Friday, October 31, 2008

Clemson Game Preview and the Big Finish

Game Info

Kickoff: 3:30 at Alumni Stadium, Chestnut Hill, MA
TV: ESPNU (Charles Arbuckle, Doug Bell, Melissa Knowles)
Radio: BC/ISP Radio Network (Jon Meterparel, Peter Cronan, Jayme Parker)
Present: Jeff, but no Brian (sad)
Weather: party cloudy, 50 degrees, 10% chance of rain

Brian: Predictions, predictions, predictions. Heather Dinich is actually going with the Eagles this weekend. You surprised? Is this some sort of reverse psychology afoot? I mean HD has been picking against the Eagles all year ...

Jeff: Shocked!! The Tigers have lost their three conference games by a combined 11 points. Are you worried about tomorrow?

Brian: I am actually feeling fairly confident about tomorrow's game. I like our matchups on the lines, both the Eagles offensive line vs. the Tigers defensive line, and the Eagles defensive line with Raji and Brace blowing up the Tigers paper-thin offensive line.

I give the edge to the offensive skill position players of Clemson over Boston College, but my hope is that the Eagles are able to establish the run early. And by establish the run, I mean improve on our 40 total yards rushing on 21 carriers from a week ago. Establishing the run will help deflect pressure on Crane's arm. As reader JB describes it, over the last two weeks, Crane has been staring down his receivers like they owe him money.

For the Tigers, running back C.J. Spiller has been listed as probable for Saturday's game after suffering a partially torn hamstring. What do you expect his impact to be on this game?

Jeff: With Bennett out, Spiller being back makes a huge difference. The Tigers are going to have great field position every time we squib the kickoff.

Brian: On to our predictions for the big football game this weekend. Jeff, here's what you wrote back in August:

The toughest game to predict all season. This will be the best Clemson team that BC has faced since coming to the ACC but BC has the home field advantage and seems to have Clemson's number. At this point of the season BC should be 6-1 and probably ranked #19 or so. Clemson will be 6-1 or 7-0 and this game will be the biggest hurdle for their ACC and national championship hopes.Tommy Bowden will probably live up to his reputation and lose this game, but at the same time, a win would give the Superfans a reason to storm the field and carry goal posts into the mods which has not been done since the '90s.
Since things couldn't have gone differently for Clemson this season, here's your chance to rewrite the story. And because you wimped out on predicting this game, man up and make a prediction. Who wins? And what is the score?

Jeff: I still agree that this game is tough to predict. With a new coach and attitude among Clemson players, who knows. You give us a score prediction.

Brian: Boston College gets back on track with a 20-10 victory.

Big Finish

Brian: An even better Rice? From Bill Hass's weekly ACC column:

Boston College senior Tyrese Rice was a unanimous pick for All-ACC on the 40 ballots. How much better can he get than averaging 21 points and five assists per game?

“I just want to be more efficient and more solid on the defensive end,” Rice said. “I figure I can pretty much score and get my teammates involved, but I would rather bring my percentages up, my assist numbers up, my turnovers down and just be more solid in what I do on the offensive end and defensive end.”

What does better efficiency mean to Rice?

“Maybe instead of shooting 47 percent, you shoot like 53 or 54,” he said. “Maybe instead of shooting 35 from the three, shoot 40. Instead of the (assists to turnover) ratio being 1.8-to-1, it’s 2-to-1. “I will do whatever it takes for us to win games, but I would love for my average to come down and my assists to go up and see somebody else take the spotlight. I have more fun watching other people go to work and carrying games than me doing it myself.”

Can Rice really get his assists/game average up to 8 a game as Raj predicts? Or is Raj being overly optimstic?

Jeff: Raj is being overly optimistic. Rice will have that type of average before ACC play begins. Then his average will drop.

Jeff: Aggressive Crane or game-manager Crane, who do we see more of tomorrow?

Brian: I believe Crane can get back on track and manage this game. The team has had the week to work on fundamentals and I think we'll see more of a commitment to the running game. Not only counters, pitches and draws but more of the option-type plays that we saw in the Kent State game.

Brian: Of the 58 former ACC players on opening day NBA rosters, three played for the Eagles. Who has the best year out of the Eagle trio: Sean Williams, Jared Dudley or Craig Smith?

Jeff: Craig Smith.

Jeff: The hockey team knocked off Merrimack 4-1 last night behind 2 goals from frosh Jimmy Hayes. Do the Eagles pull off the weekend sweep tonight in North Andover?

Brian: Yes, the Eagles pull off the sweep and win 2-0 for John Muse's first shutout of the year.

Brian: Last one, is the ACC truly mediocre this year, or simply misunderstood?

Jeff: As proven by Duke's win over Vanderbilt last week, the ACC has depth. I'll put our #7, #8 and #9 teams up against any in the country including the SEC and the Big 12.


Brian: Jeff's on the road so he picked first this week. I pulled within 5 games of Jeff with a 4-1 performance last week (damn Eagles!).


  • Duke +7.5 at Wake Forest
  • Florida vs. Georgia +5.5
  • Texas -3.5 @ Texas Tech
  • TCU @ UNLV +14
  • Florida State @ Georgia Tech -2.5
  • Clemson @ Boston College -4.5
  • Iowa State @ Oklahoma State -31
  • Air Force -8.5 @ Army
  • Northwestern @ Minnesota -7
  • Michigan @ Purdue -2

Brian: I'm not really in love with any of these picks. Although I would like to go on the record and say that I think Florida is going to slap around the Bulldogs in Jacksonville tomorrow and Texas Tech will upset Texas.

Happy Halloween! Go Eagles!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Happy Time: BC-Clemson, Ohliger, Rutgers and Willette

Happy time, Eagles!

First, let's take a minute 7:36 look back at last year's Boston College-Clemson game (via YouTube ... via

Ahh, that feels good. Two things though ... why did insist on interviewing a "BC fan" who was wearing Red Sox World Series gear?! Pisses me off. Also, I didn't know Jake Gyllenhaal is a Clemson fan:

No BC birthdays of note today, so we wish a Happy (early) Halloween Birthday to Ryan Ohliger. Ohliger was the Boston College placekicker from 2004-2006. He had, shall we say, a rocky 2006 season, missing an extra point that cost the Eagles a chance to go to overtime in Raleigh against North Carolina State. Ohliger got a vote of confidence from then coach Tom O'Brien the following week, but the next day he was suspended for violating undisclosed team rules (disclosed: Ohliger kicked the crud out of kids heckling him for his kicking woes). Ohliger gave way to the Steve Aponavicius, and the walk-on kicker won over Eagles fans in his debut with 2 PATs and 2 field goals in the Eagles 22-3 win over Virginia Tech. A humorous video of the ups and downs of Ohliger's kicking career on the Heights can be found on YouTube.

Happy Anniversary to the BC football team. On this date 6 years ago, a couple of juniors watched the Eagles beat down on the lowly Rutgers Scarlet Knights 44-14 in Chestnut Hill. Running back Derrick Knight was a beast in that game, rushing 205 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries. The win pushed the Eagles record to 8-4 on the year and gave the Eagles a berth in the Motor City Bowl. The victory also pushed the Eagles unbeaten streak against Rutgers to 11 (10-0-1). The loss sent Rutgers to a 1-11 record, including dropping their last 9 games that season.

Happy Trails Jerry Willette. Our senior defensive tackle is out for the Clemson game and most likely the Notre Dame game as well with an injury to his left knee. #99 injured his knee in the 45-24 loss to North Carolina last week. Here's to hoping for a speedy recovery as the losses to the defense continue to mount - Brady Smith, Albright, Toal, Willette ...

Weekly Hockey Primer: Eagles Host Merrimack Tonight


Last week, the Eagles took care of the Vermont Catamounts 3-2 in a rare treat for non-New Englanders - a Friday night game I was able to watch as it was broadcast nationally on ESPNU. Two things stood out for me watching the game. Our freshmen are talented! Those kids can fly. Congratulations are in order to Paul Carey who notched his first collegiate goal in the second period on the power play, assisted by fellow frosh Tommy Cross. The other thing I noticed was the Eagles were able to get our special teams play going. BC was 2 of 7 on the man advantage (our best percentage on the man advantage this season) while Vermont was 1 of 3. The win was the Eagles first win in Hockey East play.

