Thursday, April 30, 2009

Pimp Spaz's Ride

Brian: Auburn recently upgraded its recruiting ride - from a stretch limo to a stretch Hummer. You like this move?

Jeff: Absolutely! Spend as much money on recruiting as you can afford without breaking NCAA rules.

Brian: Perhaps we should pimp Spaz's ride. What would you have Spaz ride around in for the recruiting season?

Jeff: If you're saying the stretch Hummer is already taken, how about we go with a little party bus done up in maroon and gold with a cozy interior.

Brian: No, no, no. We gotta throw some local Boston flavor onto the Spaz-mobile. My vote is for a maroon and gold Duck Tour mobile. Not only would this be styling but it could also go where regular vehicles couldn't.

Need to recruit in New Jersey or Florida and don't want to deal with the traffic on I-95? Hop in Boston Harbor and boat it on down there! Unfortunately though, the Duck Tour mobile would probably get even worse gas mileage than the Auburn stretch Hummer.

While I don't really watch the show anymore, I found myself home yesterday afternoon watching ESPN's Around the Horn. Towards the end of the show, they discussed this very topic of Auburn football's new wheels. J.A. Adande hated the idea because of economic reasons - sends the wrong message to recruits, etc. Mariotti called the upgrade "cheesy" while Bob Ryan says "brilliant." To counter, Mariotti called out "old school" Bob Ryan and said that if a northeast program like BC would make this move, Ryan would be against it. Ryan countered by saying that there is no college football in the Northeast. Way to stick up for your alma mater. What do you have to say to Mr. Ryan?

Jeff: I am one of the first people to say that college football in Boston is nothing like college football here in South Carolina so if Bob Ryan was simply pointing out that things at Auburn are always going to be a little different than things at BC, he's right sadly. But if you are looking for one of our alums and supporters to get us a little national attention, Bob Ryan blew it big time. Shame on him.

As for how Alumni Stadium stacks up with southern football stadiums or at least the ones I've been to, it doesn't really. The students are every bit as good at Alumni or better than most places now that they are doing better about making it to the game on-time. But meanwhile, the rest of the fans (with their Red Sox hats and non-logoed shirts) make little noise. In other stadiums around the country, it's much harder to pick out where the students even sit because not only do the not wear Superfan shirts, but the rest of the stadiums are just as packed and making a lot of noise, not just the students as it is in Alumni sometimes.

Brian: Somehow we went from pimping Spaz's ride and slamming Bob Ryan's lack of support for BC on national television to slamming Alumni Stadium and BC's fans?

Comparing Donor Based Seating Plans

Jeff: As it has been well documented on this blog, I am a Clemson season ticket holder since I live in South Carolina and my wife has been an avid fan ever since her cousin played on the 1981 National Championship team. Yesterday, I received my Clemson season ticket renewal form which was just full of information on donor-based seating and parking.

Here are several fun facts:
  • 49,976 seats are reserved for donors
  • There are five donation levels ranging from $70-700 per seat
  • $700 per seat gets you 50 yard line seats
  • $500 per seat gets you lower level between the 30s
  • The first few rows of the upper deck require $350 per seat donations
  • All lower level seats are reserved for donors, students and away fans
  • Some of the newest seats in the west endzone are only available to donors for the construction project for 3 more years
  • There are 8 parking donation levels ranging from $350-10,000
  • Donations above $5,600 get you at least 2 parking spots
  • The best lots require a $7,000 annual donation

Here is what I know about donor seating at BC and reserved parking on lower campus:
  • Section B, C, D, P, Q, R, S, and T require annual donations of $750 per seat
  • Parking on lower campus requires donations from $2,000-5,000 per spot

Brian, does anything shock you or stand out to you about Clemson's policies in contrast to BC's?

Brian: I guess I can't draw much of anything from this comparison since it appears to me to be very much apples-to-oranges. Clemson's Memorial Stadium has almost double the number of seats as Alumni Stadium does (80,301 to 45,000), as well as - finger in the air guestimate here - 8 to 10 times the parking on main campus available (if you don't count BC's satellite lots in Newton and Needham). And this isn't meant to disparage the South at all, but my guess is that Boston College season ticket holders have a higher per capita income than most Clemson season ticket holders, which can be the cause for differences in parking and DBS license rates (and a lack of different pricing tiers at BC).

That's all the BC ticket office would tell you about the DBS plans?

I guess I would like to know what percentage of Alumni Stadium seats are DBS seats. It appears as though Clemson offers approximately 5/8 of their stadium's capacity under a DBS pricing scheme. Is that a comparable ratio to BC's ticketing policies? Other ACC schools? What's the benchmark?

What's the number of parking spots available on main campus? My guess is BC is the most constrained for parking on the main campus where the football stadium is located.

I think it would be interesting to stack these DBS and parking spot policies up across the ACC and compare ourselves to other schools in terms of stadium capacity, number of parking spots, quality of football program and season ticket holder income. Comparing Clemson straight to BC doesn't seem to tell me much of anything.

What am I missing?

Jeff: I don't think you are missing anything. Keep in mind BC and Clemson started donor based seating within a year or two of each other so this a relatively new thing for both schools. Clemson's being more elaborate does make a little bit of sense given the larger stadium and more parking options, but also, because the stadium is larger and free parking is available within walking distance with full tailgating privileges at Clemson it does throw other factors into the mix. I basically just think that the Clemson ticket and parking policies are indications of where BC's ticket and parking policies are heading. I don't think it will last much longer where you can be seating on the edge of section B in Alumni and donating $750 per ticket to sit there while someone else is sitting a few feet away from you in section A and potentially donating nothing.

Your assumption that Boston area people have higher incomes is legitimate and it is also reasonable to assume that a higher percentage of family incomes might be spent on college football tickets in the south. Clemson's season tickets are $299.00 this year which offers a 15% or so discount off of buying all 7 games individually at face value where BC charges the same for each seat and each game regardless of whether or not they are purchased as part of a season ticket package.

The only thing you said incorrectly is that 5/8 of Clemson's seats require donations. If you back out visitor section seats and student seating, you probably get to about 85% of Clemson's available seats require donations. Meanwhile, none of BC's upper deck requires donations which makes up a very percentage of Alumni's seating. BC's donor based seating percentage of available seats is probably 30% or less.

I have been a season ticket holder for several years at BC (not counting student) and have called the ticket office multiple times to inquire about parking and DBS. With just one pamphlet in the mail from Clemson, I now feel I know much more about Clemson's policies than I do about BC's and I have a feeling this is where BC should and will head also.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Headlines: The Financial Health of College Athletics and BC

Brian: … and we’re back.

Because BC is a private institution, it is somewhat unclear – to me, anyway – how the athletic department is performing financially in this economic environment. However, all around the college athletics landscape, schools are reporting significant losses and threatening to cut programs.

Our neighbors across the Charles River, M.I.T., the largest athletics department in the country, announced that they would be reducing the number of varsity sports from 41 to 33. Alpine Skiing, Golf, Men’s Ice Hockey, Women’s Ice Hockey, Men’s Gymnastics, Women’s Gymnastics, Pistol and Wrestling are all getting the axe.

College baseball programs across New England are shuttering their doors as well. Following Vermont’s announcement that they would be discontinuing both baseball and softball after 2009, UMass announced that they would be possibly cutting their baseball program. Over the past few years, baseball has been cut at other New England schools for budget reasons, including New Hampshire, Boston University and Providence.

Every few days there seems to be a story about a college athletics department trying to make up budget deficits by either cutting programs or coming up with creative ways to manage the shortfall.

Taking a look around the ACC, North Carolina is instituting a hiring freeze in its athletics department, eliminating overtime pay, and chartering smaller planes for team travel. NC State has switched to traveling by bus to Virginia Tech instead of chartering a plane. The U has cancelled flights and instead opted to charter a bus to both their South Florida and Central Florida away games next season. Florida State’s president T.K. Wetherell has discussed considering using pay cuts and unpaid vacation to close its budget gap. The Seminoles deficit reportedly stands at over $5 million.

In Knoxville, Tennessee charged $5 to its spring football scrimmage for the first time. The Vols under first year coach Lane Kiffen drew 51,488 to their game on April 18. (Although not sure BC wants to take up this practice as they might see their spring attendance figures fall even lower than 2,000).

