Monday, December 1, 2008

Headlines: BC Back in ACC Title Game

Brian: Jeff is back - 2,000+ miles later - from campus. Tell us a bit about your reactions to the Eagles pulling out the 28-21 victory over the Maryland Terrapins.

Jeff: It was a very exciting win on Saturday that had a very unexicting ending. Maryland needed to recover an onside kick with very little time left and the kick just kind of trickled out of bounds without anyone touching it. Then, some students in the student section were cheering to rush the field and as I was watching I thought they were going to but many of the students were running down to the exit rather than making a break to jump the railing and get on the field. I thought it was an appopriate situation to rush the field similar to how Cincinnatti students rushed the field after their victory over Pittsburgh (they were favored by 6) which nearly locked up an Orange bowl berth. However, since the students attending the game were nearly outnumbered by state police and stadium security, it was probably wise no one did. I was happy with attendance and how into the game the fans were. Sometimes you just don't know what you are going to get at Alumni especially when students are not in attendance. Would you agree?

Brian: It would have been nice to celebrate the win with the team on the field, but if students storm the field, Jags and the team don't get to address the crowd. I thought that was fitting that Coach Jags, McLaughlin and Herzlich were able to address the crowd of 42,767 Eagle faithful for coming out and supporting the team.

Brian: For their efforts, linebacker Robert Francois was named ACC Defensive Back of the Week. Francois recorded 10 tackles (9 solo), one sack, three TFL, an interception and a touchdown in the win. With Francois' touchdown, the Eagles have now scored an non-offensive touchdown in their last 7 games. Filthy.

BC holder Billy Flutie was named ACC Specialist of the Week for his 9-yard touchdown pass to Jordon McMichael. Flutie-to-McMichael was the first collegiate pass completion and reception for the pair. Flutie also added in a punt of 37 yards. On the year Flutie's passer rating is now a ridiculous 252.8.

Brian: On to our opponent for this Saturday - the Virginia Tech Hokies. Jeff, can the Eagles knock off the Hokies for the 4th time in our last five matchups against Virginia Tech?

Jeff: Absolutely! The Eagles can win on Saturday but no Eagles fans should be booking hotels in Miami just yet. Virginia Tech is a good team and made a lot of mistakes in our first meeting which allowed us to completely control the score and pace of the game. Also, Virginia Tech is much closer to being a 10-2 than we are. We all remember the blocked punt returned for a touchdown by East Carolina in their first game of the year and then VT lost both of their QBs to injury against Florida State when they lost to the Seminoles. BC deserves to be favored in this game but not by much. Right now the line is BC -1.

Brian: The first thing that jumps out at me when looking at the Hokies season is that they are 2-4 on the road and 6-0 at home. Since the game in Chestnut Hill, the Hokies have gone 3-2 with wins against Maryland, Duke and Virginia, and losses to Florida State and Miami - both in Florida.

Brian: The Globe's Mark Blaudschun comments on how it is surprising that BC and Virginia Tech are playing for the Conference Championship on Saturday, instead of ...

Atlantic Division preseason favorites such as Wake Forest or Florida State. Not Miami or North Carolina, regarded as contenders in the Coastal Division.
What preseason poll was Blaudschun looking at? What happened to Clemson and Virginia Tech - the preseason picks to win their respective divisions?

Jeff: Miami and North Carolina were the hot picks at different times this year and ever since the first few games no one has considered Clemson so by preseason he really means pre-November? Tampa and the ACC officials would've liked to see Georgia Tech make it after beating Georgia Saturday and Florida State in order to sell out the stadium. However, early indications seem like ticket sales are going farely well compared to last year (which granted is a very low bar). Tickets are not as cheap on eBay and Stubhub as last year and BC has already SOLD OUT of its lower level sideline seats. It is a different stadium so we are not comparing apples to apples but last year Boston College did not sell out of any section of seats it has and right now tickets have only been on sale for a little more than 24 hours. What do you think attendance will be like this year?

Brian: Attendance will be a little better than last year. Better than this, anyhow. Tampa is much more accessible than Jacksonville is from the Northeast. The ACC has to be disappointed with the Hokies-Eagles rematch though. If the last two years title game is played in, say, Charlotte (as it will be in 2010-2011) instead of Jacksonville and Tampa, attendance for BC-Virginia Tech would have been much, much better. Given the luck the ACC has had thus far with this Championship game, the Florida schools will probably win their respective divisions in 2010 and 2011 and have to travel to Charlotte or even further north beyond 2011 (Baltimore, Washington?).

Jeff: Last year I think Eagles fans had a feeling of "I'll go to the Orange Bowl after we win" rather than going to Jacksonville. This year I get the impression that BC fans are not taking this game for granted and will turn up in larger numbers than last year partly due to Tampa's accessibility relative to Jacksonville and also because as we talked about last year, everyone had fun at the game in Jacksonville and the bowl game in Orlando that went even though we lost the ACC Championship Game. I doubt too many fans that went last year will not be in attendance this year.

Jeff: I attempt to analyze the BCS Standings to predict how far up the Eagles could move with a win on Saturday and what the potential Orange Bowl teams will be ranked to determine the level of national interest of the game. According to the computers, BC is #17 and is closer to be #13 than they are to dropping to #18 so the Eagles could easily jump to as high as #11 according to the computers. The humans however, do not like BC as much and the Eagles are close to jumping ahead of UGA, but that's it. What are the chances that the Orange Bowl features two top 15 teams?

Brian: BC will probably not jump too high with a second win against the Hokies in the computers. They are loving us already - with Kenneth Massey's computer rankings putting the Eagles as high as #12 and Peter Wolfe's ranking the Eagles at #14. Someone send Richard Billingsley a fruit basket though. His computer ranking has BC ranked #23. With the human vote, the benefit of playing on Saturday is that a lot of voters will get to focus solely on watching the Eagles play at 1pm. A convincing win could move the Eagles above idle Oregon, Oregon State, BYU in the Harris Poll, and would jump the Eagles over idle Georgia, BYU, and Georgia Tech in the Coaches' Poll. If a couple other games go BC's way - say Buffalo upsets Ball State in the MAC Championship and Missouri loses in the Big XII Championship - the Eagles could even move higher up to #12-13. If the Eagles take care of business and Cincinnati holds up its end of the bargain in its 13th game at Hawaii this weekend, there is a very good chance the Orange Bowl will have two top 15 BCS teams.

However, if the Hokies upset the Eagles and/or Cincinnati loses to 7-5 Hawaii, there is 0% chance of that happening.

Jeff: I agree with you there.

Quickly ... BC moved to #17 in the latest BCS rankings ... #18 in the AP ... #20 in the Coaches' Poll ... HD, Stewart Mandel and Schlabach/Feldman now all have BC slotted into the Orange Bowl against Cincinnati ... Tom O'Brien says N.C. State is the best team in the ACC right now ... Ron Brace will be ready to go for the Title game ... BC's front seven: helmet sticker ... BC is On The Mark as one of the big surprises of 2008 ... Matt Ryan pushes the Falcons to 8-4, defeating San Diego 22-16 ... men's hockey swept its Ivy League slate of games this weekend, defeating Harvard 5-1 and Dartmouth 2-1 in OT ...

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