Tuesday, October 31, 2006


The Minnesota Vikings have one of the best run defenses in the NFL. Their gameplan on Monday night was simple: stop the run and force Brady to throw the ball. Incorrect decision.

The Patriots knew that running wouldn't work, seemingly before kickoff. On the first drive, the Pats attempted 6 passes and rushed only once. All 6 passes were caught, including the final one in the end zone. The game was over.

Offensively, the Vikings didn't seem to have any gameplan whatsoever. They tried running, didn't work too well. Then they fell behind. The short passes they threw worked, but for some reason they strayed from that plan as the Patriots lead grew and grew. Brad Johnson is not a deep ball QB, and this was made quite evident. The Pats picked Johnson off 3 times on 3 balls that were poorly thrown. The only points Minnesota scored were through special teams.

The Patriots dominated this game from the opening drive to the final whistle. The first drive was a complete dismantling of the Vikings' zone coverage and a stifling of their pass rush. Neither would come back together enough to make a difference throughout the remainder of the game.

The first drive was artistry in coaching and quarterbacking. Brady hit Watson for 8. Dillon was hit in the backfield for a loss of 8. The Vikings celebrated this tackle for a loss, perhaps rightfully so. It may have been the last moment that they were in the game. On 3rd and 10, Brady nailed Gabriel in the seam of the zone for 45 yards. Brady hit Gabriel again for 16 more. Brown caught a 5 yarder, then Watson got it to the 4 with a 16 yard reception. Brady hit Caldwell in the end zone to put the Pats up for good. The Pats would lead for the next 56:07.

The Pats did dominate this game, but they didn't play their best football. Don't get me wrong, they played very well, but they also turned the ball over twice. They also had some missed tackles that turned into huge plays for the Vikings, including the punt return for Minnesota's only TD.

Brady had a career game. He threw 29 of his 43 attempts for completions. He amassed 372 yards, and threw 4 TDs, each to a different player. He hit 10 different receivers. More importantly, he hit 5 different WIDE receivers. About half of Brady's completions were to wide receivers. He's starting to feel more comfortable with them and vice versa.

The Patriots did in this game what they've done many times before. They adjusted the way they played based on the way their opponents play. They didn't even really try to run the ball. As a team, they had 15 total rushing attempts. One was a QB sneak, one was a QB kneel down, and 4 were in the 4th quarter with the game secured. Heath Evans led the team in rushing with his 35 yard carry.

It was a nice road win against a solid team, but we shouldn't get too carried away. Next week is a massive clash in Foxborough with a QB much better than Brad Johnson. However, the Colts don't have much of a run defense. I honestly think we'll rack up a massive amount of rushing yardage against Indy next week. Perhaps in the 300 yard neighborhood. We just have to keep Manning from getting the ball into the end zone, which isn't too easy. But we've done it before.

Sunday, October 29, 2006


The sport of basketball and the city of Boston lost a legend. Red Auerbach was, without question, the best coach in NBA history, and one of the best professional sports coaches in the history of American sports. He won 9 NBA Championships as head coach of the Boston Celtics, including a stretch of 8 in a row.

Auerbach was also the first coach to field a team with 5 starting black players. He was the first NBA coach to draft a black player. When he retired from coaching, he named Bill Russell his successor. Russell was the first black head coach in American pro sports.

He was such a good appraiser of talent as President of the Celtics that he drafted Larry Bird a year before Bird graduated. Also, other head coaches considered him so smart that several refused to ever make trades with him, believing that any deal with Red would benefit the Celtics and hurt their own team.

Red also served in the US Navy during World War II.

He died the other day of a heart attack at the age of 89.

Thursday, October 26, 2006


It is time to look ahead to 2007. The Red Sox in 2006 had many, many problems. Lack of offensive production (820 runs scored as opposed to 910 in 2005, 949 in 2004, and 961 in 2003) was a big problem. The Sox scored their fewest total of runs since 2001. But that season, we allowed 80 fewer runs than we allowed in 2006.

