Friday, December 28, 2007

Back from Orlando and the Big Finish

We just got back from the bowl game so we go to the big finish.

Brian: BC extends its bowl winning streak to 8 games, best in the country. Your thoughts?

Jeff: How many times do we need to cover this? It would’ve been a bigger deal if we lost to an inferior Michigan State team. Game was not as close as final score indicated. Having the bowl winning streak gets us some extra press which is great.

Brian: I am happy to have ESPN and the media slurp the BC bowl winning streak. Three more bowl victories and we will tie Florida State for the all-time bowl winning streak record.

Jeff: Rich Gunnell had two touchdowns, good sign for next year?

Brian: Excellent sign for next year. Not sure if its going to be Crane or Boek leading the team next year, but either way, our defense will be solid and we will only need to score 20-24 points a game to be in every game next year.

Jeff: I am very excited about next year’s team. Matt Ryan is great but I think Jags being able to implement his system one more year combined with Raji and Toal coming back equals good things for BC football.

Jeff: Brian, there were way more than 5,500 maroon or gold shirts in the stands, I was pumped, but we haven’t seen any official attendance stats yet. Does this help our future bowl prospects?

Brian: It helps somewhat. It will be really important if we end up in Nashville, San Francisco or Boise next year to build on this year’s bowl attendance.

Brian: Jeff, you placed your grill underneath the car like you did at Clemson. When you came back, it wasn’t there. Will you ever come back to the Champs Sports Bowl and Orlando?

Jeff: I can’t say I will never come back but I am certainly not excited about the prospect and would likely not come back. The Citrus Bowl is in the middle of a bad section of Orlando. While tailgating, someone approached us almost every 15 minutes wanting a free beer or to sell us some piece of shit. It was bad.

Brian: Orlando was not the best of bowl locations. San Francisco, the only other bowl I've been to, was a little better in my opinion (even playing in a baseball stadium). Hopefully we make it to Miami next year.

Headlines: Bowl News from Orlando

Jeff and I are in Orlando for the bowl game. Here is a rundown of today’s headlines:

Brian: Here is the Champs Sports Bowl preview from Jeff, let’s start out with the bowl winning streak, which currently stands at 7 and is tied for the longest in the nation (Utah won its seventh in the Poinsettia Bowl). How important is it today to push the bowl win streak to 8 straight?

Jeff: Very important. This streak can not be broken by a 7-5 Michigan State team in a year the Eagles are looking for 11 wins. That would kill momentum for recruiting from this great season. Right now Utah’s streak includes a BCS win and I think is very impressive. BC needs to push the streak to 8.

Brian: Good point about the Utah BCS bowl win. In my eyes, the bowl streak is somewhat cheapened by the fact that we have played in second and third tier bowls when we deserved to play tougher opponents. The polar opposite of this is Notre Dame’s bowl winless streak. They end up playing in bowls they have no business competing in. But don't get me started on the college football playoff system. Still, the BC streak is impressive and I hope it continues today.

Brian: On the plane from New York, I was subjected to the Big Ten Network coverage of the Bowl. They seemed to really be slurping the Michigan State rushing attack. They average 42 rushes a game and over 200.3 yards/game on the ground. They appear to be more committed to the rush than other teams we have faced this year. BC goes into the bowl with the #1 statistical rush defense. So in the battle of the unstoppable force vs. the immovable object, break down the Michigan State rushing output today.

Jeff: Jo-Lonn Dunbar said “Michigan State’s running game has to be the best we have seen so far this year”. I would’ve thought Clemson’s running game is at least comparable with Davis and Spiller. The game plan is to stop the run first today. I am not worried. I think Michigan State barely breaks 100 yards rushing if that.

Brian: I am not worried about the Spartan rush attack. Even if they rush for 150-200 yards, I think we still win this game. I think the key battle will be the MSU wide outs vs. the BC secondary. If the Spartans can keep the BC secondary honest, it might be a close game.

Jeff: A few weeks ago, we both predicted more than 5,500 BC fans to be at the game today. Wanna change your prediction since we’ve seen very few BC fans since checking into our hotel?

Brian: If there are more than 5,500 BC fans here, they couldn’t be seen yesterday. One other guy on the plane was wearing BC gear. Just one. If you Eagles fans are here in Orlando, wear your BC gear. Be loud. Be proud. At least give the city of Orlando and Michigan State fans the perception that there are lots of us here.

Jeff: The game does not start until 5pm versus a 1pm start in Jacksonville, a lot of fans could still be getting in this morning. I’m going to stick with my prediction because we did not see a ton of Michigan State fans either and we know Michigan State will have 15,000+.

Brian: Last one, Jeff. Make a prediction on today’s game.

Jeff: 38-17 BC wins.

Brian: 42-28 BC wins in a shootout. BC and Ryan break all sorts of school records today.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from the BC Interruption crew. We'll have headlines up for the bowl game on Thursday.

