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After a six month hiatus, Boston College men’s basketball is finally returning to the court

The Boston College’s men’s basketball team will return to the court on Wednesday after six months because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Coach Jim Christian said the hiatus solidified how important it is to live in the moment.



Jim Christian standing in front of a crowd: BC men's basketball coach Jim Christian believes his team's depth will be especially important this season.


© Charles Krupa
BC men’s basketball coach Jim Christian believes his team’s depth will be especially important this season.

“Try to get your team better today, make sure that they keep making the right decisions off the court, and you know, take care of themselves as best they can and just keep moving forward,” Christian said.

The players have been on campus since students returned in September. Much of the work they were able to do during that time consisted of individual workouts, limited to four hours per week then increased to eight hours. Now, teams will be able to be on the floor for 20 hours per week.

“It’s just so great to see after not having them for six months,” Christian said. “Just to see them come back and have fun and be normal, have fun, play basketball, be normal. Just enjoy the game, enjoy each other.”

The season is set to open Nov. 25, but the Eagles’ schedule is still being finalized. As it stands, they will open with the Empire Classic at Mohegan Sun Casino, along with Baylor, Villanova, and Arizona State. The event originally was supposed to take place at Madison Square Garden in New York, with Michigan as one of the headliners. But the Wolverines backed out and were replaced by Arizona State.

“We’re finishing all that up,” Christian said of the schedule. “We waited on the ACC because we can’t do anything. So, there are days we have to hold for the ACC, and they’re still doing their thing. I think we have a pretty good thumbnail of who we’re playing. I think we’re still looking to add one more game. But we’re just waiting on the ACC now.”

Before the pandemic, Christian was optimistic about the season. Although the Eagles finished last season with a losing record for the fifth time in his six years on the bench, Christian was brought back for a seventh year by former athletic director Martin Jarmond, who saw a need for stability as BC navigated uncertainty.

Guard Wynston Tabbs spent the offseason on campus rehabbing a knee injury and has been cleared for contact in practice, giving the Eagles another threat in the backcourt alongside top returning scorer Jay Heath. Worcester native and Brewster Academy alum DeMarr Langford is creating a buzz, but Christian believes the Eagles’ greatest asset will be their depth, something injuries have robbed them of during the coach’s tenure.

“It’s competitive as hell over here,” Christian said. “This is the most competitive group we’ve had from top to bottom. We have a lot of depth, especially on the guard spot, especially on the perimeter. It’s really good.

“And you’re going to need it. This is going to be a year where depth is going to

For the most part, Boston College football has passed the stress tests

On their way to starting the season 3-1 — the latest win being Saturday’s thrilling 31-30 victory in overtime against Pittsburgh last Saturday at Alumni Stadium — the Eagles have put themselves in situations where their fate has hung on every play.

In a 24-21 home win over Texas State, the Eagles crafted a comeback in the fourth quarter and won it on Aaron Boumerhi’s 36-yard field goal with three seconds left. The following week, in a 26-22 setback against North Carolina, quarterback Phil Jurkovec marched the Eagles 69 yards in 15 plays and capped the drive with a 6-yard touchdown pass to C.J. Lewis to pull them within 2 with 45 seconds left. Calamity ensued on the 2-point conversion attempt when Jurkovec’s pass was intercepted and returned 98 yards for a “Pick-2.”

Then, on Saturday against Pitt, the Eagles ran off the field in celebration after Panthers kicker Alex Kessman, who converted a 58-yard attempt at the end of regulation to send the game into OT, missed a routine extra point that would have tied it at 31.

Pittsburgh kicker Alex Kessman misses an extra point attempt wide right that would have tied the game in OT.
Pittsburgh kicker Alex Kessman misses an extra point attempt wide right that would have tied the game in OT.Barry Chin/Globe Staff

The wins make the drama worth it, but if they came with a little less stress, Hafley would take it.

“Do I wish every game came down to the last play?” Hafley said. “Not unless you could guarantee me we were going to win all of them.”

In order to pull out wins when every moment seems loaded with intensity, the Eagles have had to lean on a level of poise. They’ve made mistakes — from untimely penalties to missed tackles to missed assignments — but they can’t crumble and turn on each other when they do.

“I just think it goes back to the way we approach practice and the way we approach the game,” Hafley said. “We don’t coach tight, we don’t play tight, we don’t yell and scream at the players on the sideline during the game and get them all uptight, whether they drop the ball or get a [pass interference].

“We want our players to just be loose and play fearless. I think when you do that, and create the culture, I think when it comes down at the end, I just think you see more energy, more juice, more trust in each other and confidence.”

