Saturday, August 31, 2019

Good start

A great first half turned into a nerve wracking second half, but in the end, BC held on for an important win. Like a lot of season openers, there were good moments yet plenty of room for improvement.

As for prospects for the season...BC clearly has playmakers beyond Dillon. The question is can those play makers dominate for moments or can they play a full game.

I will have grades and viewing thoughts later this weekend.

Game Day: Virginia Tech

No comments this year.

What you need to know

Weather: Perfect. In the 70s with no chance of rain.

TV: The ACC Network. If you don't have it...bother your provider here.

Radio: XM 201

Thursday, August 29, 2019

BC-Virginia Tech preview

The beauty of sports is that come Saturday none of the periphery really matters. It doesn't matter what I think of Addazio or what you do. It doesn't matter what limitations BC has or doesn't have. It doesn't matter if Father Leahy cares about sports. What matters are the guys that take the field. The new season is a blank slate and each game is truly an independent event. That unknown...that newness...that's what gives me hope. I can predict a blah season, but starting Saturday there is the chance for greatness.

What's on my mind (not totally related to this game) 
I was at one of my kids games the other day and a couple of Georgia Tech fans were exchanging horror stories about access or lack thereof to the ACC Network. So whatever problems you are having, know that it is not exclusively a BC-fan gripe. While the model is questionable and the carriage battles really just hurt the fans (since the ACC is guaranteed its money), I do think in the long run this benefits the typical BC fan. If you want a reliable high quality provider of lots of BC content, you will get that in the ACC Network. Whatever extra charge you pay will probably still be a comparable spend to what you might pay for sports or entertainment elsewhere.

Three Simple Keys
1. Keep it simple with Dillon. I know we have a new OC. I know we have a team ready to stop Dillon. But don't do anything stupid. Just give him touches, open up holes and let him be.
2. Let Brown run a bit. I don't know if fear of injury of coaching kept Brown from taking off more, but I hope this year if he doesn't like his passing options and has room, he takes off. Like so many things, I will open up things on offense.
3. Get pressure from surprise areas. The further we move away from Don Brown, the less we use his blitz philosophies. I don't think we have enough pure talent upfront for them to win battles on their own, so it would be nice to copy some of Brown's ideas of bringing pressure from anywhere.

Gambling Notes
-- Addazio is 5-1 in openers at BC
-- Addazio is 3-3 vs Virginia Tech
-- Addazio is 2-4 in his first ACC game of the season
The current line is BC+4

Virginia Tech leads the all-time series 9-18

Scoreboard Watching
Boise State takes on Florida State. This interests me on two fronts. One, last season ended in such an abrupt and strange way, I still have no idea how good Boise State is or was. Two, I don't know if Florida State is on the road to recovery or will remain a mess.

I hope to see...
A smooth offensive game. Bajakian has a lot riding on his shoulders. Forget dynamic, we haven't been an efficient, productive offense since Ryan Day left. If we can just get in the top half of CFB production and efficiency, I would consider Bajakian a great coach.

BC is in trouble if...
Brown's passes are getting batted around. Beyond the loss of down, it would show a lack of development and coaching.

Bottom line
This game is very winnable. I know this doesn't line up with my season predictions, but these game previews always have me looking for reason for a win. I think BC can control the clock and tempo. Make a few plays and start the season the right way.
Final Score: BC 21, VT 13

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Season Prediction Part III: What will happen

Here it is: my official prediction. At a very high level, I know the talent is young, but I think it is on par with what we've had the past few years. I think the schedule is tougher on paper than it is on the field. My biggest issues are I don't trust Addazio to manage tight games and I don't expect Brown to make any sort of leap. Therefore we are what we've been under Addazio.

Virginia Tech. Loss. My guess is this will be like the opener against GT a few years ago. BC blows a winnable game.

Richmond. Win. Should be easy. Just don't hurt Dillon.

Kansas. Win. Closer than we want, but still a BC win.

at Rutgers. Win. Play smart, run Dillon a lot and take the road 'W.'

Wake Forest. Win. It will be back and forth, but we do enough at home.

at Louisville. Loss. I think we probably have more depth and maybe more talent. I am betting we let them hang around and steal a game.

NC State. Loss. I don't think much of Doeren, so it is frustrating to watch him build a better program.

at Clemson. Loss. I think we scare them early, then they pull away.

at Syracuse. Win. This has been a weird series under Addazio. I expect more of the same this year.

Florida State. Win. A quasi-upset. This gets everyone fired up.

at Notre Dame. Loss. On the road, against a highly ranked team. What do you expect Addazio to do?

at Pitt. Loss. This is the heartbreaker. Addazio has another chance to break through and doesn't.

