December 3, 2006
Another lost chance
If you're a BC fan and you happened to watch that yawn-fest that passed for the ACC championship game Saturday, you had to be kicking yourself.
There really was no reason the Eagles weren't in that game - other than the fact that something always seems to happen to keep it from happening. As this was being written, BC was awaiting a third straight bowl bid that could have been more.
Now, we've said this here before - if someone would have asked you if you would have taken 9-3 at the start of this season, considering all the uncertainty that followed this team into the season, you would have taken it, right? Remember? There were games at both Florida State and Miami and the home game against Virginia Tech. It was a troublesome schedule and Tom O'Brien was wondering where the leadership was going to come from.
So, the 9-3 is fine - sort of. You all know it could have been more. Gene DeFilippo knows it. The coaches know it. The players do, too. And, you know the fans do.
Sunday night, the Eagles will be sent to another bowl game no one but the diehards really care about. It will be a reward for the long season, Matt Ryan's foot will finally be better and BC will win their seventh straight bowl game. That's another good thing. But all winter, spring and summer, people will remember another chance that got away.
Speaking of things that got away, I haven't been here since the ACC awards came out, since Jolonn Dunbar was somehow snubbed FOR ANYTHING.
How is this possible? No one made bigger plays for this team than this guy. The 9-3 might not have happened if not for Dunbar, whose absence in the Miami game was clearly a factor. How did this happen? I have no idea. Not even honorable mention? That's crazy.
Turning to basketball, I think the win at UMass was, in its own way, bigger than the ACC-Big Ten Challenge win over Michigan State. Going out there, playing in front of the first UMass sellout in almost six years and winning - without too much trouble - was a major step. It was also a major win for Al Skinner, the former UMass star.
The record, once 1-2, was lifted to 4-2, with Ed Cooley and Fairfield the next victim before Maryland comes in for a big one next Sunday.
Watching Jared Dudley's marvelous performance against Michigan State, I was asked if I thought he'll play in the NBA. I said yes, and pointed to intangibles - and then the guy hits all three of his 3-point attempts in a game that saw the rest of the players combined to shoot 3-for-28 from behind the arc. We love to think of Dudley as this over-achieving junk-yard dog (his old name from his coach), but there's real talent here, folks.
There's also some talent in Sean Williams - and this team can do some pretty nifty things of Williams (and, yes, Akida McLain) can stay active. These troubled souls are a pain to Skinner, but as long as they're part of the program (and you have to think they're running out of chances, right?), they're important.
Every time you watch Williams block a shot, and when you consider his academic woes, you think he's gone after this year - that's assuming, of course, he survives this year without getting into more trouble. If he joins Dudley and Sean Marshall heading out the door next year, BC could actually have one of those tough season most other programs have but never seem to happen here in either basketball and football (at least not in this century).
Williams is a special talent. But he still has no real offensive game and you have to think playing another year of college basketball would help him - a lot. But as we've seen with this kid, there's no way of knowing. After all, the coaches brought in Tyrelle Blair as a transfer because they didn't think Williams would even stay beyond last season, something he wound up doing because of his trouble with the law and the school.
Off campus - I think Florida has earned the right to play Ohio State for the national championship.
I also think Wake Forest is a great story - but that Louisville beats the Deacs in the Orange Bowl.
I also think it would have been a travesty if Louisville had been left out of the BCS if Rutgers had won that great game at West Virginia Saturday night. The Cardinals are better than Notre Dame - and I still don't buy all that Boise State nonsense.
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