Thursday, April 30, 2015

Addazio adds another WR recruit

Pennsylvania prospect Kobay White committed to Boston College on Twitter Wednesday night. After a relatively slow month, Addazio and team should be happy to close April with one of their key targets.

White holds offers from numerous ACC and Big Ten schools. He has decent size. The various recruiting services rank him as a 3 star.

Although this class will be smaller than the last two, I still expect Addazio to load up early and before camps. White is the fifth verbal for the 2016 recruiting class.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

A Boston College blogger on Jameis Winston

One the eve of the NFL Draft there isn't much Boston College news, but the football world remains focused on a player very familiar to BC fans: Jameis Winston. His off the field issues are well known. I cannot speak to his character or his maturity. Both could be issues in his NFL success. But as a football player, I think he's going to be very good in the NFL. In fact, I have a tried and true, never failed*, totally subjective form of evaluation for all NFL prospects. I throw out all the stats. I ignore the combine. I don't even care about most of their college career. Instead I evaluate them on how they played against BC.

As silly as it might seem, I do have faith in my "how'd he play against us" theory. In part because I know our team pretty well, so I know when someone has played them well. Also our defenses have been very reliant on systems (heavy zone in Spaz, heavy pressure with Brown). Because we are one-dimensional and usually decent in that dimension, it puts pressure on the opposing QB to make the plays. If a QB cannot figure out and adjust to our systems, I don't trust them at the next level where everything gets more complex.

Russell Wilson surprised many NFL fans, but most BC fans remember how good he was against us. Michael Vick had one of his best games ever against BC. I became a believer in Colin Kaepernick when we shut down his running and he still did enough in the air to beat us. Can any BC fan think of a recent QB who looked bad against us and then went on to have a top flight NFL career?

Winston's two games against BC were probably two of his biggest tests in college. He famously used the 2013 game as a reminder to his teammates that they could come back to win the National Championship game. Last season's contest wasn't filled with highlights but it ended with Winston leading a winning drive in the final minutes.

In the two games, I saw enough to think Winston will be a good NFL QB. He made good decisions on the field. He made tight throws. He read things well and when things broke down, he made great plays (see the video above). Winston is not perfect, but he's tough to bring down and can make any throw. That alone will get him plenty of chances in the NFL. But his ability to adjust to BC's different pressures leads me to believe he'll be fine in the NFL's faster game.

Could something derail him? Sure. A bad team or more bad choices could sink his career. But if he is the player BC fans saw, he's worth the risk.

*I've never actually selected nor coached a player in the NFL. But who's paying attention to that sort of detail.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Problems with paying players

Chad Scott wrote a good piece on the head scratching math that goes into the NCAA's new cost of attendance policy. The money is supposed to be related to the cost of living in that particular area for a student, not related to tuition or already covered room, board and books. In the current world it is more costly to attend the University of Tennessee ($5,666) than Boston College ($1,400). In the spirit of the new rules, Tennessee would be able to hand out more than $4,000 to a student athlete than BC would be able to offer to the same athlete. How do you think that is going to play out?

Scott noted that these numbers were not cooked up by some scheming SEC Football recruiter, but by each university's office of financial aid and collected by the Department of Education. That explains why school that would seemingly be inline with one another (USC and UCLA) or (Auburn and Alabama) are so different.

The good news is that this calculation won't last. Forget the bad math and worse logic behind Knoxville being more costly than Chestnut Hill. The reason this won't last is that the SEC won't allow one school to have a leg up on another. I expect that eventually there will be a flattening of the cost of attendance stipend and all schools will offer the same thing.

When BC voted against the pay players plan, they never mentioned this issue. They were thinking big picture and where the paying players will creep, but they should have included this aspect of the issue in their protest. It might have generated a little more support and slowed the movement down.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Football recruiting speculation and other links

BC's top QB target Anthony Brown is nearing a decision. The recruiting analysts from 247 are still predicting that he will sign with BC.

UNC swept Baseball over the weekend. The team gets a chance to bounce back with games against URI and Bryant this week.

CBS thinks Ian Silberman will be an undrafted free agent.

