Friday, November 30, 2018

Addazio's update

Addazio gave a standard, post-season, pre-bowl media update Friday. Most of it is on guys getting healthy and using the bowl game practice. Towards the end he gets around to Loeffler's departure and the future of the offense. Here are some takeaways:

1. He reminded everyone that it is HIS offense. He did this when Day left and seemingly goes back to that theme anytime someone questions credit or ownership of the offense. He explained that it is collaborative, but that he sets the tone and philosophy.

2. He wants a QB/passing game guy. That seems pretty standard. Loeffler had QB responsibilities. It would make sense that his replacement does too.

3. He looks to the Rams as a model...and says BC has already been doing that. Copying the Rams is admirable. They're one of the most dynamic teams in any level of football. But the overlaps are not obvious. Yes, both teams use big, bruising backs as a centerpiece and both play uptempo. But The Rams passing game is much more aggressive with downfield throws.

If he is thinking Rams, there are plenty of names on the Rams staff who might be good fits as OC, including:
-- Shane Waldron. Numerous ties to the Boston area. Coached with UMass, Patriots and Notre Dame and was even a high school coach at BB&N.
-- Liam Coen. Former UMass QB. Coached all over New England FCS schools.
-- Jedd Fisch. No obvious ties to Addazio but has been an OC at the college and NFL level many, many times.
-- Zac Taylor. No obvious ties to Addazio, but has been involved in offense at the college and NFL level.

4. Loeffler will be part of bowl prep. Addazio didn't say Loeffler will be calling plays, but I think it is implied. Typically college coaches finish out their old season while prepping for their new job.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Basketball keeps rolling

Beating Sacred Heart is not a big deal in the whole scheme of things basketball wise. But getting a huge game from Wynston Tabbs is. The freshman led BC in scoring as the team won its fourth straight game. 

BC had a comfortable lead in the first half sparked by good D. The second half was a bit more sloppy. In the end, they mostly held the lead. Pop had another good night. Bowman's shooting remains a bit cold, but it is nice to see others fill the void when needed. 

Next up: the biggest test of the young season...a game against Providence. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Loeffler to Bowling Green, BC getting new OC

Congrats to Scot Loeffler. He's leaving BC to become Bowling Green's new Head Coach. It is a compliment to him, BC and Addazio, that another FBS school hired him away from us based in part on what he accomplished at BC. But as a fan and critic of BC, I am not upset or really worried about his departure. While a seemingly nice guy and good fit around the team and campus, Loeffler is below average Offensive Coordinator.

This season BC had an offensive S&P+ of 95th in College Football. Last year it was 101st. In 2016, Loeffler's first calling plays at BC, it was 124th. Some of this is talent. Some is Addazio's philosophy and game approach. But much of it is Loeffler. He was OC and it was his job to prepare the players, plan the schemes and adjust during the games.

As a frame of reference, BC's S&P+ under Addazio and prior to Loeffler:
2015 (Todd Fitch as OC): 125th
2014 (Ryan Day as OC): 50th
2013 (Ryan Day as OC): 30th

This is an opportunity for Addazio to boost the offense and help this team get better. I do believe there is offensive talent. Hence why BC can be so explosive. However, I don't think the coaching or play calling is great and that explains why they can be so explosive one play and inept the next.

If Addazio follows any pattern, it will be that he hires someone from his current coaching network. I have no real insight, but you could probably throw names out there like Mike Sanford Jr., Mark Whipple, Kevin Rogers, etc. I would be surprised if he promotes from within, but Brian White has been an Offensive Coordinator before.

Ultimately this is an opportunity. BC has playmakers, we just need someone who can get the most out of the talent and who can work with Addazio.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

The longer we wait the less likely there is real news

With multiple national writers claiming Addazio was on the hotseat, many thought there would be news Sunday. Nothing happened, even as most other programs either fired or extended their respective coaches. More rumors followed and no news Monday. Blauds put up a piece claiming Addazio was offered a one year extension for less money. No one else has reported that either. Meanwhile Addazio is on the road visibly recruiting and the local press is talking basketball and bowl games with no mention of looming coaching news.

