Thursday, January 31, 2008

Happy Time: Michael Holovak and Men's Hockey

Happy Time, people.

There are no BC birthdays of note this week that I could dig up. If you know of any, leave them in the comments section. So Happy Birthday today (January 31) to my brother Drew.

A melancholy Happy Trails to Michael J. Holovak. As many of you read earlier in the week, Holovak passed away at the age of 88. Holovak was a member of the 1940-41 BC Eagles undefeated season, capped with a victory in the 1941 Sugar Bowl, 19-13 over Tennessee. During the 1942-1943 season, Holovak finished fourth in the Heisman voting. He served in World War II and played a few seasons in the NFL (first round draft pick of the Cleveland Rams). Holovak later came back to the Heights as freshman coach and then head coach, leading the Eagles to a 49-29-3 record. Holovak later went on to coach the AFL's Boston Patriots.

Happy Anniversary BC men's hockey. On this date 5 years ago, you blanked UMass Amherst 9-0. The offensive onslaught was lead by Tony Voce (2 goals, 3 assists), Ben Eaves (2 goals, 4 assists), and Stephen Gionta (2 goals). BC netminder Matti Kaltiainen only had to turn away 10 shots over 2 periods to record the shutout. That Eagles team would go on to suffer two heartbreaking double-OT losses in the postseason. They fell to BU 6-5 in the Hockey East semifinals and then fell to Cornell 2-1 in 2 OT for a chance to go to the Frozen Four.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Toss Up: A Look at the Football Schedule

Toss Up - Better month for football next year - October (with games at Florida State and home against Clemson and Virginia Tech) or November (with three trips to the state of North Carolina and home games against Maryland and Notre Dame)?

Brian: The answer HAS to be November. An opportunity to beat down on lowly Notre Dame, push our winning streak to 6 games over the Irish. Four ACC games, 3 Atlantic matchups that will determine who goes to the ACC Championship game. Re-finding our winning ways against Maryland. A Thanksgiving reunion with TOB and the gang. And lest we forget, we are 0-3 in the ACC in the state of North Carolina (regular season games), so we'll need 3 wins in November to push our record in the state back to .500.

Jeff: I would love to attend all of the October games next season but the problem is that we will be underdogs in and might lose all 3 games. We could start out 4-0, lose three straight and still finish 9-3, so as a Boston College fan I have to go with November because I do like to see victories.

Toss Up - Game you'd rather attend next year - at Florida State or the home game against Notre Dame?

Brian: Jeff, are you asking for travel advice? I'd much rather attend the game in Tallahassee. I'm not getting any younger, and in my pursuit of trying to attend a game in every ACC venue, I have yet to cross Doak Campbell off my list. Plus who knows what type of team you'll get with Notre Dame. Florida State players will be coming off their suspensions for the first three games of the season, and this game is crucial to determining the ACC Atlantic winner. See you in Tallahassee October 4.

Jeff: Right answer, wrong reason. See correct reasons below.

Toss Up - Overall better football schedule,this year? Or last?

Jeff: The timing of ACC games is once again poor for the Eagles. Last year they got a raw deal by having to start the season with 3 straight conference games. This year they have to play their 3 toughest games back to back to back. Once again a tough break. The home schedule this year compared to last year is phenominal. Notre Dame at home. Clemson and Virginia Tech are two marquee conference home games as opposed to just Florida State last year. Since we started school at BC in 2000, the fans have never stormed the field at a football game despite a lot of wins. This year I think Clemson and Virginia Tech will both come to the Heights ranked high enough that a win would warrant jumping down onto the astroturf and I am already saying don't be surprised if that does happen.

Brian: But the Eagles again get a week off in between Florida State and Virginia Tech, which will give them an extra week to prepare for the Hokies and the Tigers. Not to mention, Jeff, YOU DIDN'T ANSWER THE QUESTION. The answer is this year's schedule. We get the best ACC opponents at home and probably one of the easiest ACC away schedules in recent memory. Plus you want football to matter in November, and 3 trips to the Carolinas and 4 ACC games will make or break the Eagles run at another Atlantic division crown. And, of course, like you mentioned, having a healthy mix of ACC and out of conference games in August and September will give the new offense time to adjust before taking on the ACC heavyweights in October.

Toss Up - What has a better chance? BC winning at UNC tomorrow night (in men's hoops) or winning at Cameron Indoor next Saturday?

Jeff: Winning at UNC is much more realistic. I went to the game at Cameron Indoor last year and man is that a tough place for the visiting team. I would not be shocked if Boston College never wins at Cameron while Coach K is there. UNC is just another large cold out arena. Cameron is special.

Brian: We have a lot more history and bad blood between BC and Duke over the years since we joined the ACC. Think the ACC title game 2 years ago, a 78-76 loss with no love lost between the two sides. Also a game played in Conte was decided by 2 points as well earlier that season. While we have beaten UNC in Chapel Hill in the last few seasons, and even though I don't think we can pull off either win, I think its more likely this year to knock off Duke.

Last one, Toss Up - More surprising, that The Yankees and Red Soxbacked off of the Johan Santana sweepstakes or that Steve Logandeclined an offer from Nick Saban and Alabama to stay at Boston College?

Brian: Neither is too surprising in my opinion. If I had to pick, I'd go with Logan, although the deal with the Tide probably wasn't as close as the article made it out to be. The Twins seemed to have gotten a lot less for Santana than they would have from the Yanks or Sox, but I think they slow played the Yanks/Sox and neither budged, and then ultimately unloaded him to the NL before spring training started.

Jeff: Way to be indifferent Brian. The Red Sox and Yankees backing off is not surprising because they both backed off and Johan is now going to the National League. So no big deal for either team. If he had gone to the Yankees, that would be devastating for Red Sox nation and therefore the Sox would've stayed in the hunt until the end. Meanwhile I am pleasantly surprised that Logan stayed at BC. The ACC is not the SEC and BC is not Alabama.

Brian: Alabama went 7-6 last year, lost to Louisiana-Monroe last year, and are coached by the anti-Christ. Not sure why that job is more appealing than the Boston College gig. If Logan wants to move, he'll go back to being a HC. Plus, like I said, I don't think this deal was as close as we think.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Headlines: 2008 Football Schedule

Brian: Here is the Globe article on the schedule. Jeff and I will have our take on the schedule up in the next few days.

Aug 30 @ Kent State (in Cleveland)
Sep 13 BYE
Sep 20 v. Central Florida
Sep 27 v. Rhode Island
Oct 11 BYE
Oct 25 v. CLEMSON
Nov 8 v. Notre Dame
Nov 22 v. MARYLAND

Monday, January 28, 2008

Headlines: OT Loss to the Hokies and 3 Points in Maine

Brian: Jeff, our young Eagles hoops team stormed back to force OT against the Hokies Saturday, only to get outplayed in the extra session and drop their second straight ACC contest. Please tell me there is light at the end of the tunnel. What, if anything, can we take from this loss? Was there anything encouraging from this weekend's ACC hoops action? And will we find ourselves free-falling towards the bottom of the ACC league table after this Sunday's game in Clemson?

Jeff: Ted Serandis said it well early in the second half Saturday when he said "the Eagles are down 10 but it feels like 25." Boston College did not deserve to beat Virginia Tech Saturday. Va Tech got nearly every loose ball and 50-50 rebound. BC was playing at home and should've had very high energy so not getting loose balls is inexcusable. Once again we go back to the fact that they are young. A veteran team would've taken care of business Saturday, instead, the Eagles put another check in the loss column. Meanwhile, Clemson lost to Miami which further encourages me that the Eagles might be able to go into LittleJohn and pull off a win this coming Saturday. The Eagles need to find a way to go 2-2 over their next four or they will very quickly slip to a position where they are in too big of a hole to make a run at an NCAA tournament bid.

