Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Early season start times announced

The ACC and BC released the start times for the first few weeks of the season. Some were already known and some were a surprise.

The first game is a bit out of BC's control. We will play Northern Illinois on a Friday night at 9:30 PM on CBS Sports. That is a little late for our players and our fans on the east coast. There's not much BC could do though. As the home team, Northern Illinois' TV partner picks the start time.

The second game is a 1 PM start at home vs Wake. The 1 PM games are good for tailgaters, but frustrating for a program perspective. This game will not be on real TV. We can all stream it via ACC/ESPN, but that is not the same.

The Notre Dame game will be at noon. That is also somewhat surprising. These days the Irish rarely play the noon game. The have a good west coast following and the early start makes it harder for those fans. I still expect it to be BC's highest rated Saturday game of the season.

The only game that might get a better rating is the prime time game against Florida State on a Friday night.

All the other start times will be announced during the season once our TV partners know which matchups are actually going to be good.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Hugh Davis video and other links

Here is more video and analysis of BC's latest verbal, Hugh Davis. It is only drills in a highlight video, but the guy looks fast and explosive.

Sailing finished 4th at Nationals.

This is 247's Notre Dame site previewing BC.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Remember the BC Memorial Database

Some of you may not realize this, but Boston College has a very extensive and thoughtful database of all its alumni veterans who died in the line of military duty.

I attended BC during a time of relative peace. It was after the Cold War and before 9/11, so threats to our country and security seemed like a thing of the past. But even then there was a strong ROTC program and many of my classmates dedicated themselves to protecting and serving our country. The Memorial database is a reminder that Boston College alums have been serving and protecting our country since the school's founding and many made the ultimate sacrifice for the peace and prosperity of the United States. Thanks to all of them.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Lax falls in Championship game to Maryland

A great run came up short as the Women's Lacrosse team lost to Maryland in the National Championship game. The first half was a great performance. BC fell behind early, then rallied to tie the game and stifled Maryland's offense. The second half was more of a struggle as the Terps would get a lead, BC would cut into it and then Maryland would build a lead again. In the end there wasn't enough time for another comeback.

While it is disappointing to come this far and not win, this game and run was a program builder. BC can now sell this success to more elite recruits. I think there are many Lax titles in the school's futures.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Addazio riding recruiting momentum

It has been a busy few days for Steve Addazio and his staff. On Friday they picked up a verbal commitment from Indiana LB Hugo Davis. The services have Davis as a three star player. BC is one of his better offers but this guy seems like a good fit on and off the field. Saturday brought more good news. New Jersey LB Vinny DePalma committed. He's got offers from Duke, Pitt and Wisconsin and is the type of player we should get. The other thing I like about DePalma is seeing it as a sign of our New Jersey strength.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Lax headed to Championship game

It is so close, you can feel it. After beating Navy Friday, BC is now one win away from a National Championship in Lacrosse. The girls needed a second-half comeback to advance, but it doesn't matter how you win -- just as long as you win.

Next up is top-seeded Maryland. The teams faced each other mid-season and the Terps won. But this BC team is very hot and ready to take on anyone.

Here are the final seconds of the game via BCI Look at the excitement of the girls. Take all on Sunday!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Alumni is getting new turf

For something that is supposed to last a long time, BC has changed the playing surface at Alumni quiet a bit over the last few years. The school and Astroturf just announced that Alumni will be getting a new rug. It is part of an extension with the synthetic grass company that will also include the baseball/softball fields and the Indoor Practice facility.

No costs were disclosed, but I assume BC got an significant break on the early upgrade to the Alumni surface due to selecting AstroTurf for all the new fields and facilities. BC made the switch to Astroturf from FieldTurf in 2012. For those of us who remember the original "astroturf," have no fear. This is not the hard flat green carpet. Astroturf's current solution has the modern feel with blades of fake grass and mini rubber pellets to cushion falls. To the average fan -- and probably many players -- there is no noticiable difference between AstroTurf and their competitor, FieldTurf.

It seems like AstroTurf is pretty proud of their BC deal. The lone stadium field on their Wikipedia page is of Alumni. After losing so much market share when FieldTurf came on the scene -- including losing the BC deal in 2004 -- it seems like AstroTurf has rebounded and is building up an impressive collection of stadiums.

