This was not supposed to be an average year for Boston College football. After two years of mediocre 6-5 and 6-6 seasons, there was reason to believe that head coach Jeff Hafley could turn BC football around and propel his team to emerge as a force to be reckoned with in the ACC. Four weeks into the season, these hopes have fizzled, and the Eagles seem lost amid a horrendous start to the season. The Eagles are currently 2-3 with their only wins against Maine and Louisville, some of the worst teams in NCAA Division I football. While the Eagles lost a close heartbreaker to Rutgers, they put up pitiful performances in blowout losses against Virginia Tech and Florida State.
In the midst of this poor start, many fans are all asking the same question: What is wrong with BC football? Everyone hopes there is one answer that can fix everything, but there are many different reasons for BC's regression. One of the first reasons has to do with the lackluster offensive line play. Boston College has always been known as a football program that produces great offensive lineman, but that position group has been a liability this year. The Eagles lost All-American left guard Zion Johnson, starting tackle Tyler Vrabel and center Alex Lindstrom to the NFL after last season and have put together an offensive line that looks lost on the field. BC’s offensive line has given up 15 sacks through four games, which ranks last in the ACC. The offensive line has made it a lot harder for the offense to move the ball down the field.
The play of the line has also led to a non-existent running attack. The Eagles are dead last in rushing yards per game with about 60 yards; no other team in the ACC has less than 100 rushing yards per game. Boston College’s starting running back Pat Garwo has only 159 rushing yards through four games, averaging a mere 3.2 yds per carry. The only bright spot on offense for BC has been star wideout Zay Flowers, who is on track to have a career season in receptions, receiving yards, and touchdowns. However, no one else has been able to serve as a big playmaking threat for quarterback Phil Jurkovec, and the lack of a running game has made it very easy for teams to scheme against the BC offense. When the run attack fails, defenses have been double teaming Flowers, forcing Jurkovec to throw the ball elsewhere. No one is able to get open consistently, stalling the BC offense and forcing them to punt the ball to the opposing side.
The offense is only half of BC’s problems. The defense is giving up 27.5 points per game, fourth worst in the ACC, and also giving up almost 400 yards per game to opposing offenses. The season the BC defense is having can be summed by the game-winning drive Rutgers pulled in the season opener. During that drive, Rutgers started on their own 4 yard line, ran the ball on every play but one (which was an incompletion), and marched down the field in 12 plays to score and win the game. In the blowout losses to Virginia Tech and Florida State, both teams were moving the ball with little to no resistance for almost the entirety of the first half. By the time the defense began to make plays, the game was way out of reach. The defense has not been able to put together a strong full 60 minutes of play this season, putting a heavier burden on the offense to have to score more points to win.
While some may push back and say things will get better soon, it is hard to believe "soon" will come during the 2022 season. The Eagles schedule gets even harder over the rest of the season, including matchups against three top-25 ranked teams: Clemson, NC State, and Wake Forest. They are also facing a trip to South Bend to take on Notre Dame, and a matchup against a Duke team that has started the season 3-1. Sitting at 2-3, this schedule does not include easy opponents like Maine to build back confidence and fix pressing roster issues that have plagued the team all season.
As the season continues on, another trend that cannot be ignored is BC’s record against conference opponents. In the Jeff Hafley era, BC is 7-13 against ACC opponents, and that record has gotten worse each year since Hafley took over as coach in 2020. This team has clearly taken a major step back since Hafley’s first season, and the start to this season has made BC football’s downward fall much more obvious. The solution to fix this team may take time to find, and might not even come in 2022. If that is the case, Boston College football fans will be looking forward to the tailgates before the game much more than the actual game itself.