Jeff: With the basketball team on a two game winning streak and a chance to extend that to three games tonight against Sacred Heart, things are looking as good for the Eagles hoops team as they have all season. Meanwhile, some great-but-somewhat-expected news came last week in football when we learned that all the players, including most importantly, Montel Harris and Kaleb Ramsey, received medical hardship waivers and another year of eligibility.
Back on Thanksgiving (November 24) there was not much to be thankful for when it came to Boston College football and basketball. BC was 1-3 in basketball and had already lost to UMass by 36 points. Lately the basketball team has at least been competitive and has won two straight. In football, the Eagles sat at 3-8 and were in jeopardy of finishing the year with the worst record in the ACC. Surprisingly, the Eagles then went down to Miami and notched a victory to finish out the season. Suddenly the season looking a little brighter in basketball. And for football, the return of Harris, Ramsey, Jones, Wucjiak and possibly Momah, coupled with the stronger finish than expected by the football team, things seem to be looking up for BC. Would you take the over or the under on combined wins increasing by 12 between the football and basketball teams in 2012-13 as compared to this year?
Brian: It's easy to chalk up improvement to wins and losses based on when you play the games. But it's impossible to ignore a 1-6 start and focus solely on the 3-2 finish. The teams BC beat down the stretch weren't terribly impressive -- a 2-10 Maryland team that completely fell apart under Randy Edsall, an underachieving 7-5 N.C. State team that only became bowl eligible because they faced two I-AA opponents and a 6-5 Miami team that found out earlier in the week that their season would end after the Black Friday game against BC. BC still lost to 3-9 Duke, still lost to 5-7 UCF and still lost to a pair of .500 teams in Wake Forest and Northwestern.
While I don't buy any of the excuses we've heard over the past few weeks, I will compliment Spaz on not losing the team and having the team playing hard down the stretch. You could tell the players still desperately wanted to win, even if the coaching staff didn't put them in a position to do so.
That said, I look more at the macro factors surrounding next year's BC football season. You have to think both Florida State and Virginia Tech will be in the National title picture next season. Clemson isn't going anywhere. Wake will continue to overachieve under Grobe. BC replaces Duke on the schedule with Georgia Tech from the Coastal. I know it's far too early, but I simply can't see BC improving more than two games overall and think this team looks like a 6-6 squad next season. I had already factored in the return of the players mentioned. But I think the coaching will continue to limit BC, the schedule gets a bit tougher and the rest of the ACC continues to improve around the Eagles.
For hoops, I agree that the team is starting to play better recently. Donahue continues to cut down on the rotations and get to a more regular rotation of players. Though it's one thing to play well against Stony Brook, Bryant and Sacred Heart, and quite another to string together wins come ACC play. Wins will be at a premium after tonight's game at Sacred Heart.
As for increased win total, I think Donahue's young squad will continue to improve, but I don't see a double-digit win total increase next season to get to a 12 combined win total increase. This year's non-conference schedule was particularly soft, and the Eagles will probably only win 5-6 of those 14 non-conference games. Unless next year's schedule is equally soft, BC may actually struggle more to notch wins in non-conference play next season than this year. The Eagles may make some noise in ACC play next season, but I can't see a significant increase in the number of ACC wins next season right now.