Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Food chain: Dream Out-of-Conference Football Matchups
The team cannot already be on the schedule in the foreseeable future. Sorry, USC. Conversely, the Eagles cannot have played them in the past 8 years as an out-of-conference game. Peace out, Penn State. See what I did there? Our former Big East opponents are IN play. I'm just goading Jeff to lobby for the University of Connecticut here ...
The arrangement will be for a home-and-home series to be played at some point over the next 10 years. And no shenanigans like the stuff Notre Dame is trying to pull getting Big East teams to play in Gillette Stadium, Giants Stadium or other neutral site. The home game will be on the Heights.
We consider these eight teams and then rank them from 5-1.
Starting off in the SEC, I'm not going with some of the more obvious choices in UGA, Florida or SC. Every year BC plays in those markets in the ACC. So I'm pushing the Volunteers. Tennessee always has a great football team and a rich history. Neyland Stadium seats 102,037. I've seen the stadium which is quite impressive - just a massive wall of people. And I'm sure the Vols would show us Eagles the proper way to tailgate.
I really like what Mike Bellotti has done with the Oregon program over the last 13 years. Even though Autzen Stadium only seats 54,000, it is known to be one of the loudest and most intimidating atmospheres in all of college football. Added bonus: when the Eagles go into Autzen and win, I get ultimate bragging rights over my friend Omar. UCLA or Cal are trendy picks with all the alumni in LA and the Bay Area, but Oregon opens up a new market in the Pac 10 for the Eagles to get some exposure.
Louisiana State (LSU)
One of the best programs of the last decade. Who wouldn't love a road trip to the other Death Valley? Death Valley always ranks in the Top 10 stadiums in the country, and was named the scariest place to play by ESPN. This also gets BC some exposure in Louisiana, a market they typically don't get to visit.
BC could schedule Hawaii every year just to beat up on them and eliminate them from BCS contention. And what's better than a Hawaii vacation in September?
Hook Em Horns! Our only Big XII representative, it was a tough decision between UT and the Sooners. But what is there to do in Oklahoma besides play football? A majority of blue-chip college and NFL draft picks come from the state, so the exposure will be great for the program and recruiting. Texas has a rich history and is guaranteed to be in the Top 25 annually.
This matchup would get an SEC team on our schedule that we would expect to beat more often than not. Also, Vanderbilt and BC are on the same level academically which always adds to an athletic matchup. Downside (or upside?) - Vanderbilt hasn't had a winning record since 1982. Ouch.
BC and Wisconsin have been two of the top 10 two-sport programs in the country over the past 10 years. Throw in our ice hockey programs, and we might even be 1-2. Plus, Camp Randall is a fun place to play and the party atmosphere in Madison would be great. Bonus: Play in December as two cold weather schools duke it out in the same state as the famed Frozen Tundra of Lambeau.
How can we have a dream opponents list and not include the Gators. Perfect fall road trip for BCers to head to the warmth and see some beautiful women. Not to mention checking out one of the best college atmospheres in the country - The Swamp. Also, the birthplace of Gatorade, so its easy to stay hydrated in the Florida sun.
Brian's Food Chain
5. LSU - here's to hoping our success in one Death Valley spills over into the other Death Valley
4. Texas - a win against the premiere team in the Big XII would go a long way to righting the ship that is the national perception of ACC football
3. Oregon - their flashy Nike uniforms won't get the Ducks past the Eagles
2. Tennessee - Neyland Stadium. SEC football.
1. Wisconsin - we haven't played a Big Ten school since 2004 and this would be one of the better matchups the conference could offer up
Jeff: I guess flashy is one word to describe Oregon's uniforms, but you won't see any Pac 10 teams on my list.
Jeff's Food Chain
5. Vanderbilt - winnable SEC matchup
4. Hawaii - I just can't even fathom BC losing to them
3. Wisconsin - already have recent history in hockey. Also, I've been to Madison and would love to go back for a game.
2. Florida - how could you not want to go to The Swamp? Bonus: the game will get tons of national attention
1. LSU - bring on the defending national champs!
I'm going to throw in Georgia for honorable mention because I've always wanted to go to Sanford Stadium.
Brian: Hawaii will be terrible for the next ten years. June Jones and the AD jumped ship. And Colt Brennan isn't walking through that door. Still, worth considering because ... it IS Hawaii ... in September.
Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
Monday, April 28, 2008
Jeff: Unfortunately, since neither of us were at the game, there is not a whole lot to say. Jags was worried about injuries so instead of a full scrimmage, they only played offense vs defense with a running clock. Crane and Davis had unimpressive numbers but I will give some credit to our defense which should be our strong side of the ball next year. Brian, did you learn anything about next year's team this weekend?
Brian: I didn't get the chance to watch the spring scrimmage but I did read up on it, and just as you say, the offensive performance seemed fairly lackluster. I don't want to place too much emphasis on the Spring Game as we are still a good 4+ months away from the season opener in Cleveland. But two things stand out to me on the offensive side of the ball. 1) It sounds like Crane is filling in nicely for Matt Ryan, and there is considerable distance on the depth chart between Crane and the backups by committee (e.g. Davis, Boek, Tuggle). And 2) a true freshmen stepping into the #1 spot at running back. Haden comes into this season with really high expectations but its really hard to have a big impact as an offensive player in your first season. Although it sounds like he might be getting some help with the possible return of Jeff Smith ...
Jeff: Yes, a return from Jeff Smith would be a great help and is a new, rather surprising development. Haden weighs less than 200 and is projected to carry the ball less than 20 times per game throughout his career similar to say CJ Spiller of Clemson. Help in the backfield is going to have to come from someone but also expect Crane or whomever is under center to be throwing a lot of passes despite their lack of game experience.
Brian: No doubt in my mind its going to be Crane under center. Also Crane being more mobile than Ryan will help the rushing attack, although either Mulrooney or Smith will have to step up to help share the load with Haden.
Our new poll turns our attention to the Eagles that weren't as fortunate as Matt Ryan, Gosder Cherilus and DeJuan Tribble. The question - which undrafted Eagle is most likely to play on Sundays? Voting will be open for 3 weeks. Vote on the sidebar to the right.
Saturday, April 26, 2008
More headlines on Monday. Go BC!
But as ESPN College Gameday's Lee Corso likes to say, "not so fast my friends!" I already have my pre-existing NFL allegiances, biases and hatreds. I can't just go out and purchase any NFL jersey, even if Matt Ryan was the greatest signal caller we've seen play at BC. This lead us to ask the question:
Even if it was the uniform of an ex-Boston College great, what NFL teams would you under no circumstances purchase their jersey?
NFL Team: the Super Bowl Champs
Casual fan of: the New York Jets, so long as they don't suck and aren't playing the New York (football) Giants
I swear, under penalty of death, that under no circumstances would I ever buy a Matt Ryan #12 jersey, if Ryan is drafted by one of the below teams:
- Dallas Cowboys - /cringes
- Philadelphia Eagles - /cringes even more, thinks about all that time spent growing up in South Jersey a Giants fan ...