The lack of production was felt worst at catcher, short-stop, center-field, and right-field. Varitek, Bard, and Mirabelli combined for a measly .226 average, with 18 homers (6 from Mirabelli), and 80 RBI. That just isn't the kind of production we're used to seeing. However, Varitek's defensive and game calling prowess make him the full-time catcher for the 2007 Sox. His leadership doesn't hurt, but one can wonder how effective that leadership truly is considering how the team imploded at the end of the year.

If Wakefield is going to be back as a starter, we need to keep Mirabelli as a backup catcher. If not, I think we can look elsewhere. Dougie is a good power hitter, but that's it. He hit .193 and struck out 54 times. That's a K every 2.98 at-bats (Wily Mo Pena was at a strikeout per every 3.07 ABs). Mirabelli also struck out 1.74 times per hit he got. That just isn't productive. Now, Mirabelli wasn't the reason the Sox didn't score runs, but we can improve production there. With Tek turning 35 by April 11, we're going to need a backup catcher to come in, probably every fifth day. That's about 100 at-bats, at least, and 130 to 160 plate appearances. That isn't small potatoes.

The Red Sox could trade for a replacement backup catcher, or they could try to pick one up via free agency. Mirabelli is a free agent at the end of the season. Sandy Alomar Jr., who hit .274 last year as a backup, is a possibility. However, he will be 41 years old. Henry Blanco is also a free agent. He hit .266 in 241 ABs last year. He also added 6 homers. His OBP was .304. Robert Fick will be a free agent. He also hit .266. Furthermore, he can play first-base as well as the corner outfields. Greg Zaun might be a possibility, but it is doubtful he will take a job as a backup catcher. He'd also be expensive. What the Sox need to do at backup catcher is get somebody who will hit around .250 with at least a remote threat of power. We need a guy who won't be a hole in the lineup when he plays. He also needs to be defensively capable, and ideally, capable of pinch hitting off the bench.

First base was not much of an offensive or defensive weakpoint in 2006. Youkilis did his job with a .381 OBP. However, first base is typically a power position, and we lacked power there. Youk only hit 13 homeruns. Twenty-two players listed primarily as first basemen had more homers than Youkilis. We need power to come from somewhere in the lineup. We hit 192 homers as a team last year, which was 6th best in the league. Not bad, but in 2004 we hit 222. Homeruns are the biggest run producing plays in the game and we need to hit a few more of them. However, there is only one very good power hitting first basemen available in the free agent market. Nomar Garciaparra. I think if we were to sign him, we would want to put his offensive talents to use at short-stop.

We don't need a backup defensive first-basemen. This has been something the Sox have been high on ever since Doug Mientkiewicz came to town. You only get four or five bench spots open for position players and one of those is a catcher. Having a guy whose sole purpose is to be a defensive replacement at first-base is a waste of a roster spot. Guys like Olerud, who could hit and start regularly, were good. However, the JT Snow experiment failed miserable. I'd like to see the Sox sign a guy like Robert Fick because he can be a backup catcher as well as backup first-baseman and outfielder. We want to use our bench spots to get guys who are versatile and can fill several holes and play several roles.

Second base wasn't an offensive hole, but we didn't get too much production out of it. Loretta was a solid player with a .285 average, but his OBP was less than outstanding for a #2 hitter at .345. I think #1 and #2 hitters should have an added OBP of .750 or higher in order to be considered a truly great 1-2 combo. Youk and Loretta were at .726 total. In 2004, Damon and Bellhorn were at .753. I think the Sox could put Dustin Pedroia in at second base. I think we need some insurance just in case he needs another year in the minors. Pedroia did hit .305 in AAA with a .384 OBP and he just might be able to fit in at the spot, but it'd be nice to get someone who we know will hit and hit very well. I'll get to that in a bit. Also, Pedroia is capable of playing short-stop.

Third base was an offensive plus for us. Mike Lowell hit .284 with 20 homers, and 68 extra basehits. Nothing there needs to change.

Short-stop was an offensive black hole for us once again. Gonzalez hit .255 with an OBP below .300 and a slugging percentage below .400. This was what we expected out of him, but I think we should try to get more production out of the position. Pedroia could very well be the short-stop in 2007. Once again, however, I think we could use some insurance.

