Sunday, November 02, 2008
I don't know if it's the water in the Chestnut Hill Reservoir, or fumes from the green line, but BC athletics have a very strange habit*. Win games they're supposed to lose (See BC football vs. #4 Notre Dame in South Bend in 2002), and lose games they're supposed to win (See 4th seeded BC basketball losing to Wisconsin-Milwaukee in the 2nd round of the 2005 NCAA tournament).
*Note: the hockey team wins a lot, regardless of opponent.
Once again, BC football has let me down.
I know this year the Eagles were going to be a step down from the 11 win team of a year ago. Not only did Matt Ryan leave, but the entire running game graduated. Ballhawk Jamie Silva left, and stud corner/returner DeJuan Tribble got drafted by San Diego.
But as much as BC took a step back, the entire ACC took ten steps back. Powerhouses FSU and Miami are inexplicably mediocre. Preseason favorites Virginia Tech and Clemson were exposed early in the year. Georgia Tech's adjusting to a new coach. Maryland, NC State, and Wake Forest are always stuck in 3rd gear.
When BC beat Virginia Tech a few weeks ago, there was legitimate hope they'd win the Atlantic Division, and then who knows. Even after losing to North Carolina - a solid team - they controlled their own destiny.
But the Clemson Tigers, under an interim coach, riding a 3 game losing streak, were too much for the Eagles, who were 4.5 point favorites at home.
A lackluster first half saw the Eagles down 17-0. But in the 4th, a blocked punt and an interception put BC in the driver's seat with a 21-17 lead. A 64 yard kickoff return set up a Clemson touchdown, and a BC fumble on the next drive was how the Eagles responded.
Here are the teams Clemson has beaten:
South Carolina State
And now... Boston College
A less than prestigious list that the Eagles are now a part of.
BC still needs a win to become bowl eligible, and will likely wind up in one of the lower ACC bowl games. One that will make the Florida Citrus Bowl look like the Rose Bowl.
AP Photo/Michael Dwyer
146 penalty minutes, 4 unsportsmanlike minors, 6 fighting majors, and 7 game misconducts (that's an ejection, for those of you just learning hockey). Oh yeah, and 6 goals, 5 of which belonged to the Bruins. The only unfortunate thing is that this is the last time these teams play each other.
Dallas has two very interesting individuals on their roster. Sean Avery and Steve Ott. Both of these gentlemen were among the 7 kicked out of last night's game. And both of them have less than desirable reputations.
Avery is a pest, an agitator. That's all well and good. But when he pushes a player over the edge, he doesn't stand up for himself. He hides behind a teammate or official. It gets his team a lot of power plays, but it's also led him to be the most hated player in the NHL. Watch him curl into the fetal position right after boarding Paul Kariya.
Steve Ott is your classic cheap shot artist. His specialties are late hits, and elbows to the head. He also goes for the knees sometimes, usually when a player has his back turned and/or play has just come to a stop.
But here's the important stuff. Despite dealing with these two clowns, the Bruins kept their cool, and played hockey. Early in the 2nd, Ott went after Stephane Yelle's knees. Shawn Thornton came off the bench, went after Ott, and Ott refused to fight. A minute later, Patrice Bergeron wrapped a goal past Marty Turco to give the Bruins a 2-1 lead.
Of the 146 penalty minutes in the game, 66 involved Avery or Ott in some way (either their penalty, or a penalty committed against them).
Tim Thomas made 21 saves in the 2nd period, which allowed the Bruins to pull away in the 3rd. Kessel and Stuart scored, and Sturm put the icing on the cake.
Of course, the real story was all the between-play shenanigans. The roughing, the fighting, the ejections. Avery boarded Marc Savard, and in the 4-1 contest (this all took place 40 seconds after it became 4-1), there was no holding back. By the end of the scrum, Savard was defending Milan Lucic by going after Avery.
It speaks volumes about this team that the leading scorer - Savard - goes after a guy in order to help the team's hardest hitter and best fighter. Savard had 66 penalty minutes last year. He's already got 24 this season.
The Bruins didn't let Avery and Ott get under their collective skin. They focused their anger into beating them on the scoreboard. Then, with that accomplished, they beat them up on the ice. Or at least they tried to. Can't help it if Avery and Ott are turtles.
The B's are off until Thursday when they host the Maple Leafs.
AP Photo/Mary Schwalm