Go BC!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Big Finish: Bowls and Men's Hoops

Brian: ESPN's Lee Corso and Kirk Herbstreit are picking the Spartans over BC in the Champs Sports Bowl. Jeff, you surprised?

Jeff: No, Herbstreit picked against us in at least four games we won this season plus at the beginning of the season he had BC as one of the games he expected Notre Dame to win.

Brian: Herbstreit/Corso/Fowler's lack of respect has really dragged this team down in terms of the National perception of BC football. At least it looks like Stewart Mandel finally gives us some love and has come to his senses on the bowl predictions.

Jeff: Bowl gifts for Champs Sports - $400 to Best Buy. Thoughts?

Brian: I like this. BC and Michigan State get to spend $400 on whatever they want in an Orlando-area Best Buy. Clemson gets a iPod Nano video from the Chick-Fil-A bowl, retail price $199. So we got the better end of the deal finally, right?

Brian: BC football opens the 2008 season vs. Kent State in Cleveland and moved from Thursday night to Saturday. But there is still an open out of conference spot on the schedule (September 13). Jeff, who you scheduling?

Jeff: Wasn't Alabama looking for a game next season? If we play Alabama, I'm there.

Brian: Going into Tuscaloosa in early September would be tough, but they did lose in embarrasing fashion to Louisiana-Monroe this year. Louisville is also looking to fill an open slot and they aren't really a "Big East" team since they joined after BC left the conference.

Jeff: Utah edged Navy last night, props to you for being right.

Brian: You picked with your heart, my man. You will get a chance to even the score though since I picked TCU over Houston as my sentimental pick.

Jeff: Exciting finish though with Navy recovering an onside kick. You were probably sleeping already, old man!

Brian: I was, in fact, sleeping. But I did check my Blackberry and Utah was up 10 with 5 minutes to play.

Brian: Last one, BC Northeastern men's basketball tomorrow afternoon. Make a prediction.

Jeff: BC in a close one against the former BC assistant coach, Bill Coen, in front of 3 or 4 fans.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Fortune Teller: Bowl Predictions

It's time to go bowling, Eagles. Jeff and I will be in Orlando for the Champs Sports Bowl, but we wanted to give you our take on the other 31 bowl games. Check back in early January to see how we did.

Go Eagles!

Utah v. NavyUtahNavy
Memphis v. FAUFAUMemphis
Southern Miss v. CincyCincyCincy
Nevada v. New MexicoNew MexicoNevada
Boise St v E CarolinaBoise StBoise St
Purdue v. C MichiganPurdueC Michigan
Arizona St v. TexasArizona StArizona St
BC v. Michigan StBCBC
TCU v. HoustonTCUHouston
Maryland v. Oregon StMarylandMaryland
UCONN v. Wake ForestWake ForestWake Forest
UCF v. Mississippi St.UCFMiss. St.
Penn State v. Texas A&MPenn StPenn St
Alabama v. ColoradoAlabamaAlabama
California V. Air ForceAir ForceAir Force
Georgia Tech v. Fresno StFresno StGeorgia Tech
South Florida v. OregonS FloridaS Florida
Kentucky v. Florida StKentuckyKentucky
Indiana v. Oklahoma StOklahoma StOklahoma St
Clemson v. AuburnClemsonClemson
Wisconsin v. TennesseeTennesseeTennessee
Missouri v. ArkansasMissouriMissouri
Texas Tech v. VirginiaVirginiaVirginia
Michigan v. FloridaFloridaFlorida
Illinois v. USCUSCUSC
Hawaii v. GeorgiaGeorgiaGeorgia
Oklahoma v. West VirginiaOklahomaOklahoma
Virginia Tech v. KansasVirginia TechVirginia Tech
Rutgers v. Ball StateRutgersRutgers
Bowling Green v. TulsaTulsaBowling Green

Happy Time: DeKoning, Seminoles and Jags

Get happy, Eagles.

A posthumous Happy Birthday to William (Bill) Callahan DeKoning (December 19). A Boston College grad, Bill broke into the major leagues at age 26 with the New York (Baseball) Giants. He only played one season in the majors over a span of 14 days in May and June of the 1945 season. His stat line looks eerily similar to Archibald Wright "Moonlight" Graham's (Moonlight Graham was made famous in the W.P. Kinsella novel Shoeless Joe and 1989 film Field of Dreams). 3 games, 1 at-bat, 1 strikeout. Moonlight Graham also played for the New York (Baseball) Giants.

Happy Trails Florida State Seminoles football players. broke a story claiming that as many as 20 Seminole players will be suspended for the December 31 Music City Bowl against Kentucky and the first three games of 2008. Hopefully when the ACC schedule is announced in late January BC gets the Seminoles in early September down at Doak Campbell Stadium.

