Thursday, July 31, 2008

Happy Time: Muse and Hockey Updates

Approximately 30 days left until kickoff in Cleveland, so there are plenty of reasons to get happy.

Light on Boston College birthdays today, so we wish a Happy early Birthday to BC netminder John Muse (August 1).

Happy Trails to Boston College adding air conditioning to Conte Forum for another 2 years?! In his live chat session, DeFilippo noted that the fog-like conditions that have led to 3 games being shortened is a problem, but that the school will not install air conditioning until the summer of 2010. My back of the envelope math tells me that’s two more seasons where fog could be an issue for the men’s and women’s ice hockey teams. Pretty embarrassing. Boston College opens the season October 10 vs. Wisconsin. Hopefully fans can see the banner being raised through the fog.

A few more happys to dole out ...

Congrats to Tim Filangieri who was named Assistant Hockey Captain for the 2008-2009 season. Tim replaces the vacant assistant captain position left by Buffalo Sabres forward Nathan Gerbe.

Ryan Shannon signed with the Vancouver Canucks.

Has anyone else caught BC’s Luke Russert filling in as Stat Boy on Pardon the Interruption the last two days? Nice work Luke!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Toss Up: Tackling Topics from DeFilippo's Chat

Today we tackle some of the same questions that were asked of Gene DeFilippo during a live chat session on in a game of BC Interruption Toss Up.

Gene DeFilippo: We have Notre Dame on our schedule for the next two years. With eight tough ACC games and Notre Dame, we don't need any more teams from the BCS leagues. Look at the schedules of others in the ACC, the Big East, or the SEC, and you will see similar names to some of the schools we play out of conference.
Toss Up - How do you like your non-Notre Dame out of conference schedule? Filled with BCS opponents or non-BCS opponents?

Brian: I like what Wake has done with their schedule, scheduling the bottom feeders of the BCS - Ole Miss, Vanderbilt. I think we can look for similar games in the future (with Northwestern already on the future schedule) and at least be open to 1-2 other BCS opponents in a given year. I'm not a big fan of having one BCS conference team on the out of conference schedule (Notre Dame, Syracuse, Northwestern, USC) and then 3 other non-BCS opponents in a given year. Doesn't really mesh with the Jags "anyone, anywhere, any time" philosophy.

Jeff: Assuming Notre Dame stays on the schedule beyond just 2 more years, I like how our schedule shapes up. Syracuse every year is a winnable regional matchup similar to the Wake-Vanderbilt game you mentioned. Meanwhile, USC will be exciting and playing Northwestern is much better than some other options. The only thing missing is UConn. Having UConn on the schedule annually would further indicate ACC supremecy over the Big East and would sell tons of tickets for both universities. If ND doesn't renew with us or we end up with any open dates, Gene needs to pick up the phone and get the Huskies on the books.

Brian: Not again ...

Gene DeFilippo: Syracuse comes onto the schedule in 2010, and we will play them each year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
Toss Up - BC v. Syracuse football annually after Thanksgiving? Good for the rivalry, or bitter reminder of 2004?

Brian: I am going to say this will only serve as a bitter reminder of 2004. I don't like this idea. What happened to scheduling Maryland in late November every year? Let's make football after Thanksgiving count by playing an ACC Atlantic foe the last week of the season. As much as I love the tradition and history of games like Georgia - Georgia Tech, Clemson - South Carolina, Florida - Florida State, these games don't have much meaning to the regular season and are sort of an anticlimatic end to the regular season.

Jeff: No no no. Having Syracuse as the last regular season game is perfect. It would be nice for our ACC championship game fate to already be determined prior to the last game of the year so that there is no chance of playing a must-win game one week and the ACC Championship game the next week.

Gene DeFilippo: Boston College did not drop the game with Army. It was Army that asked out of the game. We, too, are disappointed that we will not be making the trip to West Point this fall. The Army team is on our schedule in future years, and we certainly hope to play those games both in Alumni Stadium and on the campus at West Point.
Toss Up - Scheduling the Army Black Knights going forward? Love it or hate it?

Jeff: I would love to see Army be the Parents Weekend game for a couple of years. I think you need to keep the Parents' Weekend game a winable one and for the near future, scheduling Army would certainly accomplish that. Eventually, hopefully Army strengthens their program like Navy has in the last 5+ years but in the meantime they are basically a 1-AA team.

Brian: Ahh, Jeff. The Army game is only good if BC also travels to West Point for games that the greater NYC area fans can go attend, so it can't be the Parents Weekend game every year. Still, I like this, although is the Big East trying to steal the service academies away? If so, I don't like this idea.

Jeff: If BC did play Army it would most likely be 2 home games for every 1 away game so that covers 2 of every 3 years anyway.

Gene DeFilippo: Boston College is required to apply to the city of Boston to obtain an entertainment license to play our football games. The license the city grants us stipulates that we may open the gates to our parking lots two hours prior to a noon game and three hours prior to a game that starts at 1:00 or later. The additional hour was granted to us last year, and it was very successful. I am thrilled that the city will give us that same three-hour period for most our home games.
Toss Up - Better chance of the city of Boston backing the BC Master Plan or giving permission for BC fans to tailgate 9:00am to 9:00pm?

Brian: This is an easy one. The BC Master Plan will eventually be pushed through. Tailgating from sunrise to sunset will not.

Jeff: I don't care how unrealistic it is - I'm going with tailgating here. That would be a dream come true and also the reason why every BC fan needs to attend an away game and experience real post-graduation tailgating. As a student, you can tailgate all day long regardless but once you graduate you are at the mercy of when the parking lots open up. At Virginia Tech, for example, this year for the Thursday night game cars needed to be removed from tailgating lots by 4:00pm or something like that. But that didn't mean that tailgaters couldn't come in earlier than 4:00pm to get the evening started. At BC that would never happen.

ESPN began this poll and not surprisingly, Notre Dame is currently the #1 most hated team in all the land.
Last one, Toss Up - Second most hated in your mind, Ohio State or USC?

Jeff: This is an easy one to answer - Ohio State. Boy do those fans love their Buckeyes and think that the Big Ten and Ohio State football is king.

Brian: I have nothing against the men of Troy. Although both school's respective conferences are holding up a college football playoff by standing on tradition, I'd give the slight edge to Ohio State because they can coast through a weak Big Ten schedule and then get crushed in the BCS championship year after year.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

BC Interruption Travel Guide: Chapel Hill

Part 3 of our BC Interruption travel guide series takes us to beautiful Chapel Hill, North Carolina for road game #3 against Butch Davis and the UNC Tarheels.

Part 1 ... Cleveland
Part 2 ... Raleigh

Opponent: North Carolina Tar Heels
Location: Kenan Stadium, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Date: Saturday, October 25, 2008
Kickoff: TBA

Getting There

Distance from Chestnut Hill, MA - 714 miles, about 12 hours, 3 minutes
Distance from Brian - 506 miles, about 8 hours, 30 minutes
Distance from Jeff - 358 miles, about 5 hours, 36 minutes

Recent History

The short history of the Eagles traveling to Kenan Stadium is a rather forgettable one. Oh, what could have been for the Eagles! This was another game in a long string of disappointing games that the Eagles should have had. A win would have pushed the #19 ranked Eagles to 7-2 (4-2) and off to the leagues first ACC Championship game as the Atlantic Division representative. However, our trip to Kenan in 2005 ended up with a disappointing 16-14 loss whose final score wasn't indicative of how close the game actually was. This was the first game in a string of games where Boston College came down with a case of the Carolina blues.

Things to see and do

Food and Drink on Franklin Street. The "Main Street of North Carolina," Franklin Street boasts a large number of restaurants, bars, stores and coffee shops. The UNC bar of choice seems to be He's Not Here, which I'm told is also where Michael Jordan frequents when he's in town. Cheap beer, outdoor party space and Carolina co-eds. Other good options for food and drink are Top of the Hill Restaurant and the Carolina Brewery. Also, honorable mention to The Deep End, which reportedly offers 25 cent beer for those in the basement portion of the bar (offer doesn't apply to those on one of the bar's other floors.