- Washington Redskins - /cringes as he rounds out the rest of the NFC East
- New England Patriots - would not want to be lumped into "Red Sox Nation" in any way (its bad enough BC fans are lumped into this lot!)
- San Francisco 49ers - even though they suck, too much Giants-49ers history to forgive and forget (that was pass interference!)
- Miami Dolphins - pastel team colors? no thanks
NFL Team: no one team, really
Casual fan of: the New York Giants, New York Jets and the Seattle Seahawks
I swear, under penalty of death, that under no circumstances would I ever buy a Matt Ryan #12 replica jersey, if Ryan is drafted by one of the below teams:
- Atlanta Falcons - only thugs wear them
- Oakland Raiders - same reason
- Buffalo Bills - they suck
- Chicago Bears - hate the Bears
- Dallas Cowboys - ... unless Matt also dates Jessica Simpson!
- Any Ohio team - ugly jerseys and nobody likes Ohio except people from Ohio
We have surely offended your NFL team. After reading this article, hate mail for Brian can be sent here. For Jeff, go here.
Leave your own list of teams in the comments section below.
Friday, April 25, 2008
Jeff: Unfortunately, Randy Edsall is not big enough yet to make that happen. Too many other people said ridiculous things when BC left the Big East and I would say it'll still be a few more years before a deal is signed. But what it should be is that BC-UConn play every year in Foxsboro and seats are split between the two schools.
Jeff: ESPN did a mock draft last night and I don't care nearly enough to watch it but as I flipped by I saw they were on pick #16 and Matt Ryan had not been taken yet. Is Kiper serious?
Brian: #12 will be fine tomorrow. If he slips down the draft board, I know he'll represent Boston College well and handle the situation with class and dignity. Not like this bozo.
Brian: Kevin Challenger decided to forgo possible becoming Mr. Irrelevant on draft day and signed with the CFL's Calgary Stampeders. Good move?
Jeff: Great move! Was he even going to be drafted anyway? And he is from Canada.
Brian: Challenger most likely would have gone undrafted and would have had to sign as a free agent. I'm happy for Challenger that he can go play close to home (Montreal native).
Jeff: Spring game on ACC Select for free, Saturday 1pm. You gonna watch?
Brian: I'll either try to watch some of it on Saturday or check it out on Sunday. Excited to see Crane and Haden lead the offense.
Brian: Last one, word association. Team that will draft Matt Ryan tomorrow:
Jeff: Baltimore Ravens
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Kramer: Listen, Frank, have you ever considered wearing something for support? Now, look at this. Mind you, this is just a prototype.
Frank: You want me to wear a bra?!
Kramer: No, no. A bra is for ladies. Meet, the bro.
Brian: Here is your (our dear readers) very own food chain that attempts to answer the question of who is the best pair of Boston College Eagle bros.
6) The Rajis – 1 vote (2%)
t-4) The Toals – 2 votes (5%)
t-4) The Orpiks – 2 votes (5%)
3) The Hasselbecks – 7 votes (18%)
2) The Giontas – 11 votes (29%)
1) The Fluties – 14 votes (37%)
… with some strong objections to the exclusion of the Eaves. This looks much more similar to Jeff's food chain than my own. I expected better from you readers than to agree with Jeff!
Jeff: I'm thinking Corey is a reader and voted for himself. I was being fairly generous putting him at #5. He is my favorite member of our basketball team but c'mon.
Brian: Also, no love for the Walls. Maybe we didn't sell them enough. What? Matching tattoos not badass enough?
A not so Happy Anniversary to ex-BC women's ice hockey coach Tom Mutch. On this day one year ago, Mutch resigned as the head coach of the Lady Eagles amid allegations of inappropriate relations with one of his players. Mutch had revitalized a sleeping Eagles hockey program, winning the Beanpot for the first time in school history in 2006, and repeating in 2007. The Lady Eagles also made it to the program's first Frozen Four in 2006-2007 under Mutch's leadership.
Happy Trails Eagles in the NHL ... playoffs. Bruins Andrew Alberts, Bobby Allen and Chuck Kobasew and New Jersey Devils Brian Gionta and Mike Mottau. Both the B's and the Devils were bounced from the NHL playoff quarterfinals. The Bruins at least made it interesting, forcing Game 7 against the #1 seed in the East, the Montreal Canadiens. The hope that an ex-Eagle raises the Cup this year rests with Pittsburgh Penguins defenders Brooks Orpik and Rob Scuderi, which unfortunately is in direct opposition to the team I'm cheering for ...
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
As Christian pointed out, #12 joins some good company in Larry Fitzgerald, Reggie Bush, Carson Palmer, Chris Weinke, Ricky Williams, Shaun Alexander, Joey Harrington, Jared Zabransky ... well, at least some good company. This didn't work out so well for others. Let's hope there isn't the college football equivalent of the Madden curse.
NCAA Football 08 is a pretty good game ... check out the 09 version. Too bad that McFadden landed on the cover of the XBox version of the game. Admittedly, I'm a little upset I don't have a PS3 now.
Also, love the screenshots of #10 as the signal caller on the Heights! Check them out in the article.
Jeff: Unhappy Trails Brady Smith, you pled not guilty to rape charges but if the accuser's story is even partly true there is no room for you at Boston College. Rumor has it that Jags has already let you go and BC will move on regardless of the outcome of the case. Kudos to Jags for moving swiftly given the severity of the issue.
First one, Odds Matt Ryan is drafted by the Atlanta Falcons?
Jeff: 25%. There are 2 possible scenarios where Matt doesn't get drafted by Atlanta. #1 They don't draft him. Or #2 They trade their pick and perhaps another team drafts him in that slot.
Brian: I'm going to say 40%, which is fairly high, considering all the other things Atlanta can do with this pick. Atlanta might take LSU defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey at #3 if he's available. Atlanta really needs a fresh face to the franchise, which is exactly what they'd be getting with #12. That it, of course, if they don't think Joey Harrington is the answer ...
Odds a team trades up to draft Matt Ryan? (Likely suitors in this scenario: Carolina, Chicago and Detroit)
Brian: This would be the ultimate poker play by Carolina, Chicago or Detroit. The most likely draft spots in the top 10 to be traded by my estimation are the Jets at #6 and the Pats at #7. The other scenario if Atlanta doesn't take Ryan is Baltimore moves up a few spots to ensure they grab Ryan. The Ravens could just as likely trade down and look to make either Henne or local boy Flacco their signal caller of the future. Overall though, I don't think this scenario is likely so I'm going to go low. 20%.
Jeff: I completely disagree here Brian. I think there are two possible scenarios for Ryan on draft day. He will either be taken by the Falcons or someone will trade up to get him once he falls past that slot. Baltimore is in love with him and they will get antsy once he slides past #3. 75%.
