Thursday, September 03, 2015

BC-Maine preview

Another season is finally here. The third year in any college program is usually a good indicator of the coach's potential. This is now Addazio's roster and his schedule...and his quarterback. The team is young, but I think this weekend is the first look into their upside. I don't expect championships this year, but I do expect a likable, fun and competitive season.


What's on my mind (not totally related to this game)
The calendar just turned to September and still no specifics on BC's Master Plan nor the indoor practice facility. BC internal politics, the usual Boston-Newton stuff and fundraising challenges are all part of the delay, but at some point Brad Bates has got to take control of this thing. We don't need a boat rocker like Gene, but we do need to get the athletic components of this Master Plan out of endless limbo. That's on Bates. If BC doesn't announce and break ground on something soon, it is just going to cost us. First recruits and then a few extra bucks to keep Addazio happy.

Three Simple Keys
1. Sound run blocking. This BC's chance to work the kinks out. The listed starters have not worked together in a scrimmage, so there could be some timing issues. Hopefully nothing that hurts a drive. If BC can just overpower their front four, it can create things for the RBs and build Wades' confidence.
2. Early scoring. I don't think this will be close. But my fear with a young team is letting Maine get up early and then watching panic and doubt creep in to the sidelines. Every year a FCS team beats a FBS team. Let's not be the one this year.
3. Simple defense. Ideally we win without giving Maine a lot of unique looks on defense. I want all our blitzes and tendencies to be new to Florida State in two weeks.

Gambling Notes
-- Addazio is 4-0 vs FCS teams
-- Addazio is 2-0 in season openers at BC
-- BC is 21-1 all-time against FCS teams
There is currently no line for this game on the major betting sites.

Factoid
Maine has 15 Massachusetts players on their roster.

Scoreboard Watching
Louisville-Auburn has my attention. The Cards are one of our toughest games, yet are a double-digit underdog in their opener. A Louisville win is a win for the conference. If they get crushed, it might give us some hope for beating them later in the year.

I hope to see...
Wade look sharp. Everyone loves the back-up QB (I already have my Smith for Heisman t-shirts ready), but it is best for all if things go according to plan. And that plan is for Darius Wade to lead a passing offense for BC.

BC is in trouble if...
The D can't shutdown Maine. Maybe not in trouble for this game, but surely in trouble for this season.

Bottom Line
I don't think this will be close. I think we overpower them and win in the trenches. Wade doesn't look like the second coming but he does the job and Addazio gets the backups in during the second half.
Final Score: BC 31, Maine 6

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Full Basketball schedule released

We knew who BC was playing, now we know when we are playing them. The ACC and BC released their full season schedules. The absolute toughest stretch is three straight road games at UNC, Virginia and Louisville in late January and early February. Season ticket holders get a good mix of games including Duke, Syracuse, Notre Dame and North Carolina. But because we host some of the better teams in the conference, it is critical that BC takes advantage of the winnable ACC home games (Georgia Tech, Miami and Virginia Tech).

This doesn't change the outlook on the season, but it is a welcome reminder that we are close to tip-off.

Season Prediction Part III: what will happen

Given what I read and who I talk to, I think I am more optimistic about this team than most. Youth will cause problems, but in college football more and more, we find that great players are great early. The late bloomers round out your team, but they are not the true difference maker. That's the case at Alabama and it even holds true for BC. So despite the age, I think talent will prevail. Plus I think the schedule sets up a transition year very well. Our first two games are perfect opportunities to work out any growing pains. We get Florida State and Virginia Tech (two teams Addazio has played well) at home. We get Wake at home. We get NC State at home. Notre Dame is basically a home game. It won't be a cake walk, but this is manageable.

My biggest concern is what happens when the team gets into a shoot out. I think we can and will grind it out with anyone, but with a raw QB, can we score in bunches? That is what will determine the season. But overall, I think this will be a good year. Other than injuries, I fear a QB controversy. If Wade isn't the guy, how will Addazio manage it all. Let's hope it doesn't get to that. 