What allows Hafley and the Eagles to play freely on game day is an assurance that they’ve done all the work they can during the week to prepare.

Jeff Hafley looks on during the first half of BC's recent win over Pitt.
Jeff Hafley looks on during the first half of BC’s recent win over Pitt.Barry Chin/Globe Staff

“That’s my philosophy,” Hafley said. “During practice, yeah, we’re going to get on guys — hard. Our work week is hard. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday are hard. We coach hard and we’re demanding and we’re hard in the meetings.

“But that’s our time to coach hard, right? So, by the time we get

Virginia Tech Opens As Huge Favorites Over Boston College

Boston College (3-1) will try and make it two in a row when they take on the Virginia Tech Hokies on Saturday. Boston College won a thriller on Saturday, defeating Pitt 31-30 on a missed extra point by Panthers kicker Alex Kessman in overtime. The Hokies (2-1) suffered their first defeat of the season, losing 56-47 to UNC. 

The Hokies offense, particularly the rushing attack has been the strongest part of their game. Kansas transfer Khalil Herbert has already risen to become one of the best running backs in the conference. Through four games he has rushed for 449 yards, averaging over ten yards per carry, along with five touchdowns. The passing attack has been more uneven, but if Hendon Hooker starts at quarterback, look for this to change. 

The online betting site betonline.ag has posted the current line for the upcoming game between the Eagles and Hokies. They have set the opening line in favor of Virginia Tech at a particularly large (-10.5). Boston College this year is 4-1 against the spread, beating it Duke, Pitt and UNC and failing to meet the -20 spread against Texas State.

Here are some of the other lines of note for the upcoming week.

Pittsburgh at Miami (-9)

Liberty (-2.5) at Syracuse

Clemson (-27) at Georgia Tech

Louisville at Notre Dame (-15.5)

Duke at NC State (-4)

Virginia (-2.5) at Wake Forest

UNC (-10) at Florida State

Georgia at Alabama (-5)

LSU at Florida (-14)

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Photo courtesy of BCEagles.com 

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Boston College vs. Georgia Tech: Gametime, TV Announced

Boston College’s upcoming October 24th game against Georgia Tech has a kickoff time and TV listing. Per a release from the ACC Conference, the game will be a 4pm kickoff on the ACC Network. Per state regulations surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic , fans again will not be allowed to attend this game. 

This is Georgia Tech’s first time visiting Alumni Stadium since 2008. The two teams have played just four times in conference play since BC joined the ACC in 2005. Most recently the two teams played in 2016 in the season opener in Dublin. The Yellow Jackets held on to win that game 17-14.  All-time, Georgia Tech holds a 7-2 series advantage in the series. 

Georgia Tech is currently 2-2 with wins over Louisville and Florida State, and losses to Syracuse and UCF. The Yellow Jackets are led by former Temple head coach Geoff Collins, who was hired by the Owls by former AD and current BC AD Patrick Kraft. Last season the Yellow Jackets finished the year 3-9, but with a full year to shift from the triple option they have looked much stronger in their first four games. 

Here are the other ACC games for that weekend:

Syracuse at Clemson, Noon, ESPN or ACC Network – network designation after games of Oct. 17

NC State at North Carolina, Noon, ESPN or ACC Network – network designation after games of Oct. 17

Florida State at Louisville, Noon, RSN

Virginia Tech at Wake Forest, 3:30 p.m., RSN

Notre Dame at Pittsburgh, 3:30 ABC

Virginia at Miami, 8 p.m., ACC Network

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Boston College vs. Virginia Tech: Weekly Kickoff

Boston College (3-1) won a thrilling 31-30 overtime classic on Saturday against the Pitt Panthers at Alumni Stadium. But now it is time for the team to hit the road again, turn the page and prepare for #23 Virginia Tech (2-1) in the newest chapter in the team’s rivalry. 

The Eagles and Hokies have had some memorable moments on the gridiron in the past 30 years. The moments are all engrained in our memories. Quarterback Michael Vick running for 210 yards and three touchdowns, Matt Ryan silencing Lane Stadium in 2007 or the Hokies beating the Eagles for two straight ACC titles. Boston College has won the last two matchups including last year’s season opener, but the Hokies own an 18-10 series edge. 

This year, the rivalry enters a new phase. Over the past few years, former defensive coordinator Bud Foster and head coach Frank Beamer both retired. Justin Fuente, the former Memphis head coach has taken over the program with mixed results. This year the Eagles are the team making the shift. Jeff Hafley has taken over for Steve Addazio, and the years of a run heavy attack are gone, replaced by one of the top passing attacks in the conference. 

