Jeff and Brian from BC Interruption took time off from going 30 minutes out of their way just to buy Sprinkles cupcakes to answer a few questions previewing this week's game against Boston College. Jeff and Brian's blog has a format similar to Pardon the Interruption, so I figured we'd do this Good Cop/Bad Cop style. I spent Five Good Minutes with Jeff and Brian earlier this week.
Suspect No. 1: David Shinskie as BC's fulltime QB over Justin Tuggle and company.
Brian as Good Cop: There shouldn't be any question about who Boston College's #1 qb on the depth chart is anymore. It's David Shinskie. One quarterback is 2-0 as a starter, the other is 2-1. One quarterback has completed 61% of passes, the other 35.1%. One quarterback has a 7:2 TD-to-INT ratio while the other has a 4:3 ratio. I could go on and on, but you get the point. This doesn't even mention the fact that one quarterback started against two ACC Atlantic Division opponents and the other had two glorified scrimmages to pad his stats. That being said, both Shinskie and Tuggle were terrible on the road at Clemson so it will be interesting to see how Shinskie handles the QB duties in front of a hostile Lane Stadium crowd. But for my money, barring injury, you won't see Tuggle or Marscovetra or Boek under center anytime soon for the Eagles. Shinskie has been the MVP of this team the last two games and has come a long way in a very short period of time. The QB job rests solely with Shinskie.
Jeff as Bad Cop: You are correct in saying that Dave Shinskie is and should be the starter since he is 2-0 against ACC opponents this year as the starter but you are incorrect in saying he is not on a short leash. Did you see all the interceptions he threw against Florida State? If FSU defenders could've hung on to some of those passes, his stats for that game could very have looked something like 8 for 22 O TD 5 INTs. If Bobby Bowden were not so old (don't ask me how this relates but it sounds good) we'd be looking at Tuggle getting the nod this Saturday and in for another Clemson-esque afternoon.
Suspect No. 2: Boston College as the favorite in the Atlantic Division.
Jeff as Good Cop: As I stated earlier this week, the top teams in the atlantic, according to any rpi type ratings, I choose to look at the Sagarin ratings, are BC, Clemson, Wake and FSU. BC has already played all three of those teams and come out 2-1. Clemson was the only team to beat the Eagles but they have racked up two other ACC losses already in this short season. That's all you need to know. BC is basically home free. Clemson would have to win out which would include a victory against Wake and FSU and a road victory at Miami, which is not going to happen in order for the Eagles not to head to Tampa with a 6-2 record. In all likelihood, they could finish the season tied with Wake and maybe FSU at 5-3 in conference and head to Tampa by virtue of the head to head tiebreakers. If the Eagles win Saturday at Lane Stadium, you might as well book your flights and hotel rooms. Amazingly, after all the turmoil this team has been through and all the haters that made predictions in various media outlets including Andre Ware of ESPN saying the Eagles would go 2-10 this season, this team could virtually lock up its trip to Tampa by October 17th, by far the earliest they would have done so in the past three seasons of heading to the ACCCG.
Brian as Bad Cop: Not so fast, Jeff. It's true that the Eagles already have 2 quality wins under their belt but it would all too easy to write off the other Atlantic Division contenders. Remember what happened last year with a different team leading the Atlantic Division standings practically every week? I'm sensing a similar phenomena this season with the Atlantic Division favorite in flux. Don't write off NC State's chances. The loss to Wake Forest is an early season setback, but there is still a lot of ACC football to play for the Wolfpack. Even with two early season losses, Clemson has as easy a road as the Eagles do the rest of the way. The tiebreaker over Boston College will be huge towards the end of the season. With Da'Rel Scott out for 5 weeks, I don't like Maryland's chances as much as some of the others; however, they could easily play spoiler again this season knocking off a few more ACC teams. Finally, don't count out Florida State. With the coaching situation down in Tallahassee up in the air, the Seminoles can play desperate and have the talent to rattle off 6 wins (although highly unlikely). The Eagles at 2-1 are looking good, however, there is still a ton of football left to play for this young Eagles' team.