The middle infield spots are the most up in the air spots on the team. Gonzalez, Loretta, and Cora are all free agents. Pedroia is on the verge of breaking in to the team. I think it is safe to say that the Sox will not bring Gonzalez back as a starter for 2007 due to the lack of offense. Gonzalez was a 1 year fix while we waited for Pedroia.

We could re-sign Loretta and have Pedroia start at short-stop. We could move Pedroia back to second base and sign someone to play short-stop. Personally, I like the idea of keeping Loretta around while we bring Pedroia up as well as adding an additional player to the middle infield mix. I think the ideal candidate would be either Nomar Garciaparra, or Alfonso Soriano.

Nomar put up very good numbers last season. Nomar hit 20 homers, knocked in 93 runs, and hit .303. Soriano put up 46 homers, 95 RBI and hit .277. Both of these guys would be ideal #5 hitters in our lineup, or #3 hitters if Manny leaves. Both players are also versatile. Nomar can play SS, 1B, and 2B. Soriano can play 2B as well as the outfield.

If I had my druthers, we would sign Soriano and have him split time between second and the outfield. Loretta would split time with Soriano at second and Pedroia at short. If Pedroia isn't hitting well, we can send him down to AAA for another year and then have Loretta start at short with Soriano playing second base.

We could use a really good middle infielder on the bench, especially considering the defensive liability a Mark Loretta at short-stop might be. This might be a case for Alex Gonzalez to remain with the club. I think we could grab a solid middle infielder off the free agency list or through a small trade. They just need to be solid defensively and capable of playing multiple position. A little speed couldn't hurt, either.

The outfield is very up in the air. Manny was productive, but proved that him being himself can be detrimental to the team. Coco was a no go. Trot was average, at best, and probably will not be back in '07.

I'd love to hang on to Manny. But if he wants to go, then he's got to go. But if we can't get good value, then we shouldn't trade him. I'm glad I'm not the one who has to deal with this problem that Dan Duquette has left us. Ideally, he'll change his mind about leaving and will stay here. Even if he does, I think we should get someone like Alfonso Soriano. We're going to need a large bat in the lineup to replace Manny if he goes, or help the team score runs if he stays.

I think we should give Coco another year in center-field. He started off nicely then the injury seemed to affect how he played. He's too talented and too young to just give up on.

Now, if we get Soriano, but Manny leaves, we'll have a gap in the outfield. But there are two players out there that can fill it. Dave Roberts and Kenny Lofton. Neither player will hit a lot of homers, but they'll get on base, play good defense, and steal bases left and right. Roberts hit .293 for the Padres last season, with a .360 OBP. He stole 49 bases in 55 attempts. Lofton hit .301 with the Dodgers, also with an OBP of .360. He stole 32 bases in 37 attempts. Either of these players would fit in nicely to our outfield and could possibly take the leadoff spot in the lineup. Both are free agents. Roberts has a slight age advantage at 34 compared to Lofton at 39. However, Lofton could be signed for a single year and possibly at a discount because he is at the end of a career without a World Series ring.

Even if we retain Manny, AND sign Soriano, I think we should go after a guy like Lofton. His speed off the bench and his ability to play the field could help us tremendously. Moreover, if Coco continues to struggle, we'll have a solid replacement waiting in the wings.

Do I even need to discuss the DH position? I think we're fine here.

Ideally, these are who my starting position players would be for 2007:
C Jason Varitek
1B Kevin Youkilis
2B Alfonso Soriano/Mark Loretta/Dustin Pedroia
3B Mike Lowell
SS Dustin Pedroia/Mark Loretta
LF Manny Ramirez
CF Coco Crisp/Kenny Lofton
RF Alfonso Soriano
DH David Ortiz

The best lineup:
1. Kevin Youkilis
2. Mark Loretta
3. David Ortiz
4. Manny Ramirez
5. Alfonso Soriano
6. Mike Lowell
7. Coco Crisp
8. Dustin Pedroia
9. Jason Varitek

That middle of the lineup is simply sick. This lineup could score 950 to even 1,000 runs. You're never out of a game with that kind of a lineup.