The Hokies have only played three games, the Eagles four. But the two teams already have a pair of common opponents. Both played Duke, with the Eagles winning 26-6, and the Hokies 38-31. The other game was against UNC, who BC lost to 26-22, and the VT lost 56-45.  It has been a very tumultuous start for the Hokies, who have had to play multiple games with 20 or more players out due to injury or COVID. Presumed starting quarterback Hendon Hooker only played part of the UNC game, but was incredibly effective scoring three touchdowns. Look for the young QB to start against BC. 

What make the Hokies so dangerous? Their second ranked rushing attack, led by Kansas transfer running back Khalil Herbert. Many BC fans will remember him gashing up the Eagles defense with 11 carries for 185 yards and a touchdown in the Jayhawks stunning win in 2019. This year Herbert has been very impressive, rushing for 449 yards, averaging over ten yards per carry, along with five touchdowns. 

The defense this year? Not what you expect out of Virginia Tech. Against UNC this past week they allowed 658 yards, and were better against NC State and Duke but still averaged almost 400 yards allowed in the two games. 

This game is huge for Boston College. If the Eagles were to win this game, it would give them their first AP ranked win since 2014 (USC) and first ranked road win since 2008 (Florida State). Hafley and his team have already put together a handful of memorable moments. Defeating Virginia Tech would add to that, and put the Eagles in position to become something even bigger this season. 

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College football odds, picks, predictions for Week 7, 2020: Proven model backing Ole Miss, Boston College

The Week 7 college football schedule gets underway early in the week with Coastal Carolina at Louisiana on Wednesday and also features action on Thursday and Friday leading into a loaded Saturday schedule highlighted by No. 2 Alabama vs. No. 3 Georgia on CBS at 8 p.m. ET. The Week 7 college football odds from William Hill give the Tide a 4.5-point edge at home in that showdown. Alabama is just 1-2 against the spread this season, however, while Georgia has covered in two its three games. 

How should you play the Alabama vs. Georgia spread? And which other teams around the nation should you target in your Week 7 college football bets? Before making any Week 7 college football picks, be sure to see the latest college football predictions from SportsLine’s proven model.

The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every FBS college football game 10,000 times. Over the past four-plus years, the proprietary computer model has generated a stunning profit of over $4,200 for $100 players on its top-rated college football picks against the spread. It is a sizzling 23-6 on top-rated picks through six weeks of the 2020 college football season, returning almost $1,300 in profit already. Anybody who has followed it is way up. 

Now, it has turned its attention to the latest college football odds for Week 7 from William Hill and locked in picks for every FBS matchup. Head to SportsLine to see every pick.

Top Week 7 college football predictions 

One of the top Week 7 college football picks the model is recommending: Ole Miss (-4 at William Hill) covers at Arkansas in a 3:30 p.m. ET kickoff on Saturday. The Rebels fell to Alabama in Week 6, but piled up a whopping 48 points as they covered the spread (+24).

Lane Kiffin’s squad needs to make adjustments on defense, but the Rebels have one of the nation’s most prolific offenses as they enter Week 7 averaging 41.7 points per game. The model is calling for Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral to throw for well over 200 yards and two touchdowns, while the Ole Miss backs combine for over 200 yards on the ground as Ole Miss covers in 70 percent of simulations. 

Another one of the Week 7 college football predictions from the model: Boston College (+10.5) stays within the spread at Virginia Tech in an 8 p.m. ET matchup on Saturday. The Eagles are 3-1 against the spread this season after upsetting Pittsburgh as 6.5-point underdogs last week. Virginia Tech, meanwhile, has covered just once in three games. The Eagles have also won their last two matchups straight-up against the Hokies.

The simulations show Boston College holding Virginia Tech running back Khalil Herbert under 100 yards on the ground. BC quarterback Phil Jurkovec, meanwhile, throws for around 250 yards and two touchdowns as the Eagles cover well over 50 percent of the time. 

How to make Week 7 college football picks 

The model has also made the call on who wins and covers

Boston College Eagles vs. Pittsburgh Panthers: Three Stars

3rd Star – Grant Carlson

Last week, we broke down the elevated level of the special teams play. This past weekend saw a continuation of that unit’s success, especially with Carlson’s seven punts, four of which landed inside the 20. His pinnacle moment came when the team successfully downing a beautifully place ball inside the one yard line. This play set up Josh Deberry’s first career interception and gave the Eagles an opportunity to cap the game late in the forth. Although they were unable to convert, this win, as Coach Hafley put it, was not possible without Carlson.