Odds Matt Ryan falls past pick #6 (New York Jets)?
Jeff: I'm gonna be surprised if Ryan falls past number 6, so I'll say 5%. Atlanta might take him at #3 or others including Baltimore (currently at #8) may trade up for him. Not to mention my boys, the "J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets" have some interest.
Brian: Assuming that Ryan falls past Atlanta, I can't see either the Jets or the Chiefs drafting Ryan. There is a growing interweb collective saying that the Jets are really high on Ryan, including SI's Peter King. If this is true, the Jets would have 0 patience for developing Kellen Clemens, which I find surprising. So again, assuming Ryan isn't a Falcon, I would say there's a 75% chance he falls past both the Jets and the Chiefs.
Odds Mel Kiper Jr. isn't covering the draft next year? (i.e. Matt Ryan falls past #8)
Brian: An emphatic squaddush, 0%! I know there is a growing contingent of Matt Ryan naysayers out there in blogfrica (I'm looking at you, Brian Cook), but I personally think these naysayers couldn't be more wrong. I think there is 0 percent chance Matt Ryan falls past the Ravens. The Ravens need their quarterback of the future, seeing as their former quarterback just pulled a Brett Favre. An added bonus is Matt Ryan will be playing close to his hometown, and he stays out of the NFC so he doesn't compete with my NY Giants. Win, win, win.
Jeff: You hit the nail on the head. How often does the top QB not get drafted #8 or higher? Too many of the top 8 teams could use him. 0%.
Last one, odds Ryan has a better pro career than Brian Brohm, Chad Henne and Joe Flacco?
Jeff: 26%. I'm gonna give him a slight edge over the other 3 and therefore give him slightly more than a one quarter chance. There are way too many variables here including injuries and supporting cast. I think Matt Ryan will have a good pro career but I am not expecting the Hall of Fame so I wouldn't be at all surprised if another QB rises above him in the next few seasons.
Brian: Disclaimer: I'm biased, but ... 100%! No one has done more with less than Matt Ryan. No one has the intangibles and says all the right things like Matt Ryan. #12 didn't get to throw to Super Mario Manningham, didn't return for his senior year in hopes of winning a National Championship only to lead his team to a pedestrian 6-6 in the Big East, and didn't rack up really gaudy numbers against inferior I-AA competition. With all due respect to Misters Brohm, Henne and Flacco, there's a reason #12 is the consensus #1 QB in the draft and a top 10 lock.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Jeff: There is so much money riding on the BCS that I am going to say yes it does deserve an investigation. Boston College is only ever going to make it through an automatic bid and there are many other schools in our situation. Meanwhile certain big state football schools and Notre Dame only need to finish high enough to qualify and they will receive one of the at-large bids. It is suspect though that Georgia, Hawaii and Idaho representatives are starting this. They have no beef! Hawaii lost to Georgia last year, neither team should have been in the title game. Boise State at least went on to win their game but remember it did take overtime and they were not playing one of the two top teams in the country.
Brian: As you said, Jeff, BC has never been a BCS snubbee. We had a very remote chance to make the BCS last year, but the BCS selection committee has repeatedly shown it does not like taking the conference championship runners-up (see: last year's Missouris, Tennessees, Boston Colleges). You have to win the big game to have a legit beef with the system, which BC has failed to do in years past (sadly, see: 2004, 2006, 2007). As I have stated before, the system totally sucks. Illinois in the Rose Bowl at 9-3 = garbage. I am glad they are taking a closer look at the system, however, I do think this investigation loses some credibility with UGA, Boise State and Hawaii representatives leading the charge.
- Georgia couldn't even win their side of the SEC ...
- Hawaii played a JV conference schedule and even weaker out of conference schedule, and
- Boise State went undefeated but beat Oklahoma in overtime, capitalizing on Bob Stoops inability to win bowl games (bigger late season choke artist than Tommy Bowden!)
Jeff: John Swofford is the only quoted BCS official in this article, does the ACC have the inside track to getting two BCS teams next year?
Brian: There would really have to be a perfect storm of events for the ACC to get two teams in next year. There are four at-large births, and if the selections are at all similar to last year's, I give the edge for two of the four at-large births to the Pac 10 and the Big 10, given the preferrential treatment of conferences without a championship game.
That leaves two at-larges for the Big XII, SEC, ACC, Big East, Notre Dame and the mid-majors. If Notre Dame gets to 9-10 wins after dumbing down their schedule, they take a spot. If a mid-major goes undefeated, there is one less at-large. SEC football will be decidedly better than ACC football, so I give the edge to a third at-large to the SEC. And I can't imagine that the ACC takes a fourth spot from the Big XII, with Oklahoma, Missouri and Texas all in the mix (edge to the regular season runner up of the Big XII South for the last at-large). ACC football is still perceived to be down, and even with the BCS chairman in our camp, I don't see the ACC getting a second team in. If I was playing oddsmakers, I'd only give it a 10% chance.
Monday, April 21, 2008
Brian: Happy Marathon Monday, Eagles! We start with the story that junior guard Tyrese Rice is staying for his senior season on the Heights. Good move for Rice and the Eagles, right?
Jeff: I am thrilled Rice is coming back but never really thought he was strongly considering leaving. But now that it is official, Al Skinner should be excited about next year's team. This past season was disappointing but now all key players will be returning so this year shows much more promise for basketball.
Brian: I'm also excited for next year's squad and Skinner & co. should be as well. We lose Oates and Blaire to graduation and Kaba and Spears to transfers, but gain incoming Colorado freshmen Reggie Jackson and Dallas Elmore, freshman Florida PF Evan Ravenel and Vermont transfer Joe Trapani. Add another year under Rakim Sanders belt (who I'm told I'm abnormally high on) and it should be a much better year for the young Eagles squad.
Jeff: The other storyline is that star defensive end Brady Smith was suspended indefinitely from the Eagles football team.
Brian: This is a really unfortunate storyline. If its true, I would say its the end of Brady Smith's time in maroon and gold. If its not true, he might be suspended for a game or two before rejoining the team. Just an unfortunate storyline all around and a blow to the BC's defensive line.
Jeff: I think it is premature to speculate that Smith is done with the Eagles. Let's let all the details come out and then kick him off the team. Sexual assault is not good but it was an on-campus incident and on-campus problems seem to be more controlled and do not escalate so far as to get someone kicked out of school. Also, this is Jags, not TOB, ... so we'll see what happens.
Brian: Well, if Smith is suspended from school Jags doesn't have a choice but to suspend him. We can only hope for the best possible outcome for everyone involved in this situation.
Friday, April 18, 2008
Brian: Jeff, The Heights ran an article proclaiming that 2008 is not 2001 and that college hockey is dead in the collective consciousness of Eagles fans. Your thoughts?
