Noontime Commentary: Where Things Stand With College Football

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The question of if and when college football returns should be answered in the coming weeks. (PHOTO COURTESY: Ken Lund on Visualhunt.com / CC BY-SA)

By Matt Noonan 

For the moment, it appears as if the upcoming college football season is in limbo.

There has been a lot of talk and insight from various minds these past few weeks about the 2020 season. Some think a 12-week campaign is feasible while others are hesitant – can we really play games in the midst of a pandemic?

And then there is the issue surrounding testing. Will there be enough for every player, coach, and team representative? How many times will they need to be tested? And what happens if a coach, player, or team representative contracts the virus? Would that mean Saturday’s game against Clemson University or Florida State is canceled or postponed?

As Notre Dame‘s athletic director Jack Swarbrick told Sports Illustrated last week, “Statistically, if you have 20,000 students on campus, chances are pretty good that some are coming back with the virus. We’ll be testing like crazy.”

Testing will be the key for not just Notre Dame, but every institution – big or small – with keeping students, faculty, and staff safe during these unprecedented times.

While many are anxious for some news and announcements about the upcoming college football season, as well as if and when schools will be open, it appears those decisions should be coming in the next few weeks. And it is possible some decisions such as if and when a fall sports season could occur, may come as late as mid-July.

So, for the moment, we wait and anxiously scour the internet and social media for any breadcrumb we can find about the upcoming college football season, along with the new normal.

Flaherty: BC Eagles Have Pieces In Place For A Successful 2018 Campaign

Steve Addazio

Steve Addazio has some key pieces in place to make an exciting run this fall. (PHOTO CREDIT: AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

By Dan Flaherty (@TheSportsNotebo)

Boston College has been as predictable a college football program as any in the country, at least since Steve Addazio became head coach back in 2013.

In Addazio’s five seasons, he’s finished 7-6 four different times, including the last two years. That’s what made the Over/Under win totals released in Las Vegas earlier this month so interesting—BC was listed at 5.5.

Furthermore, this doubt comes in a year when Addazio returns 14 starters. He brings back his entire offensive line. He brings back A.J. Dillon, a sophomore running back who rushed for nearly 1,600 yards last year. He brings a quarterback in Anthony Brown who got valuable experience last year as a freshman.

Defensively, the Eagles can build around defensive end Zach Allen, a disruptor that has the NFL in his future.

The doubt on Boston College also comes at a time when the opportunity to move up the ladder in the ACC’s Atlantic Division is there for the taking. While Clemson is firmly entrenched at the top, the Florida State program is in flux after the departure of coach Jimbo Fisher and Louisville’s rise under Bobby Petrino seems to have crested. Boston College beat both FSU and Louisville last season.

But the Eagles lost decisively to Wake Forest and N.C. State – both teams are divisional rivals. They are each more highly regarded on the Vegas Strip at the moment.

Addazio’s program is a throwback, built on physical football and tough defense that works to overcome mediocre play (at best) from the quarterback position. Brown’s numbers last year—52% completion percentage, 5.3 yards-per-attempt and 11 touchdowns versus nine interceptions—look straight out of the 1970s.

In an era where everything is seen to be about the quarterback, BC is not going to have believers as long as this current trend continues. Nor is there any reason to expect a change of course this season.

While it’s reasonable to expect improvement from Brown, I don’t think there will be too many comparisons to Matt Ryan floating around the Heights. And on the positive side, there is every reason to think Boston College can take what it usually does well under Addazio and simply do it better.

Dillon is one of the best halfbacks in college football. His most impressive number isn’t the yardage totals—you can attribute at least some of that to the workload he gets in this offense. The most impressive number is his 5.3 yards-per-rush. That’s good under any circumstances, and especially when opposing defenses know you’re getting the ball.

Dillon, with that veteran offensive line in front of him, molded by the hard-nosed Addazio, can make a run at ACC Player of the Year. If he breaks 2,000 yards, an invite to the Heisman banquet in early December could be in the offing.

How far Dillon can carry the Eagles will be apparent by mid-October. After tuneup games with Massachusetts and Holy Cross, Boston College faces two road games that will provide a good early gauge on where they’re at. They go to Wake Forest on a Thursday night and then visit Purdue, a Big Ten Conference team on the rise, the following Saturday.

After a game with Temple to close September, BC has a road game at N.C. State and a home date with Louisville. By this point in the schedule, the Eagles need to be 5-2. They’ll go into a bye week and on the far side of that bye are four games in four weeks—against Miami, Virginia Tech, Clemson and Florida State. The Eagles have to hope they can steal one win during this stretch and then close the season at home by beating Syracuse. That gets them to seven wins again.