Here are my official predictions for the season.


What Will Happen


Maine. Win. Easy warm up and the backups get to play for long stretches in the second half.

Howard. Win. It is not close nor really that entertaining, but the W helps.

Florida State. Loss. I hate moral victories but people will feel good after this close game. Wade looks pretty good against legitimate competition.

Northern Illinois. Win. This is the first real barometer for how the season will play out. BC doesn't look great but still scraps to a win.

at Duke. Win. This Duke team is not as good as some of their recent squads and BC pulls out a huge road win.

Wake Forest. Win. Closer than we want, but the defense makes a few big plays late to close out the game.

at Clemson. Loss. In every scenario, I see this as a loss. Who knows? Maybe with Chad Morris gone, the Clemson Offense falls apart. As much as I want that to happen, I just don't think this is the year we take them down.

at Louisville. Loss. This is the toughest part of the schedule. Petrino is a jerk, but he's a good coach. We don't win.

Virginia Tech. Win. This is like the Northern Illinois game. After facing Clemson and Louisville, how we come out in this game will tell you a lot about the team's heart and motivation. I like to believe that we will win.

NC State. Win. I think our defense will be tough at home and late in the season.

Notre Dame (neutral). Loss. This is a tough one to call a loss, but I think their offense will be one of those that puts up a lot of points.

at Syracuse. Win. I think that Syracuse's season will be over at this point and they will sleep walk through this game.

That would leave BC at 8-4 (5-3 in the ACC). Not good enough to win the division nor demand a premium bowl. I think BC falls to the Military Bowl and faces Addazio's old Temple team. We win a low-scoring affair and finish 9-4. If this happens, I think it will be a sign that the future is bright under Addazio.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Season Prediction Part II: best case scenario

If our D is an good as some think, the best case scenario might finally come true. But for the following to play out, a lot would have to break our way and Wade would have to be mature beyond his years. But you never know. This is not my official prediction, but I wouldn't mind being wrong if this happens.


Best Case Scenario

Maine. Win. Not close. The backups all play and the D looks really, really good.

Howard. Win. BC gets a shutout and people start forgiving the cupcakes to start the season.

Florida State. Win. The crowd is pumped. The D plays really well and we get enough big plays in the running game to pull off a huge upset.

Northern Illinois. Win. We control the tempo via the running game and it never gets interesting.

at Duke. Win. A very tough game, but BC pulls it out late. The win and the 5-0 start gets BC into the Top 25.

Wake Forest. Win. Another decisive win at home. BC now firmly in the Top 20. The hype for the Clemson game gets huge.

at Clemson. Loss. Very tough loss, but BC plays well in defeat. Wade makes a few mistakes, which is understandable on the road at night and on national TV.

at Louisville. Loss. This is the killer. It knocks BC out of the Top 25 and pretty much eliminates any chance to win the division.

Virginia Tech. Win. BC finally bounces back.

NC State. Win. This is a close one, but the defense creates some big turnovers to give BC enough cushion to hold on to the win.

Notre Dame (neutral). Win. BC is ranked again. The Irish are in the Top 10 and thinking playoff. Of course we ruin that. Our fans storm the field at Fenway.

at Syracuse. Win. Like last year, Syracuse is checked out of their season by the time they play us. Not even close.

This would mean BC finishes 10-2 (6-2 in the ACC).  The two losses and the tie-breaking loss to Clemson keeps us out of the ACC Championship game, but everyone feels this was a great season. Politics and ticket sales become a big issue and BC is kept out of the Russell Athletic Game. However, some back room deals are put together and BC plays Florida in the Tax Slayer Bowl in Jacksonville. Addazio shows Florida fans he can coach and we win, finishing 11-2 and in the Top 20.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Season Prediction Part I: worst case scenario

As you'll read later this week, I am fairly optimistic about this team and this season. However, that doesn't mean I am right. The roster is young and inexperienced and last season's two biggest strengths (QB and OL) are huge question marks heading into the season. This is a transition year of sorts for Addazio too. He overachieved with a patchwork roster in Year 1 and Year 2. Now he was to win with his own guys. Will their talent overcome their inexperience? Or will it all fall apart? I don't think this season will be a train-wreck, but if it is, this is how it might play out.


