Thursday, August 31, 2006


Un-fucking believable.

Good - Ryan, OL in pass protection, Gonzalez, Purvis, Giles, Toal, Silva, Morris
Bad - Whitworth, OL in run blocking, Thompson, every D lineman other than Giles
Fucking horrible - The coaching staff

Seriously, when are these assholes going to get their pink slip?? They did everything they could do to piss this game away. 7-point win over Central fucking Michigan?? Fucking disgrace. When the hell are we going to "excel" other than fucking beat shitty teams by a touchdown??

Expanded, and sober, thoughts to come tomorrow.

Incidentally, is it just me or does Matt Ryan have more of his passes dropped than any QB I've ever seen before, and it's not even close?? I've noticed this ever since the Temple and Syracuse games his redshirt freshman the past, I always figured it was because he threw the ball a lot harder than Peterson and Porter and the receivers weren't used to it, and while I never thought this was an excuse in the past it REALLY isn't an excuse now when he's been the #1 guy for the last 9 months. Still, it's an issue. What's up here??

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Building a Fanbase

Today's announcement, sent as an e-mail to football season ticket holders, that the school will offer tickets to the BYU game to season ticket holders for $20 apiece is one more disturbing piece of evidence that the team's fanbase, once huge, is withering. With the move to the ACC, excitement for BC football should be at an all-time high; yet the athletic department is practically giving away single-game tickets. The offering of Clemson tickets (albeit packaged with Buffalo tickets) to the general public, despite the department's knowledge that Tigers fans will be swarming Boston the weekend of the game, was bad enough; the (obviously false) claim of a 90% season ticket renewal rate was bad enough. Yet now, by offering tickets to the BYU game--the 4th most attractive ticket of 7 home games--at such a steep discount, as well as offering tickets to the ACC home games (sans Clemson) for $25 apiece, the administration has not only severely insulted its most loyal fans but also raised a huge crisis flag above the Conte Forum ticket office. One poster on the EagleAction message board quipped that he could've spent less money by simply waiting to buy single-game tickets rather than a season ticket; a quick crunch of the numbers reveals that while this is not quite true, buying an "ACC mini-pack" (VT, Maryland, Duke) plus the cheapest single-game tickets available to each of the other contests brings you to a total of $190--a figure that includes a premium lower-level sideline seat for the Clemson game and lower-level end zone seating for Maine. I paid $189 for my season ticket in section LL (upper-level end zone).

The root of the problem is that GDF wants the kind of ticket revenue brought in by the Tennessees and Ohio States of the world, without doing the nuts and bolts work to build up a fan base large enough and committed enough to support that kind of revenue. The athletic department tries to bridge the gap by jacking up ticket prices, instituting donor-based seating systems for basketball this year and football next year (can hockey be far behind??), and requiring that fans take out a second mortgage if they wish to partake in the school's prime on-campus tailgating location. What GDF and his cronies do not realize is that this is counter-productive. BC's football policies have driven the situation to the point where the team's fanbase (aside from students) is comprised virtually entirely of alums living in the Boston area and their families. Few alums from outside the area return to campus to take in a game more than maybe once a year, and virtually none of the team's fans are simply folks who may not have gone to BC, but grew up in the Boston area and have always been fans. As a result, the fanbase dwindles.

The thing is that it doesn't have to be this way. While BC, as a private Catholic school located in a pro sports town, is likely never going to be able to pack 100,000 screaming fans into Alumni for every game, it can nonetheless do better than it does now. It was just 21 years ago that 25,000 BC fans, in the largest single airlift ever out of Boston, followed their team to Dallas to see the Flutie-led Eagles defeat the University of Houston in the Cotton Bowl. BC can return to those days, and when it does GDF will get the ticket revenue he craves; but what our athletic director needs to realize is that you cannot exploit a fanbase that barely exists.

BC's football team is among the best in the country. While I am not a TOB fan, I will be the first to acknowledge that he has done a very respectable job in turning the team into a perennial Top 25 squad. But BC's football program still has quite a ways to go. That said, BC should follow a three-pronged strategy in developing its football program to the point where it can compete with the NCAA's elites: Reach Out, Advertise, and Excite.

1. Reach Out
Boston College is New England's college football team--whether New England likes it or not. BC needs to reach out to college football fans in the Boston area and turn them into BC fans. The trick is to get 'em young. For many decades BC was able to build up a large following by playing themselves off as a cheap and convenient alternative to heading to Foxboro for a Patriots game. The days of DBS, mandatory several-thousand-dollar donations to tailgate on Shea, and the general air of exclusivity surrounding BC's football program have made this a thing of the past. A BC game should be a mecca for New England's college football fans; the school should play itself up as New England's team. This means reaching out to high schools and Catholic parishes in the area; it may mean selling package day trips to bus people in from Providence, Manchester, Portland, Springfield, and other New England cities who lack their own college football teams. Ideally, a kid growing up in Boston would follow the Eagles as his college football team just as naturally as he follows the Red Sox and the Patriots. Obviously, the core of the BC fanbase will always be the school's students and alums and their families, but if the program ever wishes to become a behemoth like many of its ACC rivals, it is absolutely neccesary to bring non-alums into the fold as well. The best way to do this is to hook them young, but in the meantime, you can get a quick fix by lowering ticket prices. BC's hoops team has attracted much attention in Boston sports circles in the last few years and the hockey program (admittedly a traditional national powerhouse) has always had its share of followers; there is no reason the football team cannot do the same.

2. Advertise
Many had hoped that, with the Red Sox-owned Fenway Marketing Group taking over BC's sports marketing 2 years ago, that the Boston metropolitan area would be plastered with promotions for BC athletics. Sadly, that has not been the case. The fact is that BC does little or nothing to sell its product, and this lack of effort shows in the ticket sales. The team should be advertising at Boston pro sporting events, local high school games, minor league baseball games, etc. Get creative. Another aspect related to this is media coverage. Of Boston's two major dailies, the Herald generally has very good (if not superb) coverage of BC football, yet the Globe's coverage (or lack thereof) is a disgrace. Whatever the reasons for this (some have attributed it to a political bias against the Catholic Church, others to the fact that the Globe is owned by the New York Times, a paper with strong ties to the Big East), BC fans need to lean on the paper to provide better coverage of the Eagles. This is one area where the administration can really do little; we as fans need to take charge here. The fact that the Atlanta Journal Constitution and Charlotte News & Observer provide more in-depth coverage of BC sports (football and basketball anyway) than the Globe does is sickening. There is a silver lining to this cloud, however--the Times recently named a BC grad, Robert P. Kempf, as Vice President of content for, the Globe's Internet site.

