more players like Mann, but for now a roster of Brown types would be an improvement.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Tweets of the Week

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Mann to FSU

Wednesday, prized recruit Terance Mann verbaled to Florida State. As a local product and one of BC's biggest targets, this is disappointing all around. Donahue worked Mann hard and the new staff kept the pressure on the Tilton School product. In fact there was gossip in the final weeks of the season that if Mann committed, it would have saved Donahue's job. In retrospect, things weren't that close.

Where does this leave Christian and Company? He now has to find more perimeter prospects. It would have been nice to close out on the best kids in New England, but there are plenty of good players out there. BC also has a ton of available scholarships, so I expect them to include a transfer or two in this recruiting class.

I am still giving Christian plenty of time. Losing out on one or two high profile guys is not the end of the world. Think of the bloggers though. Losing Terance Mann means we don't get to fill posts and twitter with tons of Field of Dreams references.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Ranking the most critical players

When Braxton Miller went down earlier in the week, I tweeted about BC's good fortune in missing the injury bug this summer. Of course this sort of mocking of the football gods will come back to bite me (and BC) and leave the roster decimated. But of all these hypothetical injuries which one would be the most serious? For example a injury to Tyler Murphy would be a bigger deal than an injury to Myles Willis. Not because Murphy is a better player, but because Willis' position is one of the few where we have depth. It is all subjective but here is my ranking of the most critical players for the 2014 season. Leave your thoughts or rebuttals below.

1. Tyler Murphy. Although he has never thrown a pass for BC, he's the starting QB in a QB dependent system and the only QB on the roster with any experience. If he gets hurt, we are forced to rollout a true, raw freshman.
2. Shakim Phillips. Assuming Swigert is not going to be 100% to start the season, Phillips might be our only experienced WR. We are going to run a lot, but we need a capable WR to be a threat or else we will face stacked defenses all season.
3. Steven Daniels. The fact that he is in a position battle may indicate that we are deeper at LB than expected, but Daniels remains the most experienced and productive linebacker in a linebacker dependent system.
4. Myles Willis. Willis won't approach Andre Williams' carries, but he is our most explosive offensive player. I expect him to be a critical part of the passing offense too.
5. Andy Gallik. Most of our OLine could and have played multiple positions on the offensive line. The nuances of Center are a little more tricky, making Gallik harder to replace. He's also expected to be our best OLineman too.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

We have a name for our gold, but where is "SuperFan Yellow?"

My BC catalog arrived Tuesday, which is like Christmas around here. I don't actually buy anything and I could already look up 99% of the stuff online, but getting it in flimsy, old school magazine page style form is still exciting. I go over each item and think "I'd wear that." I also read all the descriptions, which is how I finally realized we have a name for the gold BC uses. According to the Follet Company (publishers of the catalog) our khaki-like, sort of muted gold is called "Vegas Gold." Has this been a long-time descriptor and I am now just picking up on it? I know BC didn't create the name "Vegas Gold" and has been using this type of gold for a while, but reading the Vegas name makes it seem all that more official.

For the longest time BC's colors were all over the place on officially licensed gear. Some shirts looked like ketchup and mustard and others looked like eggplant and tan. Now I think we are finally establishing some consistency. Most of the items in the catalog all seem to have the same shades of maroon and gold. If that is due to picking an official color, then job well done to whoever took control of the situation. Yet now as we finally have some consistency, I want to shake things up. I want more SuperFan Yellow.

You can buy SuperFan shirts online and a few different SuperFan Yellow items, but no BC team has worn a jersey or uniform inspired by the SuperFan colors. Instead of pushing the "gold outs" or stainglass trim, it is about time that BC rolls out a special SuperFan jersey. Don't make it a regular thing. Do it as part of the marketing deal with Under Armour.

I know a lot goes into the marketing and scheduling of special uniforms. I appreciate what BC's done to increase the consistency and quality of our official merchandise. But now that the basics are locked down, it is time to try a SuperFan jersey.

(P.S. The Georgia catalog has yet to arrive. I will let you know it is deja vu again.)

Monday, August 18, 2014

One more hoops transfer?

Southern Miss granted grad student Aaron Brown a partial release to transfer. Because he has his degree, he is eligible to play immediately. He visited campus Monday and will obviously make his decision soon. Based on the approaching semester and the limited number of openings at other schools, BC's chances look good. Where else can Brown play in a major conference right away? He also has a bit of history with Preston Murphy.

Any new bodies are welcome, but wing/perimeter players remains one area where BC has depth. I think Christian can and will take Brown, but I don't know if he's a season changer. I would prefer a true point or another big, but Brown is better than not using a scholarship.