And finally, since we were just there, here’s a novel idea out of Las Vegas. UNLV held a garage sale of athletic apparel and equipment that netted them $50,000. The Rebels sold apparel made by adidas, Russell, and New Balance as their athletics programs are switching to Nike. This is a great idea and I hope Gene is reading. Not only does this tap yet another revenue source, but it would also give fans access to authentic BC athletics gear, which I know many fans are craving.

What sort of trickle-down effect some of these cost-cutting measures will have on BC athletics remains to be seen. However, I would imagine we are only going to hear more bad news from athletics departments across the country during the offseason.

For instance, what does decreased local competition in college baseball mean for BC in the short term? Likely more out of conference games during the week where the Eagles have to jump on a plane or travel farther by bus to compete. What happens to the Baseball Beanpot without UMass?

Most of the Hockey East schools have remained largely silent about the financial health of their athletics department so far, but you have to start wondering about some of these smaller schools that compete in Hockey East like UMass-Lowell and Merrimack. College hockey is one of the most expensive sports to sponsor.

NC State can easily decide to charter a bus instead of a private plane for their basketball and football trips to Blacksburg, but BC doesn’t have the same sort of opportunity to save on travel costs.

One thing is clear – with 31 varsity sports (the most in the ACC and over twice the number of varsity sports sponsored by the U) and some of the furthest distances to travel in the conference – Gene and the school are going to have to get fairly creative if the athletics department starts to produce a budget deficit. I would hate to see BC cut a varsity sport. I am optimistic that a school like BC could weather the storm better than most schools, but a major BCS program cutting varsity sports may not be unprecedented in this environment, as could be the case at a program like Oregon State. In Corvallis, the message is clear: "Unless donor dollars increase, some minor sports might disappear."

The financial health of college sports and athletic departments balance sheets in the near term may prove to be a larger challenge for Gene than the move from the Big East to the ACC.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Vegas baby! Vegas! Open Thread

Why is Thursday the new Friday for the Big Finish, you might ask? It just so happens that BCI & Friends are headed to sunny Las Vegas for Brian's bachelor party. It is somewhat ill-timed, with the spring game and the NFL Draft this weekend and all, but it will be good to be back in Bat Country.

They're gonna give daddy the Rainman suite, you dig that?

In our stead, we offer you the following weekend assignment:

1. Leave us your thoughts about the spring game, "Matt Ryan to Tony Gonzalez" (sounds familiar), the NFL Draft or anything else on your mind.

2. Who should we throw some money down on to win next season's college football national championship? College basketball? That is, besides BC, of course. We just invite the self-deprecation.

3. Is there such a thing as a NFL Draft prop bet? If so, over/under on BJ Raji? 5?

4. Total dollar amount lost over the weekend per person? Closest to the pin wins.

5. Your lucky roulette number? #0 for Uka Agbai? #2 for Troy Bell/BRob/Ninja? #12? #22?

6. Rehashing the battle for Coastal supremacy - East coast vs. west coast. Better burger? Five Guys or In-N-Out?

7. ... or simply poke fun at Brian for taking the plunge in 6 weeks.

Use the comments section to complete said assignment. Here's to the weekend. Regular programming resumes Monday - or Tuesday - depending on the damage done.

Do you think we'll get there by midnight?
Baby, we're going to be up five hundy by midnight!
Vegas baby! Vegas!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

BC Draws Michigan in the ACC-Big Eleven Challenge and the Big Finish

Brian: Wait ... what? It's only Thursday?! ...

Yesterday, the pairings for the 2009 installment of the ACC-Big Ten challenge were announced. Boston College draws Michigan and travels to Ann Arbor to play the Wolverines in the Crisler Arena on December 2. Here are the rest of the pairings, with Georgia Tech this year's odd man out.

Monday, Nov. 30
Penn State at Virginia

Tuesday, Dec. 1
Maryland at Indiana
Michigan State at North Carolina
Northwestern at N.C. State
Virginia Tech at Iowa
Wake Forest at Purdue

Wednesday, Dec. 2
Boston College at Michigan
Duke at Wisconsin
Florida State at Ohio State
Illinois at Clemson
Minnesota at Miami (FL)

Three questions Jeff.

  1. Both Duke and BC, the only undefeated teams left in the Challenge, have to go on the road. Do you like BC's draw and chances to win their 4th straight ACC-Big Ten Challenge?
  2. Any other matchups you particularly like?
  3. Which conference wins the 11th installment of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge?

Jeff: Well in the past for BC in the challenge they played a game I expected them to win. This year I am not going to expect them to win but will probably like their chances.

Michigan State at North Carolina is another blowout I do not care to watch and I feel bad for Tom Izzo to have to get pummeled by the Heels for the third time in less than 12 months. Meanwhile, Wake Forest at Purdue might be decent.

Brian: I don't necessarily think Michigan State at North Carolina is another blowout in the ACC's favor. Hansbrough, Lawson, Ellington and Danny Green will likely all be gone. Michigan State has a relatively young team that could hang with the Heels next year.

As for BC's draw, I largely like the draw. This game should prove to be one of the better matchups in the Challenge with two young NCAA tournament teams squaring off at Crisler. I really like what John Beilein has done already at Michigan, picking up the pieces from the Tommy Amacker era and getting the Wolverines back to the tournament in only his second season in Ann Arbor (and first time in 11 years). UM already has some major upsets under Beilein - including UCLA and Duke in 2008-2009 - so this will be a tough matchup for the Eagles.

So way too early prediction for next season ... who do you like in the Challenge?

Jeff: Why would anyone go against the ACC here?

Brian: Not that I'm disagreeing that the ACC will win next year's Challenge, but it wouldn't surprise me at all if the Big Ten wins this thing in 2009. Some of next year's better ACC teams have to go on the road this year - Duke, BC, Wake Forest, Maryland - and could all get knocked off. And I've already said my piece about how I think UNC won't be nearly the same team they were this year.

Big Finish

Jeff: Even though BC offensive coordinator Gary Tranquill has been through 46 (or 47) seasons in football, he's never quite seen a quarterback situation like this year. You concerned?

Brian: I have my doubts but largely am not too concerned. I did find it funny when Blaudschun writes that Tranquill (age 69) is older than Davis, Tuggle and Boek ... combined.

Brian: This link is 9 days old, yes, but Baseball America has the BC baseball team as a 3 seed in the NCAA baseball tournament's field of 64. Is this finally the year?

Jeff: Yes, but unlike basketball, you can't get too excited about making the field. You can only really get excited after some Ws in the tournament.

Jeff: SEC Junky takes a look at some unofficial spring football attendance figures. Anything jump out at you from this list?

Brian: Even the more popular ACC programs are behind the curve compared to SEC teams in terms of getting fans to these games. I count five SEC teams before an ACC team cracks that list (Florida State at 36,000). To NC State's credit, which is not on that list, they did manage to draw 21,000+. The other thing that seems odd ... Rutgers at 15,899? Wow.

Brian: The next stop on the Greg Paulus Magical Mystery Tour is Syracuse. Personally, I think this story is getting a little ridiculous. If you are Frank Spaziani, do you pick up the phone if Paulus calls?

Jeff: NO! Any QB who is not good enough to play at Duke is not good enough to play at BC either.

Jeff: Here are your Madden 2010 cover finalists. Your thoughts?

Brian: Matt Cassel? Really, EA?! Matt Ryan gets snubbed but in the end, that is OK since we don't want him to inherit any sort of Madden Curse. I say EA should go with a defensive player this season.

Brian: Last one, the Legacyx4 boys broke out their calculators and determined that BC does the most with the least in terms of winning football games and producing NFL draft picks. This obviously doesn't surprise us here at BCI - we know BC football is a bunch of rockstars - but anything on that list that does surprise you?

Jeff: I am disappointed in those Georgia Tech engineers because as they eventually realized, their numbers were useless since wins are capped while draft picks essentially are not in comparison. They basically wasted their time running those numbers.

Brian: I still applaud the effort.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Over/Under: Spring Game and NFL Draft

It's been a few months since we played a game of Over/Under, so let's get to it. We discuss this weekend's spring game and the NFL Draft.

Over/Under - 4,162 people at the Boston College spring game (Duke got 4,162 to Wallace Wade last weekend)

Jeff: According to the LA Times we had 250 more people at our spring game than Duke did last year. But there seems to be some buzz about the Duke Football program which won't allow Greg Paulus to play as the Blue Devils quarterback because he isn't good enough. This weekend I am going under and I think BC will get about 3,500 again. In the south going to a spring game is a Spring Saturday well spent but in Boston people would probably look at you funny.

