Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Hoping for Hurricane Joaquin

BC hasn't been so lucky lately. First Darius Wade broke his ankle and now Jon Hilliman is hurt. We are headed into the Duke game as a touchdown underdog and no idea what either of our QBs can do. But there is hope from an unexpected place: the weather forecast.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the forecast for Durham, North Carolina for Saturday is terrible. There is 100% chance of rain and winds in the teens. If Hurricane Joaquin turns right into North Carolina, the winds could be even worse. I don't take hurricanes lightly, but as long as the players and few fans are safe, I don't mind both teams playing in a downpour.

The weather works both ways. It will be just as tough for BC to move the ball as Duke, but we have less to lose. Our D is tough under normal conditions. In bad weather, we can shut any team down.

The weather can also invite fluky things to happen. If we were the better, more efficient team that would be an issue. But our offense is at the point where something odd might give us a chance.

There is always the chance that the hurricane could turn and not impact North Carolina at all. If that happens, then BC will have to hope for some type of luck.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Special Teams needs to do special things

In 2008 BC had a dominant, Top 10 Defense and a untested QB on the other side of the field. Sound familiar, right? Like now, points and possessions were at a premium. However, one thing Jags did in 2008, which Addazio is yet to do this year, is take big chances in Special Teams.

Your memory might be a little hazy, but BC's Special Teams changed multiple games in 2008. We went for repeated punt blocks and converted one for a TD against ND. Toal converted a fake punt to help win a shootout with NC State. An onside kick against Florida State was a huge momentum swing. Billy Flutie also turned a fake field goal into a touchdown against Maryland. All made the difference between a team that won the division and a team that could have used a green QB as an excuse to squeak out six wins.

Aside from the offensive struggles, one of the reasons Jags could roll the dice on Special Teams was that he trusted his Defense. If any of those gambles had backfired, he still knew his defense could hold. I don't expect Addazio to suddenly become a riverboat gambler, but he needs to have that same faith in his defense. And he needs to start taking chances somewhere.

We might not be loaded at QB, but we have enough former QBs on Special Teams (Swigert, Robinson, Willis and Nosovitch) that we could incorporate some passes without alerting the other team. We also have plenty of pure athletes who could easily be part of a fake punt or take advantage of a surprise onside kick.

The other reason you can start with fake or aggressive Special Teams now is because you have four games of opponent film to pick up tendencies and opportunities.

The season is young and Addazio has already taken a lot of criticism for how he's handled the clock and his QBs. Who cares if he takes some chances and it blows up in his face? With this Defense most BC fans will forgive attempts to win. It is playing not to lose that will upset me.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Hilliman out with broken foot

There were rumors of Hilliman walking around after the game in a boot. Now there is confirmation that he was really hurt.

Although BC has depth at running back this is a big blow. Hilliman was the bruiser and the leading returning rusher. Willis is still dealing with the after effects of mono. Outlow was not 100% Saturday. Rouse can't do it alone.

This makes a limited offense less explosive. We will see how Addazio and Fitch adjust.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Second viewing thoughts and grades: Northern Illinois

During the game, I felt Flutie was terrible and Smith was underutilized. It wasn't that simple, so I sort of understand what Addazio is facing. However, that doesn't justify how they were used and it certainly doesn't explain how we nearly gave this game away. Yet with all of that, I still feel better about the team than I did Saturday. We are so close to everything clicking. The D is there. Can the rest of the team catch up?

Offense: D

Flutie's passes were bad. Not particularly crisp, fast nor accurate. The TD was a good decision. The INT was a terrible decision. His running wasn't good either. He's not fast enough to escape on the option read. He did make a few better touch passes in the second half. And despite his limitations, he seems poised. Smith has great speed and looks very comfortable. The fumble that he recovered was unfortunate. He's got to be more careful. I don't know if you can judge anything off of his passes.

Hilliman looked better. He had more power and explosiveness. Outlow and Willis were non-factors and according to Daz, neither was healthy late in the game. Rouse was fine in mop up duty. Wolford and Wilson were fine.

Callinan did a good job staying in bounds on the TD catch. Swigert looked fine. Alston finally made a big play in a traditional pass pattern. Smith was fine, although his blocking is still not great. He looked good on the sweep even if it didn't break.

The Offensive Line played relatively well. Other than some penalties, there weren't many mistakes. Not many misses either. Williams looked better. Baker was fine at Center. Bowen was good. Lindstrom was better than last week too.

The running game was more effective with Smith. There was no debate. Yet he didn't get the most possessions. I don't know if that is Daz or Fitch or both, but it was frustrating. I felt Fitch should have called more zone options with Smith. Just having him there softened the middle and created holes for Hilliman. Why not run it until NIU shows that it can stop the play? Or create some play action passes for Smith out of it? I also hated switching QBs mid-drive. How does that allow anyone on offense get in rhythm? I don't know how much of our issues are being forced on Fitch, but it is his job to make lemonade out of the lemons. Through four games he hasn't shown he can do that.

Defense: A

The DLine looked great. Wujciak kept pushing their line back. Landry wasn't as disruptive as last week, but still showed a lot of productivity. Abdesmad played well. Kelly finally made a play.

Strachan played his best game. Daniels was pretty good and fortunately the dropped pass late didn't determine the game. Schwab is also coming around.

Johnson's INT was a great play. Moore played really well again. Simmons was very active. Yiadom was good.

Once again, Brown kept things simple and it worked. We gave them different looks and had the DL twisting without exposing the DBs or LBs. We also stayed aggressive late. It brings in the big play, but we had dominated to that point, it didn't make sense to go with excessive prevent.

