We are now just more than halfway through the 2012 NCAA Football Relegation season, having just completed week 7 (October 13). Roughly half of our teams have played 6 games, the rest have played 7 and Division races as well as those in line for both promotion and relegation are definitely taking shape.
Your Eagles struggled over the past three weeks, going 1-2 over that period. After defeating Rice 38-27 to run the record to 3-1, BC was bounced in its next two, getting bombed by Texas Tech in Lubbock 58-13 and then suffering a crushing home loss to Western Michigan, 30-26.
Let's take a look at how these three games went down.
September 29, 2013 - Chestnut Hill, MA - Rettig's 4 TD passes lead Eagles over Owls, 38-27
Chase Rettig threw for 298 yards and 4 touchdowns at Boston College raced out to 38-13 lead after three quarters, en route to a 38-27 win over Rice at Alumni Stadium.
BC which improved to 3-1 on the season, got two third quarter touchdown catches from Johnathan Coleman after a Andre Williams 6 yard run with just a minute remaining in the half to turn a 17-13 game to a 38-13 one. The first of the third quarter scores set up by a 80 plus yard punt return, which Rettig and Coleman turned immediately into a 7 yard touchdown pass. On the very next possession, Rice fumbled the ball on their own 33 and once again it was Rettig to Coleman, this time for 18 yards and the TD.
Williams rushed for 51 yards on 19 carries and two touchdowns, both 6 yard runs, while Alex Amidon lead the receiving core with 6 catches for 91 yards.
The BC defense once again struggled in the 4th quarter allowing two touchdowns and Rice rushed for 248 yards as a team.
October 6, 2013 - Lubbock, TX - Tech wrecks Eagles, 58-13
Texas Tech QB Seth Doege threw for 382 yards and 3 touchdowns as the Red Raiders put up 37 first half points and buried Boston College 58-13.
Tech was potent both on the ground (235 yards) and in the air, rolling up 617 yards of total offense.
The Red Raiders got off to a fast start, driving 5 plays and 46 yards following the opening kickoff and finishing with a Ryan Bustin 39 yard FG. BC went three and out and once again, Tech scored off another Bustin FG, this time from 33 yards out. On the very next possession, Chase Rettig was intercepted on a 2nd down play and this time Tech put 6 up on the board, with Eric Stephens taking it in from 2 yards out.
BC would respond with, Rettig finding Harrison Jackson for a 5 yard TD pass, but the rest of the half was all Tech.
Doege would complete an 8 play, 67 yard drive with a 11 yard run by Eric Stephens and then after a BC drive was halted on a third and nine sack from the Tech 49, it would take the Red Raiders (5-1) just three plays, all runs, to go 73 yards, with Kenny Williams ripping off a 60 yard TD run and the rout was on.
The lead would grow to as much as 48 in the fourth quarter, courtesy of passes from Doege to Jakeem Grant (23 yards) and a 70 yard strike to Jayon Bell.
BC (3-2) could generate no running game at all, definitely missing Deuce Finch. Andre Williams was only able to manage 32 yards on 19 carries as falling behind so big, so early put the burden on Rettig.
Rettig wound up 23-53 for 382 and a TD, but had 2 INTs. His favorite targets again were Alex Amidon (7-152) and Johnathan Coleman (4-82).
For the second straight game, the defense did not come up with either a sack or an interception.
October 13, 2013 - Chestnut Hill, MA - Another 4th Quarter meltdown dooms Eagles, 30-26
Western Michigan outscored Boston College 23-3 in the second half, rallying from a 23-7 deficit to knock off the Eagles 30-26 at Alumni Stadium.
Trailing 30-26 after with just 4:36 remaining in the game, BC drove from its own 24 to the WMU 9 where they proceeded to lose 4 yards in three plays before Chase Rettig's desperation pass to Johnathan Coleman in the end zone on fourth down, fell just out of his reach with 0:12 left.
This was simply a case of more of the same for the Eagles (3-3) who have now been outscored 92-10 in the 4th quarter this season.
This time it was the Broncos Tyler Van Tubbergen who threw for 364 yards and 3 touchdowns, all in the second half to lead the WMU comeback.
BC looked sharp in the first half in building a 20-7 halftime lead. On their first drive, Rettig hit Spiffy Evans for a 19 yard TD and then on the very next WMU snap, Justin Simmons intercepted Van Tubbergen. The offense immediately stalled though and settled for a Nate Freese 28 yard FG and a 10-0 lead.
