College sports aren't normally a focal point in the Boston sports scene, but you wouldn't be able to tell on the first two Monday nights in February at TD Garden.
Of course, that's when Boston College, Boston University, Northeastern and Harvard meet in the historic Beanpot tournament. The Eagles (18-6-10) are the defending Beanpot champion, defeating rival Boston University, 4-3, in the championship game in 2010 to claim victory in Boston's biggest collegiate tournament.
BC looks to defend its title in the 59th annual Beanpot, starting on Monday, Feb. 7, when the Eagles face the Terriers (13-7-7) in the marquee game at 8 p.m. EST. Northeastern (8-11-6) battles Harvard (4-17) in the first game of the tournament at 5 p.m.
The Beanpot was first played in the 1952 season at Boston Arena. The tournament's format is simple. As for the match-ups, the opponents in the first-round rotate every year. Four teams meet in the first round on the first Monday in February, with two advancing to the final round. The winners of the two first round games meet in the championship game on the second Monday of February, with the two first-round losers meeting in the consolation game.
The tournament's first champion was Harvard. The Crimson defeated Boston University in the title game to claim victory. The tournament wouldn't be played again until 1954, when Boston College claimed its first Beanpot victory with a 4-1 win over Harvard.
The Eagles won eight of the first 13 Beanpot titles. However, the tournament title has gone to Boston University 28 times since 1966, while the Terries have won 12 of the last 15 Beanpot trophies.
Coincidentally, the Terries' tournament success has coincided with the arrival of BU head coach Jack Parker. Ever since parker became the Terriers' head coach in the 1973-74 season, Parker and BU have won an impressive 21 Beanpot championship titles.
Historically speaking, the Terriers have had the best luck of any of the four schools. Boston University has won 29 Beanpot title, placing it miles ahead of Boston College, which has won 15. Harvard has won 10 Beanpot titles while Northeastern has only been able to win four.
The Terries boast a tournament-best 84-32 record in the Beanpot. Boston College has the second best record at 67-49, while Harvard is 48-68 and Northeastern is 33-83.
In total, Boston College and Boston University have won the last 17 Beanpot titles. The last time a school that didn't have Boston in its name won the tournament was in the 41st Beanpot in 1993, when Harvard triumphed over Boston University, 4-2. Northeastern's last victory came on Feb. 8, 1988, when it bested Boston University, 6-3, in the 36th Beanpot title game.