The bench needs improvement, as stated above. I'd love to see Robert Fick be picked up as a backup catcher who could also fill in at first and in the corner outfield. I think Alex Gonzalez could be kept as a backup middle infielder, if not we could go with Alex Cora or perhaps both. Gabe Kapler has always been a hard working, productive bench player for us and I'd like to see him continue with us in 2007. Kenny Lofton could be a good pickup as a defensive replacement/pinch runner/part-time player.

As disappointing as the offense was last season, the pitching was even more so. Our ERA was 11th in the AL at 4.83. We were 10th in hits allowed, 8th in homeruns, and 9th in walks. We were flat out bad. Our best starter was Schilling, who finished the season with slightly above average numbers of 15-7 with a 3.97 ERA.

We're stuck with Beckett in the rotation, and Schilling (thank God) will be back for another season. But we still need some help at the front of the rotation. I think the Red Sox really need to go out and get an Ace. Right now, we're without one. You can get away with that if you have 4 really good starters. However, the Red Sox only have 1 and he will be 40 in less than 3 weeks.

Barry Zito is the biggest name out there. He's not as stunning as he once was, but he was 16-10 with a 3.83 ERA last year which isn't half bad at all. He'll definitely give us 220 very good to great innings, which the Red Sox are in desperate need of. He will be very desired by the rest of the league, though, so he might come a bit too expensive.

Daisuku Matsuzaka might be the answer to the Red Sox prayers. The 26 year old Japanese star (so popular that people born the same year as him are called members of the Matsuzaka generation) is on the market. Every team in baseball has scouted him and most teams want him.

He's 26 but already a legend in Japanese baseball. In high school, he won the coveted national championship. He threw 17 innings in a game (250 pitches), then got the save in the next game. To win the title, he threw a no-hitter. In Japan's Pacific League, he has put up impressive numbers. In 8 seasons, he is 108-60. In 204 games, he's thrown 1402.2 innings or 6.9 innings an appearance (not all his appearances are starts, which makes the stat even more impressive). He has 72 complete games and 18 shutouts. He has 1355 strikeouts (8.69 per 9 IP), 502 BBs (2.7 to 1 K to BB ratio), and a WHIP of 1.14. These are all Japanese League stats, which means they should be looked at almost as AAAA (not a typo) stats.

He's going to be an expensive pickup for whoever wants him. The Seibu Tigers (his current team) are offering the rights to negotiate with him to the highest bidder in MLB. The price is said to be somewhere in the neighborhood of $15 to $30 million. That is extremely high, but once you consider the financial benefits of signing him, the price can be looked at as more of an investment.

Japan is an untapped market for the Red Sox. The Yankees and Mariners dominate that market and the Red Sox have a very meager market share. This is probably because the Red Sox don't have any Asian born talent at the moment. We had Nomo a few years ago, and Tomo Ohka, as well. However, we have never had a superstar on the level of an Ichiro or a Matsui. The additional revenue that could come from expanding Red Sox Nation across the Pacific could potentially pay for the negotiating rights fee as well as the signing.

As a player, he'd be an unknown. Japanese players have both flourished and struggled in MLB. There really hasn't been too much of a pattern. However, Ichiro and Matsui seem to be good examples of star Japanese players thriving in the US. Matsuzaka already has this status in Japan. It is probable he will do well in the US. Will he dominate? That is unclear.

He has a wide variety of pitches. His fastball is clocked at 90 to 96 MPH. He also throws a splitter, changeup, and slider. It's rumored he has a gyroball in his arsenal. A gyroball is a pitch thrown with a spiral like that of a football. It looks like a fastball delivery, but the way the ball spins throws off hitters timing if thrown properly. Imagine how much Varitek could help this guy get MLB hitters out with this guy's variety of stuff.

My dream rotation would be as follows:
1. Barry Zito
2. Curt Schilling
3. Daisuke Matsuzaka
4. Josh Beckett
5. Jon Lester*

*=if healthy. Lester is currently undergoing chemo in Tacoma. Hopefully everything will work out for the best.