Brian: To me, this team feels like an NIT team. We are thin coming off the bench, terrible on the boards and played with no heart on Saturday from what I read. I do think that the ACC is still up for grabs though. I haven't completely lost hope yet, but I might just have a walk down the street to MSG in late March in store for me.

Jeff: Meanwhile, in hockey this weekend the Eagles came home with 3 points from their trip to Maine. Despite dropping 1 points back in the Hockey East standings, you are encouraged, right Brian?

Brian: From what I have read, we absolutely gave away the Friday night game. Matt Greene had a breakaway at 8:33 of the third that would have put us up two scores, but Maine's netminder pushed it aside. Then Gerbe committed a silly roughing penalty at 9:02 to put the Black Bears up 2 men on the power play which allowed them to score the game-tying goal. Of course, we outshot Maine 35-20 in typical BC fashion. Saturday's win was more encouraging, but we did lose Brennan to a mild concussion. We'll see if he plays Friday against Providence.

In other Hockey East action, and unfortunately for the Eagles, the UNH Wildcats swept the BU Terriers over the weekend, pushing their Hockey East lead to 1 point with a game in hand. Luckily for BC, the Friars swept Northeastern, giving the Eagles some separation in the Hockey East standings between UNH, BC and everyone else. There is still a lot of hockey to play, but I don't really see us winning the Hockey East regular season. When the regular season is over, I predict we'll look back at only getting 4 points out of a possible 6 against a down Maine team as the difference in the standings. We will definitely have to take both games left with New Hampshire and play well against a resurgent Providence team. But that doesn't mean I don't think we'll make another run in the Hockey East tournament. My early prediction is UNH takes the Regular season crown, and BC wins the Hockey East tournament, just like last year.

Jeff: BC winning the Hockey East tournament! I like it! Then BC gets a #1 NCAA tournament seed?

Brian: Yes, BC will get an automatic bid for winning the Hockey East tournament. Although I don't know if that makes them a lock for the #1 seed. Winning the HE tournament would most likely make us the #1 seed in the Northeast regional, which is being played in Worcester, Mass (March 29-30) this year. But like I said, there is still plenty of hockey to be played. And we can start off the home stretch by 'minding the gap' and eliminating the Terriers in the BU Invitational (aka Beanpot) first round next Monday.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Hoops against Tech and the Big Finish

Brian: BC has a very winable game against Virginia Tech on Saturday where a win would further focus attention on the Eagles as they continue to sit towards the top of the ACC leaderboard. Unfortunately, after Virginia Tech at home the schedule then turns south, literally, with road trips to North Carolina, Clemson and Duke, and a date at home with Maryland sandwiched in there. Jeff, your thoughts on the upcoming stretch of 5 games?

Jeff: It's tough to imagine the team any better than 5-4 after this stretch. Maybe they can pull off one road win particularly at Clemson which I will be in attendance for. I'm also hoping to make the game @Duke but Lindsey is still working on getting me a ticket.

Jeff: There was a nice article in the USA Today yesterday reliving the Tom Coughlin led Boston College upset of then 10-0 Notre Dame. Tom Coughlin is now trying to beat an 18-0 New England team that he has already lost to once at home this season.

Brian: Beating the Patriots will be a much taller order for Coughlin's Giants. To his credit, this year TC has figured out to sit back and let this team have more fun (even though how fun can it be playing in minus-3 degree temperatures?). I'll obviously be rooting for the Giants and "BC Guys" Snee, Kiwanuka and Coughlin (sorry, Dan Koppen, but you have plenty of rings already) in the Super Bowl.

Brian: A big weekend in hockey where the Maine Black Bears host BC for two games Friday and Saturday. The Eagles are tied for first with the UNH Wildcats with 19 points. UNH has a home-and-home with BU this weekend. So after all is said and done, will the Eagles still be tied for first after this weekend?

Jeff: I am usually optomistic with everything related to Boston College sports but similar to the upcoming basketball schedule, remaining tied for first would be a little surprising when the weekend is over.

Jeff: Last one, Brian, there is no football on this weekend, what are you gonna do with yourself?

Brian: As ATL Eagle pointed out, it has been a very slow week for BC sports, and the lack of football certainly won't help. I'll try to follow the hoops and hockey teams progress this weekend, but I really need to catch up on my movies. Oscar nominations for Best Picture are out, and I've yet to see There Will Be Blood, Atonement or Michael Clayton. Juno was good, No Country for Old Men was great. Jeff, what you up to this weekend?

Jeff: I gotta work tomorrow, then probably listening to Ted Serandis broadcast the game on XM. Maybe taking Carter to the driving range Sunday, you know, after Church and then Kristi's parents are cooking Sunday night.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Happy Time: Brennan, Manning Award and Women's Hoops

Thursday Happys …

Happy Birthday Mike Brennan. The senior defensemen is a current team captain of the Boston College Eagles. In his three years at the Heights, Mike has played in 3 Hockey East championship games (2-1), 2 Beanpot finals, three NCAA tournaments, and 2 Frozen Fours, and has played in all 146 games for BC. Hopefully this is the year the senior class breaks through in the Beanpot and the NCAAs.

Jeff: Also, happy belated birthday Brian (January 21), Brian's girlfriend Megan (January 23) and happy early birthday me (January 28). Kinda freaky it all happens in a week's time.

Happy Trails Tim Tebow, Erik Ainge, Sam Bradford, Colt Brennan, Chase Daniel, Dennis Dixon, Graham Harrell, Patrick White and Andre’ Woodson. All of these college signal callers play second fiddle to Matt Ryan, who took home the 2008 Manning Award. The award, announced Tuesday, is the second major piece of hardware for the senior QB. Ryan earlier was awarded the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, awarded to the most outstanding senior quarterback.

Happy Anniversary to the women’s hoops team. On January 26 two years ago, the women’s team rebounded from an 0-4 start in league play to win their first ever ACC game defeating Virginia 57-43. That team would go on to be the #8 seed in the NCAAs, beating Notre Dame and shocking #1 Ohio State in the round of 32. Unfortunately, in their next game, BC would be eliminated from the tournament, falling to Utah in the Sweet 16.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Role Play: Jags, Lunardi, Matt Greene and Matt Ryan

Jeff: Brian, you are head football coach Jeff Jagodzinsky. National signing day is only a few days away. Have you been able to build on last season's success in developing a great 2008 recruiting class?

Brian is Coach Jags: Jeff, let me first say that I don't want you to pay attention to any recruiting ratings (but do pay attention when other big name programs are recruiting the same guys I am). At BC, we are looking for "BC guys," guys with character and the intelligence to succeed at the Heights. I'm looking for guys like the seniors who are leaving in the spring. We don't recruit your average 5-star athlete. That being said though, I think we'll turn some heads with our recruiting class next year. We already have verbals from Haden (RB, Fort Washington, MD), Junior Okpara (CB, transfer from Arkansas), Mike Goodman (OT, Miami, FL), and Larmond (WR, Morristown, NJ), to name a few. And I'm sure we'll make a splash with a few more big name recruits in the coming days. Stay tuned.

Brian: Jeff, you are Joe Lunardi, ESPN's Bracketology expert. Notwithstanding the fact that I think its ridiculous that bracketology has become a year round profession (brackets in October??), last week the men's team was out and this week we are a 10 seed in an intriguing matchup against Notre Dame. So which is it? Where is this BC team headed?