Brian: I will reluctantly go under here too. There isn't as much hype around this year's BC football team as in years past. Sure, fans want to see what Spaz and his new staff can do, and may be mildly interested in the quarterback competition, the triple-headed, crowded backfield, and/or who is going to clog the running lanes, but there is no headlining offensive star on this team to really draw Eagles fans' attention. Add in the fact that both the Celtics and the Bruins are in the playoffs, the Sox have started playing and that the spring game is the same weekend as the NFL draft, and I don't think BC will crack the 4k mark this weekend. Sadly. Under.

Over/Under - 100 yards for any one of the three running backs (Haden, Ninja, Smith) in this weekend's spring game

Brian: I think there is a very strong possibility that one of our three backs will rush for 100+ yards on Saturday. Last year's spring game saw little to no rushing attack from the Eagles (Mulrooney leading rusher for 33 yards?). Haden and Ninja, in particular, have been putting up much better numbers in our first two intrasquad scrimmages. While the defense tends to usually dominate the offense in the spring, this year our backs won't have to navigate through 650 pounds of Raji/Brace clogging up the rushing lanes. And with a quicker, no-huddle tempo on offense, I think we'll get more plays and more rushes in this spring. I'm optimistic one of these three goes over 100 so I'll go over.

Jeff: The only chance of one of these guys rushing for 100+ is if they break one run for 65+. There is no chance of that happening. I'm going way under.

Over/Under - August 15 Spaziani names a starting QB

Jeff: I think this is an easy where I am going to take the under. Spaz is not going to enter the summer without having named a #1 QB. We will know who that is either after the game Saturday or next week sometime. Fortunately for Spaz and the coaching staff we open up against Northestern so getting the starting QB right for game 1 is not critical. The guy who sees second half action in that game could end up starting the next. Who knows right now, but I do not envision a situation, other than injury, where Davis does not see any snaps in our season opener.

Brian: Over. A lack of quarterback competition over the summer could breed complacency, and Spaz will want these three guys hungry for the starting job. I'm feeling more and more like Boek could actually get the starting job because I don't see Davis or Tuggle pulling away early. If my memory serves me correctly, Crane was named the starter in late August last year. Back in 2004, Paul Petersen was named the starter as late as August 23 of that year. I think it is in Spaz's best interest to keep this competition open until much later this summer and will say that Spaz picks a start after August 15. Over.

Over/Under - Raji picked with the (unpushable) 5 1/2th pick in the first round of this weekend's NFL Draft

Brian: I am going to go under here. I'm hearing a lot of experts - including ESPN's Todd "McDreamy" McShea - predicting that Raji will be drafted #5 by the Cleveland Browns. I would say Raji in the top 5 is slightly optimistic given that Georgia's Matt Stafford, Wake Forest's Aaron Curry and now - out of nowhere - USC's Mark Sanchez appear to be locks for the Top 5. Sports Illustrated has since redacted the "Raji tests positive for marijuana" headline ("Redact it! REDACT IT!!") and when its all said and done, I don't think that non-story will hurt his draft stock at this point. Mel "The Hair" Kiper is not as optimistic as McShea, and has Raji going #9 to the Green Bay Packers. So I will say under but wouldn't be shocked if Raji falls past 5. I would, however, be shocked if Raji falls out of the top 10.

Jeff: You and I must not read the same articles and listen to the same sports shows because Aaron Curry has been talked about as a potential first defensive player taken for as long as I can remember NFL 2009 draft talk. On the Raji subject though, now that the alleged failed drug test thing is cleared up I am going under without hesitation and expect him to go to the Browns or a team that trades up for him.

Brian: You must not be reading what I wrote Jeff because I said that Stafford, Curry and Sanchez are LOCKS for the Top 5.

Over/Under - Brace going in the second round of this weekend's NFL Draft

Jeff: This is the easily pushable question so I will go with a push here and say Brace will go in the second round. Legitimate DTs are few and far between on draft day and Brace is a legit NFL prospect so I would imagine he will fill a team's need on the first day.

Brian: The answer here is indeed a push. From everything I'm hearing, Brace will go anywhere from 30-40 in the draft which makes him an early to middle second round selection. Could Brace pull a Kiwi and get scooped up with the final pick in the first round? Possibly, although I don't really see this happening. So I'll begrudgingly agree with Jeff and go with the very un-manly push on this one.

Last one, Over/Under - Purvis being drafted at all this weekend ...

Brian:'s Heather Dinich has Purvis on her list of potential late round ACC picks. My heart says that Purvis will be drafted this weekend, but my head doesn't really think it's going to happen. Purvis had a monster junior year with Matt Ryan under center only to see his numbers and his productivity decrease dramatically last year. Purvis went from 553 yards and 4 TDs in his junior year to a mere 176 yards receiving and 0 scores in 2008. I think this is going to hurt Purvis' draft stock more than anything - he just didn't see the ball much at all last season. Our only recent experience with having an Eagles TE get drafted is Sean Ryan, who went in the 5th round, 144th overall in the 2004 draft. Sean Ryan put up monster numbers at BC after moving from DE his sophomore season (75 catches, 950 yards, 12 TDs). While I personally think Purvis is more than capable to play in the league, I unfortunately don't think a team will take a chance on him. Would be fun to see Purvis become Mr. Irrelevant, but my gut tells me he won't get drafted. So I'll go over?

Jeff: I have no idea on this one. I'll go with my old standby logic of assuming you are going to be wrong and I'll take the under that he does get drafted.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Headlines: Sports Illustrated's Raji Mea Culpa ...

Brian: All together now ... "our bad yo!" Here is the official retraction from Sports Illustrated on BJ Raji's alleged failed drug test:
An report posted earlier this month incorrectly stated that Boston College defensive tackle B.J. Raji's name would appear on the NFL's list of players who tested positive for drugs at the NFL Scouting Combine in February. We regret the error.
That's it? Some bootleg apology if you ask me. That is like the G2 of apologies - watered-down, 1/2 the calories, 1/2 the sincerity. SI held one young man's future hostage for a few weeks and all they can muster is "We regret the error." Weak.

At least this was all cleared up before the draft and Raji can enjoy his big day on Saturday.

But is he a Top 5 pick? More on that topic tomorrow.

Headlines: More ACC Spring Rankings

Brian: On Friday, we discussed this Bleacher Report list ranking the ACC football teams where BC ranked 10 of 12. Yeah, OK. Well here is another BR writer's take on the ACC power rankings after this weekend's round of spring football games.

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

Look any better? Jeff, your thoughts?

Jeff: This set of rankings looks much better to me. My biggest change is that I might flip North Carolina with Miami (FL). Also, there is no way to justify having Georgia Tech over Virginia Tech given how young Virginia Tech was last year, not to mention Georgia Tech lost several players.

Duke, Virginia, and Wake Forest should be at the bottom of everyone's rankings. As they said on the Tirico-Van Pelt Radio Show last week though, preseason rankings are worthless because last year Scott took the Lions in the NFL to make the playoffs!

Brian: Georgia Tech did lose a ton of talent on the defensive side of the ball but they return a wealth of youth and talent on the offensive side of the ball. Still, they got straight up punched in the mouth in their own backyard in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl against LSU, so you have to wonder how much better the offense can be, or if teams are starting to figure out Johnson's option attack.

The thing that stands out to me is that this is one of the first set of rankings that doesn't suck up to NC State and has them very much as a bottom-of-the-heap ACC team. Do you agree with this, or is this really the year that Tom O'Brien breaks through and has a good year with NC State?

Jeff: NC State should be middle of the pack this year. Last year they played some teams at the right times late in the year to barely make a bowl game. This year the Pack can go 7-5 or 8-4 and be 3rd or 4th in the ACC Atlantic division.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Headlines: Spring Scrimmage Notes, Baseball and Patriots Day

Brian: On Friday, BC completed its second intrasquad scrimmage. Anything from the BC press release stand out to you?

Jeff: "Codi Boek impressed" is what stands out to me. The fact that Tuggle only threw four passes shows me that he is looking like a third stringer at this point. But using that logic, Davis is also still the #1 guy. His numbers were OK if you look at 9 completions for 123 yards and 2 touchdowns, but not if you look at the fact he completed only 45%.