I don't have any real news, so like most of you, I am left to speculate. I don't think the one-year, low-ball extension story makes sense as a news report or as a strategy. Addazio wouldn't leak that to Blauds and I don't think Jarmond would either. That means if it is sourced -- it is heavy on speculation from someone removed from the actual discussion. I think if they were going to fire Addazio they would have done it already. 1. to lock in a new coach before the early signing day in December and 2. to avoid putting Addazio and his staff on the road locking in kids to a staff that won't coach them. The recruits get screwed during any transition but BC tries to do what's right. Putting a staff out there only to fire them when they get back to Boston isn't right.

I do believe there is some sort of impasse about the extension. Whether it is money or time or the internal politics, for some reason it hasn't been presented to the public.

We will start to get more info when Jarmond hits the road to talk to donors this week. I don't expect him to provide much insight or specifics, but the conversations will at least set an impression of where he, BC and Addazio stand.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Addazio vs BC's actual history

Addazio referenced winning historically at BC and mentioned 6.5 wins per year since 1980. That's a misleading stat since the college football season has expanded gradually from 11 games, to 11 plus regular bowls, to 12 plus regular bowls. In my opinion, it is probably better to measure Addazio's body of work using winning percentage. Right now he sits at .500. And to me that feels like the sort of coach he is. But I feel like BC can be more and that history is not told through 6.5 wins per year, but through what a variety of coaches have done at the school under varied circumstances. Take a look:

Winning Percentage
Boston College All-Time: .560
Boston College Since DIA-DIAA Split: .538
Boston College Since joining a conference: .557
Boston College Since joining ACC: .547
Addazio: .500

Winning Percentage by Coach
Frank Leahy: 909
Jeff Jagodzinski: .714
Joseph Yukica: .648
Gilmour Dobie: .639
Tom O'Brien: .625
Frank Cavanaugh: .625
Mike Holovak: .623
Tom Coughlin: .614
Jim Miller: .586
Denny Myers: .561
Jack Bicknell: .517
Steve Addazio: .500
Moody Sarno: .500
Dan Henning: .458
Frank Spaziani: .431
Ernest Hefferle: .375
Ed Chlebek: .364

Conference Winning Percentage
Jagodzinski (ACC): .687
O'Brien (ACC): .625
Coughlin (Big East): .559
O'Brien (total): .521
O'Brien (Big East): .490
Henning (Big East): 452
Spaziani (ACC): .406
Addazio (ACC): .375

Winning Seasons
Yukica: 9
O'Brien: 8
Holovak: 7
Addazio: 5
Bicknell: 4
Miller: 4
Jagodzinski: 2
Coughlin: 2
Henning: 1

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Slide continues as Syracuse crushes BC

If you want to talk positives, you could at least say the team lost that game together. Special Teams made mistakes, the Offense looked sloppy and the D put up their worst performance of the season. There will be plenty to talk about in the coming days and plenty of fingers to point, but the natural target is Addazio. BC will still go bowling, but it feels like the guy can't get BC to that next level and will be 7-6 for eternity.

Thanks to those who said "hello." It wasn't a great day to be at Alumni, but I appreciate the continued support.

In-game comments post: Syracuse

Senior Day and the final game of the regular season. Let's end on a high note.

Leave your thoughts and comments below.

You can also follow me on Twitter.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Friday picks

Enjoy your family and the games.

Picks in bold

Baylor+5 at Texas Tech

Michigan-5 at Ohio State

Florida-7 at Florida State

Purdue-4 at Indiana

Pitt+4.5 at Miami

Arizona State-1.5 at Arizona

SMU-2.5 at Tulsa

Tennessee+3.5 at Vanderbilt

LSU+3.5 at Texas A&M

Utah State+3 at Boise State

Last week I was 5-5 once again. I am 62-57-3 on the season.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

BC-Syracuse preview

I know this is not unique to BC Football, but in college football every game now feels like a referendum on the state of the program. This game shouldn't determine our whole view of Addazio, but winning is critical. Beyond the 7-win ceiling, it would also stop the bleeding and give the team a little momentum going into the bowl game. I don't even want to think about what losing means.

What's on my mind (not totally related to this game)
Babers' name is getting floated for job openings. If he leaves it will be interesting to see where Syracuse looks. Babers was an unconventional hire -- no regional or school ties -- and seems to have worked. Maybe it  would encourage BC to be unconventional during our next major search.