Softball fell to 21-21 after losing two out of three to Louisville.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Kennesaw St. hires Al Skinner

Kennesaw State made all speculation official by hiring Al Skinner as its next basketball coach. Many felt it was a done deal from the start due to the relationship between Skinner and KSU Athletic Director Vaugh Williams. Williams worked at BC (and got his masters at BC) during some of Skinner's best seasons.

There are numerous BC alums in athletic departments around the country who had the chance to hire Skinner since he left the Heights. I am glad that Williams finally did.

As I wrote previously, I think Skinner will do well there. He always had a good eye for talent and there are enough second-tier players here in metro Atlanta to compete. Plus the college game has drastically changed with transfers and 5th years. Skinner and KSU seem well positioned to find those guys looking for a second chance or one last shot.

The local media doesn't care about KSU, so that won't bother Al. The Alumni base is not overly demanding and won't expect him at chicken dinner after chicken dinner. All he needs to do is win and coach basketball. This works. Best of luck to him and I hope he goes out on top.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Croke Park won't host BC-Georgia Tech

Earlier this week, Irish media reported the Croke Park will not host a football game between Georgia Tech and Boston College. The report said negotiations had been at "advanced" stages but potential scheduling conflicts with Irish sports, not enough support from the Irish government and the falling value of the euro vs the dollar all undermined the game.

There are other potential venues that could still host a game in Ireland, but if currency and government support issues are problems, they are going to be problems in any stadium. ESPN might up payout in hopes of getting a morning game, but I doubt that will be enough. It looks like this will be held in the U.S. after all.

(Thanks to Morrissey for the link.)

Friday, April 24, 2015

Tweets of the Week

Thursday, April 23, 2015

What is Kennesaw State and why would Al Skinner go there?

At this point I should just expect all Eagles to end up in Georgia. There are multiple rumors that the suburban Atlanta school is set to hire the former BC coach. To me this makes perfect sense. For the rest of you, this is probably a head scratcher. 

Even though it is not a well-known outside of Georgia, Kennesaw State is a rising university in the area. They've improved their offerings, their grad programs and are trying to transition from their roots as a commuter school. They've built housing but like other younger universities, they view sports as a way to get more students excited about the school. Think of how much attention Georgia State received during this year's NCAA Tournament. The leaders at Kennesaw want that same exposure. They've already invested in football. Now it is time for basketball. Once they demoted their most recent coach, it only made sense to go after an established coach. Skinner won't sell tickets, but he will win there and that is the end game.

As for why Skinner would take this job...some times it is as simple as it is the only offer to come his way. Skinner has interviewed multiple times over the years and never gotten that second chance. His (unfair) reputation and now his age probably hurt his chances at most major jobs and the mid majors in the northeast. Kennesaw offers one last chance to do what he wants to do: coach. The salary won't be huge, but it will be more than he is making at Bryant. With Al's eye for talent and his easy to install system, he can be one of the top teams in the Atlantic Sun annually. 

I hope the two sides can come to an agreement. It could be a happy ending for both.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Baseball wins Beanpot

Baseball won the school's 11th Baseball Beanpot Wednesday night beating UMass in the Final. This is the team's sixth win in a row and improves the overall record to 22-18.

Next up is a three-game series against UNC in Chapel Hill. Let's hope the current momentum keeps up.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Get Addazio on TV more

Did anyone else see Jim Harbaugh on SportsCenter clips the past few days? He's been featured in ESPN's Draft Academy. It is great exposure for the coach as he returns back to college football. It is also a reminder that BC needs to get Addazio down to ESPN again this offseason. BC probably missed the window on Tebow talk, but there is always something that you could shoehorn him into. Addazio can talk Draft. He can go on about season two of the playoff and what teams have learned. I would even bet Addazio would handle himself well if ESPN needed an active coach to discuss the move to pay players.