With or without Brown, it is still hard to know what to expect of this team. It is going to be a mismatch of style and roster and we have no idea what we are getting out of our bigs or how much Hanlan can do on his own. But picking up Brown this late gives us one more option. I'll take it.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Peter Frates' story on ESPN

ESPN finally told the story of Peter Frates -- the guy who made the Ice Bucket Challenge go viral. It was produced by my friend and BC grad Drew Gallagher. Watch it and remember that this is what the Challenge is all about.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Milano to Columbus and other links

After repeatedly proclaiming he was coming to BC, incoming recruit Sonny Milano signed with Columbus and will forego his college career. As much as it sets back BC's program, I trust York and team to fill this potential gap. Good luck to Milano.

Former BC Hockey player Corey Griffin died in Nantucket Saturday morning.

The second scrimmage was a bit sloppy. You can credit the defense, but Addazio was more concerned about the turnovers.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Tweets of the Week

Thursday, August 14, 2014

All college football schedules now written in pencil

The rumored is now official as BC and Ohio State pushed back their series to 2023 and 2024. It is nice to have the games on paper but I doubt it ever happens. Nine years is an eternity in any sport, but especially one like college football. The rules, philosophies and leaders change so often, you can't count on anything beyond a season or two. BC and Ohio State will certainly have new football coaches and ADs by the time the series is played. Any of those four people could kill the series as it approaches for a myriad of reasons. I am disappointed but not heart broken. I don't care about playing Ohio State. I care about playing interesting and historically strong teams. The good news about college football's constant chaos is that there will be good games in the near future.

The biggest unknown with regards to college football scheduling is the new Power 5. The majority of coaches want to keep scheduling to just the Power 5. That's where the most TV and ticket money is too, so I assume ADs and TV executives will follow. That's a good thing for fans. Instead of a series of MAC or FCS games, all of our out of conference games would be against respectable teams. And the good news is that it won't cost BC a ton of money. If it is mandated by the new rules of the Power 5, scheduling good games will actually become easier. That might lead to some random games (BC vs Mississippi State! or BC vs Texas Tech!), but any type of Power 5 team would be an improvement over some of the random teams we've hosted in recent years.

The only downside of the Power 5 mandate is that we would lose out on some traditional opponents like Army or the chance to play newly scholarshiped FCS teams like Fordham or Holy Cross. But give me exciting football over nostalgia any day.

Outside of mandates, the other unknown is the ACC's potential ninth game. But as I've written before, that is probably the conference's last card to play.

For now all Bates and Addazio can do is work the phones and look for good schedule opportunities in the next two seasons. Beyond that it is just a waiting game. With the way this also shakes out we might end of playing Ohio State well before 2023.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Predict the attendance for BC-UMass

A vocal group of BC fans have long proclaimed that attendance at home games would be better if Alumni had more parking and friendlier tailgating rules. I have never bought into that logic, but it has served as common Straw man when discussing BC's attendance issues and the game day restrictions imposed by BC's neighbors. I don't want to set up dueling Straw men, but I do think BC's game against UMass in Gillette Stadium is a good test to see how much tailgating matters.

But I will acknowledge that just because the game is being played in Massachusetts doesn't mean the majority of our season ticket holders will go. There are multiple reasons why BC fans won't turn out in droves: Labor Day Weekend is already a tough time to host a football game, Foxoborough traffic can be bad on game days, the effort to buy and pay for another ticket, and UMass is terrible. With only a few weeks remaining until kickoff, I don't get the sense that many BC fans are going. And given the history, not many UMass fans will be there either.

Last year UMass' listed attendance for their home opener against Maine was 15,624. For their home opener in 2012, UMass listed attendance at 16,304. When BC last played UMass at Alumni, 30,176 showed up. Given the history and all the factors, my prediction for this game is 22,000. That won't be enough for BC to justify changing our rules or using Gillette as an occasional venue, but we will be able to take credit for a significant increase in UMass' gate.

What do you think? Are you going? How many people will they claim showed up? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Practice Dog Days and other links

These are the toughest practices now. The energy and freshness of opening camp is gone and the games are still far off. This is the chance for players to impress, but BC also risks injury on every play. We won't hear much in the next few weeks either. Addazio wants to control details coming out, so some of the regulars writers and bloggers have been asked to cut back on their specificity (regarding depth, reps, etc.). I know Addazio is not the first coach to do this, but I think he is making a mistake. If your season is so dependent on what a future opponent might gleam from twitter or a practice write up, then you have bigger issues.  A coach should be focused on preparation and execution. Don't waste time with the media.

Last week I speculated on what the new NCAA rules might do to college hockey. Joseph Gravellese took the issue further with a strong post at BCI.