Special Teams: C-

On a good day, some of the big Special Teams' plays would earn an "A" for the unit. But Special Teams nearly cost BC the game.

The kick return was a complete breakdown. As the announcers said, the shorter kick seemed intentional, yet there didn't seem to be a fail safe? Or at least any player who knew he was the fail safe.

The highlight was Milano's block.

Howell's punts were fine until late. Willis' one return was fine. Alston showed a little more aggressiveness.

Other than the bad kickoff, Lichtenberg looked ok.
Overall: B-

Winning close games is luck. Play enough and some will break your way and others won't. The best coaches press their advantages and push relentlessly so that a close game cannot be stolen. Steve Addazio's ultra conservative game management and some bad special teams nearly gave this game away. You could watch this game ten times and not be able to ignore that. As I said, the kick return was a total breakdown. But how does that happen? The play is designed to prevent a big return. How is there not anyone back?

As for the QB decision, I still think we didn't use Smith enough. Even if he makes BC one-dimensional, that one dimension was more effective than Flutie's two dimensions.

Winning while things are falling apart does deserve credit, but we need to show improvement on Offense soon and we need him to pull out more stops, not go more conservative.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Heights get more info on BC head injury protocol

One of the things that bothered me most about the game was watching Tyler Rouse get so many carries after leaving the game earlier with a head injury. He visibly wobbled off the field.

There is so much we don't know about head injuries and concussions, it seems best to err on the side of caution. I also worry about putting the "play/not to play" decision on the coach and player. They are tough, competitive people. They are always going to play. That is why it should not be their calls. It should be a medical decision. Based on the solid reporting by Michael Sullivan, it appears the Rouse decision was handled under BC's current protocol.

Should any BC player take the field after a head injury? I am not a medical expert, but I would like to see the issue examined further. However, I am glad that there is a policy and that the coach doesn't influence it.

Ugly win

Sometimes you feel good after a close win. Not today. That was ugly.

I didn't like the way they used Flutie. I didn't like they way they used Smith. And using Rouse after an official head injury notification that came from BC, is highly questionable.

Once again, BC's defense did everything only to see the O and Special Teams nearly give it away. The D is going to have to carry this team the rest of the way, since everything else from the game management to simple kickoffs is a mess.

I will have my grades and second viewing thoughts up late Sunday.

In-game comments post: Northern Illinois

Every week seems like a new start to the season. We are now a month in and still don't know what to expect due to injuries and easy schedules. The offense has a lot to prove and so do the QBs. Let's hope they are up to the challenge.

Leave your thoughts and comments below.

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Friday, September 25, 2015

Friday Picks Week 4

There are a ton of road favorites this week. It was very tempting to take all of them, but that's now how this works. My picks are below and because of a push last week, I am not below .500.

(Picks in bold.)

Georgia Tech - 7.5 at Duke

LSU -24 at Syracuse

Navy -7 at UConn

Indiana -3 at Wake Forest

Oklahoma State -3.5 at Texas

Tennessee -1.5 at Florida

Cal -3 at Washington

Texas A&M -7 at Arkansas

UCLA -2.5 at Arizona

Fresno State +4.5 at San Jose State

Last week I was 4-5-1. I am 14-15-1 on the season.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

BC-Northern Illinois preview

This is going to go one of two ways. Either both QBs are going to be terrible and we come away very frustrated (and probably lose) or one guy stands out early and we roll with him to victory. This game was always going to be a turning point in the season and now with Wade out, it becomes even more critical.

What's on my mind (not totally related to this game)
Most coaches hate being second guessed and generally have thin skin. That sensitivity usually serves as a great motivator and provides some of the drive needed to coach at this level. Addazio clearly heard the critics on his decision to kill the clock on the last drive before the half. At the Gridiron Club dinner, he addressed it over and over again. He can justify it ten ways to Sunday, but we know he knows enough about statistics and Urban Meyer's game management strategies, to know that killing clock there is a wrong move. It became a wasted possession in a game with minimal scoring. I hope this overly conservative decision doesn't influence the remainder of the season. In college football you need to go for it whenever you get the chance.

Three Simple Keys
1. Explosive plays. As much as we are perceived as a plodding, three yards and a cloud of dust team, we are really haven't been that efficient or consistent under Addazio. The reality is we plod, plod and then explode. Last week lacked explosion. This week we need a few big plays if we want to score.
2. Avoid Turnovers. The reason NIU almost upset Ohio State was due to turnovers. We cannot be as careless.
3. Close on Hare. Think of how different Florida State would have been without those few Golson escapes. Hare is not that elusive. We need to hit him for a loss, over and over.

Gambling Notes
-- Addazio is 6-4 after a loss while coaching BC
-- BC has won 16 straight against MAC teams
-- NIU coach Rob Carey is 3-3 vs Power 5 teams
The current line is BC-4.5

TOB is part of the ESPN3 team covering this game. Being that he's predictable, I expect him to reference his years at BC early in the game but then declare that he will call it down the middle. And then I expect him to do just that. I know he's done some other ESPN3 games, but I can't imagine he's much fun on the broadcast. He let glimpses of his sense of humor escape over the years, but I don't think now -- in semi-retirement -- he's going to become a laugh a minute.

Scoreboard Watching
We are not a triple option team, but we run almost as much as your typical triple option team. That is why it will be interesting to see how Duke handles Georgia Tech. Let's hope they have a lot of trouble.

I hope to see...
A few interceptions. The DBs were great last week. The only thing missing was a game changing, run back on an INT. If they are challenged this week (which I doubt), it could happen.