Getting on TV is not really about Addazio improving on camera. It remains a good tool to sell the program to recruits and fans. I doubt that ESPN has anything as big as Draft Academy coming up, but Addazio doesn't need that. For this offseason it just about using ESPN to keep momentum going.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Why the "Drop Baseball" debate can't be settled by one series or one season

Baseball is playing well and that's great. Over at BCI Dan Rubin led off his recap of the weekend with a reminder how vocal the "drop baseball" crowd was a year ago and how it might have been shortsighted. I never advocated dropping baseball, but the current success doesn't validate anything and doesn't stop Brad Bates from asking the tough questions about which sports BC should support. Those who questioned BC's baseball future weren't trying to kill a program just to kill it or to make room for lacrosse. They were also looking at the big picture and where BC baseball fits.

The challenges with baseball
Some of BC baseball issues are fixable. Some are not.

The lack of depth among local recruits is probably overstated. You can deliver a consistent winner with players from the northeast.

Any coaching issue is fixable. I am not sold on Gambino being the long-term solution. But the uncertainty over BC's baseball future indirectly led to him getting more time. Hats off if he uses the time to prove he's an ACC-caliber coach. But BC is not a deadend job (see Aoki, see Hughes). If Gambino cannot sustain success, other qualified coaches will gladly take the job if there is a program.

You cannot change the New England weather. It will always make early season games a huge scheduling challenge. It will also make recruiting players from warmer regions a challenge. But BC can address this challenge with a permanent baseball facility that minimizes the impact of many of the weather issues (snow removal, drainage, synthetic fields, etc.).

Playing in a deep baseball conference is a challenge that BC cannot change. But the silver lining of ACC Baseball is that if BC competes in this conference, we can compete with any team in the country.

While many of the obstacles related to the baseball field are due to local objections, BC's support for the program is still critical. Not only are funds needed for the permanent field, but paying the players remains a looming budget issue. Football and Basketball are the sports most associated with paying athletes, but baseball will be part of the second wave (if it is not part of the first).

Lacrosse vs Baseball
Despite the ongoing debate over which is more viable at BC, the more likely outcome is neither as a varsity sport. If BC ever kills baseball over competitive and or financial reasons, I don't see them making Men's Lacrosse a funded, varsity sport.

But I don't think even the most diehard BC Baseball fan would argue that a well-funded BC Lacrosse team would be more likely to have national success than BC Baseball.

What does BC want out of Sports
Even with our grandstanding votes against paying athletes, I don't think BC will walk away from college sports. Football and, to a lessor extent basketball, are too valuable as marketing tools. The women's sports are safe as long as Title IX is law. Hockey is safe. So then it comes down to the non-revenue men's sports. Baseball is not untouchable. Bates and Father Leahy will have to decide what is important and what sports best promote and fulfill the school's mission. One hot streak in April is not going to answer that question.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Baseball sweeps GT and other links

Baseball completed its sweep of Georgia Tech. They are riding a huge wave of momentum into their Beanpot game with UMass. Softball won their series with Georgia Tech too.

The Notre Dame game at Fenway will kick off at 7:30. With the weather and home aspect of the game, I think that helps BC.

Lacrosse improved to 14-2 with their win over UNH.

A Patriots blogger broke down Andy Gallik as a prospect and potential draft pick for New England.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Baseball beats Georgia Tech on ALS Day

The Baseball team is playing its best baseball and doing it just in time to honor Pete Frates. Saturday they upset No. 24 Georgia Tech in the ALS Awareness game. The win was their second in a row against the Yellow Jackets and clinched the series. The team has now won four in a row overall and keeps the team above .500.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Tweets of the Week

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Ireland update? and other links

BCI put two and two together and think that Georgia Tech clearing up their 2016 schedule means that BC and the Yellow Jackets are Ireland bound. Bates keeps denying it publicly, but the maneuvering does make sense. The logistics or the game require plenty of time and plenty of marketing to our fanbase so it will have to be announced soon if it is to happen in 2016.

An EO poster dug up this link to a recent BC tax filing. Page 46 lists Addazio's total comp as $2.5M.

Eric Hoffses reported that Basketball brought in a preferred walk-on. Now we just need some impact players.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Magarity gone too

Will Magarity is the latest basketball player to depart. According to Goodman, BC released him from his scholarship. While Magarity showed some flashes, he was never going to be great fit for what Christian is trying to do. Having him around for some depth would have been nice, but his extended absence last season due to lingering effects from a concussion showed that the team could get by without him. Good luck to him and good luck to the staff in finding some more big men.