Notice two names absent on that list? Tim Wakefield and Jonathan Papelbon.

I think Wake is still a decent starter, but we can do better. I also still think he is a good pitcher and we should keep him on the club. He's worked well out of the bullpen in the past. His style of pitching is great for bullpen duty, too. Imagine facing Beckett's fastball then have to change gears against Wake's knuckler. I'd like to see him used in a middle-relief role. He could also be a spot starter if necessary.

Papelbon should be the closer. Yes, the shoulder might pose a health problem if he isn't kept on a regular schedule. However, one of the few things that was working for us last season was our closer. Why change it? Not only do we risk having a closer not as effective as him, he also might not be that effective of a starter. It's very risky.

There are also NO really good closers out there in free agency. Gagne's option might not be picked up, but that is wishful thinking.

The Red Sox already re-signed Mike Timlin, which isn't too bad of a signing. However, we can't depend on him for 70 appearances like in 2006. He's turning 41 in March and already has 1099.2 innings and 961 appearances worn into that right arm. I definately think the Red Sox need another strong set-up man this season.

Julian Tavarez finished 2006 strongly and I think having him in the pen will be very nice. He could be a feature set-up man who can pitch multiple innings. That's a huge asset to have in those close games in which the starter leaves after 5 or 6 innings.

Two open spots left in the bullpen. Javier Lopez could be a good situational lefty for us in 2007. We didn't see much of him last year, but what we did see was impressive. If he doesn't work out, we still have DiNardo, Hansen, and Delcarmen available to us.

Jose Mesa is a player we should seriously consider trying to sign. In 79 appearances and 72.1 innings, he had an ERA of 3.86 with the Colorado Rockies. Colofreakinrado! He had 19 Holds to lead the Rockies. He's a guy that could be our featured set-up man in front of Timlin.

So here's my ideal bullpen:
Closer: Jonathan Papelbon
Set-Up: Jose Mesa
Set-Up: Mike Timlin
Set-Up/Middle: Julian Tavarez
Middle/Long: Tim Wakefield
Lefty: Javier Lopez

Not too shabby.

This team, of course, would probably be expensive to field, and it depends on a lot of outside factors. It probably won't be the team the Sox field in 2007, nor will it probably be all that close. This is just the team that I'd field in my little dream world. It would win the World Series, though.

Sunday, October 22, 2006


This game wasn't as close as the 28-6 score implied. The Pats jumped out to an early 14-3 lead and seemed as though they would blow the Bills out by half-time. Then they stalled in the 2nd quarter. The defense remained strong though and kept Buffalo from taking advantage of our inability to move the ball forward. They forced some turnovers, and even though the offense didn't do much with the ball, we kept the Bills from marching down field and kept them from getting good starting field position.

The Pats finally ended their long streak of deep passes that completely missed the intended receiver. Brady hit Jackson in stride and in the end zone to effectively end the game late in the 3rd quarter. The Pats ran out the clock, added another TD pass, and took down a 28-6 victory.

Nothing remarkable statistically in this game. Brady had a typical Brady day, 18/27, 196 yards, 2 TDs. The team rushed for 94 yards total. No receiver had more than 60 yards or 5 receptions.

Brady did move into 3rd place on the Patriots all-time passing list behind Bledsoe and Grogan.

Seymour left the game early with an arm problem after being nailed while on the ground. More on that when there is more on that.

This was just a typical Pats win, but it could have been sealed much earlier. Buffalo didn't play well and we came out of the gate playing great. Then we just stopped moving the ball forward. Against a good team, they might have taken advantage of that. Fortunately, Buffalo is not a good team.

The victory gives us a 1.5 game lead over the Jets, and a 2 game lead in the loss column. We're 4-0 in the division, which is huge. The Bills and Phins are now all but out of the race. Next week we're on the road to play the Vikings.