Planetarium. In our best effort to infuse our readers with a bit of culture, check out the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center. Morehead is the only planetarium on a college campus in the country, located right in Chapel Hill. Admission for adults is only $6 and weekend hours are Friday 6:30pm - 8:45pm (evening session), Saturday you will be occupied, and Sunday 1-5pm.

More Golf. UNC's Finley Golf Course is on North Carolina's campus and was voted the #11 best college course in the country. No wonder BC golf has finished near the bottom of the ACC stadiums every year in golf! This public course has 18 holes and a rating of 75.

Dean Smith Center. One of the cool things about going to see BC play on the road at Maryland was checking out the new Comcast Center and seeing both the men's and women's national championship trophies in basketball. The Dean Smith Center has been home to some memorable basketball games in the past. If you are in the area on Friday between 8am and 5pm, so long as there isn't a basketball practice scheduled, the concourse level of the arena is open to the public.

For More Information

Know something going on in Chapel Hill that weekend that we missed? Attending the game? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below. Go BC!

Next week we move towards the Florida panhandle and check out Tallahassee, Florida, for our November date with division rival Florida State Seminoles.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Overheard in South Carolina: What Jeff Is Hearing About Clemson Football

Brian: No headlines today, as the media isn't talking about anything today except Brett Favre and Yankees-Red Sox. So instead we ask Jeff about what he is hearing down in South Carolina.

The presumptive ACC champ Clemson has two major holes to fill - the offensive line and a linebacking corps that lacks depth. There will be significant pressure on Clemson to go wire to wire in the ACC this year. Jeff, what are some of the things you are hearing about the Tigers down in South Carolina? Are they as confident as the media and the voters who have tabbed them ACC preseason champs?

Jeff: Well usually around this time of year Clemson fans are talking about how underrated they are for this coming season and they are wondering why they are not in the preseason top 10. I'm being serious: Clemson fans have thought they had a top 10 team every year. On the radio shows four games into the season after the Tigers have already dropped a game or two they think they can run the table and at least make a BCS game. This year is different though. I try to get Clemson fans to tell me they think they're going to win the National Championship or at least the ACC but they won't. They have finally gotten tired of high preseason expectations and failing. This is the one year in the last many years that Clemson and its fans could be talking BCS game but they are not. They have excuses like the O-line, defense and the coach. These might all be weaknesses of the team but I still think Clemson should have higher hopes this year than they have had in a while.

Brian: Have you heard anything to give you an indication of whether or not they can finally get over the BC hurdle, as some sports writers have already alluded to? Or are they playing down their trip to Chestnut Hill and billing it simply as Clemson's inability to beat Boston College?

Jeff: It is not looked at by most fans as the BC hurdle. Based on the people I talk to and radio I listen to, it's still just those one or two games that they lose every year that they shouldn't have. Maybe if we can knock them off again this year it will be correctly dubbed the BC hurdle.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Atlantic Division Strength? and the Big Finish

Brian: Jeff, sixteen of the twenty-five preseason All-ACC football team members are from the ACC's Atlantic Division. So just how much better will the Atlantic Division be than the Coastal Division next year?

Jeff: Going back to what I vaguely recall from my statistics class at BC I am not sure if 16 out of 25 one year is too statisically significant. But, as we all know the Atlantic division has been the better division since the ACC expanded to 12 teams. This year, Clemson is ranked #1 nearly unanimously and Duke would be ranked #12 unanimously. So lets just say the Atlantic division has the best team and the Coastal has the worst team. That is enough for me to say that the Atlantic division will once again have a winning record against the Coastal this year.

Brian: Note the only 2 teams that won bowl games for the ACC last year were Atlantic teams. The Atlantic will be much stronger than the Coastal this year.

Jeff: Gosder Cherilus and the Lions agreed on a five year deal. He was the 17th overall pick. Are you still surprised as I am that 2 Eagles went top 20?

Brian: The Lions picking Cherilus did seem like a stretch. Let's hope it works out for both the Lions and Gosder.

Brian: The ACC will move towards having a standardized process to publish injury reports weekly, an idea pushed through by NC State coach Tom O'Brien. I guess Coach Jags can't steal a page from fellow New England football coach Bill Bellicheck and misreport injuries anymore! Is this a good idea?

Jeff: Yes. The ACC is leading the way here. Eventually all major conferences will follow suit.

Jeff: So I have the opportunity to get in a box for face value for the Alabama-Clemson game at the Georgia Dome Labor Day weekend which is where ESPN gameday will be. Seriously now, do I go there or up to Cleveland for BC-Kent State where the BC ticket office will stick me probably on the goal line even though there are only 30,000 in the stadium?

Brian: This shouldn't even be a question. Why would you want to line the pockets of an Atlantic division rival? Clemson and Alabama are reportedly going to make $1.9 million each on this game. Next time Clemson signs a 5-star recruit or adds 5,000 seats to Death Valley, I'll think of your contribution to the school. Like that ESPN commercial, "do you NEED your fanhood questioned?"

Brian: Last one, Tom O'Brien likes the BCS format the way it is. Your thoughts?

Jeff: TOB likes everything the way it is or was. He doesn't like change so I am at least not surprised.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Happy Time: Gerbe, BC Coastal Opponents and Preseason All-ACC

It's Thursday so we get happy.

Happy Birthday Nathan Gerbe. It's not really clear whether Nate's birthday is today or Saturday, but we wish him a Happy Birthday nevertheless. We weren't really sure what to get Nate for his birthday, but considering that he helped Boston College win a National championship and Hockey East championship, was the Frozen Four MOP and the Sabres just signed him for 3 years, $2.55 million, we figured we were covered.

Happy Trails to BC's easy Coastal Division slate. The Washington Times blog D1scourse crunched the numbers to show that Boston College will face the toughest set of Coastal teams this coming football season (based on the 2008 preseason ACC poll) - Virginia Tech, North Carolina, and Georgia Tech. Those that have the easiest Coastal matchups in 2008? Clemson, Wake Forest and NC State. All three teams miss presumptive Coastal Division winner Virginia Tech.

If you did the same analysis looking back at the 2007 season, using the 2007 preseason ACC poll, the results would have been much the same for BC:

Wake Forest: 15 (Virginia Tech-6, Georgia Tech-5, Miami-4)
N.C. State: 12 (Virginia Tech-6, Georgia Tech-5, Duke-1)
Maryland: 11 (Virginia Tech-6, Miami-4, Duke-1)
Florida State: 10 (Georgia Tech-5, Virginia-3, North Carolina-2)
Clemson: 9 (Miami-4, Virginia-3, North Carolina-2)
Boston College: 6 (Virginia-3, North Carolina-2, Duke-1)

Now I know you have to "beat the best to be the best," but I hope that when the current format of the ACC football schedule expires, they will reevaluate the format of the "rival game." It doesn't seem fair that Boston College always has to go through Virginia Tech every year while Wake Forest's rival game is Duke (even if Virginia Tech has been held to 0 legit touchdowns the last two regular season matchups - Eddie Royal wasn't even close to being inbounds last year!).

The ACC's scheduling of 5 games within the division, 2 rotating games (one home and one away) and one game against a permanent rival is the same system that the 12 team Southeastern Conference uses. The Big XII system is a bit different, where teams play three teams from the other conference on a home-and-home basis for two seasons, and then the other three teams the next two years.

Two more Happys to dispense ...

A BC Interruption shout out to LB Brian Toal, DT Ron Brace and TE Ryan Purvis, who all made the Preseason All-ACC Football team.

Also, congratulations to Jeff who got engaged last night. Now it's time for me to return the favor and give you much grief about when your wedding date is! OMG!! Not during football season!?