National Polls and Hockey East

The win over Vermont was good enough for the Eagles to climb back to the #2 spot in the latest College Sports poll. BC earned 7 first place votes in the poll. Other Hockey East teams in the poll this week:

  • Our green-line rivals Boston University up to #3
  • New Hampshire down to #6
  • Northeastern continues its climb up the polls to #9 up 5 spots from #14
  • Vermont down to #14.

The College Hockey blog is high on Minnesota this week and has the Eagles ranked #3.

Here is the Herald’s take on whether the Eagles can repeat as National Champions.

Is Boston University back? Here’s a good article from the Herald on the return of the Terriers.

Fan Polls

Here is the latest short-term fan poll on Hockey East Online. The poll asks readers and fans to vote on the Top Goaltender in Hockey East history. Representing Boston College is David Littman (1985-1989, before our Eagle cheering days), Scott Clemmensen (1997-2001) and Cory Schneider (2004-2007). I am a bit torn between voting for Clemmensen and Schneider, but I’ve got to go with Clemmensen. Clemmensen got us over the hump and helped us win our school’s second National Championship in 2001, and while Schneider came oh so close in 2006 and 2007, I gave my vote for Clem.

Rule Changes Imminent?, or 'On the desirability of shootouts in college hockey'

Hat tip to Goon’s World (a North Dakota Fighting Sioux blog) for bringing this article to our attention. INCH ran an article on a few WCHA coaches reactions to the addition of a shootout to break college hockey ties. The CCHA has implemented shootouts to break ties this year, and Hockey East commissioner Joe Bertagna thinks that it’s only a matter of time before shootouts are the norm in all men’s hockey conferences.

Are shootouts a good idea? I remain skeptical on the prospect of shootouts to break Hockey East regular season ties.

This Week ... err ... Tonight!

The Eagles host the Merrimack Warriors tonight and travel to Merrimack Friday night for a home-and-home Hockey East series. The Eagles own a 50-17-3 advantage in the all-time series and haven’t lost to Merrimack in 17 games (14-0-3), a streak dating back to 2003.

For more information on this year's Merrimack team, try a primo Merrimack hockey blog: Warrior Rink Rat

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Toss Up: Boston College-Clemson

In honor of what will soon become a split Tiger-Eagles household in a few short months, we play a game of Toss Up ...

Toss Up - Better backfield - Spiller/Davis or Haden/Harris?

Jeff: This is a no brainer. The Spiller/Davis combo in Clemson's backfield is feared throughout the country. Meanwhile, no one outside of the ACC knows who either Haden or Harris are. If CJ Spiller or James Davis played for BC, they would average well over 100 yards per game and would be talked about in the Heisman conversation. Everyone knows that Clemson has no O-line.

Brian: Clemson doesn’t have an offensive line, that’s why I’m taking Haden and Harris. James Davis is disgruntled at the firing of coach Tommy Bowden and C.J. Spiller hasn’t played in Clemson’s last seven quarters. BC’s defense is one of the best in the nation against the run and should be able to limit the big plays from either Spiller or Davis. This is probably a push but I think over the course of these guys careers, Haden and Harris will certainly make a name for themselves on the Heights.

Toss Up - Better QB depth chart - Cullen Harper and Willy Korn or Chris Crane and Dominique Davis?

Brian: It’s hard to find many Chris Crane fans in Chestnut Hill at this point, but at the same time, it’s hard to find many Cullen Harper fans in Clemson, SC. It’s funny to think about all those Tiger fans last year that yelled back at us for wearing Ryan for Heisman shirts. "Ryan for Heisman??? Try Harper for Heisman???" A 1:1 touchdown to interception ratio is extremely pedestrian, and both Harper and Crane are under 1:1 with crane almost at 1:2 if he didn’t pick up another touchdown to Momah in garbage time against North Carolina. So both our starters suck, and we still don’t know much about Davis or Korn, so I’m going to go with record. Crane/Davis are 5-2 and Harper/Korn are 3-4, and Clemson only has 1 Division I-A win on the season. I’m going with the Eagles.

Jeff: I'm going to have to go with Clemson here. I'll say Crane and Harper are a push, but despite the fact that we haven't seen much game action from either, I'd rather have the highly recruited Willy Korn than Dominique Davis. Harper is still playing at Clemson because of what he's done in the past. Korn would already be starting at BC.

Toss Up - Better coach – William Christopher "Dabo" Swinney or Jeff Jagodzinski?

Jeff: Swinney for sure. He has already taken the team to a children’s hospital instead of practicing. Jags has probably heard about this and is wondering what the Clemson players are doing missing a practice given their terrible record but Jags just doesn't understand how complex modern college coaching is and Dabo is the hottest young coach in the country and will bring Clemson back to prominence.

Brian: This shouldn’t even be a question. Swinney is only going to be the Clemson coach for 5 more games and he’ll be hard pressed to come out of those games with a winning record. I’m sure he’ll parlay this experience with a nice head coaching gig somewhere next year as he moves aside for some high profile coach like Will Muschamp, but I highly doubt that it will be with a BCS conference team. Jags is 16-5 as the Eagles head coach and isn’t going anywhere. While Swinney might be the better recruiter, Jags is clearly the better coach.

Toss Up - More explosive - Jacoby Ford or Jeff Smith?

Brian: The answer is clearly Jeff Smith. Clemson fans know this first hand.

Jeff: Jacoby Ford's 4.12 40 time will smoke Jeff Smith's combine time. When Ford touches the ball its a potential touchdown. When Smith touches the ball its only a potential touchdown if BC is playing Kent State.

Toss Up - Better fans - Clemson or Boston College?

Jeff: BC fans cannot coordinate what to wear to home games nor do they travel to away games so Clemson wins here. Clemson packs 80,000+ in for home games and as you'll see Saturday, they travel plenty of fans for away games as well.

Brian: Agreed that the better fans follow the Clemson Tigers. I can’t really argue that point. However, Clemson also takes the cake for the most delusional fans. See below.

Toss Up - Who wins the BCS national championship game first? Clemson or Boston College

Brian: I’m going with Boston College here. We’ve already been to 1 more ACC Championship Game than Clemson has already, and Clemson has to go through Boston College to win the Atlantic (something they haven’t been able to do in their last three tries). The Tigers have failed to win the Atlantic the last three years despite having the Atlantic all but served up to them on a platter – Florida State has been down, little Wake Forest has bubbled up, and Maryland has one winning season in their last four seasons. Besides, it’s downright comical to hear Tigers fans at the beginning of the season because they think their team is always ACC Championship and BCS National Championship Game bound. A lot of fans still living off of 1981.

Jeff: I hate to answer this question but the answer is Clemson. Someone is going to figure out how to get something out of all the talent they have down there and run through the ACC one year en route to the BCS national championship game.

Last one, Toss Up - The O'Rourke-McFadden Trophy - cool new tradition or a reach?

Jeff: I don't think I would say cool yet but I would definitely say it is a nice effort by the BC gridiron club. As we'll see in November Big Ten games, they have various trophies for everything that is even close to a rivalry game. These Big Ten games have been going on a lot longer than just four years but every tradition must start somewhere.

Brian: This is a reach. We’ve only played 17 games against the Tigers all time and Clemson hasn’t beaten us since 1958. If we are going to come up with a new tradition, why not go with a team that we have played in 15 of the last 16 years – Virginia Tech. Sure the Eagles went 3-8 against the Hokies in the Big East, but since then we have gone 3-2 and won the last 3 regular season meetings. Or create a trophy when we renew our series with Syracuse in a few years. But Clemson? I’m not buying this.

Jeff: The point that Clemson would win this game Saturday if it were played on paper and would also have only 1 loss heading into it. But games aren't played on paper and I fully expect a BC victory Saturday.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Guest Blogger: Men's Basketball Preview

Brian: I love Eagles basketball but I don't purport to be an expert of college basketball. So to preview this year's men's basketball team, we've asked our good friend and BC Interruption reader Raj to give us a preview of the team.

Raj: While we lost a fair amount of bodies in the off-season due to transfers, the departure of John Oates and Tyrelle Blair to graduation leaves a big hole in the middle. After a disappointing finish in 2008, can the Eagles sink any lower?

2007-2008 Season:
Overall: 14-17
ACC Record: 4-12

Well, after a last place finish in the ACC, the simple answer is no. The Eagles were considered a young team last year and we haven’t grown up much, if at all, coming into this season. Our roster now consists of: 3 freshmen, 6 sophomores, 1 junior and an all ACC-performing senior in Tyrese Rice.