Jeff is Joe Lunardi: Boston College will make the NCAA tournament this year. As the ACC is starting to shape up we can now expect Boston College to certainly finish ahead of many teams in the ACC and perhaps as high as 4th. The 3 wins they have in conference are probably not against teams that will make the dance but quality wins nonetheless. The ACC will have as many as eight teams in the dance and BC will be one of them.

Jeff: Brian, you are senior hockey forward and assistant captain Matt Greene. Having gone to BC High and being a senior now, you have seen the Eagles beat Boston University many times in the regular season yet very few times in the Beanpot (0-3 during your time on the Heights). You're 2-0-1 against the Terriers this year but face them again in the first round of the Beanpot. Is it gonna be any different this year?

Brian is Matt Greene: First off, Jeff, let me say that I am honored that you know who I am, following collegiate hockey in South Carolina is no easy task. And thank you for not mistaking me for the Edmonton Oiler's Matt Greene. But back to the question, the Beanpot is always a tough task. BU's dominance of the tournament lately has been as a result of the arrival of BU's head coach Jack Parker. Ever since he arrived, he gets the Terriers stoked out of their minds for this game. But this isn't the strongest of BU squads. I think we will get past BU, but remember, then we have to beat Northeastern / Harvard. We blew Harvard out of the water, but lost to Northeastern at home in OT back in November. As a reader, if you ask me to be an oddsmaker, I would say we have a 75% chance of taking back the Beanpot.

Jeff: Thanks Matt, good stuff. We might have to invite "you" back more often for BC hockey insight.

Brian: Jeff, you are BC's QB Matt Ryan. Everyone's got an opinion on where you're going to be drafted. John Tomase of the Boston Herald rumored that the Dolphins might be interested in you as the #1 overall draft pick. Others have you going to Atlanta Falcons (Falcons rumored to have just hired Jax's DC Mike Smith). Forget the rumor mill and the rumors, state your case as to where you want to go.

Jeff is Matt Ryan: Brian, I thought you were one of my supporters? Why ask me this question and put me in a tough spot? You know I am not going to come out here and say that I am going to be the #1 pick. Or that I don't want to go to the worst franchise in the NFL, the Falcons. We'll find out on draft day. I'm a team player and I'll play anywhere.

Brian: Ok, ok. I apologize Iceman. I do love ya and just don't want to see you pull a Brady Quinn and get passed over by ... who? Ted Ginn Jr. So I figured you could clear the air and state who you want to play for so you don't look like a total dope like Quinn did last year waiting for 21 teams to pass him over.

Jeff: Brady Quinn played for Notre Dame. He got what he deserved.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Headlines: Men's and Women's Hoops and Hockey

Brian: Men's hoops was downed by the Virginia Cavaliers Saturday night in Charlottesville. The Cavs used a 20-6 run in the second half to put away the young Eagles. Jeff, your thoughts?

Jeff: Great first half for the Eagles and then things went south quickly in the second half. Virginia hit some 3s to really extend the lead but dominated every aspect of the game in the second half. BC can not have so many turnovers and expect to win on the road in the ACC. Would have been a great win for the Eagles and it is instead a loss that was expected and does not hurt them. They have a good chance to get back on track Saturday against Virginia Tech. By the way, did you know I spent $15 to watch that second half debacle on pay-per-view?

What was somewhat encouraging from the weekend's ACC basketball action is that Maryland went into Chapel Hill and won and Wake Forest handled Florida State.

Meanwhile Brian, the men's hockey team went 1-0-1 this weekend. I know you would've liked 2-0 but you can't complain too much, right?

Brian: I can complain, unfortunately. The win against UMass-Lowell was a solid road victory, but in Saturday's game against rival Boston University, junior forward Brock Bradford broke his arm for the second time this season. Bradford is out for the season. This is a huge loss for the Eagles offense, as they will now rely on Gerbe to carry the load the rest of the way. I was encouraged by the play of freshman John Muse, who stopped 70 of 76 shots over the weekend. With the 3 points, the Eagles moved into a tie for first place in the Hockey East standings, and up 3 spots in the national rankings to #8 this week. Up next is a tough road test against Maine Friday and Saturday night at Alfond. This isn't your older brother's Maine team, but Alfond is still a hostile environment and it should be a good test for the Bradford-less Eagles.

Jeff: For clarification for our less hockey savvy readers, Alfond is UNH's home ice, correct?

Brian: Alfond is Maine's home ice. In 2001, we made the road trip to see New Hampshire play in the Whittemore Center (to see a heartbreaking 5-4 OT loss).

Jeff: Of course of course. How many of our readers can say they have traveled to an away BC hockey game outside of Boston????

Jeff: Let's move to women's hoops. The Lady Eagles have only lost to Maryland and North Carolina so far this year in conference. You don't have to follow women's hoops to know there is no shame in that. Hopefully the women can have a nice above .500 conference season.

Brian: I don't really purport to know much about women's basketball, but no shame in losing to the two best teams in the ACC (and arguably the entire country). A good win against Wake Forest on Sunday. Take away a few peculiar out of conference losses, at UMass and at Fairfield, and this Eagles team would definitely be ranked in the top 25 at this point.

Finally, are you finally going to show some support for your home town Giants? What a great game on the frozen tundra! Top 3 football games I have watched/attended this year: 1) BC @ Virginia Tech, 2) Giants @ Packers, 3) BC @ Clemson. It's been a great season to be a BC Eagles and a NY football Giants fan.

Jeff: Never would've guessed that the Giants would win in Lambeau on a Brett Farve interception in OT.

Friday, January 18, 2008

A Favorite for Hobey? and the Big Finish

Brian: Mike Eidelbes of ESPN's Sports Nation has Nathan Gerbe as the early favorite for the Hobey Baker, and we are now ranked #9 in the Power Ratings. Jeff, I know you can't follow hockey down south, but thing are looking up for BC hockey yet again this year, right?

Jeff: Earlier in the season there were a lot of losses and ties instead of wins on the men's hockey schedule. I am happy to see the team has successfully turned the season around.

Jeff: Hockey this weekend. BC men's hockey travel to Lowell tonight for a night game against surprising UMass-Lowell. Then they come home Saturday to finish off the HE season series against Boston University. Predictions?

Brian: Lowell will be a tough game, but a game we will ultimately win. An OT win against Lowell tonight, followed by a convincing win and sweep of the BU Terriers on Saturday.

Brian: BC men's hoops travels to Charlottesville, VA for tomorrow's ACC game against Virginia Peer into your crystal ball, will the Eagles push it to 4-0 in conference?

Jeff: My earlier prediction had the Eagles losing this game. But, Virginia Tech was able to go into Charlottesville and win so no reason why the Eagles can't.

Jeff: Brian, did you watch American Gladiators this week? Think any of them are juicing?

Brian: I did watch American Gladiators. According to the New York Post, the Gladiators are tested for roids (I remain skeptical). As an aside, here is my tip to our readers when watching American Gladiators. Tape/DVR/Tivo it and fast foward through any segments with Hulk, Ali or the human interest parts. All I want is unadulterated assault and powerball, please.

Brian: Last one, AFC and NFC championship games on Sunday, Boston College alumni playing in both games. Make a prediction and try not to be too big of a homer.

Jeff: I am going to go with the Packers over the Giants in a game where they score at least 30. Tough to tell what will happen in the AFC because of injuries. If healthy, the Chargers are certainly better than just about every team in the NFL and would be quite a test for the Patriots.

