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Kate McCabe / Gavel Media

Breaking: Football Will Opt Out of Bowl Game, Ending Season

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. - Boston College Athletic Director Pat Kraft and Football Head Coach Jeff Hafley announced together on Thursday that the football team has ended its 2020-2021 season and has decided not to participate in a postseason bowl game. 

Hafley referenced the “mental and physical” toll this season had on the players, coaching staff, and their families as the primary reason for the opt-out. 

“The young men in our program and our coaches and staff have been through an incredible six months—people may not fully understand just how grueling this season was, and our team needs and deserves an extended break to help recharge their minds and bodies,” Hafley said.

Kraft praised the young men for their commitment and dedication to the school and program over the course of the season. 

“Very few teams in the country handled playing in a pandemic better than our student-athletes have, and I thank them for all of their hard work and sacrifice to make it through the season,” Kraft continued.

The players, who have been enormously successful in adhering to the school’s COVID-19 guidelines, now get time to finish their academic semester and return to their families after being kept on campus since mid-June. 

The team has only had one positive COVID-19 test since the initial test period in June. 

BC Football becomes the first FBS program, outside of LSU, to formally announce the decision to opt-out of a postseason bowl game. Other ACC programs, such as UVA, have considered a similar decision as well. 

The Eagles finished the season with a record of 6-5, going 5-5 in ACC play. BC last won five ACC games in a season in 2009. 

Thanks to transfer Phil Jurkovec, the Eagles improved from the 113th best passing attack in the country last year to the 22nd best this season. Additionally, Hafley’s defensive mindset transformed an uninspiring defense to the 71st best total defense in the country, up from its 125th ranking last season. 

Overall, the offense averaged 385.9 total yards per game, scoring 34 touchdowns and 4,245 yards in 11 games. The defense gave up 416.8 total yards per game, on average, with nine interceptions and scoring two touchdowns off fumbles. 

Under new rules for the 2020-2021 season, the NCAA waived previous requirements, allowing all FBS programs to participate in a bowl game, if desired. Normally, teams are required to finish with a record at .500 or better, but with reduced schedules and cancellations running rampant, it would not have been fair nor possible to expect any sense of normalcy for this season. 

Bowl projections had the Eagles in a wide array of bowl games against various opponents. Most notable include the Gasparillo Bowl in Tampa Bay, Florida and the Duke’s Mayo Bowl in Charlotte, North Carolina. 

As of Thursday, five bowl games that feature an ACC opponent have been cancelled. Those bowl games include the Fenway Bowl, the Holiday Bowl, Pinstripe Bowl, the Quick Lane Bowl, and the Sun Bowl. 

Stay tuned for The Gavel's further analysis on BC Football, as the team heads into next season with great promise and looks to build off the exciting success from this season. 

Be sure to follow @BCGavelSports for all of the latest updates on Boston College athletics.

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