Joking aside, a heart-felt congratulations from your blogging partner in crime!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Good Cop / Bad Cop: Offseason Storylines

Today we play a little good cop / bad cop on some of the more interesting storylines of the offseason. Let's get our first suspect:

Suspect #1: ESPN ranking Boston College basketball #70 over the last 24 seasons

Brian as Good Cop: I know we have had a good run the past few years, but in reality, for most of these 24 seasons, we haven't been very good. To be honest, recent grads have been very spoiled when it comes to BC basketball. We have only averaged 17 wins / season over that time span, and have been wildly inconsistent. A 9-19 in 1994-1995 following by a 19-11 season the following year under Jim O'Brien. 6-21 in Al Skinner's second year followed by a 27-5 record two years later. The criteria awards points for only NBA draft picks in the top 10, and while we have put out some quality NBA talent over the past few years, no one has been drafted Top 10. And if the NCAA Tournament selection committee didn't think it was so amusing to put BC up against under seeded opponents and old Big East rivals, we probably would have gotten a few more points in the NCAA tournaments. Plus the ranking system awards Conference titles, of which we only have exactly 2 (both in the Big East). Meanwhile, schools like Butler, Chattanooga and College of Charleston can rack up the Conference title wins in the who-cares mid major conferences of the country. ESPN probably should have awarded some points for Top 25 finishes, which would have gotten BC a little higher, but I am OK with this ranking. We are a football and ice hockey school, not a powerhouse basketball program.

Jeff as Bad Cop: Between 2000 and 2007, BC was not top 50, not top 30, not top 25, but a top 10 basketball program in the nation over that span. Multiple Big East regular season and tournament titles and then one of the top teams in what is without a doubt the premier basketball conference in the land – the ACC. So I don't care how far back you go before that, BC does not fall out of the top 50 at least. It's BS that there are mid-majors ranked above the Eagles.

Suspect #2: BC hockey's tentative 2008-2009 schedule

Brian as Bad Cop: I will play the bad cop. This schedule stinks. I know we can't control how many home games we get against Boston University (we are on the road for 2, only get 1 at home), but for the one home game we DO get with the Terriers, don't put it on the same day as the ACC Championship in Tampa. I mean, I know the media doesn't think much of our chances to repeat as Atlantic Division champs, but there's a shot, right? Why schedule even the possibility of such a conflict for Eagles fans? What's also missing from this schedule is the marquee out of conference away game or opening tournament away from Conte Forum. In years past, we have traveled to Notre Dame, Michigan, North Dakota and Wisconsin in the beginning of the season. York usually uses those games to prepare the Eagles for the Hockey East and National tournament. I also don't like the idea of playing two exhibition games in January, which opens up the possibility of injury. We all see how much the team struggled for a good portion of the year due to injuries and team dismissals. I realize that in years past we have played in tournaments and invitations over the winter break, but at least those games count towards your tournament resume. These don't.

Finally, BC deciding to raise the championship banner when Wisconsin comes to town? Weak. I understand the need to get the banner up there when the season begins, but it would be so much cooler if we got to raise the banner in front of Notre Dame, or even New Hampshire or Boston U.

Jeff also as Bad Cop: It is impossible to play good cop on this one. This schedule does suck. Great point on the BU game and we did raise the banner during Notre Dame weekend back in 2001 so why not do it again? Especially since we beat Notre Dame in the final!

Suspect #3: Jags changing his mind about using First and Toal

Jeff as Good Cop: Jags should've never had to change his mind about this. He should've been planning on using First and Toal all along. Haden is going to lose weight as the season goes on from carrying the load at RB and he is not very big to begin with so that doesn't exactly fit the mold of a goal line back. Meanwhile Smith will hopefully be there to split some of the backfield duties but Jags better not be risking injury by putting him in during goal line situations. Love it or hate it, First and Toal is the way it should and will be.

Brian as Bad Cop: What’s wrong with Dan Mulrooney? Between Mulrooney, Haden and Smith, we have plenty of options on the goal line. Let the skill players play their position. Giving the ball to Toal in goal line situations says to our team members who are actually running backs that we don’t have the confidence in them to get the job done. Also, First and Toal smacks of Tom O’Brien desperation and gimmickry. I find it hard to believe Steve Logan won’t get creative close to the goal line and be resigned to using the battering ram that is Brian Toal. You can throw the element of surprise out the window as soon as Toal steps onto the field and joins the offensive huddle.

Suspect #4: Haden to have the most receptions of any Eagle RB, ever

Jeff as Bad Cop: Slow down there, fast car. Haden hasn't even caught one ball yet, let alone set any records of any kind. Jags, you don't have a first round draft pick at QB anymore, why don't you hand the ball off to Haden a few times first? Josh can get his feet wet and Chris can stop shaking, then maybe, come the third or fourth game, you can start drawing up plays between "rookie" QB and true freshman out of the backfield.

Brian as Good Cop: This quote is coming from good authority in former Boston College coach Jack Bicknell Sr. So long as Steve Logan stays for Josh Haden’s four years, I can definitely see Haden breaking the Eagles running back record for receptions. Haden is small and fast and Logan will scheme the offense to his strengths. I see Haden being dynamic out of the backfield as a receiving threat as Logan tries to extend the field vertically.

Suspect #5: Boston College and Virginia Tech football keeping ACC from becoming the MAC

Jeff as Bad Cop: This article is a joke. It is still too early to say that expansion was a good or bad thing. Unfortunately, there were a lot of rumors involving expansion and who knows, maybe some recruits actually went away from ACC schools to another conference because they didn't know what was going to happen. And the stars of last year, for example, Matt Ryan, were red shirt Sophomores the first year the ACC had 12 teams. Similar to when you hire a new coach, you need to give the league an entire cycle of recruits before you evaluate its performance.

Brian as Good Cop: Boston College and Virginia Tech have kept ACC football afloat the past 3 years. Consider the alternatives. What if Virginia Tech wasn’t invited to the ACC in favor of Syracuse (as per the original plan of Miami, Boston College and Syracuse)? The ACC would have instantly become the 6th best BCS conference over the past 3 years and the college football world would have been talking about revoking the ACC’s automatic BCS bowl birth instead of the Big East’s auto birth. The idea behind expansion was that Florida State and Miami would be the perennial national title threats. Three years later and both of those programs are in serious rebuilding mode, and the only teams that have finished 1st or 2nd in their respective divisions the past three years are … Boston College and Virginia Tech. The only knock on Virginia Tech is that they are a miserable 1-3 in bowl games as a member of the ACC. This doesn’t help the perception of ACC football when you can’t win your bowl games.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Poll Results: A Successful Season? and New Polls

Here are the results from our most recent sidebar poll - What will you consider a successful 2008 football season?

Our readers have spoken and most of you think getting to 8 wins (just throwing it out there, peering into the crystal ball: Kent State, Georgia Tech, UCF, Rhode Island, NC State, UNC, Notre Dame and Maryland) and winning our bowl game (Orlando, Music City, San Francisco or a colder destination whose name will go unmentioned) will be a successful season.
  1. 8 wins and our 9th straight bowl victory - 44 votes (53%)
  2. Atlantic Division champs - 19 votes (23%)
  3. Playing ACC spoiler and knocking off Clemson and/or Va Tech - 8 votes (9%)
  4. Doesn't matter our record so long as we beat the Irish - 5 votes (6%)
  5. .500 in ACC play - 4 votes (4%)
  6. Doesn't matter our record so long as we beat TOB - 2 votes (2%)

For what it's worth, Ryan Purvis and Ron Brace disagree with you ... but not like we even put that as a poll answer!

Our next sidebar poll is a three part question. Pencils and paper out and ready. We ask you - our readers - where you think the Eagles will finish in the Atlantic Division race AND who you think will win the Atlantic and Coastal Divisions in 2008. It's only July and everyone already seems to have an opinion. So let's hear from you! (But be honest. Predictions should be made devoid of emotion).

Justify your vote in the comments section below.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Headlines: Cupcake Scheduling

Brian: Here is a good look at the 2008 ACC out of conference football schedule from the ACC Football Report blog. One of the noticable recent trends in college football is the appearance of the FCS (or I-AA, whatever your preference) cupcake on the schedule. Of the 12 ACC schools, only Wake Forest is not guilty of scheduling these I-AA opponents in 2008 (as much as you'd like to classify Baylor football as a FCS program). Congrats Deacons!