2nd Star – Hunter Long/Phil Jurkovec 

The previous three installments of this segment have all included Hunter Long and Phil Jurkovec, and rightly so. This week being no different but with various other contributors deserving to be listed as well. We decided to group together the catalysts of the Eagles offense that has developed into one of the hottest pass catching duo in the country.

A Pittsburgh native, and Boston College quarterback showed up against his home town team to the tune of 358 yards on 19/35 passing three touchdowns and no interceptions. The quarterback’s lone blip came on a strip fumble loss deep in Pitt territory in the fourth quarter. But his latest “late game heroic” moment made up for it, on his laser of a touchdown to Flowers on third down in over time.

It has been no secret just how good Jurkovec has been for the Eagles this season. The numbers thus far although in a smaller sample, have him in a category of his own.

Pass catching tight end Hunter Long continues to impress. His play has been so strong that opposing teams are keying in on him game plans on a week to week basis. The tight end had another very productive day with six receptions for 93 yards. Long is the leading receiver nationally for all tight ends with 34 catches.

1st Star – Zay Flowers

Six catches for 162 yards, tying a school record with three touchdown receptions including what would become the game winner. This is a case where the gaudy numbers can and will speak for themselves. The sophomore steadily is proving he is more than a “jet sweep guy” and is starting to show that he is one of the top receivers in the ACC.

After torching the vaunted Pitt secondary on scores on 44 and 77 yards respectively, the Eagles receiver showed a new clutch gene Jurkovec connected with him on third down in OT from 25 yards out.

Flowers now has logged two contests with 160 yards receiving or more and now leads the ACC in receiving yards at 405 for the season.

Honorable Mention

As a Boston College site, mentioning Pitt Kicker Alex Kessman can come off odd. Furthermore, missing the extra point allowing for the Eagles to prevail in OT makes for a troll job. The fact of the matter is the Pitt kicker is the reason

Grading the Boston College Defense vs. Pitt

Boston College battled with Pitt last night, escaping with a 31-30 win. The difference maker being a missed extra point by Panthers kicker Alex Kessman in overtime. We’ve broken the game down in many ways, and now it’s time to hand out grades, beginning with the defense.

(Because of COVID-19 this evaluation was done using the network TV feed. There certainly were moments the video missed. We did the best we could to evaluate what was visible. Also for grading: A: Great Game, B:Good Game, C: Average Game D: Below Average F: Poor Game))

Coaching: A-. Tem Lukabu has been drawing up strong defensive schemes all year, and this week was no exception. Kenny Pickett was able to make some big plays, but BC dominated the Pitt rushing attack, holding the Panthers to 101 yards. When Pickett injured his ankle, the defense adjusted throwing the house at him every chance they could. 

Luc Bequette: B- Middle of the defense had a good game, Bequette also had a pass break up when he got his hands up on a pass attempt. It’s been a theme though, other than Marcus Valdez we aren’t seeing much in terms of pass rush from the defensive line. 

Chibueze Onwuka: B. Gets a higher grade because he made a play that saved the game for the Eagles. Pitt had the ball on their own one yard line, and Vincent Davis saw a hole, luckily Onwuka stopped him. Good solid run defense, not much of a factor on the pass rush. 

Max Roberts: A-. Three games, three potentially game changing hits. When he gets going he gives BC a pass rush unlike anyone else on the roster. Have to imagine he is used only in certain packages right now, but if his role grows he could be a bigger factor moving forward.

Brandon Barlow: B+. Has to be the most improved defensive lineman on the team. A sub package defensive end, he has done a really nice job so far this season. Five tackles on Saturday. 

Max Richardson: A. Just another crisp game by the linebacker, had what should have been the game ending sack. Three tackles for loss.

Isaiah McDuffie: C+ Another game with some positive plays and some negatives. On the touchdown from Israel Abanikanda, he looked to be the guy who should have at least slow him down. He had another personal foul, his second in two weeks. 

Elijah Jones: D+. When grading a player sometimes it’s the circumstances that dictate the grade not the actual play. That is the case for Jones. He got called for two questionable pass interference calls, but I think a lot of that has to do with the physical “violent” way the secondary plays. Not a great game for the corner, but I think he could easily bounce back.

Brandon Sebastian: A. Was about to give him an A+, the highest grade, when I looked back over my notes and realized he missed an easy INT.

AP Top 25 ballot breakdown: Jeff Hafley, Boston College surging; Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, Ohio State shuffle at top

Rutgers’ main recruiting adversary in the 10 months since Greg Schiano’s return has been Michigan State, but an old foe led by a familiar face may be positioning itself to claim the mantle.

Boston College is 3-1 now in its first season under Jeff Hafley, a Montvale native and former Scarlet Knights assistant who was briefly a Rutgers backup plan last fall, after Saturday’s stirring 31-30 overtime win at Pitt.