Jeff: I wouldn't say hockey is dead, but I would blame Matt Ryan [on the supposed decreasing lack of BC hockey fan support]. Football was the thing on the Heights this year and 90% of BC students don't care about sports enough to get excited about football, basketball, and hockey. I am disappointed but if you think about it college hockey is not at all mainstream and BC students have other opportunities to storm the mods now during football season. Back in 2001 the national championship was it. Basketball won the Big East Championship over spring break and football was not spectacular.
Brian: (Don't drag Matt Ryan into this - he has nothing but the utmost respect for our hockey program!) I think you can look to two factors here. One is that there is just so much other stuff going on with students these days to get behind all of the big 3 BC sports. I also think this speaks to a larger trend of declining attendance across all of college athletics (perceived by me, not backed up with statistics ... yet). I agree with you though that its hard to support three sports with a small student body base. Add to this the fact that most alumni move away from Boston after their years at BC, so its harder for alumni to get to games unless you are in the area and/or a die-hard fan.
The second, as you rightly point out, is that football is again king at Boston College. In the late 1990s, football was decent and basketball had some mediocre-to-bad years leading up to 2000-2001. Plus the demographics of the student body are shifting from a predominantly New England student body base to a national university. I'm not sure how much this matters, but to some extent, students coming from parts of the country where hockey is a non-factor sport might be another contributor to hockey apathy. But I would say from experience (being freshmen at BC when we won a hockey title) that we probably will see an uptick in attendance and support over the next few years. Especially if basketball continues to struggle in the ACC ...
Jeff: Students are still supporting Boston College athletics as much as they used to. I remember when I was a student and Miami was #1 in the country and there were hardly any students there until the end of the first quarter and then many only showed up because the game was surprisingly close. Now the student section is much closer to full at kickoff of every game. Support has just shifted between sports.
Brian: We go to Friday's big finish on a weekend that marks the first real life BC Interruption meeting since the Champs Sports Bowl ...
Jeff: UMass beat Boston College 4-3 in the baseball Beanpot final. Your thoughts?
Brian: UMass closes out a great year head-to-head against BC, beating us in the NCAAs in soccer (a #16 seed beats a #1!), basketball, a few hockey games and now baseball.
Brian: BC drew Iowa in next year's ACC/Big 10 challenge, a game to be played at Conte Forum. That's a W right?
Jeff: The Big Ten will lose the challenge again and BC will get a W.
Jeff: Last one, The Carolina Panthers are rumored to be flirting with the idea of drafting Matt Ryan. Good idea?
Brian: Who knows how healthy Delhomme is, so sure, its a good idea. They'd have to trade up though as I don't see Matt Ryan falling past #8.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Thunder Jackson’s was a decent venue to watch the championship game - packed with Eagles fans, featured a cowboy boot glass of beer, and Miller High Life 40s served in brown bags. You stay classy!
On to the dispensing of the happys ...
Happy Birthday Chuck Kobasew. The right winger for the Boston Bruins was on hand Monday night to watch the 2008 version of the Boston College Eagles hoist the National Championship trophy. Chuck only played one season on the Heights, but was part of the talent-laden 2001 squad that brought home BC’s second title. Kobasew tallied 49 points in his freshman year (27 goals, 22 assists) and was named the Most Valuable Player of the Frozen Four in Albany. Kobasew's Bruins try to stave off elimination tonight in the NHL playoffs vs. the Montreal Canadiens.
Happy Anniversary … the football, basketball and hockey teams have (obviously) never played this far into April. So Happy Anniversary to the Republic of Ireland. On this day 59 years ago, the 26 counties of Ireland broke with the British Commonwealth to form the Republic of Ireland. 1949 was an equally special year for Boston College hockey, who defeated Dartmouth 4-3 on March 19 of that year for the school’s first (and the NCAA’s second ever) title.
Happy Trails to Boston College’s five senior pucksters. Captain Mike Brennan, Joe Adams, Pat Gannon, and Assistants Matt Greene and Dan Bertram. You played your last game in maroon and gold this past Saturday against Notre Dame. Thanks for bringing home a title to BC - after getting oh-so-close the 2 years before - and best of luck in whatever your future holds.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Today's food chain: Best pair of Boston College Eagle bros, evah!
The rules. We will consider the complete body of work for each of these pairs of brothers during their time as Boston College Eagles. Bonus points if one or both brothers went on to have a monster pro career. Also, the body of work of both brothers will be considered. If one had a totally sick career and the other didn't, that might outweight two brothers that had mediocre careers.
We will only consider the following 7 sets of brothers in our final list of 5. Honorable mention - the Adams, the Reasoners, the Eaves and any other set of brothers we completely blanked on (go easy on us, we've only been following the team for 8 years) ...
The Rajis - Corey and BJ
The youngest brothers being considered, Corey just finished a solid freshman campaign for the Eagles where he averaged 8.3 points and 4.3 boards / game to work his way into the starting lineup by the end of the season. Older brother BJ, a defensive lineman, has been mentioned as being a potential first round draft pick but had to sit out last season because he was poorly advised on his class schedule and therefore deemed academically ineligible by the NCAA.
The Hasselbecks - Tim and Matt
- Married a famous Survivor hottie
- Quarterbacked the Eagles through the 1999 and 2000 seasons
- Won the Aloha Bowl, starting TOB's cherished bowl win streak
- Career backup QB in NFL, stops in Carolina, Philly, Washington, NYG and Arizona
- Elder brother, also a quarterback for the Eagles
- Drafted by the Green Bay Packers in round 6
- 3 Pro Bowl selections
- Lead Seahawks to Super Bowl XL and 4 straight division titles
The Orpiks - Andrew and Brooks
I did a double take when I first read this: Andrew and Brooks Orpik are now 6 for 6 in getting their teams to the Frozen Four, and have played in the championship game an incredible 5 times (Brooks missing the title game in 1999). They have 2 NCAA titles between them. Brooks is now a bruiser for the Pittsburgh Penguins, where he has played for 5 seasons after being called up from Wilkes-Barre. Not to mention that he is named after US Olympic Coach Herb Brooks. Not a bad pedigree! Orpik the younger is a draft pick of the Buffalo Sabres, and if he plays anything like his older bro, is sure to have a solid pro career.
The Fluties - Doug and Darren
- Heisman Trophy winner
- 47-45 ... BC > Miami, Doug > Bernie
- Started the "Flutie effect"
- Grey Cup (Canuck Super Bowl) MVP, one of CFL's greats
- Has his own cereal
- Top 50 players of all time in CFL
- Played for more than 1 BC, but not a Double Eagle?