Athlon's ACC experts don't think much of the BC job

It is that time of year. The preview magazines hit the shelves and post all sorts of lists. Athlon asked a panel of ACC experts to rank the conference coaching jobs based on potential and difficulty of the job. BC came in 12th out of 14. Although this list don't mean much (is Addazio going to quit tomorrow because we are not higher up?), I still take issue a bit with the ranking.

Is it easier to win at some schools than others? Absolutely. However, when ranking jobs, fit is too often overlooked. Take TOB as an example. He left BC for NC State (ranked 8th). Is NC State a better job? Maybe on paper. Maybe the budgets are a little higher and the admissions a little more friendly. But TOB could never make it work there. He wasn't the right fit. BC in general has done a good job finding guys who can work within our culture and thrive within our region. We will never be Florida State, so it doesn't make sense to try to be Florida State. If the experts slight the job at BC or view it as too difficult, does it really matter? There will always be coaches who can win at BC. We just need to find them.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Why Christian needs transfers

With or without Hanlan, next season was probably going to be a rebuilding effort. The team is going to be young and lacking enough depth to be consistently competitive in ACC play. Christian has three respected recruits committed and will likely pick up at least one more this month. However, if he wants long-term success and stability, Christian should use his remaining scholarships to find a few transfers.

As with football, transfers allow BC to add depth that is older and physically more mature. While the long-term upside is limited with transfers, it buys Christian time without bottoming out. Plus, transfers ease roster balance. BC Basketball is in a bad cycle of megaclasses. If a megaclass doesn't pan out, you are stuck with four years of underachievement. Megaclasses are also a challenge with player development (spreading minutes) and recruiting cycles.

Ideally BC would have three impact recruits coming in every year to provide the right mix of new energy, but plenty of depth and stability.

Christian used transfers well last year on relatively short notice. This season had more planning, so I expect one or two of these guys to end up at BC. Position is not critical (although a defensive big man and a true point guard would be nice). What is critical is getting experience to this young roster.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Sox sign Frates

The Red Sox signed Pete Frates to an honorary contract as part of the ceremonies of their home opener. The Red Sox have been very public in their support of Frates and I hope things like this continue throughout the season. Below is video of the moment:

Hanlan declares for NBA Draft

Jeff Goodman confirmed rumors that Olivier Hanlan declared for the NBA Draft. Hanlan cannot change his mind and cannot transfer. Even if he goes undrafted his college career is done. I hope he worked his way high up enough draft boards to be a first round pick. Although he was part of three frustrating seasons, I do thank Hanlan for some exciting basketball.

As for BC, without Hanlan, this team will be in bottom of the conference again. Christian will get some leeway, but this puts that much more pressure to land one final elite recruit in this class and snag a competent transfer.

I will have more on Hanlan's prospects and what Jim Christian's needs in the follow up to Draft Day and Signing Day.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Addazio working the next generation of recruits and fans

A huge part of college football is sales. You have to be out selling your program to recruits, the media and fans. For many years, BC lacked a real face of the program, salesman. Our coaches either weren't good at it, weren't particularly comfortable doing it or just didn't deem it worthy of their time. Addazio is different. We know he'll gladly talk to a reporter or attend a Wall Street dinner. His passion for recruiting is well known. But what takes it all to another level is his willingness to go talk to suburban Catholic elementary schools.

I know it is only one appearance, but can you think of any other BC coach doing that? How many Boston sports figures of his prominence are doing small appearances like that? I am not aware of a specific connection to St. Joseph's. Maybe the invite from a Catholic school with a speaker's series was all it took. Regardless, I am glad he did it and represents BC well. A few of those kids will be BC students one day and hopefully all of them will be BC fans.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

BC announces ND-Fenway ticket policy; fan grumbling follows

I don't get it. By "it" I mean everything. From the moment it was announced, BC's away game at Fenway with Notre Dame generated plenty of excitement. But the "road" aspect of the game and Fenway's limited capacity also triggered warnings that tickets were going to be an issue. Those warnings should have been reset expectations for BC and BC's fans. Friday BC released their plan and shortly thereafter, the hardcore BC fans took to social media and message boards to gripe about the plan.

