The Boston College Eagles football squad has their eyes on the calendar. The date circled, Aug. 30th when they are scheduled to kick off the 2008 season against Kent State. With the pre-season wrapping up, anticipation for the upcoming year is high and coaches, players and fans alike are all excited to get underway.
This past Sunday, the Eagles conducted their final summer camp scrimmage that featured a positive showing from an offensive standpoint, but more of a lack luster approach from the highly touted defense.
“I would have liked to have seen more intensity,” said coach Jeff Jagodzinski, who did add he was more interested in coming out of camp healthy than in anything he could see in a scrimmage. “This was our last live scrimmage, because I want to make sure my team is in a healthy state going into the Kent State game. That’s my first priority.”
The obvious key loss for the Eagles from last year’s squad was the loss of QB Matt Ryan. Ryan was drafted 3rd overall in the NFL draft by the Atlanta Falcons and it will be hard to replace his on field leadership and athletic abilities right away. Chris Crane has the tough job of filling Ryan’s shoes as the starting QB this season and he seems up for the challenge by looking sharp in the last game of the summer.
“We ran the ball well and we’re making progress,” said Crane, who completed 10 of 20 passes for 66 yards. “Each day we’re getting better. We just have to get better every day.”
The Eagles received some votes of consideration to be ranked in the Top 25 AP Poll but fell a little shy of breaking the top 25. In the ACC Coaches Poll, BC was picked to finish 8th in the conference beneath the likes of power houses such as Clemson, Miami, Virginia Tech and Florida State.
As far as expectations go for the 2008 season, the Eagles have to remember that they are not the same team that they were one year ago. They need to play within themselves and keep games close on the defensive end because their offensive is not going to be able to put up the same kinds of numbers they were able to generate last year behind Ryan and Co. If their defensive and special teams units are able to gel early on in the schedule, they will certainly have a great chance at qualifying for a bowl game, but at this point in time cannot be considered favorites in the ACC.
One player to watch is WR Rich Gunnell who last season in 14 games made 64 catches for a team high 931 yards and seven TD scores. It will be interesting to see how quickly Crane and Gunnell get on the same page and if the WR can continue to have the same success without Ryan running the show.
After the Kent State game on the 8/30 the Eagles open up their home schedule on 9/6 against Georgia Tech at Alumni Stadium in Chestnut Hill, MA.
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Ever since Boston College joined the ACC, the Eagles football program has continued to make strides in the right direction. Last year they were victorious in the Champs Sports Bowl 24-21 over Michigan St., they finished the season rated in the Top 10 of the AP poll and then had two of their players (Matt Ryan and DeJuan Tribble) drafted 3rd and 17th in the NFL Lottery. The future continues to look very bright for the Eagles and expectations are high for the 2008 campaign.
BC returns the core of their upperclassman defensive unit which last season held opponents to an average of 16.9 points a game in their 11 wins. On the offensive side of things, Chris Crane will replace Ryan as the starting QB in the fall. Crane who stands at 6’5″ tall and has a solid 220 lb frame dominated the spring ball workouts and left no one guessing as to who would win the starting job.
Crane is also very excited about the potential starting running back in Josh Haden. This kid’s got tons of speed and lots of potential to be the next superstar back in the conference.
“He’s here, and he’s working real hard,” said Crane of Haden. “During practice we’ve done some live snaps and he’s broken off a couple around the edge and ran up the sideline. He only needs a little crease and he’s strong enough upper body and lower body wise to break through that hole and break arm tackles.”
The Eagles will continue to work hard over the summer to put themselves in great game shape come the fall season. Barring any injuries they will most likely be the pre-season favorites to win the ACC.
Aug. 30 – @ Kent State
Sept. 6 – Georgia Tech
Sept. 20 – Central Florida
Sept. 27 – Rhode Island
Oct. 4 – @ N.C. State
Oct. 18 – Virginia Tech
Oct. 25 – @ North Carolina
Nov. 1 – Clemson
Nov. 8 – Notre Dame
Nov. 15 – @ Florida State
Nov. 22 – @ Wake Forest
Nov. 29 – Maryland
Tickets are now available for all 2008 BC Eagles Football games!
With the regular season wrapping up over the weekend, the highly touted ACC Tournament action will begin this Thursday and oh what a tournament it should be. The University of North Carolina (UNC) and Duke University have the #1 and #2 tournament seeds, and in the AP polls both teams are ranked in the nation’s top ten. UNC is currently ranked #1 in the country, and are the favorites to win the ACC Tourney, while Duke holds the #7 AP spot and looks to avenge an 8 point loss (76-68) to the Tar Heels that they suffered over the weekend.
