18th January 17:24
"This move may not be so appealing after all" (boston.com)
This move may not be so appealing after all
By Mark Blaudschun, Globe Columnist, 10/13/2003
Boston College in the Big East . . . R.I.P. BC yesterday got what it has
wanted for the last year when the invitation came from the Atlantic
Coast Conference to become the 12th member of a proud and prestigious
The Eagles were all smiles as they announced their marriage with the
ACC, after a courtship that turned sour last spring when the ACC backed
out. But Ben and J. Lo still are together after their "the wedding is
off" scene a few weeks ago, so why not these two?
Well, maybe the Eagles should have been more careful of what they asked
for. As attractive as many elements of joining the ACC may be,
particularly in the academic community, there are more than a few things
on the athletic side that after first blush might not be quite so
Let's start with the football issue. BC coach Tom O'Brien was
matter-of-fact yesterday when he talked about the possibility of the
Eagles joining the ACC. "We'll play where they tell us, and against the
teams they tell us to play," said O'Brien, who like everyone else at The
Heights had made no secret of wanting to stay as close to Miami as
But being close to Miami is not necessarily a good thing athletically.
Miami is the No. 2 football team in the country this morning, Virginia
Tech is No. 3. Between them, they have won nine of the 12 Big East
football crowns (those two and Syracuse tied in 1996).
Both are headed to the ACC, which leaves the Big East and its BCS title
slot for the next two years (and probably the next eight) without its
two most powerful teams.
The Big East will readjust; and for BC, which probably will play one
more season in the league, a new era has begun.
But why wouldn't BC want to compete in the Big East, where it has a
legitimate chance to earn a BCS slot every year? Why join the ACC and
have to fight for a bowl berth with 11 other teams, with almost all of
them even or better than the Eagles?
Why go from being a big fish in a pond you have lived in all your life
to a smaller fish in a pond where you are not even sure of the depth?
And that's not only in football. The other sports also pose new
Basketball will be a struggle, with Duke, North Carolina, and Maryland
the primary ACC sharks. But with Big East expansion plans including
Cincinnati, Marquette, and Louisville, and with the league having such
strong members as Syracuse, UConn, and Pittsburgh already, that's a push
And what about the non-revenue sports? BC will have to increase its
budget significantly for the added travel and to become competitive in
sports such as baseball, where teams such as Miami and Florida State are
among the elite in the country.
And then there are the natural rivals O'Brien talks about wanting to
play. Does BC-Maryland grab you? Or BC-Clemson?
Those are all issues that will have to be worked out, and Eagles
athletic director Gene DeFilippo no doubt will do a fine job and put the
best possible spin on it.
DeFilippo said yesterday he wants to do what is right for BC and for the
"We'll work this out so it's the best it can possibly be for everybody,"
said DeFilippo, who is well aware a lawsuit may be filed by the
remaining Big East schools against the Eagles, just as a suit was filed
But here's the bottom line: Whatever BC does, it always will be the
Northern dinner guest at a party in a Southern household. Its voice will
be tolerated but hardly listened to, and the decisions that will be made
hardly will take BC's wishes into consideration.
The axis of power still will hover around Tobacco Road. And whether that
is a good thing for BC has yet to be determined.
"This president is a miserable failure in foreign policy and the
economy, and he's got to be replaced!" ~~ Rep. **** Gephardt