Brian: As you said, everything we are hearing early points to Davis as the starter come September. But I was glad to see your boy throw for 2 scores and 128 yards. What stands out to me is for the second straight intrasquad scrimmage, redshirt freshman Clyde Lee impressed. Four catches for 72 yards and a touchdown. The Eagles desperately need an infusion of talent in the receiving corp and Lee could be just the type of burner we need to strengthen the WR/TE corp.

Jeff: On the defensive side of the ball, the big, big question mark is replacing Raji and Brace and their replacements each recorded sacks which is encouraging.

Brian: Catching up on baseball, the Eagles were able to win 1 of 3 this weekend against a strong Virginia Cavaliers team. I believe I had this one right. On Friday, the Eagles fell to the Cavs 8-3. On Saturday, the team notched its only win of the weekend, rallying in the bottom of the eighth to pull away 9-6. And in the rubber match, BC couldn't put away Virginia in a pitcher's duel, falling 2-0. The Eagles are now 24-15-0 and 10-9-0 in the ACC, soundly in third place in the ACC Atlantic behind Florida State (12-7-0) and Clemson (12-9-0). Next up in the ACC is a big, big series for the Eagles in Durham against 10-11-0 Duke. Three ACC series remain for the Eagles. At Duke, and Miami and North Carolina at home.

Back in March, when we sat down with Brian Foley from the College Baseball Blog, we said that making this year's ACC Tournament for the first time in program history would mark a successful season. After getting off to a hot start, the Eagles have slowly crept back towards a .500 record in ACC play. With three series left, do the Eagles have enough left in the tank to make the ACC Tournament?

Jeff: Unless I'm missing something, the Eagles should hold on to the third spot in the Atlantic division which puts them into the ACC tournament. Hopefully they can even survive the first round of the tournament.

Brian: Today - of course - is Patriots Day, a great day to grab a beer and cheer on your favorite Boston Marathoner. Is there any better "fake holiday" out there?

Jeff: It would be a much better fake holiday if it were celebrated throughout the country since I no longer live in Boston. My wife has never even heard of Patriots Day.

Brian: I agree. It would be awesome to have off work today and when I ran the NYC Marathon last fall, would have loved an extra day off of work. Looks like really nice weather for the marathon today. Great story in the Globe about a pair of BC alum running the marathon.

Good luck to all the BC alum running today.

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Promise of Pearl? and the Big Finish

Jeff: As you alluded to earlier in the week, you think Skinner will see one more recruiting class through to graduation max and then he's done. I agree with you, not because I want to see Skinner's time end, but I think he is getting to the age that he will retire after this contract or maybe a one or two year contract extension if we have the right players in place. Meanwhile the most notable Boston College alum in college coaching has fallen from the graces of being the hottest coaching commodity in all of college basketball. Any chance Bruce Pearl leaves or is forced out of Tennessee and comes to coach at Boston College in the future?

Brian: Of course the reason we are speculating about Pearl coming to BC is because of this:

I have to give Pearl credit for this. This is much cooler than anything I think Skinner would ever do to become a bigger part of the school's community.

But do I think Pearl would ever leave Tennessee and come back to BC to coach?

No. Definitely not. The days of BC ever landing Bruce Pearl are now long gone. Why would he possibly want to coach at Boston College? At Tennessee, he is a) at a school with a much better basketball history than BC, b) in a more winnable men's basketball conference and c) the school generally seems to like him and embrace him. I don't see why you would want to come back to BC, a northern ACC school with a much smaller local recruiting pipeline to compete against coaching legends Roy Williams and Mike Krzyzewski? It doesn't make any sense. Besides, Pearl wouldn't look nearly as good in a maroon blazer as he looks in this. 0 percent chance.

Jeff: 0%? There's never a 0% chance of anything. I am not in Bruce Pearl's head right now but I think he does very much enjoy being at Tennessee and being the men's basketball coach there. Right now though I think Tennessee has already fallen from their peak and he failed to ride the wave of success he had early on there to national promenance and I do not think he will ever reach the Final Four at Tennessee. Given that, I think there will be grumblings there just like any other major conference program after a few more years. Maybe the stars will align and the time Al Skinner will be leaving BC will be the perfect time for Bruce Pearl to leave the SEC and take the step up to being an ACC basketball coach. I might not bet money for this to happen but I do give it a legitimate chance.

Brian: I gotta say I'm shocked you think this has an actual legitimate chance of happening. You are crazy if you think Pearl would get fired from Tennessee and take the BC job.

Big Finish

Brian: On Wednesday, Greg Barber, one of the largest donors to the school and the endower of the head football coaching job, resigned from the Board of Trustees. And all the Globe got out of him was a "No comment." What do you read into this Jeff?

Jeff: That is obviously not good since he is reportedly undecided about whether or not he will continue donating at his current levels. Reading anything beyond that though would be unfair.

Jeff: My wife forwarded you the picture of my stepson running down the hill at Clemson's spring game last week and you know the first time we went to Clemson we were really surprised that fans were allowed onto the field after the game. Any chance BC ever lightens up on its rules a little to make football games a more exciting event for young fans and encourages them to stay until the end?

Brian: This works at Clemson because the end zone with Howard's Rock is actually the most common way out of the stadium. This just doesn't work at BC. Where would fans exit? Into the parking lot next to Shea Field?

Jeff: Or maybe just exit out the corner of the stadium opposite the superfans towards Edmunds.

Brian: The price of a Notre Dame football ticket is going up $3 next season. Jeff, can you tell me what Irish football fans are paying for here? It must be those home games against UConn, Navy, Nevada, Washington and Michigan State, right?

Jeff: Wow. Wow. Wow. Maybe the South Bend economy is booming despite being not too far from Detroit.

Jeff: Last week at the Masters, team BC, or team Norman did not fair so well. Greg Norman failed to make the cut and Sergio Garcia did not do well on the weekend. Will either of these golfers or another golfer with some BC connection win a major before the end of next year?

Brian: Umm ... no.

Brian: Bleacher Report's spring ACC football power rankings. BC is ranked #10 of #12 behind only Virginia and Duke. What gives?

Jeff: This is crap and BC will finish towards the top again. Maybe Bleacher Report is still pissed we stopped writing for them.

Jeff: Last one, the Eagles play their toughest opponent in a while when a ranked Virginia baseball team comes to the Heights this weekend. Any chance the Eagles win another series?

Brian: I think the Eagles will definitely win 1 game, and give them a 37% chance of taking 2 or more.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Bracketology in April?

Brian: Give it a rest, Joe Lunardi. A little over a week since North Carolina's defeat of Michigan State in the NCAA men's basketball championship, and ESPN resident "bracketologist" Joe Lunardi already has a 2009-2010 bracketology up. Boston College is listed as one of the First Four Teams Out.

The ACC, by seed: (1) Duke, (3) North Carolina, (3) Wake Forest, (5) Clemson, (10) Florida State, (11) Miami (FL), (12) Maryland.

Jeff, please tell Mr. Lunardi what you think of his 2010 tournament field.

Jeff: First, I think ESPN's bracketologist has Boston College pegged pretty well. If you translated BC's First Four Out spot to the preseason polls it would probably place the Eagles receiving one or two votes, possibly a few more and possibly none at all. That is exactly where I believe the Eagles deserve to be at the start of the 2009-2010 season. BC earned a 7 seed in the tournament this year which means they were top 30 at that point and did not win their first round game. The Eagles freshmen and sophomores maturing is offset by losing Tyrese Rice. As a realist, you have to set a goal for the basketball team of achieving what they did last year and that is a winning record in conference and an NCAA tournament bid. These could even be considered lofty goals but that's what the team's goals should be.

As for the rest of the field, there is a very interesting matchup shaping up in San Jose according to Mr. Lunardi between #5 Clemson and #12 South Carolina. That would have people going crazy down here in my neck of the woods. In my opinion, though, South Carolina will not even sniff the NCAA tournament next year as the SEC is likely to be more competitive and the Gamecocks are likely to lose their best player, Devan Downey, to the NBA.

Brian: You've gone soft on me Jeff. I wasn't expecting you to analyze these brackets too closely because it is APRIL. Some tough job Joe Lunardi has here. Not all underclassmen have even declared for the NBA yet, yet we still have a meaningless bracket. Of course it's easy to pair Clemson with South Carolina in APRIL. Lunardi should have also thrown in Boston College vs. Notre Dame, Louisville vs. Memphis, Florida vs. Florida State and Binghamton vs. Syracuse in the first round too for kicks.