On a side note, the NFL's broadcasting rules really piss me off. I was watching the Steelers/Falcons game on CBS, but at 4:15, CBS had to stop live coverage. What'd they do? The guys in the studio watched the game and narrated what was happening. Really weird. Then they showed the play that had just happened on a tape delay. Why not just let us see the game live?


November 23, 1984. That was the last time Boston College won a football game in the state of Florida. The 21 year, 11 month streak is over.

#22 Boston College went into their game with unranked Florida State as underdogs. They came out with control over the ACC Atlantic Division. Clemson is in first place of the division with a 4-1 record after beating Georgia Tech. However, BC is tied with them in the loss column and posess the tie-breaker. In fact, Boston College is the only team that has beaten Clemson this season, something which will help the Eagles in the BCS and the eyes of the national sports media.

NC State dropped down in the divisional standings with their loss to Maryland. At the same time, Maryland is now in the mix for the divisional title.

Boston College has a home game against Buffalo next week. It seems as though every team in Buffalo is playing a Boston team in a 7 day period. In fact, they are. After BC disposes of Buffalo, they'll have 4 ACC games to play. They'll be at #25 Wake Forest on the 4th of November and could very will win or lose the divisional title that day. Then they get Duke, then Maryland. The Maryland game may or may not be vital. Then they're on the road in Miami.

We beat Wake Forest, we've pretty much got the division wrapped up. We lose to them and we'll need Clemson, Wake, maybe NC State and Maryland to all lose another game. The important thing is that we control our destiny. We win, we're in.

BC did come close to blowing this game. I thought it would be another heartbreaking BC loss when they're on the precipice of being an elite program. O'Brien's decision to take a safety at the end of the game was simply incorrect. He ran off 0:08 from the clock, and gained maybe 20 to 30 yards of field position. But he also made it so a single touchdown would win the game for FSU. One missed tackle, a big return, a blown coverage, and the game would be over. They wouldn't even be forced to try an extra-point to tie it.

Boston College might be able to move into the Top 20 in the national rankings with their win over FSU. BC is already 20th in the BCS, but will probably move up. #19 Georgia Tech, #17 Nebraska, and #14 Oregon all lost this week so the Eagles may wind up somewhere around 16th or 17th.

Saturday, October 14, 2006


The BC Eagles are ranked 25th by the USA Today poll, and are just out of the top 25 in the ESPN poll. With their 22-3 drubbing of #22/#17 Virginia Tech, they will probably be in or near the top 20 in both polls.

The Eagles are in a three-way tie for 2nd place in the ACC Atlantic Division. They're 2-1 within the ACC along with NC State (who beat BC 17-15) and Wake Forest (who BC plays November 4th). The first place team is Clemson, who BC beat in Double OT, but who are also 3-1 in the ACC.

BC will not be able to get into the BCS through an at-large bid. They have to win the ACC Atlantic, then win the ACC title game in order to get to the BCS. I think the Eagles need to get into the BCS or the other large bowl games. They've won 6 Bowls in a row, but none of them have been even remotely prestigious or widely watched.

There are 10 BCS spots available this season, with automatic bids going to the champions of the SEC, Pac-10, Big XII, Big Ten, ACC, and Big East. Boston College will probably not be in the 4 at-large bids unless they run the table and do so impressively.

The #2 ACC team will go to the Chik-fil-A Peach Bowl in Atlanta to face the #5 SEC team. This is a somewhat prestigious bowl game in that the SEC and ACC are both power conferences, and the game is usually against two top teams in the country.

The #3 ACC team will play on New Years Day in the Gator Bowl against a Big XII, Big East, or Notre Dame team. This is a very good bowl to be selected for and winning this game would be the biggest victory for Boston College in quite a long time.

The #4 ACC team will play in the Champs Sports Bowl against a #4 or #5 Big Ten team. Now the bowls start getting less prestigious.

The #5 or the #6 ACC team will play in the Meineke Car Care Bowl against a Big East team. Not much clout in this bowl. The #5 ACC team might also play in the Music City Bowl. The #5 or #6 might also play in the Emerald Bowl in San Francisco. The final ACC bowl bid is in the MPC Computers Bowl in Boise which BC won last year.