Here is a quick summary of BC's allocation process:

1. Staff and players first (as it should be)
2. BC takes care of big donors (as it should be)
3. Lottery among season ticket holders and smaller donors

Tickets are going to be expensive. The face value plus the expected giving make it inevitable. How is this a surprise to anyone?

I wish BC had handled this a bit better. They could have negotiated more seats from Notre Dame in the process. Maybe had lower gift minimums. Or perhaps they should have just lowered fan expectations about access from the very beginning. 

As for the fans complaining, what did you expect? That BC shouldn't use this to drive interest and giving? That lifetime loyalty should be rewarded over players and staff? There are only 5,000 tickets. Even if BC gave a priority strictly to season ticket holders based on seniority there wouldn't be enough tickets to go around. 

Fenway is not ideal for football or the average-sized American in 2015, so you'll be cramped and have a bad view. If you think it is not worth it or you think BC is being unfair, then don't go. It will be on TV. There are plenty of other, better and cheaper road games to attend. This is just a special one-time event. I am excited about it, but I would get excited about BC playing most anywhere. This should be a fun event. If you have the money and want to attend, go and enjoy it. If you're upset at how BC handled it, I suggest writing a composed, thoughtful and polite email to Brad Bates. 

This game is supposed to be special. If the price and availability squeezes you out, I am sorry. I hope that doesn't keep you from enjoying the game or the season.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Tweets of the Week

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Recruiting tactic goes viral and other links

Like the "dude" movement before it, BC created another viral recruiting theme. This time they borrowed the font and theme of Drake's album and used it in recruiting materials. I know many of you are thinking: "they did what?" or "who's Drake?" Just know that it is working. Kids like the idea and will hopefully like BC.

Earlier in the week, NFL Talent Analyst Gil Brandt wrote about BC's Offensive Linemen

BC is one of many schools after Florida WR Ben Skowronek.

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Christian focuses on Shawntrez Davis

247's Zach Spears broke the news of Shawntrez Davis' impending visit to BC later this month. This would be huge coup for Jim Christian and his 2015 recruiting class. Davis is highly ranked, a front court player who would likely start and is from outside the region. BC hasn't pulled in an offensive big man of this caliber in forever.

There are two aspects of this process that I found encouraging. First that we are in on a player like this. (Davis has numerous high profile offers.) Second, I am glad to see the staff be this opportunistic. One of the reasons Davis is available is due to coaching changes at other programs and the natural musical chairs aspect of recruiting. Now they just have to close on him.

247 predicts Davis will be an Eagle, so expect a decision quickly following his visit.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Please tell me the ACC isn't championing a terrible idea

The ACC and Big XII are pushing for changes to conference championship regulations. The Big XII's angle is obvious. They want to hold a game without expanding. The ACC's interest in change remains mysterious. Here is the ominous part of this CBS article on the change:

“I think there's some belief that ACC would play three divisions, have two highest ranked play in postseason,” said Bob Bowlsby, chairman of the new NCAA Football Oversight Committee. “Really, nobody cares how you determine your champion. It should be a conference-level decision.

“But because the ACC has persisted in saying, ‘We're not sure what we'll do,' there's probably a little bit of a shadow over it. In the end, I don't think it'll be able to hold it up. We'll probably have it in place for ‘16.”

The ACC keeps saying they have no official plans to change their own format, but want future flexibility if they do want to change. The idea of a three team conference where one of the conference winners is NOT guaranteed a spot in the conference championship gamer is a terrible idea. The whole point of a division is to group teams together and let one team win the division by playing their other division foes. Then the two division winners play each other to determine a true champion. It is fair. It is objective. It is a proven model. Now, adding a subjective layer to the process takes the worst aspects of college football and forces it on the 14 teams in the ACC. Who do you think is going to get selected for the championship if two divisions are won by traditional powers and a third is not? ACC teams like BC are going to be left out.

I am not opposed to the ACC tweaking its format. If they want to revamp divisions or scrap the divisions all together, I have no problem with that. However, I think there should be clear and fair methods to get into the championship game. If there are no divisions and they select the two teams with the best record, BC fans should live with that. But anything that involves a committee is going to end badly for BC.