Happy Anniversary Jeff Jagodzinski. On this day 1 year ago, you were introduced as the 33rd head coach of the Boston College Eagles football team. Jags signed a 5 year deal worth an undisclosed amount. Worked out pretty good for the Eagles this year. Jeff, your thoughts?
Jeff: I was sad for about ten minutes when TOB left. But then happy. And then more happy when Jags was signed. A year later, still happy.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Over/Under: Basketball and Bowl Thoughts

1. Over/Under 18 wins for this season's BC men's basketball team?

Jeff: I have BC at 11-3 going into their next ACC game which is at home against Wake Forest on Jan 12. From there I see BC winnning 6 home games but not a single away game. So i am going under right now.

Brian: Although it pains me to do so, I am going to have to agree with you. 11-3 out of conference, which they would then need to go 7-9 in conference to push. I only see them winning 5-6 conference games this year, 4 in the friendly confines of Silvio O. Conte and 1-2 on the road.

2. Over/Under 328.5 yards passing for Matt Ryan in the Champs Sports Bowl? ( projects that he will have 328 yards in the bowl game based on year-end stat projections)

Brian: Way over! This will be the last time Matt Ryan wears a maroon and gold jersey, and I expect him to go out with a bang. Michigan State has the 43rd ranked pass defense which I think Logan will look to exploit. Plus, he's playing in the land of the NFC NASCAR (South) division and will be able to showcase his talents to potential drafters the Atlanta Falcons and Bill Parcels. OVER!

Jeff: This is going to be close. Ryan will throw for 275+ yards. But i am going to go under here because many of our scoring drives will be on short fields because Michigan State will struggle to move the ball against our defense that has had several weeks to get healthy again. Under.

3. Over/Under 3.5 point BC margin of victory in the Champs Sports Bowl?

Jeff: Over! The reason the spread is only 3.5 points is because the "experts" think BC will have a letdown game similar to the way they barely showed up against Navy last year after getting overlooked by all the top tier bowls. We have talked about this though and I think our team struggled last year because of the coaching change and is plenty mature enough this year to go to Orlando and take care of business, controlling the game from the opening kick.

Brian: Again, I agree this is over. Last year's coaching change certainly affected the bowl game against Navy. Jags will be looking to prove the product on the field didn't justify this team falling to the 4th ACC bowl and will have the team motivated to BEAT DOWN on the Spartans. Over.

4. Over/Under (the un-pushable) 4.5 wins by ACC teams in bowl games?

Brian: I'm going to go under. Surprised? Here are the teams I expect to win: Virginia Tech over Kansas, BC over MSU, Wake Forest over UConn, and maybe Clemson over Auburn. Here are the teams I expect to come up short:
I hope I'm wrong, of course, as a good bowl record will help better the ACC football image.

Jeff: I see wins from Wake Forest, Virginia Tech and BC. That gives the ACC 3 locks. Then I think Clemson will probably beat Auburn, UVA will likely beat Texas Tech, and Maryland has a good chance over Oregon State. GT and FSU have a 50-50 shot at best. To answer your question though the ACC will have 5 or more wins in the bowls this year after a poor 4 win performance last year. OVER.

5. Over/Under 5,500 BC fans in attendance at the bowl game.

Jeff: In Jacksonville for the ACCCG there were fewer than 4,000. I see this number increasing significantly. Orlando is much easier to get to than Jacksonville and people had more time to plan a trip. We traveled with 5 people to the ACCCG and are traveling with 6 to the bowl. So that is not a big enough increase to get over 5,500. But, I expect a lot more students to travel. I'm going over! But I'm not real confident.

Brian: Definitely over, but not by much. I hope I'm surprised, but I'm not holding my breath. And because we aren't that cool, Jeff, I don't see the connection between how many people we are going with to the bowl game as compared to the ACCCG.

Jeff: This game is 100% over and I am the winner because all you did was agree with me except for the times you didn't and therefore you were wrong!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Headlines: Motivation and Most Unimportant?!

Brian: Let's start off with football as we get closer to the trip to Orlando and Matt Ryan's final game. Some are questioning if BC will be motivated in this game after nearly going to the Orange Bowl. Are you concerned?

Jeff: No. Let's start with the defense. We have a linebacking core and a strong safety that just like to hit people and hit people hard. They could be playing Duke, Baylor, Stanford, or BC High and they would bring it as soon as they walk out onto the field. Then to address the offense. Matt Ryan is still trying to move up the draft board and last time I checked, as Matt Ryan goes, so do the Eagles. We will be fine. And as for the team overall, we have a lot of seniors who will be playing their last game so I am certain they will want to leave the field with a victory.

Brian: Matt Ryan and Jeff Jagodzinsky certainly have a knack for saying all the right things this year. I don't doubt that they will have the boys fully motivated for the Champs Sports Bowl. As for other motivation, don't underestimate how much the BC bowl winning streak will play as far as motivating the team. TOB really hung his hat on this accomplishment despite playing inferior opponents a few of those years (see: Toledo, CSU, UNC, Arizona State). Michigan State, although they finished 7th in the Big 10, is a major BCS conference opponent. A win over a BCS conference opponent will go a long way to helping Jags on the recruiting trail. It will also somewhat silence TOB supporters who tout BC's bowl streak as one of his major accomplishments. Also, there will only be a handful of teams that can say they won 11 games this year. BC hasn't won 11 since 1940's 11-0 squad, so there is history to be made as well.