BC is in trouble if...
We don't score in the first half. That will put pressure on everyone. The D will think they have to win the game themselves. The Special Teams will make risky plays. In those circumstances, mistakes are made.

Bottom Line
I believe...still. I think this is the Jeff Smith coming out party. After we putz around a bit in the first half with both QBs, Smith gets all the snaps in the second and runs for at least one long TD. The D mostly contains NIU and get some breathing room with a late field goal.
Final Score: BC 17, Northern Illinois 13

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Everyone's got problems

As we head into the unknown with either Flutie or Smith (or both), there are plenty of BC fans re-calibrating expectations. But I don't know if we need to since numerous opponents are dealing with the same issue.

Look around at the teams on our schedule:

Notre Dame -- Lost Zaire for the year with a broken ankle. (Addazio kept compairing Wade to Zaire in the preseason since they have similar skill sets and are both lefties. They proved to have similar seasons in an unexpected way.)

Syracuse -- Lost Hunt for the year and backup Eric Dungey suffered a head injury last week. His status is unknown.

Wake Forest -- John Wofford left the Army game with an unspecified injury and remains under wraps.

Virginia Tech -- Brewer broke his collarbone in the opener against Ohio State. Even if he recovers in time to start our game on Halloween (unlikely), he will still be less than 100%.

And this is only where things stand now. Other teams will see serious injuries between now and when we play them.

Losing Wade hurts, but I am not resetting my expectations until I see what we really have in Smith and Flutie.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Addazio's QB hedge better not last long

The old football adage says that "if you have two starting quarterbacks, you don't have one." While the theory has been attributed to John Madden and Bill Parcells, this week it could just as well be Steve Addazio's mindset. Against Northern Illinois, both Jeff Smith and Troy Flutie will play. He hasn't indicated a starter, but that doesn't really matter. According to Addazio, he's not going to ride the hot hand. Each QB will have packages. So even if Flutie starts out 5 for 5 and throws two TDs, Smith will play. And same holds true if Smith runs for 80 yards on the first play. This is a fine approach for the 1st half of the NIU game, but cannot go much beyond that. If it does, BC is in big trouble.

None of us know what either QB can do under pressure. Not even Addazio. He's validated the gossiped consensus that came out of camp (Smith is a brilliant runner, Flutie more of a game manager). But the past is somewhat irrelevant now. What a guy does in a practice or scrimmage in August is very different from playing against other teams. Based on the second hand information and the garbage time against Howard, I want Smith. As Addazio said in his Monday media time, we have so few players who can truly explode, that having Smith sit is a waste of an asset. If Flutie proves that he can consistently pass against elite defenses, then by all means, let him manage the games. But I don't think we have enough talent on the line or at WR for Flutie to be any use. Smith needs to be the guy.

But the hedge and using both all season is what I fear most. If neither guy establishes himself this weekend, then just pick one and let him and the team take their lumps. Why trot out two ineffective guys when giving all the snaps to the one with more upside might be off later this season?

Monday, September 21, 2015

TV times for Duke and TV ratings for FSU

Friday night games might not be a hit with season ticket holders, but the concept works on TV. BC's game against Florida State drew a 2.3 overnight rating and was the highest rated Friday night game in three years. For years now BC has been a better TV draw than we are at the ticket counter. While some of it can be attributed to our far-flung alumni base, a lot of it is driven by viewers in Boston. Someone one day will figure out how to get all those local fans watching on TV into Alumni. 

Not surprisingly our good showing enticed Raycom to pick up the Duke game for their 3:30 slot. Like all regional ACC 3:30 games this will be a patchwork of local cable networks. In New England the game will be on NESN. Most everyone else will see it on their regional Fox Sports channel. 

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Second viewing thoughts and grades: FSU

I feel surprisingly better after watching the game back. I am still frustrated that we didn't win and didn't press our opportunities, but I saw enough to believe that things are fixable. Losing Wade is a major step back, but there is still more offensive potential than what was shown Friday night. And the defense might be so good that they will win some games all by themselves.

Offense: C-

Wade's stats weren't great but I thought he played well. He hesitated on a few passes early and missed open men, and his INT was a bad decision, but considering how tied his hands were and how inconsistent the blocking was, he looked serviceable. His running wasn't smooth either, but it was effective. Losing him for the season is a major blow. He showed real potential against a good opponent. Nothing can really be read into Smith or Flutie's snaps. Can we really believe that "Smith doesn't know the playbook" from his time on the field? Or that Flutie makes bad decisions on the pitches?

Hilliman did not play well. Even prior to the fumble, he was getting stuck in pileups. Some of the problems can be blamed on the OL, but not all of them. He needs to make someone miss on occasion. Willis was pretty good and certainly the most productive Friday night. Wofford played well. His blocks were good and he was effective in the passing game. But when he is the leading receiver, it speaks to bigger issues.

We only threw the ball 15 times, but there was still plenty to judge with regards to the WRs and Tight Ends. Alston is great with the ball, but he's not good trying to get the ball in traffic and he's not a good blocker. We need to get him touches (sweeps, screens, etc), but traditional ways are not playing to his strengths. Smith looked good on his sweep, but needs to improve his blocking. Nosovitch wasn't ready for his pass. Sweeney looked okay at some points but then struggled blocking at other points. Swigert was fine and made the right call on his pass option. Callinan's one catch was nice. But as a group, this unit is not as effective blocking as they were last year. I don't know if it was Florida State, going smaller or just lack of emphasis, but this has to get better. It is critical to our success on the edges.