As long as the deal makes sense and the players are happy, I don't care what brand BC uses for turf. I just hope that they take this opportunity to change the midfield logo. New turf would be a perfect time to get rid of the italics lettering in the logo.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

BC win totals from CFN

Last week, the leading gaming service released their 2017 win totals for college football. However, BC only earned a "N/A." Most of the teams selected at the bottom of their conference received the same status. This is partially due to lack of interest and the fickle nature of predicting the bottom of a Power 5 conference. If scheduled well, a lower Power 5 team can walk right into five wins. Although the gaming experts are avoiding BC, CFN is not. They put the over/under on BC wins at 5.5.

I don't bet, but the over on 5.5 seems like easy money to me. I will get into season predictions later in the summer, but winning the three non-Power 5 games, and then getting three wins out of ACC and ND play doesn't seem too much to me.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Baseball drops ACC Tourney opener to NC State

BC left too many on base in a critical ACC Tournament loss to NC State. Jacob Stevens gave BC a solid start but BC failed to capitalize early and the Wolfpack padded their lead in the later innings. Now BC as they face UNC next in pool play. That game becomes a must win to keep any hopes alive. The good news is that this team has responded repeatedly when it seemed like they were in a hole. EDITED: My mistake. As Brian pointed out in comments, this eliminates BC. I thought they could still have a chance depending on how the pool played out, but even if UNC loses twice, BC is out.

Monday, May 22, 2017

New alums owe BC Sports a "thank you"

Another batch of Eagles went from students to alumni Monday. Congratulations to all for their hard work and dedication. One thing that gets overlooked in all of our BC sports debate is what an incredible service Boston College Athletics provides to our alums. It is and instant and constant connection back to the community. It can be a reason to gather, to stay in touch, to commiserate and provide a great form of pride.

I know plenty of graduates didn't care about BC Sports while they were students. I hope that changes as alumni. For all that is wrong with college sports, there is still plenty right. For as frustrating as being a BC fan can be, it also provides so many exciting moments. And while all recent graduates applied to an elite national university, I hope you remember that sports did play an important part in building that national reputation. So many of our Catholic and Jesuit peers don't have the same recognition nor endowment because they didn't have big time sports as and branding and fund raising tool.

To the Class of 2017, continue to excel and keep rooting for the Eagles.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Baseball closes Shea with big wins, headed to ACCs

Some run down facilities grow in charm as they age. Sometimes when we look back at something terrible, the memories become more found than they were in reality. I don't know if one day BC Baseball fans will look back at the time on Shea Field as the "good ol' days," but at least they will remember the final weekend as a good time. BC swept Notre Dame to secure a spot in the ACC Tournament. Considering how the regular season and ACC season started, this is a great way to finish. The team is playing much better. Although they will be a long shot to advance beyond pool play in the ACC, there is more hope now than there was four weeks ago. Congrats to the guys. I hope BC's new baseball complex let's them take the program to the next level.

Arthur Bailin did a great job capturing the last out.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Lax headed to Final Four

Big congrats to the Lacrosse team. They are headed to the Final Four after knocking off USC 20-14. BC established the lead with a strong defensive performance in the first half. The second half was more back and forth, but BC did enough to hold off the Trojans.

BC has a bit of a home field advantage in the semis, as the Final Four is being held at Gillette. They face Navy for a chance to get to the Championship game. As the saying goes, "you gotta take 'em one step at a time..." but this is a huge opportunity for BC sports. Winning a national championship in a growing sport like Lacrosse would be a great moment for the school and athletic department. Lacrosse is one of those sports that is huge in traditional ACC county AND New England. It is the type of sport where our conference and geography come together and can support a champion. Let's see the women keep going!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Tucky to Cincy shows complications when staffers leave

Before this post gets misinterpreted, let me make a few things clear: Ethan Tucky wasn't going to make or break BC in 2017 nor change Addazio's future. I also don't think former Addazio assistant Al Washington is "disloyal" or doing anything wrong. But Tucky is an example of having to sell a kid on BC the program and not the bond he has with his recruiter. The former BC LB got his release and is now officially headed to Cincinnati

Tucky to Cincinnati makes sense beyond the Washington connection. It is much closer to home for him. They have a new, young and exciting coach. However, it is not all roses. He will have to sit a year and is changing positions. Despite the Fickell excitement, he is also leaving a Power 5 team for a mid-major. 

BC and Addazio could have made his release conditional and "blocked" Cincinnati, but they did not. Fickell shares an Urban Meyer connection with Addazio and BC doesn't want to make enemies in such a traditionally strong recruiting area for us in Cincinnati. Tucky and the Bearcats also played it the right way. In the article there is no mention of Al Washington nor his prior relationship with Tucky. 

