August 23, 2004 * Boston College scored a huge victory in mid-August that had nothing to do with what the win-loss record will be in 2004. The school scored a summary judgment in Massachusetts Superior Court that said the Big East's 11th-hour amendment of its constitution last year (on the matter of exit fees for conference members) failed to comply with the league's own rules and thus was invalid. The bottom line? Barring the unlikely development of a successful appeal on the part of the Big East, whose track record in the courtroom on expansion matters has been utterly woeful, the Eagles can join the ACC in 2005 as planned and pay $1 million to leave the Big East. Had BC lost the case, the 2005 exit fee would have been $5 million, and the departure could have been delayed until 2006. * The courtroom win made BC 1-1 off the field in the weeks leading up to the 2004 season. For the second time in six months, the Eagles lost a quality wide receiver recruit. In February, Dorien Bryant, who while attending prep school repeatedly stated that he would enroll at BC this fall, signed instead with Purdue. This time, Marquise Liverpool, a high school teammate of Class of 2004 headliner Brian Toal in New Jersey, signed a contract to play pro baseball for the Seattle Mariners. In part because of his signature with BC and his desire to play football, Liverpool slipped from a likely fifth- or sixth-round selection in the diamond draft to the 33rd round, where the Mariners took a chance and won. * Strange how things work out sometimes. Jeff Ross, who emerged as one of the frontrunners for the starting tailback spot, originally was recruited almost as an afterthought. A local kid, he was the final addition to the Eagles' Class of 2002.
While Paul Peterson and Quinton Porter battled for the starting QB spot in August, some folks around The Heights expressed the opinion that redshirt freshman Matt Ryan is the best pure quarterback on campus. Ryan is set to serve as the Eagles' backup in 2004, with the loser in the Peterson/Porter battle the frontrunner for next year, unless Ryan forces his way into that picture.
We have good quarterbacks in the program right now, BC coach Tom O'Brien said. (Ryan has) a lot of poise for a redshirt freshman.
With receivers Grant Adams and Larry Lester sitting out because of injuries, Jason Lilly stood out in the first preseason scrimmage, and Taylor Sele the second.
We were looking for one guy (to be the fourth receiver), O'Brien said, but with Lester hurt (out until mid-September), we're actually looking for two.
Evidence of the positive effects of the move to the ACC continued to mount in the recruiting game, as BC reached into Virginia and plucked offensive lineman Pat Sheil. Rated among the top 10 seniors in the Commonwealth, Sheil had Miami, Oklahoma and Florida interested in him, among many others. In August, he chose BC over scholarship offers from finalists Virginia, Virginia Tech and Georgia.
Cornerback Peter Shean grew up playing football with Nathanael Hasselbeck, all the way to BC. Now, with Hasselbeck having transferred to Division I-AA Massachusetts (thus ending the three-player Hasselbeck era at BC), Shean is likely to be covering his old pal when the teams meet on Oct. 2.
BC will face only four teams this fall that had records over .500 last season, and Connecticut and UMass went a combined 19-6 against relatively soft schedules. Ball State, Penn State, Wake Forest, Notre Dame, Rutgers and Temple were a combined 23-49.