The Offensive Line got beat as a group. Florida State is talented, but there were still too many one on one battles lost upfront and too many mistakes. Williams is not playing as well as he played two years ago. Is it rust? Let's hope it changes soon. Taylor struggled at times before he got hurt. Baker was probably the best of the group. Lindstrom got overmatched a bit.

It is always easy to second-guess play calling, but how can you justify Friday night? I will get into the overall strategy later, but I felt Fitch/Addazio didn't do the team favors with their approach. The best offensive coaches find something they do well and build from that. Day and Addazio did that well in the first two seasons. Where was that Friday? Nothing looked crisp. Everything seemed a step off. There really wasn't one play or one type of play they could perform with authority. It gave the play calling a grab bag feel. When you get shutout it is a full failure. It shows lack of execution, poor preparation and poor personnel management. There's no other way around it.

Defense: A-

This was the Landry we all hoped for. He showed speed. He showed power. He closed often. The only real tough play was the missed safety. Wujciak helped collapse the line and made many nice plays. Gutapfel didn't fill up the stat sheet, but was also good inside. Abdesmad played well.

Steven Daniels dominated too. He was a little out of place on their touchdown pass, but otherwise looked great everywhere. Milano looked good too.

Kam Moore was outstanding. He ran with everyone and made great plays on the ball. He had one of the best games I've seen a DB have without getting an INT or making tons of tackles. Simmons slipped early on a key pass play, but settled in and made some nice tackles throughout. Yiadom looked good. Johnson played very well.

Don Brown's Defense has matured. He's to the point now where he doesn't even have to blitz over and over. Just showing it or releasing guys late does the trick. Even their lone scoring drive was called well. It really came down to a few mistakes and our guys slipping or getting beat. But overall, we did nearly everything right on D.

Special Teams: B

Howell's punts were good and the punt coverage was very good.

Willis' returns were aggressive.

Alston's punt returns were a mixed bag. He was a little conservative in his fair catches and didn't break anything big.

Overall: B-

There was a beauty to Addazio's stubbornness in his first two years. Because of Andre Williams and Tyler Murphy and good offensive lines, we could pound, pound and pound some more and eventually something would break. It is old school and also unconventional, which only added to the beauty. Teams weren't ready for it and it played to our strengths. Playing that way against Florida State with Darius Wade (who is not an explosive runner), our fledgling OLine, and no RBs who matches Williams speed/power combo, and no game breaking WRs, left BC with a very narrow path to victory. My concern and complaint is that when BC struggled moving the ball, Addazio didn't adjust. In the post game, you'll hear him reference statistics to justify his actions, but most of the advance metrics show that conservative approaches and wasting possessions (like the ones before half) will not lead to victory. Addazio had one vision to win the game and even as it became statistically more unlikely, he wasn't willing to adjust. Conceding possessions regardless of time or location is one of the worst ideas in football. I thought Addazio had the team motivated and it fought hard, but that's not enough. You also need to press your advantages however small they are.

This week will be about a different style of coaching. Addazio now has to get at least one QB ready and probably two ready. He also has to fix the offense. I think he can do it. Adjusting midseason is the type of things good coaches do.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Wade out for season

As you've probably read by now, Darius Wade is out for the remainder of the season with a broken ankle. The only good news from the story is that SI believes Wade will apply and should receive a medical hardship redshirt.

Now the Flutie-Smith debate will begin. I want to roll with Smith and will explain that all week. I think he's a better fit for our current personnel and I think he has the chance to turn something out of nothing. With this defense, all we need are a few fluky big plays each game and we can win.

Friday, September 18, 2015

No scoring against the 'Noles

Now we know a bit more about the team. The BC D is legit. Aside from the opening drive, they dominated Florida State's Offense. But it was a wasted effort, because BC's Offense couldn't do anything in a 14-0 loss. It was the first time an Addazio BC team has been shutout. Aside from the losing, the bigger concern is that Darius Wade went down with an ugly looking leg injury. Both Flutie and Smith saw time after Wade went to the bench.

I have a lot of criticism of Addazio and Fitch's approach, but I will save that for the Sunday post. I am frustrated, but think the Defense is good enough to get BC to a bowl game. Let's just hope they can figure something...anything out on offense.

I will have second viewing thoughts and grades up late Sunday. 

In-game comments post: Florida State

Now the season begins. We will learn a lot about the team in the next few hours. Let's show the college football world that we are more than the team that beat up on Maine and Howard!

Leave your thoughts and comments below.

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Friday Picks Week 3

Another 5-5 week. But like BC, I am just getting warmed up. Entertainment only here since I am not putting my money where my mouth is.

(Picks in bold.)

Air Force +25.5 at Michigan State

South Florida +7 at Maryland

Northwestern +3.5 at Duke

Temple -10 at UMass

Georgia Tech -2.5 at Notre Dame

Virginia Tech -7 at Purdue

Auburn +6.5 at LSU

South Carolina +16.5 at Georgia 

Colorado -3 at Colorado State

Stanford +9 at USC

Last week I was 5-5. I am 10-10 on the season.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

BC-Florida State preview

When expectations for a season are relatively low (like this year), one game doesn't make or break anything. But a win Friday would go a long way with to validating Addazio and Bates' approach to the season. I cannot recall any BC season where we knew so little about the team after two games. I think BC matches up well against Florida State, but how can any of us truly know after Maine and Howard? The good news is we will find out how good the team is one way or another Friday night.

