clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Thought Bubbles: Miscellaneous Observations As 2016 Nears A Close

New, 4 comments

Lots of teams, lots of thoughts

NCAA Football: Connecticut at Boston College Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

There’s a lot going on in BC athletics right now, and we try to get to all of it. But here are some scattered thoughts as the week begins:

  • BC vs. UConn drew a pretty good crowd for 2016 - The 36K in attendance was not exactly a record-setter, but it was higher than usual for BC this season, featuring an impressive number of UConn fans given how poor their team is this season. Saturday lent credence to the idea that this game can generate some regional interest and draw a good crowd, especially if one or both teams had a better record.
  • How bad are UMass and UConn? - Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy watching BC batter the obnoxious neighbors, but it’s a pretty sad statement on where UMass and UConn football are at that this hurting BC team is just so vastly superior to them. It’s a bad look for college football in the Northeast in general, which is just abysmal this year for the most part (the state of Pennsylvania excluded). That’s probably no coincidence, and it’s not really a good sign for BC.
  • It’s well beyond time to be worried about the state of the women’s basketball program - It gets overshadowed by the other ACC programs stuck in the mud, but the women’s basketball program is in a deep hole and can’t seem to get out of it. The Eagles are now 1-3 against some “meh” opponents, with the ACC gauntlet looming after the New Year. BC is stuck behind a lot of good programs in the ACC and seems unable to make progress; the crowds at Conte have dwindled to a friends-and-family looking crowd.

This is Erik Johnson’s 5th season at the helm and he’ll need to lead a big turnaround if he’s going to take the team back to the postseason this year; they haven’t made the NCAA tournament since 2006. I don’t expect BC to be as routinely good as the UNCs and Dukes of the Women’s Basketball world, but they shouldn’t be going 11+ years between NCAA appearances. Erik Johnson’s extension has him signed through 2018-19, but we’ll see if he takes any heat if BC continues to struggle.

  • Ed Kelly’s longevity and consistency is a marvel: BC’s men’s soccer season came to an end on Sunday, crashing out in the round of 32 to Albany - but it was another good season for one of BC’s most consistent teams.

This is Ed Kelly's 28th season at BC, in which he's racked up over 270 wins - first all time in BC history; he's taken the Eagles to 12 NCAA tournaments in the last 17 years, including the Elite Eight in 2015. Kelly is also the only BC coach with an ACC championship to his name, taking the Eagles to the conference crown in 2007.

While we’re the first to call for pressure when pressure is warranted, Kelly is a good example of the power of patience when appropriate. BC suffered a 10-year gap between NCAA appearances between 1990 and 2000 with Kelly at the helm, but he built the program up successfully and they just got better throughout the 2000s, stepping up to an even higher level with the jump to the ACC.

More recently, BC suffered a downturn from the Charlie Davies/Alejandro Bedoya days, squeaking in to the tournament in 2012 and missing out in ‘13 and ‘14. But Kelly restocked the pipeline and built the team that made the Elite Eight last year and the ACC semifinal this season. Their recruiting remains strong as well.

  • The volleyball team continues to really struggle in the ACC: With yesterday's loss to Pitt, BC is now 3-15 in ACC play (8-20 overall). Last year they went 4-16; the year before, 6-12; 1-19 in 2013. The sport of volleyball was invented in the state of Massachusetts; let’s hope this program can do what softball did in recent years and dig out.
  • It’s early yet, but The Unstoppable BU Terriers look pretty human: If you missed any of the previews of this college hockey season, let me summarize them for you: OMGOMGOMGOMG BUBUBUBUBUBUBUBUBUBUBUBUBUBUBUBUBUBUBU. The Terriers are going to be very good this season and could well win all the hardware when all is said and done, but they don’t look up to the preseason tag of being one of the great college hockey teams of all time so far; they’re 6-4-1 and just got pounded 4-0 at home by UConn. Uh oh!
  • Sunday basketball doubleheaders are great: It’s tough to draw a crowd with the struggles of the two programs, but I love that men’s and women’s hoops doubleheaders are semi-regular occurrences at Conte Forum. It’s especially great on a Sunday. Credit to BC for doing this - it’s a nice treat for fans who care and it should generate a decent crowd once one or both programs turns it around. Let’s see the same for a women’s hockey game one day and get a big crowd in for one of their games!
  • It’s ambitious, but BC basketball can start 10-3 in nonconference play if they bottle up yesterday’s first half: The Nicholls State loss was bad, but BC played well in the second half of that game and nearly pulled it out after a disastrous first ten minutes. In the first half against Stony Brook, BC flexed their muscles and showed flashes of the team that promised to be a surprise package in the ACC preseason. With a middling schedule and lots of home games, BC should be shooting for a 10-3 start before ACC play. It starts tomorrow night with a game they should win against Towson, then on to the Barclay's Center over the weekend where they'll hopefully win at least one.