The Eagles have been a little lucky, winning on a missed extra point by the Panthers this weekend and getting a last-second field goal to escape lowly Texas State a few weeks back. But they’ve also proven their mettle with a 26-22 loss to a top-10 North Carolina team that has won its other league games by two or more scores.

Boston College may not be a serious contender to reach the ACC Championship Game, but it will likely have a big say in who does make it with games against Clemson, Notre Dame and Virginia Tech still to come. Hafley, who has increased the Eagles’ national profile, is also getting it done on the recruiting trail as well.

Boston College has quietly moved to No. 36 in 247 Sports’ composite 2021 class rankings, one spot behind Penn State and three ahead of Rutgers. The Eagles flipped four-star Baltimore cornerback Clinton Burton from Florida and have three South Jersey commits – Winslow’s Jalen Cheek, Lenape’s Xavier Coleman and Williamstown’s Donovan Ezeiruaku.

There have not been many (any?) head-to-head matchups between Hafley and Schiano yet, but it feels like a matter of time. The 2022 matchup in Chestnut Hill can’t get here fast enough.

Shuffle at the top: I moved Clemson to No. 1 after it hammered Miami and Georgia to No. 2 after it rolled over Tennessee, dropping Ohio State to No. 3 and Alabama to No. 4. I still think Ohio State is the nation’s best team on paper, but the Tigers and Bulldogs deserve to be Nos. 1 and 2 given what they have accomplished on the field so far. The Alabama-Georgia winner could move ahead of Clemson for No. 1 next week.

AP TOP 25 BALLOT FOR OCT. 11

  1. Clemson (4-0)
  2. Georgia (3-0)
  3. Ohio State (0-0)
  4. Alabama (3-0)
  5. Notre Dame (3-0)
  6. Cincinnati (3-0)
  7. North Carolina (3-0)
  8. Oregon (0-0)
  9. Penn State (0-0)
  10. Miami (3-1)
  11. Texas A&M (2-1)
  12. Florida (2-1)
  13. Oklahoma State (3-0)
  14. Wisconsin (0-0)
  15. BYU (4-0)
  16. Auburn (2-1)
  17. Tennessee (2-1)
  18. Louisiana (3-0)
  19. SMU (4-0)
  20. Iowa State (3-1)
  21. Kansas State (3-1)
  22. Minnesota (0-0)
  23. Michigan (0-0)
  24. Boston College (3-1)
  25. Virginia Tech (2-1)

In: Boston College, Kansas State, Texas A&M.

Out: Coastal Carolina, LSU, Mississippi State.

Also considered: Coastal Carolina, Marshall, N.C. State, Oklahoma.

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James Kratch may be reached at jkratch@njadvancemedia.com. Tell us your coronavirus story or send a tip here.

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Pittsburgh vs Boston College Live Stream:Ncaaf Week 6 online Tv info

After a four-game homestead, the Pittsburgh Panthers will be on the road. The Panthers and the Boston College Eagles will face off in an ACC battle at 4 p.m. ET Saturday at Alumni Stadium. Pitt won’t have the home-field advantage, but they do enjoy a 6.5-point advantage in the spread.sg

It’s always hard to lose, and it’s even harder to lose by a single point. Just ask Pitt, the unfortunate recipient of a 30-29 loss at the hands of the NC State Wolfpack last week. What made the defeat an especially bitter pill for Pitt to swallow was that they had been favored by 14 points coming into the contest. Pittsburgh’s loss came about despite a quality game from QB Kenny Pickett, who passed for one TD and 411 yards on 39 attempts in addition to rushing for two TDs and 40 yards. That was the first 300+ yard effort for Pickett this season. Pickett’s sharp performance set his single-game rushing touchdown high for the season.gs

Special teams collected 11 points for Pitt. K Alex Kessman delivered a perfect 3-for-3 game.

Meanwhile, BC was within striking distance but couldn’t close the gap last week as they fell 26-22 to the North Carolina Tar Heels. The losing side was boosted by QB Phil Jurkovec, who passed for two TDs and 313 yards on 56 attempts.

Special teams collected ten points for the Eagles. K Aaron Boumerhi delivered a perfect 3-for-3 game.

The Panthers are now 3-1 while BC sits at 2-1. A couple defensive stats to keep in the back of your head while watching: Pitt enters the matchup with 19 sacks, which is the best in the nation. The Eagles are not quite as good, but they are no chumps, either: they come into the game boasting the ninth most sacks in the nation at 11. With that kind of ball pressure, don’t be surprised if there are a lot of short passes in this one.

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