Saturday, January 31, 2009

Mt. Rushmore: Doug Flutie

We continue our profile of Boston College sports greats to arrive at our BC athletics make-believe Mt. Rushmore...

Name: Doug Flutie
Born: October 1962 in Catonsville, MD
Sport: Football
BC Era: 1981-1984

Why He's In
  • Broke the program's 39-year bowl drought by leading the team to the 1982 Tangerine Bowl, the 1983 Liberty Bowl and the 1985 Cotton Bowl
  • Defeated Miami 47-45 on probably the most memorable play in college football history
  • On his famous "Hail Mary!" pass completion to Gerard Phelan, he threw the ball 65 yards in the air
  • Led the program to its last major bowl win, defeating Houston 45-28 in the 1985 Cotton Bowl.
  • The Eagles would finish the 1984 season 10-2 and would match the highest final AP ranking (No. 5) in program history.
  • Our school's only Heisman Trophy winner
  • Flutie's hardware from his 1984 season also includes the Maxwell Award (player of the year), Walter Camp Award (player of the year), UPI, Kodak and The Sporting News Player of the Year and Davey O'Brien Award (best quarterback)
  • Left school in 1984 as the NCAA’s all-time passing yardage leader with 10,579 yards and total yards with 11,318
  • Holds Eagles records for single-game passing yards (520) and single-game passing TDs (6)
  • Also smart! Rhodes Scholar finalist
  • Creator of the (somewhat controversial) "Flutie Effect" theory - the phenomenon of having a successful college sports team increase the exposure for a university (after the 1984 football season, undergrad applications surged 16 percent in 1984 and 12 percent in 1985).
  • Sports Illustrated cover boy four times (2 times as a B.C. Eagle)
  • Already has a statue commemorating his Hail Mary pass outside of Alumni Stadium

Maybe Not?
  • Um ... he never beat Notre Dame?

  • Acronym which includes his name reminds unknowing co-eds the order of the four main buildings in the Quad
  • (We know we said pro success doesn't count but) Dude's got his own cereal

Quote from the movie Rushmore that may or may not lend credence to his candidacy

Mr. Littlejeans: Best play ever, man.



Friday, January 30, 2009

Poll Results: You Down with S-P-A-Z?

Yeah you know me ...

Here are the results from our most recent sidebar poll - "Spaziani as the next HC, that cool with you?"  Our readers have spoken and a majority of Eagles fans are happy with the hire of Frank Spaziani.
  • Absolutely! - 44 votes (44%)
  • Shoulda gone external - 37 votes (37%)
  • I'm indifferent - 19 votes (19%) 
Regardless of your feelings on the whole coaching search, it's time for Eagles fans to unite and rally around our new coaching staff.

Our next sidebar poll asks readers to weigh in on our BC athletics make-believe Mt. Rushmore.  Vote for up to four different Boston College sports legends and the final results will perhaps sway our final decision ... Perhaps ...

Go Eagles!

Round and Round Goes the Coaching Carousel and the Big Finish

Brian:  Two BC coaches landed in new positions on Thursday.  Bill McGovern has been named the new defensive coordinator of the Eagles, promoted by HC Frank Spaziani after 9 seasons as linebacker coach.  Jeff Jagodzinski lands with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as their new offensive coordinator.  Spaziani still has his work cut out for him though.  He still has to hire a linebackers coach, a tight end/special teams coach and an offensive line coach.  Your thoughts on the latest go-round on the coaching carousel?

Jeff: Eh. Whatever.  I am happy for McGovern. As I'm sure you remember we randomly had a lengthy conversation with his wife during the 2007 season so I feel more of a connection with him than other BC coaches. Is it what is best for the program? I honestly don't know.  I have no objections to this particular hire but I am still not thrilled with the coaching changes as a whole this off-season.

Brian: McGovern does come from my mom's hometown - Oradell, NJ - and should continue to help the Eagles recruiting efforts in northern New Jersey.  Linebackers DiSanzo and Toal were recruited out of Don Bosco Prep.

Turning to the offensive side of the ball, with the hire of Gary Tranquill as offensive coordinator, does Ryan Day stay with the Eagles?

Jeff: I would think he'll stay. Tranquill can't be around too long.  And when did every BC assistant coach become such a hot commodity that they can just pick up and leave without a job waiting for them?

Brian:  Way too early, but make a prediction.  Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons will play Coach Jagodzinski and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers two times next year.  How does the season series go down?

Jeff: Falcons win both, 2-0.

Big Finish

Jeff:  The baseball team was picked to finish 5th of 6th in the Atlantic Division this season in the ACC Baseball Coaches poll, ahead of only Maryland.  Progress?

Brian:  Woooo!  Well, not really.  Last season we finished DFL with Maryland in the Atlantic Division standings (9-21-0), so winning 1 more game than Maryland this season doesn't sound like much progress to me.

Brian:  The Brighton task force charged with reviewing B.C.'s expansion plan has done an about-face and approved the part of the proposal that allows the school to build an 150-student dorm on the Archdiocese property.  However, the advisory group deep sixed plans to build an additional 350-student dorm on the Brighton Campus and told them to house those students on Main Campus.  You surprised?

Jeff: I've never understood Brighton being anti-BC so nothing they do will surprise me.

Jeff:  Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin skated with Jerry York and the Eagles on Monday.  Will Ovechkin rub off on the Eagles enough to get them past Northeastern in the first round of the Beanpot?

Brian: I hope the Eagles can knock off Northeastern, but it is going to be tough this year. This isn't your older brother's Northeastern hockey squad.

Brian:  BC goes for their fourth straight ACC hoops win tomorrow night as they host the Virginia Tech Hokies.  The Hokies knocked off the Eagles 79-71 in Blacksburg less than 2 weeks ago.  Make a prediction for the game. 

Jeff: I really want to see a BC win but losing to Virginia Tech is a very real possibility.  VT has a strong team.  I'll preface my prediction with an assumption that there is a large student student tomorrow night.  If the crowd is energized, I predict an Eagles victory.

Jeff:  Ex-Eagle netminder Scott Clemmensen is getting plenty of pub these days.  First he was named Hockey East's All-Time Unsung Hero, then he got the same treatment in USA Today for his homecoming as the Devils traveled to Boston last night and knocked off the Bruins in OT 4-3.  But what will become of Clem when Brodeur comes back for the Devils in a few weeks?  

Brian:  I'm not really sure. Brodeur is already 36 years old and will be 37 before the 2009-2010 season. Clemmensen could stay on with the Devils as a "goalie-in-waiting" (a la Matt Cassell and the Patriots), but just like Brodeur he is getting up there in age and could easily parlay his Devils hot streak to a starting job somewhere else. Clemmensen is 15-7, with a 2.21 goals against average, and a .924 save percentage since replacing Brodeur and backup Kevin Weekes!

Brian:  Boston College nominated UFood Grill as the "Best Healthy Lunch" in this year's Top of the Heights contest.  You ever eaten at a UFood Grill, Jeff?  (Seriously ... it's quite delicious!)

Jeff: No. You know as well as anyone that I don't eat anywhere that claims to have healthy entrees.

Jeff: Last one, Super Bowl this weekend. Who you rooting for and who wins?

Brian: Since I don't particularly follow either team, I'll cheer for the Arizona Cardinals and BC alum Brian St. Pierre and Patrick Ross. And if there is one thing I have learned over the years, it is to never count out Kurt Warner. Arizona 28, Pittsburgh 22.

Leave your Super Bowl predictions in the comments section below.

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

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Mt. Rushmore: Jerry York

Our task at arriving at our BC athletics make-believe Mt. Rushmore - Mt. Eaglemore? - starts with what seems to be a non-controversial candidate, Jerry York.

Name: Jerry York
Born: July 1945 in Watertown, MA
Sport: Men's Ice Hockey
BC Era: 1963-1967 (player), 1994-present (coach)

Why He's In
  • Double Eagle
  • Ranks among the school's all-time leaders in career points, goals, assists, single season points and single season assists
  • Led the Eagles to a 60-26 record, the 1965 Beanpot and a second-place finish in the 1965 NCAA Tournament
  • Captain, leading scorer, MVP and All-American with the Eagles 1966-1967 squad
  • Inducted into the Boston College Varsity Club Athletic Hall of Fame in 1982
  • Winningest active coach in NCAA men's division I history (over 800 wins)
  • Four Hockey East regular season titles and 6 Hockey East tournament championships
  • Eight Frozen Four appearances in eleven years from 1998 to 2008, 6 title game appearances
  • 2 National Championships with the Eagles
  • One of only three coaches in NCAA history to lead two schools to National titles
  • Great recruiter (coached 8 Eagles to NHL first-round draft selections - Reasoner, Orpik, Kolanos, Kobasew, Boyle, Eaves, Schneider, Petrecki)

Maybe Not?
  • A lot of his wins that helped him procure a spot as winningest active men's hockey coach came with stops at Clarkson (7 years) and Bowling Green (15 years)
  • If you are going to have one ice hockey coach on BC Mt. Rushmore, do you go with Jerry York or John "Snooks" Kelley? Or even Len Ceglarski? Kelley coached the Eagles for 40 years (York for only 15) and won the 1949 National title. Kelley coached the Eagles to 501 wins and the rink at Silvio O. Conte Forum is named after him! Ceglarski has 673 wins.
  • Solid recruiter? Doesn't the program sell itself?