Worst Case Scenario

Maine. Win. But the game is closer than any of us like and the offense struggles with the basics.

Howard. Win. Another cupcake that BC cannot put away. The offense is slightly better but still not ACC caliber.

Florida State. Loss. We get crushed on national TV. The D looks bad and so does Wade.

Northern Illinois. Loss. We cannot keep up with their scoring, which raises lots of questions about our defense.

at Duke. Loss. We struggle on the road. Smith gets some snaps but doesn't look much more comfortable than Wade.

Wake Forest. Win. It is not pretty but our defense shuts them down and we run the ball well enough to snap the losing streak.

at Clemson. Loss. We play well in a loss. The game is low scoring, but BC cannot score enough to win.

at Louisville. Loss. Not even close. Another game where people are searching for answers at QB.

Virginia Tech. Win. This is the surprise win of the season. Fluky things go our way. Bowl hopes are still alive.

NC State. Loss. Brissett is not rattled by our blitzes and they win comfortably.

Notre Dame (neutral). Loss. The Irish are riding high and crush us in our own backyard. Lots of frustrations boil over online with Addazio, with Bates for agreeing to the game and with Wade.

at Syracuse. Loss. This is a tough way to end the season, but we let another game in the Carrier Dome slip away.

This would leave BC at home with a 4-8 record (2-6 in the ACC). Addazio wouldn't be on the hot seat, but there would be new perspective on his first two seasons and high expectations for Year 4. I don't think this will happen, but you never know.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Season nearing so Boston Media starts to pay attention

With less than a week away from BC Football, it is time for the local media to take notice. The Globe featured Hilliman and posted a season outlook. It will be interesting to see how the Globe's Vega covers the season. Since he missed the Spaz years, he hasn't had to cover a difficult BC football season in a long time. He's also formed a close relationship with Addazio. If the team struggles a bit, I wonder how tough Vega will get with his questions and the angles in his articles.

MetroWest capped off their BC Preview with a feature on Wade. At this point, I just want to see him play. Once we have a glimpse of Wade's progress and upside, then we can reset our expectations up or down as needed.

The Tobacco Road media predict a 6-6 finish for BC.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Illinois means poaching season starts early

Illinois got the coaching carousel started early when they fired Tim Beckman this week. I predict Addazio will get floated for the opening but don't think he we take it. However, the Illinois move does impact BC. It means that their whole recruiting class is now in play. 

We don't have the roster spots to take many Illinois verbals, but it doesn't hurt to search the roster for any needs. I would also reapproach any player who demonstrated interest in BC in the past.

The other good news about this year's coaching carousel is that many of the likely openings should create opportunities to grab other team's verbals.

We haven't gone head-to-head with UVA for recruits of late, but they sell ACC Football and academics. Whem Mike London gets the boot, we can grab some of their players with the same pitch.

Syracuse doesn't have a ton of guys we need, but they are likely headed for a change. The east coast private school connection should help with any of their verbals we target.

Addazio doesn't like to overdue recruiting during the season. That is why coaching changes work well for him. It is a last minute scramble where Addazio's passion and salesmanship really shine through. I never wish for coaches to lose their jobs, but don't feel as bad about it when BC comes in to rescue recruits.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Soccer wins opener and other links

The Men's Soccer team got the season off to a good start, beating Quinnipiac 1-0.

BCI has the lowdown on the new SuperFan shirt.

BJ Raji is ready for a big season.

Former BC basketball player Jordan Daniels is dealing with the NCAA over eligibility issues. It all started with his preseason games at BC. Donahue is taking the blame for the misunderstanding.