- 2 Grey Cup wins, 3 all-stars
- Is the Jerry Rice of the CFL: record for most career receptions (972)
The Giontas - Brian and Stephen
What hasn't been said about Brian Gionta's prolific career on the Heights? Brian was the catalyst behind the beginning of the BC Era, reaching the Frozen Four in all 4 years, coming within a goal of the title in his freshman year, and capping a brilliant 4 year campaign with a National title in 2001. 123 goals in his four years at Boston College, including 5 goals / period (a Hockey East/NCAA record) and a few Hobey Baker snubs in 2000 and 2001. Drafted by the Devils, he has become one of their best offensive weapons. He won a Cup with the club in 2003, and set the franchise record for most goals in a season in 2005-2006 (48). Brian the younger, Stephen, spent 4 years on the Heights and served as an Assistant Captain in his senior year. He scored 32 points in 39 games his senior season. Having gone undrafted, he currently plays in the New Jersey Devils farm system with two other pairs of brothers - the Pandolfos and the Parises (bonus points?). The two have to be considered one of the best pairs of BC brothers to skate for the Eagles.
The Walls - Lenny and Kenny
- The older fraternal twin by 36 minutes
- Matching tats with his brother = badass
- Explosive cornerback for the football team
- Now a free agent, has made pro stops with Denver, KC and St. Louis
- Talented guard, small forward swing man for Al Skinner, played defense too!
- 2000-2001 basketball season put BC ball back on the map
- Big East tournament champions
- One of the team's leading scorers in his sophomore year (10.5 ppg)
The Toals - Brian and Greg
Brian, the linebacker turned short yardage back (first and toal, baby!), has been an integral part of one of the winningest classes in BC football history. Brian was sidelined by a bunch of neck and shoulder injuries for the 2007 season. He should be back to 100% this fall to lead a senior-laden defense as the Eagles begin life without Matt Ryan. Brian will most likely be a draft pick in next year's NFL draft. The older brother, Greg, had a solid career as a blocking fullback for the Eagles from 2000-2004. Greg was paired with Derrick Knight to provide the Eagles with a decent running attack.
Brian's Food Chain
For those of you scoring at home, I'm going to have to go with the following list:
5) Walls - Only pair of two sport athletes on my list, the Rajis might take this spot in a few years
4) Orpiks - 6 for 6 for Frozen Fours is just filthy ...
3) Hasselbecks - QB is one of the most important positions in sports, and this family led the Eagles over several years in the 1990s
2) Fluties - a Heisman trophy winner and two legend status CFLers
1) Giontas - even though Flutie put the school on the map, Brian broke a ton of individual records and brought the school their first national title since 1949
Jeff's Food Chain
I am going to rearrange these and go:
5) Rajis - Not for what they've already done but more so what they will do. BJ will anchor the best defense in the ACC next season and Corey will be a part of some great bball teams
4) Orpiks - Two national championships so they must make the list
3) Giontas - BC girls and guys loved Brian more than Matt Ryan. Then Stephen was good enough
2) Hasselbecks - Matt is having the greatest NFL career of any BC player ever and Tim has not been as successful but he was still a very good BC quarterback
1) Fluties - Doug takes the top spot by himself
That's it. That's the food chain. Leave your own top 5 in the comments section.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
The BC hockey team was honored at Fenway Park Sunday night during the Yankees Red Sox rubber match. Also, during the rain delay during Saturday afternoon's Sox game, the championship game was shown on the Fenway screens.
The Bruins will also honor the hockey team at tonight's home playoff game vs. Montreal. I guess the Boston pro sports community does embrace Boston College ...
Having been subjected to poor WCHA officiating all season, the crew at the North Dakota hockey blog Goon's world think the Kyle Lawson redirection off his skate should have been allowed. You be the judge.
Special BC Interruption shout out to Coach Jerry York, who is nothing but a class act. His comments, particularly at the championship celebration at Conte last night, spoke about how it wasn't only important to bring home the trophy, but for the players to represent BC every day with class and dignity. Thank you!
Monday, April 14, 2008
Brian: Jeff, third time is a charm for Boston College, as they dispatched of the upstart Notre Dame Fighting Irish 4-1 to capture our third ever hockey national championship. You were able to watch the game in South Carolina. What did you think of the Eagles performance?
Jeff: The Eagles controlled the game. I don't remember a point when I thought the outcome was in doubt. Even if Notre Dame's disallowed goal had stood, BC still had a goal advantage at that point and I would've been comfortable with that. The game had a very different feel than the game again North Dakota where when the Eagles were up 3-0, I still did not feel the game was over.
But how did the Eagles control the game and skate to victory? NATHAN GERBE. 2 goals and 2 assists. Take him out of the lineup and where would our offense come from? He was awesome. He was the quickest guy on the ice who also seemed to have the best sense and feel for the game.
Brian: Aside from Gerbe, the other hero of the tournament for me was the play of freshman netminder John Muse. Muse stopped 20 of 21 shots for the Eagles, and became the first freshman goalie to lead a team to the National Championship since 2005 (Denver's Peter Mannino). Muse picked up where Corey Schneider left off, finally getting the Eagles over the hump. Gotta love his focus too. Asked about whether or not he had anything left to prove in college hockey, given the recent propensity of collegiate goalies to jump to the pros early, Muse stayed on point.
"I've got three more national championships to go from here," he said with a smile.
Jeff: Yes, Gerbe stole the spotlight but Muse was great as well. I still think if he did not make a few good saves in the first period of the semis then that game would have gone completely differently.
Brian: Muse also kept us in the game for stretches of the National Championship game, particularly late in the second period when Notre Dame's physical play was getting the better of us. Not to mention keeping us in the Regional Final against Miami (Ohio).
The Eagles used an exciting brand of fast paced hockey throughout the postseason to capture the title. As reader Andrew said, what a turnaround! I couldn't be more proud of this team or our school. Some might say that we were far less talented than our 2001 squad, but this team was clicking on all cylinders at the perfect time of year. Also glad to see Carl Sneep come back onto the ice to hoist the National Championship plaque, after leaving the game early in the first period when a puck hit him in the ankle right above the padding.
Sunday, April 13, 2008
Saturday, April 12, 2008
Here is a coach's preview of the game from Inside College Hockey.
We all know Jerry York is coaching royalty, however, Notre Dame's coach Jeff Jackson also has two titles with his time at Lake Superior State, and has gotten the Irish to the title game in only his 3rd season in South Bend.
BC Interruption poll results - Toughest Frozen Four Opponent (don't sleep on Notre Dame!)
- North Dakota - 43 votes (55%)
- Michigan - 33 votes (42%)
- Notre Dame - 2 votes (2%)
I think his math was a little off, but John Whelan of College Hockey News had BC with a 2.3% chance to take home the title at the beginning of the tournament. Notre Dame? 0.77%.
My heart may very well explode if ... there is overtime. Notre Dame's record in OT this year - 2-1-4. BC's record is 4-3-7 in a gaudy 14 appearances. BC comes in winners of 7 straight, while ND has rattled off 3 straight wins in the NCAAs.
In other hockey news, I attended game 2 of the Rangers-Devils series in Newark, a game my Blueshirts won 2-1 to take a 2-0 series lead. Got to see BC alum Brian Gionta and Mike Mottau in action. Even though on the whole I can't stand Devils fans, as a BC fan it's awesome to see so many Devils fans rocking Gionta #14 jerseys and t-shirts.