Here are a list of the 2008 ACC matchups against I-AA competition:
  • Boston College - Rhode Island
  • Clemson - South Carolina State and Citadel
  • Duke - James Madison
  • Florida State - Chattanooga and West Carolina
  • Georgia Tech - Gardner-Webb and Jacksonville State
  • Maryland - Delaware
  • Miami Fla - Charleston-Southern
  • North Carolina - McNeese State
  • North Carolina State - William & Mary
  • Virginia Tech - Furman
  • Wake - none
Surprisingly, three ACC programs have scheduled 2 I-AA opponents on their 2008 schedule - Clemson, Florida State and Georgia Tech. BC hasn't scheduled as many of these opponents as other BCS schools in the past. The Eagles have hosted Maine in 2004 and 2006, UMass in 2007, and will host Rhode Island this fall. We also have a game with Hofstra slated for 2010. Jeff, what do you think of this trend? Are you playing the good cop or the bad cop on BC continuing to schedule FCS teams?

Jeff: I have no problem with one regional matchup with a I-AA team. For example, Rhode Island coming to Chestnut Hill will be a big payday for Rhode Island and a great chance for their program to get a little exposure that it cannot get otherwise. And since nearly everyone in the ACC and every other major conference is bringing in the I-AA opponents the scheduling is fair for everyone. However, Clemson, Georgia Tech, and Florida State scheduling 2 such opponents in the same season is a sign that someone might need to step in and put an end to this trend. The rules for bowl eligibility have changed over the years and perhaps it is time to go back to where you need 6 wins against I-A opponents in order to be bowl eligible.

Brian: Great point. I believe you can count 1 I-AA win annually towards bowl eligibility. It used to be that you could only count 1 I-AA win towards bowl eligibility once every four years. Given all the preseason hype, I don't anticipate Clemson worrying about becoming bowl eligible, but we could possibly see a scenario where Georgia Tech or Florida State (who I'm not that high on) are at 6-6 come December, which would make them bowl ineligible. It's also probably no coincidence that the Seminoles host Chattanooga and West Carolina in the first two weeks of the season. FSU will still have several players suspended from last year's academic cheating scandal.

Still, I'm not overly high on the practice of scheduling I-AA teams but it appears to be a trend that isn't going away anytime soon. As you say, Jeff, one regional matchup is good for piquing regional interest in college football and stuffing the I-AA school's coffers, but more than 1 I-AA opponent a year seems a bit excessive.

Headlines: ACC Kickoff

Jeff: Brian, ACC Media Day was held over the weekend. Based on everything we've been reading, the Eagles aren't talking about an 8 win season and extending their bowl streak, they are talking about going back to the Championship game and winning this year. Does this surprise you?

Brian: The message is certainly a strong one from Eagle representatives Ryan Purvis and Ron Brace at this weekend's ACC Kickoff outside of Atlanta. I am a little surprised but I think my surprise comes from the barrage of preseason predictions that place the Eagles at the bottom of the ACC Atlantic standings. It sounds like Purvis and the Eagles have a high level of confidence in Chris Crane to lead the offense. Will he be Matt Ryan and put up Ryan-esque numbers this year? Probably not. But with the defense as strong as it is, Crane will have to be good, not great, to keep the Eagles in games. Jeff, you surprised?

Jeff: Yes, I am surprised. Why? I dunno, maybe I'm more surprised that the players are actually publicly saying that they hope to win the conference than just thinking it themselves. I feel like under TOB no player would've been allowed to say that the goal was any higher than to win the next game and that's it.

Brian: The Eagle in Atlanta was able to go behind the scenes at the ACC Kickoff and provides some good insider coverage of the event.

Jeff: What was ATL thinking with putting Cullen Harper as preseason player of the year? Matt Ryan put up monster numbers as his team's only offensive threat last season. Every team schemes against Clemson to stop the run which is the only reason Harper did so well statistically. My vote probably would've been CJ Spiller, but I could have gone Riley Skinner of Wake Forest also. So much for me being the Clemson homer, eh Brian?

Brian: I am shocked. I thought you would have agreed with the Eagle in Atlanta and actually put up Cullen Harper as a Heisman darkhorse. I mean, he did have better numbers statistically last season than Matt Ryan and Bristol ran Ryan's Heisman campaign last year, right?! If I had to pick a preseason ACC POY, it would probably be Aaron Kelly or C.J. Spiller. Maybe Riley Skinner if I thought Wake was going to overtake Clemson in the Atlantic race.

We'll have more on our preseason ACC predictions in the coming weeks.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

BC Interruption Travel Guide: Raleigh

Part 2 of our BC Interruption travel guide series takes us to Raleigh, North Carolina, for our second road test of the season against the NC State Wolfpack. Jeff and I will be in town this weekend for the second annual Tom O'Brien bowl.

Here is Part 1 of our travel guide series on Cleveland, Ohio.

Opponent: North Carolina State Wolfpack
Location: Carter-Finley Stadium, Raleigh, North Carolina
Date: Saturday, October 4, 2008
Kickoff: TBA

Getting There

Distance from Chestnut Hill, MA – 725 miles, about 12 hours, 5 minutes
Distance from Brian – 518 miles, about 8 hours, 32 minutes
Distance from Jeff – 339 miles, about 5 hours, 14 minutes

Flights are currently a little less than $300 between Boston and Raleigh-Durham (RDU).

Recent History

Carter-Finley Stadium wasn't too kind to the Eagles a few seasons back. The Eagles last visited NC State in 2006 where they were upset 17-15 on a heart-wrenching, last second 34-yard touchdown throw by Wolfpack signal caller Daniel Evans. The loss set the #20 ranked Eagles back to 3-1 on the season, and if not for those late game heroics, the Eagles could have been 8-0 going into their November 4 date with Wake Forest that season.

BC looks to avenge that loss as well as solve their North Carolina ACC road woes. The Eagles are 0-3 in ACC road games since joining the conference in 2005 (losses at Wake, UNC and NC State). Hopefully this is not a trend that continues as we have road dates with each of those opponents this year.

Things to see and do

Museums. Raleigh isn't without its fair share of museums, many of them offering free admission. Some of these museums are the North Carolina Museum of Art, North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, North Carolina Museum of History and the Raleigh City Museum.

Oktoberfest. I am staying at Duke down the road in Durham for the NC State weekend. What better way to ring in Oktoberfest and tailgate in style than with the Durham World Beer Festival on Saturday. Only issue is the time of the event. Depending on the game start time, there are two sessions – 12 noon to 4pm and 6pm to 10pm, so hit up the beer fest either before the game or (more likely) coming back from Raleigh. The festival has over 300 beers and will take place at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park. Tickets go on sale August 20.

A Round of 18. Raleigh has a few options if you want to get a round of golf in on Sunday, want to hit the driving range or the putting green. Apparently, the Tobacco Road Golf Club and the Wil-Mar Golf Club are two of the better courses.

Famous Raleighites, BC Interruption version
  • Clay Aiken – American Idol participant
  • John Edwards – pol and US Senator
  • Andrew Johnson – 17th President of the United States
  • Petey Pablo (from nearby Greenville, Wikipedia claims him as a Raleighite anyway) – “This one's for North Carolina! C'mon and raise up!”

Packing Checklist
  • Superfan shirt to show your school colors
  • German beer stein
  • Golf clubs
  • Poster board and Sharpie markers, to make large greeting cards for our former Head Coach

For More Information

Know something going on in Raleigh that weekend that we missed? Attending the game? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below. Go BC!

Next week we look no further than 20 miles down the road as we profile Chapel Hill, North Carolina, for our October 25 date with Butch Davis and the upstart(?) North Carolina Tar Heels.

Friday, July 18, 2008

No Love from EA Sports and the Big Finish

Brian: Jeff, with the fiance out of town, I caved and bought EA's NCAA Football 09 yesterday. A little part of me died inside knowing that I had to buy the XBox 360 version with Darren McFadden on the cover instead of the Matt Ryan Playstation 3 version, but I carried on. (NOTE: If anyone gets the PS3 version, color photocopy the cover and send it my way. I'll tape it onto my copy's box. No joke.)

The gameplay is fairly good and a bit of a step up from the 2008 version, and I was excited to see the mascot game put into the XBox version. Here's my one major gripe with the game though. I'm thinking "This is cool. Matt Ryan is on the cover of one of the versions of the game and we finished Top 10 last season. BC has to be decent in this game, right?"

Wrong. I thought they would at least use the rankings from the end of last season, but no ... EA in its infinite wisdom has already moved on to 2008 preseason rankings before a down of football has been played. Gah. So because BC is always underrated and rarely shows up in the Top 25 preseason poll, are we are getting ripped off here? I mean, we are only a 77, which is better than exactly 1 FBS teams we play this season (Kent State). You're kidding, right? Are the makers of EA's popular college football video game Notre Dame graduates? What gives?

