September 3, 2008

10 Thoughts

With all due respect to those displaced by Gustav this past weekend but could there have been a better weekend that just passed? If you were in Boston or New York you just enjoyed what many call a chamber of commerce weekend. The summer is coming to an end and all that means is that my most favorite time of year is here despite having to battle the UHauls on Commonwealth Ave. Football is here and baseball is as intriguing as ever. If you can't enjoy sports now I don't know if you ever can.

1. For those of us lucky enough to either have gone to Cleveland or catch the game on ESPNU were able to see one of the crispest games of recent BC history. BC committed zero turnovers and had zero penalties. Add to that there were almost no plays for negative yards and you have the cleanest game in my memory. This is a testament to Jeff Jagodzinski and the coaching staff getting the team to focus. Knowing that the team has this kind of discipline bodes well.

2. Last month I called that many would be surprised to see Chris Crane using his legs to help this offense get off to a good start. I would like to thank those that supported me on the boards. All Crane did was run for two touchdowns. Crane is not Matt Ryan but all Crane has to be is himself and use his athleticism to his advantage.

3. How many of us were surprised to see BC run the ball as much and as effectively as they did? Josh Haden, Jeff Smith, James McCluskey, Brian Toal and Crane were effective and efficient. Going into the game everyone thought BC lacked running back depth, thought the receivers were the strength of the team and thought that Crane needed to be Matt Ryan and throw the ball 50 times a game. While Jags has said the game plan was on cruise control at 55 and there is plenty left in the tank, Jags and Steve Logan made a statement by establishing the run. BC will be more balanced this year, new roles will be established and opportunities will be available for new leaders to emerge on offense.

4. BC's defense held the nation's leading rusher to less than 60 yards and held Kent State to zero points. It was an excellent effort all around and the goalline stand with Mark Herzlich's effort on the interception displayed how athletic this team continues to become and strives to be.

5. Next up Georgia Tech and Paul Johnson's triple option offense. Option offenses are tough to prepare for but BC showed they run can run an option of their own. BC's defense should be prepared for this Saturday. I don't expect a shutout but I do expect them to be disciplined, an approach where assignment defense will be key. BC will open up the offense so the wideouts will be happy to get more involved. Hopefully the rain holds off for those in attendance.

6. Discussing the weekend wouldn't be complete unless we discussed the poor overall performances of the Big East and ACC. The Big East was overpowered by the likes of Fresno State (Rutgers), Bowling Green (Pitt) and Kentucky (Louisville). The ACC didn't fare any better with a complete no-show of Clemson against Alabama and a complete turn of the the tables blocked punt by East Carolina against Virginia Tech. Throw in a shutout defeat of NC State by South Carolina and you can understand the criticism the ACC has received. Wake Forest was probably the most impressive of the bunch beating Baylor on the road. What does this all mean? It's too early to know where everyone ends up but the lack of competiveness to me is more of a concern than the final score of the game. I was one who thought Clemson turned the corner and would be excellent this year, they have time to improve and a schedule to do so but that Alabama game should leave a scar. Unless of course you are the Peach Bowl committee and would do anything to get them in your bowl come December.

7. Hopefully everyone has had their fantasy football drafts by now and is looking forward to the NFL season as well. There is a lot to look forward to with many questions. How will the New York Giants fare with Mathias Kiwanuka back at defensive end? How will Matt Ryan develop as the Falcons QB? Ryan has received tremendous praise; hopefully he has enough weapons surrounding him with Roddy White, Michael Turner and Jerious Norwood. Best of luck to all you GM's out there but also to all BC alum in the league.

8. Did anyone see the UCLA/ Tennessee game the other night? Talk about excitement. This game had everything, it felt like a playoff game. Games like this are pure examples of why a playoff format is needed. As UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel said it had "relentless defense" and a third string quarterback recovered from four first half interceptions to lead his team to victory in the second half and OT. Tennessee may feel the sting of this game for awhile but UCLA's emergence is the real story. Neuheisel has won everywhere he has coached and in my opinion got a raw deal in Washington; I expect the same success at UCLA.

9. Looking ahead to this weekend the ACC games of the week feature Miami at Florida and Georgia Tech at BC. A win by Miami will bring tremendous credibility to the program; don't count out Miami in this game. Most of the kids in this game have played against or with each other while growing up so they are familiar with each other. Coach Randy Shannon has said this is not a rivalry game but has rivals within the game. While Miami is not at the level of Florida they strive to be there soon. I expect Miami to be competitive and while The Swamp will provide a tremendous atmosphere and can be intimidating I think Miami may surprise a few. As for BC/GT, GTech is still learning the offense but returns a stout defense. BC beat Tech last year by throwing the ball and picking up blitzes. This year expect BC to be more balanced on offense, but the game very well may be won by BC's defense as it will need to contain the option and maybe create a turnover or two.

10. Of course I'm looking forward to the game on Saturday. Hopefully everyone can enjoy a dry tailgate, as of now it looks like the rain may hold off until the afternoon but then again Crane has a great track record playing in rain. Two years ago against Buffalo in a monsoon Crane was on fire. Jags and company have experience with playing in the elements last season so I know weather will never be used as an excuse by the coaching staff. Get to Alumni and cheer on this group of Eagles, no excuses.

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