3. Excite
The first step towards building a fan base is to draw the people in in the first place. But no matter how many people you draw in, they won't stick around if you don't make it worth their while. Boring programs do not build huge fanbases. Ridiculous tailgating regulations do not excite people; BC has enough financial and political power and enough pull in the local community that it can, if it wants to, ensure all-day tailgating on gamedays, and it needs to do so (having RVs pull into campus on Wednesday afternoons would be nice but I'll take tailgating from sun-up to sun-down on Saturdays). The acquisition of the Seminary land, much of which will go towards parking (and towards a new baseball facility which will allow greater flexibility with Shea Field) will help with this. Contentment with on-the-field mediocrity does not excite people; this team has the talent and plays a reasonable enough schedule that it should not settle for anything less than 10-win seasons and annually finishing in the top 2 of the Atlantic Division, with regular (if not neccesarily annual) trips to the ACC title game and BCS bowls; if the current coaching staff cannot accomplish this, then they need to go. Horrible out-of-conference opponents do not excite people; BYU is a decent squad, but Maine and Buffalo are absolutely nothing. One home OOC cupcake game per year is acceptable, but any more than that is not. If Notre Dame is too scared to play us then playing Syracuse on an annual basis is fine, but do not attempt to pass them off as a "marquee" OOC opponent (barring a return to the McNabb era for the Orange, anyway). Once the series with the Domers ends, it is vital to get a Texas or an Auburn or a USC (that's Southern California, not South Carolina--although the Gamecocks would still be a better matchup than anyone on this year's OOC slate) on the schedule, particularly in years when we do not face Miami in conference play. Yes, I'm demanding both improved results AND a tougher schedule. BC's motto is "Ever to Excel", right?? Boring, overly-conservative playcalling does not excite people; stop throwing wideout screens 10 times a game, start installing nickel and dime packages, start actually blitzing some LBs and DBs, maybe install Buddy Ryan's 46 defense (Jamie Silva is an ideal fit for this), stop fucking punting on 4th-and-inches from the opponent's 42 yard line as Tom O'Brien is so often wont to do.

You get my point. Create a buzz, make BC football fun again. Give the program some swagger. It can be done but it will take a radical re-thinking of the current state of things at Yawkey. Floating along, happy with 7- and 8-win seasons and meaningless bowl victories over mediocre opponents won't do it. It's time to roll the dice and see what comes up. As a relatively short-time fan of BC I'm still on my honeymoon period with the program but one of the major complaints I hear from older fans is that being a BC fan simply isn't fun anymore. Something's wrong with this picture, GDF. Change it.


Some nice press for BC today. The Providence Journal has a very nice piece on Silva. I've had a self-admitted man crush on Brian Toal for the past few years but despite this I may be even more excited to see Silva play on Thursday night than even #16.

Herald has an article on the numerous freshman on this year's two-deep, focusing especially on long-snapper Jack Geiser. Also a fairly humorous piece on the big boys of BC's D-Line, Ron Brace and B.J. Raji. The Globe even got into the act, for once, with articles on Kevin Sheridan, L.V. Whitworth, and Geiser.

In an interview with EagleAction, former BC, Seattle Seahawks, and Washington Redskins linebacker Peter Cronan has outlined his goals for the program this season (subscription required):

If this Boston College team doesn't win 10 games it won't be a good season. That's the feeling I get in listening to the fan base. The only two teams on their schedule that they don't match up well with are Florida State and Miami, and I have to think these kids learned something against Florida State a year ago. Virginia Tech is a tough opponent but having them play up here this year is an advantage. I know BC now has the attitude that they can be competitive in the ACC and that they can match up with anybody, and that has created high expectations. Let's see if this is the year those high expectations can be met. I really believe 10 wins is a reasonable goal, and we'll find out soon enough starting on Thursday night.
Excellent words. 7-8 wins really isn't good enough for BC anymore; and to be honest, 9 isn't either, at least not on a regular basis. I should say that when I expect 10 wins that means 10 regular season wins, and from the context of Cronan's article it would seem that he agrees with me.

Anyone remember that old Staples ad for back-to-school shopping with "It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year" (the Christmas carol) playing, kids moping around, and the parents dancing up and down the aisles?? I used to hate it growing up because it was always just rubbing in the fact that summer was about over but I would love to see it again. Except instead of running around grabbing school supplies I'd have the dad grabbing football preview magazines off the shelves, making ludicrous claims about his team's coming successes, planning trips to remote locales to see his team play. Now THAT'S a fucking commercial I'd watch.

41 hours baby.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Shop FHMAM!!

The FHMAM Store is now up and running, offering the finest in pro-BC and anti-TOB gear.

And be sure to check out our friends at

(FYI--I simply designed the apparel on the site, I'm not profiting off it at all)

Friday, August 25, 2006

CMU 2-Deep Released

With the depth chart for the season opener up on, 5 true freshmen are slated to see playing time against the Chippewas. Perhaps the biggest surprises are Alex Albright, who beat out highly-touted redshirt freshman Allen Smith at DE, and Roderick Rollins, named backup CB ahead of junior Brad Mueller. As rumored, Jeff Smith was named to the 2-deep at KR and PR and could also see time at RB; true freshman Jack Geiser out of Texas will be the team's long snapper; and Wes Davis, as expected, will back up Jamie Silva (who was the subject of an excellent Boston Herald article yesterday) at FS. Additionally, there's a good chance that Damik Scafe will see time at DT. Good to see TOB being willing to work some true freshmen into the mix. Some other thoughts:

-Austin Giles is listed as the starter at DE. With Smith not in the 2-deep at all, could we see Giles moved inside on passing downs with Smith brought on as a situational pass rusher??