Jeff: It is hard to believe that we are ranked below Georgia Tech, UNC, NC State, Notre Dame, Maryland and Central Florida. Hard to believe. I mean our defensive rating should be top 10 in the country and that should bring the total team rating up above at least some of those teams. I have no answer for you, Brian.

Brian: We aren't ranked below some of those teams but we aren't ranked higher either. Here are the rankings of all our opponents:

ACC and 2008 OpponentsOverallOffenseDefense
Florida State949299
#11 Clemson899092
#17 Virginia Tech847989
Georgia Tech818187
Notre Dame818382
North Carolina797980
Central Florida777585
North Carolina State777978
#25 Wake Forest777980
Boston College777780
Kent State727771

I mean, it's just a video game, but are we ever going to be good in this game? I realize EA has to sell video games but Florida State a 99 on defense? They are not even ranked preseason Top 25! Duke has the same overall ranking as BC. Duke! 1-11 Duke. I want my money back. EA has forced me to play every game as the Baldwins, since the mascot teams are all 99s.

End rant.

Big Finish

Jeff: Southern Pigskin agrees with you. Year after year, everyone sleeps on Boston College football. Never discount the Eagles, right?

Brian: Like I said yesterday, I hope everyone keeps sleeping on the Eagles. Eventually, the rest of the conference and the media will warm up to taking the Eagles seriously in the ACC.

Brian:'s Heather Dinich ranks Boston College defensive line #3 of 12 in the ACC next season, only behind the Georgia Tech and Clemson defensive lines. Are we getting short-changed, or is that cool with you?

Jeff: In BJ Raji I trust, so I am not cool with that. We should be #1. This is totally the BC bias coming out of me but I will refuse to believe that anyone's line is better than ours next year.

Jeff: Last one, earlier this week you were planning on attending the Home Run Derby but instead stayed in to watch it on TV. More impressive performance of 2008 - Rice's first half against UNC or Josh Hamilton's 28 home runs in the first round?

Brian: With all due respect to Rice, Hamilton's was the much more impressive feat. Although, unfortunately, both ended up losing the competition. I'd imagine it won't be long until you see Josh Hamilton in a NY uniform (Mets or Yanks).

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Happy Time: A Look Back at a 2007 Preview

Brian: No BC birthdays of note today. If you know of one, leave in the comments section below.

Not so much an 'anniversary' but check out this post from this day one year ago. ACC Now's J.P. Giglio sat down with preseason college football guru Phil Steele and discussed Phil's forecast for the 2007 ACC season. Steele picked Boston College to finish dead last in the Atlantic Division.
"That doesn't mean I think they're a bad team," Steele said. "The main thing is the schedule and, of course, the coaching change."

"One of their strengths under Tom O'Brien was their O-line," Steele said. "They're changing to a zone-blocking scheme and that's going to take time to learn."

Not so fast my friend! Even though the O-line play was inconsistent at times, considering Boston College won the Atlantic Division last season, I guess Steele couldn't have been more wrong about the Eagles. Steele was also high on Florida State, NC State and Miami, thus proving that you should pay little to no attention to these expert preseason predictions.

Keep hating on the Eagles, experts. This is probably one of the main reasons why the Eagles have been one of the most underrated programs in college football over the past 19 seasons. Proven by real statistics! Notable programs on this list that are typically underrated year after year? (Surprisingly) Virginia Tech, North Carolina State and Maryland. Notable overrated programs? No surprises here. The Irish, Florida State, Miami-Florida and Clemson.

Happy Trails to Clemson quarterback Cullen Harper starting in the 2007 ACC Championship game. This AP article came out yesterday that stated that Harper suffered an injury during the Boston College game that may have sidelined him for the ACC Championship game. Last time I checked though, the Eagles won the Atlantic and Clemson didn't get a chance to play for the conference crown. Why this particular article is newsworthy is beyond me.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

BC Interruption Has A New Interweb Address

It's now that much easier to visit us at BC Interruption. Hooray! We are now also located at in addition to our current URL - So no updating of your bookmarks required ...

But if you couldn't remember the "blogspot" part, now you only have to type "" or "" to be exposed to Jeff and my brains and our thoughts on Boston College sports. We've saved you all of 9 keystrokes. You're welcome.

Go Eagles!

"Last year Creed asked me how to set up a blog. Wanting to protect the world from being exposed to Creed's brain, I opened up a Word document on his computer and put an address at the top. I've read some of it. Even for the intranet, it's... pretty shocking." - Ryan

Food Chain: Most Intimidating Away Stadiums

Brian: We have just about passed the halfway mark between Memorial Day and Labor Day and the football coverage has slowly started to pick up. If you couldn't tell, the dog days of summer are tough times for us sports bloggers. We are forced to come up with cute little lists, polls and preseason predictions. One such list was that of EA's 25 toughest stadiums in college football which corresponded with yesterday's launch of EA's NCAA Football 09 (ahem, Matt Ryan on the cover of the PS3 version).

Largely, Heather Dinich's ACC blog on has had some great material, but this list of ACC's most intimidating stadiums, in response to EA's Top 25 toughest stadiums, was a little lacking and left us wanting more. This initial list made some ripples on the internets, and elicited this humorous response from the NC State blog State Fan Nation. Dinich must have gotten so much flame mail that she took it upon herself to rewrite her blog post, reranking the toughest ACC venues (BC moved from #8 to #9).

We decided to take this idea in a different direction. Today we consider which away stadiums that we've seen the Eagles play in are the most intimidating places to play in college football. Key word here is intimidating, people. Not best atmosphere, best tailgating, or most attractive co-eds. Off limits - neutral site games like the Diamond Walnut Bowl, Champs Sports Bowl or the ACC Championship. We consider the following 8 stadiums we have visited over the years in arriving at a top 5.

Food Chain: Most Intimidating Stadiums We've Attended

We consider the following 8 stadiums and ask you, our readers, to weigh in on the most intimidating stadium you've ever seen the Eagles play in.

Carrier Dome, Syracuse (50,000)
October 18, 2003 - Boston College 14, Syracuse 39

Brian: Setting aside the fact that Syracuse football has become a shell of the program it once was, the Carrier Dome was rocking during our senior fall. Boston College had just announced that they were leaving the Big East for the ACC and Syracuse let us hear about it. It certainly didn't help that we got kicked in the teeth in a 39-14 beat down. The dome is a very sterile environment but the dome roof amplifies the sound fairly well. Plus the Carrier Dome sold beer (not sure if they still do), so the students were more than rowdy during the game.

Kenan Stadium, North Carolina (60,000)
November 5, 2005 - Boston College 14, North Carolina 16

Jeff: Baby blue is so not manly that it almost has the Iowa pink locker room effect which makes you forget that you are at a football game and you just want to scan the student section for co-eds. It makes for a very non-VT like home field advantage.

Notre Dame Stadium, Notre Dame (80,795)
November 2, 2002 - Boston College 14, Notre Dame 7
October 23, 2004 - Boston College 24, Notre Dame 23

Brian: I was unable to make the undergraduate rite of passage and make the road trip to South Bend while attending BC, so I picked up and made the road trip fresh out of undergrad two years later. While I don't find Touchdown Jesus that intimidating, the 80,000+ here can get pretty loud. The wooden-bench seats and the bowl shaped stadium help amplify the crowd noise.

Memorial Stadium, Clemson (80,301)
September 24, 2005 - Boston College 16, Clemson 13 (OT)
November 17, 2007 - Boston College 20, Clemson 17

Jeff: For those of you that have yet to make this trip, you got a taste of it when Clemson fans came in large numbers to Alumni two seasons ago and cheered often and loud, wore all orange, and took over all of the Cleveland Circle bars. When you go to Memorial Stadium, just multiply the number of people wearing orange by 10 and the volume as well. Be careful if you go to a day game in September though, just ask Brian about the dehydration he suffered from in 2005 after drinking too many Bud Lights and not enough Gatorade. And oh by the way, the team running down the hill which is the middle of the student section is truly the most exciting non-game moment in college football.

