Monday, August 31, 2009

Headlines: BC-Northeastern Depth Chart Released

Brian: The Boston College football depth chart was released on Sunday and not a moment too soon, with only 5 days to kickoff. Here’s what we know.

On offense
  • Looks like both Justin Tuggle and Michael Marscovetra are going to have a shot at the starting quarterback position.
  • The hybrid tight end/fullback spot is a bit of a surprise with sophomore Lars Anderson getting the nod over junior Jordon McMichael
  • Jarvis and Gunnell are the starting WRs, Megwa must still be injured
  • Redshirt freshman Chris Pantale has the starting TE position
  • Redshirt freshman Emmett Cleary takes the LG spot
On defense
  • Albright reclaims his spot on the depth chart, providing some much needed experience on the defensive line
  • Dillon Quinn will redshirt
  • The loss of Herzlich, McLaughlin and now Thompson in the LB corps hurts. The starting LB corps will contain two freshmen (Kuechly and DiSanzo) and a sophomore (LeGrande)
  • Giles and Scafe will be tabbed to replace Raji and Brace up the middle
  • Secondary will be a strength, with Bowman and Davis at safety and Gause and Rollins are corner
  • Aponavicius is the starting kicker
  • Gunnell gets the punt returning spot while Harris will take kickoffs

Jeff, the biggest surprises for you?

Jeff: Surprise? There is no surprise in any of this information unfortunately. Can we at least name a starting quarterback? I feel that with the injuries, the rest of the depth chart was predictable aside from where freshman step in. But since they are freshman and we've never seen them play before, can we judge anything? No.

I think Spaziani continuing to hold off on naming a starting quarterback means that Shinskie is the starter as soon as he is healthy. I don't think it is good to go into your final week of practice with three guys splitting time at the most valuable position on the field. If that OR in the depth chart is really ultimately for the #2 quarterbacking spot, I think we have a much better chance of developing some team chemistry amongst the first unit ASAP.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Preseason BlogPoll Released

Brian: The preseason blogpoll was released last Wednesday by Brian at MGoBlog. Not many surprises, other than the lone #20 vote for BC by the Florida State blog Tomahawk Nation. Upon closer inspection, the only reason BC comes in at #20 is because TN based its preseason blogpoll ballot based solely on schedule strength.

Florida is the near-unanimous No. 1 overall, receiving 99 of 101 first-place votes. The other two first place votes went to Utah and Georgia (the above-mentioned Tomahawk Nation weirdness).

Top 25 ACC teams include No. 9 Virginia Tech, No. 14 Georgia Tech, No. 19 Florida State, No. 21 North Carolina and No. 25 Miami (Fla.). Notre Dame also makes the poll at No. 23.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Headlines: Final Scrimmage in the Books

Jeff: The Eagles finished their final scrimmage today and the offensive numbers were far more impressive today than they have been up until this point. Tuggle got off to a fantastic start by going 6 of 9 for 104 yards including a 41 yard TD pass to Rich Gunnell. But then he must have faded quickly after that because he finished the game 7 of 19. Completing only one of his final ten passes, no matter how good our defense might be, is not the way you want to finish off the preseason and head into the first game where he may not start but I imagine is sure to get playing time.

Codi Boek also threw a touchdown pass today but it sounds like he is not in the mix to be the starter on opening day. It still appears that Shinskie will start if he can get back to practice soon and Tuggle will start if Shinskie is unable. Spaz had high praise for Tuggle after the game ... sorta.
"Tuggle has made a lot of strides," said Spaziani. "In the beginning of this, he was somewhere else on the ladder, but he took a licking and came back ticking. He could have gone two ways. He went the positive way. It means a lot and he's made progress."
If Boek ends up in the mix look for an option type offense unlike any we have seen at Boston College, at least since I've been following the team.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Preseason Football Rankings

Jeff: By now, you have probably seen that Boston College received votes in both of the major preseason polls. How can a team that some predict to go 2-12, 4-8, or maybe by the most pro BC/ACC writers, 6-6 be in others' preseason top 25? How does that make sense?

Well first, realize that a lot of teams receive votes in the preseason polls. Even though BC is in some voters top 25, they are essentially 40th in the AP and tied for 49th in the USA Today Poll. Both of these rankings are still higher than a 4-8 or even 6-6 ACC team deserves but the ranking is deserved. Why you ask?

How many college football teams can you absolutely assure me(like bet your house on) will be ranked ahead of BC in the final BCS standings this season. Personally, I can only come up with 3. Texas, Florida and Oklahoma. Sure, there are plenty more teams that I think will finish ahead of BC at the end of 2009, but only 3 that I am absolutely be sure of because I cannot promise you that USC will win the Pac-10 and BC will not win the ACC, for example. Why else does BC deserve to get some top 25 votes?

Boston College has proved since joining the ACC that they have competed for their division and conference title every year and gone on to bowl games. Since a preseason top 25 poll ranks basically every BCS conference team that will ultimately head to a bowl game. BC certainly has earned the right to be considered based on their past success and the inaccuracies of preseason polls.

Lastly, the uncertainties of Dave Shinskie, the new coaches and the injuries not only leave the possibility for a disastrous season, but also leave the possibility of having an unpredictably successful season and if that scenario pans out, at least a few writers will be able to say "I told you so."

Comparing the two polls, I have to say that I agree with the AP Poll a little more than the USA Today poll because of where we are ranked relative to a few teams I follow closely. In the AP Poll South Carolina got 2 votes while Wake Forest got zero but in the USA Today Poll both teams are ahead of BC. No one can convince me that either team deserves to be ranked ahead of BC.

Headlines: 2009-10 Basketball Schedule Released

Jeff: The schedule for the upcoming season was released today and if you are a season ticket holder or a student, you have to be excited that both Duke and North Carolina come to Chestnut Hill this year. Out of conference, Boston College could play as many as 5 BCS conference teams depending on how the Paradise Jam shakes out where they could face Purdue again and BC alum Bruce Pearl's Tennessee squad. BC will play at Providence, at Michigan, and South Carolina for sure with Rhode Island and UMass being their next toughest non-conference games.

More on the Boston College basketball schedule once Brian returns to America.

Headlines: What We Learned From The Scrimmage

Jeff: Now that all reports are confirmed, we know that Dave Shinskie did break a rib in Sunday's scrimmage and that was the reason why he did not see more snaps. This clears up all doubt that Shinskie was the favorite to be the starter for Boston College's season opening game against Northeastern on Sept 5th, but now, due to the injury, we are uncertain if he will be ready and able to do so.

As a point of reference, Matt Ryan went 35 of 63 for 304 yards and 2 TDs in the three scrimmages leading up to the 2007 season. While these numbers are slightly better than the numbers our QBs have been putting up this fall, it was still well shy of the 32 of 52 for 408 yards and 5 TDs that he put up in the season opener against Wake Forest that year.

The only other thing I've taken away from the scrimmages is that the place kicking seems to be decent. Aponavicius only went 2 for 4 but the two misses were a block and a bad snap issue. It seems to me that in the spring and so far this fall he has been solid with his 35-45 yard attempts. If this continues into the regular season, that would fill a glaring defect we have had in our special teams for the past several seasons.

Friday, August 21, 2009

All Eyes on QB and the Big Finish

Brian: Pictures say a thousand words, eh? Well, scrimmage #2 is in the books and all eyes are on the Eagles' anemic offense but most importantly, the quarterback competition. During Wednesday's scrimmage, Shinskie and Marscovetra winded up taking a majority of the snaps. Was there improvement? Well, I guess slight improvement? Here are the respective lines of our freshman quarterback candidates:
  • David Shinskie (Fr.) - 9 for 16, 127 yards, 1 INT
  • Michael Marscovetra (Fr.) - 6 for 11, 43 yards, 1 INT
The Eagles offense didn't find the end zone until the last play of the scrimmage, when Marscovetra handed off to Jeff Smith for a three yard TD run. For those keeping track at home, here are the combined QB stats from scrimmages 1 and 2.
  • David Shinskie (Fr.) - 12 for 24, 149 yards, 2 INT
  • Michael Marscovetra (Fr.) - 11 for 17, 58 yards, 2 INT
  • Codi Boek (Jr.) - 4 for 6, 15 yards
  • Justin Tuggle (RS Fr.) - 2 for 6, 9 yards, 1 INT
Yikes! So two questions Jeff. Who do you think will emerge from the QB competition between Shinskie and Marscovetra? And what should Spaziani and the Eagles do with Justin Tuggle, who has been relegated to 3rd in Spaz's QB pecking order.