This bracket is a joke. Joe, please go on a nice, long summer vacation, enjoy some MLB baseball, and come back to us in the fall. ESPN should put a moratorium on any new bracketology updates until ... at least Midnight Madness makes its stops at college campuses around the country.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Headlines: The 2009 Matt Ryan Roadshow

Brian: The NFL released their 2009 schedule tonight. Of course as a Giants fan, my eyes immediately darted towards the New York Giants schedule (definitely manageable this season if they can get out of September).

After that, however, I took a look at the Atlanta's schedule to see where Matt Ryan and the Falcons would be traveling this fall. The results? Well, let's just say a good number of BC alum will be excited ...

2009-2010 Atlanta Falcons Road Games

Sun 9/27Falcons at PatriotsFoxboro, MA1:00pm
Sun 10/11Falcons at 49ersSan Francisco,CA4:05pm
Sun 10/25Falcons at CowboysArlington, TX4:15pm
Mon 11/2Falcons at SaintsNew Orleans, LA8:30pm
Sun 11/15Falcons at PanthersCharlotte, NC1:00pm
Sun 11/22Falcons at GiantsEast Rutherford, NJ1:00pm
Sun 12/20Falcons at JetsEast Rutherford, NJ1:00pm
Sun 1/3Falcons at BuccaneersTampa, FL1:00pm

For those keeping track at home, that is four Falcons trips to three cities with some of the largest concentrations of Boston College alumni - Boston, New York x2, and San Francisco. Throw in Dallas for good measure and a game in the New Cowboys Stadium, and that is one great schedule for BC fans.

Note that the Falcons at Patriots game is the same weekend as Parents' Weekend and the ACC home opener against Wake Forest. Huge football weekend for Eagles fans September 26-27.

Also, and I know that Tampa and Miami aren't exactly that close, but the Falcons' regular season finale is in Tampa on January 3. The Orange Bowl is on January 5. Just saying.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Winter Classic Coming to Boston?

From the Herald, Ice is nice at Fenway for Bruins ...
Don’t breathe a word of this. Because nobody’s supposed to know. But the Boston Bruins will host the NHL’s Winter Classic outdoor hockey game against an unnamed opponent Jan. 1 at Fenway Park!

Our spies on Lansdowne Street say the League has given its blessing to a 2010 New Year’s Day game in the Hub of Hockey, choosing Boston over New York and Philadelphia.

League reps had visited all three cities and, in Boston, looked at both Fenway and Gillette Stadium . However, scheduling around any Patriots post-season play was a tricky proposition, we’re told, and ultimately Fenway got the nod.

I say forget the Bruins ... how about Boston College vs. Boston University hockey at Fenway Park?

Gene, make it happen.

Headlines: DeFilippo Contract Extension

Brian: Wasn't much news this weekend out of Chestnut Hill this morning. The baseball team opened a can of whoop ass on Wake Forest in the first game of the Eagles Saturday double header, beating Wake 23-2. The lopsided score was as much of a storyline as was senior pitcher JB MacDonald's 8.0 innings of no-hit baseball. In the second game of the double header, the Eagles came from behind to notch a 4-2 victory. On Sunday, the Eagles dropped the final game of the series 5-3. The series win over the weekend pushes the Eagles' record to 22-12, 9-7 ACC, good for a tie with Florida State and second place in the ACC Atlantic Standings.

Jeff: I am trying to get into BC baseball given their success this season but it is just a difficult thing to do. I check the scores at the end of the day or weekend but that seems to be about it. I imagine when the ACC tournament rolls around I might try and catch a little on the radio or tv but that is still weeks away.

Brian: Of course, the big news this afternoon is that Athletic Director Gene DeFilippo was granted a contract extension through 2014. The financials of the deal were not disclosed since BC is a private institution. Jeff, your initial thoughts?

Jeff: I don't have too much to say about it other than I'm not surprised and as of this moment he certainly deserves it. GDF has done more with less than the majority of ADs around the country if not all of them. BC has enjoyed its greatest ten year span of athletic achievement in the three major sports in its history. BC is now poised to be a contender in football and basketball for years and years to come. GDF deserves a lot of credit for this regardless of how many pieces may have been in place prior to his arrival. If his legacy is ever hurt, it will be hurt in a big way if the Spaz hire does not turn out to be a great decision. We will not know that though until his contract would've had to have been renewed or extended so I have no problem with BC throwing some money at him right now.

Brian: While I agree that Gene has done great things for the program, I disagree with the contract extension at this point in time. DeFilippo's contract currently ran until 2011. What was the urgency to extend his contract? My biggest sticking point with this is what you alluded to, Jeff, in that we just don't know how the Spaziani hire will pan out. What if Spaz is a bust as a HC? I'm not saying the Spaziani hire will be good or bad in the long run, but if it doesn't turn out well, the university has now lost all of its leverage in measuring how successful Gene's hire (and the entire situation) was handled. You can't fire Gene now if the football program takes a nosedive; you'd have to buy out his contract.

To make matters worse, the school has now given Gene free reign to hire the next men's head basketball coach and the next men's hockey coach. I can't imagine either Skinner or York's time at BC running past 2014, so Gene will certainly have the opportunity to leave his mark on those two programs (having not hired either Skinner or York). Who knows what the future holds for those two programs, but we seem to be putting way too much trust in Gene to make the right decision for both Al Skinner's and Jerry York's successors.

Now, again, the Spaziani hire could end up being phenomenal for the school and the football program, and DeFilippo could make similarly great decisions about the future men's basketball and men's ice hockey head coaching gigs, but who really knows at this point? Spaz, the next basketball and ice hockey coaches could be all busts. We seem to be placing all the power and the future of the athletics department in Gene's hands. To me, this is a little disconcerting given that Gene has a total of 2 football head coaching hires to his name at BC (one bolted after 2 years and one hasn't coached a single game with the title of "Head Coach"), and 0 hires in men's basketball or men's ice hockey.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter

May you have a peep-filled day.

Friday, April 10, 2009

A Look at First-Year Coaching Success and the Big Finish

Jeff: Brian, I call today Masters Friday. Do you know what the Masters is?

Brian: Don't you mean Good Friday? And yes, I know what the Masters is, thank you very much.

Here is a look back at each of BC's head football coaches performances in their first season at the helm. The results are not pretty.

1978Ed Chlebek0-11--
1981Jack Bicknell5-6--
1991Tom Coughlin4-72-4 Big East
1994Dan Henning7-4-14-3-1 Big East
1997Tom O'Brien4-73-5 Big East
2007Jeff Jagodzinski11-36-2 ACC

Poor class of 1978. That year's team under first year coach Ed Chlebek went 0-11, including losses to these football powerhouses - Villanova, Holy Cross, Massachusetts, Temple (in Tokyo!), Tulane, and all three service academies!

Going back 32 years, the only coaches that were able to compile a winning record in their first season as coach were Dan Henning in 1994 (7-4-1) and Jeff Jagodzinski in 2007 (11-3). Both coaches were able to capitalize on the success of Tom Coughlin (1991-1993) and Tom O'Brien (1997-2006).

These results are not particularly encouraging for Frank Spaziani in his first year as head coach at the Heights. Jeff, please tell me why I shouldn't be discouraged by our recent history and should expect good things (a.k.a. a winning record) from the Eagles in 2009?

Jeff: You shouldn't be discouraged because our most recent history includes Jagodzinski compiling one of the greatest seasons in the history of BC football. If Jags could do that, Spaz can at least have a winning record. Also look at the personnel he has returning with our two young running backs and a spectacular defense including the reigning ACC Defensive POY.

Brian: You're right, Jeff. One of those reasons has to be the returning starters on defense. HD tooks a look at the ACC schools over the past five years that have finished in the Top 25 for the total defense statistic. Will BC again rank in the Top 25 for total defense in 2009?

Jeff: I would think so. Defense is Spaziani's specialty so I would expect the Eagles to have a strong, strong defense for years to come.

Brian: I am cautiously optimistic that the Eagles will have another winning season next year. The team has a lot of work to get better on offense and on special teams this summer before I feel more comfortable.

Still, the schedule sets up somewhat favorably for the Eagles next year. BC is likely to win 3 or all 4 of their out of conference games (Northeastern, Kent State, Central Michigan, at Notre Dame) and then the team only needs a couple of ACC victories to push them to 7 wins. The most likely candidates being at Virginia (also breaking in a new offense), North Carolina (retooling after losing several offensive playmakers) and at Maryland (always seem to find a way to beat the Terps) - all at the end of the season. Clemson will take a step back, and we get the tougher ACC Atlantic teams - Wake Forest, Florida State and NC State - all at home.

