Posted: 12:00 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013
By Joseph Gravellese
First, I'll start with my five predictions for the upcoming BC sports year:
1. Fall Saturdays will be fun again.
I know others have mentioned this as well, but it feels great to finally have some hope and optimism about BC football again. The last few years under Spaz were so terrible that not only did I not want to watch BC's games, I couldn't even really enjoy any other team's football games, either. No matter what our record is this season, I think the team will be competitive and fun to watch. That's Step 1.
2. BC basketball will see a significant attendance increase
There are a few factors that lead me to believe BC basketball's attendance will make a big jump this year:
-The team will, I think, be fairly successful, which needless to say will make a big difference.
-The end of last season, with Hanlan's show in the ACC tournament, generated some real buzz around this program - buzz that hadn't existed on campus in years.
-They have a bunch of opportunities to make statement wins early in the season, which could generate even more attention and enthusiasm.
-The home schedule is pretty good. Fewer non-conference games (read: fewer crappy non-conference games) should improve average attendance by taking out some of those midweek games against the likes of Sacred Heart early in the season. With Syracuse and Notre Dame added to the slate, there are more interesting ACC home games, too.
-This is the first time in four seasons that hockey is not coming off of a year in which they basically curbstomped everyone they played at home, which may make a difference initially in student interest.
-The rearranged student section will likely draw interest and be accompanied by a significant marketing push.
3. A BC alum will play a key role in the US winning a gold medal in hockey at the 2014 Olympics
On the men's side, our options are limited, but Brooks Orpik could be one of the US's blue line lynchpins. The more likely candidate is in women's hockey, where Kelli Stack and Molly Schaus could both be key components of a gold medal run.
4. Both men's and women's hockey will make the Frozen Four
I won't pull a Grant here and predict double national championships, but I think double Frozen Fours is a real possibility.
5. There will be no news about men's lacrosse, but we will see progress toward an indoor football practice facility.
Good news for '74, bad news for the lax brahs.
Finally, predictions from The Man, Brian Favat:
1. The Eagles will double their ACC championship count in 2013-14. One of the Eagles programs will break through to win another ACC Championship this year, joining the 2007 men's soccer team as the school's only ACC titles (if only Hockey East titles counted). The best bets for the program to break through are the women's field hockey and lacrosse programs -- both of which are hosting this year's ACC Championship on the Heights. Women's soccer and/or men's soccer are two other dark horses to bring home a titles.
2. Boston College football will go bowling (baby steps out the front door). If ever there was a non-conference schedule catered towards a return to college football's bloated postseason, this is it. With three wins over Villanova, Army and New Mexico State, BC holds serve at home against both Wake Forest and N.C. State and picks up at least one more W out of the set of Virginia Tech, @ Maryland and @ Syracuse games.
3. Johnny Gaudreau will win the 2014 Hobey Baker Award. The Carneys Point, New Jersey native will become the third Eagle to earn college hockey's top individual honor in front of friends and family at the Frozen Four in Philadelphia. With Hockey East moving to just a 20-game conference schedule, Johnny Hockey will have plenty of opportunities to light the lamp and pad his Hobey resume in non-conference play against lesser competition.
4. Boston College hockey will complete the regular season hardware sweep (again). The Eagles start the season coasting to a Three Rivers Classic title against a mediocre tournament field of Robert Morris, Bowling Green and Penn State. York and the boys follow that up with the program's fifth straight Beanpot title -- again, coasting to a title over Northeastern. BC completes the sweep by earning both the Hockey East regular season title and tournament title at the Garden.
5. Mike Gambino will be fired following the 2014 season. Birdball will win more games than their abysmal 2013 campaign (because I'm not sure how it could get much worse), but it's not enough as the school parts ways with the manager of four years. Gambino will either be fired following this season or the school will cut the program and 2014 will be the last year as a varsity sport -- whichever comes first.
BONUS. 6. Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons win Super Bowl XLVIII. The former Boston College signal caller leads the Atlanta Falcons to the NFC title and follows that up with a victory over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII in the Meadowlands. BC Guys everywhere weep tears of joy as they watch Ryan hoist the Vince Lombardi trophy. Several vines will be created by the Boston College football coaching staff to commemorate the victory. Merriam-Webster's appends the definition of the word "dude" with a picture of Matt Ryan in the 2014 edition of their popular dictionary.