by Sam Thayer
Sitting at second place in the ACC Atlantic with an overall record of 7-2, the Boston College football program has enjoyed success unparalleled in the past decade. Riding a three game win streak, including a field-rushing win over the Canes and a tough away game at Virginia Tech, BC turns their focus to the one team standing in their way: the 2016 National Champion Clemson Tigers. With a consistent threat at quarterback in the form of Anthony Brown, along with a preseason Heisman candidate in AJ Dillon, it seems the Eagles finally have the weapons on offense to compliment their commanding defense. The success of this team could not have come at a better time for Steve Addazio.
Sporting a bushy mustache and championing the phrase “be a dude,” it may seem like Addazio is the perfect man to lead the Eagles to victory. But, his results say otherwise. The team from Chestnut Hill has not broken the 8 win mark since Addazio took the reigns in 2013, and the Eagles have snagged only 1 win in 4 bowl game appearances over the past five years. Despite inheriting one of the best defenses in the country and coaching several NFL draft picks including Harold Landry, Matt Milano, and Justin Simmons, Addazio has not brought the Eagles the same success they enjoyed in the Matt Ryan or Doug Flutie eras. With a tradition of excellence in “The Heights,” Addazio’s lackluster resume does not go unnoticed by fans. The first Twitter account to appear when you search ‘Steve Addazio’ is a parody account which calls on the firing of Addazio (yes, even the Catholic fans of Boston College can get feisty). Annabel Steele, a writer for BC’s independent newspaper, pointed out BC’s “slow” and “boring” offense in an article from 2017. It’s fair to say that after several seasons of mediocrity, Eagles fans are itching to be recognized as the powerhouse program they once were.
After being ranked 22nd in the college football playoffs ranking, it’s time to ask:
Is this the big season?
Can Boston College break the cycle of 6 and 7 win seasons? Could the Eagles get a big bowl win or even… a national championship? The stars would have to align for a Boston College playoff appearance; however, the fact that the Eagles are even being mentioned in the same sentence as the playoffs juxtaposes the disparaging remarks of BC fanatics only a year ago. Eagles fans are excited! But do they have reason to be after the Eagles suffered losses to Purdue and NC State? The Eagles were able to remain within 5 points at NC State, despite the absence of star running back AJ Dillon, the 245 lb anchor of a run-heavy offense. A 17 point loss to Purdue in September may seem glaring, however, Boston College was not in mid-season shape after competing against weaker opponents UMass, Holy Cross, and Wake Forest to start the season. In addition, Purdue ruined the perfect record of Ohio State with a 49-20 win, which perhaps helps the Eagles cause of explaining their defeat at the hands of the Boilermakers. The obvious concern amongst fans is whether the Eagles have enough talent and charisma to take down Clemson. The Eagles shine in passing defense with Zach Allen and Wyatt Ray constantly applying pressure on the pocket. Ranked 4th in the nation in interceptions and 5th in sacks, BC will look to continue their excellent play against a Clemson team that elects to pass on nearly 50% of downs. Addazio is going to have to get out of his comfort zone of conservative play calling to put up points against the Tigers. With two wins within 5 points, Clemson is far from untouchable. Lee corso and the rest of the College Gameday crew will be in Chestnut Hill for the first time since 2009 to preview the saturday night primetime game, and rest assured that the students will be rowdy for gameday.
Now, what if Boston College cannot complete the upset over Clemson? Don’t worry, Eagles fans, the future is bright. Due to its academic prestige, proximity to Boston, and campus filled with stunning gothic architecture, BC is a hot spot for recruits from elite private schools in New England. With the construction of a new multimillion dollar sports complex, Boston College will move its sights towards strengthening the program by attracting nationwide talent. 56.2 million dollars will go towards an AstroTurf indoor practice facility along with a weight room, both of which are standard amongst the big name football programs. By meeting the expectations of powerhouse programs, along with the unique and valuable Boston College education, the Eagles will exercise their competitive advantage to strengthen their recruiting class in the coming years. With results being shown on the field and new assets for recruiting, the Eagles have the opportunity to return to a golden age of football. Please, Steve Addazio, don’t screw this up.