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BC notebook

A report card to be proud of

By Mark Blaudschun
Globe Staff / November 19, 2009

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Who’s No. 1? Well, Boston College, if you are talking about academics mixed with athletics. In the latest Graduation Success Rate data released by the NCAA, BC had 21 teams score a perfect 100 percent graduation rate, the most of any Division 1 program.

In football, BC had a score of 91, which made it one of only six Bowl Subdivision programs with a score of 90 or better.

Only Duke (96), Notre Dame (93), Navy (93), and Northwestern (92) did better. Vanderbilt had a 90 percent graduation rate.

The BC men’s basketball graduation rate was 78 percent.

“This shows you how good this place is,’’ said BC director of athletics Gene DeFilippo by telephone from New York yesterday. “We have great kids and great teachers and it all works to make this a fantastic place.’’

The 21 teams that recorded a perfect GSR score of 100 were: baseball, men’s cross-country/track, women’s cross-country/track, men’s fencing, women’s fencing, men’s golf, women’s golf, men’s skiing, women’s skiing, men’s swimming, women’s swimming, men’s tennis, men’s sailing, women’s sailing, women’s basketball, women’s rowing, women’s ice hockey, women’s lacrosse, women’s soccer, women’s softball, and women’s volleyball.

This data is based on the four entering freshman classes from 1999-2000 through 2002-03.

Seniors’ moment
It was 10 years ago, but Dave Shinskie remembers it as if it were last week.

Shinskie had worked his way to the top of the depth chart as a freshman quarterback at Mount Carmel (Pa.) Area High School. The Red Tornadoes were playing their last home game of the season, and Shinskie made a mistake that cost them the game.

“I still remember that feeling,’’ said Shinskie, who will start for Boston College Saturday in their final home game of this season, against North Carolina. “I remember how bad I felt for all the seniors. I don’t want to have that feeling ever again.

“I don’t want guys like Matt [Tennant] and Rich [Gunnell] to feel that way. I’m going to do whatever I can to make sure it doesn’t happen.’’

Shinskie is a freshman, but he is also a 25-year-old with seven years of experience as a minor league pitcher. He understands the emotions in play for the BC seniors as they try to complete a perfect (7-0) season at Alumni Stadium, something that has happened just twice since 1985 (the last time was 2006).

“I can’t believe it’s gone as fast as it has,’’ said Tennant, a center, cocaptain, and fifth-year senior from Cincinnati. “If you think about it, we’re the model class for BC. We should advertise that these are the kind of guys you want to have at BC. These are guys that went through three head coaches and are still winning games.’’

Tennant said he thought about transferring when Tom O’Brien left in 2006.

“But then Jo-Lonn Dunbar called a team meeting,’’ said Tennant, “and said, ‘It’s not about the coaches, it’s not about the fans, it’s about the team. It’s the only option we have if we want to be successful. It’s about the players and the cohesiveness we have as a team.’ ’’

And it was Tennant, upon learning that Jeff Jagodzinski was being replaced by Frank Spaziani, who text-messaged the rest of the offensive line: “We have to stick together.’’

So they did, and now, led by a 25-year-old freshman quarterback, seniors such as Tennant, Gunnell, and middle linebacker Mike McLaughlin will take the field at Alumni Stadium one more time.

Parking slot
With a noon kickoff for Saturday’s game, BC announced that parking lots will open at 9 a.m. and will close two hours after the game . . . Running back Montel Harris needs 19 rushing yards to hit the 2,000-yard mark for his career. With 1,081 yards this season, he is 83 yards short of the BC record for a sophomore, set by William Green in 2001 . . . Carolina comes into the game ranked eighth in the country defensively . . . Carolina kicker Casey Barth is hot, connecting on his last 13 field goal attempts, including eight in the last two games . . . BC freshman linebacker Luke Kuechly is averaging 6.6 solo tackles per game, best of any freshman in the country and third overall.

On Belichick’s side
Like most everyone in New England, the Eagles had various opinions about Bill Belichick’s decision to go for it on fourth down from his 28 against the Colts. But the consensus was that, as risky as it might seem, the odds were in the Patriots’ favor. “If he is the coach and No. 12 [Tom Brady] is the quarterback, I’d sit back and watch and feel good,’’ said McLaughlin . . . Linebacker Mark Herzlich, whose fight against cancer helped inspire more than $120,000 in donations to cancer-related causes, has won the Disney Spirit Award, given to college football’s most inspirational figure.

Mark Blaudschun can be reached at blaudschun@globe.com.