The NYC game watch is at Thunder Jackson's on Bleecker St. I am slowly getting over my hangover from Thursday night ... I'll be a gametime decision.
We leave you with a little inspiration. Get pumped about this game, and enjoy! Bring it home Eagles!
Gerbe was selected as one of 12 players in the nation as a First Team All American by the American Hockey Coaches Association, and Inside College Hockey.
Friday, April 11, 2008
Brian: The Eagles coasted last night 6-1 behind a Gerbe hat trick. Jeff, your thoughts?
Jeff: Gerbe's shorthanded goal was very impressive and gave us a 2-0 lead at the time. At that point I expected a close game but halfway through the second period it was 6-0 and the Sioux were done.
Jeff: The Hobey Baker award will be announced tonight, 5:30pm on ESPNU. Does Gerbe take home the hardware?
Brian: I don't think he will as voting was completed earlier this week. If he doesn't win it, I demand a recount. Hopefully, though, Gerbe doesn't leave Denver without some hardware.
Brian: In the second game, Notre Dame shocked Michigan 5-4 in overtime, an outcome we predicted. Dumb luck, or superior college hockey analysis?
Jeff: I know I don't have any superior hockey analysis but the fact of the matter was that Notre Dame was playing good hockey heading into the game and played very well to beat Michigan in OT last night.
Brian: ... that, and some really poor netminding from Michigan's Billy Sauer.
Jeff: I am very excited about Saturday night's matchup against the Irish which will certainly add to the BC-ND rivalry/hatred.
Brian: I am equally excited but also a little nervous. I mean, on the one hand, it is Notre Dame hockey. On the other hand, Notre Dame HAS gone through two #1 seeds and the defending champs to get to the final. I expect a really good game. Jeff, where you watching the final?
Jeff: Wild Wings in Hilton Head! I am far more nervous for this game though because we are playing Notre Dame instead of Michigan. Losing to Notre Dame in hockey (and football nowadays) would be a major letdown but losing to Michigan would be bearable. Where are you watching the game?
Brian: I might take it easy tomorrow night, skip the NYC BC game watch and watch from home. I'm going to NHL playoff hockey - Rangers @ Devils - tonight with Christian. We sign off with a ESPN video preview of tomorrow's championship game with the best voice in hockey, Gary Thorne. Go Eagles!
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Jeff: It's going to be tough down here to find a bar that will switch a TV away from the Masters so that I can watch the first period of Boston College v. North Dakota (ESPN2, 6pm EST), but I'll use my pull somewhere and look forward to watching live hockey action for the second time this year.
Brian: I'll be attending the New York City BC game watch at Nation. Hopefully, Jeff, its not the last live hockey action you'll get to see this year. We won't be online during the game, but leave your thoughts in the comments section. Go Eagles!
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Jeff would have you believe he gave me a good beat down this year. Let's take a look at the tape. NOTE: point totals for each round are 1-2-4-6-8-10, and no bullshit bonus points for anything ...
Brian: 18 - 22 - 16 - 12 - 8 - 10 - 86
Yep, that's right. Take away bonus points, bonus questions and the like, and I edged out Jeff's bracket. Thus proving that it's not how you start, but how you finish. Add to this my brilliant analysis, "Missed free-throws will finally catch up to Calipari's cats," picking the right team out of the field of 65, and the severe beating I gave you in this year's college football bowl picks, and I'm feeling prett-ay good about this. Jeff, your thoughts?
Jeff: Fortunately for me that point system was never established and I had 44 correct out of a possible 63 while you had a mere 37 of 63. I WIN! And I'll get you next year in the bowl challenge ...
Brian: Well, based on your point system, picking Kansas to win it all was no more important than picking Miami in round 1. Makes a whole lot of sense. Plus that's the same scoring system used by Christian's dad's pool, a pool you took 2nd place in! You don't like the scoring system, then you should feel free to give back all the basketballs you won ... or use those winnings on booking a flight to Denver tomorrow morning. Go BC!
Toss Up - Tougher Frozen Four opponent - Michigan or North Dakota?
Jeff: North Dakota is tougher because North Dakota is Boston College's opponent! A team you don't have to play is not difficult.
Brian: I think the question was more about which opponent left do you think is the tougher competition ... I initially thought Michigan, but I've now turned the corner and am going with North Dakota. I am BUYING the WCHA and selling the CCHA teams.
Toss Up - More impressive "ironman" streak - Muse's 42 of 42 starts and 2605:05 in net this season, or senior captain Mike Brennan who played in 175 games (never missed a game in 4 years)?
Brian: I'm going to go with Brennan. Not missing a game in 4 years is pretty impressive, even if he does play on the defensive side of the puck. I don't want to take anything away from Muse here, who's had an incredible freshman season and is largely responsible for getting this season's Eagles to where they are today.
Jeff: You are absolutely correct in going with Brennan. A goaltender plays as many minutes as his coach allows or makes him. That is no ironman streak. Goalies are rarely injured and college teams do not play nearly as many games as NHL teams so the rest that goalies typically get once in a while is not as necessary.
Toss Up - Better freshman OT game-winner - Beanpot hero Nick Petrecki's or Whitney's Northeast Regional winner?
Jeff: Whitney's regional winner. The regional was nationally televised so more people got to see it and the NCAA tournament is far more important. Lose in the NCAAs and your season is over, lose in the Beanpot and you still have bigger fish to fry. It is important to note though that both made SportsCenter.
Brian: The better, more incredible goal was Whitney's, but if you are going for style points, nothing tops Nick Petrecki's game winning celebration. The rowboat?! Style points, creativity and form all far surpassed Whitney's game winner. So I'm going with Whitney's goal as more important/impressive, but going with Petrecki for the better celebration.
Last one, Toss Up - Who ya got? BC - North Dakota, and Michigan - Notre Dame?
Brian: I am nervous about the Eagles matchup tomorrow. It's REALLY hard to beat a team 3 years in a row in the national semifinals, but I'm going to go with my heart here and say that the Eagles keep things rolling. For the other matchup, again it's really difficult to beat a team 3 times in the same season ... ask this year's version of the Dallas Cowboys. I'm going to go the other way on this. I'm going with Notre Dame with the major upset, if only because Notre Dame survived the West regional of death, and Michigan had, by far, the easiest road to the Frozen Four. All Catholic final, let's do this.
Jeff: Notre Dame beat New Hampshire easily and then went on to beat Michigan State in this tournament. I don't know a lot about hockey but I know UNH had a good season so Notre Dame is clearly playing well and I give them the edge. Michigan expects to win and therefore has pressure, ND has no pressure on them to win. In the important matchup, I'm going with BC, obviously. What difference does it make that we've beat North Dakota the last two years? 3 times in one year might be a big deal but 3 times in 3 years ... no big deal. In 2001 North Dakota scored two late goals to force OT but then somehow BC regained composure and won the game. If BC could beat them under those circumstances I certainly expect them to win before the game starts tomorrow!
