Brian: Let's start off with football as we get closer to the trip to Orlando and Matt Ryan's final game. Some are questioning if BC will be motivated in this game after nearly going to the Orange Bowl. Are you concerned?
Jeff: No. Let's start with the defense. We have a linebacking core and a strong safety that just like to hit people and hit people hard. They could be playing Duke, Baylor, Stanford, or BC High and they would bring it as soon as they walk out onto the field. Then to address the offense. Matt Ryan is still trying to move up the draft board and last time I checked, as Matt Ryan goes, so do the Eagles. We will be fine. And as for the team overall, we have a lot of seniors who will be playing their last game so I am certain they will want to leave the field with a victory.
Brian: Matt Ryan and Jeff Jagodzinsky certainly have a knack for saying all the right things this year. I don't doubt that they will have the boys fully motivated for the Champs Sports Bowl. As for other motivation, don't underestimate how much the BC bowl winning streak will play as far as motivating the team. TOB really hung his hat on this accomplishment despite playing inferior opponents a few of those years (see: Toledo, CSU, UNC, Arizona State). Michigan State, although they finished 7th in the Big 10, is a major BCS conference opponent. A win over a BCS conference opponent will go a long way to helping Jags on the recruiting trail. It will also somewhat silence TOB supporters who tout BC's bowl streak as one of his major accomplishments. Also, there will only be a handful of teams that can say they won 11 games this year. BC hasn't won 11 since 1940's 11-0 squad, so there is history to be made as well.
Jeff: Yes the bowl streak is nice and 11 wins would be great, but I strongly disagree that beating Michigan State validates our winning streak. It is a better "name" than Boise State or Toledo for sure but this streak is going to have to include a win in a Gator, Orange or Peach Bowl at some point to be remembered by anyone other than BC fans.
Brian: Have to disagree. Writers and college football gurus have taken notice of us this season. As an example, Kirk Herbstreit thinks that we should be on upset alert. A win over the Spartans will go a long way to silencing the critics and validating our bowl win streak (of the 8 bowl games in the streak, we will have beaten 4 BCS conference teams - Georgia, Arizona State, UNC and Michigan State). A win also strengthens the ACC's resume over the Big 10. Finally, a win coupled with stability in the coaching staff, seems to be helping our recruiting efforts. Recruits are passing up places like Arkansas for BC because of coaching stability. We can really build on this win.
Jeff: Bowl wins are great and this bowl game is probably our most important since playing Georgia in Nashville. But, assuming the streak continues it will get a ton of national attention after a win in a top tier bowl.
Jeff: Brian, Jux Berg called BC "the most unimportant team in college football" in an article last week. I know this pissed you off. What do you have to say about it?
Brian: One of the BC supporters who posted comments (of which, there are 371!) on this article wrote a rebuttal on Bleacher Report. Largely, I agree with the response other than naming other programs who are more "unimportant" than BC. We are above this. The simple fact that Jux Berg wrote an article about BC proves that they are not the most unimportant program in college. The article oozes of jealousy and bitterness. The article's whole premise is indefensible and the timing of the article is also quite curious (post ACCCG loss). Overall though, my biggest shock was that Sports Illustrated picked up the article and spun it as "Finally - a Loser in Boston." BC is the furthest thing from a "loser" this year or even over the past few years.
Jeff: Wow, Brian, I thought you were going to blast this article for pages and pages. So since you are taking the high road I will as well and I will point out the one good fact that Mr. Berg did point out - no top 10 finishes in 23 years. Outside of students and alumni of the teams that do, no one remembers who squeaked into the top 25 at the end of the year which is where we usually are. This year we were a major part of the national football picture for much of the season and it still looks like even 11 wins will not be enough to get us back into the top 10 at the year end so the streak will continue. I am not expecting to see BC in the top 10 every year, but this year we had as good of a chance as ever and we lost to a mediocre Maryland team. Once again one win away from a major bowl or conference championship. When will BC have a different story to tell at the end of the year?
Brian: Who finished in the top 10 in 2004? Did you know Utah, Iowa and Cal did? Where are those programs this year? There isn't a top 25 vote among those 3 teams this year. My point: no one remembers the Top 10 year in, year out. Polls are subjective and subject to the whims of sports writers and coaches (how else can you explain LSU jumping 5 spots in the final week to squeak into the BCS championship?) I disagree. This is a meaningless statistic. Besides, if Jux did his homework, I'm willing to bet there are MULTIPLE BCS conference teams that haven't sniffed the Top 10 in more than 23 years.
Jeff: I could've told you Iowa and Utah, but not Cal. I agree you don't remember the top 10 every year either but you remember that a lot more than the top 25. I remember Utah beating Pittsburgh in the Fiesta Bowl in 2004 when BC should've represented the Big East by simply beating Syracuse in the final game of the season. Next, if we looked at teams with no top 10 finishes in the last 23 years the list would include names like: Baylor, Iowa State, Northwestern, Rutgers, Vanderbilt, Arizona. Putting those names up next to Boston College does not make BC look any better.
Brian: I don't care to put those programs up against BC because this is a meaningless statistic. To humor you though, Northwestern finished #8 (AP) in 1995. Arizona #10 (UPI) in 1986. Agree Vandy, Iowa State and Baylor have been terrible. But add these teams to your list of "important" powerhouse football programs who have sniffed the top 25 in the last 23 years - East Carolina (#9 AP 1991), Kansas (#9 AP 1995), North Carolina (#10 AP 1996), Tulane (#7 AP 1998), Marshall (#10 1999), and Miami (OH) (#10 AP 2003). No one can argue that these teams are important because they've had 1 top 10 finish in the last 23 years. My conclusion is that Jux's criteria for determining the most unimportant football team is completely flawed. Finally, I would add that had BC been given the opportunity, they would have finished in the top 10 this year easily. That's not to say I'm completely ruling this out though, as I'm picking BC to win their bowl game, and a combo of Illinois / West Virginia / Hawaii / Arizona State / Kansas to lose their bowl games.
Jeff: Jux's argument was completely ridiculous. I thought we established that early on. A top ten finish in recent memory is something BC currently lacks on their resume though.
Brian: Rutgers finished #12 (AP) last season, their highest ranking in the last 23 years. Does finishing outside the top 10 take away from their great season last year? No. Does anyone doubt that Rutgers football is now a strong program in the Big East? No. I could care less if BC ever finishes in the top 10. The only resume builder BC football should ever be concerned with is ACC Championships.
Jeff: Rutgers football over the last 23 years SUCKS! Everyone knows that. Yes they had a good season last year and are going bowl again. But looking at Rutgers over a longer horizon they might still be the WORST team in college football.