For only the second time in his three year career at Boston College, Steve Addazio is the head coach of a program with a losing record. After Saturday’s unsuccessful trip to Death Valley, where No. 5 Clemson doubled the Eagles’ score in a defiant 34-17 victory, BC moved to the bottom of the ACC with a 3-4 record. This marked a third straight loss for the team, and many have begun questioning if the program has done itself in for the season. Though playoff hopes were crushed several weeks ago, the Eagles still have much to play for, and the remainder of the team’s schedule looks promising.
It is true, at least on paper, that Addazio’s squad is nothing short of confusing. Boston College boasts one of the best defenses in the country, but success has been mitigated by horrendous play on offense and special teams. That said, the season has not been nearly as bad as reports would suggest. Several contributing factors have forced the coaching staff to dramatically restructure the team from what it was during the offseason -- never a simple transition. Most notably, the loss of quarterback Darius Wade severely affected the game plan of offensive coordinator Todd Fitch, and a broken foot suffered by star running back Jon Hilliman one week later did nothing to help.
As for the disappointing overall record, two of the team’s four losses were actually justified. These two losses came against Florida State and Clemson, both undefeated programs ranked in the top ten nationally. The other two losses came amidst a fierce quarterback competition, and each game was decided by a field goal or less. In fact, a referee’s decision accounted for Duke’s victory, and Boston College finished with a 3-0 loss to Wake Forest one yard away from scoring a touchdown. Both games should have been won by the Eagles.
Further, Saturday’s game at Clemson was actually positive, despite the final outcome. Addazio’s program put up the most points it has since the loss of Wade and Hilliman against what is likely the toughest opponent it will face all year. What is more, true freshman Jeff Smith now has his first full collegiate game under his belt after officially being named the starter. With support and experience, he will only improve. Moreover, there are still several backs capable of having big games (Willis, Rouse, and Outlow), and defensive play remains exceptionally strong. Though special teams continues to be an issue, they will become significantly less important if the offense can produce points.
Looking toward the five remaining games with all that in mind, it seems reasonable to suggest that Addazio will finish the season at or above .500. There is only one school left on the schedule that the Eagles should expect a serious fight from: No. 11 Notre Dame. However, Boston College is notorious for playing well in high-profile games, and seeing that the contest will be hosted at Fenway Park on national television, an upset very well may be brooding on the horizon.
The Fighting Irish aside, only N.C. State has more wins than Boston College thus far in the season, but their two losses came in ACC play against Louisville (2-4) and Virginia Tech (3-4). No other team on the schedule has seen more success than the Eagles, and with the program looking up after a tough few weeks, it seems likely that the team will finish with a winning record. Expect big things during the remainder of the season, and don’t be surprised if Addazio receives his third bowl bid when all is said and done.
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