Byrd Stadium, Maryland (51,500)
November 10, 2007 - Boston College 35, Maryland 42

Brian: This stadium has an odd structure in that one side of the stadium has a triple-deck stand while the other side has a low bowl where most of the students are seated. A lot of the crowd noise is lost because of this structure. I couldn't honestly tell how intimidating this stadium can get because Maryland seats visiting fans in the upper right corner of the trip-deck stand.

Beaver Stadium, Penn State (107,282)
September 6, 2003 - Boston College 27, Penn State 14

Jeff: I was simply awe struck by the size of this monster stadium. In 2003 when BC last played there BC basically dominated the game so the true noise level potential of the stadium was not felt. However, we were given a few glimpes of the possibilities and I would love to go back in the future. A white out in Beaver Stadium would be a sight to see.

Lincoln Financial Field, Temple (68,532)
November 23, 2002 - Boston College 36, Temple 14

Brian: Psych. This might as well have been a neutral site game.

Lane Stadium, Virginia Tech (66,233)
November 22, 2003 - Boston College 34, Virginia Tech 27
October 27, 2005 - Boston College 10, Virginia Tech 30
October 25, 2007 - Boston College 14, Virginia Tech 10

Jeff: THE BEST STUDENT SECTION IN THE ACC. And when you have the best student section for day games, you can only imagine the night games. It will be a long time before I miss a BC game at Lane Stadium.

Brian: I don't think there is a more intimidating venue than Lane Stadium on a Thursday night. Last year, the rain and general dreary conditions blended in perfectly with a sea of Hokie maroon and orange. And I would argue that the Virginia Tech entrance to Metallica's Enter Sandman with 65,000+ delirious screaming students and fans rivals Clemson's "Running Down the Hill" as the best non-football event/tradition.

Brian's Food Chain

5. Carrier Dome, Syracuse - it's a shame Syracuse football has regressed over the last few years, but I'm excited to see the rivalry renewed again in a few seasons. The Carrier Dome can rock.
4. Notre Dame Stadium, Notre Dame - gotta give those Irish some props
3. Beaver Stadium, Penn State - has potential, but 21-0 BC after one quarter took the crowd out of the game pretty quickly
2. Memorial Stadium, Clemson - the best 25 seconds in college football, a sea of orange and C-L-E-M-S-O....N, this place gets loud
1. Lane Stadium, Virginia Tech - Enter Sandman and 65,000+ tightly packed, screaming Hokies make Lane one of the toughest stadiums in college football

Honorable mention: BC Interruption has yet to make it to Florida State's Doak Campbell Stadium. We're assuming that once we do, that will instantly crack the top 5. And we'll see how Carter-Finley stacks up to this list in a few months.

Jeff's Food Chain

5. Kenan Stadium, UNC - I need to attend more away games so this gets knocked off the list. So many BC alum and students make the trip to ND that ND becomes less intimidating.
4. Carrier Dome, Syracuse - The Dome makes such a huge difference in the noise level.
1. Memorial Stadium, Clemson - The atmosphere is AWESOME but the intimidation level only gets a tie for 1st.
1. Lane Stadium, Virginia Tech - I'll say it again... The best student section in the ACC and keep in mind their student section is at least 3x BC's.
1. Beaver Stadium, Penn State - 100,000+ is intimidation. I remember reading that our players were very nervous because of the size before the 2003 game.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Five Good Minutes: Claver2010

Today we welcome to the blog Billy, Boston College Class of 2010. Billy is known in the BC message board community as Claver2010. We try to get a student's perspective on football, hockey and the state of Boston College athletics.

Jeff: Thanks for joining us Billy. First tell us a bit about yourself.

Claver2010: Well, I'm a current student in the Class of 2010, a math major (stupid idea) from Darien, Connecticut. I decided to attend Boston College for a number of reasons - the academics, the sports programs and the Jesuit tradition (I went to a Jesuit high school).

Brian: We don't follow recruiting as closely as I'm sure most current students do, but what's up with this Arthur Fontaine kid? Do you think he'll recommit to the Eagles, or have we lost him to the Bulldogs?

Claver2010: Fontaine is obviously a great talent, being ranked the number eight tight end in the country. He clearly has BC connections which I believe initially caused his commitment. As with many seventeen year olds after making life altering decisions with a lot of time to think about it, he had second thoughts. He has seen the entire different world both athletically and academically of the SEC. Unfortunately, I believe he will be a Bulldog.

Jeff: As alumni we can imagine what the atmosphere on campus was after the Florida State loss last year, but what was it like after the Eagles lost to Maryland the following week?

Claver2010: After the FSU loss the main emotion on campus was complete and utter shock. The atmosphere was the best I had experienced in two years, despite the weather. The Superfans were there early and were loud and the Whalepants were actually standing (maybe because of the wet seats) and somewhat cheering. I remember walking into Lower and people were dead silent. The atmosphere the following weekend was frustration. I think many people on campus took Maryland lightly and looked ahead to the Clemson game. The thing I remember most was the fact that a team stormed the field after beating us. That really stuck.

Brian: Some of us sadly attended both of those games. After the Maryland game, I didn't think we were going to win another game that season. Luckily, Matt Ryan and the team came through in Death Valley.

Brian: We turn our attention to ice hockey as we are told you are an avid BC hockey fan. What did you think of Nathan Gerbe's decision to turn pro this offseason and what do you think of Boston College's chances to make it back to the Frozen Four in Washington DC in 2009?

Claver2010: From Nathan's point of view I believe it was the right decision, he was the most electrifying player in the country and had nothing left to accomplish on the collegiate level. He had two Hockey East championships, three Frozen Fours, three National Championship game appearances, and most importantly a National Championship. The biggest knock on him is clearly his size. He is not going to get any taller and he is clearly one of if not the strongest on the team despite his size. I would have loved to see what Nathan could do with a year lined up with Brock Bradford but he did make the right decision.

Jeff: Name one Hockey East program and one National program that you think will pose the biggest threat to Boston College's defense of a National title.

Claver2010: Hockey East next year will boast the usual suspects as I believe New Hampshire and Boston University will pose the biggest threats to BC hoping to repeat as Hockey East Champions. Both have questions between the pipes that will ultimately be the barometer of the success of their respective teams. UNH will be replacing Kevin Regan who was extremely successful in the regular season but had the monkey on their back come March that has plagued the program. BU also has a question between the pies and clearly has the offense to make a run come March. I believe that our Commonwealth Avenue rivals will be our biggest threat. A sleeper team to watch in Hockey East would be UMass Lowell, an extremely young team with more talent than we all have become accustomed to. Nationally the balance of power is clearly in the West as I look forward to see at Conte what Wisconsin - who has a great incoming freshman class - and Notre Dame have to offer along with Michigan and North Dakota.

Brian: Where do you think BC men's ice hockey falls in the scale of important programs for the Athletic Department? Has it lost ground to other programs like sailing? Do you see the importance of the ice hockey program diminishing over the next few years?

Claver2010: On the scale of importance, hockey falls comfortably third in the eyes of the Athletic Department. It is a shame because it has the market and the results to thrive if the effort was put in as most of the die-hard hockey fans feel that the program succeeds in spite of their support instead of because of it. The start would be to air condition Conte Forum. As three games have been suspended it is clearly a problem and it is an embarrassment that the hockey team does not deserve. If I was a power team from the West, I would be weary of coming to Chestnut Hill because of these fears.

Another suggestion would be to incorporate more local hockey programs in the atmosphere. There are few games that sell out and the department knows this. I suggest that come the middle of the week for a night game if a group of tickets go unsold, GIVE them to a local team and equip the kids with thundersticks. It would hopefully change the morgue-like atmosphere that sometimes falls over Conte. In the future the popularity and profitability of the program directly will be determined by the effort put in.

Jeff: Last one, have you been able to get to any away football games during your time on the Heights? Are you planning on attending any of the road games this season? From watching on television or from what other fans have said, which ACC stadium do you think is the most intimidating venue to play in?