Undaunted, Western (2-5) came back driving 7 plays and 74 yards, the big play a 27 yard pass from Van Tubbergen to Josh Shaffer, where the ball came loose only to be recovered by the Broncos.
Rettig had another big day passing, at least yardage wise, finishing 25-49 for 388, 2 TDs and 1 INT. As he has been all season, Alex Amidon was his favorite target catching 8 for 159 yards. The run game again, a disaster minus Deuce Finch, accounting for just 71 yards on 41 carries.
BC returns to action next week traveling to Kent State (4-2).
So what has been the problem for the Eagles in Relegation 2012? Nothing that should be so terribly surprising if you watched the real McCoy unfold. The year to date stats can be found right here (2012 year to date stats through 6 games) and very much like what we saw during the year, the problems can be traced to the offensive line and the overall play of the defense.
BC has run for an average of just 99.5 ypg through its first six contests and that number has gone down steadily as Deuce Finch remember was sat through the middle part of the season. The team averages just 2.8 yards per carry, showing the woes of the offensive line. Chase Rettig, while throwing up big passing yards numbers, has struggled on the completion side at barely over 51%.
On the defensive side, another, well, what did you expect? BC has sacked opposing quarterbacks just four times so far and none in the past two games. They have allowed an average of 532 yards per game against less than stellar competition, including giving up 382 passing yards to Western Michigan's Tyler Van Tubbergen and 461 at Kentucky.
On the positives, Alex Amidon is having a great year with 37 catches for 633 yards and 2 TDs. The touchdown numbers you might wish were higher, but he's on pace to do what he did for real.
Nate Freese is another positive story, going 10-10 on FGs, with a long of 46 and leading the Eagles with 51 points.
Interesting on both the positive and negative side is the kick return games. Kick off returns have been abysmal, with as BC has averaged just 15.7 yards per return, but on the punt return side, fabulous, averaging 17.6 yards per return.
So where does this leave BC? Its dreams of a promotion to Conference A look slim. They now sit 1.5 games behind second place Texas Tech with Tech holding the tie breaker and also don't hold the tie breaker vs Northwestern who also sits in front of them.
Bowl chances, probably just less than 50%. Needing to win 6 games, so three of their final six, they still have first place Utah State (H), Kent State (A), Purdue (H), South Florida (A). The only two games looking like good win opportunities will be Miami OH (H) and North Texas (A). 5-7 is looking like the most likely outcome.
Relegation probability, BC is probably safe from a trip to the lowest tier of College Football. BC sits a game and a half ahead of 11th place Western Michigan, 2 games ahead of 12th place Kentucky and three and a half games ahead of cellar dweller Rice in the battle for the automatic and play in relegation game. So it looks very like BC winds up back in Conference B again in 2013.
As for the other Conferences. In Conference C, Middle Tennessee, Troy and Alabama-Birmingham have all achieved bowl eligibility and appear to be fighting for the top spot in Division 2. Middle is now the only undefeated team in the Conference.
In Division 1, FBS newcomer Texas State, holds a slim one game lead over five teams in a tight battle for first place there.
In Conference B, Division 1 has become a two team race between undefeateds, San Jose State and Fresno State, while Division 2 has seen Virginia vault to a ½ game lead over Arkansas State. In Division 3, UCLA and Iowa State sit just clear of Arizona State.
Big boy football Conference A has seen dominance from none other than the Alabama Crimson Tide. The Tide are now 6-0 and have allowed just two touchdowns all season, both in their last game to West Virginia while outscoring their opposition a whopping 236-34. They sit a full game and a half ahead of West Virginia, Ohio State and Notre Dame, all at 5-2 in Division 1.
Division 2 has seen Florida State and their stingy defense (only 30 points allowed) take the lead from Texas A&M and LSU and we have some surprising results in Division 3 and 4 where Oklahoma State (7-0) and Vanderbilt (6-1) lead respectively. Vandy has a huge game coming this week at home vs 5-1 Clemson.
So if the season were to end today, what would we see? See all the standings here
Conference A semifinals: #4 Vanderbilt (6-1) at #1 Oklahoma State (7-0)
#3 Florida State (6-0) at #2 Alabama (6-0)
Conference B semifinals: #4 Virginia (6-1) at #1 Utah State (7-0)
(Automatically promoted) #3 UCLA (6-1) at #2 San Jose State (7-0)
Conference C Championship: Texas State (5-2) vs Middle Tennessee (7-0)
We will talk to you again in a few weeks after week 10 of the regular season.