Roster Breakdown


Tyrese Rice (SR) 21.0ppg 3.3 rebs 5.0 assists 1.6 stls in 38.1 mins
As an All-ACC Performer, Tyrese Rice will shoulder the load scoring and can expect his assist numbers to approach 8 as he finds more and more scoring options with the development of our younger players throughout the season.

Biko Paris (SO) 5. 7 pts 1.7 rebs 2.9 assists
A solid point guard with the ability to score, he will see some more time on the court both as Rice’s backup and also in a 2 guard backcourt as Reggie Jackson continues to develop.

Reggie Jackson (FR)
Jackson was BC’s top recruit for the incoming season and, while he is obviously a Division I athlete, it will be interesting to see him compete against ACC competition night in and night out. Interesting fact: RJ was born in Italy and will wear the number 0, so let’s hope that the similarities between Reggie, Kobe and Gilbert Arenas translate to the court.

Dallas Elmore (FR)
Another Colorado recruit, provides some height at the guard spot at 6'5". Don’t expect to see much of him, however, as Skinner is infamous for bringing players who are not top recruits along slowly.


Corey Raji (SO) 8.3 pts 4.3 rebs 0.9 assists (60.8 percent from the floor)
My favorite for obvious reasons but, in addition, his spark and intensity are much needed for what, at times, seems like a lethargic BC team. He is aggressive on defense and the boards, is smart with the ball, and reminds me of a 2000 freshman (Dare I say it? Ryan Sidney). Here’s hoping Raji can keep the intensity up and that he continues to enjoy his role off the bench, because I believe that’s where he is best suited.

Rakim Sanders (SO) 11.3 points, 4.6 rebs and 1.7 assists per game
I am expecting big things from Sanders in his sophomore year. Throughout his freshman campaign I saw flashes of potential: NBA type potential. We also witnessed the SWAGGER against Kansas. I like that attitude, and expect to see more of it on a consistent basis this season.

Joe Trapani (SO)
JT is now joining the likes of Brian Ross, Nate Doornekamp, and John Oates as tall white guys at BC who have fallen in love with the 3 pt line. As a transfer he has had a season to get acclimated with the flex offense, and Skinner will be forced to line him up at the PF position due to our lack of depth.

Tyler Roche (JR) 3.8 pts 1.9 rebs 1.6 assists
No offense to him but I can’t understand why he is on a Division I team, or how he sees any playing time whatsoever. He does play with heart, I’ll give him that, but then again, so would I if that’s all I had. Note to Skinner, stay away from New Hampshire’s High School Player of the Year.

Courtney Dunn (SO) 1.7 pts and 0.7 rebs
The other players on the team are high on Dunn, but I’ve yet to see anything out of him (which I admit is due mostly to his lack of playing time). On what I expect to be a foul plagued team, expect to see more Dunn, and hopefully less of Roche.


Josh Southern (SO) 5.7 pts and 3.4 rebs
Great upside for this sophomore, who played under 20 minutes a game but came on strong late last season. Offensively he will be the best center we have had in the post since pre-2000. Whether he is quick and strong enough to bang on the boards is another question. We should expect Josh to average close to a double-double this season as long as he can stay out of foul trouble.

Evan Ravenel (FR)
A much needed big body in the middle. While very raw, he is an athlete at the center position, putting up 16 pts, 12 rebs and 5 blocks. I know everyone wants to make a name for themselves, but I see him becoming the next Uka Agbai. He is a big body that moves pretty well, and he will definitely see minutes this year because of the lack of depth at the center position.



As much as I love Skinner and his stylish threads, his Eastern Clothing of Watertown suits won’t save Skinner with another year like last year. Hopefully Skinner adapts to his personnel a little better. (They are who we thought they were!!!!) Our turnovers and our inability to bring the ball up against pressure should be corrected in practice. And when the right personnel isn’t in there, call a timeout and get them in. We have more than enough ball handlers and if we need to play small ball, maybe that’s something we should try.

Skinner has compiled a great record while at Boston College, but his lack of in-game coaching is worrisome. Skinner is going to need to get this team ready to play, get them to get up for every game, and keep them focused. In the past he has been able to rely on his senior leadership to weather droughts in games, but he is going to need to take charge with such a young team. By getting involved early, he could have possibly prevented 7 losses last year.

We aren’t going to be a defensive-minded team, so I turn to our offense or lack thereof. I am beginning to question the effectiveness of our Flex offense, which has been quite successful in years past because of our ability to recruit high basketball IQ players who have great vision, passing ability, and a knack for finishing. Young players are prone to make less than intelligent decisions, and rely too heavily on athleticism, so our flex offense has struggled. Also, our lack of a tough inside player has led to us settling for outside jump shots. Skinner has adopted the Herman Boone approach, "I run 6 plays split veer, it’s like novocaine, just give it time, it always works."

Is it time for us to run a new offense or mix in some different looks?

What to Expect

While there will be many ups and downs to the season, with a challenging ACC schedule which involves both North Carolina and Duke, Tyrese Rice will keep us in most games, and expect Sanders, Paris, Raji and Southern to contribute more and more as the season progresses. Skinner seems set on starting Corey Raji. Let’s hope the emergence of Reggie Jackson forces his hand to move Raji into a more natural sixth man role. We will see BC be challenged more than in years past within the first 10 games, with a schedule that does not involve the usual pushovers. With our core of sophomores let’s look for our squad to be able to close out those games that we crumbled in down the stretch.


Despite the poor record, last year’s offense was surprisingly efficient once we were able to take a shot. Look for the Eagles to get more offensive sets in, and that begins and ends with limiting turnovers. In the past, we were not a fast-breaking team so our sets in the flex offense were deliberate and ate up a lot of clock. Look for us to get a quick outlet and run a little more, hopefully leading to some easy point to supplement the Flex offense. Looking at stats from the 2007-2008 season, two particular statistics catch my eye: points per shot (PPS) and field goal attempts (FGA). Looking at the teams below that qualified for post season play, we only ranked behind #1 UNC in PPS and were dead last in the ACC in FGA.

Stat CategoryBCVirginia TechClemsonMarylandUNC

To ensure that we get enough FGA to keep up with the scoring in the ACC, the Eagles will have to crash the boards as they were among the bottom three of the conference in rebounding. Once they control the defensive boards, they will be able to get more opportunities on offense. Also look for us to take better care of the ball and not turnover the ball in the backcourt. Expect a faster tempo in attempt to capitalize on our team speed, and also make up for the lack of frontcourt scoring from the power forward and center positions which is a requirement for the Flex offense.


One thing to look for is how the Eagles react on the defensive end. With much more team speed, let’s look for BC to rely less on a big body in the middle (Tyrelle Blair/Sean Williams) and more on pressure defense that jumps passing lanes, and denies the entry pass to the post. Could Skinner use a deeper rotation and set up a full court press? Can't wait to see what he has up French-cuffed sleeves.

Raj's Prediction and Team Awards

Overall: 18-11
ACC: 8-8
Postseason: NIT Berth

MVP: Tyrese Rice
Most Improved Player: Josh Southern
Sixth (Seventh?) Man: Biko Paris/Corey Raji
Impact Freshman: Evan Ravenel

Go Eagles!

Preliminary Blogpoll: Week 9

Apologies for the delay. Thoughts/comments appreciated.

1 Texas (8-0) --
2 Alabama (8-0) --
3 Penn State (9-0) --
4 Texas Tech (8-0) 3
5 Georgia (7-1) 1
6 Oklahoma State (7-1) 2
7 Oklahoma (7-1) 2
8 Southern Cal (6-1) --
9 Florida (6-1) --
10 Utah (8-0) 1
11 Boise State (7-0) 4
12 Florida State (6-1) 8
13 TCU (8-1) 3
14 Ohio State (7-2) 1
15 Tulsa (7-0) 7
16 Brigham Young (7-1) 10
17 Missouri (6-2) 1
18 Ball State (8-0) 8
19 Minnesota (7-1) 7
20 LSU (5-2) 10
21 North Carolina (6-2) 5
22 Oregon (6-2) 4
23 Michigan State (7-2) 3
24 Georgia Tech (6-2) 12
25 South Florida (6-2) 11

Dropped Out: Pittsburgh (#17), Boston College (#19), Kansas (#21), Virginia Tech (#23), Northwestern (#24), Vanderbilt (#25).