Brian: I'm saddened that you aren't picking my home team, Jeff. Of course, my homer pick of the weekend would be Giants in a close one over the Packers, 17-13. Patriots big over the Chargers, 45-21. Rivers is a punk. Even if he plays, the Chargers will lose BIG.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Toss Up: Basketball, Winning Streaks and Best Dressed Coach

Brian: A day late with Jeff mailing in his answers on the road, it's time for the game where I beat down Jeff, Toss Up.

Toss Up - More Surprising Freshman Performance - Sanders or Raji?

Jeff: Sanders. Sanders has been getting it done consistently and has been a starter the entire season.

Brian: The answer would be Sanders if it was more impressive, Jeff. But the question is more surprising. As such, I'm going to go with Corey Raji. 9.4 points per game and 3.9 rebounds per game off the bench is a solid contribution from a non-starting freshman.

Toss Up - More Impressive Streak? - 13 wins against the U in men's basketball, or 15 game losing streak to Miami in football (1985-2007)?

Brian: I'm going to go with basketball here. 13 straight wins include games in the ACC tournament, ACC regular season and Big East regular season. And there have been a lot of close games. In basketball, when you see teams 2-3 times a year, 1 game can go either way.

Jeff: The answer is football. Football is the more important sport. You know that.

Toss Up - Better 3-0 Conference Start in Bball - last season or this season?

Jeff: Last year's start included two wins on the road and ultimately we went to 5-0 in conference. I'm going with last year but a 5-0 start in conference this year would ultimately be more impressive.

Brian: The answer is this year. Sure we beat Wake and NC State on the road last year, but expectations were a lot higher for the Eagles last year.

Last One, Toss Up - Better Dressed Head Coach - Jerry York or Al Skinner?

Brian: Jerry York, by a mile. Sure Al Skinner has an endorsement deal with Eastern Clothing of Watertown, but it is reported that Skinner wears either a polo or a mock turtleneck on the road. Jerry York wouldn't be caught dead without a sweater/suit and a tie. Ties are more classy, and York wears one all the time. I'm going with York.

Jeff: Wrong again. The answer is Skinner. A polo and/or mock turtleneck is much more comfortable than a tie.

Happy Time: Gionta, Eagles in the NFL and Hoops

The men's hoops Eagles are 3-0 in the ACC, which is definitely a reason to be happy.

An early Happy Birthday to BC's Brian Gionta (January 18). Brian had a prolific 4 year career at BC, finishing his career as captain of the 2001 squad that won the National Championship over North Dakota. Gionta was drafted #82 overall by the New Jersey Devils in 1998. He has played over 300 games for the Devils, including being a member of the 2002-2003 Stanley Cup champion team. Gionta also competed in the XX Winter Olympics on the US Hockey team which placed 8th. Gionta has become one of the best offensive players on the Devils team. He holds the single season Devils record for goals in a season - 48.

Happy Trails BC NFLers in the postseason. The following Eagles were bounced last weekend in the NFC divisional playoffs - Marc Colombo (Dallas), James Marten (Dallas), and Matt Hasselbeck (Seattle). Add to this list the Eagles that made their exit a week earlier during Wild Card weekend - Pete Kendall (Washington), Chris Hovan (Tampa Bay), Jeremy Trueblood (Tampa Bay), and Brian St. Pierre (Pittsburgh).

The remaining BC NFLers heading into this weekend's conference championships? Dan Koppen (New England), Mathias Kiwanuka (New York Giants), Chris Snee (New York Giants) and Will Blackmon (Green Bay). Kiwi is out for the season with a fractured leg, and Blackmon is questionable for this weekend's NFC championship with a foot injury. Only the San Diego Chargers do not have a BC alum on their active roster.

Happy Anniversary Boston College Eagles men's basketball. On this day four years ago, you used a second half run to get past the Seton Hall Pirates 72-63 at Conte Forum. BC was lead by sophomore Craig Smith (26 pts, 9 reb) and freshman Jared Dudley (18 pts), a sign of better things to come for BC basketball.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Headlines: 13th Straight Over The U

Brian: Jeff is on the road and having internet connectivity issues (read: he was scared that I was going to beat him down in Toss Up, Oddsmakers or Over Under). So we won't have a post today.

As a bit of housekeeping, congratulations to the men's basketball team with their 76-66 over #24 Miami. The Eagles pushed their ACC record to 3-0 and it is their 13th straight win over the U in men's hoops.

Check back tomorrow for more BC Interruption.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Headlines: Dropping 112 on Wake

Jeff: Brian, I watched or listened to almost all of the BC-Wake game Saturday. You were watching football because you live in the northeast where the game was not televised. Down here in ACC country I could've watched the entire thing! So therefore I will have a monologue with my thoughts.

Who is surprised that Boston College lit Wake Forest up for 112 points? Well, everyone should be because that was by far the most points Boston College has scored since joining the ACC. But most people are probably really surprised since BC lost to Oral Roberts, oh no, I mean an even lesser program called Robert Morris earlier in the week. Aside from scoring 112, BC's performance on Saturday did not surprise me. This is a young team. Young teams are inconsistent.

Al Skinner's team, headed by Tyrese Rice is talented enough to beat everyone in the ACC except UNC. And beating any ACC opponent this year would not surprise me whether at home or on the road. But unfortunately, with that upside the team has, there is still a surprise loss or two left this season.

As we continue on the young theme. Look for the team to become more confident after shooting 66% from the field and 68% from 3 Saturday. And oh yeah, the one senior, John Oates, who is still developing like a sophomore, made 4 3s after having only hit 3 all season going into the game against Wake. Oates grabbing boards and hitting the occasional outside shot can really help this team to make a run in the tournaments, both ACC and NCAA.

Good win for the Eagles. I originally predicted the Eagles to start out the season 3-0 (and still do) in conference and we'll see if that happens coming up against a ranked Miami team.

Headlines: Good Win Over Vermont

Jeff: Brian, BC men’s hockey defeats Vermont 5-2 in front of 6,764 fans at Conte Forum. Your thoughts?

Brian: This was a good win for the Eagles. A game we should have won and a game we needed in the Hockey East standings. We have now won 7 of our last 8, including 4 straight in Hockey East (two wins against BU and two wins against Vermont). Junior forward Nathan Gerbe may be mounting a 2008 Hobey Baker campaign, netting a goal and an assist and pushing his scoring streak to 8 games. You also have to be encouraged by the play of Brock Bradford, netting 2 goals in only his second game back.

Looking ahead, we open the season series with UMass Lowell this Friday in Lowell. Lowell is coming off a weekend split against Providence in a home-and-home (both games went to OT). This game should be competitive, but a game BC should ultimately win. Lowell has already won the season series against lowly Merrimack, and split 1-1-1 with New Hampshire and Providence.

After Lowell, Boston College will be looking for the season sweep of Boston University, as well as looking to take 2 from Maine at Alfond Arena January 25-26. Further out, we will see Providence for the first time this year on February 1 in Conte Forum.

Outside of the Jack Parker Memorial Tournament, aka Beanpot, its all Hockey East games the rest of the way. We have to be encouraged by the return of Bradford and the offensive output (3.75 gpg). I’m confident this team can take a run at Hockey East again this year and the NCAAs.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Win Over Vermont and the Big Finish

Jeff: BC hockey beat Vermont 4-1 Wednesday night in the rare televised game. Your thoughts?

Brian: Good win in Hockey East. Junior forward Brock Bradford was back (first game since Oct. 12) and scored a goal and an assist. Great to have him back. Let's finish off the season series tonight in Vermont.

Brian: A nice piece on American River College transfer Codi Boek in today's Boston Globe. Great story. Seems like a genuine 'BC Guy.'

Jeff: Paul Peterson was married, Codi Boek has had to deal with a lot in the last year, they both went to Junior Colleges. I hope the there are more similarities we discover next season.