-What of Clarence Megwa?? The redshirt freshman was superb in the McGillis spring game and, by all accounts, has impressed in practice, yet is not on the 2-deep. I'm expecting big things from the kid this year so let's hope he gets to see the field.

-Pat Sheil's absence and relatively quiet pre-season is also a cause for some concern, given the amount of publicity he received as a recruit. To be honest, I had hoped that he would beat out either Clif Ramsey or Carlos Huggins at one of the backup tackle positions. Having previously dated a girl who went to high school with Sheil my worry is that he may be sitting out with some sort of exotic, heretofore unknown venereal disease contracted from her. In all seriousness, however, my prediction is that Sheil sees snaps against CMU and works his way onto the 2-deep by early October.

-It appears that the Kevin Akins to LB experiment is for real and not just a product of my nightmares, and furthermore that Billy Flutie was not given a chance to challenge Ryan Ohliger for the starting kicking job. Seriously, the Akins thing just fucking boggles my mind. We're already deep and athletic at LB and thin at CB, what the hell is the point of taking a big, athletic kid who played very well in limited action at CB as a redshirt freshman and moving him to LB, a position he is woefully undersized for?? I hope Akins excels at LB but I'd rather see him moved back to the secondary, where he belongs. Even if Roderick Rollins excels as a true freshman and even if Brad Mueller finally lives up to his potential, that would STILL leave us thin at CB (Larry Anam is a converted safety, Taji Morris doesn't do anything for me, DeJuan Tribble is a very good player but undersized). Maybe Akins will be used as a hybrid LB/DB in nickel and dime situations--of course, that would require the staff actually installing nickel and dime packages in the first place.

It seems, according to this Herald article, that Jolonn Dunbar is emerging as a true leader on the defensive side of the ball. Can't wait to see the orange mohawk.

On to the game itself--I'll be honest and say that I don't know much about this CMU team, but I will say that I'm not as worried as some about recent reports that TOB is worried about the lack of enthusiasm being shown in late-summer practices. For one thing, this is common late in teams' preseasons, as guys are sick of running drills and want to go out there and hit people full speed. For another thing, I'm not sure how much enthusiasm I'd show about practicing the team's 4 plays on each side of the ball over and over again. ("Let's see, on offense we right, run left, throw to the FB in the flats, and screen pass to the wideout--OK, today we're gonna work on run right until we get it down!!") That said, I stand by my earlier prediction of a 38-9 BC victory. BC will come out flat and the game will be frighteningly close, 10-6 maybe, at the half, but Matty Ice will rally the troops in the locker room (because Christ knows TOB won't do it) and the good guys will come out firing in the 2nd half and put away the Chippewas. I'm sensing a big game for LV Whitworth, and the Chips' QB controversy will not help their cause.

What the fuck does it say about the state of our program when the Winston-Salem Journal has higher hopes for our team's performance than its own coaching staff?? Incidentally, did anyone catch the TOB Show on WEEI last night?? I tried tuning in online but got an endless loop of commercials rather than the show itself. I'd be interested to hear what sort of softball questions the pre-screeners actually allowed through. ("Hey Coach O'Brien, big fan, my question is how do you plan to approach the OOC games this year?? BYU is a superb program with tons of history and Maine knocked off Mississippi State on the road two years ago. Those should be tough tests for BC and how do you plan to overcome them??")

BC has announced its tailgating hours for the upcoming season. With the exception of BYU (noon kickoff, 2 hours), 3 hours of tailgating will be allowed prior to each game with 1-2 hours allowed afterwards (except for the Virginia Tech night game, after which the lots will close immediately). Better, but still not good. BC needs to improve its tailgating situation as part of an overall campaign to draw a bigger fanbase--but that is the subject of a future post.

Finally, congratulations to Brian Toal for being named to the Butkus Award watch list.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

The Coming Fall, Bowl Projections

Larry Felser of the Buffalo News has an excellent piece (albeit a week old) that details everything I've been saying about Notre Dame since the end of last season.

The fact is that, despite the offensive fireworks that they are sure to put up, Notre Dame has absolutely zero defense and at the end of the day this will be their undoing. The old saying, "Offense wins games, defense wins championships" is no less true today than when it was first uttered and the Domers' utter lack of a secondary (Tom Zbikowski, who is an excellent player, notwithstanding) will be their undoing. Everyone likes to talk about the possibility of an 11-0 Notre Dame team heading to the LA Coliseum on Thanksgiving Saturday but Charlie Weis knows better than anyone to take things one game at a time, and I honestly don't see how the Irish are planning to stop Georgia Tech on September 2nd. Not only will all the intangibles be in the Yellow Jackets' favor--the pervasive Notre Dame hype and corresponding lack of respect for Tech in the national media, the desire to prove themselves on the national stage after being blown out in their bowl game (although admittedly this will also be a factor for ND), the broiling summer Atlanta heat--but the matchups also do not favor the Irish. At the end of the day, they simply have no answer for Calvin Johnson. Notre Dame is incapable of stopping the Yellow Jackets' passing attack, and will find their own attack stymied by Chan Gailey's defensive schemes. If the Fiesta Bowl taught us anything, it's that when faced with an opponent who actually plays defense, Notre Dame crumbles like the drywall in my dorm room in Gabelli last year when Quinton Porter threw a pick-6 against Virginia Tech and I ripped the fire extinguisher off my wall and hurled it across the room. Those of us who are sick of the Notre Dame hype only have a few more weeks to wait it out. Georgia Tech will win on September 2nd, and it won't be pretty.