Three Simple Keys
1.  Get points off of turnovers. I trust our DBs to force some INTs, but BC can't come away from those possessions without points.
2. Punish any nine-man boxes. This has been one of the most frustrating things of the losses. We've gotten a few big plays when teams load the box, but too often we either fail to get the pass off or run right into the crowd. Brown and Loeffler need to be smart and the O needs to execute
3. If Devitto plays, blitz like crazy. Let him show that he can handle the pressure in his face.

Gambling Notes
-- Syracuse leads the series 31-20
-- Addazio is 2-3 vs the Orange
-- Addazio is 4-1 on Senior Day
The current line is BC-7

This is the seventh time BC has ended its regular season with a game against Syracuse.

Scoreboard Watching
Pay attention to all the middle of the pack ACC teams and borderline bowl teams like Wake, FSU, Duke, Miami, and VT. How all do will help determine our bowl slots.

I hope to see...
Bailey, Glines and Levy get touches in the run game. Regardless of health, Dillon shouldn't be running it 30+ times in a game.

BC is in trouble if...
If Brown struggles early. We missed lots of scoring opportunities. Syracuse is coming off a tough loss too. We need to put them away early.

In general, I don't love the Syracuse matchup. I don't like their explosiveness vs our inconsistency. But I think our D is good enough and they are beaten down enough that BC should be okay keeping it on the ground and winning by more than a touchdown.
Final Score: BC 31, Syracuse 21

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Basketball wins Fort Myers Tip-off

I don't know if you want to call anything a bounce back, but BC slightly redeemed themselves after last week's terrible loss to IUPUI by defeating Loyola-Chicago to win the Fort Myers Tip-off. As holiday tournaments go, this isn't the Maui Invitational, but it did involve BC winning multiple games in a neutral site against some solid mid-majors. Baby steps, I guess.

The good thing about this game is that they played well with Bowman on the bench for most of the first half. Loyola did not shoot well, but some of it was due to BC's defense. Chatman filled the void and played much better than he did against Wyoming.

Do we know what to expect from this team yet? No. But we will have more answers next week against Minnesota. 

Dungey's status still up in the air

According to Syracuse media, Orange QB Eric Dungey is still questionable for Saturday. Like BC's situation last week with Anthony Brown, it doesn't make sense for Dino Babers to tip his hand on if Dungey will play. BC is still a touchdown favorite.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Checking in on the coaching class of 2013

With Colorado making a change, the list of coaches hired in the 2013 cycle still with their team is that much smaller. Here is the latest.

Left for a new job
Gary Andersen, Wisconsin -- left for Oregon State
P.J. Fleck, Western Michigan -- left for Minnesota
Bryan Harsin, Arkansas State -- left for Boise State
Todd Monken, Southern Miss -- left for assistant job with Tampa Bay
Bobby Petrino, Western Kentucky -- left for Louisville
Matt Rhule, Temple -- left for Baylor
Willie Taggart, South Florida -- left for Oregon

Hanging in there
Steve Addazio, Boston College
Rod Carey, Northern Illinois
Dave Doeren, NC State
Skip Holtz, Louisiana Tech
Kliff Kingsbury, Texas Tech
Gus Malzahn, Auburn
Mark Stoops, Kentucky
Matt Wells, Utah State

Bret Bielema, Arkansas -- fired in 2017
Ron Caragher, San Jose State -- fired in 2016
Sonny Dykes, California -- fired in 2016
Darrell Hazell, Purdue -- fired in 2016
Paul Haynes, Kent State -- fired in 2017
Mark Helfrich, Oregon -- fired in 2016
Butch Jones, Tennessee -- fired in 2017
Sean Kugler, UTEP -- fired in 2017
Mike MacIntyre, Colorado -- fired in 2018
Trent Miles, Georgia State -- fired in 2016
Brian Polian, Nevada -- fired in 2016
Scott Shafer, Syracuse -- fired in 2015
Tommy Tuberville, Cincinnati -- resigned/fired in 2016
Ron Turner, FIU -- fired in 2016

I don't know what conclusions you want to draw. I look at Addazio's continued employment as affirmation that BC is a good job, where you can win, and the fans and administration have patience.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Bowman goes off in BC win

BC bounced back after last week's disaster, with a win over Wyoming. BC will now face Loyola in the tourney finals. But none of it was easy. Bowman blew the game open in the first half and then had to take over again as BC let the Cowboys back in the game. Bowman finished with 38.

Reyes also had a career day since he was our only healthy big. But even he fouled out. Mitchell was okay, but the rest of the roster was wanting. Chatman was ice cold. The young guys made lots of mistakes and forced lots of bad shots.

