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Between the Goal Posts: Gene D. deserves some praise

Posted by Mark Blaudschun, Globe Staff  September 2, 2009 08:10 AM

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Psst. Hear that? It's the buzz about Boston College's opener against Northeastern on Saturday.

Wait. There isn't any buzz.

"I was looking for anything about the game about Northeastern,'' joked BC coach Frank Spaziani on Tuesday. "Nothing.''

Welcome to college football in Boston, where CFB is a tough sell in the best of times. Now we've heard crowd estimates for the BC opener ranging from a low of 25,000 to a more respectable 35,000 to 40,000. No sellouts though. And no buzz.

BC athletic director Gene DeFilippo has heard his share of criticism on various issues the last few years, but on this one, you have to give Gene D his props. Northeastern and Kent State are not Michigan or Oklahoma or USC, which would grab attention, but they should be W's for BC and this year the Eagles need them.

Tom O'Brien deserves most, if not all of the credit, for turning the BC program into a perennial bowl team for 10 years. But if you looked at the non-conference schedule the Eagles had over that period -- Baylor, Navy, Army, Northeastern, Ball State, Central Michigan, Kent State -- you saw a lot of guaranteed wins and Gene D was responsible for that.

DeFilippo slipped in some marquee teams -- BYU, Penn State, Stanford and Notre Dame -- following the AD's scheduling handbook of coming up with an opponent you should beat, a toss-up game, and someone who would be an upset (but draw either money or attention) if you beat them.

But what he has done over the past decade is give BC a chance to be good and even great in terms of its record.

So here's the question, if you are a BC fan: Would you rather start 2-0 going into the game at Clemson against two ho-hum teams? Or would you rather deal with the deck that Miami's Randy Shannon has, which has his team starting out against Florida State, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech and then Oklahoma?

Granted three of those games are ACC games, but if the Canes start out 4-0 or 3-1, they are playing in a BCS game. And if they start out 0-4, Shannon might be the ex-Miami coach at this time next season.

We think DeFilippo has done it the right way with BC.

Odds and Ends:

Stranger than fiction. Ohio State players are backing Michigan players about the issue of too much practice time. "I think Michigan is probably abiding by the rules,'' said Ohio State co-captain Kurt Coleman. "But you know to be great you have to put in more than 20 hours. That's just the minimum. In any great program, each player is putting in more than they are required to. And it's all on their own. Said Ohio State coach Jim Tressel about teams abiding by the 20-hour-per-week work rule regarding football. "It's like telling our med students, we're going to close the library,'' said Tressel. "You've got to let them train. There's a fine line, but the safeguards we have are we have set schedules and forms that we fill out, just like everyone.''

Florida QB Tim Tebow is taking one course this semester. A Senior Seminar. Didn't know students needed seminars on how to be seniors... Charleston Southern opens its season with Florida on Saturday and is a 73-point underdog (take the points)... Charleston Southern will also receive $450,000 for the honor of being pounded by the Gators... Billboard in South Bend: "Best wishes to Charlie Weis in the fifth year of his college coaching internship.'' We knew Notre Dame is a tough job, but a five-year internship. Whew... Sure to make every highlight film on Sunday morning: 82-year old Penn State coach Joe Paterno running -- or walking -- onto the field with the Nittany Lions before their opening game against Akron.

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