This isn't BC specific, but it is a very good article about college recruiting. The coaches own up to how low their actual hit rates are in scouting. The biggest challenges are maturity and puberty. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

2014 Preview Questions: Will this be like Addazio's second year at Temple?

Last season was great. Even after losing much of last year's team there is plenty of optimism about Year 2 of Addazio. Temple fans know that optimism. They shared it when Addazio led them back to the Big East in his second year. Yet things did not go well. Temple slid back to their all too familiar losing ways and the coach bailed when BC came calling. I don't expect this season to be easy but I also don't expect a repeat of Addazio's second year in Philly. Fortunately there are enough differences between the two situations for BC fans to feel hope.

The conference transition. Switching conferences can be tough. It is even tougher when there is a big jump in talent. As strong as the program was, Temple still probably wasn't ready to move from the MAC. Addazio recruited well, but much of that talent was young in 2012.

New Offensive Coordinator. Want to add a degree of difficulty to a conference move? How about changing OCs! I like Ryan Day and Addazio is a former OC, so all his Coordinators are influenced by him, but things were bumpy in Year 2. Some of it was due to injuries and depth. Eventually they started clicking once they started using creative run schemes (sound familiar?) but it was too late to save the season record.

Frontloaded schedule. After taking on Villanova, Addazio took on Maryland and Penn State out of conference. BC's out of conference schedule is not as challenging and we get to start our season at home or in Gillette.

The other change is that Addazio is two year wiser. He's now been through a Year 2. Ideally he's learned and can avoid the same mistakes that hurt Temple in 2012.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Skinner's name floated for job and other links

College of Charleston is looking for a new coach after the abrupt dismissal of Doug Wojcik. Of course Al is getting mentioned. The favorite is C of C grad Anthony Johnson. I don't expect Skinner to get the job, but I think he'd be perfect. Plus who else are they going to get on such short notice?

Chase Rettig got extended playing time in the Packers' preseason game. It wasn't a great showing.

This article on Baker and Troy Flutie is a few days old but worth the read. Troy's recruitment and potential position has been a loaded issue from Day 1. It looks like he is handling it well. Let's hope he develops but isn't forced into playing this year.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Sloppy first scrimmage: no big deal; Bordner forced to fill in at QB: big deal

BC held their first scrimmage Saturday. Predictably, the play was sloppy. Addazio addressed the issue with the media and reprimanded the fumbles and said the team will need to practice tackling. Wisely, he said that he avoided too much tackling last year. However, this team is young and green and needs to work on that aspect.

I am sure things will get better with each scrimmage. They always do.

The one issue that sent off alarms for me was when Austin Tedesco tweeted that Bordner was playing QB. He later clarified that Wade sat out with a hamstring issue and is not expected to miss much time. But flipping Bordner back to QB -- even as just an emergency backup -- is not a good sign. If he is forced into QB duty, it wastes much of the time invested in his transition to WR. Hopefully Murphy and Wade stay healthy and Flutie matures enough to become the emergency guy. Because we need Bordner at WR too. I am optimistic about the offense, but a few injuries could turn the season upsidedown.

Friday, August 08, 2014

Tweets of the Week

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Big 5 one step closer to leaving NCAA

The biggest news of the day was the NCAA's decision to allow members of the Big 5 to create a new set of standards for staff, recruiting, academics and of course player compensation. The New York Times has a good breakdown of what it all means. The new guidelines are still vague enough that no one really knows what schools will do. Just assume that all of this will lead to an expanded arms race. If Alabama pays each student $2,000 annually and takes parents to the bowl games, you can be sure that all the other SEC schools will follow. And then all the other Big 5s will follow too. 

This all might seem like a losing proposition for BC with our smaller fanbase and smaller revenue streams, but I actually see a role for us. If the Big 5 really close ranks and only play each other, I think it will create a lot more parity. The bigger programs won't be able to pad win totals with cupcakes. That leads to more pressure to win and more coaching turnover. If we can play close to our historical norm, I think we will be much more stable and have our occasional runs of greatness. 

Reader Rog raised a question about hockey. The majority of hockey schools are not part of the Big 5. If BC and the hockey Big Ten pay, it might make college hockey awfully lopsided. But hockey is not the priority. It will be football first and then what can they do with March Madness.

The Big 5 doesn't provide lifetime membership, so there is always the chance that BC ends up out of the picture down the road. I will take that chance though since this move removes one more layer of hypocrisy.

#IceBucketChallenge wave grows and why I waited

Steve Addazio finally took the #IceBucketChallenge. He's just the latest high-profile member of the BC Community to take part in the viral sensation. BC didn't start the Challenge, but it caught on among Eagles and has raised plenty of awareness and some money in honor of Pete Frates' battle with ALS.