Speaking of the Domers, their fear of BC won't help them avoid a matchup with the Eagles this season--as the Ireland Trophy will once again be awarded to the winner of this year's Gator Bowl, whose organizers will pick BC ahead of Virginia Tech. Normally this choice would be a no-brainer for the Hokies but the possibility of a BC-ND matchup and the knowledge that Domer bandwagoners will buy up whatever tickets BC fans don't will lead the Gator organizers to roll the dice on the Eagles. Projections for the other bowls:

Poinsettia Bowl - San Diego State vs. North Carolina State
Las Vegas Bowl - Stanford vs. TCU
New Orleans Bowl - Southern Mississippi vs. Louisiana-Lafayette
Birmingham Bowl - Rutgers vs. Central Michigan
New Mexico Bowl - Nevada vs. BYU
Fort Worth Bowl - Utah vs. Tulsa
Hawaii Bowl - UCLA vs. Hawaii
Motor City Bowl - Miami (Ohio) vs. Kansas State
Independence Bowl - Alabama vs. Iowa State
Emerald Bowl - Virginia vs. Arizona State
Holiday Bowl - Oregon vs. Texas A&M
Houston Bowl - Oklahoma State vs. West Virginia
Music City Bowl - Maryland vs. Arkansas
Sun Bowl - California vs. Texas Tech
Liberty Bowl - Mississippi vs. Marshall
Insight Bowl - Memphis vs. Colorado
Champs Sports Bowl - Virginia Tech vs. Illinois
Meineke Bowl - Navy vs. Georgia Tech
Alamo Bowl - Michigan State vs. Oklahoma
Chick-Fil-A Bowl - Florida State vs. LSU
MPC Computers Bowl - North Carolina vs. Boise State
Outback Bowl - Wisconsin vs. South Carolina
Cotton Bowl - Florida vs. Nebraska
Gator Bowl - Boston College vs. Notre Dame
Capitol One Bowl - Georgia vs. Penn State
International Bowl - South Florida vs. Northern Illinois
GMAC Bowl - Fresno State vs. Central Florida

Rose Bowl - USC vs. Ohio State
Sugar Bowl - Tennessee vs. Miami
Fiesta Bowl - Texas vs. Louisville
Orange Bowl - Clemson vs. Iowa
BCS National Championship Game - Auburn vs. Michigan

Good article in yesterday's Herald on Tony Gonzalez. BC fans already know that Gonzo is a great receiver, but some may not know what a great person he also is. Benching him for 2 years behind such luminaries as Grant Adams, Joel Hazard, and Larry Lester when Gonzalez was clearly the team's best wideout for no reason other than seniority is one of the most damning coaching moves of the TOB era.

Also an article from the Globe on the team's third scrimmage.

Thumbs-up to Jerry York for landing another heralded prospect, US National Developmental Team member Cam Atkinson. The 5'6 Atkinson will carry on the tradition of Nate Gerbe and the Gionta brothers at the Heights.

11 days

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Third Scrimmage Notes

BC held its third of 4 preseason scrimmages today. Matt Ryan didn't put up spectacular numbers but did go 13-27 for 206 yards and one TD, which is an improvement. Not much to say here other than what is on the official site (aka Pravda), except to point out that Ryan's TD pass was hauled in by Clarence Megwa--after seeing Megwa in the spring game and hearing reports of his performances in training camp, this kid is a sleeper. If he is allowed any significant playing time, he will have a big year. Incidentally, this could be the best receiving corps BC has had in years--Tony Gonzalez has been BC's best wideout for 2 years now and will finally be a starter, after spending the last two seasons sitting behind inferior players due to TOB's "Seniority at all costs" policy; Kevin Challenger, Brandon Robinson, Taylor Sele, and Megwa will give Ryan 5 excellent weapons on top of his TEs and backs.

The other big news of the day was the release of the basketball schedule (PDF). Some dates to highlight:
-Nov. 10 (vs. UNH, season opener)
-Nov. 22 (at Providence, the first of what will be yearly meetings between the teams in a resumption of arguably BC's biggest basketball rivalry)
-Nov. 29 (vs. Michigan State, ACC-Big 10 Challenge--as cool as it is to see BC involved in this classic series, it would be kinda nice to see us play someone other than the Spartans for no other reason than that we just played them last year; still looking forward to this)
-Dec. 10 (vs. Maryland; it appears that the ACC powers-that-be are attempting to foster a natural rivalry between the ACC's only two northern schools, as this will be the second consecutive year that the Eagles and Terps meet the weekend before Thanksgiving in football and also in a December, ACC opener basketball matchup)
-Dec. 23 (at Kansas; this has been a long awaited matchup, although unfortunately the number of BC fans who will travel to Lawrence, Kans. for a game 2 days before Christmas figures to be small)
-Jan. 28 (at Duke; BC's first trip to Cameron Indoor for an ACC game)
-Feb. 14/17 (vs. Duke/vs. UNC; these blockbuster back-to-back home games will go a long way towards determining whether or not BC is a true championship contender)

I'm a football guy #1, hockey #1b, hoops is a very distant #3 to me in the pantheon of BC sports, but I can't wait for this upcoming season. Should be a great one. You have to love any BC athletic program that truly aspires to compete for the national championship, but with all due respect to Jerry York's boys BC has always been a traditional hockey power; the hoops team, on the other hand, has been built into what it is today really only over the 7 years of Al Skinner's tenure. Yes, the team had had successes prior to Skinner's arrival--notably the shocking upset of UNC in the 1994 NCAA tournament--but this is the first BC hoops team that has been among the near-elite, and it could be ready to break into the true elite. If TOB had a quarter of the ambition of a Skinner or a York, our football team could be doing spectacular and historic things rather than simply pretty good ones. These are truly exciting times for the fan of BC basketball, including T Wood, who has created the first blog devoted entirely to BC hoops at The House That Skinner Built. Check it out.

