Brian: On Tuesday, Eagle in Atlanta took a look at the non-men's hockey, non-sailing Boston College sports teams that could conceivably bring a National Championship home to the Heights. Here are his top five:
1. Women's Ice Hockey
2. Men's Soccer
3. Women's Soccer
4. Women's Lacrosse
5. Women's Rowing
Agree with this list? Additions / subtractions? And which non-men's hockey Boston College sports team, if any, brings home a National Championship for BC? Your thoughts?
Jeff: I agree that he is heavy on women's sports. Maybe women's field hockey should be in there too? If we ranked the men's sports men's swimming would probably be least likely for a national championship with baseball extremely unlikely as well. Those sports along with golf we just have no chance in partially because of where we are located geographically and southern schools have such a natural advantage.
What might surprise you though is that I think men's basketball is not far off the top 5 list. If we are going to look for five potential sports that might win a national championship, when we get past the top two or three, the odds are extremely low that it happens in the next ten years. But, in 2007, BC was actually picked by Sports Illustrated to win the NCAA tournament. I don't think that any other sport at BC eligible for this conversation has been seriously discussed in any major sports publication as a national championship likely winner. You also might say that the basketball team is so far from where they were then. This may be true, but in the '99-00 season, the men only won two Big East games. There is no reason that if they have come back from that low point before that they cannot do it again, get a 2, 3, or 4 seed in the tournament and have a special run.
Brian: I'm not buying college basketball as a viable National Championship contender any time soon. Sure, Sports Illustrated -- and the New York Times ... still have the online graphic saved to prove it! -- picked BC to win it all only a few years ago. But in that time, we've seen the era of the one-and-done become more and more pronounced. The entire starting five of this year's National Championship team just declared for the NBA Draft. Until Donahue and the Eagles start recruiting the type of talent that is going to bring home National Titles in hoops (and take on the one-and-done flight risk that comes with that talent), I'm not expecting BC to compete for a title in men's hoops.
I can buy men's soccer but other than that ... I'm not seeing any other men's sports where BC can realistically expect to compete for titles. As you point out, there's no shot for BC in golf, tennis, swimming & diving or track without facilities, scholarships and few natural advantages. Baseball is equally as unlikely.
From the women's side, obviously women's ice hockey and women's soccer are at the forefront of the conversation given both program's recent runs through the NCAA Tournament to the final four. I could be convinced to throw women's field hockey in the top five, though they do play in the uber-competitive ACC. Similarly women's lacrosse could get hot and make a run in the NCAAs.
With so many programs with a slightly higher than zero percent chance of winning a National title, I question why BC's athletic department is as big as it is. To me, it would make sense to put more focus, time and resources into the sports that can compete for titles and give up on others where the school lacks the facilities, scholarships or coaching to compete for conference and National titles.
Jeff: The question wasn't which programs are likely to win. The question was put together a top five out of all our programs, knowing that the odds are slim. Heck, the University of South Carolina down the street from me here just got their first men's national title in any sport two years ago with the baseball college world series win. I say men's basketball is in the discussion for BC's top five, especially with the one and dones dominating these days. One school can emerge in one off-season easily.
Brian: Schools like Kentucky, Connecticut, Duke, North Carolina, Kansas, Florida, Florida, North Carolina, Connecticut, Syracuse, Maryland, Duke, Michigan State, Connecticut, Kentucky, Arizona, Kentucky and UCLA, right?
The NCAA Tournament is great with its Cinderella and George Mason-like runs, but there is a reason the college basketball bluebloods have owned the sport over the last two decades. The sport hasn't had a non-traditional champ in nearly 20 years with Arkansas in 1994 (maybe 2002 if you don't consider Maryland a basketball blueblood).
The chances that BC breaks college basketball royalty's strangehold on the NCAA Tournament are incredibly, incredibly small.
Jeff: Agreed the chances are small, but I stand firm that they are better in basketball than any other men's sport other than soccer right now.