I don't imagine any other current BC kids are going to leave to reunite with Washington. But other kids will leave for various reasons when they are not happy at BC. That is why all coaches need to sell BC first. It is not about the assistant, nor Addazio, nor playing time. It is about playing and going to school at BC. That is all the coach can guarantee. If the kid buys that first, the other unpredictable stuff becomes less important. 

Thursday, May 18, 2017

The first of many offseason QB competition posts

As you read BC previews this summer and listen and read about the team, the QB issue will be front and center. Even with Wade coming out of Spring as a No. 1 player, there will still be intrigue. Below is a video from the ACC highlighting both players' Spring Game performances.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Jarmond explains scheduling

Scheduling for Ohio State is very different from scheduling for BC. But there are a few lessons from this OSU piece that provide insight into how new BC AD Martin Jarmond thinks.

Jarmond tries to measure stability and predictability of opponents. But as he admits in the piece, this is somewhat difficult when you schedule games ten years out. (That's why I find BC's scheduling so cynical and dumb.) Like BC, he also tries to schedule opponents who have a geographic tie to our alumni base or recruiting needs.

Given their budgets and fanbase, scheduling for Ohio State is a bit different than what Jarmond will do at BC. I hope he continues to look for quality opponents and not just easy wins.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

BC might debut on ACC Network

The ACC Network is still another year away, but BC could find out soon if they will play the first football game on the network. Half the conference can't play on the network that weekend in 2019 because they've already booked a non-conference game. BC hasn't locked in a game yet making them a likely candidate.

In my opinion being the first game -- or one of the first -- is a good thing. BC can hype it up to recruits and earn some goodwill with the schedulers at ESPN.

The downside is we don't know what the carriage issues will be like then. I would hate for BC fans to not be able to see the game due to a fight between cable companies and the conference. Hopefully there is some online option for those who won't have the ACC Network in 2019.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Owens to Maryland Football

When he tweeted out a pic of himself in football cleats, I said BC should see if Garland Owens was serious about playing a new sport. It appears that Maryland took it seriously, because the former basketball player will spend his grad year playing football for the Terps.

According to reports out of Maryland, he will be playing Tight End and is just waiting on Admission's at Maryland.

I don't know if BC looked into him playing football for us. Clearly the Admissions component would have been much easier. But I don't know where Addazio is with scholarships and if he wanted to use one on a project like Owens. We have decent depth at TE and WR. Would he have made a difference? Probably not.

Good luck to Garland. Thankfully we don't have to play him this year.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Women's Lax advance to Elite Eight

The BC Women got their first win over Syracuse Lacrosse at just the right time. The Eagles upset the Orange in the NCAA Tournament Sunday to advance to the Elite Eight.

Because of the upset, BC will now host its next tourney game against USC. Congrats to the team and keep it going to the next round.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Opponent previews

CFN has been posting their Spring recaps and season previews. It is a useful tool to get up to speed on BC's future opponents. Here are their summaries of a few of the teams on BC's schedule.

-- Notre Dame
-- Northern Illinois
-- UConn
-- Louisville

Friday, May 12, 2017

Ethan Tucky transferring

Attrition and transfers are always expected, but I am surprised by the Ethan Tucky news. The Ohio LB has been granted his release by BC and is looking to transfer closer to home. 

Tucky is yet another reminder that predicting who will blossom at BC and who won't is a bit of a crap shoot. He was a highly regarded recruit. He seemed to pick BC for the right reasons. Tucky also had a previous relationship with Jim Reid, making the coordinator change an non issue. Even the early press Tucky received when he got on campus indicated that big things were ahead. Since he redshirted, he will leave BC without ever touching the field. 

I think BC has enough playmakers on Defense, that this won't be an issue. Best of luck to him at his next stop. 

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Something's going on with recruiting

Another day and yet another BC Football verbal. This time it is Mass DT prospect Ryan Betro.

Betro's got a good rating and a solid upside, so I am excited. But his commitment makes me wonder. Is the staff pushing hard for specific verbals this week? It just seems like more than a coincidence that all of these commitments are coming at the same time. Maybe it is contagious enthusiasm, but I doubt it.

I understand if the staff is pushing guys to get on board. However, I always fear the hard sell with these kids...especially ones with options. Kids and families may question committing this early. While these guys have verballed, other schools will try to poach and at least one BC guy will go somewhere else.