Jeff: Yes the bowl streak is nice and 11 wins would be great, but I strongly disagree that beating Michigan State validates our winning streak. It is a better "name" than Boise State or Toledo for sure but this streak is going to have to include a win in a Gator, Orange or Peach Bowl at some point to be remembered by anyone other than BC fans.

Brian: Have to disagree. Writers and college football gurus have taken notice of us this season. As an example, Kirk Herbstreit thinks that we should be on upset alert. A win over the Spartans will go a long way to silencing the critics and validating our bowl win streak (of the 8 bowl games in the streak, we will have beaten 4 BCS conference teams - UGA, Arizona State, UNC and Michigan State). A win also strengthens the ACC's resume over the Big 10. Finally, a win coupled with stability in the coaching staff, seems to be helping our recruiting efforts. Recruits are passing up places like Arkansas for BC because of coaching stability. We can really build on this win.

Jeff: Bowl wins are great and this bowl game is probably our most important since playing Georgia in Nashville. But, assuming the streak continues it will get a ton of national attention after a win in a top tier bowl.

Jeff: Brian, Jux Berg called BC "the most unimportant team in college football" in an article last week. I know this pissed you off. What do you have to say about it?

Brian: One of the BC supporters who posted comments (of which, there are 371!) on this article wrote a rebuttal on Bleacher Report. Largely, I agree with the response other than naming other programs who are more "unimportant" than BC. We are above this. The simple fact that Jux Berg wrote an article about BC proves that they are not the most unimportant program in college. The article oozes of jealousy and bitterness. The article's whole premise is indefensible and the timing of the article is also quite curious (post ACCCG loss). Overall though, my biggest shock was that Sports Illustrated picked up the article and spun it as "Finally - a Loser in Boston." BC is the furthest thing from a "loser" this year or even over the past few years.

Jeff: Wow, Brian, I thought you were going to blast this article for pages and pages. So since you are taking the high road I will as well and I will point out the one good fact that Mr. Berg did point out - no top 10 finishes in 23 years. Outside of students and alumni of the teams that do, no one remembers who squeaked into the top 25 at the end of the year which is where we usually are. This year we were a major part of the national football picture for much of the season and it still looks like even 11 wins will not be enough to get us back into the top 10 at the year end so the streak will continue. I am not expecting to see BC in the top 10 every year, but this year we had as good of a chance as ever and we lost to a mediocre Maryland team. Once again one win away from a major bowl or conference championship. When will BC have a different story to tell at the end of the year?

Brian: Who finished in the top 10 in 2004? Did you know Utah, Iowa and Cal did? Where are those programs this year? There isn't a top 25 vote among those 3 teams this year. My point: no one remembers the Top 10 year in, year out. Polls are subjective and subject to the whims of sports writers and coaches (how else can you explain LSU jumping 5 spots in the final week to squeak into the BCS championship?) I disagree. This is a meaningless statistic. Besides, if Jux did his homework, I'm willing to bet there are MULTIPLE BCS conference teams that haven't sniffed the Top 10 in more than 23 years.

Jeff: I could've told you Iowa and Utah, but not Cal. I agree you don't remember the top 10 every year either but you remember that a lot more than the top 25. I remember Utah beating Pittsburgh in the Fiesta Bowl in 2004 when BC should've represented the Big East by simply beating Syracuse in the final game of the season. Next, if we looked at teams with no top 10 finishes in the last 23 years the list would include names like: Baylor, Iowa State, Northwestern, Rutgers, Vanderbilt, Arizona. Putting those names up next to Boston College does not make BC look any better.

Brian: I don't care to put those programs up against BC because this is a meaningless statistic. To humor you though, Northwestern finished #8 (AP) in 1995. Arizona #10 (UPI) in 1986. Agree Vandy, Iowa State and Baylor have been terrible. But add these teams to your list of "important" powerhouse football programs who have sniffed the top 25 in the last 23 years - East Carolina (#9 AP 1991), Kansas (#9 AP 1995), North Carolina (#10 AP 1996), Tulane (#7 AP 1998), Marshall (#10 1999), and Miami (OH) (#10 AP 2003). No one can argue that these teams are important because they've had 1 top 10 finish in the last 23 years. My conclusion is that Jux's criteria for determining the most unimportant football team is completely flawed. Finally, I would add that had BC been given the opportunity, they would have finished in the top 10 this year easily. That's not to say I'm completely ruling this out though, as I'm picking BC to win their bowl game, and a combo of Illinois / West Virginia / Hawaii / Arizona State / Kansas to lose their bowl games.

Jeff: Jux's argument was completely ridiculous. I thought we established that early on. A top ten finish in recent memory is something BC currently lacks on their resume though.

Brian: Rutgers finished #12 (AP) last season, their highest ranking in the last 23 years. Does finishing outside the top 10 take away from their great season last year? No. Does anyone doubt that Rutgers football is now a strong program in the Big East? No. I could care less if BC ever finishes in the top 10. The only resume builder BC football should ever be concerned with is ACC Championships.