I’m one who likes old-fashioned football and I really hope Addazio can do it. The schedule is difficult and in a different environment, the head coach might be in real trouble. But in a market where media hype and fan intensity hones in on pro sports, the BC boss can keep people happy if he just keeps winning seven games each season, while  providing a little Saturday afternoon diversion.

As long as the benchmark stays that reasonable, I think he’ll continue to do it in 2018.

Dan Flaherty is the owner of TheSportsNotebook.com and the author of Great 1980s Sports MomentsStay connected with Dan on Twitter at @TheSportsNotebo 

Mass. College Hoops: Saturday Roundup

By NoontimeSports.com  

Here are Saturday’s scores and highlights.

Men’s Basketball 

Florida State 60, No. 22 UMass 55: The 10-game winning streak came to a screeching halt as the Minutemen converted 1 of 15 shots from beyond the arc, while going 14 of 24 from the charity stripe. Derrick Gordon led UMass with a team-high 12 points, while Chaz Williams and Cady Lalanne netted 10 points, respectively.

Boston University 83, Maryland 77: D.J. Irving registered a game-best 25 points, along with two assists and two steals as the Terriers defeated Maryland on the road.

Holy Cross 74, NJIT 55: Malcolm Miller scored a game-high 18 points, as well as registered nine rebounds, seven blocks, three assists and one steal, which helped the Crusaders cruise to their sixth win of the season.

Harvard 74, Vermont 68: Siyani Chambers poured in 27 points in 39 minutes, while Kyle Casey netted 11 points as the Crimson defeated the Catamounts in Cambridge.

Northeastern 62, Milwaukee 59: The Huskies six-game skid came to an end this evening as Northeastern rallied to earn its third win of the season. Scott Eatherton finished with a double-double of 20 points and 10 rebounds.

Bentley 99, Golden-Beacom 65: Tyler McFarland connected on 8 of 14 shots from the field, including two triples for game-high 18 points as the Falcons soared to their eighth win of the season.

Women’s Basketball

Harvard 60, Hofstra 41: Temi Fagbenle registered a double-double of 15 points and 15 rebounds, while Erin McDonnell poured in a team-high 17 points as the Crimson defeated Hofstra to earn its eighth win of the season.

Bentley 71, LIU Post 59: Jen Gemma scored a team-high 20 points and recorded 12 caroms in 17 minutes, which helped the Falcons defeat the Pioneers. With the win, Bentley improves to 11-0 and remains the number one-ranked team in the USA TODAY Sports/ WBCA Division II poll.

Assumption 80, Bloomfield 70: Shannon Ray netted a game-high 17 points, as well as recorded five boards, four assists and one steal in the Hounds’ seventh victory of the season.

AIC 76, Chestnut Hill 52: Krista Ferrentino scored 16 points and recorded six boards, one assists and one steal in the Yellow Jackets’ seventh win of the season.

Mass. College Football: Late Afternoon Roundup

By NoontimeSports.com 

There were a couple late afternoon starts and below are their summaries.

No. 8 Florida State 48, Boston College 34 – Nate Freese‘ 24-yard field goal early in the third quarter brought the Eagles within one point, but the Seminoles responded with three more touchdowns to pull away for good. Chase Rettig tossed four touchdowns, while first-year wide out Myles Willis hauled in a season-best 70-yards on five receptions and one touchdown.

Stonehill 30, Bentley 3 – Logan Meyer tossed two touchdowns, Jamal Johnson rushed for 151 yards on 31 carries for two scores, Nate Robitaille hauled in eight catches for 116 yards and one touchdown as the Skyhawks soared past the Falcons. Bentley’s Jeff Hill led his receiving core with eight catches for 88 yards.

UMass Dartmouth 38, Plymouth State 14 – Trent Barneys rushed for one score on 10 carries for 113 yards, while Derek Tarpey recorded 10 total tackles (six solo) as the Corsairs defeated the Panthers and earned their first win of the season.

Mass. College Football: Saturday Evening Scoreboard

By NoontimeSports.com 

Here are some more scores from this afternoon. Remember to check out our afternoon scoreboard, too.

* Nichols College 26, UMass Dartmouth 16

* Endicott College 27, Plymouth State 10

* Maritime (N.Y.) 42, Anna Maria College 21

* American International College 34, So. Conn. 7

* Middlebury College 30, Williams College 13

* Trinity College 40, Tufts University 7

* Colgate 51, Holy Cross 35

* Springfield College 66, Merchant Marine 13

* Harvard 35, Bucknell 7

* Castleton 45, Becker College 13

* Florida State 51, Boston College 7