BC's bowl destination in the hands of...ESPN?

The folks at Boston College are anxiously awaiting a decision on where and when they will take their 6-6 team to a bowl game.

But the folks at The Heights are looking to the Atlantic Coast Conference or a few of the ACC affiliated bowls such as the Military, Independence or Quick Lane Bowl for confirmation.

They need to narrow their focus and go to the World Wide Leader headquarters in Bristol, Ct.

To the surprise of almost no one, ESPN is very likely to make the final decision

ESPN televises most of the 40 bowl games, plus the national championship game which will be televised in the period from Dec. 17th to January 9th. ESPN or ABC will televise 37 of those games. Of those 41 games, ESPN Events runs, sponsors, owns, or directs 13 of those bowl games.

Which brings us to BC, which almost everyone agrees is being considered for three Tier Two ACC bowl games: the Military Bowl in Annapolis, Md on Dec. 27, the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, La. and the Quick Lane Bowl in Detroit on Dec. 26th.

The bowls choose in this order: Military, Independence and Quick Lane. The ACC says it lets the bowls choose the match ups they want to generate the best audience and revenue. The bowls, at least the Independence Bowl, says it will bow to the wishes of its television partner--ESPN.[membership level="0"] The rest of this article is available to subscribers only - to become a subscriber click here.[/membership] [membership]

Most bowl projections have three ACC teams--North Carolina State, Boston College and Wake Forest, all with 6-6 records--involved in the match ups against teams from the American Athletic Conference (Military), the SEC (Independence) and the Big Ten (Quick Lane) Conferences.

Most bowl projections had the Military Bowl creating a North Carolina State vs Temple match up, which left Wake Forest and BC to fill spots in the Independence and Quick Lane.

Most bowl projections had BC vs. Maryland in Detroit and Wake Forest vs. South Carolina in Shreveport.

But here is where ESPN's role in determining the fate of BC's destination comes into focus.

Logic would assume that a South Carolina vs. Wake Forest southern match up would make sense for Shreveport. But the Independence Bowl people feel that ESPN might want television sets from the Northeast (and Yes, we are talking about Boston College here) for the only bowl of the day on the day after Christmas in the 5 p.m time slot against South Carolina.

That would leave Detroit with a 2:30 time slot of Maryland vs. Wake Forest in an old ACC match up.

BC has played in both bowls in the past. The best available bowl for the Eagles' fans would be the game in Annapolis. Choosing between Christmas in Shreveport and Christmas in Detroit is a bah humbug decision.

But it will almost certainly be a decision made at and by ESPN, not by the ACC, the bowls or the schools involved.


Lost in the furor over which teams will be in the College Football Final Four playoffs, was a switch in the rankings which put Florida State one spot above Louisville. A ranking that is not likely to change since both teams are finished for the regular season.

Why is this a big deal?

Unless Clemson is upset by Virginia in the ACC title game on Saturday night, one of those two teams was slotted to play in the Orange Bowl most likely against a Big Ten team such as Michigan.

Louisville beat FSU by a score of 62-28 in September. The Cardinals have the Heisman Trophy favorite in QB Lamar Jackson and presumably would bring thousands of fans to South Florida. But the Cardinals also stumbled at the end of the season by losing their last two games to Houston and Kentucky.

FSU finished its season with a win over Florida, but going to the Orange Bowl is regarded as a downgrade by FSU fans who hoped to be in the Final Four. Their fans would more likely show up a night before the game or even the day of the game on Dec. 30th.

The selection committee went by the numbers in deciding FSU and Louisville's status since the highest ranked ACC team available is slotted for the Orange Bowl. But it did the Bowl and the city no favors by putting FSU ahead of Louisville.


There were more than a few murmurs of surprise when former Boston College athletic director Gene DeFilippo showed up as an observer at Jake' N. Joes restaurant in Waltham, where BC FB coach Steve Addazio's radio show was being broadcast a few weeks ago after the Eagles were trounced by Louisville. The two men are not buddies. Just a mere coincidence?


Still no official word about what BC will do about the status of athletic director Brad Bates. who is in the final year of his contract, without any talk of a renewal. And there is still a buzz that BC is "actively'' searching for a replacement. If the term "active' is operative, my guess still is that VCU athletic director Ed McLaughlin is a contender who could be hired by the first of the year, if he is indeed in the mix.

McLaughlin is a BC graduate and is a rising marketing and fund raising star among AD's but has no experience dealing with a football playing school.[/membership]