Bowman is not going to be able to score 38 a night. Other guys need to step up, starting Wednesday.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Addazio hasn't learned

Bucking conventional wisdom in sports takes time, even for those on the inside who stand to benefit the most. (Just look at baseball's reaction to the Moneyball movement.) Yet you would think that once you've had first-hand experience doing something you would learn and adapt. Addazio for some reason isn't learning. He's been burned multiple times by allowing an opponent to march down the field to win the game. Knowing how often it has happened and can happen, he should place a priority on not giving up the ball in a close game. Instead, he put a value on giving the opponent extra yardage. But his own time as a head coach has shown how little extra yardage means. Take a look:

2013 vs Syracuse. Cuse drives 75 yards with less than 2:08 to win the game.
2014 vs Colorado State. Rams drive 90 yards with 4:00 left to win the game
2014 vs Florida State. Noles drive 66 yards with 4:34 left to win the game with a FG
2014 vs Penn State. PSU drives 76 yards with 1:55 left to force OT (which they would win)
2015 vs Syracuse. Orange drive 69 yards with 2:42 left to kick winning FG. 
2016 vs Georgia Tech.  Jackets drive 59 yards with 3:33 left to win the game.

Basically, once he gives up the ball, the D will either stop them or they won't. The difference in the extra 20 yards is negligible. Look at the Pro Football Reference stat. 

The difference between punting and getting stuffed on 4th down is minor. Convert at all costs and the game is yours. Look at the win probability graph. It was creeping towards BC and once they gave the ball back it dipped. The lesson Addazio should take from this is not give it back.

But he hasn't learned and there doesn't seem to be anyone around to enlighten him so I assume we will see this same mistake again.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

BC can't put FSU away and loses heartbreaker

I know Steve Addazio knows more about football than I do. There are nuances that I am probably oblivious to and I know the time commitment of his job is unfathomable. He is able to lead a staff and roster of more than 100 people. He is also able to find and recruit teenagers. But I think he, like many coaches, can get so caught up in the flow of the game or his cognitive biases (whether it is play calling, clock, player usage, etc.) that he limits what his talented roster can do. If you play too conservatively and play to keep it close, you are going to invite the other team to steal a game. We saw it with TOB and Spaz. And it has happened to Addazio often. Tonight's loss to FSU might be the most frustrating

Brown didn't play well and I put much of that on the staff. If he wasn't 100%, then maybe you go with Perry. Or you put a gameplan around Brown that would help his return. Even the D, which had some really good moments, also didn't adjust enough. 

7-6 is looming. I pray that Addazio can avoid it. I want to be more than that. I think he can still do something more, but I know he will never put together that truly special season. 

In-game comments post: Florida State

Eight wins. That's what it is about today. Let's bounce back and let's take the next step.

Leave your thoughts and comments below.

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Friday, November 16, 2018

Friday picks

I am going really heavy on the road teams. Good luck to all.

Picks in bold

Northwestern+2.5 at Minnesota

Michigan State+1 at Nebraska

TCU-1 at Baylor

Pitt-6 at Wake Forest

Mizzou-6.5 at Tennessee

USC-2.5 at UCLA

West Virginia-6.5 at Oklahoma State

Virginia+5 at Georgia Tech

Air Force+2.5 at Wyoming

Ole Miss+3 at Vanderbilt

Last week I was 5-5 again. I am 57-52-3 on the season.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

BC-Florida State preview

Regardless of how we did last week or who we played this week, everything was going to feel like a comedown after Gameday and Clemson. We've seen it before with even more talented and consistent BC teams. That means it is up to Addazio to push the right buttons and make sure that they build off of last week and not let the season slip away.

What's on my mind (not totally related to this game)
Now that we are eliminated from the Division title, I don't know how Addazio or BC fans will define a successful season. Is it about ending the season ranked? Is it about winning a bowl game? I don't know. Personally, I want to see BC win the last two games and then win the bowl game. This is Year 6. We need more than just ho-hum finish.

Three Simple Keys
1. Sack Francois five times or more. FSU's OLine might be the worst in the conference. There is no reason we shouldn't bring a lot of pressure.
2. Use plenty of zone reads. Regardless of the BC QB, this is a simple play that should move the chains and open up other things.
3. Get explosive plays. I don't trust either QB to methodically work the ball down the field. We need someone -- maybe Smith or Dillon -- to break some big plays.