Jeff: First, Tuggle is a redshirt freshman who, if he is the number 3 man, should hold a clipboard and like it. The only question of "what do you do with this guy?" relates to Marscovetra who is the only person being considered to redshirt. The potential redshirting of Marscovetra might also be reason why he saw so many snaps in the scrimmage. In a way, right now, Spaz and the staff need to learn more about Marscovetra than any other quarterback on the team.

Brian: Are you getting concerned that without a quantum leap forward, what we've heard from the two summer scrimmages is what we are going to get come September 5?

Jeff: You have to be concerned since Spaz's quotes and sound bytes make it sound like he is disappointed with the QB play so far. He had expectations when he offered these two freshman scholarships and he's been around the Heights long enough that his expectations should be realistic. Spaz being disappointed is not a good sign for the Eagles. However, Shinskie is averaging 12.4 yards per completion over the first two scrimmages, and that seems decent to me purely from a statistical standpoint. You have to consider that the first-team defense he was up against is much stronger than the second-team defense. So at this point, I feel that Shinskie is clearly the heavy favorite to emerge as starter.

Big Finish

Brian: Here is a pretty fair assessment of Boston College's offense from the FSU blog Tomahawk Nation. Montel Harris - product of BC's great offensive line or damn fine running back?

Jeff: BC has not had any damn fine running backs since I've been following them. They've all somewhat been products of good lines.

Jeff: Blaudschun reports that Coach Spaz is in favor of scrimmaging other local teams as part of the summer workouts. Agree?

Brian: It's a good thought but the injury bug has already hit ACC teams fairly hard this summer. I'd imagine injuries would be even more prevalent if you scrimmaged a Harvard, New Hampshire, UMass or Rhode Island, no?

Brian: Steve Conroy of the Herald talks about the opportunity that this year's true freshmen have to step up. Name one freshman you expect to make a name for themselves this season.

Jeff: Dave Shinskie will continue to be the BC freshman getting more ESPN air time than any other freshman.

Jeff: Maine goaltender prospect Brian Billet commits to BC. Good news?

Brian: As the only goalie signed for the class of 2014 and reportedly one of the best goalie prospects in the country, yes. Definitely. Especially since he lives in Maine and plays for the EJHL's New Hampshire Monarchs.

Brian: SI's Stewart Mandel thinks this is the season (or next season!) that the ACC finally lands two teams in those coveted BCS bowl slots. Agree?

Jeff: Yes. Unlike previous years, there are a couple of teams that have just enough preseason hype that a 10-2 type record could get them in without winning the ACC Championship Game. Florida State, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, Miami Fla. ...

Jeff: Greg Paulus was named the starting QB at Syracuse. Good thing or bad thing for when BC plays Syracuse starting next season?

Brian: Good thing. You want Syracuse to turn in a respectable performance this season so BC isn't criticized for weak scheduling next season, and apparently Paulus is the Orange's best option this season. Also good that Paulus won't be around next season and Syracuse will turn to yet another green QB.

Brian: The Sun Bowl unanimously chose to take the 5th best ACC team for the years 2010-13 over the Big East offer (the conference's 3rd best team or Notre Dame). Is this a blow to the Big East?

Jeff: Well, in all reality, Notre Dame would not fall to the Sun Bowl often so it was a great business decision by them to take an NC State or Clemson type team with a good fan base. The Sun Bowl will also get the occasional FSU or Virginia Tech appearance over having Rutgers or Pitt play annually with hopes of Notre Dame falling into their slot. But, this is yet another indication that it's laughable how some think BC should have stayed in the Big East.

Jeff: Last one, BCMike's new blog BCDraft drafted the best tailgating drinks and the #1 overall draft pick went to Bloody Mary's. WTH?

Brian: Sorry, BCMike, but true Eagles only drink Bud Light whilst tailgating. Or Busch Light, if you are strapped for cash.

Brian is on an international recruiting school trip next week so aside from a few season preview posts written this week, you will be in Jeff's hands. Who will play LeBatard ("BAM!") to Brian's MW next week?

Football season is almost here ... Go Eagles!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Over/Under: 09 College Football Preview SEC

Brian: Next up on our preview of the BCS conferences is the $2.25 billion dollar industry known as the S-E-C.

Our previous BCS conference previews: Pac 10, Big XII, Big Ten, Big East

For reference, here is a composite prediction of how the experts think God's Conference will play out this season:

SEC East
1. Florida
2. Georgia
3. Tennessee
4. South Carolina
5. Vanderbilt
6. Kentucky

SEC West
1. Alabama
2. Louisiana State
3. Mississippi
4. Arkansas
5. Auburn
6. Mississippi State

First up, Over/Under - 7 regular season wins for South Carolina

Brian: I simply don’t see things getting any better for Steve Spurrier and the Gamecocks this season. Last season’s 7 regular season wins seems to be a bit of a ceiling for South Carolina. The non-conference schedule doesn’t do South Carolina any favors with two ACC programs book-ending the season along with Florida Atlantic and South Carolina State. I wouldn’t expect a repeat of South Carolina’s 34-0 beatdown of NC State to start the season, especially with this year’s tilt at Carter-Finley Stadium and even with Clemson at home, I see the Tigers continuing their recent dominance over their intra-state rivals. Assuming that South Carolina goes 2-2 out of conference, I would need them then to go 5-3 in conference just to push and 6-2 for the over. Last season’s four SEC wins came at Ole Miss and Kentucky and at home vs. Tennessee and Arkansas. This season they have to travel to Knoxville and Fayetteville, and both Tennessee and Arkansas should be vastly improved from a season ago. Ole Miss will be better. I don’t see USC going any better than 2-2 in those games. Tack on losses at Alabama, at Georgia, Florida. I’m fairly confident in the under (-200) here. Maybe, maybe South Carolina gets to 6 wins and goes bowling, but that’s about it this season. Yes, Spurrier will get more consistent quarterback play from sophomore Stephen Garcia, but there are still lots of question marks on the offensive line – an O-line that gave up the second most sacks in the SEC last season. Take the under here for easy money.

Jeff: This is my local team you are talking about, Brian, and you hit the nail on the head. The Gamecocks will NOT win more than 7 games. Take the under (-200) here and the worst you'll do is get your money back at the end of the season. I have talked to people who have attended some of their practices and they say USC look worse than last year. Not only does Smelley continue to get into off the field issues but they also play in an extremely tough division. If they lose to NC State to start the season, it will be tough for the Gamecocks to go bowling again.

Over/Under - 7 regular season wins for Tennessee

Jeff: I like Tennessee to bounce back this year, make some noise in the SEC and get some wins against ranked opponents this year. But as far as their prospect of getting to 8 wins, I don't like it. Tennessee doesn't play any major powers out of conference but UCLA could knock them off and depending on how things go, Memphis could prove to be a tough game. In SEC play they unfortunately have to travel to Florida, Alabama and Ole Miss. That's 3 preseason Top 10 teams on the road. What a brutal schedule. Since I have to make a pick here I'll take the under (-165) but if we were playing with real money I'd stay away from this bet entirely.

Brian: This is a tough call as there are a ton of unknowns going into the beginning of the Lane Kiffin era in Knoxville. I'm fairly certain the Vols will improve on last year's 5-7 record but by just how many games is the million dollar question. The bright spots for the Volunteers will be All-American junior safety Eric Berry. The weaknesses will be in the linebacking corps and in the offensive skill positions. But the Tennessee offense can't possibly be worse than it was last year. Giving a cursory glance over the Vol schedule, I would predict a 7-5, 4-4 SEC season for Kiffin in his first year. Wins in non-conference play against Western Kentucky, Memphis and Ohio, and conference wins over Vanderbilt, Kentucky, South Carolina and Auburn. But since pushing is unmanly, I'll hesitantly take the under (-165) here and predict that either South Carolina or Auburn take care of the Vols in Knoxville. 6-6, 3-5 in the SEC in Kiffin's first season, and the Vols return to the postseason.