Welcome! Brigham Young, Ball State, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oregon, Michigan State

Waiting Room: Boston College, Pittsburgh, Kansas, Virginia, West Virginia

Highest Standard Deviation Between Individual Ballots: LSU (6.36), Missouri (5.66), Ohio State (4.95)

Lowest Standard Deviation Between Individual Ballots: Texas, Alabama, Penn State, Texas Tech, Utah, Brigham Young

By Conference: Big XII 5, SEC 4, Big Ten 4, ACC 3, Mountain West 3, Pac 10 2, WAC 1, Big East 1, Conference USA 1, MAC 1

Monday, October 27, 2008

Headlines: Irish-Eagles Game Time Announced

It's an 8pm start on ABC or ESPN. Woo!

Rest of the ACC schedule for the weekend of November 6-8 below.

Thursday, November 6
Maryland at Virginia Tech, ESPN, 7:30 pm

Saturday, November 8
NC State at Duke, ESPNU or ESPN 360, 3:30 pm
Notre Dame at Boston College, ABC or ESPN, 8 pm
Virginia at Wake Forest, Raycom at 12 noon or ESPNU at 3:30 pm
Clemson at Florida State, TBD
Georgia Tech at North Carolina TBD

Headlines: North Carolina Beat Down

Brian: The Eagles got smacked down 45-24 by the Tar Heels on Saturday to drop to 5-2 (2-2 ACC) on the season. While we knew this would be a tough road game, I think Eagles fans are more surprised at the lopsided result. The easy thing to do after such a one-sided result is to start pointing fingers. So, Jeff, who is to blame for the loss?

Jeff: How do you pinpoint one person to blame for a 21 point loss? However, aren't you somewhat glad we didn't make the trip to witness that pathetic second half display in person?

Brian: Yes, a little glad that we got to Kenan Stadium earlier this year and watched the Tar Heels smack the Connecticut Huskies in the mouth and not the Eagles. As for who to blame, OK I agree with you that one person can’t shoulder the blame for this loss, but I was a little concerned about our play calling on the offensive side of the ball. My question is why weren't we trying to establish the run at the start of the second half? We were only down by a touchdown on our first drive of the second half and called screen pass (complete, 2 yards), pass (complete, 11 yards) and Crane's third consecutive pass attempt was intercepted and returned to the 1 yard line. We did a great job of mixing run and pass on our opening scoring drive, but we got away from that as the first half progressed. And then to start the second half down one score, I don't think you have to go into pass-only mode just yet. Does any of the blame rest with Logan's play calling?

Jeff: I don't know how I feel about this. I mean you picked out a 3 play drive in which we didn't run. Three plays are hardly enough to base anything on. But then again I totally agree with what you are getting at. Chris Crane can single handedly lose games for us and he is the only person on the field that we can say that about. Then again we can't just pound the ball with our young, small, and fragile trio of backs. So Logan might be somewhat to blame, but probably not.

Brian: It wasn’t just the opening drive of the second half. I point to that drive to illustrate that the game wasn’t out of reach yet but we didn’t do much other than throw the ball. On the third drive of the second half, now down 2 scores, we attempted four passes and the fifth pass was intercepted. I realize that the game circumstances at this point might have necessitated constantly passing, but if North Carolina wasn’t honoring the run, they could drop back in coverage and pick off Crane all day.

Jeff: What happened to Dominique Davis seeing some playing time?

Brian: No idea. While I don’t expect him to start, it would be beneficial to get him into the game. He doesn’t even have to throw the ball. They can all be designed runs for all I care. I used to be opposed to the backup quarterback getting snaps during the first drive of the second quarter under Tom O’Brien as it seemed to disrupt the rhythm of the starter. But with Crane yesterday, there was no rhythm and I think you have to start getting Davis some reps for next year.

So where do we go from here? It will be what seems like a short week for the Eagles as they prepare for the Clemson Tigers (3-4, 1-3). The Tigers have one of the most misleading records in all of college football. While they have gone a mere 1-3 in conference, they have lost to Wake Forest, Maryland and Georgia Tech - three of the better ACC teams - and still arguably have the most offensive talent at the skill positions. Can the Eagles regroup and will they have a better performance this Saturday?

Jeff: We're still going the same place we were going. We are trying to win the conference championship game. Boston College, Florida State, Maryland, Virginia and Virginia Tech and the teams who control their own destiny. As long as our name still appears on that list, the only goal is the ACCCG.

I fully expect the Eagles to bounce back Saturday. Home game, 3:30, struggling Clemson, and our strong defensive line should laugh at their O-line.

Drive Chart

You be the judge. I mean, it certainly wasn't Dana Bible calibre play calling, but I think we could have done a better job of establishing the run.

First Half
  • First drive: rush, rush, rush, pass, pass, rush, pass, pass, rush, rush, rush (BC 3, UNC 0)
  • Second drive: rush, pass, pass (BC 10, UNC 0)
  • Third drive: pass, pass, loss (BC 10, UNC 7)
  • Fourth drive: rush, pass, pass (BC 10, UNC 10)
  • Fifth drive: pass, pass, penalty, rush, INT (BC 10, UNC 10)
  • Sixth drive: rush, pass, penalty, rush, pass, pass, pass TD (BC 17, UNC 17)
  • Seventh drive: QB kneel (BC 17, UNC 24)

Second Half

  • First drive: pass, pass, INT (BC 17, UNC 24)
  • Second drive: rush, pass, pass, sack, penalty, rush, pass, rush (BC 17, UNC 31)
  • Third drive: pass, pass, pass, pass, INT (BC 17, UNC 38)
  • Fourth drive: pass, pass, penalty, pass (BC 17, UNC 38)
  • Fifth drive: pass, pass, pass, pass, rush, pass, pass, rush, pass, rush, penalty, rush, pass TD (BC 24, UNC 45)

Quickly ... In the notes section of this article, DE Jerry Willette injured his left knee and is questionable for Saturday’s Clemson game … Mathias Kiwanuka (5 tackles, 3.0 sacks and a whole bunch of hurries) had a monster game in what seemed like a playoff game in the Giants 21-14 win at Pittsburgh ... Matt Ryan went 23 of 44 for 277 yards with 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions in his homecoming loss to the Eagles ... Tyrese Rice was selected to the All-ACC Preseason First Team, but the men’s team was picked to finish 11 of 12 this year ... embarrassing losses to Carolina schools know no one sport – the Eagles men’s soccer team was lit up 5-2 by undefeated Wake Forest down in Winston-Salem. The Eagles dropped to 7-5-2 (3-3 ACC).

(Photo via Inside Carolina)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

ACC Power Rankings: Week 9

We are totally shaking up last week's power rankings after this past weekend's ACC action.

But first, a programming note: we'll have our blogpoll ballot up Monday night since we are watching Tulsa host Central Florida tonight. The World Series tonight in Philadelphia screwed up the NFL and NCAA football schedules this week.

Week 9
  1. Florida State (6-1, 3-1)
  2. Virginia (5-3, 3-1)
  3. North Carolina (6-2, 2-2)
  4. Georgia Tech (6-2, 3-2)
  5. Maryland (6-2, 3-1)
  6. Boston College (5-2, 2-2)
  7. Miami (5-3, 2-2)
  8. Clemson (3-4, 1-3)
  9. Wake Forest (4-3, 2-2)
  10. Virginia Tech (5-3, 2-2)
  11. Duke (4-3, 1-2)
  12. North Carolina State (2-6, 0-4)


Our top 2 and our picks for the ACC Championship Game in Tampa from last week - Georgia Tech and Boston College - fall to spots 4 and 6, respectively, after their losses this past weekend.

Our new #1 this week is Florida State, who took care of the Hokies 30-20 after falling down 10 points. On the other side of the coin, Virginia Tech drops 6 spots this week to #10 as we're really not sure who is going to lead the Hokies under center for their next game. The Seminoles knocked out the Hokies #1 and #2 options at quarterback Saturday. Both Tyrod Taylor and Sean Glennon left last Saturday's game with ankle injuries. The off week couldn't come at a better time for Virginia Tech as they try to get better in preparation for their Thursday night home game against Maryland. (Eagles fans should send Taylor/Glennon get well soon cards!)