Jeff: Jared Dudley comments on the loss to Robert Morris and stays positive, pointing out some of the good wins the team has had this year. “But they’ve had some good wins already this year. They beat Rhode Island, and Rhode Island was ranked, and they won down at Maryland, so there have been good things."

Brian: Also, Dudley's return to Boston Wednesday ended up being a surprising win for the Bobcats over the Celtics.

Brian: Rich Gunnell, Jamie Silva, Matt Ryan, and Boston College took up four of the top 100 stars of the bowls according to Somehow, Silva was behind Ryan. So clearly the list was not formulated strictly on bowl performance.

Jeff: Silva should've been higher on the list. Like top 50.

Brian: Last one - Wake Forest (11-3, 1-0), coming off a win vs. BYU, travels to Chestnut Hill tomorrow for a men's bball game at 4pm. BC has lost two straight. Make a prediction?

Jeff: I think Boston College will bounce back and get a win. They will make it very interesting though rather than easy on themselves I'm sure.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Happy Time: Snee, Tigers Jumping Ship and Men's Hoops

It’s that time of the week again, happy time. So get happy!

Happy Birthday Chris Snee (January 8). Chris Snee is the starting RG for the New York football Giants. He was the 34th overall pick (2nd round) in the 2004 NFL draft. Snee played 4 years at Boston College and was a 2nd-team All-America choice by The NFL Draft Report in his final season.

Happy Trails Clemson offensive skill players James Davis, Aaron Kelly and DE Phillip Merling. All three players are expected to leave Clemson to enter the NFL draft. Good news for Eagles fans. In his early look at 2008's Top 25,'s Mark Schlabach has the Tigers as the team to beat in the ACC Atlantic next season. Schlabach points to the return of Davis and Kelly as key components of Clemson's offense next year.

A not so Happy Anniversary to the 2006 men’s basketball team. On this date two years ago, you lost a game to North Carolina State to fall to 0-3 in your new conference. Luckily for Eagles fans, BC rebounded by winning 11 of their next 13 ACC games and made it all the way to the ACC tournament championship game, only to fall to Duke 78-76 in a heartbreaking loss.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

TV Picks: BC vs. Vermont

Jeff: Brian, give the people something to watch tonight.

Brian: If I had Comcast cable, I would be watching the Boston College - Vermont men's Hockey East showdown on CN8, tonight at 7:30pm. It's not often you get to watch the Eagles on TV outside of the Beanpot and the NCAAs. But unfortunately, I don't, so I'll probably flip back and forth between Duke @ Temple (ESPN) and UNC-Asheville vs. UNC (ESPN U) men's basketball tonight to see how good the top of the ACC is this year. What you watching?

Jeff: Well my roommate is a die-hard Duke fan. So I know I'll be catching at least some of that. I'm also going to be switching over to NBC for Deal or No Deal at 8:00. Unfortunately, I also will not be able to catch the hockey game.

Headlines: A Bowl Wrap Up

Brian: Jeff, the ACC gets a bit of a black eye going 2-6 in bowls this season. Question: can this be attributed to the fact that the bowls picked teams based on fan base and travel rep and not the product on the field? If Boston College goes to the Peach Bowl, Clemson to the Gator Bowl, and UVA to the Champs Bowl, does the ACC go 3-0 in those 3 games and not 1-2?

Jeff: Great point Brian and I am surprised that I did not think of this prior to you posing the question. I completely believe and the schedule and results of this season will confirm that BC was better than Clemson and Clemson was better than Virginia. Clemson lost in OT to Auburn and Virginia barely lost to Texas Tech. If you change the matchups, going 3-0 is very possible. Also, did you watch the Florida State v. Kentucky game? Florida State had trouble substituting players in and out and only lost by a TD. Without those players being suspended I think there is a very good chance they win that game.

Brian: The bowl records by conference are terribly misleading, the Bowl Challenge Cup some silly thing made up by ESPN. Check out the comparison of BCS conference vs. BCS conference, which sheds a little more light on this year's bowl results.
  • ACC - 1-0 vs. Big 10, 1-0 vs. Big East, 0-1 vs. Pac 10, 0-2 vs. SEC, 0-1 vs. Big 12
  • Big East - 0-1 vs. ACC, 0-1 vs. Pac 10, 1-0 vs. Big 12
  • Big Ten - 1-1 vs. Big 12, 0-1 vs. ACC, 1-2 vs. SEC, 0-1 vs. Pac-10
  • Big XII - 1-0 vs. Pac-10, 1-1 vs. Big Ten, 1-1 vs. SEC, 2-0 vs. ACC, 0-1 vs. Big East
  • Pac-10 - 1-0 vs. ACC, 1-0 vs. Big East, 0-1 vs. Big 12, 1-0 vs. Big Ten
  • SEC - 1-1 vs. Big 12, 2-0 vs. ACC, 2-1 vs. Big Ten

Some conclusions I draw from this.

  • SEC lived up to the hype, proving that they were the best conference in 2007, going 7-2 in bowls and 4-2 against BCS conference teams.
  • ACC won their games against the Big Ten and Big East co-champion UConn, but were beat down by the Big 12, Pac-10 and SEC.
  • Outside of West Virginia, the Big East had 0 wins against BCS conference teams and padded their bowl resume with wins over MAC Ball State in Toronto and C-USA Southern Miss
  • Oh, how far the Big Ten has fallen. Despite a big final W by Michigan for Coach Carr and Penn State's win over A&M, the Big Ten was embarrased in both BCS games, lost the Champs, Insight & Outback bowls, and needed a walk-off FG by Purdue to beat MAC Central Michigan.

Jeff: The ACC was beat down by the Big 12, Pac-10, and SEC? Brian, Brian, Brian. 6-6 Maryland lost to a now ranked Oregon State team out on the west coast. Virginia and Virginia Tech lost by a FG each. A combined 6 points to the two Big 12 teams. A Florida State team lost by only a TD to a once ranked #2 Kentucky team will all their personnel and in SEC territory. Meanwhile Clemson lost in OT to Auburn. None of these facts add up to a beat down.

Brian: Beat down = losing all 4 of those games, games the ACC should have won (and you know it!). Virginia Tech goes down big early and can't recover against Kansas. Virginia coughed up a 14 point lead in the Gator. And Clemson was up to business as usual under Bowden in the Peach Bowl. FSU loses to a once ranked #2 Kentucky?? So what! Let me remind you of two other once ranked #2 teams this season and how they fared in the bowls. #2 South Florida gets BEAT DOWN by a Dixon-less Oregon squad in the Sun Bowl, and #2 California struggled beating the Air Force Academy to finish the season above .500. Care to defend the Big 10's bowl performance?

Jeff: The Big Ten is bad. You could use the logic you used earlier on the ACC though. Illinois never should've been playing USC and therefore would've at least had a fighting chance against likely Tennessee in the Outback bowl. BC would've then played Penn State in the Champs Sports Bowl where I still predict a Boston College victory because newsflash- Texas A&M was not good this year and Penn State did struggle with them in San Antonio. Remember A&M getting beat down by Miami earlier this year? Little did we know at that time that that game featured a bad team and a worse one.

Brian: You can't use the same logic for the Big 10 as you can the ACC because the ACC's sole BCS representative won their conference championship game and should have played in the Orange Bowl all along. You can make the argument that the BCS got both Big Ten BCS participants wrong (Illinois should have been in the Outback, Ohio State in the Rose). If you shift all the Big 10 teams down, maybe they don't make as poor of a showing as they did.