Jeff: Rutgers football over the last 23 years SUCKS! Everyone knows that. Yes they had a good season last year and are going bowl again. But looking at Rutgers over a longer horizon they might still be the WORST team in college football.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Big Finish : Gerbe, Expansion, College Cup and UMass

Jeff: #15 BC men's hockey junior Nathan Gerbe scores 4 goals Wednesday night in a 7-2 rout of #14 Harvard. Your thoughts?

Brian: Impressive performance, but not nearly as impressive as Brian Gionta's 5 goals in the first period of the 2001 game against Maine. This is still a Hockey East and NCAA record for goals in a period, and to this day I'm pissed I missed it.

Brian: BC's grand expansion plan. Tailgating in 2017: for better or worse?

Jeff: Well Brian, they are adding spots to the Beacon Street garage which will provide more spots on campus but i would rather be tailgating in open air behind St Thomas More. It might not really help or hurt tailgating but overall the expansion is great!

Jeff: NCAA men's soccer College Cup tonight. UMass v. Ohio State, Virginia Tech v. Wake Forest. The Eagles should have been there. Who you got?

Brian: UMass and Wake Forest. It's just a shame that Wake and VTech have to knock each other off. The ACC is by far the best men's soccer conference in the country this year.

Brian: Earlier this week you were all excited about the basketball team. How you feeling now?

Jeff: Still very excited about conference play despite a slightly disappointing loss to UMASS and Maryland also lost to Ohio. But, I know its finals time but still more than 5,000 fans need to come out to see BC play UMASS. We are talking about lack of BC fan support far too often. Some idiot asked Gene about expanding Conte in his online chat this week. Many fans seem to just be completely out of touch with the average BC fan.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Happy Time: Liotta, Peterson, Winning Streak and Jax

It's happy time, people.

A weak BC-related Happy Birthday wish to Ray Liotta (December 18). Ray Liotta played the real-life mobster Henry Hill in the movie Goodfellas, who was linked to the 1978-1979 Boston College basketball point-shaving scandal. The first two games of the scandal? December 6, 1978 against Providence (BC favored by 7 and won by 13) and December 16, 1978 against Harvard (BC favored by 12 and won by 3).

Happy Anniversary Paul Peterson. On this day 3 years ago, you were cleared to play for the 2004 Continental Tire Bowl. Peterson had broken his hand November 20 and had not played in the 43-17 loss to Syracuse that would have secured BC's first ever BCS birth. The replacement QB for that game against Syracuse? Freshman Matt Ryan. 24-for-51, 200 yards, 3 interceptions. BC's senior QB would come back to lead the Eagles to a 37-24 bowl win over North Carolina, only to be carted away with a broken leg in that game.

Happy Trails BC’s eight game winning streak against UMass basketball. The men’s team was upended by the Minutemen 83-80 last night at Conte Forum in a sloppily played affair. Preseason first team all ACC guard Tyrese Rice led the way with 26 points, but missed a 3 pointer to tie late.

Jeff: Also a happy Happy Trails to Jacksonville as the host of the ACC Championship game. Earlier this week, I correctly predicted a 0% chance of the game returning to JAX next year.

Brian: Due to scheduling conflicts with the city of Charlotte, Charlotte will not host the ACCCG until 2010. In my opinion, this is unfortunate for the ACC as I do not see Tampa producing a better draw than Jacksonville. That is unless Florida State and Miami right the ship quickly.

Jeff: At least in Tampa you have a bigger airport, more hotels and more residents within a 50-mile radius.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Role Play: GDF, York, Raji, Minuteman and Smith

It's time for a little BC role play, people.

Jeff, you are Gene DeFilippo. How disappointed were you to see a small turnout for the ACC Championship Game?

Disappointed? Of course. Surprised? Not really. Had we had a larger fan presence in Jacksonville, say 7,000+, we would be headed to the Chick-Fil-A Bowl for sure to play Auburn which is something that our Alumni and fans would be very excited about. Instead, we are headed to the Champs Sports Bowl to play Michigan State in Orlando which is still a very good bowl but is not drawing the same attention that a matchup against an SEC team would have. Next time we make the ACCCG it will hopefully be in a city easier for BC students and Alumni to get to so that we can have a better crowd and hopefully come out victourious. Our team had a wonderful season and it is unfortunate that our fans did not show the expected support in ticket purchases at the end.

Brian: Gene, what are you doing guaranteeing victory in the bowl game, buddy? Do you really need to give the Michigan State Spartans more bulletin board fodder to get up for this game?

Jeff: Well, that was taken a little out of context, Michigan State has a good coach and a good program but I like our chances against them.

Brian, you are BC hockey coach Jerry York. What's going on so far this season?