Over/Under - 7 1/2 regular season wins for Auburn

Brian: I have no doubt that Auburn will turn it around eventually, but I think the faithful on the Plains can’t expect monumental change to come in one season. And turning a 5-7, 2-6 season into an 8-4, 5-3 season in a single year is what I would consider monumental change. I went to an Auburn game last season right when the wheels were starting to fall off the Tommy Tuberville train, and Auburn dropped 6 of their last 7 games to end the season with their only win coming against I-AA Tennessee-Martin. Chizik will face the same sorts of problems that led to Tuberville’s departure – trying to fit a square peg (a spread offense) into a round hole (players traditionally recruited to run the power-I). It might get better with new offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn, but his new system will take time to develop. Quarterback is equally as much of a question, with Chris Todd and Kodi Burns stinking up the joint last season (I ended up seeing both in the 25-22 loss to Arkansas). Throw in Neil Caudle and much like the Eagles, I’m not sure we’ll have a Tiger starting QB named until very late in August. To expect 8 or more wins for the Tigers this season is simply too many. Three non-conference gimmes (Louisiana Tech, Ball State, Furman) and a home game against Kentucky seem to be the only locks for Ws this season. Auburn has a tough non-conference opponent in West Virginia coming to Jordan-Hare on September 19, and could foreseeably go 0-4 on the road in the SEC this season (Tennessee, Arkansas, LSU, Georgia). Throw in tough home games against Alabama and Ole Miss, and the under (-220) seems to be the EASY, easy choice for Auburn this season.

Jeff: Predicting that Auburn will win 8 games this season is a tough thing to do. Tough even though I do expect significant improvement over last season with the Tigers getting back to a bowl game this year. Ole Miss and Alabama are both ranked high entering the season in the SEC West and they also travel to Athens and Morgantown in out of conference play. I see a lot of wins on Auburn's schedule to get them to the six they need for bowl eligibility but to predict 8+ is just impossible given their incredible struggles last season. Under (-220).

Over/Under - 8 1/2 regular season wins for Georgia

Jeff: Georgia will most likely go 6-2 in SEC play this year. But the Bulldogs have, by far, one of the most interesting non-conference schedules of any BCS team this year. Because of that tough non-conference schedule, UGA aren't a lock to reach 9 or 10 wins and go over. Among their games against Oklahoma State, Arizona State and Georgia Tech, will they go 3-0, 2-1, 1-2??? Given that Georgia will be breaking in a new quarterback, a new running back, and that crazy non-conference schedule ... I think you have to take the under here (-110) and expect Georgia to lose a game or two along the way to a team they should normally beat.

Brian: You are right Jeff. In predicting this line, the focus should be on Georgia's non-conference schedule. I have to give the Bulldogs credit though. After spending years in the friendly confines of the Peach state, snacking on I-AAs and Sunbelt teams between the hedges, UGA went out and scheduled a damn fine slate of non-conference games this season. So good, in fact, that is considered by some to be one of the toughest schedules in the BCS. The Bulldogs start the season in Stillwater against a top 25 squad in Oklahoma State. The Bulldogs also scheduled Arizona State, and go to Atlanta to face Georgia Tech at the end of the season. The problem, as you alluded to, is that Matthew Stafford and Knowshon Moreno aren't walking through that door. A year ago, Georgia was a mythical national championship contender. A 10-3, 6-2 SEC finish was actually a disappointment for Bulldog nation. If the Athens faithful thought 10 wins was a disappointment last season, they aren't going to like what they get from UGA this season. I'll predict that Georgia loses at least 2 of their 4 non-conference games (in all liklihood at Oklahoma State and at Georgia Tech). In addition, I'll predict the Bulldogs go 6-2 at best in SEC play with losses to Florida (yes, again) and LSU. There are plenty of other trap games on the sched this year including September 19 at Arkansas (who UGA didn't face last season) and October 10 at Tennessee. Go with the under (-110) here. Georgia won't go any better than 8-4 this season.

Over/Under - 8 1/2 regular season wins for LSU

Brian: This is an extremely interesting line. An over here would mean a two game improvement from last season’s 3-5 SEC finish. I’ll assume for a moment that LSU coasts through their non-conference schedule of UL Lafayette, Tulane, Louisiana Tech and a road trip to Seattle (Washington) and gets to 4-0 just as they did last year. So then the Tigers have to turn two SEC losses in 2008 to two wins in 2009. Only two of LSU’s five SEC losses came on the road, and it’s questionable whether the Tigers can take down Florida at home this season. Let’s assume that LSU will turn the Arkansas game from a loss to a win, which leaves me looking for one more SEC W. The most likely candidates then are the road trips to Athens or Tuscaloosa, as I expect both Georgia and Alabama to take a bit of a step back this season. Not to mention the Alabama game was lost in overtime last season. Overall, I like LSU’s chances to get back on track this season, win at least 9 games and be in the running to take the SEC West crown after a one-year hiatus from being unstoppable. Go with the over here (+100) and expect LSU to challenge Ole Miss and Alabama for the West division crown.

Jeff: Brian finds this line fascinating while I find it easy money. Like he said, LSU should go 4-0 in non-conference play so 5-3 in the SEC would get the Tigers to 9-3. LSU was down last year but when you have the opportunity to make money off a team that has two recent national championships by only winning 9 games, you take it!! OVER OVER OVER (+100) and don't look back.

Over/Under - 9 regular season wins for Ole Miss

Jeff: As indicated by our preliminary preseason blogpoll ballot, we are high on Ole Miss this season. Even though I have the Rebels lower in my blogpoll ballot than Brian, there is no way this team wins 8 games or less this year. Over (-130).

Brian: Yes, we are high on the Rebels, but with good reason. The Rebels finished last season on a 6 game winning streak, including wins at LSU and vs. Texas Tech in the Cotton Bowl. Junior QB and Texas transfer Jevan Snead looks poised to have another outstanding year under center should the offensive line gel. Whether right or wrong, preseason polls are becoming as much about who you play as they are about the talent you return. Mississippi's 2009 schedule is THE weakest in the SEC and one of these weakest for a BCS conference team (77 of 120 to be specific, according to Phil Steele). Only my Northwestern (85) and Rutgers (106) have a weaker preseason strength of schedule. Two I-AA teams (SE Louisiana and Northern Arizona), two 'meh' Conference-USA teams (at Memphis and UAB), and two of their toughest SEC West opponents have to come to Oxford (Alabama and LSU). Not to mention Ole Miss misses both Florida and Georgia and instead gets Tennessee, South Carolina and Tennessee from the other side of the conference. To win less than 9 wins this season would be a HUGE disappointment. Some might point to last year's preseason media darlings like Georgia or Clemson and say the same fate awaits Mississippi this season, but I just don't see it. The talent is there and the schedule so weak that Ole Miss should be playing in their first SEC Championship Game come December. Over (-130).

Over/Under - 9 1/2 regular season wins for Alabama

Brian: Much like the LSU line, I find the Bama line extremely interesting this year. Alabama benefits greatly from missing both Florida and Georgia from the other side of the conference this season. I’m not going to expect a repeat of last season’s 12-0 start, especially with the departure of John Parker Wilson and questions on the offensive line. Still, the Bama defense should be filthy with nine of twelve starters back in 2009. For me, this line comes down to whether I think Alabama can win at least one of their three games against marquee opponents this season, including the Chick-Fil-A College Kickoff against Virginia Tech in Atlanta, a road trip to Oxford against Ole Miss in October, and a November 7 home date against LSU. Not only will they have to take 1 of those 3 games, but they’ll also have to avoid getting tripped up against the rest of the SEC and in non-conference play. If there is anything we learned from recent history, it’s that even the games against FIU, North Texas and Chattanooga aren’t 100% gimmes (cough: UL-Monroe). A lot of magazines and prognosticators have Bama in their preseason top 5, but for some reason I’m higher on Ole Miss or LSU’s chances to win the SEC West this season. I’ll take the under (-175) assuming that a 9-3 season or worse is much more likely than 10-2 or better.

Jeff: I expect Alabama to regress from last year, at least in terms of total number of wins. Despite losing the SEC Championship and the Sugar Bowl, Alabama still won 12 games last year in a perfect regular season campaign. This year, however, there is no way the Tide get to twelve wins again. Since I'm an ACC guy, I'll protect the shield and count the Virginia Tech game as a loss for them. But once conference play hits, the good news, as Brian points out, is that Alabama misses both Florida and Georgia from the SEC East. So getting to 10 wins mostly comes down to splitting the LSU and Ole Miss games. I like their odds of doing that so without any other missteps in conference play they would get to 10-2. But, this is the SEC so I feel sure someone will trip them up this year now that they have a huge target on their backs. An upset loss in the SEC brings them back down to 9-3. But then again, Brian took the under here and I have not gone back on my never failing logic of Brian typically being wrong with these things and I will take the OVER (+125)!!!