Jeff: Now, last year the ACC went 4-4 in bowl games, this year 2-6. Believe it or not this year's 2-6 record made us look far better than last year's 4-4. There was not a single team favored by a touchdown this year. Last year, Clemson was a big favorite over Kentucky and lost. Florida State and Miami beat non BCS opponents. Boston College needed a late miracle to beat Navy. And Wake Forest got drilled in the Orange Bowl. The ACC played more BCS conference schools this year and was leading or had a chance to win every game. The ACC is far what we and many other expected it to be three years into the expansion era but this year did show improvement despite Miami not even qualifying for a bowl game.

Brian: I just can't agree that a 2-6 bowl season was more successful than last year's 4-4 campaign. We STILL lost the Orange Bowl this year (3rd year in a row and counting), gave away the Peach Bowl and the Gator Bowl, academically cheated our way out of a win in the Music City Bowl, and even lost to WAC runner-up Fresno State in Boise (although coaching changes probably affected this outcome). Fans and the media don't scrutinize WHO you play, just your conference's overall bowl record. I still agree though that expansion ACC hasn't produced the bowl results we would have liked 3 years in. Of the top 3 ACC bowl tie-ins, in the last 3 years we have gone 1-8 (!!), with our only win coming in 2006 in the Gator Bowl (VTech 35, Louisville 24).

As a conference, we need to perform better, although I don't know if relief is coming anytime soon. Maybe the ACC should work harder to push the right bowl teams for these matchups instead of the teams that will sell the most tickets and bring the most fans. Sure, our teams reputations with the bowls improve (e.g. Clemson's showing in Atlanta), but on the field results matter when it comes to the national perception of the success of ACC football. And at the moment we are dropping the ball on the field in these bowls.

Jeff: The ACC going 2-6 would not simply be fixed by getting the teams into the bowls they deserve to be in based strictly on standings. After Wake Forest got crushed in the Orange Bowl last year the national media ripped the ACC. This year, major media outlets are not talking about the ACC's poor performance. That is because it wasn't that bad. And the Big Ten did worse.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Headlines: Final Football Poll

Brian: Jeff, Boston College finishes the season #10 in the Associated Press poll. A great way to end the season. Hats off the Matt Ryan, Coach Jags, the school and the program. In the USA Today/ESPN poll, BC just misses the top 10 and finishes #11. My one beef with the final poll - being tied with Texas at #10 and being kept out of the Top 10 in the USA Today/ESPN poll. Are the coaches seriously telling me that 4 of the top 10 football programs this year come from the Big XII? Yet, the top 4 Big XII teams conveniently missed playing each other this season (Texas missed facing Missouri and Kansas, Kansas missed Oklahoma). Aside from the bowl win, Texas beat the likes of Arkansas State, UCF, Rice, Iowa State, Baylor, Nebraska, OK State and Texas Tech, and only 1 ranked team, #19 TCU. BC beats three ranked opponents, all on the road, and had a top 15 SOS.

Jeff: If the BCS did end of year rankings I'd be interested to see where we would've finished. Throughout the year BC was ranked higher in BCS standings than AP/USA Today polls because of the computer element. However, they don't release year-end polls so I am happy with a #10 ranking in the AP. I strongly disagree with Texas being ranked as high as they are though. Yes they had a big bowl win as did Missouri and Kansas, but you make a great point that they didn't play Missouri and Kansas during the year. On the other hand, BC played every ACC bowl bound team (Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, Florida State, Maryland, and Clemson) this year except Virginia. And had a total of 5 wins against bowl bound teams. The sad part is though that only Wake Forest won their bowl game. So in that way its almost surprising that BC did move up in the final polls. USC only gets one vote for #1 in the final poll, surprised?

Brian: For some idea of final computer rankings, Real Time RPI has us ranked #12 and Texas at #16. I'm less surprised with the USC #1 vote and more surprised that Georgia didn't receive more than 3 votes. They trounced the only FBS undefeated team in the Sugar Bowl, and finished the year winning 7 straight (including wins over @ #11 Florida, #18 Auburn and #23 Kentucky). LSU has lost twice since Georgia last lost. I'm just excited to see that the University of Georgia president is stepping it up, putting pressure on the BCS and the NCAA to create a playoff. We need more school presidents and Athletic Directors (note to Gene) to put pressure on the NCAA to do away with the BCS. Fans have lost confidence in this utterly broken system. Unfortunately, an 8 game playoff doesn't work because there are 11 conferences in Div I-A. The non BCS conference champions would sue the daylights out of the NCAA if they were not given the opportunity to compete in an NCAA-sanctioned postseason championship.

Jeff: Georgia was damned if they did, damned if they didn't playing Hawaii in the Sugar Bowl. Since they handled Hawaii easily, the perception is more that Hawaii just wasn't very good, not that Georgia is great. But everyone thought the SEC was the best conference all year and now they have the #1 and #2 teams in the country. I agree. I am very happy BC is #10 in the AP. One spot behind Va Tech. Right where they should be in my opinion the way everything shook out in the end.

Brian: Its somewhat ironic that BC finishes one spot behind Virginia Tech in my opinion. Eagles fans know the truth - that the game at Blacksburg wasn't a fluke and that we were the more talented team this season. It's just a shame we couldn't show it on the field early December in Jacksonville. Hats off to the Hokies and their top 10 finish.

Headlines: Robert Morris Loss

Brian: Jeff, Boston College loses to Robert Morris last night, 57-51. (Here is the ATLEagle recap). So after a lackluster performance against Kansas and coming out flat to Robert Morris, both at home, is this team in free-fall mode, or can they right the ship when ACC play starts this Saturday at home vs. Wake Forest?

Jeff: Playing Robert Morris just 2 days after playing a national power like Kansas in front of a large crowd had danger written all over it. Of course all BC fans were hoping talent would prevail and BC would pull off a win any way they could get it. Unfortunately, no such luck. This loss at home will severely damage our chances of making the dance. Now an 8-8 conference record is almost certainly not enough and 9-7 seems like it would be a dream at this point. However, With four good days of practice before the Wake Forest game and I expect the team to be ready on Saturday to get back into conference play.

Brian: We didn't practice in between games which might have been a mistake. Al will have the team ready for Wake Forest. We are in trouble in the paint and need to improve on the defensive side of the ball if we are looking at 9-7 in conference. Otherwise, we will be looking at the four letter word NIT this year. Also, 20 turnovers for the Eagles last night. You aren't going to win a game with 20 turnovers, even when the opposing team shoots 36.8 percent from the field. A pretty ugly loss for this young team.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Headlines: Kansas, Bowl Attendance and National Championship

Jeff: BC basketball played their first ranked team of the season Saturday and got ran out of the gym after keeping it close early. Are you changing any thoughts you had of Boston College making the dance?

Brian: I still think we can make the tournament. Not to peg it on one player, but much like this year's football season, our team will go only as far as one player will take us - Tyrese Rice. Rice got in foul trouble early and the game quickly got out of hand after that. Our inability to rebound really killed us this game. ACC opponents will continue to exploit our weakness until we start grabbing some boards. Still, this is a young team, and as you pointed out, I don't think that 7-8 wins in conference is unreasonable. This game was a learning experience, as clearly the UNCs, UCLAs, Memphises and Kansases are in another league than BC this season.

Jeff: To look optimistically at our schedule, it would not take upsetting any teams to be 5-5 in conference after heading to Cameron Indoor on Feb. 9th. By then this young team has plenty of time to mature and really improve which would then set up some possible victories at FSU and VT and who knows, maybe they can give UNC a game on March 1 in Conte. This team is young. This team is young. This team is young. Any BC basketball fan should be very excited about next year if not this year as we get deeper into conference play. Tyrese Rice seems to show up every game. Sometimes scoring, sometimes playing more like a point guard. Rebounding is certainly an issue but the team will get better.