Gambling Notes
-- Addazio 0-2 at Doak
-- Addazio is 16-15 after a loss
-- Taggart is 2-19 vs ranked teams
The current line is BC-1.5

This is the first time since 2014 that we've played Florida State on a Saturday.

Scoreboard Watching
The most relevant game for BC fans is the Notre Dame-Syracuse matchup. I don't know what to expect out of Syracuse next week. They haven't been great on the road this year and the weather will be an issue.

I hope to see...
Big plays from our WRs. We are targeting the TEs and RBs more in the passing game. I would like to see some more strikes to our WRs, who I believe have upside and can make plays against this FSU team.

BC is in trouble if...
Brown doesn't play. I know Perry is prepared. I know everyone believes in him. I know that he had flashes last Saturday. I just fear that if he plays Addazio will be so conservative it will be impossible for BC to win.

FSU is really bad. Even if we struggle on offense, their Offense is worse and their D is not great. I think we grind them down with the run game and pull away in the second half.
Final Score: BC 28, FSU 13

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Basketball gets early wake up call from IUPUI

There is no beating around the bush, BC had a horrible home loss Wednesday night to IUPUI. This is not uncommon for BC basketball over the last ten years and unfortunately it is all too common during the Jim Christian era. Yes we lost a lottery pick, but there is enough incoming and remaining talent that this shouldn't happen.

This wasn't some flukey game where we a mid-major got lucky with a bunch of 3s. This was just a disjointed BC team that didn't shoot particularly well, missed ten foul shots, didn't play smart D and turned the ball over.

I know it is early and the staff is working in the young players, but does this team look as talented as it is rated? Or as talented as it should be at this point in Christian's tenure?

I know Martin Jarmond has been able to spearhead a lot of fun initiatives as AD, but lurking near is a coaching change. If Christian can't get more out of his team, then the change will come soon.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Reading into the preview

This is the ACC Network's preview of the BC-Florida State game. It has the usual stuff but what really got my attention was how down Willie Taggart seemed in the video. I know it is just a press conference, but I hope his lack of energy is an indicator for how his team is feeling right now.

Monday, November 12, 2018

BC optimistic about Brown

After speculation regarding his spleen and lung circled over the weekend, BC and Addazio somewhat cleared the air on the status of Anthony Brown. The Coach said "Anthony Brown had an abdominal injury. He is day-to-day, but is doing well.”

BC won't elaborate on the specifics of the injury. We know Brown was hospitalized and multiple Clemson reports said it was related to the spleen. Addazio expects Brown to practice Wednesday and there doesn't seem any reason why he won't play against Florida State. Addazio talked up Perry as well during his press conference and seems confident with either option. I am far less worried than I was 24 hours ago. I am going to assume that Brown will play and will have full mobility.

As for why Clemson reports would be more detailed and is pretty typical. If you remember years ago, Clemson news sources had accurate information about Matt Ryan being in a walking boot while the Boston media was silent. I think our media tends to defer to BC on matters like this, especially when related to player health. How would a Clemson radio show host have the info? From their coaches or medical people who were at the game. All things considered, it is a tight network and they all talk.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

BC to provide update on Anthony Brown on Monday

Anthony Brown's injury was serious enough to be taken to the hospital -- which Addazio confirmed in his postgame -- yet not obvious from the replay. Addazio termed the injury as "internal." This has led to lots of rumor and speculation on message boards and twitter among BC fans and Clemson fans. I reached out to BC for an official status update and was told one would come Monday.

Beyond Brown's personal health, the news is critical for the Florida State game and the remainder of the season. BC will go from a favorite in the last two game to a potential underdog. Let's hope the news is good and Brown is in for a speedy recovery.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Great day turns to frustrating night

It is already starting. If you read social media or message boards, some BC fans are vocally frustrated with BC coming up short in a big game again and think Addazio didn't do enough or play for the win. The Offense was frustrating to watch, but I don't know if things would have been drastically different with Anthony Brown. Clemson's DLine was that disruptive. Regardless of where you are on the QB debate, everyone has to acknowledge a great performance by the BC defense. They contained the hottest offense in college football and made plenty of big plays. The Special Teams also deserves credit for an early spark. 