A.J. challenged me a few days ago. I ignored it mostly because I was travelling and there wasn't a good time or location to pull it off. But I also waited because something didn't feel right. I don't know Pete Frates and I haven't given a penny to his struggle. I knew Dick Kelley well and even from afar, was pained to see how he dealt with ALS. I don't considering dumping ice on myself much of a challenge compared to what anyone with ALS faces. And I know I am not the only one who feels this way. Alex Carpenter tweeted it better than I could:

I try to avoid telling people what to do with their time or money, but my suggestion is don't let the #icebucketchallenge just be about social media. Give. I don't care if it is to Frates or something ALS related. Give to BC. Give to a local school. Give to a church or hospital. There are thousands of worthy charities out there. Find one that means something to you or your family or your friends. That is how Frates started this. He took the viral challenge and made it his own. Good for him. Now remember that his example is not the ice. It is the money and time. Give what you can. It is what this is all about.

To show that I am not a total party pooper, I did finally take the challenge once I was back in Georgia. I am not challenging anyone specifically. Do whatever you can or want to do, but make sure it is about more than ice. Plenty of good organizations could use your time and money.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Can BC close on their rumored hoops prospects?

Earlier this week a flood of tweets and articles came out regarding Jim Christian's recruits (here, here and here). BC is in play for four elite 2015 prospects: Terance Mann, Donovan Mitchell, Josh Sharma, and Aaron Falzon. Recruiting a bunch of elite guys is an improvement. Getting mentioned by a bunch of elite prospects is an improvement. But none of it matters if Christian's staff doesn't close on a few of these guys.

In fairness to Donahue's recruiting, he was involved with Mann and Falzon. However, in most cases he was looking for certain types of players and often moved off elite guys if BC was getting ignored. That's not the case with the new staff. By all accounts they are bulldogs and are travelling more than their predecessors.

I think Christian will land at least one of these targets. Hopefully one will lead to another. Right now they are selling playing time and the opportunity to bring BC back. "Putting a ______ on the map" is an old trick of every struggling program, but it works.

Landing elite recruits doesn't guarantee anything. Skinner's most coveted class disappointed. Christian will still have to fill out his roster with a few mid-level guys and he will also have to prove that he can develop the talent once it is on campus. But for now we have least on Twitter.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Sharing disrespect and other links

If I wanted I could fill this blog up with thousands of posts about the media and other fans disrespecting BC Sports. It always feels like everyone is a doubter or a hater. But we are not the only fanbase that feels that way. Look at this post from a Syracuse site that is offended that a few members of the media think BC might be better than the Orange. I guess it is nice knowing we are not is also nice to know a few people also think we are better than Syracuse.

Day 2 went off without a hitch. The team leaders provided quotes on prep and each other.

BC's first opponent in the Puerto Rico Tip-off will be New Mexico.

This news broke earlier in the week, but Sonny Milano confirmed he's coming to BC and not heading to the NHL or Canadian Juniors yet.

Monday, August 04, 2014

The realities of the new season

BC began practice Monday. I am excited and it seems like the players and coaches are. I am also optimistic, however, that optimism is tempered by BC's key issues: depth and experience. The biggest news related to depth is the departure of James Walsh. He was hardly the linchpin of the season, but his transfer means BC enters the season with just three scholarship QBs in Murphy, Wade and Flutie. Walsh never showed that he could lead a ACC winning team, but I hoped that he would stick around and alleviate the need for Wade to play this year. Now any chance of Wade redshirting is gone. Flutie also had the chance to contribute as a WR. Now he probably needs to focused solely on QB. The team will live or die with Murphy, so pray that he stays healthy.

BC's own twitter recap captured how many new faces are around. Like Addazio, I am not worried about the new faces. While not experienced overall, we do have plenty of experience on the Offensive Line. Those guys can cover a lot of mistakes and issues and get BC through our rough games. The area where lack of depth and experience is most glaring is WR. But once again, Addazio feels good about those guys. They might not be fast or proven, but at least they will be big.

The Coach admitted that you can't learn much from this sort of opener. It is all about gradual improvement. BC will hold some scrimmages in the coming weeks as they prepare for UMass.

The reality for all of us is that we don't know what to expect. For so long we were a predictable program. Now we're not and considering it is only the first day of Year 2, I don't think that is a problem.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Falzon visits and other links

One of Jim Christian's top recruiting targets was on campus Friday. Falzon is important on many fronts, but I want to land him most because he is local. BC can be successful without Massachusetts players, but it would be nice to change the perception and history locally.

Momah's rust and effort ruined his chances with Philly last year. He's not making the same mistakes this year.

As explained in this article, Jason Swepson drove the initial schedued meeting between BC and Elon. Now that he is gone, they understandably dropped us and added Wake.

BC now has interest in WR prospect Bryce Dixon.

Friday, August 01, 2014

Tweets of the Week