The big story is the Virginia metamorphosis from DFL in the Coastal to now in control of their own destiny. Virginia was left for dead after they let Duke score 28 second half points in a 31-3 rout. Since then, they have rattled off home wins against Maryland (31-0), #18 North Carolina (16-13 OT) and now a road win at #18 Georgia Tech (24-17). The Cavaliers suddenly find themselves in control of their own destiny to punch a ticket to their first ACC Championship Game. Virginia's remaining ACC schedule won't be easy, however, with road trips to Winston-Salem and Blacksburg and home games against Miami (FL) and Clemson. Suddenly, I'm kinda glad the Eagles don't play the Cavaliers this year.

Wake Forest drops 1 spot to #9 as they continue their slide down the ACC standings. The Deacons dropped their second straight ACC road decision as their offensive struggles continue (2 touchdowns in 4 league games).

This Week

Miami (FL) at Virginia ... #15 Florida State at Georgia Tech ... Clemson at Boston College ... Duke at Wake Forest

OFF: Maryland, Virginia Tech, North Carolina State, North Carolina

Blogpoll Roundtable 5: Midseason Report Card

The fifth installment of this year's Blogpoll Roundtable is being held over at Corn Nation. As the name suggests, Corn Nation blogs Nebraska Cornhusker sports.

1. We're about half way through the season. Has your team met your expectations, wildly exceeded them, or are you about to light the torches and storm your athletic department demanding blood?

Going into the North Carolina game, I was going to say that Boston College has comfortably met expectations this season but not wildly exceeded them. But after the Tar Heels went all Office Space on the fax machine that is BC, I just going to go with "met expectations" bordering on this season falling below expectations.

Expectations for anyone outside of Chestnut Hill weren't very high for the Eagles going into the season. BC had to replace Matt Ryan at quarterback as well as their two starting tailbacks. What was going for BC was that the Eagles returned one of the best defensive units in the country. We were supposed to win five out of our first six games, losing only to Virginia Tech at home. We replaced a loss to Virginia Tech with a loss to Georgia Tech, a game that the Eagles could have won. Then came this Saturday, a game that the Eagles entered as a Top 25 ranked underdog. While it wasn't a given that BC would win yesterday, I think what was more surprising was the way in which the Eagles lost, going up 10-0 and then getting outscored 45-14 to finish the game. Still, we are now a little past the halfway point of the season and sitting at 5-2 (2-2 ACC), I would say the Eagles have met expectations.

The last 5 games will be when it really gets interesting ...

2. In an election year, all sorts of promises will be made, few will be kept. What is one promise or item you thought you could count on that hasn't come to pass yet this season? Is there still a chance?

The one promise for Eagles fans that hasn't been kept is getting some much valuable PT for our redshirt freshman backup quarterback Dominique Davis. After the Rhode Island game, Coach Jagodzinski stated that Davis should get about 20 snaps in each of the Eagles' last 9 games. Fifth year senior and first year starter Chris Crane had struggled through the first 2 games of the season and Davis began to see some playing time in the win against Central Florida.

Davis was the left in most of the game against I-AA Rhode Island, but we haven't seen him since. Why? Because in the next game, with the Eagles coming off a bye week, Crane and the Eagles torched the NC State Wolfpack going 34 of 51 for 428 and two scores in the 38-31 road victory. Crane continued to struggle in the win against Virginia Tech, however, completing only 50% of his passes, throwing for a touchdown but 3 costly interceptions that led to 14 Hokie points. Yesterday was more of the same for Crane as he threw 3 very costly interceptions that led to 21 Tar Heel points.

I, for one, have faith in our coaching staff that they are keeping the best option at quarterback on the field. But we should definitely start to get Davis some snaps. We only have 5-7 games left with Chris Crane under center, and we need to start getting Davis some big-game experience so we don't have to go through another season of growing pains for an inexperienced starting quarterback.

3. Georgia #1... No, USC #1... No, Oklahoma #1... No, Texas #1! Who's the real #1 team, and who do you think will make it to the big BCS National Title game?

Our real #1 right now is Texas. If they can now get past the 8-0 Red Raiders in Lubbock this weekend, they will most likely win the rest of their regular season games, win the Big XII Championship game and play in the BCS National Title game.

Joining them will be either the Penn State Nittany Lions or the Alabama Crimson Tide. If Alabama wins their 4 remaining regular season games (very possible) and the SEC Championship game against either Florida and/or a rematch against Georgia, their 13-0 mark will put them in the title game over Penn State, who doesn't play a championship game and will have a weaker strength of schedule than 'Bama.

If all hell breaks loose and Texas, Penn State and Alabama all lose a game, and, say, Texas Tech goes undefeated by beating #1 Texas, #6 Oklahoma State, at #4 Oklahoma and the Big XII Championship, we can see the Red Raiders playing in the Title game against a one-loss SEC Champion or Southern Cal.

4. In only a few weeks, college football fans get to be treated with the obligatory and annual "We Need a Playoff" screaming. Well, you don't get a playoff, but I'll let you make one change to the BCS (and no, you can't cop out and have the BCS commit suicide) to make the world a better place. What is your change?

This question is right in my wheelhouse. If I can't get a playoff, or anything resembling a playoff (a cop out answer would be limiting the BCS teams to 8 and using the BCS National Championship Game as the Plus One game), then I want the BCS bowls not to be able to select which teams play where and seed the non-title BCS bowl games with #3 vs. #4, #5 vs. #6, #7 vs. #8 and #9 vs. #10. The implication here is that the BCS bowls forego their conference champion affiliation and the 6 automatic bids get to play in the bowl based on where they finish in the final BCS Standings, not based on their conference affiliation.

I am really tired of seeing Big Ten vs. Pac-10 in the Rose Bowl because the Rose Bowl Committee stands on "tradition" and picks a 9-3 Illinois team over a bunch of other more deserving teams. Case in point: as per's Week 9 bowl projections, they are currently predicting that Ohio State will face Southern Cal in the Rose Bowl. Again?! The same teams in the same city and likely the exact same result. Who wants to watch that crap? I, for one, will certainly not be tuning into that game.

If you pit 3 vs. 4, 5 vs. 6, etc., you are going to likely have much more enjoyable, hard-fought games than USC 49, Illinois 17 ... Georgia 41, Hawaii 10.

This will never happen though short of a playoff because the BCS doesn't want the possibility of a split National championship. Under this scenario, if #3 blows out #4 and #2 squeaks by #1, that could coax the AP into voting for #3 as the National Champion.

Oh, and if I could get a second change in, or at least consideration for a second change, I would also stricken BCS Automatic Qualification rule #4 from the record. Notre Dame shouldn't get an automatic berth if it finishes in the top 8 of the BCS standings. They should have to get into the BCS like every other non-BCS conference champion; it shouldn't be automatic. Or if you insist on keeping the auto-berth rule in place, make the rule an auto-berth for all independents, not just Notre Dame.

5. Using this year ONLY - no historical references - respond to the statement "The Big 12 is a better conference than the SEC". There's nothing sillier than conference wars, but then again, there's nothing sillier than how SEC fans respond to any challenge to their supremacy. Aim, Fire!

The Big 12 is not a better conference than the SEC this year. The SEC is still #1. While arguably there isn't a tougher division in college football than the Big 12 South with Texas (8-0), Texas Tech (8-0), Oklahoma (7-1) and Oklahoma State (7-1) wearing out scoreboard lights, the other side of the conference is not that strong. Top to bottom I think the SEC is still a tougher conference than the Big 12 by a slim margin.

Here's a hypothetical. Just like college basketball's ACC-Big Ten challenge, let's play a Big 12-SEC challenge to illustrate my point. Taking current RPI of teams from both conferences, we'll pair the best teams with the best teams and the worst teams with the worst teams. Let's play the following twelve matchups on a neutral field and see which conference would win more games:

Texas vs. Alabama
Texas Tech vs. Georgia
Oklahoma vs. Florida
Oklahoma State vs. LSU
Missouri vs. Vanderbilt
Kansas vs. Kentucky
Nebraska vs. South Carolina
Colorado vs. Mississippi
Kansas State vs. Arkansas
Texas A&M vs. Tennessee
Baylor vs. Auburn
Iowa State vs. Mississippi State

While the top 4 games could very well be instant classics, of the remaining 8 games, I'd be hard-pressed to pick 3 Big 12 teams to win. I'd imagine Missouri would beat sliding Vanderbilt, Kansas and Kentucky would be a really good game, and Nebraska might find a way against South Carolina, but don't see many other wins for the Big 12 with that lineup. But since this will never happen, the short answer is 'who knows?'

