Monday, December 07, 2009
Normally, an Emerald Bowl berth is yet another ho hum Boston College post-season appearance. But when it's up against USC, that's no longer the case. Thanks to USC's 4 losses, the Emerald Bowl was able to snag USC. The Trojans had been in the BCS for 7 straight years.
It's a bit of a rematch, and a bit of a preview. BC's basketball team was eliminated by USC in the Tournament last March. And these two football teams will meet in 2013 (in California) and 2014 (in Boston).
This is great news for Boston College, who achieved an unexpected 8-4 record. Even without a win, this game will bring a lot of attention locally and nationally. Attention=recruits. Recruits=winning. Winning=more attention. More attention=more recruits.
The game will be December 26th at AT&T Park (where the Giants play) in San Francisco.
This is about the Bruins and their manic-depressive swings in quality of play, not about sexually curious polar bears.
The Bruins played two games this weekend. On Saturday, they played hockey against the Maple Leafs. I'm still trying to figure out exactly what kind of sport they tried playing Friday in Montreal.
It's time to build your vocabulary...
Hubris (hju:brɪs) -Noun:
Overbearing pride or presumption; arrogance
The Bruins' arch-rival is hubris, not the Canadiens. This is what led to their downfall in Quebec. This is what turned a 7-0 game into a 7-2 game on Saturday. Overconfidence, resulting in relaxation.
To be fair, when the Bruins are at their best, they're calm and collected. Calm isn't a long trip away from relaxed. Calm hockey is winning hockey. But relaxed hockey is losing hockey.
The B's made countless mistakes on Friday, and they paid for them. They got a wake up call, showed up on Saturday, and scored 7 goals. Then they relaxed a bit, and let Toronto score twice in 2 minutes.
I remember last season, I'd kind of dread the Bruins going up by 3 goals in a game. It seemed like when they were tied, up 1, or up 2, they played excellent hockey. Up 3, and they tried to play "prevent hockey" which absolutely does not exist. And after sweeping Montreal in the playoffs, their overconfidence seemed to hurt them in the Carolina series.
The good news is, the Bruins are having to deal with hubris. Hubris is a byproduct of winning, and that's what the B's are doing. It's sort of like going broke buying condoms because you're getting laid more than Wilt Chamberlain. It's an enjoyable predicament, but it still needs to be addressed at some point, or tragic downfall in the Greek theatrical sense will follow. For that calmed confidence that results in win's like Saturday's can also lead to relaxed losses like Friday's
In a weird scheduling quirk, the Bruins host the Maple Leafs again on Thursday.
The Patriots haven't won in any place that didn't have "England" in its name. Their only "road" win came against the Buccaneers in London. The Patriots have traveled to and lost in Miami, Denver, New York, Indianapolis, and New Orleans.
In another extension of season long themes, the Patriots struggled in the Red Zone.
I'm hearing some people criticize the defense. I've been hearing it for weeks. And I'll concede that the Patriots don't have a "championship defense." That is, their defensive unit isn't going to smother an opponent, keep them under 20 points, and allow for the Patriots to win with field goals.
This travesty, and others like it, are the offense's fault. In the 4th quarter, the Patriots had 4 possessions. Two of them were 3 and outs, two of them ended with interceptions. The inability to run the ball with a lead in the 4th is an inexcusable liability. And Brady in the Red Zone is becoming a joke.
I don't want to see Laurence Maroney in a Patriot uniform again. Period. He sucks. He's so inconsistent, so unreliable. The running game is supposed to be the conservative foundation of an offense. The Patriots don't need a 1,000 yard rusher. They don't need Adrian Peterson or Cedric Benson. They don't need a show horse, they need a mule. Someone to CONSISTENTLY get 3 yards, maybe 4. Someone to make 3rd downs a manageable 5 yards. Maroney belongs on "Dancing With the Stars," not the Patriots roster.
Then there's Brady. I can't let him off the hook. He's forcing it. He isn't smooth, he isn't confident. Is it residue from the leg injury? Is it a lack of faith in the offense? Is it the single-dimensionality of Randy Moss? Is it the lack of the running game? It's all of the above. But it's his fault more than anything. Red Zone interceptions are a cardinal sin, and he's thrown two already this season.
It's time to make a move on Charlie Weis. Offer him $3 million, his own twinkie factory, anything. Weis or someone who can design a creative, aggressive, and UNPREDICTABLE offense. Opponents know what the Pats are doing before they do it. In the NFL, that's an unassailable advantage. It's like playing poker with a marked deck.
The Panthers come to town on Sunday, in what is sadly a must-win for the Pats, who lead the AFC East by a mere game.
For the first time since 1998, Xaverian Brothers High School won the Division 1 Championship last night with a dominating shutout over Everett. The victory completed a 13-0 season for the Hawks, the best record in program history. On their way to this accomplishment, Xaverian beat powerhouse Brockton twice, Everett twice, Division 1A runner-up Bridgewater-Raynham, and even played a game in New Jersey against Hudson Catholic, winning 42-0. The Hawks defense allowed a mere 11.6 points per game this season.
The other Super Bowl winners at Gillette Stadium yesterday:
Division 1A: Gloucester
Division 2: Reading
Division 2A: Marshfield
Division 3: Bishop Feehan
Division 3A: Austin Prep
Division 4: Whittier
Division 4A: Austin Prep