We are not ready to challenge Clemson yet. That is clear. But if Addazio is a very good coach, he will still finish strong and figure out how to score potentially without Brown and with Dillon at less than 100%. 

There is a lot of good takeaways from Gameday and certain players and as always, lots of questions. 

In-game comments post: Clemson

It is all been pointing to this. Not much else to say. Let's do it!

Leave your thoughts and comments below.

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Friday, November 09, 2018

Friday picks

I picked these games, but the only one I'm really focused on is happening in Alumni.

Picks in bold

Ohio State-3.5 at Michigan State

Maryland+1 at Indiana

Troy-1 at Georgia Southern

Kentucky-5 at Tennessee

Virginia Tech+3 at Pitt

Washington State-6 at Colorado

Oregon+3.5 at Utah

Temple+4.5 at Houston

Miami+2.5 at Georgia Tech

Texas-1.5 at Texas Tech

Last week I was 5-5. I am 52-47-3 on the season.

Thursday, November 08, 2018

BC-Clemson preview

When you are involved in a long-term goal, there are many obstacles and setbacks along the way. But overcoming and enduring those issues are mentally part of the process. You're prepared for problems and prepared to pick up pieces. One thing that is hard to prepare is when you get to "the moment." The point where the past meets the present and it is all supposed to happen. That's the tough part. That is the real unknown. In football it is about how the staff and 90 something kids handle it. This is the time. This is why they all do what they do. Now can the deliver?

What's on my mind (not totally related to this game) 
All the hype has led to a rehashing of the "people in Boston don't care about BC sports" narrative again. This is wrong. Media coverage doesn't equal interest or "care." Just because sports radio is not talking about BC or we don't get much traditional print coverage doesn't mean anything. BC will have 45,000 people on hand to see this game. Only the Patriots will draw more at one time this month. More people will watch this game (and most of our games) than watch the Bruins or Celtics regular season games. If BC were to somehow make a playoff run, it would be a bigger TV draw than anything the Bruins or Celtics do all year and only really trail the Patriots and Red Sox playoffs. There is passionate interest and plenty of casual interest. Vocal BC fans should stop worrying about the media interest and just enjoy the moment.

Three Simple Keys
1. Aggressive game management. When faced with a Clemson powerhouse, we've seen Addazio go very, very conservatively. Who can forget all the times he punted at Death Valley when he had the ball in Clemson territory? He needs to go for it more often and unleash his big Special Teams moments to help build confidence and momentum.
2. Get to Lawrence. We can't let him sit back and throw. The Clemson WRs are too good and will win those one on one matchups (like NC State did). We need to bring extra pressure and at least have the pocket collapsing.
3. A perfect game from the Oline. This won't happen if there are no holes for Dillon and/or his backups. This won't happen if Brown is rushed or has no throwing lanes. We need to Oline to dominate like the best BC lines have done in the past.

Gambling Notes
-- Addazio is 0-5 vs Clemson
-- Addazio is 1-9 vs teams ranked in the Top 10
-- Swinney is 34-17 on the road
The current line is BC+20

This is the latest into the season that Clemson has travelled to Alumni for an ACC game and only the second time they've played in Alumni in November.

Scoreboard Watching
Assuming we take care of business, the most important game for our future is Virginia Tech-Pitt. The winner of that is in the driver seat for the Coastal and could be a critical future opponent.

I hope to see...
Storming the field.

BC is in trouble if...
Brown completes less than 50% of his passes. We don't need him to be great, but we can't have him hurt us. He needs to hit the easy stuff, keep them honest with his legs and maybe make two true deep throws.

I am probably fooling myself, but I think things are lining up for a big night for BC. I think we get up early and Clemson struggles to adjust to the cold or pressure or whatever gets them off schedule. We get a little conservative in the second half as Clemson comes back, but hold on in the end.
Final Score: BC 28, Clemson 24

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Perception matters and Jarmond understands

This week is a big deal, but it beyond football, it is an opportunity for BC to shine. The one person who seems to really understand that is Martin Jarmond.

While an AD hires and fires coaches, the reality of the job is that the AD's impact on the field of play is very limited. However, the experience of the fans, media and players outside of the game is all under the Athletic Department's control. Jarmond never provided specifics about what he was going to change at BC, but slowly through big and little things, he is showing he is committed to improvements (alcohol sales, raising money for facilities, better food service, social media interactions, numerous road trips, etc). GameDay will be a culmination of all he's done in his short tenure.