Friday, October 24, 2008

Tar Heels-Eagles and the Big Finish

Brian: A lot has already been written about how Chris Crane has struggled mightily through the first half of the season. His touchdown:interception ratio is a pedestrian 5:9. On the other side of the ball, North Carolina has thrived at creating turnovers, including 14 interceptions already through 6 games. For North Carolina, junior backup quarterback Cameron Sexson has completely 58.7 percent of his passes and has thrown for 3 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. However, he will be going up against the nation's leading defense in passing efficiency. The Eagles are only allowing 86.7 yards per game through the air. So at the end of the game, who has a better day under center - Crane or Sexson?

Jeff: Crane is going to have a better day, thanks to a better supporting cast. Better question, over/under 4.5 interceptions for Crane Saturday?

Brian: Wow! 4.5?! Way under. Crane will throw for 1 score and be intercepted once, but this time it won't go back for a defensive touchdown. Give me your impact player in this game.

Jeff: I'll go with Josh Haden. At this point we know that Montel Harris can provide a spark or more off the bench. I think the Eagles ultimately need Haden to step up and put the ball in the endzone. Let's start to see it Saturday.

Big Finish

Jeff: Here is North Carolina's injury report for this weekend's game. The list is long. Who will the Tar Heels miss the most on Saturday?

Brian: Brandon Tate will be missed the most, however, there are a lot of offensive players on that list. Ouch.

Brian: Clemson is the only ACC team with an off week as they prepare for their November 1 game against Boston College. Will the week off help or hurt the Tigers' chances to beat the Eagles?

Jeff: Absolutely helps. Last week, in their first game without Tommy Bowden, they perhaps played their best game of the year despite losing. Admit it, you are more scared about this game now that they are without Tommy Bowden!?

Brian: I am a little concerned about this game but not because Bowden is gone. Unless Dabo Swinney is going to play offensive line, I am no more or less concerned about the Tigers because of the coaching change. I'm worried about Clemson because desperate teams who have nothing to play for except for pride are extremely dangerous.

Jeff: Big ACC soccer game for the men's team on Saturday night as the #19 Eagles travel to Winston-Salem to take on the No. 1 Wake Forest Demon Deacons. The Eagles record currently is 7-4-2 (3-2-0 ACC) while Wake hasn't lost since winning last year's National Championship (14-0-1, 4-0-1 ACC). Make a prediction, who wins?

Brian: This is a rematch of the 2008 ACC Tournament title game. Since the Eagles dropped to Duke 1-0 in double overtime, they are 3-0-1 in their last four games, but have had trouble finishing. I'll go with the unpopular pick of 2-1 Wake Forest and the Deacons stay undefeated.

Brian: Back in August we both predicted an Eagles victory this weekend. My final score prediction was 21-13 while you were feeling more confident in Jags and BC and predicted a 31-15 win. Having seen the Heels play a bit this year, care to switch up your prediction? Temper your expectations and your final score?

Jeff: I am still feeling very confident about Saturday. Much more so now than 2-3 weeks ago. Final score 27-10. Care to change your score prediction?

Brian: I'll stick with my original prediction. I think we'll win, and Jags is 15-1 when we score more than 20 points but only 1-3 when scoring less than 20 points.

Jeff: Last one, John Oates is going to be playing professionally for the Manchester Millrats. Surprised?

Brian: That's cool with me. I'm glad to see there's a job market for big men that can drain the 3.


Brian: Last week I appeared to have turned the corner posting a 3-2 record ... only to find out that Jeff posted a ridiculous 5 for 5 last week. With 30 games to play and me being back 6 in the loss column, it's looking grim. I have honors of picking first this week given I'm so far behind. Here is my week 9 underdog special:

  • Cincinnati at Connecticut +2
  • Boston College +3 at North Carolina
  • Texas Tech +1.5 at Kansas
  • Virginia +12 at Georgia Tech
  • Oklahoma State +12.5 at Texas
Jeff: I like 3 of your picks. I really dislike Texas Tech and I have no feelings on Connecticut.

  • Alabama -5 at Tennessee
  • Virginia Tech +5 at Florida State
  • Michigan State -4 at Michigan
  • Oregon -3 at Arizona State
  • Baylor at Nebraska -12.5

Enjoy all the sports this weekend and good luck to all the Eagles teams in action this weekend.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

ACC Roundtable 2: Changing of the Guard

This week’s ACC Roundtable is being hosted by Mike over at Tar Heel Mania, which, as the name suggests, is a North Carolina sports blog (and our opponent on Saturday). Mike will publish a wrap-up of the discussion after the rest of the ACC bloggers weigh in.

This week’s discussion centers on the changing of the guard atop the ACC’s ranked teams. #17 Virginia Tech, #18 North Carolina and #21 Wake Forest were all bounced from the Top 25 after dropping road games to conference opponents. Enter #21 Georgia Tech, #23 Boston College and #24 Florida State atop the list of ACC title game contenders.

Okay, first things first: could someone please explain what the hell just happened this past Saturday?

I tried to start explaining this in the comments section of a previous post. I just don’t think the ACC has been as crazy as the mainstream media and sports writers have made it out to be. The reasons the perception of the conference is down and last weekend’s results seem crazy to some can be explained by some rational logic. The reason why things seem crazy is because sports writers and media pundits are simply easily distracted by shiny things (and of course, blogfrica is not exempt from jumping from bandwagon to bandwagon) ...

See the progression of the MSM’s ACC champion “lock” ...

Preseason: Clemson is the team to beat, oh wait, they have no O-line and are coaching deficient ...

Week 3-4: Wake Forest is the team to beat, oh wait, they can’t score touchdowns in league games and dropped to the Midshipmen ...

Week 5-6: Carolina is resurgent! Butch Davis is king! They beat Rutgers on the road and Notre Dame at home!! Oh wait, Rutgers is Rutgers again and the Irish have gotten fat over wins against San Diego State (1-6), Michigan (2-5), Stanford (4-4) and Purdue (2-5). Combined record 9-20.

Week 7: Virginia Tech, left for dead after a blocked punt gave the ECU Pirates a win over the Hokies in Charlotte, are now the team to beat after knocking off Coastal division champion hopefuls Georgia Tech and North Carolina. Oh wait, they are inept on offense ...

Week 8: Florida State and Georgia Tech are now the team to beat. But really, who has Florida State beat? Miami by 2? NC State by 9? And Georgia Tech is currently behind the 8-ball in their own division having lost to Virginia Tech (but there is hope!).

That being said, my guess is we’ll hear about 2-3 more teams as the conference front-runner before the year is out (Virginia? Maryland? Boston College?). Will the real ACC champion please step up so we can end all this prognosticating already?

The above frames the conversation about what exactly happened last weekend.

#21 Wake Forest 0, Maryland 26. The Sam Swank-less Deacons had trouble scoring points, as redshirt freshman Shane Popham missed FGs from 47 and 40 yards. Should we be surprised? Absolutely not - when your school’s leading scorer in sidelined and all your team has managed to do in two league games is 3 point you to death. On the other side of the ball, Maryland got their offensive playmakers Darrius Heyward-Bey and Da’Rel Scott going, and that was all the Terps needed to pull out the home win.

#17 Virginia Tech 23, Boston College 28. Simply, the Boston College defense was greater than the Virginia Tech offense last Saturday night. Chris Crane and Jeff Smith make this game much more interesting with the turnovers. Without the turnovers that led to 17 points, this one isn’t close.

#18 North Carolina 13, Virginia 16 OT. Over the last three games, Virginia has suddenly found its offense in a new quarterback (Verica) and running back (Peerman). They have been very good in their past three games – all at home - but we’ll see how they handle their trip to Atlanta this weekend.

So with all that, we can only implore everyone to give this ACC season some time. The lack of a wire-to-wire presumptive champ is what is hurting this league’s image when, in fact, this conference is probably the toughest top to bottom in all of college football. Don’t believe me? Check out any one of these polls or computer rankings that rank all 120 I-A teams. The ACC might not have a top 10 team in that list, but they don’t have a team in the 100+ range either, which is more than can be said of the other 5 BCS conferences. And if you throw out NC State (ranked 96), the rest of the conference falls within the 15-59 range which is probably the closest coupling of teams in any one conference.

