October 19, 2006

No comment on Ryan's status?

It was something that would have made Bill Belichick proud.

Heck, the CIA would have appreciated it.

Matt Ryan just wouldn't say anything about his foot at Wednesday's media gathering over the Conte Forum.

"I don't think that's something that Coach O'Brien is going to would want me to get into, and it's something I'm going to try and stay away from today," he said, adding, "So, I apologize for that in advance."

O'Brien, on the ACC conference call a short time later, said his player his hurt. We know that. And while O'Brien has a gametime decision to make - and we think this tough-as-nails kid is going to play, like he always does - there's not much he can say.

There was nothing Ryan would say, other than he hopes to play - and that Chris Crane will do the job if he can't.

After getting rebuffed in a question about what part of his foot is hurt, and wondering what it was we wanted to talk about with a guy with a walking cast on his left besides his left, foot, I decided to have a little fun with it.

"Should we talk about the weather?" the QB was asked.

"It's pretty (lousy) out," he said.

"Could you confirm that?"

"Yeah, it's not very nice out," he said.

Mike Vega asked him about adrenaline and playing without practicing, Ryan said he didn't think he could play without practicing and said, "At some point this week, hopefully I can get out to practice and try to get in some good work.

"I think ultimately it comes down to what the coaches and the medical staff think, the same way it was against Clemson and hopefully … I hope that I'm going to be able to go, but, again, like I said, that's ultimately their decision and all I can is try to get myself ready to go."

He wouldn't say how long he was wearing the cast.

So, I asked, "Are you wearing a boot?" He said, "Looks like it, huh?"

Vega said, and Ryan agreed, "They don't come with cleats, either." I was done.

"That's you left foot, right?" I asked. I wanted to confirm whatever it was we could confirm.

It was funny - and we're NOT blaming Ryan for not saying anything. Heck, the kid apologized for not talking. There's no blame here - it was just funny.

Ryan then went on to do an actual interview, but nothing about the foot. On the conference call, O'Brien said Ryan's foot - the left one - will heal in January, when there's proper rest.

For now, Ryan is questionable, maybe even doubtful for one of the most important games in BC football history. You do the math - they're not keeping him off the field for this game.

Ryan knows how big this game is. His teammates know it, too. Despite the loss to North Carolina State, the Eagles are in great position here - to at least go to Jacksonville. Ryan's not going to miss this.

He's not going to lose it, either. It says here BC wins this game, 21-17.

This is the right year for this to happen. We've said that before. This is the year this league can be had - a year where the Big East, the league BC left behind, has two of the Top 6 teams in the current polls.

One other thing about that - as a supporter of the move to the ACC - after it was clear the Big East would be absorbing "renegade" programs like Louisville and Cincinnati (forgetting South Florida, which was actually called that in its own state this season), what happened in Miami last week makes you think, especially after you saw the conduct by Virginia Tech when it was here last Thursday night.

For that, I extend apologies to Louisville and Cincinnati (as if they even care what I think). BC could have stayed in the Big East and been just fine. But the Eagles are in the ACC and that's fine, too. And while this probably would have been a year where they couldn't have won the Big East's BCS spot, it IS a year they can take the one from the ACC.

This league is down. It's missing star quality. We love Ryan, but there isn't a Tyler Palko nor a Brian Brohm in this conference. The Big East has its star power - the ACC is looking for identity. That mixture sounds strange.

ACC fans will point to soft non-league schedules by teams like West Virginia and Rutgers (Louisville manhandled Miami), but there's talent in the old league - and there isn't any talk about losing the BCS bid, now is there?

What's happened at Rutgers is great. RU merchandise is flying off the shelves and the Scarlet Knights have become relevant in the non-college-football New York area. Greg Schiano is being mentioned - constantly, with O'Brien's name coming up, too - for the Miami job that's likely to open. Is that a step up for either of these guys? Both of them are in good spots and should stay right where they are. Miami needs 20 years of clean to get over its image - and neither coach needs to sully himself with that image.

Anyway, the Eagles go to Tallahassee playing all kinds of young guys and with the future looking bright. They win this game Saturday and the program is at its high-water mark. BC would be 6-1 with Buffalo coming in and people around here will be thinking BCS.

I just think it's time.

Heck, Matt Ryan might even confirm that one.

The basketball program already has its five recruits for next season - the earliest those guys have ever been done. And we love the story of the last commit, Biko Paris. The kid, who originally committed to USC, is a Katrina victim, re-located from New Orleans to Houston after the storm. The family is going back soon to see what's there. Living through this hints this kid is tough. He had to be.

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