Last one, Over/Under - 11 regular season wins for Florida

Jeff: Is it more likely that Florida will win them all or lose two games? I am going to say that it is more likely that the fighting Tim Tebows run the table than lose two game even though the most likely scenario is that they lose one game again and push with 11 wins. Over (-120).

Brian: While I won't discount the possibility of a loss or two on the Gators schedule this season (a la 31-30 at home vs. Ole Miss last season), you simply can't ignore the facts here.
  1. The Gators are loaded with talent, not only on offense but more importantly, on the defensive side of the ball. Every defensive member of the Gator's two-deep roster returns, and that was a defense that ranked first in the SEC for scoring defense. Yikes.
  2. The schedule is manageable, particularly in non-conference play where all four of their games are at home (Charleston Southern, Troy, FIU, Florida State). The Gators also miss Alabama and Ole Miss this season from the SEC West.
There are definitely trap games on the schedule, including Arkansas October 17 and Florida State on November 28, but until proven otherwise, the champs are still the champs. Take the over (-120) and expect to see the Gators in both the SEC Championship Game and BCS Championship.

No lines on Mississippi State, Vanderbilt, Kentucky, or Arkansas.

Your thoughts?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Proper Player Etiquette While Playing NCAA Football 10?

Brian: In a recent interview with Retired (a quality general football blog by a BC Guy, by the way), BC FS Wes Davis admitted that when he plays EA's NCAA Football 10 video game, he usually doesn’t play with Boston College ...

RR: A lot of college players play the NCAA College Football 2010 video game. Do you guys play that?

WD: Oh man... we all play it (everyone on the team who plays video games). It's funny because I remember I was reading an article on the Internet when Dominique Davis had gotten kicked out, some reporter was criticizing him for playing video games. I'm like... I'm the one playing video games. [laughs] He criticized me and everybody else.... some of the better players on our team. It's nice, ya know, a little release time.

RR: Yea, I remember when I was there and leaved near a bunch of the players, they played a bunch.

WD: Especially when you're in high school, that's the one thing you dream of... being on the video game. Once you're there, it's not really that big of a deal, but it's fun.

RR: You normally use BC?

WD: Man.. I wish, but these EA people can't get our ratings the right way [laughs]. If they had our ratings where they needed to be, I'd play with the team more often, but they got us terrible. I'm a competitive person, I can't lose games on principle.

Now admittedly I haven't gotten the chance and upgrade to NCAA Football 10, and my only frame of reference is last year's rankings. But still, something doesn't sit well with me here. Jeff, a member of the BC football team not playing with Boston College? Fair or foul?

Jeff: Davis makes a very legit point that BC is underrated by EA Sports (a point that we hammered home a year ago). But at the same time, he's playing somewhere on the campus of Boston College. Why do they need to play Texas vs. Florida all the time? Why don't they play Boston College vs. Boston College with home and away jerseys? Or why not BC against some of the similarly ranked ACC opponents like Duke, Maryland or Wake Forest?

I want to say I understand him, but no. He's wrong. Stick with BC. You can play as yourself!

ACC Roundtable 1 Wrap-Up Over at Tomahawk Nation/

You can find a thoroughly exhausting yet informative wrap-up of yesterday's ACC Roundtable discussion over at Tomahawk Nation. If you wanted to know anything and everything about our 8 ACC opponents for 2009, head on over and check out the preseason scouting reports.

Headlines: Possible Bowl Shakeup Rearranges ACC Opponents

Brian: On Friday, it was reported that the Champs Sports Bowl is in discussions with the Big East to bring the No. 2 team from the conference to Orlando. As part of this deal, a provision would also be put in place where Notre Dame could be taken one time in a four year period. The Champs Sports Bowl currently pairs the No. 4 or No. 5 Big Ten team against the No. 4 ACC program. If this goes through, the Champs Sports Bowl would be sort of a mini-Orange Bowl, pairing the second pick of the Big East (or Notre Dame) with the ACC's no. 4 pick in Florida.

With this arrangement, it sounds like the Gator Bowl will be ditching their hybrid affiliation with the Big XII, Notre Dame, and the Big East, and would instead pick up the Big Ten's number 4 or 5 pick.

Not following? Here are the changes with respect to the ACC's potential bowl opponents:

2PeachAtlantaSEC #3/4/5SEC #3/4/5
3GatorJacksonvilleBig East #2 OR Big XII #3 OR NDBig Ten #4/5
OrlandoBig Ten #4/5Big East #2 OR ND
5Music CityNashvilleSEC #6/7/8SEC #6/7/8
CharlotteBig East #4Big East #4
Pac-10 #4/5Pac-10 #4/5

This opens up the possibility of the Irish and Eagles meeting in a bowl game, with would certainly be welcomed by Eagles fans considering that the Irish are not renewing their contract with BC past 2010 at this time. The possibility of an Irish vs. Eagles bowl game previously existed but only if the planets aligned and both BC and Notre Dame found themselves in the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville. Given the Eagles history with the city of Jacksonville, I would say this was VERY unlikely.

Jeff, you like this move by the Champs Sports Bowl?

Jeff: Love it, love it, love it!!! Well, let me qualify that first. I will love it assuming that the Gator Bowl reaches an agreement with the Big Ten to be slightly higher on the bowl pecking order than the Champs Bowl was. The Champs Sports Bowl is getting better by now having either a 10 win Big East team or Notre Dame play the ACC representative annually. This is a huge step up from an unranked Big Ten team that was never going to be Penn State, Michigan or Ohio State.

Meanwhile, the Gator Bowl will presumably put itself in a position to have a good shot at getting Michigan, Penn State or Ohio State each year and if they don't, should at least get a Big Ten team that either is in the top 25 or has been for a good chunk of the season. Over the past few years where BC has been considered for the Gator Bowl and in contention for the Orange Bowl berth at the same time, my best case scenario was to land in Atlanta playing an SEC opponent rather than heading to Miami or Jacksonville to play a "you're supposed to beat them" Big East team. Now two of the ACC's top three bowls won't be against a Big East opponent which is a great, great thing for the ACC and its fans.

Brian: I'm not so high on this bowl shakeup as you are. I do agree that the Gator Bowl arrangement is much better for the ACC as this clears up any ambiguity that Jacksonville previously had with the selection of the ACC team's opponent. It was never clear whether the Gator Bowl would take a Big XII team, a Big East team or Notre Dame, and pairing itself with the Big Ten helps alleviate any confusion. Also as you alluded to Jeff, there is a much better possibility that the Big Ten will send one of their top 3 teams, especially if the Big Ten keeps placing a second program in one of the BCS at-large berths (as they've done for each of the last four years).

In addition, with the Champs Sports Bowl adding the second best team from the Big East, this could give Boston College more of a fighter's chance at landing one of these top bowl slots. The Eagles getting passed over by the top ACC bowls is well chronicled, but a matchup between BC and one of its former Big East rivals - say West Virginia, Pittsburgh or Rutgers, or even Notre Dame - becomes much more appealing to Orlando as the city's second bowl matchup.

One thing that does bother me though is that the ACC now has three bowl tie-ins directly with the Big East. Aside from the Big East champion, I'm not sold that in any given year there will be two other quality Big East opponents that I'd want to see in the Champs Sports and Meineke Car Care bowls. Quality programs in the Big East bottom out quick, and after the historical cream of the crop - Pittsburgh, West Virginia, (once) Syracuse - there seems to be a lot of 'meh' opponents out there, including Connecticut, Rutgers, Cincinnati, South Florida and Louisville.

That's 3 bowl tie-ins with the Big East, 2 with the SEC, 1 with the Big Ten, 1 with the Pac-10, and 2 throw-away matchups. Although the hybrid arrangement that the Gator Bowl had was confusing as anything, it did pose the possibility of the ACC playing a historically significant Big XII team. The last two years the ACC faced Texas Tech and Nebraska. With this new arrangement, the ACC and Big XII won't meet unless the stars align and it's in one of the BCS bowls. That is a shame.

The big winner in this whole shakeup is the Big Ten, who would now have the possibility of playing in four of the five bowl games on New Year's Day. Playing in a January bowl clearly doesn't carry the same weight as it used to, but the Big Ten would be gaining one more post-December bowl date at the expense of the Big East.