Good Maryland, bad Maryland. We’ve seen a fair share of both in 2008. Good Maryland may be the best team in the ACC, while bad Maryland could probably lose by 20 to anyone left on their schedule. Which Maryland do we see for the rest of the season and where do you expect the Terps to finish?

So long as Maryland can get their offensive playmakers involved, I think we’ll see much more of the good Maryland than you’ll see the bad Maryland. Their remaining schedule isn’t necessarily too favorable, with trips to Virginia Tech and Boston College upcoming, but it is manageable. The Terps have been terrible on the road – losing to Middle Tennessee State (why you even schedule this game, I have no idea) and getting blanked by Virginia. If Clemson actually is coached in the second half of their game against Maryland in Death Valley, the Terrapins could easily be 0-3 on the road this season.

We are predicting the Terps finish out their ACC schedule with a 3-2 mark pushing their overall record to 5-3. However, we don’t think that will be enough to win the division and represent the Atlantic in Tampa.

Injuries are a part of college football, but they seem to have ravaged ACC offenses this year. Wake Forest has been without Sam Swank, Clemson is without C.J. Spiller, UNC is without T.J. Yates and Brandon Tate, Virginia Tech is without Kenny Lewis Jr., and NC State is without just about everybody. Which team misses their fallen star(s) most and why?

North Carolina head coach Butch Davis was quoted as saying “Brandon not being here has nothing to do with us not winning” following the loss to Virginia. I tend to agree with a guy that built a National Championship team and guided the Miami Hurricanes to a 51-20 mark. So we’ll take his word for it.

While NC State’s injury situation has been unfortunate, the Wolfpack were never really contenders in the league this year.

So we’ll go with Wake Forest’s Sam Swank. When your star kicker scores all of your team’s points in a league game, and you end up winning the game, you are going to miss him. When you get shutout on the road by schizo Maryland and you miss two field goals, you miss your kicker. Which is a shame, because kickers shouldn’t be that important to your football team’s success. Nevertheless, it is claimed that the ACC is a defensive league, and you can take all the points you can get in league play.

Last one: the pretty much unanimous division champs were Virginia Tech and Wake Forest last week. Given all the craziness that just happened, give us your updated ACC Championship scenario.

Jeff and I agree. We think Georgia Tech is going to find a way to keep winning, and Virginia Tech somehow manages to blow their 2 game stranglehold on the Coastal Division crown with 5 to play.

In the Atlantic, we let out homerism show and have the Eagles now in the ACC Championship game. Yes, Wake’s schedule looks manageable from here on out, but their struggling offense is too big of a red flag for us to pencil them in for playing in Tampa. We aren’t drinking the Seminole kool-aid just yet (Ohhh yeah!!!) and Maryland has to travel to Chestnut Hill at season’s end and as pointed out earlier, they haven't shown they are very good on the road.

Happy Time: Flutie, Peterson-to-Gonzalez and ACC Pocket Passers

Get happy, Eagles!

Happy 46th Birthday Doug Flutie! What should we get Flutie for his birthday ... hmm. Oh, I know. How's this for a birthday present?

The Doug Flutie Statue Dedication
Save the Date
Friday, November 7, 2008 - 2:00 PM
Gate D Plaza at Alumni Stadium
Lifesize statue immortalizing the Boston College great ... that should do the trick.

Happy Anniversary to the BC football team. On this date four years ago, the Eagles rallied down 13 points at half to beat the Notre Dame Fighting Irish 24-23 in South Bend. Down 23-17 in the fourth quarter, Paul Peterson hit Tony Gonzalez on a 30 yard strike in the right corner of the endzone with 0:54 seconds left in the game. Peterson outdueled Irish quarterback Brady Quinn on the day, going 27 of 41 for 383 yards, 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. The win pushed the Eagles win streak to 4 over the Irish.

Until last year's trip to Blacksburg, this game was one of the best comeback wins we've ever attended.

Happy Trails to the five-step drop and the ACC pocket passer, says The Times-Union (FL). With the spread of the spread, the ACC has embraced the duel-threat quarterback. Florida State will see five run-threat quarterbacks in their final seven games this season. Luckily for the Eagles, with the exception of our road trip to Tallahassee, we will have already faced the better of the league's mobile quarterbacks.

Rushing stats for the ACC's top quarterback rushers below.

Tyrod TaylorVirginia Tech6814485.5274.7
Josh NesbittGeorgia Tech5823674.5573.4
Christian PonderFlorida State6552915.3048.5
Jaybo ShawGeorgia Tech3361253.5341.7
Chris CraneBoston College6471192.5719.8
Russell Wilson N.C. State548962.0219.2

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Food Chain: Midseason ACC Bowl Projections

Brian: Many of the mainstream media sites have updated their bowl projections after last week's ACC upset city weekend. ESPN is split between Florida State and Georgia Tech in the Orange Bowl, and CBS Sports has fully jumped on the Seminole bandwagon. We give you our take on the ACC bowls halfway through the season in a game of Food Chain.

Food Chain: Midseason ACC Bowl Projections

We consider these 10 ACC teams and list where we think each of these teams is going when bowling season comes around. (Here is where we thought these teams were going bowling before the season began). Of course, no bowl projection would be complete without us telling you how we think the rest of the ACC season is going to play out ...

Clemson (3-4, 1-3)

Brian: Hard to believe the presumptive preseason ACC champion will not go bowling this year, but that's exactly what is going to happen. Since Clemson went ahead and scheduled two I-AA teams on their schedule this year, only one of those wins counts towards bowl eligibility. As a result, the Tigers need to win 4 of their last 5 games to become bowl eligible (pushing their overall record to 7-5). With road trips to Boston College, Florida State and Virginia, and a home ACC game against Duke, Clemson could knock off a few of these teams, but it's highly unlikely that they will win out the rest of their ACC schedule. Even in-state rival South Carolina is going to give the Tigers all they have at the end of the season. Our bold prediction: The Tigers finish 6-6 (4-4) but only 5 of those wins count towards bowl eligibility and Clemson is golfing come December.

Miami (FL) (4-3, 1-2)

Jeff: Miami needs two more wins to become bowl eligible and there first chance to get one of those is this weekend when they host Wake Forest. The Canes are favored in that game. There next most likely chance is when they travel to NC State at the end of the season. Other games include Virginia Tech, @ Georgia Tech and @ Virginia. Given the schedule, 7-5 is the best I can see Miami finishing, but most likely 6-6.

Florida State (5-1, 2-1)

Brian: I am projecting the Seminoles to only win 3 of their remaining 6 games (and 3 of their remaining 5 ACC games). Their toughest slate of games is ahead of them - with road trips to Georgia Tech and Maryland, and home games against Virginia Tech, Boston College and Clemson. I'll say they beat Virginia Tech this weekend, beat Clemson at home and split their remaining road trips to Atlanta/College Park. That will leave the Seminoles at 5-3 in the ACC and needing help to punch their ticket to Tampa.

Georgia Tech (6-1, 3-1)

Jeff: Virginia Tech is just thrilled that they were able to come away with a win against the Yellow Jackets earlier this year. No one wants to play Georgia Tech anymore. They still need Virginia Tech to drop one more game so that Georgia Tech can control their ACC destiny, but that is very likely to happen as Brian predicts a Virginia Tech loss again this weekend (see below). Paul Johnson's crew still has Virginia, North Carolina, Florida State and Miami in the ACC. Not to mention their big rivalry game against Georgia at the end of the year. They have a very good chance to go to Tampa but will drop at least one more game this year.

Virginia Tech (5-2, 2-1)

Brian: Can Virginia Tech find it's legs on offense? Given the 9 points the Hokie offense generated in Chestnut Hill last weekend, suddenly the preseason darling of the Coastal Division's remaining ACC schedule looks that more daunting. Virginia Tech's remaining 5 games - all ACC games - are two road trips to Florida (FSU and Miami) and home games against Maryland, Duke and Virginia. I am hard-pressed to find more than 3 wins in the Hokies remaining 5 games. FSU, Maryland and Virginia are all playing good football, and Virginia Tech v. Miami is always a hard fought, close battle. To me, it's a coin flip for the Hokies finishing either 5-3 or 6-2 in the ACC this year.

