You can usually count on sportswriters to have some pretty strong predetermined opinions about certain teams. I have to imagine this makes writing the articles a lot easier. You especially see this in international soccer. You can drag your run-of-the-mill "Around the Horn" correspondent onto TV during the World Cup and he'll say, with conviction, the following things, without having watched a soccer game in four years:
- The African teams are plucky underdogs with raw talent.
- The American team is gritty, hard-nosed, and won't take your crap, but they're not very good.
- The Italians are primadonnas.
- England has too many egos to put it all together in the World Cup.
- Germany is really efficient and plays with great teamwork.
And so on. The same trend exists in college football (southern speed!!!), which is why I don't usually read the preseason preview magazines. They pretty much cut and paste the same articles on each team every year, other than maybe the top 10, who get some actual focus. I'm pretty sure every BC preview dating back to 1922 has said "tough, hard-nosed, great offensive line, lacking speed and talent at the skill positions."
Lo and behold, Athlon Sports offers up ACC coaches speaking anonymously about conference foes, and shows us that it's not just sportswriters, but coaches, too, who love the comfortable surroundings of archetypes far too much to actually take a real, hard look at the team being discussed.
“Whether it’s Tom O’Brien or Frank Spaziani, they were going to be tough. They were going to be physical. They weren’t going to beat themselves, and they make you earn it every game. That’s always Boston College’s M.O. That hasn’t produced results lately, in part because they don’t have very good talent, but they never gave up their toughness." …
"I’ve heard Steve Addazio wants to be more like they were at Florida and spread you out. To me, you’ll have a hard time doing that at Boston College because you don’t have the speed. It will be interesting to see what they can do from a scheme standpoint." …
"They are always big on the offensive line, but nobody at the receiver position really scares you. Where they hurt is at the skill positions. But on the offensive line, it’s hard to move guys in there. You would expect that to be the same."
Anyone who actually (god bless their souls) watched most of BC's football games last year could easily tell you what a pile of junk this is. The offensive line for the past two years was atrocious, giving Chase Rettig absolutely no opportunity to show what he's capable of. The Eagles also were very adept at beating themselves, unless you count horrendous coaching as being beaten by Spaz and not by themselves, which I guess is legit. And nothing says "they make you earn it every game" like the blowout losses in which BC barely ever managed to cross the 50 yard line.
Meanwhile, the standout players for BC last year included.... let's' see... Chase Rettig, Alex Amidon, and KPL, none of whom played on either line. While Amidon isn't a speed burner, he's a pretty good ACC receiver, and Rettig is a pretty good quarterback. If you're analyzing strengths, weaknesses, and question marks for BC going into the season, I have much more confidence in that QB/WR combo than I do in the offensive line.
Meanwhile, some of the other best players for BC during the dreadful Spaz years were also "skill position" players- Montel Harris, until he got kicked off the team. Deuce Finch... until he got kicked off the team... uh....
Anyway, I didn't bother reading past the BC section of this article to see what other regurgitated fluff it had to offer. Presumably Clemson and Florida State have ath-u-letes all over the place, while Duke is a smart team that won't make mistakes.