Love the new bowl lineup for BC and the ACC? Hate it? Thoughts?

Monday, August 17, 2009

ACC Roundtable 1: Preseason Edition

The Florida State blog Tomahawk Nation is hosting the football season's first ACC roundtable discussion. We did our best to answer his questions about Boston College as did other ACC bloggers representing (hopefully) 11 of the 12 programs. Over the next few days, Tomahawk Nation will post a wrap-up of all the participating blogs' answers.

Here are TN's questions and our answers:

Will your team be better than last year, why or why not? Will it show in the record, why or why not?

BC will likely be better on the offensive side of the ball and worse on the defense side. Overall, this is probably a net loss. Unfortunately, this will show in the Eagles' final record. Notre Dame has a better chance of beating the Eagles this year (the game in South Bend). Our game against Virginia Tech in Blacksburg is nearly a sure loss, and it's difficult to find definite wins on our ACC schedule. A record of 9-3 (5-3 ACC) is likely a best, best case scenario with anywhere from 6-6 to 8-4 a possibility. In all liklihood the Eagles won't surpass their 2008 win total.

The ACC has been racked hard by injuries in the off-season. Which guys did your team lose and how will you replace them if you can? On the flip side, who are the newcomers expected to step up, if any?

I don't know if you can call it an injury per se, but obviously the biggest void for the Eagles to fill this season is in the linebacking corps with the loss of All-American Mark Herzlich. Add to this the uncertainty of when Mike McLaughlin will return from tearing his Achilles back in March, and the Eagles will need newcomers to step up at linebacker. The Eagles will look to sophomores Dominick LeGrande and Will Thompson to fill the holes left by Herzlich and McLaughlin. Spaz will likely also rotate in redshirt freshmen Alex DiSanzo and Nick Clancy as well as senior Kevin Distaso. Of that group, however, only Will Thompson has significant experience as he played behind Robert Francois. These Eagles will hopefully step up, but it would be unreasonable to expect them to completely fill the void left by Herzlich and McLaughlin.

Incumbent starting quarterback Dominique Davis leaving for academic reasons might actually be a blessing in disguise. This allowed the Eagles to go out and recruit another quarterback in Dave Shinskie, who appears to be the front-runner for the starting position. Also, where Jeff Jagodzinski and Steve Logan favored more of the duel-threat style quarterback (Davis and Tuggle), early it appears Frank Spaziani and OC Gary Tranquill favor more of the traditional, pro-style quarterback (Shinskie, Marscovetra, Rettig, Bordner).

Less importantly, it would have been nice to see WR Clarence Megwa back in pads during the Eagles opening practices, however Megwa injured his right hand and has had to sit out of practice. If Megwa can get back on the field, he will join a talented wide receiving corps that has the potential to be one of the better units in the conference (provided the starting QB can get them the ball). Still, we are glad Megwa is back and has recovered from a fairly gruesome broken leg injury suffered vs. Clemson last season. Again, if the QB can get the receivers the ball, I would expect big things from seniors Rich Gunnell, Clarence Megwa and Justin Jarvis. Hopefully, Ifeanyi Momah will step up and serve as more than a goal-line, possession receiver.

Which existing player (or group of players) must step their game up in order for your team to over-achieve?

Without a doubt, the preseason focus is on the starting quarterback position. We will only go as far as our starting quarterback will take us. Right now, the candidates are trying to shake off the rust in practice as no QB has any FBS game experience.

The Eagles proved last year that they could make noise in the ACC simply by having a competent, game-managing quarterback. If David Shinskie (or Tuggle/Marscovetra) can manage the game and not lose games a la Chris Crane, the Eagles will likely live up to or slightly surpass their preseason expectations. However, the starting quarterback will have to step up their game and be even better than Crane was last season if Eagles fans expect the team to overachieve this season. There are too many questions on the defensive side of the ball this season. To overachieve, BC will have to win the games they won last year with defense (Notre Dame, Virginia Tech round 1, Florida State) with their offense.

2009 Preseason Blogpoll Ballot

The Blogpoll is Back

The blogpoll is back and BC Interruption will again be representing Boston College in this year's voting. If you aren't quite sure what the blogpoll is, be sure to read this. In a nutshell, it's basically the AP poll except with bloggers.

The BC Interruption Approach

Instead of coming to some general consensus week to week (no small task), Jeff and I each compile our own Top 25 ballot and average the two together to arrive at this blog's ballot. This is a fairly unique approach to blogpoll voting that not many participating blogs follow, and this has two unintended consequences.
  1. Whack Blogpoll Ballots - If one of us REALLY likes a certain program and that program isn't even on the other's radar, this team could sneak into our Top 25 ballot.
  2. Law of Averages - Sometimes our ballot might look strangely boring and predictable, but that is simply a byproduct of averaging out two very distinct ballots. It's not a reflection of us "mailing in our ballot" and just going with what the mainstream media is saying. Trust us. We take our blogpoll balloting seriously.
After we throw out a preliminary ballot for the week, that's where you come into play. Tell us why we're flat out wrong, pose changes to our first ballot (all in the comments section), and we'll try to incorporate your feedback into the week's final ballot.

Our approach and the goal of the blogpoll is also for full transparency, so we'll let you know which games we watched from week to week.

Here is our 2009 preseason Top 25 ballot.

1 Florida
2 Texas
3 Oklahoma
4 Southern Cal
5 Mississippi
6 Penn State
8 Virginia Tech
9 Oklahoma State
10 Ohio State
11 California
12 Oregon
13 Alabama
14 Florida State
15 Michigan State
16 Georgia Tech
17 Nebraska
18 Georgia
19 TCU
20 Clemson
21 Miami (Florida)
22 Boise State
23 Utah
24 Brigham Young
25 Pittsburgh

Other Teams Considered: Oregon State, Cincinnati, West Virginia, Kansas, Iowa, Texas Tech, North Carolina, NC State, South Florida, Tennessee, Northwestern, Missouri, Boston College, Notre Dame (to name just a few)

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

Jeff's Thoughts
  • Texas, Florida, and Oklahoma are the only teams you should be considering ranking #1 and should fill out everyone's top 3 slots. USC might be four in some polls but they are a distant fourth.
  • Who's the second best team in the ACC behind Virginia Tech? We'll find out but it could be just about anyone including Boston College. But more likely the second best team in the conference will be Georgia Tech, Miami (Fla.), Florida State or Clemson.
  • Don't be surprised if South Florida plays Miami (Fla.) in the Orange Bowl ...
  • ... or if Alabama loses 4+ games.
  • Lastly, the Big XII South is loaded!!!!
Brian's Thoughts
  • Jeff and I disagreed on who should be No. 1. I was initially leaning Texas but switched over to the defending champ's camp. Besides, as Jeff mentioned, the Big XII South is loaded, and while I have no doubt that Texas will beat both Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, they seem to have a bit of a harder road to get to the National Championship. (Since we can't have ties on our ballot, the tiebreaker goes to the champs.)
  • The SEC West is as equally loaded as the Big XII South this season. I like Ole Miss's chances the best out of the three as they get both Alabama and LSU at home this season. Can the Rebels make their first SEC Championship game appearance riding the arm of Jevan Snead?
  • Clemson and Miami (Fla.) miss my Top 25 but make our combined ballot, while Boise State and Utah miss Jeff's Top 25 ballot make the cut.
  • I previously made a stand against Rutgers, and I'll make a similar stand against Notre Dame. While I do think they have the talent of a Top 25 team, I want to see them rattle off a few wins before I consider voting them in (Nevada is no slouch).
  • Speaking of Rutgers, who is the best team in the Big East? We have no idea, and considered the chances of basically 1/2 the league - Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, West Virginia and South Florida. Jeff likes Pittsburgh the best while I give the nod to the defending champs.

Leave your thoughts, comments, and suggestions in the comments section below.

Headlines: All Signs Point to Shinskie

"If you've got four, you don't have any."