It's still early in the season and we are close to the top of the Hockey East standings. You can't say that about some of our closest rivals the past few years - Maine and BU, who we beat down in a home and home earlier this year. We are breaking in our stud freshman goalie, John Muse. And did I mention I'm 311-169-42 at BC and won a National championship. Been to the Frozen Four more times than I can count. The sky is not falling, my man.

Jeff: Whoa, sorry Jerry, BC hockey is as good as ever. Good to hear. I look forward to watching Beanpot highlights on SportsCenter because thats all I get to see of your team down in South Carolina.

Brian: We'll try to schedule a home and home series against the University of Alabama-Huntsville so you can see your Eagles play down in South Carolina. Besides, even if we are dominating Hockey East, you know we always break your heart while you watch SportsCenter highlights of the Beanpot. And this year, we get BU first round, so, yeah ...

Jeff, you are freshman forward Corey Raji. You are averaging 10.5 ppg but less than 20 min pg, whats up with that?

Well, Brian, first thank you for having me on your blog. Second let me just say that Boston College is a great place to be a student-athlete and Al Skinner is a great coach to play for. So far we are 7-1 and 1-0 in conference and I am just happy I can be a part of a winning team here. I came to Boston College to win a national championship and hopefully I can work my way into the starting lineup and in the next four years we can accomplish that goal.

Brian: That's it?! That's all you got? The company line? Skinner's been feeding you some "humble pie." Get angry, fella. 10.5 points per game, 4.3 rebounds per game. You should be in there.

Jeff: I'll be in there soon. For now, I just want to win ball games.

Brian, you are Sam the Minuteman, the mascot of the University of Massachusetts. A play-in UMass squad knocks off #1 BC in men's soccer, UMass goes 1-0-1 against BC men's hockey, and played a top 25 BC team close in football. Tonight you get the BC men's bball team. State your case that BC v. UMass has become a good in-state rivalry.

Rivalry would imply that the games have been competitive. The truth of the matter is we have been BEATING DOWN on the Eagles for a while now. A play-in team beats the #1 seed in the NCAAs. Can't happen, right? Wrong. Not in men's soccer. We went into Chestnut Hill, beat the Eagles in their own house, and are now in the Final Four of Men's soccer. That's right. We even had to play an extra game and play that other pretender school in Boston. Also, have you seen the Hockey East standings lately? Didn't think so. UMA #9 in the nation and #2 in Hockey East. We'll beat you down on the hardwood tonight, too. The Governor's Cup is ours, baby. Did I mention that I was runner up in the 2005 Capital One Mascot Of The Year competition? I didn't see your boy Baldwin or that inflatable punchbag Baldwin Jr. anywhere.

Jeff: Come back to Earth Sam, you beat us in SOCCER. When was the last time you saw those highlights on SportsCenter? Hockey does matter, but you beat us once this year, so what? Talk to me in a few years if you can start pulling off wins on a regular basis. You know basketball is what would really make this rivalry but unfortunately in that sport it has been one-sided. UMASS dominated for a little while, now BC does. No rivalry yet, buddy.

Brian: First team All-American mascot, baby. You'll come grovelling back to me with your Eagle feathers between your legs after the bball game tonight.

Jeff, you are Minnesota Timberwolves forward Craig Smith. 16 points, 8 boards 36 minutes in a surprising win over Phoenix. A career best 36 points in a loss to the Wizards. How you feeling big boy?

Feeling good, Brian. Feeling Good. You know I am averaging almost 12 points and 5 rebounds on the season. 16 and 8 was kinda just another night for me. I'm working hard though so I'll be getting more and more minutes as the season goes on. This is the way I'm used to doing it. Just the same as how I wasn't highly recruited out of high school but ended up as a first round draft pick. You'll be hearing more and more about me.

Brian: Craig, just one question for you - why are all the current BC NBAers on terrible teams? I feel bad for you guys. Your boy Dudley on Charlotte, Sean Williams on New Jersey and you on the T'Wolves. Ouch. You need to pull a KG and work a trade to get back to Boston.

Jeff: Ha ha. Boston isn't Chestnut Hill, Brian, it wouldn't be the same.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Big Finish: Big East, Blackmon, Bball and Dudley

Jeff: Dan Cagen of The Heights wrote an article this week basically wishing we were still in the Big East. Dan was in high school when we were last in the Big East. Do we care about Dan Cagen's opinion?

Brian: Well ... not particularly. When you move conferences, rivalries will take time to develop. Don't you think Clemson is a little ticked that they have 3 losses to the Eagles by a total of 7 points in 3 seasons?

Brian: Will Blackmon scores 2 TDs for the Pack yesterday vs. Oakland. Your thoughts?

Jeff: Its always good to see former Eagles do well at the next level. Matt Hasselbeck had a great day yesterday as well.

Jeff: Brian, you traveled from NYC to see 7 football games (Wake, NC State, @ VTech, FSU, @ Maryland, @ Clemson, ACCCG), how many basketball games you going to?

Brian: Isn't this a "rebuilding year"? The @ Maryland game (closest home game to NYC) has come and gone due to the quirks of the ACC schedule. I might get to 1 ... maybe 2.