What's on my mind (not totally related to this game)
I may be the only one out there, but I love Friday night games. I rarely go to games in person so getting to Chestnut Hill is a non-issue. My Saturdays are filled with more and more youth sports, so I am seeing fewer BC games uninterrupted live. Saturday nights are okay, but like Saturday days, our family social calendar and commitments keep growing. Now of course this will probably all change when my kids start playing sports on Friday nights, but for now, I am golden! For readers without kids, one day you will understand.

 Three Simple Keys
1. Get lots of pressure on Golson. Florida State fans are attributing Golson's propensity for turnovers on Brian Kelly and the Notre Dame Offense. I think he will revert to his old form, if we rattle him.
2. Don't get burned on the big play. I don't think we can win a shootout, so BC needs to keep FSU from scoring quickly and in bunches. Especially on deep balls.
3. Redzone scoring. BC was so desperate for scoring last year, that we tried the pass-back to Murphy. Our kicking game doesn't seem improved, so we will have to rely on pounding the ball in until we score.

Gambling Notes
-- BC hasn't started 3-0 since 2007
-- BC has lost five straight to Florida State
-- Addazio is 8-8 in ACC games
The current line is BC+7

This is Golson's second start at Alumni. He guided Notre Dame to a 21-6 win over BC in 2012.

Scoreboard Watching
We can't control who our opponents schedule the week before they play us, but I love that Northern Illinois is playing Ohio State this week. We don't compare to the Buckeyes' talent, but there are plenty of similarities in our offensive and defensive approaches. Our coaches will be able to learn a lot from the tape and should understand how to attack the Huskies.

I hope to see...
More than 40,000 people at the game. We know all the obstacles and issues around attendance, but BC made a big marketing push late. Let's hope that was enough to make the Stadium seem full.

BC is in trouble if...
If Wade doesn't have time to make throws. I've been impressed with Wade's accuracy and arm. But we have no idea what he's like against real competition. If Florida State overwhelms our Offensive Line and has Wade flustered, I don't think Wade's accuracy is going to matter.

Bottom Line
Despite the spread and our cupcakes schedule, I have plenty of confidence in BC's chances. I think the Defense makes some big stops in the first half as BC builds a lead. I think the Offense stalls out a bit in the second, as the 'Noles make a comeback, but BC hangs on in the end.
Final Score: BC 20, Florida State 17

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Rutgers implosion good for BC

Kyle Flood keeps shooting himself in the foot and is probably on his way out. Although Rutgers is not in our conference, what happens in the Garden State still impacts BC. New Jersey is a critical recruiting territory for BC. If Rutgers is in chaos, we can pick off some of their current recruits and get in with future recruits before the school finds a replacement.

But it is not just recruiting where BC will see the benefit. I don't think Addazio will be a serious candidate to replace Flood. I think the Temple and BC connections will disqualify him to some Rutgers people as too small time with limited upside. Yet a few ACC coaches might get interest (Doeren? maybe Golden looks for a safe landing). Those potential shake ups might disrupt current and future opponents. There might even be some Big Ten and ACC coordinators who get in the mix and hurt their current team's recruiting and bowl prep.

In an ideal world Rutgers will always be a mess. BC needs to address many of their own issues to reach the next level, but a BC-friendly New Jersey certainly won't hurt our rise to the top.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

BC pulling out all the stops for Friday night

The NFL killed the importance of College Football's Thursday Night Games. ESPN -- with the help of conference partners like the ACC -- is trying to turn Friday Night into the new event. BC bought in early, agreeing to be part of Friday night games contractually. And now the school is going all out as host of this Friday Night's game against Florida State.

-- First (as speculated) BC will wear their red bandanna inspired uniforms. BC will also hand out red bandannas to the first 25,000 fans in attendance. 

-- The 6 PM ET SportsCenter will focus on the game and have at least one ESPN reporter outside of Gate E. I have no idea if this will be a set with a stage or just one reporter with a camera crew. Regardless, all you students, makes signs, make noise and get on TV. We are unlikely to get GameDay this year, so this is it. BC clever and be respectful. Earlier in the day First Take will broadcast live from Gasson. Make noise there too. [Update: First Take cancelled]

-- Tim and Elisabeth Hasselbeck will be honored during the game.

-- Finally, TOB and members of the 2005 team will also be honored. This will be TOB's first football game in Alumni since his retirement. I will be very interested to hear the crowd reaction.

Of course, this being a Friday night game and with a significant portion of our fanbase in the New York area, attendance will be an issue. While the last-minute marketing might add a few thousand more people, I don't expect a sellout. But doing all this for a Friday Night Game is good long-term planning. Make all Friday Night Games an event. Then when people see the schedule months in advance they will make an effort to get back to Boston just for a Friday game. 

Monday, September 14, 2015

Game time set for Northern Illinois

Back before the 12-game regular season and the annual FCS opponent, BC played their "easiest" game Parents Weekend. It was usually a MAC-level school, Rutgers, Temple or one of the service academies. But now playing Northern Illinois at 1 pm on ESPN3 during Parents Weekend is BC's best non-conference home game.

I thought that this game might make it to one of the ACC Regional Packages, but even with both teams sitting at 2-0, there are better ACC options.

I am not trying to beat the scheduling issues to death, but I just wish Bates and Addazio were a little more forthright when discussing schedules. Bates addressed the issue during the radio broadcast and put a lot of the blame on New Mexico State. Addazio gave more of its out of my hands response when pressed. Here is what is true about scheduling and here is where Bates and Addazio have more ownership than they are implying.

