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The ACC Atlantic Division's Fading Stars? And The Big Finish

Wrapping up an abbreviated Wake Forest week ...

Brian: It's hard to believe that just 5 seasons ago, the Wake Forest Demon Deacons were ACC football champions and playing in the Orange Bowl after compiling a 11-2 regular season record. Not bad for a school with the smallest enrollment in the BCS. However, the dream 2006 season looks like a bit of a historical high water mark after examining Wake's resume recently. In the last four seasons in Winston-Salem, Jim Grobe and his Wake team have won fewer total games and fewer conference games in each successive season.

2006: 11-3 (6-2 ACC)
2007: 9-4 (5-3)
2008: 8-5 (4-4)
2009: 5-7 (3-5)
2010: 3-9 (1-7)

It would appear that Wake Forest has hit bottom, with the Deacons posting just a 3-9 record overall and a 1-7 record in the ACC (managing to beat only Duke in a shootout).

A similar unsettling trend can be seen here in Chestnut Hill, with BC winning fewer and fewer games in each of the seasons following the 2007 season:

2007: 11-3 (6-2 ACC)
2008: 9-5 (5-3)
2009: 8-5 (5-3)
2010: 7-6 (4-4)

While less pronounced than the Wake trend, BC has also won fewer total games and fewer league games in each of the seasons following the Eagles' 11-3 season in 2007. Two questions, Jeff. Has Wake Forest bottomed out, or do you expect the Deacs to continue to struggle going forward? And do you see a similar pattern happening to BC, or do you expect the usual 8, 9 and 10 win seasons that we've come to expect from Eagles football?

Jeff: Wake Forest absolutely had their high water mark season in football five years ago. Their fans will remember that for a long time and it's unlikely they will ever surpass the success achieved that season. I don't see BC in the same circumstances though. While it's true the Eagles have declined in win totals since their first trip to the ACC Championship Game, BC is not likely to decline as far as Wake has since their best season. Historically, BC has a far superior football program to Wake Forest having a well above .500 win percentage which Wake can not claim.

Wake Forest is unlikely to improve next season or much in the near future in terms of competitiveness on the field. Last season, they were close to winning 5-6 games. That includes nearly beating BC and losing in the final seconds against a bowl-bound Navy team. Wake Forest could easily improve its win total next year without being noticeably more talented on the field.


Big Finish

Brian: BC coaches in the post-World War II era have averaged 7 wins in their third seasons at the helm. Does Spaz fall short, meet or exceed this historical average? 

Jeff: I am predicting 8-4 so I'll say exceeds.


Jeff: I know you are following this closer than most so what is going on with college hockey these days?

Brian: The death of the WCHA, which is a bit of a problem in the short term for some of the existing D-I programs.


Brian: In the Atlantic, ACC Blogger has already previewed Clemson (at no. 3) and Maryland (at no. 4). So who nabs second in the division -- N.C. State or Boston College?

Jeff: He is clearly lower than most on Maryland. Let's hope BC. 


Jeff: Looks like Joe Trapani is off to Italy to sign with Fastweb Casale Monferrato. Who scores more points this year in Europe -- Joe Trapani or Tyrese Rice?

Brian: Gotta think Rice scores more points with his experience the past two years in Europe.


Brian: ESPN's Heather Dinich and Adam Rittenberg preview the season opener against Northwestern, in a matchup of strength against strength (and weakness against weakness). Who has the edge in the matchup between BC's O and NU's D?

Jeff: Has to be BC's O since we return nearly everyone at the skill positions.


Jeff: Real-life blogger meeting tomorrow at the Rays-Yankees game. Derek Jeter needs 2 hits for 3,000. Does he get them?

Brian: It's a bachelor party. The groom is a Yankees fan. I'd say chances are good. Yes.


Brian: Last one. Ivan Maisel wonders whether Virginia Tech can maintain its status as a borderline national power post-Beamer. Does the success of the past 15 years belong to Beamer or to the program?

Jeff: Good question. I think it's been done long enough down in Blacksburg that it's now the program.