Monday, November 30, 2009


What he did at the end of the USC/UCLA game was nice. Before this play, USC took a knee, but UCLA then called a timeout. In response, this happened:

Pete Carrol was trying to end the game, but UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel didn't want it to end. Personally, I would've simply passed for a 1st down, or maybe ran the ball (UCLA had 2 timeouts remaining). But Neuheisel invited the touchdown pass.

But Pete Carrol's sideline celebration looks like a 12 year old girl at a Jonas Brother concert.


The gruesome twist of the knee in the replays almost made me relieved that Lucic will be out for "only" 4 weeks. The diagnosis is a high ankle sprain, and the prognosis is somewhat positive. No need for surgery, and only 4 weeks of regular season games missed.

You hate losing a player like Lucic, especially as injuries have sidelines so much talent for the Bruins already. But I remember last season when the injuries hit the team in the Carolina series (Kobasew's broken ribs, Krejci's hip, Kessel's shoulder). I'd much rather lose Lucic for the month of December as opposed to the month of May.

Boston Globe


This was Rivalry Weekend in college football. In-state and border-state rivals faced off in games that fans look forward to all year. UCLA played USC, North Carolina played NC State, Clemson/South Carolina, Mississippi/Mississippi State, Oklahoma State/Oklahoma, Arizona/Arizona State, Florida State/Florida, Virginia Tech/Virginia, Kansas/Missouri, Utah/BYU, Texas Tech/Baylor, Washington State/Washington, Kentucky/Tennessee, Arkansas/LSU, Georgia/Georgia Tech, Rice/Houston, Texas/Texas A&M, Alabama/Auburn, Nebraska/Colorado, and Pittsburgh/West Virginia.

These rivalries often come with trophies held by the winning team, and cool nicknames like Bedlam, Backyard Brawl, Good Old Fashioned Hate, Border War, Egg Bowl, Iron Bowl, and Holy War.

Who did BC play this weekend?


Boston College doesn't have a local rival. They used to until Holy Cross went down to 1AA. Sure, Virginia Tech is a rival (for BS, but not for Tech). And Notre Dame/BC is a rivalry as well, but much more for BC than Notre Dame.

Last year I suggested BC find a new rival, and some BC putz claimed that Syracuse is their rival. Really? Well in football, BC is 10 times better, as is Syracuse in basketball.

Boston College does have a local rival, they just haven't played yet. It's the only other Division 1A team in New England: The University of Connecticut. Storrs is only 80 miles from Chestnut Hill. That's closer than most of those rivalries mentioned above.

It would be Big East vs. ACC (and ex-Big East), public vs. private, secular vs. Catholic, Hartford vs. Boston, and it could claim the average New England sports fans' attention for at least one weekend of the year.

The game could even be played at Gillette Stadium, so fans of both teams could tailgate (very few BC fans can actually tailgate because the campus has such a parking crunch). Tickets can be split between teams to fill the 68,000 seats at Gillette (UConn's Rentschler Field sits 40,000, BC's Alumni Stadium holds 44,500).

We can call it the Blackstone River Shootout.

Or come up with a better name.

It's worth a shot, and both athletic departments should look into it. UConn played Syracuse this weekend, and while that's a big basketball rivalry, it's just not the same in football. As a college football fan, it'd be cool to have a rivalry game to look forward to all season. Everytime Rivalry Weekend comes round, I feel like as a BC fan, I'm missing out.


It's funny, the build-up to the Colts game was about 100 times the intensity as it's been for this game against the Saints. Perhaps Thanksgiving got in the way. And the Colts game did have more playoff implications (playoff scenarios are the one of the few times we use the word "implications"). But the Saints are by fary the best team in the NFL through 10 weeks.

The Colts are 10-0, and that's nice, but beating up on the AFC South, then taking advantage of Laurence Maroney's point-shaving don't impress me much (bonus points for Shania Twain reference).

The NFL shouldn't have traditional power rankings this season. It's more like a pyramid. And the Saints are at that pointy pinnacle atop the pyramid.

#1: New Orleans
#2-7: Indy, Minnesota, Dallas, Cincy, San Diego, New England
#8-18: Arizona, Green Bay, Denver, Philly, Jacksonville, Pittsburgh, NY Giants, Baltimore, Atlanta, Houston, Miami

Why are the Saints so much better than everyone else? Balance on offense. They can run the ball (5th most yards in the NFL), and pass the ball (9th most). They've scored a League high 369 points, or 36.9 a game. That's a touchdown more per game than the 2nd highest scoring team.