BC's schedules were screwed up by three factors. 1. The ACC retreating from their nine game regular season plan. 2. Losing the Syracuse series as a non-conference game when the Orange joined the ACC. 3. The ACC-Notre Dame deal which restricted how often BC and the Irish could play. But all of those issues took place years ago and forced games like the first New Mexico State game. But now, three seasons into both of their tenures at BC, Addazio and Bates have had ample time to fix the schedule. They are complaining about New Mexico State, yet failing to acknowledge that New Mexico State would have been a horrible home game on its own! They claim their hands are tied, yet they still have not filled their 2016 schedule. Do you think we are going to get Alabama and Texas or two FCS teams?

What I would prefer they say was that "we are still building a program and in light of other scheduling issues, we thought Howard made the most sense for this team in 2015. We are committed to winning and will strengthen our schedule as we grow."

But they won't say that. Instead they will probably keep the non-conference games soft in 2016 too.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Second viewing thoughts and grades: Howard

No grades this week. What would I put? "A+" for the Offense. "A+" for the Defense? "A-" for the Special Teams. Maybe add a "C" for scheduling. I don't know if this game was truly useless yet. We won't know until deeper into the season. But we do know this wasn't a good measurement of the team's capabilities.

Offense: N/A

There was not real pressure and we didn't pass much, but I still liked what I saw from Wade. He's got nice touch. (Let's hope he can do it against elite DBs.) Flutie was fine, but there were a few issues (bad snap). Smith looked really good. Now Howard had no speed and couldn't tackle, but he still darted around well. The passes weren't real tests, but were fine.

The Running Backs were barely touched. They all looked fine. I know Willis supposedly had rust, but I didn't see it. This was the first extended time for Wilson and he played well. I liked Outlow's long run.

The Offensive Line dominated. Not only did they win upfront, I thought the moved well and did a good job with the kickouts and clearing space. Overall only one penalty on the group was a good sign too.

Jackson made a nice catch and looked healthy. Let's hope he's close to his old form. Barksdale will hopefully build off of this game.

Everything worked! Fitch is a genius! Not really, but can you say anything else? He did a good job mixing in the pass without being obnoxious. But was the scheming and game calling that effective or was our blocking and their tackling just that terrible?

Defense: N/A

The area where Howard seemed most overmatched was in the interior Offensive Line. Gutapfel looked super speedy and blew by their guards. Wujciak dominated early too. Kavalec looked very good. The young guys like Smith, Allen and Landry made the most of their extra snaps.

The LBs were very active. Strachan was everywhere (and had a good RAC). Daniels was very productive. Cottrell earned more PT.

The DBs didn't get tested because Howard's passing game was a disaster. Yet they did make good tackles in run support. Simmons was good. Ntantang played well.

Al Groh was all set to talk about Don Brown's blitzing and then Don Brown had to spoil Groh's preparation by rarely bringing extra pressure. We kept it base and got plenty of penetration without doing anything special.

Special Teams: N/A

In general I thought Howell kicked it well on the kickoffs. It seemed like his distance dipped a bit as the game wore on into the second half. The extra points were fine, although I didn't see the logic in the two-point conversion.

Alston's first return was great as he just weaved through everyone. I was glad others also got a chance to return punts too.

The game was over by the time we had our one kick return. I am glad Walker got a shot.

Overall: N/A

It didn't take much strategy or game management on Addazio's part, but I still felt he did the right things. First playing Jeff Smith. When Smith didn't play against Maine, there was plenty of message board chatter about his possible redshirt. Even though Howard was a joke, Smith showed the potential that had been gossiped about all summer. Now that he is playing he can challenge Flutie as the backup and potentially be used in unique packages.

I also appreciated Addazio agreeing to shorter quarters. It might seem unsporting, but it saved both teams from further injury. Based on production and sideline demeanor, I also felt like Addazio kept his team motivated and engaged.

While the win was never in doubt, there were a million ways Addazio could have hurt BC on Saturday. He didn't and for that I am thankful.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

BC wins 4th scrimmage handles Howard

BC won 76-0 and it wasn't even that close. The only bright side of the day is that everyone got to play.

I have a feeling that the debate about the merits of playing Howard will continue until the end of the season. If BC wants to prove the game was worth it, then they can come out strong against Florida State.

I will have grades and second viewing thoughts up Sunday...although I don't know what you can make of this sort of game. For those who attended the game, what was the atmosphere like on campus?

In-game comments post: Howard

Can you imagine what coverage for this game might have been like before ESPN3? I don't know if IMG Sports would provide a radio feed if not for contract obligations. The game shouldn't be interesting, but I know most of us will still watch. Let's hope everything clicks.

Leave your thoughts and comments below.

You can also follow me on Twitter.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Friday Picks Week 2

[Editor's Note: I am not posting Game Watches anymore. If your chapter has one scheduled, tweet the information out with me copied and I will retweet it.]

Last week was a mediocre start to my picks. I am hoping for an upswing this week. To clarify, I don't bet my own money on this, so be warned if you choose to let my dopey picks influence yours.

(Picks in bold)

South Florida +28 at Florida State

Bowling Green +7.5 at Maryland

Army +7 at UConn

Notre Dame -11.5 at Virginia

Iowa -3 at Iowa State

Oklahoma -1.5 at Tennessee

Georgia State +6.5 at New Mexico State

LSU -4 at Mississippi State

Oregon +3.5 at Michigan State

Boise State -2.5 at BYU

Last week I was 5-5. I am 5-5 on the season. 

Thursday, September 10, 2015

BC-Howard preview

The Maine game provided some insights into the team, certain units and some players. I don't think we will derive that much from this game. BC fans have referred to many games as glorified scrimmages. This game falls into that same group. It is all about getting reps and practice and preparing for ACC play.