Here's hoping that Spaz can top the first-year coaching records of Chlebek, Bicknell, Coughlin and O'Brien.

Big Finish

Jeff: Former Eagles pitcher Joe Martinez had a good day on Tuesday. His first major league action out of the bullpen for the San Francisco Giants - 1 game, 2.0 innings pitched, 1 strike out, 1 walk, 1 win. Pretty good, eh?

Brian: Great first outing on opening day in relief of Giants starter Tim Lincecum, who only lasted 3 innings. He did give up 2 earned runs but the Giants backed him with 2 runs in the 4th and 1 run in the 5th to give Martinez his first MLB victory.

However, last night he was bloodied up by a line drive off the bat of Mike Cameron that struck him in the head. He was able to walk away and was taken to get a CT scan. Here's wishing Martinez a speedy recovery.

Brian: In an interview with Lars Anderson on, Anderson says the 2009 offense will be all no-huddle and much more up-tempo. The plays will all be called with hand signals. Does this at all worry you considering we will have one of three very green quarterbacks under center next year?

Jeff: Absolutely. This terrifies me with the lack of experience we have at the helm no matter who ends up being the starting quarterback. Longer term though, I like it.

Jeff: Buffalo Sabres prospect Nate Gerbe was named AHL Outstanding Rookie of the Year. How long will it take for Gerbe to make the Sabres roster?

Brian: If the Sabres don't make the playoffs, I would expect Gerbe to be called up sooner rather than later.

Brian: The ACC Sports Journal takes a way, way too early look at the 2009-2010 ACC men's basketball power rankings, and has BC ranked 9 of 12. Fair or foul?

Jeff: BC probably deserves a slightly higher ranking but it's not so far off that I can call it foul.

Jeff: Goon's World takes a look at the number of NHL players from each NCAA men's ice hockey program. BC and North Dakota tie for second place on the list with 16 players, only topped by Michigan's 25 players. Anything on that list stand out as odd to you?

Brian: The few number of NHL players from New Hampshire jumps out at me immediately (5). The Wildcats are tied with Harvard, Michigan Tech, Minnesota-Duluth, Minnesota State, and Nebraska-Omaha - all non-factors on the national stage. And they wonder why they always crap the bed in the NCAA tournament?

Brian: Patrick Stevens of the Washington Post uses some crazy math (25 points for a National Championship, 10 points for a Final Four, 1 point for an NCAA tournament berth, and so on, and so forth) to determine which ACC basketball program has been the best over the past decade. BC ranks 4th on this list behind only the schools that have won National titles this past decade (North Carolina, Duke and Maryland). This surprise you?

Jeff: Not at all. We've known this for a long time. BC has had a spectacular run in basketball since 2000. Skinner gets a lot of heat from fans for no reason.

Jeff: Greg Norman shot two under in his opening round at the Masters. Any chance he finishes top 5?

Brian: Slight, slight chance. If I was playing oddsmakers, I would only give him a 5% chance. Still, impressive that he shot -2 and matched Tiger's first round. Norman is the sentimental pick to win, right?, since he has finished 2nd in the Masters three times - two times in the 1980s and one time in the 1990s. And you thought I knew nothing about golf!

Brian: Last one, the UVA blog From Old Virginia takes a look at the joke that is the four-team ACC men's lacrosse league. Your solution?

Jeff: Fix Title IX.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

BCI Tournament Pool: Winner, Winner

Congratulations to West Coast Bias for winning the first annual BC Interruption Tournament Pool. Bias correctly picked 50 of 63 games including the national champion North Carolina.

The truly sad part of it all is not that I finished next to last, but that West Coast Bias is actually my future sister-in-law. I guess we now know where all the college basketball knowledge lives in the family. West Coast Bias is actually a women's college basketball coach by trade, so I am going to cry foul and say that maybe she had some inside information on this year's tournament?

The rest of the top 10 after the jump.

1 West Coast Bias 26 30 24 8 16 32 (UNC) 136 136
2 Witty Bracket Name 24 22 16 24 16 32 (UNC) 134 134
3 Andy's Picks 21 24 24 16 16 32 (UNC) 133 133
4 Hoosier Daddy 24 22 20 16 16 32 (UNC) 130 130
5 conlonc 21 24 20 16 16 32 (UNC) 129 129
6 Tarheel Tourney Pick'em '08 (G 22 26 16 16 16 32 (UNC) 128 128
7 Mosakowski's Men 22 26 24 8 16 32 (UNC) 128 128
8 number2 24 20 20 16 16 32 (UNC) 128 128
9 Conte Coffin 22 26 24 8 16 32 (UNC) 128 128
10 Reggie Jackson's Headband 23 24 16 16 16 32 (UNC) 127 127

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Toss Up: Enter the Offseason

Jeff and I tackle some of the offseason storylines and other random thoughts on our minds today in a game of Toss Up.

Toss Up - Which National championship game coach, if they were named BC men's basketball coach tomorrow, would first get the Eagles to the Final Four - Roy Williams or Tom Izzo?

Brian: The other day I was having a conversation that asked the question, just how good of a coach is Roy Williams? Now don't get me wrong, the following is not meant to belittle Williams' accomplishments at either Kansas or North Carolina. But I'm just not sold on how good of a coach Roy Williams is. Let me explain. I would venture to say there are about 5-10 college basketball programs out there that simply sell themselves. High schoolers simply want to play for your program. Kansas and North Carolina are certainly two of those programs. I would venture to guess that there are a handful of other programs that could say the same thing. Off the top of my head? Duke, Kentucky, UCLA - maybe no more, Arizona (?), Connecticut, and Indiana, too. These programs have no geographical boundaries as far as recruiting and usually claim the lion's share of the McDonald's All-American population.

Now, I started to read up on Roy Williams career trying to answer the question, where was Williams before Kansas? Wait, his only two D-I college head coaching jobs were Kansas and North Carolina?! How can that be? It seems like Williams was giving Wonka's golden ticket. He inherited a Kansas team coming off a National championship under Larry Brown and turned Kansas into a perennial Big Eight (and later Big XII) power, then used that success to get a job at his alma mater to turn around the program that Matt Doherty sorta ran into the ground. But by then, he had built up enough of a reputation as a great coach at Kansas to turn UNC around.

So, long story short, while I think Williams is a great recruiter and has a laundry list of accomplishments to his name, I'm going with Izzo. I'd have to think that at a school like BC with no college hoops history to speak of and limited depth of local recruiting talent, that Izzo could more quickly turn lemons into lemonade at the Heights.

Jeff: I think you're correct in choosing Izzo. Roy Williams wasn't able to win it all at Kansas which is a powerhouse program and was then able to win at North Carolina. But UNC is the biggest and best program in college basketball nowadays and was that way under Dean Smith and was headed back to that spot before Williams came in. Tom Izzo has taken a much lesser Michigan State program to being one of the tops in the country. This is what BC would need. They don't need someone who can win at a school that sells itself. They need a guy more like Izzo who has proven he can win at a non-traditional power.

Toss Up - More interesting offseason Raji storyline - whether or not he hit the bong or who will actually draft him?

Jeff: Can I choose neither? I don't think the drug test story as a big deal, nor do I really care which team will draft him. He has been though of by BC fans as a first rounder for a while and he shot up some draft boards early on this offseason, but whether he gets drafted 7th, 11th, 19th, or whatever is just not big news in my book since he is a defensive tackle and not a quarterback or other skill position player. Of the two choices, I'll go with the drug test though. It was a little surprising when it came out.

Brian: The more interesting story is whether or not he failed the Combine's drug test. Now Raji and his agent are saying that they haven't been told yet by the independent medical advisors that he actually failed the drug test. Raji, his family, and his agent are now all pleading ignorance that the report was untrue and spread maliciously. I really don't know what to believe at this point. Unfortunately, I think the damage might already be done to Raji's draft stock. As you said, while it will be great to see Raji get drafted in the first round, there isn't nearly the hype with BC fans surrounding Matt Ryan's 2008 NFL Draft experience.

Toss Up - Who you got in the Frozen Four this weekend - Boston U. or the field?