In other news, the Simms thing still really, as Peter Griffin would put it, grinds my gears. Simms noted that one of his major reasons for picking Louisville was because he felt the Cardinals offered him a better path to the NFL; apparently no-one at BC mentioned to him that there are currently 4 BC signal-callers in the NFL including a solid #2 and a #1 coming off a Pro Bowl/conference champion season while Louisville currently only boasts 2 QBs in the league, neither of whom is guaranteed to be on their teams' opening day rosters (ex-Cardinal Dave Ragone, in fact, was cut from the Houston Texans and later signed by the St. Louis Rams after losing his job as Houston's #3 to none other than the Pride of Maine, undrafted free agent Quinton Porter). The sad fact is that the most likely reason why no-one pointed this out to Simms is that no-one at the BC staff is even aware of it and I'm not even kidding. I've never seen a more out-of-touch coaching staff in my life. Luckily, according to the TOB apologists, Simms sucks and is only being recruited by any D1A schools because of his last name (never mind that most recruiting analysts feel that his stock will actually rise this season, as he missed most of the major summer combines due to a hand injury; and that his brother, Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Chris, has indicated that Matt is a better QB than he was at Matt's age). Anyway, never have fear, as Rivals is reporting (subscription required) that BC is getting ready to make an offer to PA QB Matt Rodgers. The sheep don't have to worry about this being another kid being recruited solely on the basis of his last name, as Rodgers is no relation to Green Bay Packers QB and ex-Cal star Aaron. Matt Rodgers is, in fact, a 2-star QB from the suburbs of Pittsburgh who currently holds offers from Akron, Toledo, Bowling Green, and Ohio. Now while the MAC is a much better league for producing top-level QBs than it is in general, do we really need to be screwing around with this?? There is no reason to offer a scholarship to a kid who probably isn't any better than Ross Applegate. If we're going to take a flyer on someone, Blair Peterson--the 21-year-old Texas QB who recently returned from a Mormon mission in South America and has been compared to Ragone--might be a better shot. Hell, a Mormon QB named Peterson?? He's a big (6'4), strong, pocket passer, unlike Paul, but I'm willing to sign him up nonetheless. In all seriousness, though, I prefer him as a "taking a flier" guy to Rodgers. Obviously the best option is still Garcia, but that is not going to happen.

Other notes--today's has an excellent article on Brian Toal. The kid sounds fired up, fully healed, and I can't wait to see him and Jamie Silva running around just drilling the shit out of people this year. has an article on true freshman DB Chris Fox and his adjustment to BC's training camp, worth checking out. Finally, Phil Kessel has signed with the Boston Bruins and will not be suiting up for Minnesota this year; this is huge news for BC hockey, whose chief rival for the 2006-07 national title will lose arguably its best and certainly its most promising player. With the departure of Kessel and the mass exodus of other top players from the WCHA schools who have dominated postseason NCAA hockey in recent years, BC could be the odds-on favorite to take home the trophy in St. Louis this season.

Finally, while we're talking pucks, it's that time of year again when barely-pubescent girls will soon be returning to school and will no longer be able to spend their afternoons conversing online with Keith Johnson. Our condolences go out to Johnson, whose Black Bears might actually be able to win something if Keith spent his free time lifting weights, studying film, and working on his game rather than planning his spring break trip to Thailand. Nonetheless, there is a good chance that Johnson will be attending the BC-Maine football game on Sept. 30 to cheer on his fellow Black Bear student-athletes and as such we at FHMAM are offering a public service warning to all BC fans who plan to attend this game with their middle school-aged daughters.

Wannabe Pedo's Picture

14 days...

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

15 days...

Sorry about the lack of updates recently, been working my ass off this week. A lot of stuff to run down here.

First--credit where credit is due, and kudos to the staff for landing 4-star OLB Will Thompson of Jersey City. For all my criticism of BC's coaching staff, one area in which they have done well recently is recruiting the LB position. Thompson, who chose BC over Michigan, Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland, owns his high school records in the bench (305) and squat (635) and is already 6'1/230 having at the age of 16. He's a big hitter and a big play maker. Kid is simply a gamer, and has some great comments on BC in this Jersey Journal interview. Great pick-up--and at this point, where does BC stand as a Linebacker U?? We aren't Miami or Penn State, but BC has nonetheless churned out quite a few top-quality LBs over the last few years.

Keeping on focus, though, the team recently completed its second scrimmage. Again, though, it's hard to know what to take from the various write-ups--especially without knowing which offensive units went against which defensive ones. That said, you've gotta be excited by the performance of our true freshmen; and they were led by Jeff Smith, who rushed for 67 yards on 16 carries and a TD. Not to be outdone by his classmate, Mark Herzlich (like the FHMAM staff, native to Wayne, PA) led the defensive unit with 6 tackles. Billy Flutie, by all accounts, did not impress at punter but did better at QB, going 4-6 for 73 yards, including a 4-yard TD strike to fellow freshman Justin Jarvis.

Which true freshmen will play this year?? It's a difficult question to answer. The hottest debate is swirling around Smith, who has provided an extra dimension to BC's offense in training camp but who may be better served sitting out a year rather than fighting for time with three established RBs and DeJuan Tribble in the return game. (Incidentally, if Smith does redshirt, I'd like to see Taylor Sele get a shot at KR. The kid has blazing speed and has a build that gives him a low center of gravity. Let's see what he can do.) Damik Scafe, by all appearances, seems to have worked his way into the 2-deep at DT. Alex Albright also has a good chance to get playing time at DE, a la Ramella last year. Finally, it seems highly likely that Billy Flutie will not redshirt this year. The kid is simply a jack-of-all-trades at a number of different positions of need--he can compete with Ryan Ohliger for the starting K job, back up Johnny Ayers punting, and provide emergency QB depth behind Matt Ryan and Chris Crane. He should redshirt in 2007, picking one position to focus on for the remainder of his BC career, but this year he's simply needed to fill in in a bunch of different places.

Speaking of Ohliger, he had an excellent scrimmage, going 3-3 from 43, 47, and 48 yards. I've said all along that the kid has the leg, he just doesn't have the mindset. That said, his problem has always been cracking under pressure; a scrimmage in front of coaches and a reporter or two does not constitute a pressure situation. We can always hope that he's overcome his past issues, but we won't know until Clemson comes to town on September 9th (Central Michigan also does not constitute a pressure situation). As for Ryan's underwhelming performance in the scrimmage (10-19, 82 yards, 2 INTs), again, these scrimmages mean little in the long run. They're important for getting players accustomed to game-like situations but the stats mean little or nothing, particularly on the offensive side of the ball. Matty Ice will be good to go come the 31st.