Monday, April 06, 2015

Keyes meeting NFL teams and other links

Josh Keyes might not be listed on the NFL Draft website. but he is getting some attention. He has worked out for the Falcons and the Buccaneers. Workouts don't mean he'll be drafted, but it does give him a chance to find the right team as a free agent.

Ohio Tight End Luke Farrell is set to visit BC Tuesday.

After losing two, the Baseball team managed to win a game at Wake on Sunday.

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Hanlan's Draft Deadlines approaching

All NCAA underclassmen who want to test their NBA draft status have until April 10, 2015 to declare and subsequently withdraw from the Draft. If a player declares after the 10th, he cannot rescind the decision. All players who wish to be drafted must file paperwork with the NBA by April 29, 2015. As with many of these deadlines, all of this favors the college coaches and NBA. As for Olivier Hanlan, I think BC fans can read a few things into it.

It doesn't appear that Hanlan is going to "test the waters." BC's season ended weeks ago. If he wanted to find out what NBA teams thought of him, he would have entered his name by now, so that he still had the freedom "take his name out" this week. I expect the April 10 deadline to pass without issue.

The April 11-29 window still remains an opportunity for Hanlan, Christian and BC fans. If Olivier wants to go regardless of what scouts think, he still has three more weeks. I have no inside information, but the lack of rumors and scouting reports still listing him as a late second rounder lead me to believe Hanlan is coming back. At this point, it makes the most sense for him. Hanlan will be an old draftee if he waits one more year, but he can keep improving his game and reputation. He also has a decent shot at ACC Player of the Year. That one award wouldn't assure him of being drafted, but it would maximize his profile.

Regardless of his final year in college, Hanlan's professional path seems destined for overseas basketball. Let's hope the upside of a final college season and the outside chance of the NBA keeps him around the Heights one more year.

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Baseball drops first two to Wake

While there is still a chance to get a win Sunday, Baseball sputtered in Winston-Salem this weekend. They lost 4-3 Friday night. The game wasn't as close Saturday as they lost 9-4. With the two losses, BC is now 4-9 in ACC play.

Friday, April 03, 2015

Tweets of the Week

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Gleaning Draft stuff from

We know Andy Gallik performed well at the NFL Combine. We know the turnout was good for BC's Pro Day. But will any of it lead to a big group of BC draftees? One of the best ways to gauge what NFL Teams are thinking is through the NFL's own website. Every year prior to the Draft the NFL loads up profiles of potential draftees. This year three Eagles are already in the system:
Being listed doesn't guarantee anything. Silberman and Mihalik are borderline late rounders by most accounts. Other BC guys might sneak into a late round too. But using the NFL's profiles as a guide, I think Gallik is the only lock to be drafted. 

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Whose collective wisdom on Addazio is right?

The CBS College Football Staff rated and ranked all Power Five (plus Notre Dame and BYU) coaches. The haven't released the full list yet, but Addazio did show up on the first rollout. CBSers ranked him 47th. This is what they wrote:
47. Steve Addazio, Boston College: You have to admire Addazio's "dude" qualities, but Eagles fans would like to see an improvement on his 14-12 start in Chestnut Hill.

CBS left their criteria wide-open, so their rankings are subjective among their writers. Who knows why they put Addazio where they did? We don't know which writers ranked him high or ignored him altogether. What we do know is that all their voters are deep into college football coverage, and as a group they don't think much of Addazio. In fact, whoever wrote the summary inferred that most BC fans are frustrated. I would say it is the opposite. I think Addazio has exceeded fan expectations in both seasons.

But is our bias as BC fans any more irresponsible than CBS's? Most BC fans think the Dude is great and will take us higher. But we could be wrong? Maybe Addazio is just a 7-5 coach and those other Power 5 guys are better.

In Addazio's case, I think BC fans are correct. Even the most plugged-in CBS expert isn't watching every BC game. The media also doesn't realize the extent of Addazio's rebuild.

These rankings ultimately don't mean much. However, it does give us a little idea of what the outside world thinks of BC's coach. Hopefully our insight and expectations are right and theirs are wrong.