What's on my mind (not totally related to this game)
There has been a lot of talk about why BC is playing this game and Bates and Addazio keep sticking to the party line that their hands were tied by the New Mexico State cancellation. While there is some truth to that, no one seems to look at the big picture and that we were scheduled to play New Mexico State! Urban Meyer's influence is all over this program and one of the key Addazio takeaways is lighten your schedule when you can. While at Florida, Meyer faced the SEC and Florida State every year. So he made sure all his other games were cupcakes. We are taking on Notre Dame and the ACC in what should be a transition year. Howard might not have been the ideal opponent for Addazio, but they are pretty darn close. We will get some experience but never be threatened. And I am fine with that for now. But I hope that as the program develops we don't go this easy again.

Three Simple Keys
1. Cleaning up Special Teams. Addazio spent much of the week talking about it. Let's see the results. We need better place kicking and better decisions on the returns.
2.  Dominant OLine play. Howard might employ the same aggressive scheme as Maine. But regardless of what they do, the talent disparity is so large that we shouldn't have trouble with their pressure.
3. Getting explosive plays. I am sure Addazio wants to control the clock, but I would prefer if we just score early and often and put the game away in the first half.

Gambling Notes
-- Addazio is 4-3 in September as Head Coach at BC
-- Howard has never defeated an FBS team
-- Bethune Cookman and Delaware State are the only MEAC programs to beat an FBS team
There is currently no line for this game on the major betting sites.

UPDATED: This is BC Football's first second game against a HBCU (historically black college and university).

Scoreboard Watching
South Florida vs Florida State. I keep telling myself that next week will be close, but I don't know enough about our team or the Seminoles. They are a home favorite this week, so this shouldn't be in doubt. What will be telling though is how their offense looks.

I hope to see...
Flutie and/or Jeff Smith get extensive playing time in the second half. This might be the only extended playing time either get this year.

BC is in trouble if...
If we cannot put up more than 30 on them. Not in trouble with regards to winning this game, but in trouble for next week.

Bottom Line
In the 21 years I have been following BC closely, I cannot think of a weaker opponent than Howard. The only reason I think the score won't be more lopsided is because I think we eat clock and play the backups extensively. Everything we do works and they have trouble moving the ball. Maybe they get a field goal late when our freshmen are in the game. Let's hope no one gets hurt.
Final Score: BC 35, Howard 3

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Do we have enough explosive players?

One of the things I appreciate about Addazio is how candid he is in interviews. He seems to have confidence when discussing the team's challenges. Take his discussion on Monday of big plays, playmakers and our current roster.

"Two years ago, here was our identity. We had a tailback that was a big-play hitter. We had a receiver that was a big-play, play-action hitter. Last year, we had big plays out of our tailbacks collectively - not one big hitter. We had a quarterback that was electric with his feet. So he became a big play hitter. So we might have lost the (Alex) Amidon last year but we supplanted it with the (Tyler) Murphy. And this year, what we’ve got to get to is, obviously we expect big plays out of our running backs. And I don’t think we got enough of them. But then, on the flipside of that, while Darius (Wade) is very capable runner, is he a house-call runner like (Tyler) Murph? I don’t know. He is more of that 10, 15, 20-yard guy. We have to go find those hits. We have enough receivers. We have speed. We beat others over the top. Anybody over the top. We need to go find those big-hit plays in play action right now. We didn’t get any of those Saturday."

In his first two years teams crowded the box to challenge our run game. This opened up big plays for Amidon, Williams and in Year 2 for Murphy. Now if our opponents put eight guys in the box, do we have anyone to punish them? Is there anyone who once he gets past the line can run away from the other team? Sherman Alston comes to mind first. Even Addazio admitted he pressed a bit in the opener. Let's hope he gets over that quickly and fixes the drops. Like Alston, Thadd Smith has speed. But can he get enough touches? Robinson sounds interesting, but he's only been playing the position two weeks.

The RBs are all relatively productive, but do any of them have the ability to break off an 80-yard run like Williams? Willis can break away but doesn't get a ton of touches. Outlow is an exciting runner, but has yet to show (or been given enough carries) to be considered explosive.

Maybe there isn't anyone who can breakaway. It that is an issue, then Addazio and Fitch need to make sure the offense becomes more consistent and not always looking for the big break.

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Around the ACC

The college football landscape is huge, but BC's world remains really small. I think most agree that we are not a playoff contender, so all that really matters is our place within the ACC. Like us, many ACC teams took it easy this week and played FCS teams. However a few didn't and even those who did suffered big injuries. This is what we need to know:

Pitt -- barely won their FCS game and lost their key playmaker James Conner. We don't play the Panthers this year, but a setback for them is probably good news for us. If Pitt is not bowl eligible this year, any potential waiver for a 6-6 BC season becomes a little easier. 

Syracuse -- they lost Terrel Hunt for the year. They weren't expected to be good with him. This might get ugly without him. 

Brutal Losses
Louisville and Virginia Tech
Both deserve credit for scheduling tough openers. Those games are high risk-high reward and now both are forced to regroup after their opener. Virginia Tech also lost their starting QB. He should be back by the time we play them, but this could disrupt their season.

Better than Expected
Wake Forest -- it was only against Elon, but Wake looked good. The Offense -- which was an issue all year -- put up a lot of points. This game might be tougher than we thought. 

Monday, September 07, 2015

Addazio talks to the media and and other links

Addazio held his normal Monday press conference. He seemed a little defensive about the criticism of the offensive line. I agree with Daz that there was some good line play. It just wasn't as consistent as we need. He also thinks that Thadd Smith has real upside.