Brian: Let's also briefly mention the strong Kansas fan base in attendance at the BC game. There was a lot of blue in the stands at Conte Forum for Kansas's first ever trip to Chestnut Hill. It's just a shame that we scheduled the marquee out of conference game of the season over winter break when the students were home. Good for ticket sales and ticket prices, embarrassing for Eagles fans watching on TV seeing half of our gym supporting the visiting team.

Jeff: I wasn't embarrassed. BC has become more of a national school. Students are too far away over break to go to a basketball game. Did you see the Clemson-UNC game last night? There were plenty of carolina blue shirts in the stands. And Clemson is a state school so all the students were able to make the game and fill the student section despite the game being over break. That makes a huge difference.

Brian: Jon Schults of State News (Michigan State's newspaper) published an article Sunday which made it sound like there were only a handful of Superfans in attendance at the Champs Sports Bowl. Of course, Jon fails to provide any official attendance statistics from the game and relies on a quote from one BC sophomore to paint the picture. Granted, this is just the Michigan State independent newspaper, but it does add to the perception that Boston College fans don't travel well.

Jeff: The quotes included in that article were from a fan and a player commenting on what they saw prior to the game. We were there and in the parking lot we were in Michigan State greatly outnumbered us. Then we got into the stadium well before kickoff and most Michigan State fans were already in their seats. Boston College fans did a great job traveling to this game in my opinion but if it were trackable I wouldn't be at all surprised if the average Michigan State fan sat in their seats a full 30 minutes prior to the average BC fan. I think anyone who matters (Jon Schults doesn't matter) noticed that BC traveled relatively well. But remember, not only does BC have a reputation for not traveling but also for not showing up on time for football games. Fans are getting better at both but those reputations are based on unfortunate realities.

Brian: Let's use real numbers. The quoted attendance for the Champs Sports Bowl was 46,554. Using Jon's argument, there are 46,045 students at MSU versus 12,723 at Boston College. There were clearly not 3.6x more MSU fans at the game than BC fans. So I would say if you are going to use school size as an argument, MSU fans travelled less proportionally than BC did.

More broadly, the perception that a team doesn't travel well is becoming more and more of a excuse for bowl committees to hide behind when passing up more deserving teams for bowl games (see: 2007 Peach Bowl). Virginia hardly traveled anyone to this year's Gator Bowl (60,243 tickets sold, maybe 1/2 of those showed up). I've turned the corner on going gray worrying about travel reps to bowl games. This isn't a BC problem; it is much broader than just one team. The problem is that the college football postseason is terribly broken. Bowls are played for TV, and ticket sales are now a secondary concern to TV schedules and ad dollars. There are way too many bowls, half of them made up by ESPN to fill dead air time between Christmas and New Years.

Jeff: Once again, the Boston College fan attendance in Orlando at the Champs Sports could've only helped our reputation. It did not hurt it. There were many many more fans than at the ACC Championship game as well as many more than our previous 8 bowl games including the Music City Bowl when we played a ranked Georgia team.

Jeff: OK Brian, the final college football game until late August is tonight. Make a prediction.

Brian: You can't look at the craziest college football season on record to figure this one out. LSU beat Florida. Michigan beat Florida. Ohio State beat Michigan. I think LSU wins to become the first ever 2 loss BCS National Champion (adding more fuel to the fire for a playoff). But Ohio State keeps it close. 28-17, Geaux Tigers. Also, I'd like to point out year end bowl predictions (less the BCS NCG).

Brian 20-11, .645
Jeff 14-17, .451

Jeff: Yeah, thanks Bri, I know I stunk it up at the bowl predictions. But, I have one more chance to redeem. LSU 20 OSU 13.

Friday, January 4, 2008

ACC Lays an Egg in Bowls and the Big Finish

Jeff: Brian, the ACC won 2 of 8 in the bowl games, 1-2 against BCS ranked teams, 2-5-1 against the spread. How bad is that?

Brian: Terrible. As I correctly predicted back in December, the ACC falls short of 4 wins in the bowl season. Let's also remember that the one ranked team that the ACC beat, UConn, was #25 in the BCS standings and unranked in both the AP and ESPN/USA Today polls. Disappointing loss by the ACC representative Hokies last night in the Orange Bowl. Three years in a row now the ACC champion has gone down in the Orange Bowl (Florida State, Wake Forest and Virginia Tech).

Brian: ESPN's Jay Bilas's ACC preview has Boston College #6 in the ACC and possibly making the big dance this year. You surprised?

Jeff: No. 7-9, 8-8, or 9-7 in conference all leave us possibly making the tournament.

Jeff: BC's junior forward Nathan Gerbe named CCM/RBK Player of the Month for December. That cool with you?

Brian: Nice honor for the junior. The men's hockey Eagles had a perfect month of December (4-0-0) and Gerbe has put lots of points on the board (7 goals, 9 assists). Now let's carry that momentum into Hockey East play this month.

Brian: Last one, the men's basketball team is home this weekend against #3 Kansas (13-0). Break it down for me. How do the Eagles pull off the upset?

Jeff: Control the game early. Make sure Kansas doesn't get a big lead early like they did last year. Then Roche, Rice, Sanders Raji all need to hit some open jumpers.

Brian: Don't forget to tune in and cheer on the Eagles tomorrow noon on ESPN.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Happy Time: Chamberlain, Longwood and Cotton Bowl

Brian's happy that despite being another blowout at least West Virginia's rout of Oklahoma last night was not predictable so we go to Happy Time!

Happy Birthday Frank Chamberlin (January 2). Frank played 5 seasons in the NFL as LB - 3 seasons with the Tennessee Titans, 1 with the Bengals and 1 with the Texans, before being cut from the Houston roster in 2005. Frank was the only returning LB starter for TOB's 1999 football squad, and was the star of a 24-23 win against Syracuse his senior year.

Happy Trails Longwood University Lancers. The Lancers were dispatched by Tyrese Rice and the Eagles last night, in a warm up game for this Saturday's huge out of conference game vs. Kansas.

Happy Anniversary to BC's and Doug Flutie's Cotton Bowl victory. On January 1, 1985, the Heisman Trophy winner completed 13 of 37 for 180 yards in a 45-28 victory over the Houston Cougars. Boston College would go on to finish #4 AP / #5 UPI in the polls. The 1984 #4 ranking in the Associated Press poll is still the highest the Eagles have ever landed in a year-ending poll.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Headlines: BCS Snoozer

The Bowl Championship Series kicked off yesterday with two absolute snoozers. USC throttled Illinois in the Rose Bowl and Georgia absolutely crushed Hawaii in the Sugar Bowl night cap. If I wasn't aware which month it was, I could have mistaken this year's Sugar Bowl for the Bulldogs season opener against a Sun Belt Conference opponent. With 2 BCS games down and 3 to go, the 2007 BCS might soon be renamed the Blowout Championship Series. And that seems to be precisely the way the BCS powers that be wanted it.

Pairing two teams with a legitimate National title shot against lower BCS ranked opponents leaves little doubt with fans and the media that the BCS elevated the right teams to #1 and #2. Now there is no chance of that four letter word "split National championship" since #7 USC and #5 UGA beat down on lowly BCS opponents and didn't face each other.