Brian: Despite what Mark Blaudschun hinted at last week (that BC would name a starting quarterback by this past Saturday's scrimmage), the first scrimmage came and went without Coach Spaziani naming a starter. The four QB candidates - Codi Boek, Justin Tuggle, Michael Marscovetra, and David Shinskie - all had underwhelming performances in the hour-long scrimmage.
  • David Shinskie (Fr.) – 3 of 8, 22 yards, 1 INT
  • Codi Boek (Jr.) – 4 of 6, 15 yards
  • Justin Tuggle (RS-Fr.) – 2 of 6, 9 yards, 1 INT
  • Michael Marscovetra (Fr.) – 5 of 6, 45 yards, 1 INT

The quarterback situation is obviously messy. Tranquill has never gone into a season without a QB that has had at least 1 game of I-A experience. That’s 47 years of experience! Not to mention the offense tends to struggle in the season-opening scrimmage, yet these kind of numbers are indeed ugly. Cause for concern?

Jeff: The numbers that the quarterback candidates put up (while I would've liked to have seen one of them find the end zone) are no cause for concern whatsoever. Clearly, no candidate was in long enough to get truly comfortable back there and find any rhythm. Also, when you are playing an intrasquad scrimmage, the defense always has the advantage and we also know that our defense is our strong point to begin with.

Brian: Blaudschun is now reporting that, while Spaziani still appears to be hedging a little, Shinskie will be the No. 1 starter going into the opener against Northeastern. Marscovetra is currently the No. 2, Tuggle the 3, and Boek won't get as much work.

"Nothing clear cut yet,'' said BC's first-year head coach. "We're still in the evaluating process. But David (Shinskie) is going to get a little more snaps than anyone else and Michael (Marscovetra) will follow him and Justin (Tuggle) will follow him. Codi (Boek) won't get as much work."

As Blaudschun points out, Spaz's big decision will be whether to play or redshirt true freshman Marscovetra. There are certainly questions about Marscovetra's maturity, but he has shown the best arm strength in camp early.

The next scrimmage is scheduled for this Wednesday. Over/under on when Spaziani will name a starter?

Jeff: I think he wants to officially name one but no one has stepped up enough to let him. I expect the starter named within 10 days.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Big East Expansion Talk and the (Extra) Big Finish

Brian: While we were away, we seemed to have missed quite a lot of fun and commotion. The mainstream media - starting with the NY Post - manufactured a "Big East to re-raid ACC story," rumoring that either Maryland or Boston College would jump from the ACC and become the ninth football member of the Big East (give 'em hell, ATL). Perhaps the rumors are stemming from Big East football coaches clamoring for a ninth team to ease scheduling constraints, or maybe it’s an attempt to sweep under the rug the embarrassment that is not placing one football team in the Top 25 of either major poll.

Now we all know that BC isn't rejoining the Big East Conference, despite what out-of-touch Carolina news writers would have you believe. Sorry, Caulton, there is no "second-guessing" here at Boston College.

Let the record show that the Big East football conference coaches are in favor of expanding, but they say that that ninth "team" isn’t out there. They are looking for a team that adds value, an athletic, academic and financially successful future. I guess beggars CAN be choosers.

So instead of wasting words on the Big East to re-raid ACC story - which is, at best, a non-story - paint the picture for me. In all likelihood, the Big East will expand to a ninth or tenth team at some point. So who you got? And what is going to become of the already bloated 16-team basketball conference?

Jeff: Like you said the Big East will expand and it will only be a question of who joins and what happens with basketball. I think they would probably like to get a team like Central Florida to join because it would add another Florida team and at least give USF one short road trip down I-4 every other year. Also, UCF would probably be agreeable to joining for football only. Schools with better programs would only agree to come on for both sports.

Brian: In my opinion, the Central Florida to the Big East ship has sailed. Not enough winning on the gridiron of late and too many bridges burned, including buying out of football series with Syracuse, West Virginia and Pittsburgh. Not to mention that South Florida will likely do everything in its power to prevent UCF from joining the conference.

The other likely teams to steal from a mid-major conference would be East Carolina or Memphis. The Memphis question is interesting, and Big East officials will be paying close attention to how Memphis fares in basketball in particular post-Calipari. I highly doubt that the Big East would look in the direction of the MAC - with a school like Buffalo - after having had to deal with the failed experiment of Temple in the Big East.

Another option is recruiting a I-AA that is willing to make the jump to I-A. Delaware, New Hampshire or Massachusetts come to mind. These would likely have to be football-only members like Temple was until 2004. This option would certainly be intriguing to BC fans. The inclusion of UNH or UMass would put a second I-A BCS Conference team in New England, and there wouldn't be any bad blood between the school and the newest member of the Big East.

My money is on East Carolina joining the Big East as a football-only member in the next few years. As long as they keep winning in Conference USA, they will be an attractive option for Big East football to gain market share in ACC country and bridge the geographic gap between South Florida and their next closest geographic Big East member (Louisville/West Virginia). If ECU wanted to join the Big East for all sports, I'm sure the league would have no problem giving the boot to a DePaul and sending them either back to Conference USA or the Horizon League. Conference USA could easily backfill ECU's slot with a MAC team (already with an odd 13 football members) or a Sun Belt team.

With East Carolina, I would imagine the conference also has some option value in bringing on a 10th football school in the future. The Big East could later bring on a close geographic neighbor to ECU in the Charlotte 49ers fledgling FBS program, set to start in 2013.

Granted, this is all conjecture and fun to play out in our heads. Two things are certain though. Maryland and Boston College aren't going to be jumping onto the Big East train anytime soon, and this mega-mega conference proposal makes absolutely 0 sense.

Twice the Big Finish for the price of one (catching up edition)

Jeff: You coming down to my neck of the woods for the ACC vs. SEC men’s hoops battle next year?

Brian: Nope. If I'm going to make it down for a basketball game in South Carolina, I'd rather go to a game that means a lot more to the program. Namely, a road game at Littlejohn Coliseum.

Brian: Masik Collegiate Fragrances has introduced a line of colognes and perfumes that capture the essence of universities such as Penn State, LSU, and North Carolina. (Florida, Georgia, Auburn, Tennessee and Bama fragrances are on the way!). Curious: if this catches on, what would Boston College cologne smell like?

Jeff: That is an answer I will never find out.

Jeff: When we recruited and signed the best football player from Maine, things didn’t turn out particularly well. Is it gonna be any different with the best football player from the state of Delaware?

Brian: Yes. I’ll go out on a limb and say Delaware is a better recruiting state than Maine, and the cornerback position doesn’t have nearly the impact on the game as the quarterback.

Brian: Vegas lines are out on a few opening weekend ACC football games (no line for BC vs. Northeastern since we snack on a I-AA opening weekend). Most surprising opening line?

Jeff: I am surprised that NC State is giving 3.5 points to USC after getting destroyed by the Gamecocks in last year's opener. More is expected of the Pack this year but a pick 'em is what I expected.

Jeff: First Raji is holding out up in Green Bay, now he is officially a Packer. Did Raji's 12 day holdout make any sense?

Brian: I understand the tactic of holding out until Eugene Monroe signs, but in the end, Raji signs for $28.5 mil and Monroe is still holding out, right? Make sense? Not particularly.

Brian: NC State was dealt a serious blow yesterday when they learned that linebacker Nate Irving will be out for the season due to injuries. How concerned should the Eagles be about the Wolfpack defense now?

Jeff: Darren Evans and Irving go down this week. I don't wish injuries on anyone but hopefully all the Eagles' bad fortune is out of the way and it's time for it to fall on some other teams.

Jeff: Fifth-year seniors Rich Gunnell, Mike McLaughlin and Matt Tennant were elected captains for the 2009 season. That cool with you?

Brian: Yep. Would have been nice to see Herzlich there this season as he is the emotional leader of the team, but there is always next season.

Brian: HD thinks BC will be one of ten bowl teams from the ACC for the second straight year (albeit the 10th at-large bowl berth). Give me one reason why HD is crazy to think the ACC will again send 10 teams bowling?

Jeff: Maryland. After they miss a bowl this year, who will replace them?

Jeff: ACC Sports Journal asks "What is Frank Spaziani's (offensive) football philosophy?" More TOB, or more Jags?

Brian: Sounds like more TOB, especially if Shinskie gets the nod. Sounds like he is more a TOB prototype QB than cut of the Jags (Davis/Tuggle) mold.

Brian: Yesterday, Boston Globe BC beat writer Mark Blaudschun tweeted "BC is playing its opening two games starting at 2 p.m. Who starts football games at 2 pm? One reason: it allows fans to play golf in a.m." Seriously? How many Eagles fans do you know that want to get a round of 18 in before kickoff?

Jeff: Going to the game? None. Not in attendance? All of 'em because they probably don't care to watch BC-Northeastern on their computer if they can get it anyway.