For more coverage of the scrimmage:

In case any of you missed yesterday's Internet chat with GDF, I'll sum up what he said for you: BC will neither re-institute men's lacrosse nor add the interlocking "BC" logo to the side of its football helmets. The guy literally said nothing else of substance, unless you consider insinuating that there is no possible middle ground for OOC scheduling between this year's crapfest and the team's 1995 OOC slate (Notre Dame, Michigan, Ohio State, Michigan State, Army) to be "something of substance". I applaud him for his work in getting us into the ACC but it's time to see him for what he is, a snake-oil salesman. Sooner or later, the ridiculous OOC schedules, culture of mediocrity, downright refusal to build tradition, and all-around indifference towards turning BC into a truly elite football program (and when you talk about the "program" as opposed to the "team", it includes things like tailgating) will catch up with GDF and the emperor's nekkidness will be revealed.

For those of you who have a paid subscription to, Sean Stanton has an excellent article mostly regarding positional battles in training camp. To be honest, it's worth signing up for the 7-day free trial just to read it--and while you're at it, check out the highlight videos of incoming recruit Dan Mulrooney.

Finally, a pair of lighter items to close out the night. First, ATLEagle has a great piece entitled Nightmare on Simms St., Part II. I'll let you check it out yourself. Finally, it appears that the Tom O'Brien Show (his actual TV show, not a smoke-and-mirrors show press conference) will begin live broadcasts from the Stockyard starting on Monday and will accept audience questions. This will not last more than a few episodes, and whichever FHMAM reader causes the show to return to its original format by pestering TOB with a series of drunken and increasingly profane questions after the team's first inexplicable WTF loss will receive a free, signed printout of their favorite FHMAM article. Unless it's the Jimmy Clausen one, because I'm not printing out any goddamn banana hammock pictures on my PC.

Just 15 days until BC defers the opening kickoff against Central Michigan in sunny Point Pleasant, Michigan. You gotta love BC football.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

It's official - Simms to Louisville

Nice fucking job, TOB. We put all our eggs in one basket QB wise and the basket just fucking dropped. Good fucking job.

Even though this has been apparent for a couple of days I'm still too pissed for words about this. Enough of this, I'm off to go get drunk. More commentary to come.

Friday, August 11, 2006 is up and running, courtesy of Commodore Coop from the Eagle Insider board. It's still under construction, but what is up so far is great. Kudos.

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Thursday, August 10, 2006

Matt Simms--Some good news, some bad news

Bad news first--Rivals and Scout are both reporting that Simms will be taking an official visit to Louisville this weekend, and reportedly does not have one scheduled to BC. Scout is rumoring that a verbal could come this weekend, but fortunately that seems like no more than speculation at this point.

Good news--Louisville is the rumored destination of departed Nebraska QB Harrison Beck, who alledgedly posted a message on his Facebook account implying that he will be joining Bobby Petrino's team.

The rumor (from Rivals, so it may or may not be true) has it that Matt slightly prefers Louisville while his dad prefers BC. Normally you'd have to give the strong edge to Louisville in that situation, but when your dad is Phil Simms you might listen to him a little more than most 17-year-olds listen to their fathers, at least when it comes to football matters!! The good news is that Beck is also rumored to be making a decision this weekend, so it seems unlikely that the Cardinals will land both highly-touted signal callers. Hopefully the elder Simms and Don Bosco Prep coach Greg Toal Sr. (father of BC linebacker Brian and former fullback Greg Jr.) will nudge Matt in the right direction.

Simms, Matt

If Simms does not end up at the Heights, BC could be in a dire situation as far as QBs. Ross Applegate is a decent player but likely not a future long-term starter, and according to reports has not impressed in pre-season camp. Stephen Garcia is an excellent prospect and still technically a possibility, as he has an official visit to BC scheduled, but likely little more than a pipe dream at this point. Brett Kan is probably not worth even taking a flier on, as he doesn't seem to be the prospect even that Applegate was. If Simms (or Garcia) doesn't land at BC, look for the Eagles to look at the JuCo route.

Eagles complete first scrimmage

It's always tough to judge the result of intra-squad scrimmages. If the starting QB throws 5 TD passes, is it because he and his receivers are studs or is it because the secondary blows??

That said, there are a few things we can take from the reports of the Eagles' first scrimmage (and if anyone reading this was actually there, I invite you to please leave your thoughts in the comments section).

First, this team needs to get AJ Brooks the ball. Yes, his tendency to fumble is worrying and I think it's the main thing that seperates him from being a feature back at this point in time, but nonetheless the dude simply makes things happen. Callender and Whitworth are both solid backs, and I think Whitworth will continue to be the team's #1 back this season, but neither one has the game-changing ability that Brooks, who racked up 49 yards and 2 TDs on 14 carries yesterday, has. The guy is a home-run hitter.

Ohliger went 3-5 on FGs, the longest coming from 43 yards, with one of the misses coming on a Jolonn Dunbar block. I'd like to know what distance the other miss came from.

Jamie Silva picked up right where he left off last season, leading the defense with 7 tackles. With 8 defensive linemen out due to injuries (word is that B.J. Raji will be back in time for the opener) and NCAA restrictions, it's safe to say that the secondary and linebackers likely had a lot of work to do--and it seems like they were able to get the job done, holding the offense to 3 TDs. The stats on backup LBs Robert Francois (6 TKLs, 2 TFLs) and Mike McLaughlin (INT) reinforce the belief that that should be the team's deepest position this year.

All that said, however, TOB's tone in post-scrimmage interviews was worrying but sadly, not unexpected:

And while the Eagles did catch a break with the nice weather, it was of little use to the team, because, as O'Brien noted, "You don't have a lot of guys out there practicing."

"After 10 of these [opening scrimmages], I think we've had better and we've certainly have had worse," said O'Brien, entering his 10th season at The Heights. "It's a starting point and we have a long way to go and we understand that."

Sounds like a man who already has his WTF Loss Excuse planned out--but let's hope I'm wrong.

Coverage of the scrimmage from folks who actually saw it:


As for TOB, word is that he will soon be getting the Ron Zook treatment from some disgruntled BC faithful. Stay tuned. Until then, we encourage all BC faithful to take part in the first-ever Andy French Cup, courtesy of the folks at The House Rock Built.

Oh yeah, the bowl/ACC predictions. I'll get 'em up, hold your damn horses.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Back in the Mix

Well, it's time to get back into the mix after a long weekend in Ohio catching the NFL Hall of Fame Game.