Here are the possibilities for Boston College and what they'd have to do in order to get there:

BCS Bowl: win out in the ACC, possibly losing 1 more ACC game, then winning the ACC title game

Peach Bowl: win the ACC Atlantic Division or finish very strong 2nd in Atlantic Division

Gator Bowl: finish 2nd in the ACC Atlantic with a very good record in the ACC and overrall

Champs Sports Bowl: finish a bad 2nd or a good 3rd in the Atlantic Division

Meineke/Music City/Emerald/MPC Computers: finish .500, finish anything but last in the ACC Atlantic

The Eagles are 5-1 (2-1 in the ACC. Next week they go to Tallahassee to play Florida State. FSU is not very good this season with an unspectacular 4-2 record, 2-2 in the ACC. They lost to Clemson and NC State this year. They won't be pushovers, though. BC does struggle on the road, and we're almost never good in the state of Florida. But we can still win this game. If we do, we'd almost ensure a top 5 finish in the ACC Atlantic.

The week after, BC hosts Buffalo. This game is nothing but a mid-season semi-bye week. Buffalo stands little to no chance to win this game. However, winning this game will not improve BC's credibility or prestige in the national spotlight.

BC's non-conference schedule just isn't that hard, neither is their conference schedule. The Eagles scheduled I-AA Maine, Buffalo, Central Michigan, and BYU. Now, the argument could be made that with Va. Tech, FSU, and Miami on the ACC schedule, scheduling softer non-conference teams makes sense. However, people will still see the weak BC schedule and it could cost them a better bowl bid or a few spots in the rankings.

After Buffalo, the Eagles go down south again to play Wake Forest. This is one of the biggest games for BC left to play. For some reason BC struggles mightily against WFU. But on paper, WFU just isn't that impressive. They too have played a weak schedule. They did beat NC State this weekend, but they also lost to Clemson. The next toughest team they played was UConn, nuf said. They're still part of that 3 way tie in 2nd place in the division, and probably will be 3-1 after their game with UNC the week before they host Boston College.

After WFU, the Eagles have three games in a row to end the season which they should win. They host Duke, Maryland, then play Miami on Thankskgiving. Duke and Maryland are abysmal, and probably won't adjust to playing in Chestnut Hill in mid-November. The game down in Miami will be up against a team that might be fighting for a bowl bid if anything. The game will be tough, but BC should win it.

Honestly, BC SHOULD win out, but that doesn't mean they will. They tend to lose games to teams that should be crushed. If BC wins out, they'll finish 7-1 in the ACC.

The best Clemson can do is 7-1, but they'd have to beat #22 Virginia Tech and #13 Georgia Tech to do that. BC has a tie-breaker against them anyway with the head-to-head win.

If BC beats Wake Forest, the best Wake can do in the ACC is 6-2. Even if we lost another ACC game, if we beat Wake, we'll be in great shape because we'll have the tie-breaker in case of a tie.

NC State is a team to worry about. They have the tie-breaker against us so we have to finish with a better record than them. However, they have two tough ACC games coming up. They play Georgia Tech on November 4th, then go to Clemson the next weak. Four of their remaining five ACC games are on the road. They appear as though they'll finish with an ACC record of 5-3 or 6-2. If they finish 5-3, we might not have to worry about the Wolfpack.

If we beat Florida State, which we deifnately are capable of doing, we effectively eliminate them from the divisional title hunt. They'd be 2-3 in the ACC, capable of 5-3 in the conference at best. This game is a huge one. If we don't win it, FSU can easily finish 6-2, which would also be the best we could finish. With the head-to-head loss, we'd lose on the tie breaker.

Maryland might determine who wins the ACC Atlantic. If they upset one of the top teams, they could change the complection of the entire division. They still haven't played an Atlantic Division team so they still have a shot, but they're not nearly good enough. They might steal a win from a team like FSU, NCSU, WFU, or even BC, which would really hurt that team's chances.