Jeff: BC just missed Dick Vitale's early preseason top 25. Do you think we should be a preseason Top 25 team?

Brian: Based on the talent we have returning to the Heights, absolutely. Based on our showing in last year's NCAAs, absolutely not.

Brian: Last season's ACC men's basketball tournament netted $22.9 million for the city of Atlanta. Surprised?

Jeff: Nope, there were a ton of people there and they got a piece of my wallet too.

Jeff: From yesterday’s practice notes, I read that Steve Aponavicius made a 48-yard field goal. Does this surprise you as much as it does me?

Brian: Maybe he is finding extra range with age?

Brian: Gobbler Country is going week-by-week and predicting each ACC team’s seasons. After week 4, he has the Eagles at 2-2. Tell him why he’s wrong.

Jeff: We've never lost to Clemson as an underdog. We will certainly be an underdog this year.

Jeff: Last one, if you could be Tiger Woods or Matt Ryan, who would you be?

Brian: My love for Matt Ryan runs deep, but c'mon. Is this even a real question?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Five Good Minutes: ACC & SEC Blog

Shameless self-promotion: about a week or two ago, we sat down with the guys at the ACC & SEC Blog to answer some questions about the Eagles upcoming football season. In addition to selling them the exclusive rights to our BC season prediction (we'll have a more in-depth breakdown of said predictions over the next two weeks), you can check out our answers to their questions here.

In addition to previewing Boston College, the ACC & SEC Blog has also been previewing each of the ACC teams by asking bloggers from each program to weigh in on the state of their football program. Be sure to check out their season previews of these Eagle 2009 opponents:

Be sure to check back with the ACC & SEC Blog guys as they continue to preview the rest of BC's ACC opponents throughout the month of August.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Game On! BC-BU at Fenway January 8, 2010

Game On!
Game On!

The rumors and speculation about a Hockey East version of the NHL's popular Winter Classic may now come to an end. According to the Herald, an official announcement for BC-BU at Fenway will be made next week (August 20).

Boston College and Boston University will play their own Winter Classic at Fenway Park on Friday, Jan. 8. The official announcement will be made next week.

Sources confirmed the game will take place at 8 p.m. It will be preceded by a women’s game between the University of New Hampshire and Northeastern University.

Jerry York is a) very excited b) wants it to be COLD! and c) expects a high turnout ...

"It’s going to be a late start (8 p.m.). How cold might that be?," York asked quizzically. "I think it’ll be a lot of fun. I think ticket prices will be pretty good. I envision 25,000 people, maybe. What a thing for Hockey East. Hey, the CCHA has done it. The WCHA has done it."

25,000 at Fenway for outdoor BC vs. BU Hockey East action a week after the NHL's Winter Classic's Bruins vs. Flyers game? Overly ambitious? I'm as excited as the next Eagles and Terriers hockey fan, but 25,000?

Your thoughts?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Andy Marsh 1982-2009

On Tuesday, our dear friend, brother, roommate, guest blogger, and all-around BC Guy Andy Marsh lost his fight against cancer at the age of 27. Without a doubt, we can both say that he touched our lives in unimaginable ways and we are both better people for having had him in our lives.

Jeff and I are going to step away from the blog for a little while to celebrate the life of our dear friend and be with our BC family.

Andrew Craig Marsh, 27 PORTLAND -- Andrew Craig Marsh passed away on Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2009, at Maine Medical Center in Portland, at the age of 27, after a 2.5 year battle with melanoma. Andy was born in Framingham, Mass. on June 10, 1982, and is the beloved son of Craig and Virginia Marsh of Portland.

Andy attended Cheverus High School, where he excelled in academics, and was very active in sports and community service, earning his Eagle Scout Award. He graduated in 2000, and attended Boston College, where he double majored in Finance and Operations Management. Andy graduated from Boston College in 2004 and went to work for Sun Life Financial in Wellesley, Mass., with an incredible team of people. In 2006, he left Sun Life to pursue a law degree at Roger Williams University in Bristol, R.I.

It was the last week of his first year when he was diagnosed with melanoma. The following two years and three months he fought hard against his cancer, facing each treatment and trial with the utmost bravery and grace. During his illness, Andy volunteered at the Maine Volunteer Lawyer Project. Andy found great joy in spending time with his family and friends, and loved sports, both playing and watching them. His favorite teams were BC, Celtics, Red Sox, and the Patriots. Andy was such a beacon of love, strength, patience, and peace to all who knew him. He was bright, funny, and had a huge heart. His family is so proud of who he was, during both his best and worst times.

Andrew is survived by his parents; brother Matthew and sister-in-law Elisabeth, and sister Jennifer; his grandparents Stephen and Marion Marsh of Gorham, and Norman and Dorothy Heying of Bella Vista, Ark.; as well as aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends. All have an infinite love for Andy and will miss him dearly. His family would like to give heartfelt thanks to the staffs of Newport Hospital, Rhode Island Hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, the National Institutes of Health, Dana Farber, InterMed, Mercy Hospital, and Maine Medical Center for all their excellent care throughout Andy's battle.

Friends and family are invited to attend visiting hours on Sunday, Aug. 9, from 5-7 p.m. at Jones, Rich and Hutchins Funeral Home, 199 Woodford St., Portland. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held Monday, Aug. 10, at St. Patrick's Church, 1342 Congress St., Portland. Internment will follow at Evergreen Cemetery in Portland.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that contributions be made to: The Andrew C. Marsh Memorial Scholarship Fund PMB 117 11 Main St. Suite 7 Westbrook, Maine 04092-5199 Andrew Craig Marsh Jones, Rich & Hutchins Funeral Home & Cremation Service 775-3763

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Turnover Margin and 2009 Expectations

Brian: In a recent post, college football guru Phil Steele attempts to explain the correlation between the previous season's turnover margin and next season's success.
Every year in my College Preview Magazine I do an in-depth article on Turnovers = Turnaround which shows that basically only 20% of the time does a team that benefited from double digit turnovers the previous year manage to increase its record or a team that had the misfortune of negative double digit turnovers stumble to an even weaker record. That is an 80% success rate for this very easy to follow system which I have published 15 straight years.

But what does it all mean for Boston College and the rest of the ACC?

Check out the below table of ACC programs, their 2008 turnover margin and win totals. Should you subscribe to Steele's theory on turnover margin, you can make the appropriate adjustments to your preseason predictions.

ACC Team
08 TO Margin08 Win Total09 Steele Predictor
Wake Forest+1788 wins or less
Virginia Tech+141010 wins or less
NC State+86N/A
North Carolina+68N/A
Boston College+39N/A
Georgia Tech+29N/A
Florida State09N/A
Miami (Fla.)-1077 wins or more

Unfortunately, Steele's turnover margin theory doesn't really hold for BC's three FBS non-conference opponents this season - Central Michigan (+4), Notre Dame (-3), and Kent State (-3). So if you subscribe to this theory, it doesn't tell us much of anything about our non-conference slate of games.

If you are somewhat skeptical, which I am, this theory held true for every ACC program with a double digit turnover margin in 2007. Clemson (+13) led the ACC in turnover margin in 2007 only to see their win total decrease by 2 last season. Virginia Tech (+11) finished second and also saw their win total decrease by 1. On the flip side, NC State (-16) increased their win total by only one game in 2008.

How about 2006? Going backwards in time, BC happens to be the first ACC outlier to Steele's theory. The Eagles led the conference in turnover margin (+15) and saw it's 2007 win total increase by 1 to 11 wins in 2007. However, the other three ACC programs with double digit turnover margins all fit this theory. Wake Forest (+13) dropped two more games in 2007. NC State and North Carolina (-11) both saw increases to their win total in 2007.