Brian: Jeff agreed to most of what I said in typical, boring fashion. Therefore, I win (again). But enough blog games, it's almost game time ... Go Eagles!
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
Team: University of North Dakota
Location: Grand Forks, North Dakota
Nickname: Fighting Sioux, used to be named after a squirrel (more rodentia)
Fact: The "Fighting" in the team's "Fighting Sioux" nickname was inspired by fellow Frozen Four team Notre Dame
Colors: Green, white and black
Conference: Western Collegiate Hockey Association
USCHO.com Ranking: #3, BC #7
PairWise Ranking: #3, BC #6t
Road to Frozen Four: Defeated Princeton 5-1, survived Wisconsin in Madison 3-2 OT, lost to Denver 3-1 in the WCHA semifinal. Finished second behind Colorado College in WCHA regular season. #1 seed in Midwest regional (#3 overall).
National Championships: 7 – '59, '63, '80, '82, '87, '97 and 2000
Tournament Appearances: 23 (18th Frozen Four)
Hobey Baker winners: 2, Tony Hrkac (1987) and Ryan Duncan (2007)
This Year vs. the Eagles
This game is a bit of unfinished business for both teams. The teams skated to a 0-0 tie after two periods at Conte Forum in October. The game was shortened due to fog coming off the Kelley Rink ice in a humid Conte Forum.
History vs. the Eagles
Unbelievably, Thursday’s game marks the 7th time out of the last 10 years that the Eagles and Sioux have faced one another in the National tournament. The teams traded national titles in 2000 and 2001. BC has won the last two meetings, both in the national semifinal. This is North Dakota’s fourth consecutive Frozen Four appearance (longest current active streak). The last team to make four consecutive trips to the Frozen Four? BC from 1998-2001.
How They Advance To The Title Game
- Solid performance from local boy J-P Lamoureux … now a senior, JPL will have a little revenge in mind after getting bounced from the tournament by the Eagles the last two years
- The Toews-TJ Oshie-Ryan Duncan line lights the lamp
- Keep the game in front of them – BC lives and dies on its transition game (see: BC's 3 goals in 1:58 in the regional final)
- Get the special teams going – in their only meeting this year, the teams were a combined 0 for 6 on the man advantage (NoDak was 0 for 4).
Monday, April 7, 2008
Jeff: UNC came back and cut Kansas' lead to 4 which was fairly impressive in itself. As for the rest of the brackets lets just reiterate one more time that I gave you a beating overall. And nice link to Ashley Judd, any idea how many they packed into Rupp for that hockey game against Louisville at 10pm? Maybe BC needs to start having games that start at 10pm. Would more students attend? I doubt less would!
Brian: I got a National title game team pick right and you didn't (Nice pick with Clemson, by the way). But enough gloating, back to football. BC released its spring depth chart (thanks to ATL Eagle for linking to the prospectus). We take a look at the offense and the special teams today, as this fall marks year 1 A.R. (after Ryan) for Jag's offense. Jeff, your initial thoughts?
Jeff: Well, where are eveyone's eyes going immeidately? The QB position and it is as boring and predicatable as possible. Crane, the only option with any D-IA game experience is the starter, Dominique Davis who captained the second team in practice last year was the obvious choice for the number 2 slot, then in the number 3 slot sits Codi Boek. From these top three will come our starter for next season. Had Boek been slotted ahead of Davis or had Davis been slotted ahead of Crane this would have been newsworthy but instead there is no news here. Crane has no better chance of being the starter now than he did before and this depth chart is simply the safe or polictically correct chart.
Brian: Sorry that Jags disappointed you Jeff in not stirring the pot and placing Boek as the #1. I guess he's not the second coming of Paul Peterson like you were hoping for. I'm particularly excited about the other offensive specialists. A receiving corp of B Robinson, Megwa, Gunnell and Jarvis, add to this Larmond and all-Conference TE Ryan Purvis and we are starting to develop some nice young weapons for Crane to throw to. Also, I'm pretty excited to see how Josh Haden performs in Logan's offense.
Jeff: Josh Haden has to excite you. BC went about a decade with good to great college running backs but when Derrick Knight left LV and Andre just never quite got to that status. I have high expectations for Haden. Did you look at the special teams though? Aponavicius is still the #1 pk which is not a good sign considering we were passing up 35 yd field goals at the end of last season. Also, we dont even have a single punter listed.
Brian: Don't forget that BC has signed Ryan Quigley as a kicker from your neck of the woods, Jeff. Little River, SC. He's not on the spring chart because he's not yet on campus. The question will be whether he will serve double duty as both the place kicker and the punter. Still, special teams killed us last year and I would imagine they are even more important this year with our defense keeping us in close games. Winning the field position battle could turn 1-2 losses into 1-2 wins next season, and its a little disconcerting to trust both kicking and punting to a true frosh. Still, I hope Quigley steps in and makes an impact right away.
Jeff: I have no problem with a true frosh kicking. It would be nice to have the same guy there the next four years, but what if he gets hurt? That's a lot of eggs in one basket if you think our kicking game could turn 2 Ls into Ws.
Brian: Well I know for a fact that poor special teams play was a huge factor in our ACC championship loss to Virginia Tech. It would be nice to have some confidence in our kicking game from beyond 40 yards.
Saturday, April 5, 2008
Team: Michigan Wolverines
Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
Colors: Maize and blue
Conference: Central Collegiate Hockey Association
PairWise/National Ranking: #1
Road to Frozen Four: Defeated Niagara 5-1, defeated Clarkson 2-0, won the CCHA regular season and tournament championship, defeating Miami (OH) 2-1. #1 seed in tournament.
Fact: This is the 18th year in a row that the Wolverines have made the NCAA tournament field
National Championships: 9 (NCAA record) - 1948, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1955, 1956, 1964, 1996, 1998
Tournament Appearances: 23 (NCAA record)
Hobey Baker winners: For all their dominance in the National tournament, surprisingly only 1 - Brendan Morrison (1997). This year, Kevin Porter is the front-runner to take home the hardware.
This Year vs. the Eagles
BC lost to Michigan 4-3 in the first game of the season in the opening round of the Ice Breaker tournament in Minneapolis. BC battled back down two goals to tie it up at 3, only to lose in overtime off a puck that deflected off of Ben Ferriero's skate.
History vs. the Eagles
BC and Michigan have been no strangers to one another in the National tournament, having played some memorable games in the tournament and the championship game. In the 1998 title game, the Wolverines defeated the Eagles, led by Marty Reasoner and freshman Brian Gionta, 3-2 in OT for their 9th (and last) NCAA title. As part of the 2001 title run, BC had to go through Maine, Michigan and North Dakota, the three teams that had bounced them from the Frozen Four in 1998, 1999, and 2000.