Brian: Jared Dudley 4 points, 11 minutes in a Piston beat-down of the Bobcats last night. Thoughts?

Jeff: I hope Jared can get more minutes as the season goes on, but does anyone really care about the NBA these days?! Not me.

Oddsmakers: Post ACCCG Football

Chances BC has more than 10,000 fans at the Champs Sports Bowl?

Jeff: 10%

BC will travel more fans to the Champs Sports Bowl than they did the ACC Championship game. BC had less than 5,000 at the ACCCG so that still leaves a long way to go which is why I don't give it much of a chance, but certainly the students will travel much better because you'll have many who come from southeastern states and others that have plenty of time over the holiday break to make a drive down to Orlando. Making it to Jacksonville was difficult for students because of the time of year and the expense. The real questions is though, how many BC fans said the last several years "I'll go to BC's bowl game if they get one in Florida" but still aren't going to the Champs Sports Bowl.

Brian: 0%

Absolutely NO WAY this happens. Approx. 3,500 BC fans show up at the ACC Championship game, and that was the game that mattered for BC's season. This would almost have to triple that output. As a measuring stick, look at the attendance for this bowl over the last three years: '06 Maryland-Purdue 40,000, '05 Clemson-Colorado 31,000, '04 Georgia Tech-Syracuse 28,237. Also, if it gives you some sort of clue as to the demographic of who's interested in going to this game, all you have to do is go to the Champs Sports Bowl website and vote on who is going to win this game. On a normal planet, 2/3 of the people shouldn't think that Michigan State is going to win this game. 0%

Jeff: Brian, the Champs Sports Bowl is expecting record attendance for this game but I agree that it will be mostly Michigan State driven. Try and get tickets on Ticketmaster right now and there are not any decent seats left. I hope we are both wrong though, seeing some maroon and gold in the stands would go a long way for next year's bowl selection.

Chances there are no major changes on the football coaching staff this offseason?

Brian: 25% I honestly have no idea about this one. Obviously I believe Jags is staying put. The coordinators motivation is cloudy in my mind - Spaz is a TOB guy at heart. Does he go south and join his buddy at NC State? I'm really not sure what Steve Logan's motivation is either. An NFL Europe guy, I could see him taking on another head coaching gig or jumping back to the pros (I'd more concerned with the latter, to be honest). McGovern, Turner, Yanowsky, Siravo, Comissiong, Sirmans, Day. I'm going to go low here, 25%, if only because all these guys are true "BC" guys and have a lot of ties to the program and the school.

Jeff: 60%

I think we'll see the same guys back next year. If Spaz was going to leave he would've likely left last year. Jags didn't come to BC to only coach one year. Which leaves Logan: Logan has not been a major candidate for any of the jobs that have been filled so far. Duke is still open, but does he really want to go coach Duke if given the opportunity? Logan is my one worry but I think we'll see those 3 back next season.

Brian: How excited can Logan be about coming back to BC next year? He is the only non-BC guy there and seemed to be doing Jags a favor when Jags returned to the Heights. Since he is a vocal coach, has HC experience and is an NFL (yes, it was NFL Europe, but still) guy, I'm not sure if he'll be back next year. I can see him A) retiring, B) jumping to the NFL or C) taking a HC job somewhere back down south.

Chances BC makes it back to next year's ACC Championship?

Jeff: 30%

Winning your division is no easy task. I think our defense has the potential to be better next year with Toal and Raji back but you can't expect our offense to be the same without Matt Ryan. At the same time I see Florida State getting better and Clemson, our biggest hurdle, returns their quarterback, running back duo and WR speedster Ford who fortunately was injured for the game against BC this year. Schedule sets up better for us next year because we have Clemson, Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech coming to Alumni as opposed to playing them on the road this year but we have a tough trip to FSU somewhere on the calendar plus perhaps one or two other losses in there.

Brian: 60%

I'm going to go as high as 60% and here's why: Take a look at the other ACC Atlantic teams: I think Florida State has a tough schedule next year. Florida, Colorado, Wake Forest, Virginia Tech, BC all at home. They will have a tough road to come all the way back. Now that Clemson has their coach back, they will underachieve yet against under Bowden. I think Wake will be a good team, but not sure they have all the right pieces to make another run. BC will be returning a lot of starters. Toal, Raji back on defense. Our receiving corps looks solid. It will just be a matter of how well Crane performs in Logan's offense. 60%

Jeff: Brian, FSU's out of conference schedule has no bearing on the ACC division, what are you talking about?!

Brian: True, FSU's out of conference schedule doesn't have a bearing on the ACC standings, but certainly momentum does. An early home loss to Colorado could shake a young team's confidence.

Chances Matt Ryan gets drafted in the top 5 of next year's NFL draft?