  • Suit + sweater vest + tie looks hot carved in granite
  • Won more national championships for the school than any other BC coach? (Football 0, Basketball 0, Sailing ??)

Quote from the movie Rushmore that may or may not lend credence to his candidacy

Herman Blume: What's the secret, Max?
Max Fischer: The secret?
Herman Blume: Yeah, you seem to have it pretty figured out.
Max Fischer: The secret, I don't know... I guess you've just gotta find something you love to do and then... do it for the rest of your life. For me, it's going to Rushmore.


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Who Belongs on the Mt. Rushmore of BC Athletics?

Brian: The Worldwide Leader's latest gimmick - something they are calling the "Mt. Rushmore of Sports" - asks readers to nominate four people to represent each US state's make-believe Mount Rushmore.

From ESPN:
SportsCenter, ESPN’s flagship news and information program, and, the leading online sports destination, will combine to present a five-week, fan-based series to celebrate the sports icons from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. The series, titled "SportsCenter Mount Rushmore of Sports," will use fan-generated nominations on to identify the top four sports greats in each state/region, and online voting to select the state with the most impressive collection of sports luminaries worthy of being etched in the state’s Mount Rushmore of sports.

The five states with the most significant collection of sports icons will be revealed February 16-20 on SportsCenter.

Why would ESPN subject us to this? Because Titletown U.S.A. and Who's Now? weren't good enough? This whole thing sounds kinda lame ... but that's beside the point. We are convinced the four-letter network MUST have got the idea from golden boy Bill Simmons and his Mt. Rapmore concept. Even if the network and BS have been feuding ...

Even though we cringe at associating ourselves with anything even somewhat related to Bill Simmons (let's be clear, this is a B.C. sports blog and dude has been crying about his Boston Coll. rejection letter for as far back as we can remember), we decided to bite.

The question we started to ask was who would be placed on the Mt. Rushmore of Boston College athletics?

Over the next week or so, we will profile 8-10 candidates who we would consider placing on a Mt. Rushmore of BC athletics. Then after we have revealed our candidates, we'll unveil who should be on BC's Mt. Rushmore (or put it to a reader vote if there's interest, or something).

The guidelines:
  • Only considering individuals who have made the most significant contributions to Boston College athletics - fair game would be coaches, athletic directors, school administrators/presidents or players that have come through Boston College.
  • Significant contributions to athletics beyond The Heights should not be considered. E.g. if someone goes on to have a very successful career in the NFL, NHL, NBA, or MLB (MLB and B.C.?! Ha!), this shouldn't have any bearing on the decision.
  • One of the unique features of the actual Mt. Rushmore is that the four presidents represent different eras of the country's (then) 150 year history. The four Boston College representatives shouldn't merely represent the last 7-8 years of BC sports. They should be more representative of our 146 years as an institution. In other words, you won't see a final BC Mt. Rushmore of Troy Bell, Craig Smith, Matt Ryan, and Nathan Gerbe as they are all very recent contributors to BC.
But before we begin unveiling our candidates, we are interested in your thoughts. Who ya got on a BC athletics version of Mt. Rushmore?

Over/Under: Hoops Forecast

The Eagles got a much needed win last night, coming back from a 16 point first half deficit to beat the Maryland Terrapins in College Park, 76-67. We take a look at the rest of this season with a game of over/under.

Brian: My boy, Joe Trapani, finished last night 1 rebound shy of his seventh double-double on the season.

Over/Under - 4 more double-doubles for Joe Trapani on the season

Jeff: There are plenty more opportunities for him with the rest of ACC play, the ACC tourney and the NCAA or NIT tournament. However, just as he fell one board short last night, that will happen several more times and I don't think he will have more than 4 more double-doubles so I'm going under.

Brian: Over! Trapani has emerged as the team's second leading scorer behind Rice, averaging 13.7 points per game. So points are not going to be the issue. The struggle will be to pull down 10 boards a night. He has already missed double-doubles by 1 board three times this season (Central Connecticut, Harvard and Maryland), so I don't see many more games the rest of the way where he falls just short. Also, three of his 6 double-doubles have come in ACC play, so he has shown he can get it done in conference as well. I'm going over on this one. Trap tallies at least 5 double-doubles the rest of the way.

Jeff: Emerged? He's been the second leading scorer all season, no?

Brian: Emerged as in Rakim Sanders being the de facto #2 scorer in the preseason. And emerged as in I don't remember hearing much about Trapani in Raj's preseason basketball preview!

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.
Trapani has emerged as a much more complete player than those three guys he was compared to in the preseason.

Over/Under - 1.5 games Tyrese Rice fouls out of this year.

Brian: Under. Rice has fouled out only 1 time this season - against Harvard. He has racked up four fouls in a game 5 times. Both he and Skinner know how valuable it is that Rice stay on the floor. I can see Rice fouling out in one more game, but I don't think he'll foul out more than 1 game so I am going under. The only wildcard I see is if Rice has 4 and he has to foul late in the second half if the Eagles are trailing by a few points, but I'll stick with my under prediction.

Jeff: I'll go by my old standby of assuming you are wrong and therefore go OVER. Rice can easily foul out twice just from committing some fouls in garbage time while we are trailing.

Brian: Great analysis there!

Over/Under - 1.5 more wins on our current 3 game winning streak

Jeff: This is a tough one. I want to say over and I think it will go over if we can defeat the Hokies on Saturday night. The second game against Virginia should be very winnable. You know I am very optimistic on this year's basketball team so I'm saying over, but very cautiously.

Brian: Interestingly, kenpom has this backwards. His predictor has the Eagles beating the Hokies at home this Saturday 73-70 but losing to the Cavaliers on the road next Wednesday. I guess some sort of home-court advantage is at play here? I'll also cautiously go over. Our game in Blacksburg was certainly winnable and Virginia is not playing good basketball of late (having lost their last 4 ACC games).

Over/Under - 6th seed in ACC tournament for the Eagles

Brian: The way this is shaping up, to finish 5th or higher, the Eagles would likely have to jump both Florida State and Virginia Tech in the standings. I'm going to assume for a second that Wake Forest, Duke, North Carolina and Clemson (in that order) finish with the top 4 spots in the conference, earning a first-round bye.

I also think that the Eagles will be able to beat both Florida State and Virginia Tech at home. Now, while the Hokies are sitting pretty at 4-1, they have their toughest stretch of ACC basketball ahead of them - Clemson, at BC, Florida State, at Clemson, Duke, North Carolina and at Florida State. Being a very young squad, I'm going to again assume that the Hokies can only pull out one of those games which would give them at best a 9-7 conference record.

Florida State is only 3-2 in the ACC so far and has tough games coming up as well. Virginia Tech x2, North Carolina, at Clemson, at Wake Forest, Miami, at BC, Clemson, at Duke. I'm going to predict they finish 8-8 in conference.

Since I think the Eagles can beat the 'Noles, and I see the Eagles finishing 8-8, these two teams would likely tie for the 6th seed with the Eagles winning the head-to-head tiebreaker. I think the season will wrap up as:

1. Duke (13-3 or 14-2)
2. Wake Forest (13-3 or 12-4)
3. North Carolina (12-4)
4. Clemson (10-6)
5. Virginia Tech (9-7)
6. Boston College (8-8)
7. Florida State (8-8)
8. Miami (FL) (8-8 or 7-9)

Therefore, I will go with the very un-manly Push and say the Eagles earn the 6th seed in the ACC Tournament.

Jeff: Your assumptions are certainly reasonable and pushing here is a likely scenario given what we know now but the great thing about sports is that you never know what is actually going to happen. I see the Hokies potentially falling past the 5 spot and the Eagles finishing 9-7, with outside chances at 10-6 or 8-8. Given the conference being very top heavy. 8-8 is probably still good enough to finish 6 as you say, but I'll once again be the BC basketball optimist and say the Eagles grab the 6th seed or better. It is also very possible that Wake goes on a slide and falls past a top 4 seed and a first round BYE. The same holds true for Clemson but believe it or not, Clemson is now the team that has done it before and has more experience so I think Clemson is more likely to remain in the top 4 between them and Wake. No chance Duke or UNC fall past #4.

Brian: Letting your Tiger stripes show! I say 0% chance Wake falls below Clemson. Wake will only lose once or twice more in ACC play (against Duke). Clemson is already 1 game back of Wake in the standings and the Tigers still have to play Duke and Wake a second time in their regular season finale.

