Dan Rubin: The season is winding down, and the final month is upon us. At the risk of sounding cliche or poetic, AJ, November always makes me a little bit sad but always gives me a sigh of relief. Records aside, it's always a grind to get to this point, and it's hard to believe that we're eight or nine weeks removed from shorts, the beach, and talking about the first time the players put on pads. Your thoughts?
AJ Black: This has been just a brutal season to watch, between the rash of injuries, the mind boggling coaching decisions, the close losses, and the awful offense. Honestly at this point I just want the post season to get here as soon as possible.
Dan, this year the bye week is especially late for Boston College. What kind of effect does that have on a young team?
Dan Rubin: There's been no let up. The bye week is so huge; it gives you a chance to rest and deal with muscle strains, pulls, and bruises. Not getting that compounds the strain and fatigue on the body over a long , three-month grind.
For a young team, it's even more pronounced because there's less time for work and growth. Young players rely so heavily on practice time to get better. Not getting that is a killer because they absolutely could've used another week of preparation to learn the playbook, develop skills, and scheme plays. Part of not diversifying the playbook stems from not having enough time to implement anything.
Senior Day is this weekend. What's the one takeaway from this year's class looking back on their four, five, or even six years in the program?
AJ Black: Perseverance. Most of the guys came here during the down years of Frank Spaziani and look at where they went. You have Bobby Swigert, who started to become Chase Rettig's #1 target back in 2010 before a devastating knee injury, took him out, but now he is back and on the field. You have Steven Daniels, playing for one of the nation's worst defenses a few years ago, he is now the leader of one of the best defenses and a sure draft pick. You have Mehdi Abdesmad, back from two separate major injuries, and now a dominant defensive end. Even though this year seems lost, they are some great stories that highlight that with will and determination anything is possible.
Dan, every season like clock work the talking heads anoint N.C. State the ACC dark horse, and without fail the Wolfpack never live up to the hype. Are they just having a disappointing season or does the media set them up with unrealistic expectations?
Dan Rubin: I think it's a little bit of both. The Wolfpack are definitely good, but I think there's unrealistic expectations placed on them every year.
This year's team definitely has raw talent. They have a QB who can throw, a running back with speed and skill, and a solid defense. But they lack the "it" factor - not dissimilar to the way Clemson used to be. It just doesn't come together all at once, and when it does, it's not consistent enough to be a real challenger.
Couple that with their non-conference schedule. For the past two years, they played cream puffs and destroyed them. Inevitably, someone will look at the stats and see a dominant team. Then they struggle and collapse in ACC play. So they're set up to fail in that regard since the discrepancy in scheduling is so vast.
When people talk about ACC dark horses, I have no idea why they focus on the Atlantic Division anyways. It's nowhere close to wide open, not with Clemson and FSU. Speaking of which - the Coastal remains a shootout (see also: Miami-Duke). Your thoughts on the other division and what happened at the end of last Saturday with the officials?
AJ Black: I couldn't believe what I saw when I watched the replays of that last play in the Miami Duke game, and was even more shocked that the ACC acknowledged that they were wrong and suspended the officials. That being said, the ACC refs have been an utter disaster this entire season.
Duke and UNC for the Coastal? What is this college basketball? I like what the Tar Heels are doing. They have a really solid QB in Marquise Williams, and a legit running back in Elijah Hood. I think they are going to take out Duke and win the Coastal.
No Huddle Offense
AJ: Dan, the first playoff rankings came out your thoughts?
Dan: C! L! E! M! S! Ohhhhhhhh! N!
Also - everyone feel free to laugh at the Big XII for getting absolutely no love AGAIN from the first rankings.
Your thoughts on JT Barrett and Urban Meyer's - how do we say - "loose" judgment on him?
AJ: I find it pretty obnoxious when team's use arbitrary justice to penalize their players. I know it happens all over the NCAA, and hell I'm sure BC has been guilty of it before, but it still makes me queasy. Barrett gets nailed for a DUI but Meyer doesn't suspend him under the Drugs and Alcohol Policy? Sounds fishy.
Finally Dan, Luke Kuechly made another huge play against the Colts on Monday night. When it's all said and done do you think he will go down as the best former Eagle to ever play in the NFL?
Dan: I loved Bill Romanowski's explosiveness, but as an overall player from top to bottom, Kuechly might just end up on the same or a higher level when it's all set and done.