Headlines: Tougher Loss To Swallow? Paradise Jam or North Carolina?

Jeff: The football and basketball losses this weekend hurt as a fan but certainly would not make any all-time worst losses list.  Both the football and basketball teams lost to good teams and the losses won't directly effect their postseason positioning since Clemson went on to beat Virginia. But, in reality, the football and basketball losses will hurt the Eagles when it comes time for postseason selection in both sports.

With a win over North Carolina, the Eagles could have done no worse than gone to the Music City Bowl and played an SEC team and they would've had an outside shot at the Champs Sports Bowl or Gator Bowl. Also, the Eagles would likely have climbed into the rankings by the end of the season.

The basketball team really hurt their chances of receiving an NCAA tournament berth because losing in the first round of the Paradise Jam hurt their non-conference strength of schedule. The Eagles had the opportunity to play two ranked teams if they could have won Friday but instead they might end up not playing a single ranked team before ACC play begins. Which is a bigger deal for BC? Going to the NIT instead of the NCAA tournament or dropping a few spots in the bowl selection process and not entering the football rankings this season?

Brian: The opening round loss to Saint Joseph's in the Paradise Jam is a much, much bigger deal. As you mentioned, BC not only takes a moderate-to-bad loss to the preseason 10th ranked Atlantic 10 team, but the loss is compounded by not getting to play a ranked Purdue team. Playing Purdue would have boosted our strength of schedule. Instead, the Eagles played and defeated a South Dakota State team who isn't expected to do much in the Summit League this year. The way in which they lost was more troubling as well, with Reggie Jackson missing a layup to tie it in the final seconds. Finally, the loss of Rakim Sanders to an ankle injury will certainly be felt by the Eagles over the next 2-4 weeks. It's not like Skinner has the deepest of benches this year, and with Sanders out, players like Reggie Jackson, Joe Trapani and Courtney Dunn will have to step up if the Eagles hope to keep things going in the early season.

Not only did BC miss out on playing a Purdue team ranked in the top 10, but the Eagles will face another tough test today as they face last year's Missouri Valley champs Northern Iowa. Last season, Northern Iowa won the MVC and gave Purdue all it could handle in the NCAA tournament as a 12 seed. The Eagles should be expected to win, but Northern Iowa will give the Eagles all they can handle. If BC finishes the Paradise Jam at a record of 1-2, I would consider that a disastrous start to the men's hoops season.

To your other point, the Eagles dropping a few slots in the ACC bowl pecking order isn't that big of a deal ... especially this year. Given that the Pac-10 is very deep this year and the conference now has virtually no shot at a second BCS bowl berth, the Emerald Bowl (the Eagles' most likely destination) should select a strong Pac-10 opponent to face the ACC representative. BC playing a nationally ranked Cal or Stanford team is a great option for the Eagles at this point given the other projected bowl matchups. This bowl will also be much better than it was for BC in 2003 since the Pac-10 will have enough bowl-eligible teams to fill its slot in this bowl.

In the Music City bowl, the ACC will likely face a bogus bowl team like Tennessee or Georgia. Just like last season, I don't think many BC fans will travel to Nashville to watch the Eagles play a 6-6 or 7-5 SEC team. Similarly in the Champs Sports Bowl, with the Big Ten likely sending two teams to the BCS, this bowl will grab the 5th best bowl team instead of the 4th best. The general consensus is that the Champs Sports Bowl will pick Northwestern. As much as I would love for BC to get a shot at my grad school, two private schools playing in a December bowl game in Florida isn't a recipe for success. Plus the Eagles already have Northwestern on the schedule in 2 years, so the appeal of seeing a team you wouldn't otherwise see play BC isn't there.

BC has a good percentage of alumni on the West Coast and with a nationally ranked Pac-10 opponent from the Bay Area, the Emerald Bowl will be a much better draw. As nice as it would have been to play in a better bowl, I actually think the Eagles falling to the Emerald Bowl is such a bad thing given the alternatives this year.

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