Claver2010: While I have yet to attend a road football game, there is one in the plans and two are definite. This year's road schedule does not have the marquee road games that last year or the 2009 season has, however there are plans to make the trip to Raleigh, North Carolina to see some revenge against NC State. My senior (2009 fall) season I will be making the rite of passage to South Bend along with a trip to Death Valley, which apparently is a sight to see. I think the toughest venues for teams to play in the ACC would either be at Virginia Tech or Clemson. The Thursday night environment is something special and the thought of whalepants and students all wearing orange, standing and screaming for hours on Saturdays is something that BC should strive for.

Brian: We'll look forward to seeing you in Raleigh for a Wolfpack beatdown on October 4. Thanks for joining us Billy.

Have something to say? Want to be featured on a future Five Good Minutes? Email us.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Headlines: Two Differing Season Previews and Ranking ACC Stadiums

Brian: Jeff, predictably J.P. Giglio of the News & Observer's ACC NOW blog predicts that BC will finish last in the Atlantic Division behind the local NC State Wolfpack.

"Even a fired-up Eagles team will be hard-pressed to win six games and get to a bowl to continue their impressive streak."

Your thoughts?

Jeff: Did our schedule change and I wasn't informed? How does BC not get to 6 wins this year?? Notre Dame still sucks and they are coming to the Heights this year. Our other out-of-conference games I think are definitely Ws. Then when we get to conference play we have Georgia Tech and Maryland at home and North Carolina and North Carolina State on the road. How do the Eagles not get to at least 6 wins???

Brian: I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the News & Observer newspaper is based out of Raleigh, North Carolina. Here is a more favorable outlook on the season from the NY Times blog The Quad. NY Times has us coming in at #46 and say that 8-4 (5-3 ACC) is a more realistic prediction on the season. Worst case scenario is 6-6 (3-5 ACC).

Jeff: This is a more realistic outlook. Let's talk about 8 wins for now and if Boston College can start off the season with 2 impressive wins we'll think about more optimistic possibilities after that.

Jeff: In this ranking of ACC stadiums and game-day atmospheres BC only beat out Duke, Miami and Wake Forest. Pretty pathetic, huh? But probably accurate. The only stadium I'd put us ahead of is maybe North Carolina’s Kenan Stadium.

Brian: No argument here with the stadiums listed below BC’s Alumni Stadium (although admittedly I haven’t attended games at those three stadiums). Of the stadiums ranked higher than Alumni, of the ones I have attended – Clemson, Virginia Tech and Maryland – I only disagree with ranking Maryland’s Byrd Stadium higher than Alumni. Putting aside the outcome of the game (last year’s 42-35 loss to the Terps), the description of the Terrapin’s stadium is spot on. They place visiting fans in the top corner of the triple deck side of the stadium, providing new meaning to the term “nose bleed.” In fact, off in the distance you could see the dome of the US Capitol building. You are that high up. Contrast that with Clemson’s Memorial Stadium, where the visitors are seated practically on field level. This fall we’ll see if North Carolina State's Carter-Finlay Stadium is that much better of an experience than that of Alumni’s.

Friday, July 11, 2008

WWTOBD? and the Big Finish

Brian: Reading the ESPN Insider football preview on Boston College, one particular line struck me as interesting. The article briefly hints at finding it hard to imagine Tom O'Brien getting last year's Eagles squad to 11 wins.
Popular Coach Jags turned Ryan and a high octane BC offense loose last year in ways that it's hard to imagine his predecessor, Tom O'Brien ever doing.

Then again, Jagodzinski won all those games with the team that O'Brien built, adding an eighth consecutive bowl victory to O'Brien's already impressive streak.

So, because its still only July and we've got a long way to go until season kickoff - 50 days and 6 hours, but who's counting - let us play a little revisionist history, Jeff. Having watched or attended nearly every football game in 2007, let's imagine Tom O'Brien was still coach of the Eagles a year ago. What would have changed? Which games that we won would we have lost? Which losses might have turned out differently? And just how many wins would the Eagles have finished with with O'Brien as head coach?

Jeff: If Tom O'Brien were coach last year I would say we would've lost to Wake the first game of the season because he would've gone overly conservative in the second and third quarters and Wake would've put a few more points on the board. Then the rest of the season I would've seen playing out about the same and we would've ended up with 10 wins instead of 11. Perhaps we would've beaten FSU or Maryland instead of Clemson or Georgia Tech. Since TOB is gone and its all just speculation anyway, I will never say that BC would've won any more than 10 games with him making the tough calls. We know for sure that the team would not have gone for it on fourth down so much. What do you think?

Brian: I agree that we would have lost to Wake Forest last year under O'Brien. We wouldn't have been as aggressive in our play calling, and an early 14 point deficit would have been too much to overcome. I also see the Virginia Tech and Clemson games going the other way. We won both those games making our game much more vertical (typical Steve Logan style offenses) and I can't see us winning those games under O'Brien. That being said, maybe the more conservative style of offense that O'Brien employs would have gotten us Ws against Florida State and Maryland. Still, I'd imagine there would be another WTF loss in there somewhere and I'd say that we would have finished 9-4, tied for second in the Atlantic with Wake Forest and would have beat down on a Big East team in the Meineke Car Care Bowl. So I guess I agree with the author's thought that it's hard to imagine O'Brien getting us to 11 wins. I mean, 8 or 9 wins was supposedly the best you could do at Boston College, right?

Big Finish

Jeff: BC Interruption guest blogger Christian's dad Joe pointed out to us that former BC RHP Chris Lambert tossed a 3-hitter in a AAA game between the Toledo Mud Hens and the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees. Toledo ended up winning the game 8-1. Impressed? Think we'll see him in the Bigs soon?

Brian: Toledo is a minor league affiliate of the Detroit Tigers who are struggling this year. I can see Chris making the jump to the majors in a few years. Chris is 8-5 this year with an ERA under 4. And interestingly, Lambert is the only first round MLB draft pick Boston College has ever produced (drafted 19th overall in the 2004 MLB Draft by St. Louis). Joe wanted more BC Interruption baseball coverage since the All Star game rolls into town next week, so how's that for your random BC baseball factoid? Also, what the heck is a Mud Hen?

Brian: reports that the North Carolina football program has already sold out their season tickets. Opinions are mixed on whether UNC will turn it around coming off a 4-8 season. Some think that the Heels will contend for the weak Coastal division crown, while others think they will do marginally better than last season. Jeff, which version of UNC will we see in 2008?

Jeff: First, I am not surprised they have sold out of season tickets. UNC has a huge fan base locally and not a very big stadium to fill. I expect a 5-7 season from the Tarheels. They might start to get it together in 2009, but not this year.

Jeff: Last one, Vegas has BC at 15-1 to win our division and 25-1 to win the ACC Championship game. Where, if anywhere, are you putting your money?

Brian: Towards my wedding! Still, 15 to 1 is a little ridiculous considering those are the same odds they are giving to the Wolfpack to win the Atlantic Division. Last year I believe we were 6 to 1 to win the Atlantic. Annually underrated, indeed!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Happy Time: Jared Dudley

Happy Time, Eagles!

Happy Birthday Jared Dudley. Jared is currently a reserve forward for the Charlotte Bobcats, drafted by the club 22nd overall in the 2007 NBA Entry Draft. Dudley was a solid contributor on the Bobcats bench during his rookie campaign, averaging 5.8 points per game and 3.9 boards per game. Hopefully he gets more PT this coming year with new Bobcats coach Larry Brown at the helm.

During his four years on the Heights, Jared helped lead the Eagles to four consecutive NCAA tournament appearances, including 5 tournament wins. Jared was an integral part of Boston College's run to the ACC Conference Title game in 2007, coming within a Louis Hinnant desperation three-pointer of taking the title in our first year in the league. During his senior year, Dudley averaged 19 points and 3 assists per game, en route to being named the 2007 ACC Player of the Year.

Dudley is sort of a fan favorite over here at BC Interruption. Jeff, what's your favorite memory of Jared Dudley?

Jeff: I can't think of any specific play that is my favorite but I do fondly remember Dudley's knack for converting the 4-point play. Since I started following the Eagles, I can only think of two players - Jared Dudley and Troy Bell - that had the strength to hit the three while getting fouled and then converting at the charity stripe. What about you Brian?