Their defense isn't amazing, and that's the advantage the Patriots must press home. No more red zone failures. The Saints are 15th in scoring defense, allowing 20.4 points per game. And that's still good, but the Patriots shouldn't have problems marching downfield, then putting the ball into the end zone.

Did you know the Patriots have the 2nd best scoring defense in the NFL? I didn't until just now. 16.4 points per game. So perhaps it isn't just the Patriots offense that will be tested. The Saints are up against a statistically elite defensive unit.

The key to winning this game will be Brady, Moss, Welker, and unfortunately Maroney. The usual suspects on offense have to be able to score on demand, or at least mount lengthy drives. We saw how exhausted the Pats' defense got in the 4th against Indy. This cannot be repeated. The Pats no longer have the depth to shift defensive linemen and linebackers in and out to keep them fresh.

The Saints are 20th in rushing defense. What compounds this potential chink in the armor is that a 10-0 team is usually in the lead, which means other teams tend not to run the ball. Yet they still allow 115.7 yards per game.

The Patriots need to have a steady rushing attack. It doesn't have to be game-breaking, just sure and steady, 3 yards every time. They can't afford Maroney's token 1 yard losses. This will set-up play-action, wear out the Saints' D-line, and keep Drew Brees on the sidelines. Laurence Maroney CAN do this, but often doesn't. Hopefully BJG Ellis will.

I think the Patriots will come through in this one, and by a surprising margin. Patriots 31, Saints 21.


On Tuesday night, the 8 divisions of Eastern Mass high school football will start their playoffs, determining who will meet in the Super Bowls on Saturday at Gillette Stadium. Here are the match-ups, including the location of the game. All rankings are from

Division 1:
7:45pm: #1 Xaverian vs. #2 Brockton - at Weymouth
7:45pm: #6 Billerica vs. #9 Everett - at Lowell

Division 1A:
7:45pm: #5 Gloucester vs. #18 Westford - at Lynn
7:45pm: Needham @ #11 Bridgewater-Raynham

Division 2:
7:45pm: #7 Dracut @ #3 Reading
7:45pm: #4 Natick @ #10 Franklin

Division 2A:
5:15pm: #13 Masconomet vs. Concord-Carlisle - at Lowell
5:15pm: #15 Marshfield vs. Duxbury - at Weymouth

Division 3:
5:15pm: Rockland vs. Marblehead - at Lynn
7:45pm: Bishop Feehan vs. Dighton-Rehobeth - at Taunton

Division 3A:
5:15pm: Austin Prep vs. Lynnfield - at Reading
5:15pm: Cohasset vs. #19 Holliston - at Bridgewater-Raynham

Division 4:
5:15pm: East Boston vs. Bristol-Plymouth - at Taunton
Bye: Whittier

Division 4A:
7:15pm: Marian vs. Northeast - at Arlington
5:15pm: Brighton vs. Tri-County - at Franklin


After falling behind 2-0 to the Senators Saturday night, I was already writing a post in my head. I was going to talk about Lucic's injury deflating the team, and the Bruins' puzzling inability to win at home.

But a 3 goal rally, capped off with exemplary shootout efforts from Tim Thomas and Michael Ryder thankfully forced me to make some rewrites.

The Bruins have gone 5-0-1 in their last 6, earning 11 of the available 12 points. They won Saturday's game despite Ottawa's good fortune (their 2nd goal was due in large part to an injured Patrice Bergeron, turning a 5-on-4 power play into a 5-on-3; and their 3rd goal was a lucky bounce combined with a rusty Tim Thomas). And Friday afternoon, I think they stole a point from that game because Marty Brodeur was on his A-Game. And that guy's A-Game is otherworldly.

The B's sit atop the Northeast Division (although 2nd place Buffalo and 3rd place Ottawa have played fewer games). Their penalty kill unit has improved dramatically since October's struggles, and is now the 2nd best in the NHL at 84.9%. The power play has also been steadily getting better. All 3 of the Bruins' goals came with a man advantage on Saturday.

After a few days off, the B's host the surprisingly solid Lightning Wednesday night before travelling to Montreal on Friday.


Photo Credit:
AP Photo/Michael Dwyer