Last one, Over/Under - 6.5 ACC teams making the NCAA tournament

Jeff: I'm going over here. North Carolina, Duke, Wake, Clemson and Virginia Tech are locks to make the tournament unless something drastic happens. Boston College, Florida State, and Miami should currently be getting serious consideration. I say two of those if not all three will make it and that get the ACC to 7 or 8 without another team in the conference making a late season/ACC tournament run.

Brian: I am going with the unpopular under pick here. I believe the ACC will only get 6 bids into the tournament. I see Miami (FL) sliding the rest of the way out. I count 5 more losses on the Hurricane's ACC regular season schedule which would put them with a relatively undesirable 7-9 record in conference.

In your group of three teams under consideration, I only see room for one of those teams in the tournament. I think it will come down to either Boston College or Florida State as the 6th and final team to come out of the ACC. All three teams will be hovering around 21-10 to end the regular season and whichever team makes the furthest run in the ACC championship will ultimately get the nod. Unfortunately, by my estimation BC is in the worst position of the three given some bad/quality losses (at Saint Louis, vs. Harvard) and a much weaker SOS. Both Miami and Florida State don't have any bad losses on the season. Florida State has some quality out of conference wins against Cincinnati, California and in-state rival Florida, while Miami has a good out-of-conference win at Kentucky.

Headlines: Eagles Shell Shock Terps

Jeff: Somebody forgot to tell Maryland, whose mascot is a turtle, that slow and steady wins the race. It's not how you start, it is how you finish.

In the famous tortoise and hare story, Maryland certainly played the role of the hare by getting out to a 16 point first half lead only to fade quickly in the second half and ultimately lost the game by 9 points. The Eagles looked very poor in the first half, looking almost as though they didn't even want to be there. Rice spent most of the half on the bench which is an extremely unusual thing for him and this team. The second half was different though. Brian, what, if anything, did you see that helped turn the momentum in BC's favor?

Brian: Well, Rice was on the bench for most of the first half with three fouls. One offensive foul followed by a poorly taken defensive foul and he rode the pine for much of the first half. We need Rice to be more disciplined and not get into foul trouble so early.

What did I like? Biko Paris draining a 3 point bucket to end the first half cut the lead to a much more manageable 11 points. That was a key bucket in the game.

Jeff: I agree that the Paris 3 was big.

Brian: Also, somehow without any changes to the offensive playcalling, we were consistently able to beat the Terrapin full-court pressure in the second half. Rice and Trapani did a better-than-average job of beating the trap.

Jeff: The primary reason why the Eagles didn't struggle against full court pressure in the second half was because Maryland didn't score everytime. After a made basket it is possible for the defensive team to get into its full court press. After a miss or a turnover all the team can do is pick up man to man which is largely ineffective.

Brian: You also have to like the second half play of Rakim Sanders - the international man of mystery wearing a nameless #33 jersey - and Corey Raji. Sanders scored 11 of his 16 in the second half, and I thought his tip in bucket late in the second half (2:26 to go) off a Reggie Jackson missed fade-away jumper typified his solid, aggressive performance last night. This Maryland team is equally undersized, and it was great to see Sanders streak to the net for the putback. Raji was also a solid contributor from the bench with 9 points.

Finally, I know a lot of Eagles fans are critical of the Flex offense, but offense has not been the problem for this team. In fact, a third of the way through conference play, the Eagles rank #3 in offensive efficiency behind only Duke and North Carolina. The problem and the inconsistency with this team has come from our defense (defensive efficiency is the other side of the coin, as the Eagles rank 10 of 12). Tonight, the defense was much better in the second half as we limited the Terps to 27 points and 11 of 37 shooting. If the defense can duplicate efforts like this, the Eagles will be tough to stop throughout the rest of conference play.

It was also kinda funny to see Grievis Vasquez crying on the bench after fouling out in the second half. Vasquez finished with 18 points. While I have nothing personal on the guy (I mean, he's no J.J. Redick or Greg Paulus), Vasquez might be one of the most hated ACC ballers across the conference. Why is this?

Jeff: Why is Vasquez hated?
  • look at him
  • he thinks he's better than he is
  • Maryland fans think he's better than he is
  • he commits a lot of fouls

Vasquez being hated this year is not going to be an ACC storyline it seems as the Terps are sliding in the conference standings.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Five Good Minutes: Beanpot Preview

fetch over at The College Hockey Blog had us on for some Q&A about this year's Eagles hockey team in preparation for the 57th Annual Beanpot Tournament that kicks off this Monday, February 2. We answered questions about managing preseason expectations, replacing Gerbe, the legend of Jerry York and sold the exclusive rights to our game predictions to fetch's blog.

Throughout the week leading up to the Beanpot, The College Hockey Blog will have Q&A from the other schools participating in the Beanpot. So be sure to check back and read up on what the BU, Harvard and Northeastern reps have to say.

The schedule for Monday, February 2 is:

Semifinal #1 - Boston University vs. Harvard - 5pm
Semifinal #2 - Boston College vs. Northeastern - 8pm

Both games will be shown on NESN. Go Eagles!

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Curious Case of Gary Tranquill

If you haven't seen the movie yet, first watch the trailer.

After watching the preview, or having seen the movie, can you not tell me that this movie reminds you of our recent OC hire??

My name is Gary Tranquill, and I was born under unusual circumstances. While everyone else was agin', I was gettin' younger... all alone.

Jesuit Priest: How old are you?
GT: 68 ... but I look a lot older.
Jesuit Priest: God bless you, he’s 68.

Spaz: Gene, this is my new offensive coordinator GT.
Gene: You’re so old.
GT: Only on the outside.

Spaz: You got your coaching legs about you, old man?
GT: I think.

Random Superfan: He gives me the willies. That is not for me.

Daisy: Gary, where are you going?
GT: Off to Boston College. I’ll send you a postcard.
Daisy: Write me a postcard from everywhere!

(Daisy would go on to receive postcards from Annapolis, Charlottesville, Cleveland, Blacksburg, East Lansing, Charlottesville, Chapel Hill, Dusseldorf, and Chestnut Hill)

Spaz: I was thinking how nothing lasts, and what a shame that is.
GT: Some things last.

GT: For what it's worth: it's never too late to be whoever you want to be. There's no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you're proud of. If you find that you're not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.

Spaz: Goodnight Gary.
GT: Goodnight Spaz.

the curious case of

FALL 2009


Brian: Look, nothing against his age. That is the least of my concerns. It just seems curious that the program would replace one ex-NFL Europe QB guy for another ... who is 12 years older than Logan and no more accomplished (and possibly less accomplished) than Logan as a head coach and OC.

If someone can explain this move, please enlighten me.

What are others saying?

Boston College: now sponsored by Touch of Grey (EDSBS)
Spaz dips into the Rolodex (Dr. Saturday)
First hire a respectable one (Heather Dinich)

Headlines: Eagles Top NC State

Brian: The Eagles improved to 3-3 in ACC play after their two wins against Georgia Tech and North Carolina State last week. Jeff, what did you like about Saturday's game?

Jeff: You have to like a double digit conference win any time you can get one. NC State is a team that the Eagles have had tremendous success against over the last few years even dating back to a few matchups while we were still in the Big East. You also have to like that there are several players on the floor that are capable of making some big plays for us whether if be a Corey Raji offensive rebound putback, a Rakim Sanders three-point basket, a Trapani jumper, a bucket from Southern down low, or any number of things from Rice and Jackson. The Eagles appear as though the sky is the limit when they are playing well.

Unfortunately though, the Eagles don't always play well and our lack of depth at center and forward or just lack of a center entirely is frequently exposed. But the most concerning thing from Saturday's game was the blown 20 point lead early in the second half. The Eagles extended their lead to 20 at the start of the 2nd half only to let the Wolfpack go on a run and cut the deficit to 3 in the blink of an eye. I don't know what happened or why the team fell apart or if NC State just got that hot while we went cold but against better competition, this game could've been lost.

Brian: You have to like the results on the boards Saturday, with the Eagles outrebounding the 'Pack by 21. Raji led the way with 12 rebounds, Trapani had 10, Southern 7 and Rice and Sanders each pitched in 4. If the Eagles can remain aggressive on the boards to compensate for their height disadvantage or lack of a big man (when Southern gets in foul trouble), they can run with anyone in conference.

Next up for the Eagles is a road trip to the Comcast Center to face a 13-6 (2-3 ACC) Maryland squad. The Terrapins are equally undersized and should come out hungry, as last Saturday they suffered the worst loss during the tenure of Gary Williams, a 85-44 beat down courtesy of Coach K and the Blue Devils.

