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Headlines: Kansas, Bowl Attendance and National Championship

Jeff: BC basketball played their first ranked team of the season Saturday and got ran out of the gym after keeping it close early. Are you changing any thoughts you had of Boston College making the dance?

Brian: I still think we can make the tournament. Not to peg it on one player, but much like this year's football season, our team will go only as far as one player will take us - Tyrese Rice. Rice got in foul trouble early and the game quickly got out of hand after that. Our inability to rebound really killed us this game. ACC opponents will continue to exploit our weakness until we start grabbing some boards. Still, this is a young team, and as you pointed out, I don't think that 7-8 wins in conference is unreasonable. This game was a learning experience, as clearly the UNCs, UCLAs, Memphises and Kansases are in another league than BC this season.

Jeff: To look optimistically at our schedule, it would not take upsetting any teams to be 5-5 in conference after heading to Cameron Indoor on Feb. 9th. By then this young team has plenty of time to mature and really improve which would then set up some possible victories at FSU and VT and who knows, maybe they can give UNC a game on March 1 in Conte. This team is young. This team is young. This team is young. Any BC basketball fan should be very excited about next year if not this year as we get deeper into conference play. Tyrese Rice seems to show up every game. Sometimes scoring, sometimes playing more like a point guard. Rebounding is certainly an issue but the team will get better.

Brian: Let's also briefly mention the strong Kansas fan base in attendance at the BC game. There was a lot of blue in the stands at Conte Forum for Kansas's first ever trip to Chestnut Hill. It's just a shame that we scheduled the marquee out of conference game of the season over winter break when the students were home. Good for ticket sales and ticket prices, embarrassing for Eagles fans watching on TV seeing half of our gym supporting the visiting team.

Jeff: I wasn't embarrassed. BC has become more of a national school. Students are too far away over break to go to a basketball game. Did you see the Clemson-UNC game last night? There were plenty of carolina blue shirts in the stands. And Clemson is a state school so all the students were able to make the game and fill the student section despite the game being over break. That makes a huge difference.

Brian: Jon Schults of State News (Michigan State's newspaper) published an article Sunday which made it sound like there were only a handful of Superfans in attendance at the Champs Sports Bowl. Of course, Jon fails to provide any official attendance statistics from the game and relies on a quote from one BC sophomore to paint the picture. Granted, this is just the Michigan State independent newspaper, but it does add to the perception that Boston College fans don't travel well.

Jeff: The quotes included in that article were from a fan and a player commenting on what they saw prior to the game. We were there and in the parking lot we were in Michigan State greatly outnumbered us. Then we got into the stadium well before kickoff and most Michigan State fans were already in their seats. Boston College fans did a great job traveling to this game in my opinion but if it were trackable I wouldn't be at all surprised if the average Michigan State fan sat in their seats a full 30 minutes prior to the average BC fan. I think anyone who matters (Jon Schults doesn't matter) noticed that BC traveled relatively well. But remember, not only does BC have a reputation for not traveling but also for not showing up on time for football games. Fans are getting better at both but those reputations are based on unfortunate realities.

Brian: Let's use real numbers. The quoted attendance for the Champs Sports Bowl was 46,554. Using Jon's argument, there are 46,045 students at MSU versus 12,723 at Boston College. There were clearly not 3.6x more MSU fans at the game than BC fans. So I would say if you are going to use school size as an argument, MSU fans travelled less proportionally than BC did.

More broadly, the perception that a team doesn't travel well is becoming more and more of a excuse for bowl committees to hide behind when passing up more deserving teams for bowl games (see: 2007 Peach Bowl). Virginia hardly traveled anyone to this year's Gator Bowl (60,243 tickets sold, maybe 1/2 of those showed up). I've turned the corner on going gray worrying about travel reps to bowl games. This isn't a BC problem; it is much broader than just one team. The problem is that the college football postseason is terribly broken. Bowls are played for TV, and ticket sales are now a secondary concern to TV schedules and ad dollars. There are way too many bowls, half of them made up by ESPN to fill dead air time between Christmas and New Years.

Jeff: Once again, the Boston College fan attendance in Orlando at the Champs Sports could've only helped our reputation. It did not hurt it. There were many many more fans than at the ACC Championship game as well as many more than our previous 8 bowl games including the Music City Bowl when we played a ranked Georgia team.

Jeff: OK Brian, the final college football game until late August is tonight. Make a prediction.

Brian: You can't look at the craziest college football season on record to figure this one out. LSU beat Florida. Michigan beat Florida. Ohio State beat Michigan. I think LSU wins to become the first ever 2 loss BCS National Champion (adding more fuel to the fire for a playoff). But Ohio State keeps it close. 28-17, Geaux Tigers. Also, I'd like to point out year end bowl predictions (less the BCS NCG).

Brian 20-11, .645
Jeff 14-17, .451

Jeff: Yeah, thanks Bri, I know I stunk it up at the bowl predictions. But, I have one more chance to redeem. LSU 20 OSU 13.