BC alums Matt Ryan and Luke Kuechly sell a lot of NFL jerseys.

Women's Soccer lost to St. John's.

NFL rosters are still being tweaked, but there is still good news for former Eagles. Tyler Murphy is on the Steelers' roster Brian Mihalik and Chris Pantale made the Eagles practice squad.

Both Men's and Women's Golf had decent starts to their seasons. The men finished 5th at Turning Stone. The women were fourth at the Red Bird Invitational.

Sunday, September 06, 2015

Second viewing thoughts and grades: Maine

The win is nice. The game went about as well as you could expect. All the reports from Alumni talked about the great weather. Even ESPN3's production looked good. Yet I still have this feeling that the season hasn't really started. Even watching it back, it still seemed like a scrimmage. I am not trying to dismiss Maine and winning these games is better than losing them (see Kansas), but there is and was a lack of intensity. But even without the intensity there was still some positive takeaways.

Offense: B-

I thought Wade was okay live, but watching it back I realized he had a pretty good first game. His arm is good -- good touch, good placement and good strength. What concerned me was his missed opportunities on the few run plays we ran for him. He didn't exploded to holes nor show much elusiveness. Flutie's few snaps didn't tell us anything.

Hilliman's best play might have been a big block on a play for Outlow. Hilliman's catches were nice. Wofford also did a good job in the passing game. Outlow was fine and seemed to do alright in the crowds around the line. Rouse had the biggest day, but I think a lot of that was fresh legs and the line playing better.

Swigert's TD wasn't just a feel good gimme. He made a real good cut and did a good job getting open. I liked Smith's hands on the one slant he caught. Alston needs to fix those drops.

Watching live, I thought the OL just had trouble because Maine was so aggressive. In the second viewing things just looked really inconsistent. All had struggles at different parts of the game. I thought the right side played better than the left (Bowen and Baker). Taylor got better as the game went on. Williams was okay. Schmal came off the bench and played extensively as did Lindstrom, so both might be in the mix for starting spots.

I am going to forgive Fitch for BC's head scratching play calling. There wasn't much rhythm and too many drives stalled early. We also didn't call obvious counters -- zone reads or short passes -- to Maine's pressure until later in the second half. We seemed determined to overpower them in most situations instead. If we were this basic against Maine it will only be more so against Howard.

Defense: A-

The Defensive Line was the best part of the team on Saturday. Landry looked very quick and much stronger. Wujciak caused plenty of disruption and won most of his battles. Kavalec did a nice job reading the option. Abdesmad looked good.

Milano was very active and played well. Daniels got fooled once on one of Maine's big passes, but played well. Schwab looked good in the second half. Strachan did a good job.

I thought all the DBs looked good, but I don't know how much of that was BC's pass rush or Maine's FCS talent. Simmons had a good day. McClary seemed to do well with coverage. Johnson looked good. Congrats to Harris on his first INT.

We don't know enough about Finch's play calling to tell if he was keeping it simple. We do know that Brown did. BC generated plenty of pressure without getting very exotic nor even blitzing too much. That's a good sign.

Special Teams: C

For years and years, I bemoaned all our punt returners signalling for fair catch. So in the big picture, I love Alston's confidence and aggressiveness. It will pay off. Saturday though had me taking deep breathes for the wrong reasons. He needs to be more careful, especially when he is dealing with a bouncing ball. His kick returns were fine.

Howell's place kicking was not great. The miss was very wide and even the extra points looked low. Let's hope they have someone else lined up in case this remains an issue.

Howell's punts were better. I thought most of the coverage units looked good.

Overall: B-

The final score was about what I expected. How we got there wasn't what I expected. But on a whole this was a good first game. I am hoping the offensive issues are a mix of first game sloppiness, wanting to keep things simple and Maine selling out at the line. With the Defense and Special Teams playing to expectations, I'm still very optimistic.

Considering all the unknowns, I still feel like Addazio had the team prepared, motivated and had just enough adjustments. Let's hope it is a sign of things to come.

Saturday, September 05, 2015

BC makes progress against Maine

It wasn't pretty or particularly smooth, but BC did what it had to do and beat Maine 24-3. I thought Wade looked decent. He was more poised than I expected, but still needs to work on his timing and decisions. But the timing issues are the reason we scheduled Maine and Howard early. The D played well and really carried the team.

Overall this went about as planned. Now they just need to keep getting better.

I am on the road but plan on having second viewing thoughts and grades up late Sunday.

In-game comments post: Maine

Addazio has a new theme for this year. No more "dudes." It is now about the "Power of Unity." Here he talks about it.

That "Unity" starts today. Let's see how our new OC, QB and Oline unite against Maine. Leave your thoughts and comments below.

You can also follow me on Twitter.

Friday, September 04, 2015

Friday Picks

For that past few years I've posted a lock of the week on BCI. Now that Brian is gone, I am moving my picks here. Every week I will pick 10 games. However, I am not explaining them. There is a system, but it is stupid and won't make sense. We'll see how I do. Also, I am not picking BC games. I sort of do that already in the preview and I don't want to subject BC to my bad picks column.

(Picks in bold)

Stanford -11 at Northwestern

Louisville +11.5 at Auburn

BYU + 6 at Nebraska

Penn State -7 at Temple

Troy +26 at NC State

Arizona State +3.5 at Texas A&M

Texas +9.5 at Notre Dame

UNLV +23 at Northern Illinois

Wisconsin +12 at Alabama

Ohio State -13.5 at Virginia Tech

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.

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.