Suspect No. 3: Virginia Tech and Boston College playing every season.
Brian as Bad Cop: I will play the bad cop on this issue, as this won't be the first time I've waxed poetic on this issue. Do I like the nice little rivalry that has been reestablished between the Eagles and the Hokies since both teams joined the ACC? Absolutely. The Eagles have taken the last three regular season games from the Hokies only to see the Hokies take the ACC Championship Game. The Virginia Tech game is now a game that is easily circled on Eagles' fans' calendars as soon as the schedule comes out every January.
However, I think it is safe to say that Virginia Tech has been the toast of the conference post-expansion and has been the team to beat. For a division race that is comprised of only 8 games, is it fair that one team in the Atlantic Division has to play the best team in the ACC while another (Wake Forest) gets to play arguably the worst (Duke)? No. This is the same argument I have against MLB's unbalanced schedule, where division pennant races come down to only a few games yet one team gets to play a "rival" in interleague play 6 times a year while their division rival plays a different team 6 times. The MLB schedule is inequitable. While not perfect, the Big XII's 5+3 rotational schedule eliminates some of the inequalities in the division race, allowing teams to play different teams from the other side of the conference with more regularity.
Besides, I'm fairly certain that the ACC Championship breaks a different way if the Eagles and Hokies don't square off during the regular season in 2007 and 2008. The game takes on an entirely different dynamic and my guess is the Eagles would have taken 1 of those 2 games.
Jeff as good cop: I think blaming two ACCCG losses on scheduling and not second half playcalling in 2007 is wrong, but back to the question. Playing Virginia Tech every year, as a fan, is exactly what I want for the Eagles. I don't want to play Duke every year. I probably don't want to play Duke ever just like I don't want to play MAC teams. I want to play in games that will get televised, will get talked about on ESPN, and will be games that I'll want to travel to. Is it unfair? Maybe slightly. But not nearly as much so as you allude to. If the Eagles want to go to the ACCCG each year they need to beat some of the best teams along the way. If we have hopes of Championships, we need to beat the best teams at least 50% of the time. If we can't do that, we don't deserve to go to Tampa. It's that simple. And while Duke may be a much weaker team that VT, Wake Forest will never beat them 100% of the time and the game that matters is the Wake Forest-BC game which has determined who wins the Atlantic division the past three years and may very well have again this year.
Suspect No. 4: Virginia Tech being guaranteed victory because I won't be in Blacksburg. Since joining the ACC, the Hokies are 3-0 when I'm not there and 0-3 when I'm there to see them play BC.
Jeff as Bad Cop: Ha! You give yourself way too much credit here. You are just another Hokie fan clad in maroon and orange in the stands. Do you think it really matters whether you are in Lane Stadium or watching on DirecTV? That's crazy.
Brian as Good Cop: No, sorry. Can't do it. I'll also play the bad cop on this one. I thought I personally had a similar karma thing going on with the Boston College vs. Clemson series. I had attended the Eagles vs. Tigers game in 2005, 2006 and 2007 and the result was a 3-0 record for the Eagles (including 2 overtime victories). In 2008, I had to miss the BC home game against Clemson as I was running the NYC Marathon the next day. Result? A BC loss. This year with me again heading to Death Valley, I figured the Eagles would get back in the win column against Clemson, but the Tigers and the ridiculous weather conditions had other things in mind. Seems like this streak was more a product of Tommy Bowden than my personal attendance at the BC-Clemson game.
Besides, can you really feel good about this streak given that you didn't go and support the Hokies for both ACC Championship Games in Florida? You've seen the overhead shots from Tampa and Jacksonville. Sure BC is a small school with a relatively small fan base but Virginia Tech didn't hold up their end of the bargain last year either. Shame on you.
Finally, streaks were made to be broken ...