Brian: 20%

I'm going to go only 20%. Currently on ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr.'s Big Board, Mel has Matt at #6. You have to figure McFadden, Long, and Dorsey will go ahead of Ryan. Then it's a matter of what teams need what in the early rounds. I think then it depends how far the Baltimore Ravens fall in the draft order. I don't think the 3-9 Atlanta Falcons (also in need of a QB) draft Ryan. I'd give the edge to Brian Brohm to the Falcons if ex-Louisville coach Bobby Petrino is still there. But who knows, maybe Ryan goes #1 with the first pick of the ... Miami Dolphins.

Jeff: 80%

Ryan will be the first QB chosen. So when will the first QB be chosen? This year that was #1, last year it was #3. Historically, the first QB taken is at least in the top 5 so I think Ryan will go high.

Brian: Ahh, I'm not so sure you can point to history on this one. This NFL season has defied all history and logic. 16-0 New England and 0-16 Miami in the same division! The NFC is a train wreck. If you look at this year's NFL bottom feeders, I'm not sure they all need a QB. Miami (enter: the John Beck era), St. Louis (Bulger), San Francisco (A. Smith), Atlanta (Harrington/Leftwich), and the NY Jets (Clemens) all seem to have their QB futures at least partially sured up. 100% top 10, only 20% top 5.

Chances ACC Championship Game is back in Jacksonville next year?

Jeff: 0%

Yes there was an article out this week that Jacksonville sold more hotel rooms and ACC fans spent more money than last year, but we were at the game, there was no one there! You had to fly in and you saw how difficult it was to get a flight into that tiny airport. The ACC needs to at least try another location, even if its in Tampa because Jacksonville just does not have a big enough airport or enough hotels to support the game.

Brian: 25%

Going to Jacksonville, it doesn't really seem like Jacksonville locals care about this game. They seem much more concerned with Gators, Bulldogs and Jaguars. The game has become less and less of a success with ticket sales over the past 3 years. I think of Tampa and Charlotte, Charlotte is the logical location for next year's game. It's central to many of the schools in the ACC, is close to Greensboro (home of the basketball tournament and the ACC head office), and is a major east coast hub for airlines. Charlotte might get the casual ACC fan draw that Jacksonville seems to lack. 75% Charlotte, 25% Jacksonville.

Jeff: 25%, I hope ACC officials aren't thinking like you. 0%! Also, ACC basketball tourney is now on a rotating schedule - DC, Charlotte, Tampa, Greensboro, Atlanta. I wouldn't mind if football came back to Jacksonville as part of a rotation.

Headlines: Terps and the ACC Championship

Jeff: OK Brian, Al Skinner's squad went into Maryland last night and pulled off a victory to improve to 7-1 and their next two ACC games are Miami and Wake Forest at home. I see them starting 3-0 in ACC play. I originally thought this was going to be a down year for BC basketball but i'm starting to get excited. Am I getting excited too early?

Brian: Yes, you are getting excited too early. I think our defense is suspect and we have looked like we were going to give up the game twice in the final minutes against Providence and Maryland. We need to put away teams when given the opportunity. If the Eagles fail to do this, that's the difference between a 4-12 and an 8-8 ACC season.

Jeff: I'm still excited to be 1-0 on conference and I think we're headed to 8-8 or better and an NCAA bid. Football season isn't over though so next topic. BC dominated the first half of their first ever trip to the ACCCG yet the halftime score was 16-16. BC then goes on to lose the game 30-16. What happened?

Brian: Do we really have to talk about this again? Such a sore subject. I think while we won the special teams battle in Blacksburg (good punts, roughing the kicker calls that kept drives alive, onside kick), the special teams unit lost this game. Two blocked kicks were huge momentum changers. Still, we had our shots and couldn't put the Hokies away when we could. I think this team needs a bit more swagger next year. We seemed to play like the "nice story" that we are instead of going for the jugular.

Jeff: SPECIAL TEAMS. You hit the nail on the head. BC was perhaps a better special teams unit away from going undefeated and it showed the most when it counted most. Worst case we should've been up 20-14 at the half instead of tied 16 all. In the second half drives stalled out by not converting on some third and shorts. But we were close to being headed to Miami for the Orange Bowl. At least closer than the final score indicated. As far as the "nice story" though, I disagree. We simply finished exactly where we should've. Winners of the atlantic division. If there were no coaching changes BC would've been in the top 20 preseason but instead was barely left out of the top 25 because of the concern of the coaching changes. Now we sit in the top 20 headed into a bowl game that because of the opponent a victory will only keep us where we are rather than launching us into the top 10.

Brian: At least 1 ACC beat writer had picked Boston College to finish last in the Atlantic division preseason. So I'd say we were more of a surprise than we care to believe.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

About Boston College Interruption

Two Boston College grads face-off weekly in a forum devoted to Boston College athletics. We are both die hard Eagles fans and good friends who really can't agree on anything. (Example - Jeff thinks the BCS does a relatively good job of elevating #1 and #2 in the BCS National championship game, Brian will stop nothing short of a CFB playoff.) Brian currently lives in New York City, while Jeff lives in the heart of ACC/SEC land, South Carolina.

We will try to put out weekly segments on everything BC athletics. We hope you enjoy. Go Eagles!