Very nice article in today's Washington Post talking about BC's efforts to settle in to the ACC. The whole thing is worth reading, but I loved this quote from Ryan Glasper:

"We are Boston College; we have athletes like any other school in the country," Glasper said. "We respect our opponents, but in the meantime, we want to earn respect. You don't have to like me, but you will respect me."
If only our illustrious coaching staff had the same passion to earn respect for the football program, rather than sleepwalking through another 8-win season with little in the way of wins over meainingful opposition.

Glasper will be missed this season, but sophomore Paul Anderson seems ready to have a big season in his relief. As good as Glasper is, Anderson will need to seriously step up his game to keep the defense running at full speed--but the kid seems to have the right attitude. August 31st can't come soon enough.

Another guy who could be in for a huge season is junior linebacker JoLonn Dunbar, who was surprisingly voted defensive captain by his teammates on Monday. The fact that Dunbar was named captain over proven starters Jamie Silva and Brian Toal can only speak good things about the defense's chemistry. With Dunbar stepping into Ray Henderson's role as the "quarterback of the defense", he's another guy FHMAM is expecting huge things from this season. What the linebacking corps loses in leadership and experience with the departure of Henderson and Ricky Brown, it gains in raw athleticism with Dunbar and Tyronne Pruitt. Hopefully, this will improve the unit's capability against the short passing and outside running games favored by many ACC teams.

Also coming out of the Dunbar article, it appears that Kevin Sheridan has won the competition for the starting center role. FHMAM would still like to see Gosder Cherilus moved to LT, where his athleticism and size would be a tremendous asset not only for BC but also for Cherilus' future draft status, which in turn would help recruiting. Marten is an excellent LG but it remains to be seen whether he has the quickness and footwork neccesary to play LT against ACC-caliber opposition.

Out of Tallahassee comes word that BC is in talks with Florida State and the ACC to replace Miami as FSU's Labor Day opener for the 2007 season. While debate has raged on the BC message boards as to whether or not this would be a favorable arrangment for the Eagles, FHMAM has to come down in favor of it. The game would be a night home opener, played in front of a national TV audience (with no competing games) in an absolutely rocking Alumni Stadium. While the team won't get the weather advantage it might have gained by playing FSU in late November, there's no guarantee that the game would be played that late anyway; besides, a BC team loaded with senior experience could be able to come out early and blow FSU off the line. All in all, any move that raises the program's national profile needs to be made. Gene DeFilippo needs to make this happen.

Nice article in yesterday's Herald on Matt Ryan's ascension to the unchallenged starting role. This kid needs to have a big, breakout year if BC is to succeed, and he's got the right attitude. Hopefully Wizard of Incompetence Dana Bible won't be able to impede his development. Ryan has the tools to be a future day 1 or possibly even Round 1 draft pick, but it all starts this year. If he can lead BC to a 10-win regular season (which has to be the very minimum goal for the program this year), he will start attracting NFL and Heisman attention heading into his senior year.

Sunday's Herald had a piece about Ryan Ohliger meeting with a sports psychiatrist in an attempt to improve his consistency. Hopefully it or something will work, but if not, TOB has to be willing to hand the kicking duties over to Billy Flutie, who by all accounts has an impressive leg. Ohliger's problems are not physical--he has the leg, he just has never had the mindset neccesary to kick at this level. Hopefully he will get his shit straightened out over the summer, but luckily with blue-chip kicker Billy Bennett set to arrive in 2007 the placekicking duties shouldn't be an issue after 2006. Incidentally, with the staff's failure to recruit anyone at quarterback over the last few years, Flutie will need to be a jack of all trades this season--pushing Ohliger for the starting kicking job while at the same time backing up Johnny Ayers at punter and serving as emergency QB behind Ryan and Chris Crane. In 2007, Flutie can redshirt (hopefully alongside Matt Simms), with Bennett taking over the kicking duties and Ross Applegate coming off a redshirt of his own to serve as #3 QB.

Frustrated with GDF?? Here's your chance to tell him what's on your mind. The chat will be held at 4 PM on August 15th; while there's little doubt that questions will be pre-screened and only softball flull questions will be actually be publically answered, there's still hope that GDF will at least see the dissention among the ranks and possibly, hopefully, change his way of thinking. The fact that single-game tickets for all home games recently went on general sale is not a good sign, folks. It's time to ratchet up the pressure on GDF and get some changes and some excitement into this program.

Some bad news from the ice as highly-touted Toronto forward Corey Trivino, who had been considering BC, has reportedly committed to BU. To quote Maverick65 on the EagleAction message board, "With a last name like that, he'll be a popular young man on the golf course in late March and early April." In happier non-football recruiting news about guys named "Corey", small forward Corey Raji--brother of football DT B.J.--has signed to play hoops for the Eagles.

Finally, on a happier note, congrats to the newest members of BC's Varsity Hall of Fame: Cal Bouchard, Bill Curley, Stephen Boyd, Pete Mitchell, David Emma, Erin Magee, Mark Mcgehearty, and Sean McGehearty. Incidentally, my NCAA 2007 dynasty team just won the 2010-11 National Championship under the leadership of a QB from Canton, Ohio named Steve Boyd. Weird.

Check back tonight for FHMAM's ACC Preview and Bowl projections. Let's just say it could be a Holy War in Jacksonville next January.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Ramella out for season

FHMAM is hearing that Jim Ramella, slated to step into Mathias Kiwanuka's huge shoes as starting left defensive end opposite Nick Larkin, will be out for the season. Details on the injury are not available at this time, but apparently it is a carry-over of a shoulder injury he suffered at the end of last season. More details will come as they are available.

The question is, what does this do for the outlook of BC's defensive line?? While losing a starter always hurts, this may not be as bad as it would initially appear. Although the staff's failure to recruit a stud defensive end in the wake of Kiwi's success is glaring, the team does have other options. In a round-about way this could actually improve the team's run defense, if 283 lb. redshirt freshman Austin Giles is elevated to the starting job to replace Ramella, a 244 lb. sophomore. It is likely that Giles and fellow redshirt freshman Brendan Deska will compete for the starting job; Deska would be a more direct replacement for Ramella in terms of style of play, but Giles is considered by many to be a better overall prospect.