In 2004, with a trip to the Frozen Four in Boston on the line, the Eagles beat the Wolverines 3-2 in overtime to win the Northeast Regional. Michigan holds a 9-6 advantage in the all-time series.
How They Advance To The Title Game
- Kevin Porter continues his red hot performance from the East regional (5 goals, 1 assist)
- Speed up the game as Notre Dame doesn't like to play the quick transition game
- Get solid play from goaltender Billy Sauer
- Hope the luck of the Irish runs out on ND
Jane's Addiction, "Superhero"
Friday, April 4, 2008
Brian: Nathan Gerbe was named as one of the 3 finalists for the Hobey Baker. Odds he takes home the hardware?
Jeff: Well in the one college hockey game I saw this season Ryan Jones from Miami (OH) looked pretty solid so I am going to go 20%.
Brian: WAY too low. Jones was the #3 invite. I only give Jones a 5% chance, Gerbe 35% and Porter 60%. Plus in the head-to-head matchup this season, I think we know who came out on top ...
Jeff: Baseball played UConn last week, a game the Eagles won 10-4. How long will it be before basketball or football plays the old Big East rival?
Brian: I hope never, but you know how the NCAA men's tournament selection committee works - looks for the storyline, likes to place BC up against old Big East foes like Georgetown and Villanova. I'm sure we'll see them in the tournament or in a POS bowl game before we schedule them again. Are they done suing us yet?
Brian: With the departure of Spears and Kaba, the Eagles are interested in 6'11" Maurice Sutton of Maryland. Sutton has also been courted by Marquette, Kentucky, and UNC, but Creen is out at Marquette, so more odds - chances the Eagles land the big man?
Jeff: This time of the year when most of the McDonalds All-Americans have already been signed is when BC starts to land some names that turn out to be studs like Jared Dudley. So I'm gonna show my faith in Skinner and say that Maurice Sutton will be an Eagle next year.
Brian: Last one, Jeff, what you more excited for
Jeff: Stealing from PTI yesterday I see. Well I am going with the Final Four. College athletics is where it's at. The Masters is great but largely dependent on whether or not big names fill the leaderboard on the weekend.
Thursday, April 3, 2008
Will the Holy War rivalry spill over onto the ice this year? According to our sidebar poll, no one seems to think so ... the Irish have no small task in knocking off the East's #1 Michigan. Eagles fans are more than familiar with the Irish on the gridiron, but here's a look at their hockey team and their surprising run to the Frozen Four.
Team: Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Location: South Bend, Indiana
Conference: Central Collegiate Hockey Association
PairWise Ranking: tied #13
National Ranking: #12
Road to Frozen Four: Defeated fellow Hockey East member New Hampshire 7-3, defeated defending champ Michigan State 3-1, at-large conference bid. Notre Dame was one of the last at-large selections in the tournament.
Fact: Notre Dame became the first team to ever make the Frozen Four as a #4 seed
Previous Frozen Four Appearances: 0
NCAA Tournament Appearances: 3 - 2004, 2007, 2008
History (vs. the Eagles)
For a university that calls BC "Fredo" due to our severed ties to the Big East conference in all other sports, the Irish sure have moved around quite a bit with their conference affiliation in hockey. They started as an D-I independent in 1968, were members of the WCHA from 1971-1981, jumped to the CCHA from 1981-1983, decided to test the waters as an independent from 1983-1992, [realized that there wasn't a lucrative NBC television contract to be scored in college hockey,] then rejoined the CCHA in 1992.
BC typically schedules Notre Dame every year in a non-conference battle in September-October. The teams compete for the Snooks Kelley-Lefty Smith Award, an award named after the two program's notable coaches. The last time BC faced ND was in 2006, a game in which we got blasted in Conte, losing 7-1. BC holds a 14-10-2 record in the all-time series.
How They Can Advance to the Title Game
Solid defense and goaltending. Stay out of the penalty box. Keep the pace of the game manageable to counter Michigan's high-powered offense. Get Mark Van Guilder in the box score.
The Dream, "Shawty is da sh*!"
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
Congratulations to BC's Nathan Gerbe, named one of the final 3 finalists for the Hobey Baker award. Gerbe joins Miami forward Ryan Jones and Michigan's Kevin Porter in the Hobey Hat Trick. The Hobey Award winner will be announced Friday, April 11 at 7:30pm.
Check out the Gerbe for Hobey blog for more details.
Step one: get rid of the 'all host teams must play at their host site' rule.
This year’s hosts were Colorado College (the #2 seed in the West) and Wisconsin (#3 seed in the Midwest). But neither of the hosts advanced. Colorado College didn’t get out of the first round, losing to Michigan State 3-1, while Wisconsin, playing in front of 9,000+ rabid Badger fans, couldn't finish off North Dakota in the regional final.
In fact, host schools haven't fared very well at all over the past few years. In trying to reach the Frozen Four, this year's host schools were 0 for 2. In 2007, the writer's very own Miami RedHawks upset Northeast #1 (and host) UNH in Manchester. In 2006? The #1 seed and host Boston University fell to BC in the regional final. You have to go back 3 years to find a case where a team playing on its home ice advanced to the 4s (Minnesota in Minneapolis).
This really comes down to a matter of dollars and (common) sense. If you shipped off home teams to other regionals, attendance figures and revenue dollars would plummet. For an NCAA tournament that struggles to get national airtime and tape delays much of the first round of the tournament, this would be a devastating trend.
Step two: Let the top seeds play as close to home as possible ... at the very least don't make them travel halfway across the country when there are two sites taking place in their backyard.
I agree with this, only where it makes sense logistically and maximizes attendance and revenue for the tournament. To play devil's advocate though, did shipping the fourth #1 seed New Hampshire out west hurt their chances to advance by pitting them against host Colorado College on their home ice? Nope. The Wildcats didn't get out of the first round, getting pasted 7-3 by the Irish.
Step three: Don't give home or close-to-home games to non-top seeded teams.
This one again hurts attendance, revenue and regional interest. They place local teams in local regionals all the time with the NCAA men's basketball tournament. If the writer wants his RedHawks to completely avoid this situation in the future, Miami U should pony up and sponsor one of the Midwest or East Regionals. Buyer beware though. You need look no further than our neighbor to the north New Hampshire to find a school that has hosted several Northeast Regionals and failed to utilize their home ice advantage to advance to the next round.
So what if the roles were reversed? What if BC had been the #1 seed in the Midwest regional in, say, Columbus, Ohio, upset in the Regional final by #2 (and host school) Miami ... would I clamor on about rule changes? Maybe a little, but probably not. I've been on the short end of the stick one too many times as an Eagles fan, i.e. 21 Frozen Four appearances, 2 titles. But the writer has to realize that this rule is in place for a reason, to help protect attendance figures, revenue dollars and local interest for a D-I college sport that about 1/3 of the country cares about.