Quickly ... The NC State blog StateFan Nation tiers the ACC men's basketball programs ... Monday's game between the women's NC State team and Wake Forest has been postponed until February 10 due to the passing of women's basketball coach Kay Yow; as a result NC State will next play the Eagles on Thursday ... The men's hockey team got back on track with a pair of wins against Maine ... The College Hockey blog recaps the weekend around college hockey ... women's hockey extends their Hockey East lead over the weekend, topping Vermont 5-0 and 5-0 ... ex-Eagle commit TE Arthur Lynch staying loyal to Georgia ... BC gets a kicker ($) ... Gary Tranquill, really?? ... HD weighs in on the hire (meh) ... Miami close to hiring once BC HC bridesmaid Mark Whipple as their offensive coordinator

Friday, January 23, 2009

Bicknell Jr. Out and the Big Finish

Jeff: Jack Bicknell Jr. is out. He's headed to the Giants to coach under Tom Coughlin as an assistant offensive line coach. Of the three names tossed around as the internal head coach candidates to replace Jags, now one of them is the coach and the other two, Logan and Bicknell, are gone. Personally, I think this was one of the major downfalls of promoting Spaz. I think the most likely scenarios had Logan and Bicknell both leaving if they were not named HC, but if Spaz had not been named HC, I think he would've stayed on as defensive coordinator, don't you? Now that Bicknell and Logan are both officially gone, are you more disappointed with the Spaz hire or were these departures already factored in to your initial frustration?

Brian: I think Spaziani would have stayed on as defensive coordinator if he wasn't promoted, but you never know how disappointment plays out with individuals. Disappointment affects people in different ways. Sounds like Bicknell Jr. - having at least some head coaching experience - felt pretty disappointed that he wasn't promoted to head coach. According to Blaudschun, he received assurances, but no guarantee from DeFilippo or Spaziani that he would be retained on the coaching staff. I am glad to see that he joins BC South (the New York Giants) and his friend and ex-BC Head Coach Tom Coughlin.

Regardless of how you feel about the Jagodzinski firing, this is a tough loss for the coaching staff. These losses - however - were certainly already factored into my initial frustration. I know some Eagles fans welcomed the departure of Steve Logan, but I thought he was a good coordinator that helped to open up the offense with Matt Ryan. With Bicknell Jr., the team moved to the new zone blocking scheme in 2007. While BC had its growing pains adopting the new blocking scheme, the line seemed to play much better this season.

I'll be very interested to see how our last two seasons worth of offensive recruits (both skill position players and the offensive linemen) adapt if the system is changed for next season. At least in the short-term, I think this may have an impact on the 2009 and 2010 seasons. Would you agree?

Jeff: I am not a football Xs and Os guy so I don't know how detrimental a change in schemes would be but the whole continuity thing that Gene stressed in coaching should be because he wants to build around recent success and have success with out current players. Hiring externally, theoretically, would've been more detrimental to our 2009-10 seasons.

Brian: This was somewhat assumed, but today Blaudschun is reporting that Ryan Day and Bill McGovern are the leading candidates to take over the offensive coordinator and defensive coordinator posts, respectively, in 2009. That cool with you?

Jeff: I am cool with that as long as they don't then promote grad assistants and water girls to fill McGovern, Day, and now Bicknell Jr.'s current positions. You can't replace EVERYONE with internal people!

Big Finish

Brian: With BC's victory over Georgia Tech, the four game losing streak is over. What are the odds the Eagles follow that with a four game win streak?

Jeff: Pretty decent. BC gets NC State (10-6) tomorrow and then head to Maryland (13-5). I'll be slightly optimistic and say the Eagles have a 75% chance of winning those two. Then Virginia Tech comes to town Saturday night which will be a tough game for sure and a coin flip at best. So I'll say 37.5% chance of winning the next three to give us a four game winning streak.

Jeff: Since this month has been all about streaks, odds men's ice hockey finally breaks theirs and gets a W?

Brian: I will go high here with a homer pick and say 89%!

Brian: It is not all bad news on the football front. BC received a verbal commitment from Kentucky running back Rolandan Finch. His nickname is apparently "Deuce" ... I'll assume he gets that nickname from weighing in at 198 lbs. Safe bet he'll be wearing #2 coming out of the backfield next year (with the departure of Brandon Robinson)? So what is the best nickname ever for a Boston College player?

Jeff: Personally I hated the "Matty Ice" nickname and the "Pistol Pete" nickname for my boy Paul Peterson. Best? I can't even come up with one good one.

Brian: I can't think of many good nicknames either ... how about "Ugly Dudley?"

Dudley: Let's see, there's "Ugly Dudley,"because my last name sort of rhymes with ugly. I hear that a lot when I'm at the free-throw line. And they don't like it when I talk to the refs. I'm telling the refs what to look out for, because I'm trying to gain an advantage anyway I can. So a lot of people call me "crybaby" and stuff like that. But I like playing on the road, and I like it when they say those things. Fans should get on you, they should make it hard for the opposing team.

Jeff: Since it is difficult to find success stories in BC athletics lately, we turn to the women's ice hockey who have won 5 of 6 heading in to a weekend series at Vermont. Can the girls sweep the potheads?

Brian: Ha. Potheads! Absolutely. Vermont is near the bottom of the HEA standings and BC is currently in first place (with the women's odd points system with shootout wins and shootout losses). Serious DAP to the Lady Eagles hockey team!

Brian: Last one, the Wiz of Odds takes a look at BCS conference bowl records over the last three years. The ACC went 11-13-2 in bowl games against the spread and 10-16 straight up. The only BCS conference with a worse winning percentage the last 3 seasons has been the Big Ten. Pretty sad, eh?

Jeff: No new news there. The Big East plays fairly weak opponents and has had West Virginia carry them with their recent bowl success. If you're a Big Ten official though, you have to be worried.

Weekly Hockey Primer: Another BC "Gotcha" Moment?

Gotcha!'s Jim Connelly wonders if Boston College is going to turn the corner again this season:

I have to wonder if Boston College is setting everyone up for another "Ha Ha, you didn’t think we’re any good but we’re going to win the national championship" runs. Last year, it took until the final night of the regular season for BC to make a statement, barely earning home ice with a road win at Northeastern. The Eagles, as you may recall, never lost another game. This season, BC is 5-7-3 in league play, sitting in fifth place, a full ten points behind league-leading NU.
I am not that confident that this will happen this year. Only time will tell. If the Eagles are to turn the corner, it has to start this weekend with 4 points in two home games Saturday and Sunday versus the 7th place team in Hockey East - the Maine Black Bears.

Flatlinin'. Boston College and Maine come into this weekend having won 1 game ... combined ... since December 1. Ouch. The Eagles enter the weekend series in 6th place in Hockey East (9-8-3 Overall, 5-7-3 Hockey East), one point ahead of both Maine (10-9-3 Overall, 5-6-2 Hockey East) and Massachusetts. Can the Eagles turn it around, Coach York?

"We’ll just keep working," he says. "There’s no magic formula to it. We’ve got to get back to playing Eagle hockey. Keep sawing wood."

Brackets. released its latest NCAA tournament bracket. Since the Eagles tallied 0 points last weekend, they are predictably moving backwards. They are currently slotted as a No. 4 seed and the road to the Frozen Four won't be easy. These pairings will certainly change, but according to, the Eagles would face the No. 1 seed Minnesota in the Western region and then possibly face the winner of Miami (OH) / Northeastern.

The College Hockey Blog also has the Eagles playing against Minnesota, and places Denver and Ohio State in that regional.

Towards the end of the USCHO article, they also mention something called the "geographic bracketing rule" which will be up for a vote at the NCAA Convention. I couldn't find anything else written on this, but this sounds like the idea would be the No. 1 seeds in the NCAA tournament would be placed within any of the four regionals, but the seeds 2-4 would play closer to home.

Sounds like a terrible idea if only because their sample bracket should this rule go into effect would be a Northeast Regional that looks like a replay of the Hockey East Tournament:

(4) Boston College vs (1) Boston University
(3) New Hampshire vs. (2) Vermont

In a year where Hockey East is arguably the best conference in college hockey, this would severely limit the possible number of Hockey East teams that could make the Frozen Four. Dumb. Don't do it NCAA!

Rooting Guide. The Eagles - a full 10 points behind first place Northeastern (who just so happens to be BC's first round Beanpot opponent. More on that in the coming week.) - are not only going to have to start winning hockey games, but they are also going to need some help.

As such, here's your weekend rooting guide:

Providence over Northeastern - The Friars have a home-and-home series with first place Northeastern beginning tonight at Schneider Arena. Providence comes into the weekend with only 8 points in Hockey East, good for 9th place. Thankfully for the Eagles, the Friars are hot, as they are unbeaten in the month of January (3-0-1). If the Friars can steal a win from the Huskies, that will help slow Northeastern's ascent in the standings.

Massachusetts over Vermont - The Minutemen have 12 points in the Hockey East standings, good for a 7th place tie with Maine. Vermont has been playing good hockey this season and currently have 18 points (3rd place). The Minutement travel to Burlington to finish their regular season series. The last time out, Vermont edged UMass in OT 3-2.

Boston University vs. New Hampshire - BU comes into the weekend in 2nd place with 19 points, while UNH is in 4th place with 17 points. Hope for a split or a couple of ties.

Merrimack over UMass Lowell - Lowell is 1 point up on the Eagles in the HEA standings. Both teams only play one game this weekend. Merrimack is DFL in Hockey East. A guy can dream, can't he?