Brian: I think you'd have to be a little crazy to take the field this coming weekend. You have two 4 seeds playing in the National semifinal. Miami "thank his heavenly father BC isn't in the NCAA tournament this year" of Ohio vs. Bemidji State, wherever the hell that is. After that, you have Boston U. vs. a very good Vermont team. You would think that BU is going to steamroll the field en route to the school's 5 NCAA championship. Well, call me crazy then. I'm taking the field. I see Vermont pulling off the upset in the first semifinal (note: they are the only Hockey East team to beat BU in the regular season series, taking the series 2-1-0), and see Cinderella Bemidji State winning the other semifinal. In the final, I like Vermont over Bemidji State for the Green Mountain State's first NCAA championship. And the state of New Hampshire basically soils themselves even thinking about the possibility of Vermont winning an NCAA championship in men's ice hockey before UNH does.

Jeff: You have to take the field because otherwise you'd be supporting Boston U. Sucks to BU!

Toss Up - What is the fate of BC's baseball season - first ever ACC Championship appearance or staying home for the fourth straight year?

Jeff: The baseball team is going to head to the ACC Tournament this year. The Eagles have winnable games up until their last two series which are against North Carolina and Miami. By then the team should have secured a spot in the tourney since they are above .500 in conference at the moment.

Brian: The Eagles currently have a very respectable 7-6 record in the ACC right now, including series wins over Florida State, NC State and Maryland. Despite yesterday's setback to UMass in the Baseball Beanpot, the Eagles do have a couple winnable series coming up. BC has a winnable series at Wake Forest next week, followed by a tough home series with Virginia, and a road series with Duke. I think the Eagles can take 2 of 3 from both Wake Forest and Duke, and 1 of 3 from Virginia, which would push their record to 12-10. From there, as you mentioned Jeff, they close out the ACC schedule with two tough home series against Miami and North Carolina. Since the games are at home, I am optimistic that the Eagles can take 1 of 3 from both Miami and UNC, which would get them to 14-14. I think that will be good enough to get them into the ACC Tournament as one of the top 8 teams. Last year, Clemson got in as the #8 seed with an 11-18-1 record.

For whatever reason, the Eagles miss Virginia Tech this year on the schedule. This is unfortunate, because the Hokies just aren't all that good. And last year, the Eagles only played the Hokies once. What is up with this scheduling?

West Virginia football coach Bill Stewart has been making news recently on Twitter. To my knowledge, no BC head coach is "tweeting" yet ...

Last one, Toss Up - Which BC head coach would you more like to see start Twitter-ing - Coach Spaz or Coach Skinner?

Brian: I think there is a lot of intrigue around Coach Spaz in his first season as head coach at BC and all, but I'm going with Skinner on this one. Spaz is going to basically get a pass in his first season as HC, and Skinner is the more established and more scrutinized coach at this point. I think it would be awesome to get to know what Skinner is thinking ...

Why did you bench Roche last night?
Why can't the team beat full court pressure?
Why do you insist on banking extra scholarship spots every year?
Ever heard of a set inbounds play?
Admit it - you secretly hate Leonard Hamilton for stealing your thunder this year and winning ACC COY.
Defend the Flex offense.
Do you cry yourself to sleep every night with the thought that Troy Bell isn't walking through that door?
Ever heard of a timeout, dude?
Can you show us even a little bit of emotion on the sidelines once in a while?
What percent discount do you really get at Eastern Clothing of Watertown?

In this day and age of blogging, Facebook and Twitter, fans (and Al's critics) want to know instantly what he is thinking and why he made the decisions he made. Al, start tweeting today!

Jeff: This tweeting stuff is terrible in my opinion. But, I would rather hear from Spaz daily without a doubt. After losses, it would be nice to get some thoughts from Skinner, but that's what press conferences are for. I want to hear from Spaz constantly about ...

How practices went?
How recruiting is going?
Is anyone injured?
Who is our starting quarterback is going to be?
Was he considering going for it on fourth down?
If he's getting tired since he's old, etc. etc.

Football is king. Spaz is the correct answer here without question.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

What if College Hoops Used the BCS?

Brian: This is, of course, right up my alley. The Big Lead asks the question, what if college hoops used the BCS to select who plays in college basketball's postseason. Using a BCS-like formula, the results:

  • Orange Bowl: North Carolina vs. Louisville (ACC champ vs. Big East champ)
  • Fiesta Bowl: Missouri vs. Michigan State (Big 12 postseason champ vs. Big 10 regular season champ)
  • Rose Bowl: USC vs. Purdue (Pac 10 vs. Big 10)
  • Sugar Bowl: Oklahoma vs. Mississippi State (Big 12 vs. SEC)
  • BCS National Championship: Duke vs. Pittsburgh (ACC vs. Big East)

Of course, there are a couple of things missing from this projection. Namely:

  • The carve out for an 18-14 Notre Dame team to somehow get an at-large BCS berth
  • The anti-trust lawsuits from, among others, the state of Utah (Utah and Utah State), Memphis, Xavier and Butler
  • An irate Tar Heel fan base who would cry foul, noting that UNC beat Duke twice in the regular season yet failed to win the conference tournament and wouldn't be playing for the title.

Jeff, you know I think the current college football bowl + BCS system is dumb. When applied to college hoops, this only further sheds light on the fact that this is no way to pick a national champion. Your counter point?

Jeff: I am not fueling your fire by agreeing with you here. The Big Lead is completely wrong in who would've played for the national championship first of all because it would've been North Carolina vs. Louisville since Louisville was the #1 seed in the tournament after winning the Big East regular season and conference tournaments. Then UNC would've gotten in just as Oklahoma did in 2005 despite not winning the BCS Championship game.

Brian: This scenario assumes that they would have gone with a computer ranking just like the BCS and not the conference champions (most likely, Yahoo's RPI rankings). It's certainly possible that Duke and Pittsburgh would have came out on top since the computers loved them. Then, of course, the year after this happened, the basketball BCS formula would be tweaked yet again to overemphasize conference tournament champions. Holding the system together with band-aids and bubblegum.

Jeff: Well, if North Carolina and Louisville did play in a national title game this year there is no way you could argue that the BCS got it wrong. As for the other games, you could argue all you want but conference champions are conference champions so I don't know what else you can do. The BCS is not a finely tuned machine but given all the constraints of student-athletes, schools, conferences, and the sport of football simply not being able to support a 64 team playoff, it gets the job done.

Brian: All those constraints for the sport of football seem to magically disappear when you move from Division I-A to Division I-AA. Crazy! And you don't need 64 teams. 64 is a little over 19% of the total number of Division I-A men's college basketball programs. 16 teams will do just fine.

Headlines: Notes from Football Scrimmage

Brian: Here are the notes from this past weekend's first intrasquad football scrimmage. Let's get to what most Eagle fans find most interesting this early - the quarterback competition. The lines:

Dominique DavisRS So.9226403
Justin TuggleRS Fr.9118711
Codi BoekSo.7146100
Alexander AtiyehRS Fr.112610

So Jeff, what, if anything, can we surmise from this past weekend's action?

Jeff: Davis is going to be Tuggle's backup this season and Eagle's fans will be extremely happy when Spaz makes that announcement. There is no surprise there. We saw in the ACC Championship game and Davis had weeks and weeks of practice as the #1 quarterback and went up against a great Eagles defense in those practices that Davis just does not quite have what it takes to be a great Division I-A QB. Tuggle might not either but Davis had his chance to prove himself at the end of last year and fell short. This year Tuggle should and probably will be given the benefit of the doubt going into the first game.

Brian: I realize that this is only one scrimmage but I tend to agree with you. The offense usually struggles against the defense in the spring, but Davis' line is pretty ugly. We should at least be encouraged by the defense as Mark Herzlich took one of Davis' INTs back 43 yards to the house.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Boston College Eagles: 2004*, 2007*, and 2008* Conference Champs?

Brian: Via Dr. Saturday and The Wiz c/o EDSBS comes this gem of a story out of the Big XII.

The Texas Longhorns decide to add fuel to the Big XII fire by claiming the Big XII Championship in 2008 on the wall of the Moncrief-Neuhaus training facility. The year 2008 is now inscribed on the wall (along with 1996 and 2005) with a big asterisk after 2008.

But how can you claim a Big XII championship when - if you recall - your team didn't even play in the championship game? Well, the asterisk notes that Texas defeated the two Big XII Championship game participants - Oklahoma and Missouri - in the regular season, but were left out of the title game by virtue of the BCS tiebreaker that broke the three-way tie in the Big XII South.

I'd love to know how the note that explains the asterisk reads. Really, Texas? Really?!