In terms of the two-deep, the most likely outcome is that another redshirt freshman, 250 lb. Brady Smith, will be added to the rotation. Allan Smith (no relation), yet another redshirt freshman, has talent but at 210 lbs. is far too small to play DE at the ACC level (FHMAM would suggest that Smith be the man to change position to provide added depth at linebacker, rather than the team's most promising young cornerback, but unfortunately that would require TOB and his staff to actually use sound logic). Another possibility would be to move one of the team's tight ends to DE; the most likely possibilities would be junior Ryan Thompson, who was recruited by BC as a DE, and junior Jon Loyte, who played on the defensive side of the ball at Vanderbilt before transferring to the Heights. In fact, Ramella's injury could turn out to be a blessing in disguise, if the staff moves Loyte or Thompson to DE and thus is forced to give playing time as a freshman to field-stretching true freshman TE Jordon McMichael. Hopefully this cloud will develop a silver lining; we shall see in just 28 days.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Building Tradition

Some of the best things about college football are the traditions that each school builds to make its home games a unique experience and stand out amongst its peers. Think of a big-time college football school and, more often than not, the devoted college fan will instantly think of a tradition that school is famous for. Florida State?? The Tomahawk Chop and War Chant, and Chief Osceola's flaming spear. Notre Dame?? Touchdown Jesus (OK, it's a landmark rather than a tradition, but as you'll see it goes to the same point I'm getting at) and "Play like a champion today". Tennessee?? The Volunteer Navy. Clemson?? Rubbing Howard's Rock and "The most exciting 25 seconds in college football".

The point is that, as BC aspires to join the ranks of the country's elite college football programs, the school needs to develop its own athletic traditions. BC has historically had little success in establishing long-standing traditions; this is a result of many factors.

First, the school is not helped by the fact that it has little in the way of historical rivalries. This, it has to be said, is through no fault of our own. The BC-Holy Cross rivalry, which lasted from the early 20th century until the early 1980s, was a great one; but it was forced to come to a close when Holy Cross inexplicably decided not to go D1A in football. (The folly of this decision can be seen clearly today--whereas Holy Cross was the slightly more prestigious institution before the football split, BC is now a truly national university, receiving the 4th most applications this year of any school in the country, while Holy Cross is still a regional school.) Notre Dame proved to be another promising rivalry, but after a string of BC victories the Surrenderin' French raised the white flag and the series' future after the 2010 game is in doubt (although, as Notre Dame shares two bowl tie-ins with the ACC in addition to the BCS, it will only be a matter of time before the teams meet again even if the regular season series is never continued after 2010). Connecticut might have developed into something had BC stayed in the Big East, but the fact is that New England's only other D1A program is simply not in the same class as BC at the moment. BC's best hope for a long-term ACC rival is Maryland, the conference's only other (borderline) northern school, and a school that has a similar fanbase to BC and, like BC, is located in the suburbs of a major northeastern city. All that aside, however, rivalries help build tradition, and it is difficult to build tradition without major rivalries.

Second, the general apathy towards the football program among large segments of its fan base does not help. Thankfully this situation seems to be gradually improving, but there are far too many BC fans, mostly older, who are content to go to games and simply sit on their hands rather than vocally supporting their teams. Perhaps the most obvious example of this came not in a football game but in the NCAA hockey tournament regional final against BU this year, when the DCU Centrum in Worcester was evenly split between BC and BU fans; while most of the BU fans, however, were vocally supportive of their team, BC's active support was for the most part limited to a half-section of students who had made the trip from campus. (The one time when all of BC's fans did raise their voices, during a 2nd-period goal review, the noise was deafening.) The same phenomenon is often seen in football. When the fans even show up--which they didn't against Wake Forest and Virginia last year--they are far, far too quiet. No-one's expecting the entire stadium to jump up and down for the entire game as if they were in the student section, but joining in the "Let's Go Eagles" chants and making noise to disrupt opposing offensive signals would be a nice start.

Finally, some of the blame has to fall on the athletic department itself. While they have done some nice things here--the band's playing "Sweet Caroline" during the 4th quarter of every game never fails to get the crowd riled up, and the song has become almost a second fight song for BC; the playing of the school Alma Mater after each home game with the players' helmets raised is enough to raise up the haira on the back of your neck--there are other inexplicable gaffes. The tailgating situation is unfortunate, but the best BC can do here is to work with the surrounding neighborhoods. However, BC had begun to establish a tradition that it recently abandoned. Once upon a time, the Alumni Stadium PA system blasted The Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again" as BC's team took the field. The connection to BC wasn't apparent but it didn't matter--it was our song, and when we heard it we knew it was time to cheer on the Eagles. Virginia Tech has Metallica's "Enter Sandman", and we had "Won't Get Fooled Again"--until BC stopped playing it last year. Why??

There are a number of things the school can do to help establish tradition. One of the major things it needs to do is actively re-connect with its Irish roots, perhaps even begin to challenge Notre Dame as the favored team of Catholic America. Second, the school needs to market itself as the only major college sports program in Boston (in football and basketball, anyway)--encourage alums of BU, Northeastern, UMass, UNH, etc. to support their respective schools in D1AA ball but unite to support BC as New England's college football team.

Just a shot in the dark here--why not bring in the Dropkick Murphys, who recorded a Gaelic-punk-rock version of "For Boston" on their album "Sing Loud, Sing Proud", to play a concert at BC's home opener each year?? In addition to fulfilling both of the aforementioned goals, the event would become a tradition in and of itself, similar to the Murphys' annual St. Patrick's Day weekend concerts at the Avalon.

The most important thing to do, however, is to hold on to those developing traditions which are taking hold. So with that said, and with the home opener against Clemson just 38 days away, we ask you, Mr. DeFilippo, to GIVE US BACK THE WHO!!!

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(I did a Yahoo image search of "The Who" looking for a picture of Pete Townshend and the boys, and this was the first result that popped up. Not exactly what I was looking for, but shit, I'm not complaining.)

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