Go Eagles! Beat Maine!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Food Chain: Worst Eagles Losing Streaks 2000-2009

Lots of talk of losing streaks these days ...

NJIT just snapped the longest losing streak in NCAA Division I history last night, defeating Bryant 61-51 in Newark, NJ. Go Highlanders!

Clemson Tigers basketball continued its 54 game losing streak in Chapel Hill last night, dropping to the Tar Heels 94-70. North Carolina used a 20-4 run to open the second half to bury the Tigers. The Tar Heels - having never lost to the Tigers in Chapel Hill - push their NCAA-best home winning streak to 54 games.

"We're going streaking! Sorry, sorry, we're goin' streaking through the quad and then to the gymnasium. Come on everybody! Come on! Snoop! Snoop-a-loop! Snoop...uh, no, it's cool! It's cool! I'm cool, bring your green hat. Let's go! Come on everybody we're goin!"

As Eagles fans, Jeff and I have been lucky. We have only known relatively successful Eagles men's sports programs since we enrolled at BC. Two National Championships in ice hockey, two Atlantic Division championships, 8 straight bowl game victories, a Big East basketball tournament championship ... That's why I think this past stretch of basketball has been especially trying on us Eagles. We are simply not used to prolonged streaks of losing.

So we got to thinking, what has been the worst losing streak in our brief history as Eagles fans (2000-2009)?

Now of course, not all losing streaks are created equal, and it is tough to compare losing streaks in basketball with football (different number of games) or basketball/football with hockey (ties still get you a point in the standings). Also it's hard to find a losing streak anywhere in football over the last 9 years. But we decide to give it a shot anyway in a game of Food Chain.

Food Chain: Worst Losing Streaks 2000-2009

We consider the following 8 Eagle losing streaks and list our top 5 in terms of overall suckitude.

2008 - Men's Basketball - 4 straight (Harvard, Miami, Wake Forest, @ Virginia Tech)

The most recent of our losing streaks that just came to an end, although it certainly didn't come easy. This losing streak is high on our list because of what it detracted from - one of the greatest regular season upsets in BC men's basketball history. Before anyone could really dwell on beating the No. 1 Tar Heels, we had dropped to Harvard at home (and controversy swirled on the Heights with the football coaching search). Then we lost a winnable game to Miami, got crushed by the new No. 1 at home, and dropped another winnable game against on the road in Blacksburg. At least the last loss is looking better after last night.

2008 - Men's Basketball - 6 straight (@ Virginia, Virginia Tech, @ North Carolina, @ Clemson, Maryland, @ Duke)

Last season was a forgettable one for the Eagles once they started in on ACC play. After starting the season with a 12-4 record (and 3-0 in the ACC), the Eagles would go on to lose 12 of their last 13 ACC regular season games, with a 82-65 win over North Carolina State breaking up a pair of 6 game losing streaks. This losing streak was the first of two. The Eagles started the losing streak getting blown out in the second half in Charlottesville, and then dropped an OT game to the Hokies at home. Skinner's team followed these games up with blowout losses on the road in Chapel Hill and Clemson. The team then lost a close game to Gary Williams and the Terrapins at home, giving the ex-BC coach his 600th win. Finally, the Eagles were competitive against a No. 2 ranked Blue Devils team in Durham, but ended up losing the game 90-80. This streak dropped the Eagles record to 12-10 (3-6 ACC) on the season.

2008-2009 - Men's Ice Hockey - 6 straight games without a win (@ Boston University, Boston University, @ Vermont, @ Vermont, UMass-Lowell, @ Boston University)

If this losing streak isn't snapped this weekend, this should be high on everyone's list. The Eagles are dangerously close to digging a hole I don't think they crawl out of if they don't get at least 1 win this weekend at home against Maine. This streak is particularly painful as we have failed to win a game in all 3 regular season attempts against Boston U. The Eagles need to end this streak as soon as possible if they have any aspirations to get home ice in the first round of the Hockey East tournament.

2007 - Football - 2 straight (Florida State, @ Maryland)

Sure, it is only a two game losing streak, but this string of games was absolutely brutal to the hopes and dreams of Eagles football fans. Until Geno Hayes intercepted a pass from Matt Ryan and returned it 38-yards for the score, I don't think anyone really thought the Eagles were going to lose that game against the Seminoles. We had the ball, down 3, and Matt Ryan was under center. We were again counting on some late-game heroics from Ryan & Co., and that interception deflated any hopes of the Eagles playing in the National Championship. While the Florida State game crushed our National Title hopes, the Maryland game was equally demoralizing in terms of our ACC title hopes. The Maryland offense, led by quarterback Chris Turner, picked apart the Eagles secondary. Turner threw for 337 yards and 3 touchdowns in the Terp victory. The second straight loss put some serious doubt in the minds of Eagles fans whether the team could go down to Death Valley and win the Atlantic Division. (But I guess that made the Clemson win that much sweeter.)

2007 - Men's Ice Hockey - 6 straight games without a win (Maine, Merrimack, @ New Hampshire, @ Massachusetts, Massachusetts, Northeastern)

This winless streak wasn't so big in the grand scheme of things as the Eagles were able to turn the corner on a lackluster November and December and win the Beanpot, Hockey East tournament and their third National Championship. But at the time, Eagles hockey fans had to be scratching their heads at this stretch of 6 games without a win. On November 2, the Eagles skated to a 1-1 tie with Maine. The following weekend, the Eagles only picked up 1 point, with a 3-3 tie at home to Merrimack followed by a 5-2 loss to New Hampshire. On November 16 and 17, the Eagles again only gained 1 point with a home-and-home series with UMass. Finally, the Eagles dropped a 4-3 decision in overtime at home against Northeastern. Last season, these were all teams that should have been put away (with the exception of UNH). Fortunately, the Eagles emerged from this winless streak by taking both games the following weekend against Boston University, outscoring the Terriers 10-5.

2008 - Men's Basketball - 6 straight (Virginia, @ Florida State, @ Virginia Tech, North Carolina, @ Miami FL, Georgia Tech)

Part 2 of the Great Skid of 2007-2008. The loss that stands out in this group was the home loss to Virginia 79-74. Virginia was equally terrible in the ACC last season, and their win on the road snapped a 7 game losing streak for the Cavaliers. The Eagles were in this game until the end, until UVA's Mamadi Diane hit a 3 pointer with 45 seconds left. Of these 6 losses, only two would come against tournament teams (North Carolina and at Miami FL), and UVA and Georgia Tech would finish with losing records on the season.

2002-2003 - Men's Basketball - 4 straight (@ Kent State, Providence, Northeastern, @ Syracuse)

2002-2003 wasn't a banner year for the Eagles men's hoops team, but they still managed to make the NIT tournament and beat Fairfield in the opening round. Still, this four game losing streak, while not particularly long, was pretty tough considering the quality of our opponents. The Eagles started this losing streak dropping a game 86-83 OT against Kent State in Cleveland's Quicken Loans Arena. With the win, the Golden Flashes improved to 7-1 on the season, but they would only make the NIT with a 21-9 record on the season. After dropping to Kent State, the Eagles would fall to Providence at home 93-80 in Big East action and a 7-6 Northeastern team at home, losing 72-67. The losing streak was extended to four when the Eagles traveled to the Carrier dome and lost to Syracuse 82-74.

2008 - Football - 2 straight (Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship, Vanderbilt)

Technically, this losing streak is current, I guess. But I highly doubt that the losing streak will be extended to three if we get Northeastern or another out of conference cupcake to snack on the first game of the 2009 season. The loss to Virginia Tech hurt, the second consecutive unsuccessful trip to Florida for the ACC Championship. Injuries certainly contributed to the loss as they finally caught up to the Eagles, particularly on offense. The bowl loss to Vanderbilt snapped our NCAA-leading 8 game bowl winning streak. It was particularly painful to have lost to a 6-6 SEC team after coming so close to playing in the Orange Bowl.

Brian's Food Chain

5. 2008-2009 - Men's Ice Hockey - 6 straight games without a win (@ Boston University, Boston University, @ Vermont, @ Vermont, UMass-Lowell, @ Boston University)
4. 2007 - Football - 2 straight (Florida State, @ Maryland)
3. 2002-2003 - Men's Basketball - 4 straight (@ Kent State, Providence, Northeastern, @ Syracuse)
2. 2008 - Men's Basketball - 6 straight (@ Virginia, Virginia Tech, @ North Carolina, @ Clemson, Maryland, @ Duke)
1. 2008 - Men's Basketball - 6 straight (Virginia, @ Florida State, @ Virginia Tech, North Carolina, @ Miami FL, Georgia Tech)

Jeff's Food Chain

5. 2007 - Football - 2 straight (Florida State, @ Maryland)
4. 2008 - Football - 2 straight (Virginia Tech, Vanderbilt)
3. 2002-2003 - Men's Basketball - 4 straight (@ Kent State, Providence, Northeastern, @ Syracuse)
2. 2008 - Men's Basketball - 6 straight (Virginia, @ Florida State, @ Virginia Tech, North Carolina, @ Miami FL, Georgia Tech)
1. 2008-2009 - Men's Ice Hockey - 6 straight games without a win (@ Boston University, Boston University, @ Vermont, @ Vermont, UMass-Lowell, @ Boston University)

Brian: Jeff with the surprise hockey pick as his overall #1!