The Illini pick for the Rose Bowl just goes to show how screwed up this college football postseason truly is. I cringed every time I watched the ESPN/ABC commercials plugging this year's Rose Bowl - "Big 10. Pac 10. The way it was meant to be." Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't the "way it was meant to be" the Big 10 conference champion versus the Pac 10 conference champion? Was it so bad, Rose Bowl Committee, when Texas won back to back Rose Bowls only two years ago? Wasn't the 2006 game between Texas and USC the most watched college football game since the 1987 Fiesta Bowl? And arguably the best championship game in sports history? Yet we feel obligated to honor some stuffy East-West tradition and place 9-3 Illinois in a BCS game over other deserving teams simply because they play in the Big 10 conference.

Meanwhile, yesterday in Dallas, BCS snubee Missouri routed the Razorbacks in the Cotton Bowl. I'll bet it was sweet for the Mizzou Tigers to see the Illini unravel in Pasadena, and I'm sure there are more than a few Tiger fans that are rooting for Virginia Tech to beat Kansas big in the Orange Bowl.

But what does it all mean for the Boston College Eagles? Simply this. That year in, year out, the only goal BC should have is winning the ACC championship. Nothing else matters. Until college football championships are won on the field of play in some sort of football playoff (see: every other division of college football), it will never be an even playing field for schools like BC. So, Eagles fans, don't concern yourselves with top 10 finishes, hacks like Jux Berg, BCS at-larges, and the convoluted formulas that comprise the current FBS BCS system. They don't matter. Even if you finish in the top 14 of the BCS standings, you probably aren't getting a BCS at-large bid unless you:

A) travel well
B) don't lose the ACC / SEC / Big 12 conference championship game
C) are a large state school with a storied football history, or
D) are a member of the Big 10 (thank you, Tournament of Roses Association).

And until there is a playoff, all Eagles should strive for is to pelt oranges at each other in a wacky post-game locker room celebration in Tampa on December 6, 2008.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Headlines: More Champs Sports Bowl Thoughts

The culmination of a great football season so here are more thoughts about the victory, the fans, and Orlando.

Jeff: After digesting the game, the final score indicated a closer game than it actually was. For the middle 50 minutes of the game BC outscored MSU 24-6, similar to the type of game we had predicted. Agreed?

Brian: Disagree. The final score was a fairly accurate picture of how the two teams played in my opinion. BC left the door open on multiple occasions and generally played like a team who hadn't played in 3+ weeks. On the other side, I wasn't at all impressed with Michigan State. I think if they had a better quarterback and didn't have to suspend their best defensive pass rushers, the game would have been ended differently. Still, the game had the feel of a lot of other BC games this year - where the Eagles play up or play down to the level of competition. A win is a win, and 11 wins is a heck of a season.

Jeff: Well I saw BC dominating the majority of the game. MSU only scored off of great field position.

Brian: Great field position that WE gave them on special teams and offense.

Brian: Official attendance was 46,554, that's pretty good for a Dec. 28th game more than 1,000 miles away from either campus.

Jeff: I'm very happy with the attendance and BC's part in that. At the ACCCG BC made up way less than 20% of the crowd. I estimate 30-40% in Orlando, with 50-60% Michigan State and 5-10% neutral. With that said though, BC fans still need to learn a few things. As Gene has stated and ATLeagle has pleaded on his blog, it's not just about ticket sales, it's about spending money in Orlando. When we went out after the game, there were plenty of BC fans out celebrating. The problem is though, we only knew that from talking to people and recognizing some familiar faces. Most male BC fans went back to their hotel rooms and changed out of their superfan shirts and put on polos and buttondowns. BC WON. Why change? Most of the BC girls kept their superfan gear on so why did all the guys change? So the bartenders and owners on Orange and Church Street probably still think that BC didn't travel a lot of fans. That was disappointing. Be proud of your school. Wear maroon and gold all weekend the next time you travel to an away game. Take notice when Clemson comes to Boston next season. You'll see people in orange Friday night and Sunday, not just at the game.

Brian: Not only should fans wear BC gear throughout the weekend, but also when you are traveling. It might have been because I came down a day early, but there were very few if any BC fans on the plane from NYC. There were way more BC fans visible in airports traveling to the ACC CG.


Jeff: I liked the night life in Orlando, did not like the Citrus Bowl and the general unsafe feeling when not in the hotel, game, or in a bar/restaurant. I would go back if we played in the Champs Bowl again, but I would do things differently like stay closer to the resorts rather than downtown Orlando to be close to the stadium. What about you Brian?

Brian: Unless I am going with family, I would stay away from the resorts. They seem very far from the stadium and the downtown nightlife. If I had to do it again, I would have stayed downtown around Orange or Church Streets, tailgated in the hotel for much longer (and less at the game), and checked the Orlando Magic schedule beforehand (since your boy, Jared Dudley and the Charlotte Bobcats were in town Saturday night).

Jeff: We've been to many football games and major college sporting events. One thing you always notice is a large police pressence in and around the venue. Where was the Orlando PD? I mean we saw one or two cops sure, but not a single one around the parking lot (by the way we were in lot A very close to the stadium) or just walking around the stadium. Anyone who has ever been to a game in the Citrus Bowl knows what I now know which is it is located in a bad part of town, obviously the Orlando PD, Champs Sports and everyone else putting together the game knows this. Why isn't there pressure on the community to have, if anything, an excessive law enforcement presence on hand for the game if they would like to continue such events? If the Champs Sports Bowl moved to Tampa Bay, or if the ACC did not renew their affiliation, I would not be disappointed.

Brian: The Citrus Bowl is in need of repairs badly. The city has agreed to put $175 million into an expansion plan, but that is extremely curious considering UCF moved out of there and built their own stadium and there is no current tenant for the stadium. Also, I find it extremely odd that Orlando is the only city in the country with two bowl games (Champs Sports and the Capital One Bowl). I would welcome the ACC dropping the Champs Sports bowls from the bowl-affiliation list. I don't think they would move the Champs Sports Bowl to Tampa since the Outback Bowl is played there. I can't think of a warm weather city that doesn't have a bowl (since there are so many bowls), but I'd go out on a limb and say there are 30 other cities that are more deserving of a second bowl than Orlando. Also, you could easily put on a bowl game in San Jose, Portland, or even Indianapolis (RCA Dome) off the top of my head and switch around the conference affiliations to have another ACC tie-in on the eastern seaboard.

Jeff: New Orleans hosts the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl, the Sugar Bowl and National Championship this year. San Diego host the SD County Credit Union Bowl and the Holiday Bowl. The Phoenix area has the Insight Bowl and the Fiesta (but at two different stadiums). The Dallas area has the Armed Forces Bowl and the Cotton Bowl(also two different stadiums). So Orlando is not the only city. What I would hate about leaving the Champs Sports Bowl is that then there would not be a bowl with an ACC-Big Ten matchup.
Portland? San Jose? Indianapolis? What is that crap? How would that help getting another ACC game on the east coast. The ACC already travels to Boise and San Francisco. Lets not create any more West Coast Bowl games.

Brian: And do you know what New Orleans, San Diego and Phoenix have in common? They are all great cities with better football facilities than Orlando. I would not be sad if they moved around the bowl tie-ins such that we got a Big XII-ACC or one less Big East-ACC matchup, even if it was at the expense of Big Ten-ACC. Big Ten-ACC have basketball. Plus, it's not like Champs Sports/Mazda/MicroPC/Carquest/Blockbuster/Tangerine Bowl is steeped in tradition. Big Ten-ACC have had the bowl-tie in there for 2 years!

Jeff: I just want to see the ACC play each of the other BCS conferences in at least one bowl each year. But to get back to the original topic, Orlando was not the ideal bowl location largely because the Citrus Bowl bowl is a very old stadium in the middle of the slums. But if we played in the same bowl game next year, Brian and I would be back.