The top four seeds receive first round buys so along with UNC and Duke, #3 Clemson and #4 Virginia Tech will be watching the first round of games awaiting their opponents for the second round of play on Friday 3/14.
The first round match ups include four games where teams will not only be battling for a chance at the ACC Tournament Championship, but fighting for their NCAA Tournament life. In the #8 vs. #9 game, Wake Forest will take on Florida State. Wake won the only meeting between the two teams this year on the road, logging a 78-70 win on Valentines Day. The winner of this game has the luck of drawing UNC in the 2nd round, so this game may be a clash to just add one more win to an NCAA Tournament resume hoping to boost their chances to get in as a bubble team.
Another opening round match up which may be closer then some believe at first glance is the # 5 vs. # 12 game, with Miami matching up against NC State. Many see Miami as the clear favorite but on Jan. 19th when the two teams met during the regular season, NC State pulled off the upset beating the Hurricanes who were then ranked 21st in the country. The winner of this game will take on Virginia Tech in round two.
In the #7 vs. #10 contest, Georgia Tech battles Virginia in what looks to be another great game. This will be the third meeting of the season for the teams, with each school notching a win thus far. In both games, the visiting team came up victorious so playing at the neutral site might make things interesting. The winner will take on Duke in the second round, whom neither team beat during their regular season.
The final game during the first round of the ACC Tournament will feature #6 Maryland vs. # 11 Boston College. Through the first 16 games of their schedule, BC was 12-4 and looked to be on their way to another NCAA Tournament birth. The Eagles have since dropped 12 of their last 13 games to fall to 13-16 on the season, and now their only hope at the NCAA tourney would be to capture the ACC Tournament championship for an automatic bid. Maryland lost to the Eagles early on in the season (Dec. 9th) when they were still hot, but beat them in early February during the beginning of the BC’s cold spell.
First Round ACC Tournament Predictions:
- Wake Forest over Florida State by 15. Close game in the first half but WF full court pressure defense will cause the Seminoles to leave the reservation for good.
- NC State over Miami by 3. Who isn’t a sucker for the 12 vs. 5 upset? NC State beat the Canes during the regular season and with a great perimeter performance they will do it again in round one of the ACC Tourney.
- Virginia over Georgia Tech by 6. Neither team is playing great basketball right now but both will come out trying to control the flow of the game. Virginia will win that battle, playing an up-tempo style and their fast break will be too much for Georgia Tech’s sluggish defense.
-Maryland over Boston College by 12 – Losers of six straight, the Eagles just can’t remember what its like to win and let the Terrapins kick them while they’re down. Maryland is on the NCAA Tournament bubble and needs this win big time to help their chances.
Round two of the ACC Tournament will be televised on ESPN 2 on Friday March 14th and the tournament Semifinals and Finals will be broadcast on ESPN over the weekend.
On Monday night, over 17,000 fans enjoyed two exciting NCAA Hockey match-ups at the TD Banknorth Garden for the first round of the 2008 Boston Beanpot Tournament. In the evening’s first game, Harvard University got out to a quick start scoring three goals in the games first eight minutes en route to a 3-1 victory over cross-town opponent Northeastern University.
The nightcap featured a battle between city rivals Boston College and Boston University. The two teams had faced off in the Beanpot Championship game four out of the last five years and many looked at this match-up’s winner to be the heavy favorite in next week’s final. BC prevailed in a thrilling 4-3 OT win in a game that featured three ties and four lead changes.
The ninth-ranked Eagles (13-6-7) reached the championship game for the fifth time in six years, ending BU’s long run of Beanpot success.
The Terriers (8-14-4) had won three straight Beanpots and 11 of the past 13. Since 1983, they had advanced to the final every year except 1994.
The 2008 Beanpot Championship game featuring BC vs. Harvard will be played on February 11, 2008 starting at 8pm at the TD Banknorth Garden. The consolation game will be played prior to that at 5pm with the match-up of BU vs. NEU.
Tournament Notes: BC’s Nathan Gerbe scored the game-tying and game-winning goals in the first round contest. BU’s goaltender Brett Bennett made 30 saves in the losing effort.
Harvard has not been in a Beanpot final since 1998, and has not won the tournament since 1993. Northeastern currently has the longest title drought, last winning it all in 1988.
Boston’s 56th annual Beanpot of Hockey will be held on 2/4 and 2/11 at the TD Banknorth Garden in Boston. This treasured college hockey tradition features Boston University, Boston College, Harvard and Northeastern in a two round tournament. The winner gets Boston bragging rights and the Boston Beanpot Trophy. (more)
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