Since Texas is taking liberties with claiming conference championships, I figured why should the Longhorns have all the fun? Every Eagles fan knows that BC has yet to win an outright conference championship in football. But we've certainly had our share of close calls. So following Texas's example, I am officially starting a movement that will petition GDF to finally embrace Boston College as the conference champions that they are. Join me to help get the school to recognize these conference championships.

2008 ACC Champions*

* If not for a Chris Crane broken collarbone.

But why stop there? Why not claim the 2007 ACC Championship as well ...

2007 ACC Champions*

* If you play an ACC Championship game in Jacksonville and no one is there to see it, did it really happen?

And finally, while it's true that we share one fourth of the 2004 Big East championship with Pittsburgh, West Virginia and Syracuse, I think it's high time we claim the championship outright.

2004 Big East Champions*

* Thank you, Temple, whose sole contribution to Big East football over 14 years was breaking Paul Peterson's hand and denying BC the outright 2004 Big East championship in our last year in the league. That, and because our defense didn't show up and we let a safety-turned-running back rush for 141 yards and 2 touchdowns. A SAFETY!?

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Quarterback of the Future? and the Big Finish

Jeff: Continuing our discussion on playing basketball games in football stadiums, let me reiterate that I love having regionals, Final Fours, and conference tournaments in arenas large enough that a sellout is not a guarantee. I like the accessibility of tickets, I like having no trouble parking around the stadium, and I like having a little room to stretch during a two game five hour session of watching live basketball. 20,000+ are going to show up and fill at least the lower bowls for these things and provide the proper atmosphere down at courtside. Ford Field is a different beast than the Georgia Dome and I can understand a little criticism but I am still absolutely shocked that you and our commenters don't seem to recall the hype that surrounded Michigan State playing Kentucky there which set all kinds of basketball attendance records. It's really the same concept as NHL teams playing in baseball and football stadiums which everyone seems to love. Why the hate against the Ford Field Final Four?

Brian: First of all, Jeff, the NHL's Winter Classic is a novelty game played once a year. They don't play any of the NHL playoffs games outside. Totally different beast. And second, yesterday on PTI, Wilbon asked TK whether Michigan State would have any sort of home court advantage for playing at Ford Field in Detroit. TK agreed that there would be some home field advantage but made the point that it wouldn't get too loud in Ford Field because the court is in the middle of the field and the seats are too spread out to have crowd noise that will impact the game. I totally agree with this point. Same sort of affect that Michigan's Big House has with crowd noise as compared to Oregon's Autzen Stadium. Autzen only seats 54,000 but is known as one of the loudest places to play in the country. The Big House has a reputation for not getting that loud despite the 100,000+ people in attendance.

Your other point about the greater availability of tickets ... I just don't understand why someone would want to go to Ford Field and sit in the cheap seats in this day and age of high-definition television. I would much rather watch the game at home on an HD television than sit in the cheap seats at a Final Four to say I was there. In that case, watching the game on TV is a much better option to actually watch the game.

Anyhow, with the Final Four this weekend and the Frozen Four next weekend, we will be winding down the basketball and hockey coverage and starting to get excited about this year's upcoming football season. So many questions for the offseason ... how will Spaziani perform in his first year as head coach? What does Gary Tranquill bring to the table? Will Dan McGovern fill into Spaz's DC position seamlessly? And that is just questions about the coaching staff.

Today, we focus on this fluff piece from HD about the BC quarterback competition. What interests me more than who will be our quarterback for the 2009 season is who is BC's quarterback of the future? We all know that (your boy) Codi Boek, Justin Tuggle and Dominique Davis will be competing for the starting role in 2009, but what about going forward? Throw Indian Hills, NJ QB recruit Michael Marscovetra into the mix, as well as BC's first recruit for the 2010 class Joe Boisture. Boisture, in particular, spurned the recruiting efforts of schools like UCLA, LSU, Notre Dame, and Wisconsin and appears to be a solid pickup for the class of 2010.

That is five potential QBs on the roster by 2010. No, Andy, I'm not including Flutie.

Now I know we have no inside information about the QB competition and who is going to emerge this fall as the starter, but who is your horse in this race? Who do you think our starting QB will be over the next few seasons? Lay out a "5 year plan" for Coach Spaz and the coaching staff.

Jeff: Well, as you alluded to I would love for it to be Codi Boek, but that is just not happening. If he had more promise you would assume he would've at least been on the depth chart last year. That doesn't mean he won't see snaps this year but as far as being our QB of the future I am ruling him out. After seeing Dominique Davis play last year, we also know that there is a ceiling for his potential also. That ceiling might be high enough to get the Eagles back to Tampa now that he could be the starter from day 1, but it is a ceiling that will prevent us from comparing him to Doug Flutie and Matt Ryan. So this leaves Tuggle as the best bet for the man that could emerge this year and could be the QB of the future.

Brian: Here's what I would love to see happen. I'm thinking that Tuggle wins the starting role in 2009. I know there are some that argue that Davis's experience starting 3 games last season gives him a leg up, but I'm not buying it. Three starts in the ACC does not an experienced college quarterback make. I mean, if Davis is the favorite because he started 3 games last season - with a different head coach, different OC and different offensive playbook, let's not discount the fact that Codi Boek played in 3 juco games at ARC in Sacramento before breaking his arm!

But I digress. I obviously don't like Boek's chances in this horse race. I think Boek is in the mix for nothing more than increased competition for Tuggle and Davis.

In 2010 when Boisture gets here, you redshirt him and Tuggle is again the starter in 2010. Hopefully by then he is getting Russell Wilson-esque pub going into his sophomore season. If this is the case, it will be interesting to see what Davis does. Does he stick around? Does he transfer? Who knows.

In 2011, Tuggle is your starter as a junior and Davis is the senior backup. Boisture is third on the depth chart as a freshman. Then for the 2012 season, you call for an open competition between Tuggle and then-sophomore Boisture. If Boisture gets the nod, he has the 2012 through 2014 seasons to be BC's quarterback.

There is my five year plan.

Jeff: You're putting a lot of eggs in the baskets of guys who you've never seen throw a pass.

Brian: That's what YouTube is for (Joe Boisture, Justin Tuggle #1, Justin Tuggle #2) dude. The wildcard, of course, is Michael Marscovetra. Who knows how he will perform at the Heights. I realize some guys don't pan out but to me it just seems curious that we would have so many QB prospects on the roster.

Big Finish

Jeff: The Eagles baseball team notched 2 wins this weekend. What do you expect them to do against the Wolfpack?

Brian: NC State (5-7) is right behind BC (5-5) in the ACC Atlantic standings. I am optimistic that the Eagles can take 2 of 3.

Brian: The women's basketball season ended Wednesday night, as the Lady Eagles fell to the South Florida Bulls 82-65. The reported attendance was ... 702?! That ain't right, is it?

Jeff: I'm surprised that you're surprised by that figure. The women's games are typically attended by families and families are not going to last minute find out the Lady Eagles are playing and plan a trip to Conte on a weeknight.

Brian: The women's team deserves better. If that game is at South Florida, they get a couple thousand to attend. Just a guess.

Jeff: Your men's ice hockey captains for 2009-2010 are Matt Price (C), Matt Lombardi (A) and Ben Smith (A). That cool with you?

Brian: Sure. The only other returning junior is Carl Sneep, but he plays on defense and they usually give the captaincy and the assistant positions to forwards.

Brian: It is rumored that Memphis basketball threw $21 million dollars at BC alum Bruce Pearl to become the Tigers next basketball coach. Jeff, you are ex-Baldwin Bruce Pearl. You jumping the Vol ship or staying put?

Jeff: Take the money and never think twice. Go dominate Conference USA.

Jeff: The Hobey Hat Trick finalists were announced yesterday. All three players are from Hockey East. Any doubt which college hockey conference was the best in the country last year?

Brian: None.

Brian: The MLS club Chivas USA is offering soccer fans all-you-can-eat tickets for $25. If BC football was to offer a similar ticket deal, how much food (in a dollar amount) could you put down over the span of one football game?

Jeff: I'd say 5 hot dogs, 3 popcorns, a pizza, 2 nachos and a bag of M&Ms. Add in several cokes and I figure my tab is approaching $80.00.

Jeff: Last one, who would you most like to smoke a joint with? Willie Green, Ryan Sydney, Sean Williams or BJ Raji?

Brian: That's cold man, and falls under the category of way too soon ...