2009 ACC Atlantic Division Ultimate Football Schedule

Brian: came up with their 2009 ultimate ACC Atlantic football schedule, picking a game a week following the same rules that ACC programs have to follow. Here are the rules:
  • Four non-conference games
  • Eight conference games (five within the division and three against Coastal Division opponents)
  • ACC Championship Game
Here is’s ultimate schedule:

Week 1: South Carolina at NC State (9/3)
Week 2: Clemson at Georgia Tech (9/10)
Week 3: Florida State at BYU (9/19)
Week 4: TCU at Clemson (9/26)
Week 5: Florida State at Boston College (10/3)
Week 6: Maryland at Wake Forest (10/10)
Week 7: NC State at Boston College (10/17)
Week 8: Florida State at North Carolina (10/22)
Week 9: NC State at Wake Forest (10/31)
Week 10: BYE Week (11/7)
Week 11: Clemson at NC State (11/14)
Week 12: NC State at Virginia Tech (11/21)
Week 13: Florida State at Florida (11/28)
Week 14: ACC Championship Game (12/5)

The ACC Atlantic ultimate schedule is a great idea, but I have some issues with this version of the ultimate Atlantic Division schedule. Namely, it’s far too NC State heavy. I’m a fan of Carter-Finley Stadium and everything, but there’s nothing “ultimate” about having to watch TOB and the Wolfpack five times in 2009. If I was going to come up with an ultimate ACC Atlantic schedule, it would look a little different (with changes in bold).

Week 1: Maryland at California (9/7)
Week 2: Clemson at Georgia Tech (9/10)
Week 3: Boston College at Clemson (9/19)
Week 4: TCU at Clemson (9/26)
Week 5: Florida State at Boston College (10/3)
Week 6: Boston College at Virginia Tech (10/10)
Week 7: Wake Forest at Clemson (10/17)
Week 8: Boston College at Notre Dame (10/24)
Week 9: BYE (10/31)
Week 10: Florida State at Clemson (11/7)
Week 11: Florida State at Wake Forest (11/14)

Week 12: NC State at Virginia Tech (11/21)
Week 13: Clemson at South Carolina (11/28)
Week 14: ACC Championship Game (Tampa, FL)

South Carolina at NC State doesn't really do anything for me. Replace this with Maryland's return trip to Pac-10 title contender California. In week 3, BC at Clemson will have Atlantic Division champ implications straight out of the gate, so this game is much better than FSU at BYU. In week 6, would you rather see the Maryland and Wake Forest pillow fight for last place in the Atlantic, or the fifth installment of BC vs. Virginia Tech in the last 3 years. Go with the ACC Championship Game x2 rematch. In week 7, I give the slight edge to Wake at Clemson instead of NC State at BC.

And in week 8, how can you not throw some love the Holy War’s way, as it’s possibly the last game in South Bend in a long time. Florida State vs. North Carolina isn’t that great of an intra-division game. Use week 9 for the BYE week instead of NC State at Wake Forest and go see Florida State travel to Death Valley in week 10. That game also has Division champ implications whereas NC State at Wake Forest likely won’t. In week 11, go check out FSU at Wake Forest as Wake has had the Seminoles number the last 3 years. Finally, I’d rather go to Clemson at South Carolina instead of Florida State at Florida. I’d simply rather go to a more competitive game, and Florida is going to run away with that game.

Jeff, your ultimate Atlantic Division schedule?

Jeff: How can you possibly choose Clemson vs. South Carolina instead of Florida State vs. Florida. Are you nuts? But anyway, for the rest of my schedule it would go something like this. Differences from your schedule are in bold.

Week 1: Miami at Florida State (9/7)
Week 2: Clemson at Georgia Tech (9/10)
Week 3: Boston College at Clemson (9/19)
Week 4: Rutgers at Maryland (9/26)
Week 5: Florida State at Boston College (10/3)
Week 6: Boston College at Virginia Tech (10/10)
Week 7: NC State at Boston College (10/17)
Week 8: Boston College at Notre Dame (10/24)
Week 9: NC State at Florida State (10/31)
Week 10: Florida State at Clemson (11/7)
Week 11: Florida State at Wake Forest (11/14)
Week 12: BYE (11/21)
Week 13: Florida State at Florida (11/28)
Week 14: ACC Championship Game (Tampa, FL)

I would must rather see the battle between Rutgers and Maryland than watching Clemson play a third week in a row and beat down TCU.

Brian: That would only be two straight games in Death Valley as the first game would be in Atlanta. What? I can't stay at your place for a week and catch both the BC and TCU games against Clemson? Sounds like a great week to me.

Jeff: My schedule leaves me 6 games with Florida State 5 games with Boston College, 3 with Clemson, 2 with NC State, and 1 each for Maryland and Wake Forest. Boston College and Clemson are the only stadiums I would like to visit twice. Sounds like a good year to me!

Clearing out the RSS reader ... Dave Shinskie is getting his old man strength up ... The features Boston College as part of their 12 days of ACC Football ... Under Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech dominates the ACC on the road, but two of Beamer's four losses in conference came against the Eagles ... Buster Sports argues that the ACC and Big East should swap West Virginia for BC ... CBSSports's Dennis Dodd ranks the best FBS schools of the past decade and has BC at #22 ... All About Sports ranks Matt Ryan the 6th best player in the ACC this decade ... B.J. Raji remains unsigned up in Green Bay ... Ron Brace feels at home with the Patriots ... 850 & 620 THEE Blog Joe Ovies is not a believer in BC in 2009 ... Tomahawk Nation takes a look at BC basketball's 2009 recruiting picture (or lack thereof) ... The Hockey News takes a look at BC's incoming recruiting class ... BCMike, there are 32 days until your next fix.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Vote BC One of 40 Best FBS Programs

Brian: College football is a little over a month away. Seat backs and tray tables in their upright and locked positions.

While the preseason is making its final descent, but not descending soon enough,'s Pat Forde is filling this month's last dead period of college football coverage by rebuilding the FBS. In these tough economic times, it's time to trim back college football's top division. No more I-AA games and games against MAC opponents. No, it's time to rebuild the FBS and only 40 of 120 teams will make the cut.

Be sure and vote Boston College into the top 40. As of this writing, BC was holding onto the 31st spot.

Here was my ballot, which "somewhat" neatly breaks into four divisions of 10:

Boston College
Michigan State
Notre Dame
Ohio State
Penn State
Virginia Tech
West Virginia

Florida State
Georgia Tech
Miami (FL)

Oklahoma State
Texas A&M
Texas Tech

Arizona State

Vote. And discuss.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Thoughts on UNH Men's Hockey Recruiting Violations

Brian: Move along. Nothing to see here. Or at least that's the best I can gather right now.

Back on July 23, reported that the NCAA placed New Hampshire's men's hockey team was placed on two years probation for major recruiting violations. A New Hampshire associate head coach reportedly sent 923 impermissible e-mail messages to 30 prospective high school freshmen and sophomores during the 2007-08 season.

The university self-reported the violations to the NCAA, but the NCAA decided that the self-imposed punishments weren't severe enough. The NCAA's punishment of UNH men's hockey, which will run from April 24, 2009 to April 23, 2011, will include:
  • Public reprimand and censure.
  • Reduction by one in the number of permissible recruiters in men’s ice hockey who can be off-campus at any given time from April 24, 2009, through October 23, 2009.
  • Two years of probation. The period of probation begins the date the university accepted the committee’s additional recommended penalties. (Self-imposed)
  • The 30 involved prospective student-athletes will not receive an expense-paid visit to the university’s campus. (Self-imposed)
  • None of the 30 involved prospective student-athletes will be allowed to sign a National Letter of Intent with the university. (Self-imposed)

The NCAA's punishment of New Hampshire men's hockey will not affect either their hockey scholarships or eligibility to compete in post-season play. In addition, New Hampshire is still scheduled to host the 2011 NCAA Northeast Regional in Manchester.

My take: I'm trying hard to find a competitive advantage for BC over UNH's men's hockey program but I'm failing to find one.

I was expecting to read some reaction over The UNH Men's Hockey Blog, but there hasn't been a post on the recruiting violations as of yet. The only analysis on the violations I can find is from Mike McMahon over at Warrior Rink Rat blog. I largely agree with his analysis.

While UNH can still technically sign the 30 recruits involved in the violation, it is unlikely that they will given that these recruits can't receive a paid visit to campus and can't sign a National Letter of Intent (meaning that even if these recruits commit to UNH they will be a significant flight risk to Dick Umile). From everything I can tell, the specific list of 30 recruits will be kept well under wraps, so even if BC can sign a few of these players in a year or two, it will be hard to tell whether these recruits were involved in this specific recruiting violation.

Certainly UNH's recruiting will take a bit of a hit as a result of this violation. However, outside of UNH losing out on most (if not all) of these 30 recruits, I don't think there's much to be gained by York and BC. Maybe the Eagles will be able to sign another recruit that we wouldn't have otherwise, but that seems to be the extent of what the Eagles stand to gain from UNH's recruiting violations.