6-6 (3-5 in ACC play) will be enough to get us to the Military Bowl where we beat Navy to get to seven frustrating wins.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Season Prediction Part II: best case scenario

BC has a difference maker at a key position. In the right year, with the right scheme Dillon could carry this team far. He will make plays, he will draw attention so that others can make plays and in theory he could set a tone on offense that protects the D. I don't think that will be so smooth, but this is how it could play out if everything goes BC's way.

(My official predictions are coming Wednesday.)

Virginia Tech. Win. Tech is vulnerable and we run all over them.

Richmond. Win. Not even interesting.

Kansas. Win. Another easy W. BC is now ranked.

at Rutgers. Win. BC avoids a trap game. Lots of excitement.

Wake Forest. Win. Another close game, so now we realize we might be overrated, but the win still gives BC a great start.

at Louisville. Win. BC overpowers a rebuilding Louisville D. The team moves into the Top 10.

NC State. Loss. Even in our best seasons, I don't see us going undefeated, so a setback here is natural.

at Clemson. Loss. We can't survive a shoot out with them.

at Syracuse. Win. A close win, much needed win.

Florida State. Win. BC starts moving up the rankings again.

at Notre Dame. Win. Because of the time of year, opponent and ranking, this is probably Addazio's biggest win.

at Pitt. Win. BC takes care of business to complete a great regular season.

Two ACC losses means no ACC Championship. Instead BC ends up in El Paso vs UCLA. We win that to give Addazio a 11-2 regular season and a Top 10 finish. No more seven win talk. It is really a season for the ages.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Season Prediction Part I: worst case scenario

Here we go again. This is not what I think will happen...just what could happen. We have enough issues and concerns, that this season could go sideways. Do you trust Addazio to pull this team out of a nosedive if one should happen?

(My official predictions are coming Wednesday.)

Virginia Tech. Loss. It is a tough way to start the season. BC looks sloppy.

Richmond. Win. I don't see any way we lose to Richmond.

Kansas. Win. While Kansas is going to be better than they've been, it won't be this early in Miles' time there.

at Rutgers. Loss. Huge letdown. The D is not what is was or should be.

Wake Forest. Win. The Wake-BC series is filled with close, weird games. I think this is more of the same, only it goes BC's way.

at Louisville. Loss. Dillon's last trip to Louisville was a career maker. I don't think they let him run all over them again.

NC State. Loss. This is where the season feels out of control. Lots of hot seat talk.

at Clemson. Loss. Clemson is not losing focus at home against us this year.

at Syracuse. Loss. Another ugly Cuse loss.

Florida State. Win. I think FSU is going to be a mess again. We rally for the Crowther game.

at Notre Dame. Loss. BC keeps it close, but can't knock off the Irish. Bowl hopes gone.

at Pitt. Loss. Nothing to play for and it shows.

I would usually predict that a 4-8 season would get Addazio fired, but we know how basketball played out.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Big questions: How tough is the schedule? [UPDATE]

[BC wanted to make is clear that Addazio did not schedule this season's games. So we are clear, Notre Dame is part of an ACC agreement. Richmond is an interchangeable FCS. Kansas and Rutgers are the big P5 variables. They were scheduled towards the end of Bates' tenure. I argued to BC that Addazio had a voice in those games getting scheduled. BC says no.]

A series of questions as we approach another year of Addazio.

Be prepared to hear a lot about BC's schedule this year. It is rare to be playing 11 Power 5 teams. For years, BC has put one or two mid-majors on the schedule to pad the win total. From afar, it looks like that wiggle room is gone this year. But a closer look at the schedule also has me wondering if it really is any harder than it has been in the past.

Richmond, Kansas, Rutgers, Notre Dame
Richmond might be one of the more consistent FCS teams on the east coast, but come on, they are still undersized and coming to Alumni. If Addazio can't win that game, he has problems. Notre Dame has been on our schedule at various times through the years. This year's game is on the road and late in the season, so it could be dangerous. However, Notre Dame has been coming off two strong years and most sites have them expected to take a step back.

When Addazio scheduled Kansas and Rutgers, they were two of the worst teams in college football. At the time, I found it cynical and short-sighted. When you schedule a team years in advance, you can't truly predict how good they will be once you take the field. Look at Purdue last year. I doubt Kansas or Rutgers will be as good as Purdue, but both will probably give us more of a game than we want or expect. But still as a whole, this non-conference schedule is favorable. BC should be favored in three of the games, and come away with at least two wins.

ACC games
There is nothing unique about the ACC schedule we play this year. Pitt is our rotational cross division game, but everything else is the same. Do you usually feel like BC has a tough conference schedule? Yes, we play the defending National Champion, but we also get Florida State during a rebuild. Yes, we kick the season off with VT, but they have many issues and question marks. I am a big believer that the ACC games will always be cyclical. For every team on an unexpected upswing, there will also be a team in a down cycle. This year is no exception.

I hope BC and Addazio don't use this schedule as a crutch. Aside from the perception, it is probably not all that different from a typical BC season. Manage it well and win the games we should and BC will probably be where it always is under Addazio.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Big questions: Can BC find magic in the transfers again?

