Passing Up The Oranges

After taking an early 10-0 lead yesterday in Jacksonville against the No. 6 Hokies of Virginia Tech, No. 11 Boston College went on to lose the ACC Championship, 30-16, and a trip to the Orange Bowl in the process. The complexion of this game may have been radically different if not for blocks of two first-half BC kick attempts – a 32-yard field goal and an extra point returned for a two-point conversion by the Hokies – that resulted in an unfavorable six-point swing. Despite holding the ball for 70% of the first half and gaining 14 more first downs than the Hokies at one point, the Eagles went to the locker room tied, but not before Coach Jagodzinski threw long snapper Mike McLaughlin under the bus in front of a national television audience on his way. Oucccch!

An eye for an eye. That’s how Steve Conroy sums up Virginia Tech’s theft of this one in a reversal of the Eagles’ last-minute victory in Blacksburg earlier this season. Bob Ryan prefers to think of it as a market correction.

Steve Buckley has the Eagles as Boston’s quintessential under-achievers who missed an opportunity to alter their image with an Orange Bowl appearance. Mark Blaudschun has the Eagles dissappointed with what could have been.

Michael Vega recalls previous games in which the Matt Ryan Magic came up short. Buckley talks with senior safety Jamie Silva, who was involved with seemingly every play on the field, not to mention every pan of ABC’s cameras. Conroy’s notebook says that BC’s poor traveling reputation may well land them in the Champs Bowl in Orlando.

UMass Minutemen

In the other big collegiate gridiron contest of local interest yesterday, No. 7 Massachusetts fell to No. 4 Southern Illinois, 34-27, in their Football Championship Subdivision quarterfinal matchup. From our western-most reaches, Mike Marzelli says it was a matter of too little, too late for the Minutemen.

Bruins

With B.C. Eagles action on hold until the New Year, the decreased supply may vault the Bruins back into the limelight. If so, yesterday’s 4-1 loss in Tampa Bay is an inauspicious start. Fluto Shinzawa has the Lightning’s Vincent Lecavalier a one-man wrecking ball, figuring in on all four Tampa Bay goals. Stephen Harris grades the B’s effort last night as an ‘L’ in more ways than one.

Sinzawa recounts the infusion of energy from Providence. Harris also admires the efforts of the Nokelainen line in a losing effort.

Patriots

One of the costs of fame is never seeing your team play on Sunday afternoons. As the Patriots sleep in late at a hotel overlooking the Inner Harbor, head on over to Patriots Daily for your complete Sunday Links.

Red Sox

When no news is news, you know this is still a baseball town. In true Seinfeld fashion, Michael Silverman reports nothing to report on the potential acquisition of Johan Santana, but does offer a nice rundown of other Red Sox transactions consummated yesterday. However, Sean McAdam says a deal could be struck before winter meetings begin on Monday.

News out of The Empire has the Twins less than wowed by the Yankees’ inclusion of Philip Hughes in a deal for Santana. When Hughes’ inclusion was announced, many in Red Sox Nation – including myself – justifiably thought that was in addition to Ian Kennedy, but not so say the Yankees, bringing arrogance to a new level in the process. And, while Epstein & Co. remain calm and collected, Don Amore has the Bombers in a full press panic for Santana’s services. Silverman compares the Santana sweepstakes to a similar battle for Pedro Martinez a decade earlier. Look how that changed the dynamic between Boston and New York.

Nick Carfado gives us a rundown of what to expect in Nashville, while Gordon Edes recounts some winters of past contentment.

Odds and Sods

Thirteen high school football champions were crowned throughout the Bay State yesterday. Here are the results for the seven Eastern Massachusetts and six Central / Western Massachusets Super Bowls. Congrats to all, both winners and losers.

Now that arrests have been made, Shalise Manza Young says there may have been a rush to judgment concerning Redskins’ safety Sean Taylor’s past in some way contributing to his murder.

And just when we thought there wasn’t anyone more deserving of The Nation’s contempt than George Steinbrenner, Bill Madden introduces us to young Hank.

As always, send your thoughts and comments to me at [email protected]