Or maybe I am wrong and maybe Addazio is just hitting the right kids at the right time. Either way, I just want him to build on this and sign a great recruiting class.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Finn Dirstine verbals to BC

The recruiting hot streak continued Wednesday as Addazio picked up his biggest name yet of this cycle in Mass OL prospect Finn Dirstine.

Aside from his rating, Dirstine is important for a few other reasons. He is a top local player. As I have written about recently, geography is critical in recruiting. While BC is building up a pipeline in various far flung outposts, they cannot ignore New England. Landing the Top Mass players shouldn't be a surprise. It should be the expectation.

Dirstine also builds the relationship with Lawrence Academy. Because they can recruit and use older players, Lawrence Academy is a growing regional power. Strengthening our connection there is a good thing.

Finally, we need to have a great OL again. Who knows if Dirstine will live up to the hype, but at least he has promise at a critical position. BC will never be great again without a great OL. Investing time and energy in elite OL prospects is a critical step in making BC great again.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

An interesting look at reactions to Boston College offers

As BC tries to make inroads in new locations, they will inevitably come up against a fair bit of disinterest from recruits. I imagine the hope is that getting in early with a few kids in a new territory sparks something and from that spark, you find one kid. And then you can go back to that program in future years and find another and another. For a specific example of how players react, look at the videos of three California prospects for the 2019 recruiting class.

Here is TE Jude Wolfe. BC is his first offer, but he clearly thinks other Power 5s are coming and mentions mostly west coast programs. 

Next is DL prospect Na'im Rodman. He is more camera shy, and admittedly wasn't expecting a BC offer.

Finally there is WR Colby Bowman. He seems to have the most enthusiasm about BC but his knowledge seems a bit limited to our best NFL players.

Will any of these guys become Eagles in two years? Who know, but it doesn't hurt to branch out. But when you take the shotgun approach in a far off place, you have to expect a certain level of indifference. 

New Jersey Media picking up on BC connection

Plenty of BC fans ask, "who cares?" when we talk about where we get our players. In theory I agree. I don't care if an athlete comes from Newton or from Alaska. As long as he or she can play and represents BC. But that is not the reality of college sports. Geography plays a huge role in the process. The majority of prospects want to stay close to home and want to play near family and friends. That mentality can be a challenge for BC since we are not in a hotbed of football. However, we are not far from some good pockets of talent either. The nearest hot spot is New Jersey. 

Addazio has boosted New Jersey recruiting so much of late that it is now getting noticed by local media. put out a slide show of the Garden State talent that came to the Heights They also pointed out that despite perception, the BC pipeline is bigger than Big Ten schools like Michigan.

Obviously if getting New Jersey talent were all it took for success, Rutgers would be a perennial power. But developing pipelines is important. Now we just need Addazio to turn that talent into Top 25 teams. Once he has that sort of success, there will be players from all over the Northeast wanting to play at BC.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Addazio lands a key New Jersey prospect

While the 2018 Class has some quality recruits, no one has an offer sheet like New Jersey DB Evan Stewart. He committed to Addazio and BC Sunday. Stewart is currently 6-1 so he could grow into a LB role or maybe even some sort of hybrid.

The recruiting services only list Stewart as a three star, but he has more than a dozen Power 5 officers. Clearly those evaluators are seeing something in him.

Big credit on this one goes to assistant Anthony Campanile. He is really turning New Jersey recruiting around and making BC a presence in the Garden State once again.

Saturday, May 06, 2017

BC gets another QB commitment

Shortly after landing their first QB, Addazio and crew are back for more. This weekend they got a verbal commitment from Fordham Prep QB Matt Valecce.
Valecce is not a super recruit, but he is well known to the staff. They've had him in camp and have followed him for a few years. The QB also had offers from Pitt and Rutgers.

BC now has decent depth at QB. Many of these young guys will never see the field as a QB. You just hope that with all the guys coming in, one emerges as something special.

Friday, May 05, 2017

Basketball adds another commit

Jim Christian is using every scholarship he has on late bloomers. He added another one Friday in Kansas wing Steffon Mitchell. I have nothing against late offers. My favorite BC Basketball player of all time -- Jared Dudley -- was one. However, they are long shot propositions. As Mitchell even said, he only started talking to BC a month ago. I like that he is hungry and wants to prove himself at the highest level, but other than that we don't know much about him. Jim Christian and his staff can't know all that much either...or as much as they would on a kid they had been recruiting for years.