A series of questions as we approach another year of Addazio.

Last year's senior class was arguably Addazio's most talented. Their departures left multiple holes. While there is youth in the pipeline, he wisely picked up a few transfers to help bridge any talent gaps. Grad transfers have been critical to a few of Addazio's seasons. The question heading into this year, will any of this year's transfers be difference makers for this season.

Danny Dalton might be the most prominent transfer given his New England roots and history with BC (he decommitted to go to Penn State). Now that he is finally an Eagle, he offers the potential to fill in some of the productivity at Tight End. However, Tight End was probably one of our deeper positions. In this case, Dalton is a nothing to lose fill in. If he plays well -- great. If he doesn't -- BC has others who will gladly take those snaps.

If we don't need Dalton to be great, we sort of do need Richard Yeargin to be great. DLine is our biggest question mark. We need someone to step up and provide pressure. Can it be Yeargin? He will get the chance. He's had all the tools, but dealth with injuries and setbacks while at Clemson. He was also among the best dline prospects in the country, so you could see how he might have been overlooked down south. At BC, he will finally get his chance.

Hayden Mahoney is another ACC transfer. Can BC get more out of him than Miami? He is supposedly set to start...and Addazio handles the Oline well, so that's a good sign. Some of Addazio's best transfers have been P5 Olinemen. Let's hope Mahoney continues that tradition.

If any transfer might make or break the season it could be Aaron Boumerhi. The former Temple kicker will be asked to do something seemingly simple, just kick FGs and convert extra points. Kickers have been one of Addazio's Achilles Heels. Maybe one grad transfer can break that cycle of frustration.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Big questions: What's Addazio's backup qb plan this year?

A series of questions as we approach another year of Addazio.

Last year Addazio pushed the narrative of BC being in the game against Clemson until Brown went down. It probably oversimplifies things and gives Addazio an excuse for last season's collapse, but the bigger issue is how to avoid such a drop off if Brown goes down again.

Until the summer, Addazio kept talking up his QB depth and talent. That's been a downgraded talking point since three of those backups have transferred elsewhere in search of playing time. I don't view any of the guys who left (Perry, McDonald or Langan) as program changing losses. And that is part of the problem. Addazio has brought in plenty of QBs and the best of the bunch so far has been Brown. The RS Jr Brown represents the most stability Addazio has had at the team's most critical position. Yet, he has missed games both years and has been inconsistent over the course of two seasons.

Based on what has been posted and discussed, it appears Matt Valecce is the primary backup. Sam Johnson is the most highly touted but as a freshman, unless he is blowing people away, it would be a real surprise for him to see the field. Dennis Grosel and Daelen Menard are projects on the depth chart. If either of them see the field we are witnessing a miracle or a disaster.

Valecce was well regarded as a recruit and has played well in spring exposure. Like Brown, he has to adjust to a new OC. But he's basically a blank slate.

If any team is forced to play their backup QB, something is wrong. My ongoing frustration under Addazio is that we've never had a backup who could step in and really press the starter. The best backup was Wade and even he was someone who you really had to work around and manage.

I hope AB has a breakout season and proves to be an elite player. I hope he stays healthy. But given everything that has happened, I am really hoping Addazio has his backup ready and it is someone who won't require Addazio to go conservative in a critical game.

Tuesday, August 06, 2019

Media Day reactions

Addazio and his coordinators spoke with the media Tuesday. It was pretty standard preseason stuff without much true news. At this point we know Addazio, he knows the fans, he knows his team, his AD and the media. The college football world is not waiting on his media address in August, but I think he does use this to set expectations for the season. Now I am about to get into all sorts of speculative nonsense, but I think Addazio is a little worried about the season. He specifically avoided a win total discussion and only vaguely included competing for a division. That is understandable considering Clemson is in the division, but in prior years he was a bit bolder. He put a lot of emphasis on building a culture and not wanting to disrupt that culture and the recruiting hit you take when you do. That seems directed at his critics -- like me -- and potentially his AD. I think the timing of this is all off for him. Last year was supposed to be the year. This year seems harder, so just when he needs a breakthrough, he will have to scrape that much harder to maintain.

I do trust him on his evaluation and enthusiasm for the OLine. If this team does exceed expectations it will be because the OLine made things easier for Dillon.

Sheridan was low key. He seems to like his squad and is not worried about the transition from Jim Reid. He was much more frank about the youth and how they aren't ready. I guess he has a lot to do before VT.

Bajakian didn't offer much news either. He does seem to buy into what BC is and what Addazio is selling. I found his criticism of Brown's accuracy important. I think it is one of the issues to get AB to the next level, but I also think Brown needs to work on finding the best option and also his general awareness. Some of that will come with maturity, but most of that will have to be nurtured by Bajakian.