Any more devastating losing streaks pre-2000? Leave your thoughts in the comments section.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Five Good Minutes: Georgia Tech and The Legacyx4

Today we welcome the boys from the Georgia Tech sports blog The Legacyx4 to talk hoops and preview tonight's game between Boston College and Georgia Tech (7pm RSN/NESN).

BCI: First, tell us a bit about your blog. Why "The Legacy x4"?

Legacyx4: Winfield created the blog and at one point was the only writer. He is a 4th generation Tech student and thus, The Legacyx4. We have since grown to the optimal size of three writers with the addition of Dane and Bird. Dane is also a student at Tech and Bird is a recent GT alum.

BCI: We all know the future looks bright for Georgia Tech basketball - at least for the 2009-2010 season - with your recent signing of Derrick Favors (#4 national recruit according to Rival150). But this season the wheels seem to be falling off the Paul Hewitt wagon ("wreck" if you will). What has been the biggest factor in Georgia Tech's 0-4 start in the ACC?

Legacyx4: It just seems as if the group has not molded together as a team. The potential is there with McDonald's All-Americans in Gani Lawal and Iman Shumpert but we just haven't seemed to live up to the billing. Lewis Clinch was academically ineligible for the Fall Semester and then we had Mo Miller out with a broken nose. In addition, we had a key part in our defense (De'Andre Bell) out for the season with a spinal condition. A good excuse would be to say it's just a string of bad events for the bad molding but that would only be partially true. The lack of progressive development for the team is fairly evident this year.

The addition of Derrick Favors has, for almost all purposes, given Paul Hewitt a free pass on this season. Which is unfortunate because all coaches should be held accountable for their seasons. After next year, with arguably his best recruiting class ever, Hewitt will have to get his "Wreck" back up and running again or else his seat will be heating up majorly. Honestly, signing Paul Johnson was the worst thing to ever happen to Paul Johnson.

BCI: The last time Georgia Tech started the season 0-4 in the ACC, the year was 2001-2002, long before the Eagles had joined the conference. That year, the Yellow Jackets pushed its ACC record to 0-7 before turning the season around and finishing 7-9 in conference. Is there any hope for a similar turnaround in 2009?

Legacyx4: We can always hope. There seems to be some improvement now that Clinch and Miller are both back but you really can't have huge expectations this year. The consistent inconsistency of our basketball team is what keeps us down.

BCI: Georgia Tech has seemed unable to hold leads late in the second half. Is this due to inexperience, poor coaching, a combination of the two, or something else?

Legacyx4: It comes down to the combination of coaching, how to play in tight games, and overall depth of the team. There have been too many games this year, when it is late in the 2nd half and our players are literally standing around waiting for someone else to start it up/ run the offense/ win the game. The overall result of standing around is absolutely nothing happens. There is also a noticeable talent gap between the starting five and the back ups. This factor, though small, can play an integral role in the outcome of the game.

BCI: Give us a scouting report. Who is going to be the biggest contributor for the Yellow Jackets tonight?

Legacyx4: Watch out for Zach Peacock and the Lawal/Shumpert combination. When either of the two get going it is a lot of fun to watch. However, it is consistency that is a key problem. Throw them off, and it's back to the drawing board. Lewis Clinch is the clutch shooter. He won't necessarily rack up double-digits every night, but when we have needed a shot it has always seemed to be him who takes it.

BCI: Last one, make a prediction for the game. Do the Jackets get off the schnide and win their first ACC game, or do the Eagles end their four game losing streak?

Legacyx4: Hmmmm do the Jackets lose to a team who lost to Harvard? Or do we turn it around? The game being at home means no 10 point lead lost in the final minutes (We hope). That, along with a seemingly depressing response to your questions, let's end on a positive note. Jackets win 70-66!

Jeff: I'm predicting an easy Eagles victory. Double digits.

Brian: Thanks for joining us!

For more info on Georgia Tech sports, check out The Legacyx4.

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

Monday, January 19, 2009

Headlines: Hokies Drop Eagles

Brian: The Eagles dropped another one Saturday with a loss in Blacksburg - 79-71 - to the Virginia Tech Hokies. Herald and Globe writeups here. The Eagles got out to an early lead but then the Hokies came back and led the majority of the time from that point on. Boston College had chances in the final minutes and the game was closer than the final 8 point differential indicates, but a loss is still a loss. BC has now dropped 4 straight and is 1-3 in the ACC. I thought the Eagles would beat the Hokies on Saturday. What happened?

Jeff: Well the first thing you are going to look at when the Eagles drop a game is, how did Rice play? The answer is not particularly well, going 6-19 from the floor. But, the bigger story, and what will continue to be a big story throughout conference play, is Josh Southern's productivity. Josh is our only big man and if you'll recall he stayed out on the floor and played well in the victory over UNC, but on Saturday, he played only 15 minutes due to foul trouble. When Southern gets in foul trouble, which he does fairly frequently, the Eagles are in trouble. BC, nor any team is not going to win many conference games without a presence inside and after #52, we do not have the ability to replace him with anyone off of the bench. Last year it was as Rice goes, the team goes. But now, since Trapani and Sanders are picking up some of the scoring duties, we may be able to say, as Josh Southern goes, this team goes.

Brian: How much of that responsibility is on Skinner though? Skinner doesn't have many options on the bench for big men, and as you said, if Southern gets in foul trouble, the Eagles have to go with a small lineup or with Dunn, who isn't very polished.

Brian: The "f" word is being floated around now to describe the Eagles win over No. 1 North Carolina.

Now the "F" word is getting tossed around to describe the Eagles.

"Boston College looks like a fluke," Seth Davis wrote in last week's issue of Sports Illustrated.

He called BC's first week after the big win, which included losses to the Crimson and Miami, "disastrous."

It's actually pretty sad. Just when the Eagles' are getting people a teensy bit excited.

Jeff, are you starting to agree with this?

Jeff: I can understand people saying the North Carolina win was a fluke, but anyone closely following the Eagles sees their potential and a weakening upcoming schedule. I still predict the Eagles making the tournament. This needs to start with an ACC road win tomorrow though.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Five More Years!*

It has certainly been a tough, trying two weeks for us Boston College Eagles.  Jeff and I have both been fairly vocal on the whole coaching search and the hire of Spaziani.  We first lost our head football coach and now have lost our offensive coordinator.  The men's basketball team has lost three straight ACC games.  The men's hockey team is struggling.  

After the rancor of this whole coaching search, can Eagle Nation overcome the contempt that at times has bordered on hate?

Can fans and alumni on either side of the Gene-Jags divide reconcile so that they can stand behind the new head coach of the Boston College Eagles as he attempts to unify an increasingly polarized fanbase?

There is only one thing to do in times like these.  It is time to set aside our differences and rally around our new leader.

Can we do it?




*this is in no way a statement of our political beliefs.  Just go with it, people.

(HT: Hey Jenny Slater)

How To Deal With Success and the Big Finish

Jeff: BC offers students a great education that seems to be getting better and better year after year. Most classes teach you how to be successful in one way or another, but I don't remember many professors or classes talking about how to handle your success should you ever achieve it. From the actions in the Athletic Department in the last few weeks, it's clear that the football and basketball program would be a perfect case study on how NOT to handle success. First, new Head Coach Jeff Jagodzinski leads BC to back-to-back ACC Championship Games, he gets a big head, takes an interview with the NY Jets to be their head coach after having only been a college HC for just two years. As a result, he gets fired, and Frank Spaziani, runner up for the HC job two years ago, gets promoted. Next, the BC men's basketball team coached by Al Skinner pulls off one of the greatest upset in BC basketball history by going to Chapel Hill and defeated the unanimously #1 ranked Tar Heels. After that they lose three straight games, all at home, and two of the three BC never had a chance to win. Brian, have we learned any life lessons from the BC Athletic department in the last two weeks or should we just learn to accept the good with the bad?

Brian: Yes, we can learn a thing or two from the Athletic department. First, with the Gene coaching thing. Perhaps Jags was a problem and wanted out. Even if that was the case, and as I've stated before, I feel this whole coaching search was very mismanaged. We have built a successful program over the past 10 years. A very successful football program. And yet, with Gene's actions, we may have scared off any good external coaching candidates for the foreseeable future. Who is going to want to work for an employer who wants to prohibit any upward mobility? I hope GDF knows what he is doing, because it seems like BC will have to develop internal coaching candidates for the next 5-10 years.