I hope this pays off. Congrats to Mitchell and I hope you become the next Jared Dudley.

Thursday, May 04, 2017

ESPN assures the ACC there will still be an ACC Network

ESPN's mass layoffs and declining subscriber base has the Worldwide Leader scrambling. They are trying to prove to Disney and Wall Street that they will continue to grow and pump out money. But the changing market place and their massive rights commitments have some partners wondering. One of the commitments under the microscope is ESPN's future ACC Network. Considering it hasn't even launched yet, it would seem to be vulnerable. But ESPN assured the ACC that the network is still coming.

This is one of those times where I am not really worried about BC or the ACC. If anything, partnerships like this are much safer to ESPN than their rights deals with the NBA or NFL. First the ACC is locked into a long, long deal with ESPN. While the startup costs for the network are big, there is huge upside for ESPN in the second decade of the deal. Most of the league deals are much shorter and promise no ROI. Second, the ACC deal is still cheaper content than the NFL or NBA. It might not drive the same eyeballs, but the advertising demographics remain good and college football gets better ratings than professional basketball.

Now the initial model for conference networks was bilking cable subscribers. Clearly that aspect of the deal is looking less viable. Grandma in North Carolina doesn't want to pay a premium to watch BC-Syracuse in football. But even if the subscriber base is not as lucractive, ESPN and the ACC still have avenues to make money off of ad revenue and in turning the ACC Network into some sort of tier or subscription. I know most BC fans would pay six or seven dollars a month for the service.

As for cord cutting, ESPN remains a good technology partner. The ACC Network is using ESPN's infrastructure so it will be available on most devices.

But even if all this goes to pot and there is no network, the ACC will get a huge buyout. If the buyout remains the worst case scenario, that is not a bad thing. The ACC can take the ESPN's money and find a new TV partner.

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Recruiting stuff

It is still a bit quite on the recruiting front. We know from Twitter that the coaches have been on the road, but there have not been many verbals. One recruit who is saying the right things about BC is Florida WR Javian Hawkins. He is undersized, but performing well at various camps and has a good connection with Brian White.

BC almost never recruits JUCO players, but there is some interest in Northeast Oklahoma's TE Jake Ross. He doesn't have any offers from Power 5s, but is gaining more and more attention.

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Garland Owens football joke is not a bad idea

Early Tuesday, Garland Owens tweeted this:

It got everyone instantly excited. But the basketball reserve was just teasing us. He was just getting ready for some intramural football. However, our collective enthusiasm was justifiable. Owens might not be an elite basketball player, but his physicality and athleticism make him a great candidate to try football for a season.

If it hit social media, I am sure Addazio's staff knows about Owens. I hope one of the staffers follows through, because Owens could be interesting at WR or even at DE. I don't know if the staff has a scholarship to give him, but if you can get him to greyshirt until one opens up this summer (because they always do), that would allows Owens to stretch his college years and maybe get an NFL look. As of now I can't see a future in basketball. Being a converted college basketball player will get him an NFL tryout.

I don't know if Ownes even wants to play football. But maybe his joke will get him thinking.

Monday, May 01, 2017

Christian rolls the dice with Vin Baker Jr

Jim Christian has another recruit and the recruit has a familiar name. It is Vin Baker Jr., the son of long-time NBA big man Vin Baker. Adding a recruit this late is usually not something to get overly excited about. Flipping a kid from Bryant doesn't lead to many ACC wins. But Baker Jr. is a risk Jim Christian can and should take.

One of the reasons Baker Jr. was even available was due to his size and late growth spurt. He reportedly grew four inches in the last year. He also played on low profile AAU teams. This might mean he is not an ACC caliber player. Or maybe, he is the classic late bloomer. We know he has some genetic links to elite basketball. Coming up as a guard but now moving to a Wing/Forward, might mean he has an interesting skill mix and will be able to take advantage of larger, slow defenders. We won't know any of this until he gets on campus and performs. That unknown is Christian's gamble.

I say Christian should gamble. Since he can't land enough elite prospects, Christian needs one of these diamond in the rough types to develop. Why can't it be Baker? His dad was a late bloomer too and hat is why he ended up at playing at Harford. It would be nice to see the son blossom the same way. Doing it in the ACC might be harder, but if he does succeed, it will drive more attention.

And if Baker Jr. is not an ACC talent, he can always bail on the Height. I am sure that Christian's replacement would appreciate the freed up scholarship.