GameDay coming to BC is mostly about football and timing, but it is also due to the work of the Athletic Department to court ESPN and sell a story. But this is also a TV show and Jarmond knows that. He got Herbie to send a message to BC fans about showing up for the show Saturday morning.
He also leveraged the moment to extend tailgating hours in the hopes of driving people to their sits at kickoff. Alumni needs to be full when the lights come on at 8 pm. ESPN/ABC want the game to feel big and a packed house does that.

Even if the game doesn't live up to the hype, Jarmond needs the BC fans and the BC experience to shine through. It will keep two importantconstituenciess (media and donors) happy.  Being loud, active and on time will increase the chances of BC hosting again and ESPN coming away happy.

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

How does Addazio do as a big underdog

The spread for the BC-Clemson game opened at BC+17.5 and seems to have moved to +18. While big, the point spread is a bit encouraging. It was worse against Clemson just last year. Here are all the times Addazio was a big underdog while at BC and the final results.

2017. +34 at Clemson.
Final Score: Clemson 34, BC 7

2016. +25 vs Louisville.
Final Score: Louisville 52, BC 7

2013. +24 at Clemson.
Final Score: Clemson 24, BC 14

2013. +23 vs Florida State.
Final Score: FSU 48, BC 34

2017. +21 at Louisville.
Final Score: BC 45, Louisville 42

2016. +20 at Florida State.
Final Score: FSU 45, BC 7

2014. +17 vs USC.
Final Score: BC 37, USC 31

2014. +17 at Florida State.
Final Score: FSU 20, BC 17

2015. +17 at Clemson.
Final Score: Clemson 34, BC 17

2016. +17 vs Clemson.
Final Score: Clemson 56, BC 10

2017. +16 vs Virginia Tech.
Final Score: Virginia Tech 21, BC 10

2016. +15 at NC State.
Final Score: BC 21, NC State 14

2016. +15 vs Notre Dame.
Final Score: Notre Dame 19, BC 16

As a two TD or more underdog, Addazio holds his own. Against the spread in these games he is 9-3-1. In true W-L, he is 3-10, which isn't bad for a big underdog.

Monday, November 05, 2018

The biggest games at Alumni since expansion

BC has hosted Gameday before and had plenty of road tests. But it has been less common for these big matchups to be home at Alumni Stadium. I decided to look back at the critical home games since Alumni expanded in 1994. The larger venue, the expansion of the Notre Dame series and our transition from independent football to conference allowed more big games to come to Chestnut Hill. As you will see, my list is not always about the ranked team. Sometimes the big games were when our fans were engaged and ready for something special. I also based these on the feeling prior to the game and not the outcome. Here's my Top Ten list.

1. No. 8 Notre Dame, 1994
BC wasn't ranked at the time and the enthusiasm for Dan Henning was limited, but the fanbase was still pumped for Notre Dame's first trip to Alumni. The upset of Notre Dame from the year before was fresh, so people were also looking to continue the celebration and feel of that moment. BC went on to thrash the Irish again. It was probably the best moment of the Henning era.

2. No 2. Clemson, 2018
This weekend is setting up to be a huge moment in BC Football. Although we've had success under Addazio, it could be argued that BC Football hasn't mattered for a decade. That changes if we win this game and win the Division.

3. No. 1 Miami, 2001
There are plenty of parallels between this game and this week's Clemson game. Miami was in the middle of an incredible run and had arguably the most talented team in college football history. For added drama, BC's best playmaker William Green was suspended for this game. BC executed the perfect bend but don't break gameplan and nearly pulled off the upset, until Ed Reed saved the 'Canes' season.

4. Syracuse, 2004
This was supposed to be a formality. It was the final home game of the season against a lame duck Orange team. It was supposed to be wrap up BC's first Big East title and first major bowl since Flutie. It didn't end well.

5. No. 8 Florida State, 2005
This was the first time BC hosted Gameday. One could argue that hosting Gameday was an even bigger deal then (I have an upcoming post on the diminishing profile of Gameday). It was also our first ACC game and the first time Florida State and Bobby Bowden visited Alumni. Bowden was a legend and Florida State was an annual contender. We joined the ACC for this sort of moment.

6. Maryland, 2008
Many of our biggest games under Jags were on the road, but the rollercoaster 2008 season culminated with a home game against Maryland. Win and BC wins the division. They pulled it off in a night game at Alumni and the place was rocking from the opening kick.