With the basketball team, we seem to need an attitude adjustment. I am not seeing the leadership from Tyrese Rice or Al Skinner this year. Defeating North Carolina might have been both a blessing and a curse. This team rarely puts together a complete 40 minute game. If they ever do again, they can run with anyone in the ACC. They have the skill to be competitive, just not the right attitude. I would say this Saturday's game against Virginia Tech is somewhat of a must-win situation. If they drop to the Hokies, I see this season's ACC schedule quickly sliding away, much like how the Eagles finished last season. Would you agree?

Jeff: I disagree that the Eagles are headed towards a 8+ game streak of playing poorly as they did last year. The Eagles have played 3 ACC games against 3 teams that will most likely make the tournament, not to mention that Wake and North Carolina will (likely) be top 3 seeds in the Big Dance. If you had said we'd be 1-2 after our first 3 games, no one would've been dissapointed. The Eagles will bounce back with the schedule softening starting with these next two games against Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech.

Brian: I agree. The Eagles have a VERY winnable stretch of 6 games (RPI in parenthesis) ...

at Virginia Tech (55)
at Georgia Tech (166)
N.C. State (134)
at Maryland (79)
Virginia Tech (55)
at Virginia (85)

... before the schedule gets fairly brutal ...

at Wake Forest (14)
Clemson (3)
Duke (1)
at Miami Fla. (34)
Florida State (25)

If the Eagles are going to turn the corner, the time is now.

Big Finish

Brian: Boston College senior fullback Paul Gerstenberger was selected in the second round of the 2008 MLS SuperDraft by the Columbus Crew. Jeff, quick. Who won the championship this year in MLS?

Jeff: I had to look it up, but it was the previously mentioned Columbus Crew. Hence the trivia question.

Jeff: Two big Hockey East games this weekend. UMass-Lowell comes to campus tonight and Saturday night the Eagles pay the $1.25 or whatever it costs now to take the B line to Boston University. Who ya got?

Brian: The Eagles are in desperate need of a 4 point weekend as they continue to middle about the Hockey East standings. Hopefully they can turn the corner and pick up a W against struggling Lowell, and then get (at least) 1 point against the Terriers.

Brian: The Big Lead leaked that ESPN considers its college football blog network a "complete disaster." Brendan from From Old Virginia also chimes in on the issue. I know we've had our disagreements with HD in the past, but is that fair?

Jeff: This is totally fair. ESPN has a history of excellence and they need to step up the quality of their bloggers if they are going to attach their brand to them. Heather Dinich was not good this year covering the ACC. She was possibly even very bad.

Jeff: Orlando wants to host a THIRD bowl game. The Bowl for the Cure would be played at UCF's new stadium (Bright House Networks Stadium) and would likely match a Conference USA team with a Sun Belt team. Having been to Orlando for a bowl game, good idea?

Brian: No! There are TOO many bowl games to begin with. Move the lesser of the two bowls - the Champs Sports Bowl - to Bright House Networks Stadium if UCF really wants to host a bowl, but a third bowl game in the same city would be absurd.

Brian: Brian St. Pierre. Super Bowl clipboard holder? True or false?

Jeff: True! I like the Cardinals' chances of winning this weekend. I certainly understand the Eagles being favored but I'll take Arizona.

Jeff: Last one, HD takes a look at Boston College football's recruiting needs. Not much we didn't know, but what is your top priority for recruiting in the week or two that BC has left?

Brian: Well, here are two early looks at the BC depth ($) chart. I would say the most pressing need is to sure up the defensive line, and hope none of these guys walk.

Weekly Hockey Primer: Lowell, BU Next

Catching up on some hockey news ...

1/9/2009 - BC 3, Vermont 3 (OT) – 9-5-3, 5-4-3 Hockey East
1/10/2009 – BC 2, Vermont 4 – 9-6-3, 5-5-3 Hockey East

Yikes. Probably not the 2009 opening the Eagles would have liked. On Friday, Vermont’s Brian Roloff scored with 0:01 left on the clock in the third period to give Vermont a point.

"There are good ties and bad ties," Vermont head coach Kevin Sneddon said. "Usually when you're the team that scores the last goal to make it a tie, it's a good tie."

In this case, for the Eagles, this was certainly a bad tie.

Kucharski lit the lamp twice and frosh Cam Atkinson scored on a power play late in the second period.

On Saturday, while watching the BC-Miami basketball game on ESPNU, the Eagles hockey score kept flashing across the Bottom Line. I saw the score at 2-0 Eagles for the entire first half and thought we’d finally get a much needed 2 points on Saturday night. And then, out of nowhere, Vermont decided to start playing in the second and third periods, scoring 4 unanswered goals on 21 shots.

Is the Sky Falling? 5-5-3 in Hockey East?? Possibly. Muse is slumping, Hobey hopeful Brock Bradford has 1 point in the Eagles last 3 games, and the Eagles are now 8 points ... 8! ... behind first place Northeastern.

I think Eagles fans are nervously waiting for the patented York second-half surge to start soon! The talent is certainly there. Although it seems like the rest of Hockey East has certainly closed the gap on the Eagles.

Northeastern is 10-2-1 in Hockey East play, Vermont has looked impressive behind the play of two Hobey hopefuls (Stalberg and Lenes), Boston University has improved, New Hampshire again looks solid, and even Providence has started off 2009 with a bang. The Friars – having gone winless in Hockey East entering the New Year – replaced their starting goaltender with Alex Beaudry and have since knocked off Lowell and Boston University. With a bad break in the schedule, B.C. didn’t face Providence in 2008 and has three games left with the Friars.

Next Up. Two games against Hockey East foe. The first going down tonight at Conte Forum against UMass-Lowell. A Lowell weekend preview can be found over at The River Hawk hockey blog.

"A loss to Boston College would be understandable and not unexpected, regardless of their so-so performance last weekend at Vermont. Certainly, the Eagles offense is explosive and well-constructed. Their breakout in the Friday game against Vermont was particularly impressive and obviously if Lowell has gotten itself into the habit of giving up four to teams like Providence, then Brock Bradford and Co. could dissect Lowell on the counterattack as the Friars more or less did (which is embarrassing to the nth degree)."

On Saturday, the Eagles travel down the Green Line to wrap up the Hockey East regular season series with Boston University. BU is coming off a loss to Providence that snapped an 8 game winning streak (7-0-1). BU faces Merrimack tonight. The Eagles really need 2 points from their game with BU as the Eagles are 0-1-1 against BU on the season.

A full Hockey East weekend preview can be found on Their weekend predictions?

Boston College 3, Lowell 1
Boston University 3, Boston College 2 (OT)

Bracketology, Hockey Style. Could there really be 6 teams from Hockey East in this year’s tournament? I say highly doubtful. Of the six teams from Hockey East currently in the Top 16 PairWise rankings, Maine’s resume looks the least impressive (tied-14). They haven’t beaten many impressive teams (other than BC) and haven’t won a game since before the break, sweeping Union at home on December 12-13.

Having said that though, the Eagles aren’t in the best of positions either at this point. Obviously this will change between now and March, but the Eagles would currently be a 3 seed and face a strong #2 seed in Michigan.

Eagles in the NHL. article on Orpik the elder (Thanks to Christian for the link).

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Toss Up: BC-Wake Game Tonight

Let's talk basketball!

What: Boston College Eagles vs. Wake Forest Demon Deacons
When: 9:00pm
Where: Silvio O. Conte Forum
TV: Raycom

Possibly Biased Game Previews:, Winston-Salem Journal
Line: BC +3.5

Probable Starting Lineups:

WAKE FOREST (14-0, 1-0)

G-0-Jeff Teague
G-42-L.D. Williams
F-1-Al-Farouq Aminu
F-23-James Johnson
C-13-Chas McFarland

BOSTON COLLEGE (13-4, 1-1)

G-4-Tyrese Rice
G/F-15-Rakim Sanders
F-12-Joe Trapani
F-11-Corey Raji
C-52-Josh Southern

We're Goin' Streakin': Wake Forest is undefeated on the season, having won their first 14 games. Quality wins against Brigham Young on the road and vs. North Carolina. Boston College is 7-0 against Wake Forest in the all-time series.

We preview tonight's matchup between B.C. and Wake Forest with a game of Toss Up.

Toss Up - Rice scoring more or less 3x the number of points he has in the first half in the second half.

Brian: I don't think Rice will get off to a slow start this game. The students will be back and there should be a good atmosphere in Conte for this game. Rice may have a better second half than his first half performance, but he won't score 3 times as many points as he does in the first half. The only wildcard in this equation is if he gets in foul trouble by committing dumb fouls early in the first half. But I'm not expecting that type of game from Tyrese tonight. Less than 3 times the number of points.

Jeff: Rice seems to have a bad habit of getting off to slow starts in the first half and then turning it on in the second this year. Not to mention, in close games he piles on the free throws at the end of the game. I expect Rice's unfortunate trend to continue and he will have single digit scoring in the first half and 20+ in the second.

Toss Up - More Overrated ACC hoops team - #9 Clemson (16-0) or #3 Wake Forest (14-0)?