Let's just say that BC runs the table, finished 7-1 in the ACC, winning the Atlantic Division. They'd be assured of either a BCS Bowl, the Peach Bowl, or the Gator Bowl. Then they'd play the Coastal Division champs, which will probably be the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. GT is ranked in the top 15 in both polls, but they aren't a monster team. They're very good, but not amazingly great. They did put up a fight against Notre Dame, but their wins against Samford, Troy, Virginia, Virginia Tech, and Maryland aren't exactly massively difficult wins. It would definately be a contest between Georgia Tech and whoever wins the Atlantic Division.

So, to answer the question asked as the title of this post, the answer is yes, but they still have to earn it. They have to run the table or maybe lose one in their remaining ACC schedule. They then have to win the ACC title game in Jacksonville.

Boston College has won 6 straight bowls, but none of those bowls have much notoriety. Even if BC were to lose their bowl game, it'd still be a big achievement to make a top New Years Bowl or a BCS Bowl. The Eagles can definately do it, the question is will they?

Friday, October 13, 2006


I'd just like to apologize to my loyal readers, whose numbers have probably decreased somewhat over the past few weeks. The month of August began, and my updating of this blog ended. I was playing about 60 to 80 hours of poker a week at a casino 2 hours from my apartment so time was not something I had very much of. When scho0l resumed, my poker subsided, but by then, there wasn't much I could write about the Red Sox other than:

"The Red Sox are folding, they're not trying, they're really pissing me off."

That would basically be the game summary for every Sox game in September.

The collapse, as we all know, seemeed to begin in mid-August with the 5 straight losses to New York. However, I think it began before then and was only expidited by the Second Boston Massacre.

Before the 5 game series, we lost 2 of 3 to Detroit in Fenway. We swept Baltimore in 3 before that, but before that we were swept by KANSAS CITY in 3 games!!! KC was 62-100 this year, BTW. Right before the Royals series, we lost 2 of 3 to the only other 100 loss team in baseball, the 61-101 Devil Rays. That's right, the Sox went 1-5 on a road trip to Tampa, then Kansas City.

The really sad and infuriating thing wasn't the collapse of the team, it was the needless collapse. It was't as though they threw in the towel when they were thoroughly beaten, they threw it in much too early.

They were only 7 back of the Yankees in the loss column, which was not a completely insurmountable lead with 40 games to go. The Sox were also only 4 games out of the Wild Card. Then the Sox kicked back, relaxed, and let themselves become a complete and utter embarassment. They finished 5th in the Wild Card, a mere 10 games over .500, and 3rd in the AL East behind the Blue Jays. The Blue Jays also spent $49 million fewer on player payroll.

The Sox spent $121 million for a team that won 86 games. They didn't go out and get anyone at the deadline, they didn't do much to change their glaring problems. It seemed as though the team was built to have a chance to make the playoffs, but not to really do anything more than that. It seemed like a place holder team with a solid offense and a few exciting players that would keep Fenway sold out for the entire season.

There were a great deal of dissapointments on the Red Sox this year, I'll have a post on that soon enough. Right now I just want to say what sectors the Sox absolutely MUST improve on next season.

1. Starting pitching top to bottom. Beckett was a massive failure in 2006, not just a dissapointment. Schilling will be another year older. So will Wakefield.

2. The bullpen. The answer isn't moving Papelbon by the way. I think that's a terrible idea. He should be our closer until we KNOW what we're going to get from another closer. We need more middle-relief. Mike Timlin has been worn down to very little. We need a few veterans mixed in with our younger pitchers. We also need this veterans to be good, not just guys like Rudy Seanez or Julian Tavarez, who was only good when nobody cared.

3. The offense. But not that much, not as much as the pitching. We only scored 820 runs this year, we need to get that number up. We lost a lot of production from catcher and we didn't have much production from the outfield except for Manny, when he was playing that is. With our lack of pitching, we NEED to be scoring 900 runs or more. This season we actually scored fewer runs than we allowed (820 to 825).

The only aspect of this team that was good was the defense. Defense doesn't win games, however, it keeps you from losing them. Without our defense, we're probably a .500 team.

Theo and the Sox have A LOT of work to do this winter.