7. No. 4 Virginia Tech, 2000
Michael Vick and the Hokies were coming off a Championship game appearance and were a must see team. This was a national game on CBS when CBS still had a Big East deal. Vick would deliver one of the best performances I've seen by a visiting player.

8. No. 8 USC, 2014
Anytime a traditional power comes to Alumni, it is a big deal. The Trojans were supposed to be "back" and ready to reclaim their status as an elite team. At this point Addazio was just trying to prove that his early success was not a fluke.

9. No. 12 Clemson, 2006
While Florida State's first visit was a bigger deal historically, Clemson fans helped this one feel big. There was orange all around Boston and in Alumni. The teams went to OT for the second year in a row and for the second year in a row the good guys won.

10. No. 11 Michigan, 1995
Night games used to be much rarer in College Football and around BC. When Michigan came to town, it was a huge deal and also on a primetime ESPN game.

Honorable Mention: Notre Dame 2003, No. 22 Virginia Tech 2006, Notre Dame 2008, No. 8 Florida State 2013

Saturday, November 03, 2018

Levy sparks comeback at Lane

I always felt recruiting and talent accumulation was going to be Addazio's biggest strength. It paid off today as one of his backups -- Travis Levy -- made some huge runs to seal a critical win against Virginia Tech. With the win, BC now hosts Clemson for control of the division.

There were plenty of rocky moments in the first half, but the coaching staff and team deserve credit for rallying.

Now bring on Gameday!

In-game comments post: Virginia Tech

Lane Stadium has been the end of many BC hot streaks. But on occasion, we've pulled off a big win that propels us through the rest of the season. What will it be today?

Leave your thoughts and comments below.

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Friday, November 02, 2018

Friday picks

I went heavy on the away teams again. Hope things keep rolling.

Picks in bold

Texas A&M+3.5 at Auburn

Air Force+6.5 at Army

South Carolina-1 at Ole Miss

Michigan State-2.5 at Maryland

Georgia Tech-5 at North Carolina

Marshall-2.5 at Southern Miss

UTEP+1 at Rice

West Virginia+2 at Texas

Mizzou+6 at Florida

FAU+2.5 at FIU

Last week I was 6-2-2. I am 47-42-3 on the season.

Thursday, November 01, 2018

BC-Virginia Tech preview

I wasn't trying to jinx BC with my "what if" talk. I actually believe that things are lining up well for the BC home stretch. But the key is to execute on these winnable games. If BC really wants a special season, it would start by taking care of business Saturday.

What's on my mind (not totally related to this game) 
I haven't written much about Maryland's inept and tone deaf decision path, but I am glad they decided to fire Durkin. A program can rationalize all sorts of behaviour and culture from a college football coach who wins. But there is no reason to take on public criticism, fan revolt and recruiting challenges for loser like Durkin.

Three Simple Keys
1. Establish the run early. Last week Addazio had trick plays ready to go against Miami and it set the tone. This week BC needs to keep it simple and run straight at them until the Hokies can prove they can stop a power run game.
2. Don't give up huge Special Teams plays. Beamer is gone, but the "Beamer Ball" legacy remains. BC has been wildly inconsistent on Special Teams. It needs to be clean this weekend.
3. No dropped passes. Brown's passes can be a problem, but his teammates are not always bailing him out. This week we need great effort and hands from the TEs and WRs.

Gambling Notes
-- BC is 4-7 all time at Lane Stadium
-- Virginia Tech leads the series 18-8
-- Addazio is 2-3 vs the Hokies
The current line is BC-2

Spaz is the only BC coach who played Virginia Tech, yet did not have a win at Lane Stadium.

Scoreboard Watching
It is all about Clemson now. We need them to be No. 2 going into our game and to do that, they need to beat Louisville this week.

I hope to see...
Dillon at 100%. I think we can win with the sort of effort he gave last week, but if he is healthy, this game won't even be close.

BC is in trouble if...
If it comes down to field goals. Addazio needs to keep that in mind and stay aggressive in four-down territory. We need touchdowns, not long field goal attempts.

We are winning this thing. Addazio has been using all sorts of different types of running plays this year to varying degrees of success. This is the game where it pays off. BC emulates Georgia Tech's strategy and runs over the Hokies.
Final Score: BC 35, Virginia Tech 20