Jeff: If you define overrated by furthest deviation from what their record will be at the end of the season, it's Wake Forest. Wake is a top 25 team, but not a top 10. Meanwhile Clemson will finish in the top 15 or top 20.

Brian: I hate to do this, but I agree with you. Wake Forest is the more overrated team at this point in the season. Clemson at least has a few quality wins against Temple, at Illinois (13-2) out of conference, not to mention they smacked around Miami (FL) on the road, winning by 91-72. I thought when originally posed the question that the answer would certainly be Clemson (as they have beat up on every small South Carolina school that fields a team of 5 players), but looking at the results so far this season, Wake is the answer. Wake has only two quality wins - both coming in their last two games - against BYU and UNC. And as Eagles fans we've seen how beating media darling North Carolina over-inflates your stock. Wake Forest is the answer.

Toss Up - Better freshman ... so far, Reggie Jackson or Wake Forest's Al-Farouq Aminu?

Jeff: I have to admit that I have not watched Wake play much this season, but I have been very impressed with Reggie Jackson. I expect another good game from him tonight since he has been improving throughout the season thus far. It looks like the team will be in capable hands at the point for a few years to come.

Brian: I, too, haven't seen Wake play too much this year, but the answer is Aminu. Aminu is the better freshman. Maybe it's comparing apples-to-oranges (guard vs. forward comparison), but Aminu's five double-doubles this season is pretty filthy. 21 and 10 vs. NC Central, 11 and 12 vs. UNC-Wilmington, 13 and 12 vs. Baylor, 21 and 12 vs. East Carolina and 18 and 10 vs. Radford. That being said, I have also been impressed with Jackson's performance to date and hope he has a big game tonight.

Toss Up - The Wake Forest home crowd storming the court after their win over No. 3 North Carolina on Sunday night. Fair or foul?

Jeff: Foul. Hello Wake! You were undefeated and ranked #4 in the country. You should not be storming the court when you are ranked that high. So that's the first court storming rule you broke. Secondly, you don't storm the court when the opposing team is coming off a loss. North Carolina has now lost back-to-back games. Meanwhile, the Eagles fans can storm the court tonight if they win. However, I don't know how many students will be there since classes have not started up again yet.

Brian: I have to agree here. Foul. I realize that this team is rebounding from the loss of head coach Skip Prosser two years ago, but Dino Gaudio has done a great job of building this program back up in only his second year. ACC Player of the Week Jeff Teague is an absolute beast. Act like you've been there before. The crowd tonight will be good, Jeff. I think the dorms will have opened back up and hopefully students return early today to catch the game. But please don't storm the court. We just knocked off No. 1 on the road. Let's act like we expect to win. (Note: we haven't had a good, ol' fashioned court storming since we were freshmen?)

Last one, Toss Up - Who Ya Got? Boston College or Wake Forest?

Jeff: I'm torn here. I think BC can and has a very good chance of winning, but if there were a gun to my head and I had to choose sides, I have to go with Wake Forest. BC simply did not play close to well enough against Miami to win tonight's game. I hope I'm wrong. Additionally, I'm shocked the line is only Wake -3.5. I thought it would be Wake -9 or so.

Brian: Wake wins. Like you said, I hope we're both wrong, but I think Jeff Teague will have a good game and will single-handedly win this game for the Deacons. Score prediction: 81-74 Wake Forest.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Brian's Somewhat Delayed Reaction to Spaziani Hire

At first, like Jeff, I was really disappointed. I felt that Spaziani was the wrong choice to lead this program to the next level: winning an ACC Championship. Now that I've had time to think about it, I'm still disappointed. I'm just not sure who I should be disappointed with.

A couple of highly erratic, not-very-organized thoughts on the matter ...

The Herald article: "DeFilippo’s need to make a quick hire was obvious. With BC in the midst of its recruiting period, any confusion over the school’s direction was going to hurt."

Really?? Gene's need to make a quick hire was obvious. OK. Then why did it take him 6 days to promote a guy he was ready to slap the interim label on the day he fired Jagodzinski? Gene could have given Jags the ultimate F off by promoting Spaziani on the spot if he felt he was ready to take on the position. I feel DeFilippo miscalculated multiple steps along the way in handling both the Jags firing, this 6 day coaching search and a delayed promotion of Spaziani.

Age. Rob Daniels of the ACC Sports Journal takes a look at the age at which ACC head football coaches were hired over the years. At age 61, Spaziani is the oldest head coaching hire in the ACC ever. Like Jeff, this doesn't bother me all that much. What does bother me was all this talk of "Boston College isn't a college football head coaching final destination." As I've stated before on the blog, this statement is extremely relative. Was Oklahoma a final destination job between Stoops and Switzer? No. How about Virginia Tech pre Beamer? The head boss at Southern Cal before Carroll only lasted three seasons after posting a 19-18 record. He was bought out for $800,000.

My point is that if Gene wanted coaches to stay at Boston College until the end of time, he needed to hire a head coach that would make Chestnut Hill a destination-type position. At age 61, Spaziani simply cannot become that type of coach. Yes, he played for Joe Paterno at Penn State and JoePa set him up with his first coaching positions. And yes, he stated today that he wants to be at Boston College for the next 12 years. But the days of the Joe Paternos and Bobby Bowdens of the college football world are numbered. Do I expect Spaziani to be coaching at the Heights at age 73? Highly unlikely.

That being said, maybe this hire will work out for everyone as Spaziani serves as a steward of the program for the next 5-7 years, serving as a bridge coach until some former Eagles retire from the NFL and come back to B.C. to coach. Hey, if Bill Romanowski can develop a multi-slide PowerPoint presentation about how he wants to coach the Denver Broncos, can you imagine what he could whip up for the BC head coaching position?

Can you imagine the future BJ Rajis and Ron Braces downing protein shakes at halftime? BEAST MODE!

Leverage. Spaziani isn't going anywhere in the next five years. Even if the anti-Spaz camp is right and this program takes a Syracuse-sized downturn, Spaziani will serve out his 5 years and go quietly. Gene now has no leverage to fire Spaz after this whole Jags ordeal. I'll give you that this would have been a characteristic of any new deal given to a coach, but I think Spaziani's age compounds the issue. Can we say age-discrimination lawsuit, anyone?

Another misstep from Gene.

Track record. Yes, defense wins championships. The flipside? Defense can lose games. I have to look no further to last year's Maryland game as exhibit 1A that sometimes Spaz's defenses simply didn't come to play. Also, with our brief stint in the ACC, it seems like offensive guru Ralph Friedgen and Wake Forest's head coach Jim Grobe (going even further back to when we played Wake out of conference) has somewhat exposed Spaz-led defenses over the years. While we have never lost to both Wake and Maryland in the same year while in the ACC, if we struggle against both those teams and lose, it will be a huge stretch to win the Division.

Recruiting. Boston College has developed a great deal of talent on the defensive side of the ball since Spaziani took the helm. Silva, Raji, Brace, Dunbar, Tribble, Herzlich, Toal ... and yes, Spaziani was able to successfully coach them up to their potential (and sometimes above and beyond their potential). But how many of those guys to Spaz actively recruit? Any of them? Maybe Jags did suck at recruiting, or didn't like it, or whatever. We'll certainly find out over the next few years. But will Spaz be any better at recruiting?

Offense and Special Teams. Two years ago I applauded the Jagodzinski hire because I thought it was clear we needed a change of direction on offense. We had a rising senior quarterback (Ryan) and two more than capable senior backs (Callendar and Whitworth) and the TOB/Dana Bible master plan wasn't working. Enter Jags/Logan and while the offensive line struggled, we rode Matt Ryan's arm to an 11-3 record. Spaz stayed on and provided two seasons of great defenses.

Fast forward two years later, we have an upcoming quarterback competition between redshirt sophomore Dominique Davis and redshirt freshman Justin Tuggle, two capable underclassmen in the backfield, and a young receiving corps. Some of these guys were recruited to play in a Jagodzinski/Logan offense. If Logan bolts (I'm not so sure its a given as other people are suggesting), what type of offense will we run? Will the two years of Jags recruits fit the system? Will our offense be ANY good?

All fair questions for 2009 and beyond.

Counter-argument: Virginia Tech was able to win the ACC two years in a row with an offense ranked >100+ nationally.

Also, I think its funny that guys like Herzlich and McLaughlin have been so vocal about the Spaz hire, yet we haven't heard many - if any - sound bytes from any of the players on offense. This one from Rich Gunnell is the first reaction of any kind I've heard from an offensive player.

In summary,

Am I disappointed in the hire? A little.
Do I think the sky is falling? No.
Will I rally around our new head coach and give him the benefit of the doubt? Certainly.
Should we institute the Superfan terrible towel in the stands of Alumni with a big caricature of the 'Stache man? Sure, why not.


While I would have preferred to hire an external candidate, to take this program to the next level, I welcome our new corporate overlords head coach. Best of luck Spaziani.

Go Eagles! Brian out.