Maryland (4-2, 2-1)

Jeff: Maryland's next big game is when they head to Blacksburg the first Thursday in November. Through attrition, the Terps will probably have inched into the Top 25 by then but I fully expect a loss in that game. After that they host North Carolina and Florida State before heading to Chestnut Hill. Maryland is likely to drop one of two there and be 4-3 in conference heading to Chestnut Hill. At 5-3, they might still have a shot at heading to Tamps this year so the game in Chestnut Hill may very well be for the right to represent the Atlantic Division in the ACC Championship game.

Wake Forest (4-2, 2-1)

Brian: The red flags for Wake Forest had to go up after their home loss to Navy. Much has been written about Wake Forest's talented, experienced offense, but suddenly they can't move the football. The Deacons have 1 touchdown in their first three ACC games! The rest of the ACC games might appear winnable at first glance, but there are a few traps on the schedule, starting this Saturday in Miami where Wake is currently a 3 point underdog. We can see Wake slipping up against a suddenly resurgent Virginia as well. The rest of the games are Duke and Boston College at home, and North Carolina State on the road. I'm going to predict Wake goes 5-3 but stays home for this year's ACC Championship Game. Their offensive struggles over their first three games in a decidedly defensive league are too much to overlook to pencil them in to Tampa.

North Carolina (5-2, 1-2)

Jeff: The Tar Heels have been bit by the injury bug as many teams have and unfortunately took a huge step back in the ACC by losing to Virginia last week. This is only their second loss but since those losses came to Virginia and Virginia Tech it basically eliminates them from Coastal Division contention. One more (which will hopefully come Saturday) will eliminate them from contention for sure. North Carolina's next three games are Boston College, Georgia Tech and Maryland so there is certainly a chance they go 0-3 in that stretch before having their Tobacco Road rivalry games to finish the season.

Boston College (5-1, 2-1)

Brian: It's a 4 game season for BC now. While a win in Chapel Hill will help BC in the polls and the BCS standings (currently on the outside looking in ...), it doesn't mean anything to the Atlantic Division race now since everyone in the Atlantic has at least 1 league loss through 3 games. The games that matter are the Eagles road trips to Tallahassee and Winston-Salem, and our home games against Clemson and Maryland. Run the table in the Atlantic and the Eagles are Tampa bound. While we could be favored in every one of those 4 games and could win all 4 of those games, I think we will get tripped up in one of those games. The key is which game will it be? I'm going to predict that we win both of our home games against reeling Clemson and Maryland, beat the Noles in Doak Campbell but fall to Wake Forest in Winston-Salem. Wake has had our number at home the last 4 years. Still, if the Eagles go 4-1 in their remaining 5 ACC games, we project Wake Forest to lose 2 other games and finish 1 loss behind BC.

Virginia (4-3, 2-1)

Jeff: Virginia controls their own destiny in the ACC Coastal. The Cavalier's lone ACC loss came to Duke but that will not be a factor in any potential Coastal Division tiebreakers. Virginia still has road games at Georgia Tech, Wake Forest and Virginia Tech with two home games against Miami and Clemson in there so the schedule is not even close to easy but controlling your own destiny at this point in the season is important. I predict Virginia loses to Georgia Tech this weekend and therefore sits home and looks for help from other teams the rest of the way but I still see them winning 3 of their last 5 conference games and having a nice season finishing 5-3 in the ACC, but a poor 7-5 record overall.

Brian's Food Chain

1. Orange Bowl - Boston College - please, please, please let this be the year ... we either avenge our home loss to Georgia Tech or beat Virginia Tech more decisively than we did last week
2. Chick-Fil-A Bowl nee Peach Bowl - Virginia Tech - The Hokies finish 6-2 or 5-3, finish 1 game behind everyone else in the ACC and given the Hokies travel rep, this is a no-brainer
3. Gator Bowl - Georgia Tech
4. Champs Sports Bowl - Florida State - Florida bowl, Florida team ... a short 4 hour drive down I-75 for the Noles
5. Meineke Car Care Bowl - Wake Forest - Carolina bowl, Carolina team
6. Music City Bowl - Maryland
7. Emerald Bowl - North Carolina - Butch Davis has this team going in the right direction, and that starts with a bowl appearance in his 2nd year
8. Humanitarian Bowl - Virginia - Al Groh saves his job?
9. Eagle Bank Bowl - Miami (FL) - Miami just happy to get to 6 wins and bowling, this bowl really wants Maryland against Navy, but I just don't think the Terps will fall this far.

Jeff's Food Chain

1. Orange Bowl - the winner of Georgia Tech vs. Boston College
2. Chick-Fil-A Bowl - Florida State
3. Gator Bowl - Virginia Tech
4. Champs Sports Bowl - the loser of Georgia Tech vs. Boston College
5. Meineke Car Care Bowl - North Carolina
6. Music City Bowl - Maryland
7. Emerald Bowl - Virginia
8. Humanitarian Bowl - Wake Forest - I think Wake's season is headed downhill fast.
9. Eagle Bank Bowl - Miami (FL)

There is our list. Leave your thoughts in the comments section.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Blogpoll: Week 8

Final draft based on the comments we received.

The top 13 teams remain unchanged. We dropped Missouri down 4 more spots to #18 given that they have lost the last two weeks. (Surprisingly, Missouri can still very easily win the Big XII North, where Kansas is the only team posting a league mark over .500). As a result, South Florida and Pittsburgh jump 1 spot. Boise State moves up two spots, 1 ahead of TCU (to reward their unblemished record to date).

Kansas up 1 spot, Northwestern down 3. Tulsa enters our poll at 22 (for bcmike - we checked it and it's true, Tulsa is scoring an assload of points), and Northwestern/Vanderbilt replaces Minnesota/Brigham Young for the 24 and 25 slots.


1 Texas 1
2 Alabama 1
3 Penn State --
4 Oklahoma State --
5 Oklahoma 3
6 Georgia --
7 Texas Tech --
8 Southern Cal 1
9 Florida 4
10 LSU 4
11 Utah 1
12 Georgia Tech 3
13 Ohio State 9
14 South Florida 7
15 Boise State 4
16 TCU 10
17 Pittsburgh 9
18 Missouri 5
19 Boston College 4
20 Florida State 6
21 Kansas 5
22 Tulsa 4
23 Virginia Tech 11
24 Northwestern 2
25 Vanderbilt --

Dropped Out: Brigham Young (#11), Wake Forest (#17), North Carolina (#18), Michigan State (#20), Ball State (#24).

Weekly Hockey Primer: A Weekend Split

Weekend Recap

10/17/2008 - BC 5, Bowling Green 3

The Eagles, enjoying home ice, jumped out to a 2-0 lead behind two goals by Brock Bradford en route to a 5-3 win over the Bowling Green Falcons. Uncharacteristically, the Eagles were outshot 28-18 in the game. Sophomore goalie John Muse had 25 saves in 60 minutes of work to push his record to 2-0-0.

10/18/2008 - Northeastern 4, BC 3

Now before everyone goes saying that the "sky is falling" because we lost to Northeastern, fear not. This Northeastern team is a very good one this year. Northeastern returns almost their entire roster from a year ago and they were picked to finish 4th behind BC, BU and UNH this season in Hockey East. As the College Hockey blog points out, the Eagles last two losses came at the hands (skates?) of Northeastern - 7 months apart. Still, you don't see this often - the Eagles are currently tied for last in the Hockey East standings.


The loss to Northeastern dropped the Eagles to 2-1-0, 0-1-0 Hockey East and out of the top spot in this week's College Sports Poll. The Eagles are ranked 3rd this week behind Colorado College (4-0-0) and Denver (3-0-0). Other Hockey East representatives in the poll this week are New Hampshire up two spots at #4, Boston University down 1 spot to #6, Vermont at #11 and Northeastern enters the poll this week at #14.

Hockey East Fan Voting

Thanks to Christian for these links. Hockey East, in celebration of the 25th year of the league, are hosting various fan voting polls on their website. Support the Eagles by voting in each of the below polls:
The polls run through March 9, 2009.

Next Up

The Eagles only have one game this week, a Friday night home game against the 11th ranked Vermont Catamounts. The Eagles last faced Vermont in the Hockey East championship game, a game the Eagles won 4-0.

As an added bonus for those hockey fans that live outside of the greater Boston area, the game will be televised Friday night on ESPNU starting at 7:30pm.