Brian: I'm going to have to go with when Jared picked a fight with Duke's Lee Melchionni in the 2007 ACC title game. Dudley was the emotional leader of one of the best squads that BC has ever had over a four year span. That display of heart and emotion on national television was the sort of energy and passion that was decidedly missing from last year's basketball squad. A close second favorite memory would have to be his guest appearance on The BC's promotional trailer "Meet the Full Court Press."

Oh snap! It's Tom Brokaw from the nightly news. What's up baby?!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Mail Time: All-Americans, Skinner and 2008 Challenges

Today we open up our mailbox for our first ever Mail Time post. If you want to send an email for future Mail Time blog posts, or if you'd like to encourage us to finally move out of our parents' basements (since we all know every good sports blogger lives in their parents' basement), email us at

Jeff and Brian, can someone please explain why BC never even comes close to recruiting a McDonald's All-American? We've got a great educational institution; we play in the best basketball league in the country; and we have the city of Boston for a home. Perhaps it's time to start wondering if the coach can recruit, instead of lucking out with the leftovers after other coaches have gotten the talent they want for their programs? - Jim

Brian: Great question. First let me say that I think the fact that whether or not a school recruits a McDonald's All-American doesn't mean all that much, but I agree it would be nice to see Boston College land at least one star recruit one of these years. So why hasn't Skinner been able to land one of the best high school players in the country?

I think this all comes down to a numbers game. There are 24 McDonald's All-Americans every year - 12 from each side of the country - and there are 341 Division I-A men's basketball programs. With the exception of a few elite programs (UNC, Georgetown, Duke, Memphis), most of these recruits land at a school close to their high school. So is this a referendum on the quality of New England high school basketball (with all due respect to Michael Beasley)? I think this is the main reason. I mean, if Tyler Roche was two-time New Hampshire Gatorade POY, that says something about the pool of New England high school basketball talent.

Jeff: Over the years 1977-2005 Duke recruited 42 McDonalds all-americans. And I don't have the stats but I am guessing that UNC, Arizona, UCLA, Syracuse and Georgetown recruited in similar volume. Since there are only 24 McDonalds All-Americans every year and for a while many of them would skip straight to the NBA from the mid-90s until two years ago, there aren't too many left to go around for schools like BC. That being said, I do think you might be on to something where Skinner should be pulling in some big name recruits one of these days now that BC has been one of the best basketball programs in the Big East/ACC for the past 78 years.

Brian: McDonald's All-Americans are a blessing and a curse anyhow. Most of these high school phenoms only stay in school 1 or 2 years, so what's the return on snagging one of these players?

Follow up question - And why is it that so very few of our players get better from one year to the next? Is it possible the coach is way too highly over-rated? - Jim

Jeff: This question is tough to answer but I am going to say I disagree with you here. Skinner has taken players who were clearly not dominant at the High School level and turned them into 1st round draft picks. Let's take Craig Smith for example. Perhaps his numbers did not improve drastically from Freshman to Senior seasons but think of how much more opposing teams game planned for him after his Freshman year. Also, he had Troy Bell to carry the load. Then later on, Dudley flourished because teams concentrated on Craig. I do think Skinner develops his players but it just doesn't show up in the box score as much as it would say at Duke because our big time performers need to start producing from the day they step on campus due to our lack of depth.

Brian: I'm going to disagree as well. Look at Tyrese Rice. Sure he might not have the pieces around him to get Boston College back to that elusive "next level," but his game has improved dramatically from freshman year. He is much more confident running the offense now than he was three years ago. I remember watching Rice as a freshman in the Jimmy V Classic at MSG and scratching my head wondering what all the fuss was about as he chucked up airball after airball from behind the arc. Fast forward three years to a 46 point performance against UNC and the maturity shown in Tyrese's decision to stay in school to round out his game as a senior. Some players are lost causes in my opinion, but the better of Skinner's classes have improved year over year by my estimation.

Guys, what is the biggest challenge facing this [year's football] team? - Billy, Chestnut Hill, MA (BC '10)

Brian: The biggest challenge has to be our special teams play - returns and the kicking game. I'm not terribly worried about our offense and our defense should be solid. We only need to look as far back as last season to see what happens when special teams go terribly wrong. Who will step up in the kicking game? Who will fill in for Johnny Ayers for the punting duties? Will we improve on our kick returns (ranked 100+ nationally last year). Winning the field position game and having confidence in our kicking game will be the biggest challenge facing this team this year. If we don't step up on special teams, I can see us dropping 1-2 more games next year that we should otherwise win.

Jeff: The field position game is going to be huge next year. BUT you still can't answer this question without talking about the big question that lies at the quarterback position. No more Matt Ryan to carry the team to a come from behind victory this year. Or will Chris Crane be able to? We'll find out, but the QB position is the most important spot on the field and therefore that is the biggest challenge for our team.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Five Good Minutes: Another Young Fan's Perspective

Today we welcome to the blog another of our young readers, Kevin from Maryland. Kevin keeps us old guys honest with a fresh perspective on BC sports from the heart of Terrapin country.

Brian: Kevin, first tell us a little about yourself.

Kevin: Thanks for letting me be on Five Good Minutes.

Well, I was born in Maryland and I'm a Ravens, Orioles (don't get me started) and for whatever reason a Sabres fan, but just never really ever rooted for the Terrapins. In 2001, my family took a trip to Boston and we visited Chestnut Hill. I bought a Flutie jersey and fell in love with all things Boston College. I'm still pulling for one day to see the Orioles return to greatness, and I got a young taste of it with the Ravens back in Super Bowl XXXV.

Brian: Wait a minute, see the Orioles return to greatness? Implying that they were once great?

Kevin: What? 3 World Series Titles ain't enough?

Brian: I have to poke fun since your Ravens beat my Giants in Super Bowl XXXV.

Jeff: Being a BC fan in Maryland has to be tough. Maryland is our closest ACC neighbor geographically, and the league seems to be trying to develop a rivalry between the two schools, i.e. scheduling BC-Maryland as our first ACC basketball game every year and scheduling the annual football matchup in November. Do you get any sense of a growing rivalry and/or sense any hostility between Terrapins and Eagles, or is it simply too soon for Maryland to care?

Kevin: Let me tell you one thing. Being a BC fan in Maryland is rough. Although Maryland doesn't necessarily have a good reason to hate BC, they do it anyway. After this year's loss to them (I went to the game myself), it was brutal. Phone calls at outrageous hours saying "BC SUCKS!" went on for weeks.

Eagles fans, avert your eyes!

Brian: I was at that game as well. Thankfully we rebounded against Clemson in Death Valley but that was a rough two week stretch between the Florida State and Maryland games.

Brian: Look into your crystal ball. Looking beyond 2008 when the Eagles lose Chris Crane to graduation, who do you see emerging as the quarterback of the future?

Kevin: Well, Codi Boek I think at this point seems like a better option due to his experience (3 junior college games), but to be completely honest I have no idea. Crane could go down this year and Davis could come in an impress Jags and the other coaches. There has to be some reason he's higher on the depth charts then Boek.

Jeff: I am hoping Codi Boek develops into the next Paul Peterson. I was at the game in Blacksburg in 2003 where he rallied the Eagles to victory. You said Peterson was your recent favorite BC athlete, what was your favorite memory?

Kevin: Well, I'd have to say the Notre Dame game in 2004 with the game winning catch to Gonzo. That was nice. After Notre Dame kicked that field goal, I thought what everyone else was thinking. "They gave us just enough time to win." And that's exactly what we did. That was by far my favorite memory.

Brian: We move to basketball as Kevin is in the heart of ACC basketball territory. BC had a lackluster performance in 2007-2008. What are the chances BC goes .500 or better in conference play next season after going only 4-12 this year?

Kevin: Well, from all sources I have heard, Rice may finally have some help coming from this Reggie Jackson guy (shooting guard from Colorado). He seems to have some good potential. I read on the CBS Sportsline message boards that he single handedly lead his team to the Colorado State basketball Final Four. I haven't heard much about any other recruit, but I'd say with the talent we already have, I say theres a 60/40 chance of performing better [than our 07-08 performance]. But if we do, it may not be by too many games. But hey, I could hopefully be wrong and we could return to the Sweet 16.

Jeff: Thanks for joining us, Kevin.

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