My hands were cold, despite it being 64 degrees for the fourth consecutive home game (the section of ribbon board inside Alumni Stadium has registered 64 for every second of every game so far this season), the rain had chilled them, but I was numb regardless of how my extremities felt.
Syracuse 28 Boston College 20, the Eagles 12th consecutive ACC loss and one more nail in the coffin of the 2016 football season. It got me to thinking...about what..well the football program, but nothing in general, just a stream of consciousness.
Here are 10 things going through my mind after another sobering defeat.
- I didn't go home from the game mad - and that in itself made me mad. Like my fingers, my feelings on the program have numbed me to the point where what we are seeing is expected and it doesn't look like there is any end in sight to solving it. Yes, I know the Eagles are a pretty bad football team and more importantly a pretty bad football program right now, but this is all we have known for quite sometime now. I grant you that BC went bowling just two years ago and went to back to back bowls in Coach Steve Addazio's first two seasons, but doesn't every one make a bowl now? Isn't it more like a participation trophy than a measure of true success? It has been 95 games, 7 1/2 full seasons, since Boston College appeared in the nation's top 25 (December 6, 2008 as #18 vs Virginia Tech in the ACC title game). Unlike many of those who sit near me in Alumni, I still show up every week without fail, but it is like a task, not a labor of love.
- Why didn't BC retire Luke Kuechly's number, not just his jersey? - The various media outlet reports of the event interchangeably used the terms "jersey" and "number", but the truth is they retired his jersey and not his number 40, leaving Mike Ruth and Doug Flutie as the only two Eagles with their numbers retired. Flutie, of course, won the 1984 Heisman Trophy and Ruth, the 1985 Outland Award, but what more could Kuechly do in his college career? I would argue that Kuechly is the singular best football player ever to come out of BC and has the hardware and the records to show it.
- The negative records, shockingly on the defensive side, continue to pile up - Syracuse committed a whopping 16 accepted penalties which tied for the 3rd most opponent penalties in a single game (Morgan State - 1983) and provided BC with four first downs via that route, tied for the 4th most ever..but the defense allowed SU QB Eric Dungey to complete 32 of 38 attempts for 434 yards, the fourth most ever against an Eagle team in a single game.
- 34,647 in the house yesterday? - Really? Not from where I sat. If this is now going to be the norm, where the number is inflated to make things appear better than they are...not a fan. BTW, take a look an excerpt from last Wednesday's Boston Globe article written by Dan Shaughnessy.
Can anyone explain why Boston College football coach Steve Addazio is paid more than $2.5 million per year while losing 11 consecutive ACC games? It can’t be the gate receipts. BC’s once-strong season-ticket football base is less than half of what it was and now hovers in the 14,000 range.
Look for athletic director Brad Bates to be gone soon. San Diego State is looking for a good man.
In the early to mid 90s, the Eagles season ticket base was in excess of the Patriots Now at roughly 50% of that number and dropping by the minute, while the Pats have ads on TV about getting on their waiting list like it is red badge of courage.
5. The loss yesterday makes 12 power five losses in a row, tied with the longest power five losing streak the program has suffered through since 1988-90. - Of course, it is also 12 straight ACC losses.
6. Bristol Community College? - I stopped at the grocery store on the way to the game and picked up some drinks,chips and cookies. A woman behind me joking asked if that was my breakfast and I laughed and said no and told her I was going to the BC game. I had a BC shirt on, with Boston College blazed across the front..tough to miss. She asked me if I was going to see Bristol Community College. Then she said her son worked at Gillette for the Patriots games.
7. Throw a flag for piling on - The two decisions by Addazio yesterday to punt on 4th down with 32 seconds left AFTER taking a time out to mull it over and the decision to accept the holding penalty for 10 yards rather than taking the 9 yard sack, which subsequently led to Syracuse scoring on a third down play which never would have occurred are nothing more than mind boggling. Much like the Presidential election, understanding those two situations are far less about understanding football, than simply having the ability to think logically. One can make the case that the second decision cost BC the game, despite the fact that no matter how you look at it, the Eagles didn't deserve to win.
8. Base defense or sub - neither worked - The very first series of the game, Syracuse looked to go uptempo and with the previous play ending on the BC sideline, the Eagles looked to change personnel, but that didn't go so well. There was clear confusion and it resulted in Addazio taking a very early timeout. BC spent most of the day in base personnel and although they did blitz more than they have against other spread teams, sacking Eric Dungey five times, they also had a horrid day tackling and the loss of Connor Strachan exposed sophomore linebacker Sharrieff Grice in coverage against Orange slot receivers. Grice was picked on mercilessly.
9. Who and what is next in line? - This can't continue..so who's next? When Spaz was let go, the administration went with a supposed offensive coach, but got that wrong..do they go the route of choosing someone with an offensive background, a defensive background, a BC guy, a current or former head coach rather than an assistant? Lots of names will be tossed around and I am sure the three I will bring up here won't have the slightest chance, but why not? Craig Bohl, current Wyoming Head Coach and former Head Coach at North Dakota State (traditional BC philosophy, but with a pedigree of success at the home of the Bison and has turned Wyoming's program around), Scott Frost, current UCF Head Coach, former offensive coordinator at Oregon and Nebraska QB. Completely different pedigree and philosophy and has had immediate success at UCF. Greg Schiano, current Ohio State defensive co-coordinator and former Head Coach at Rutgers and with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFL. Understands the Northeast, built Rutgers from nothing and has recruiting ties throughout the northeast and in Florida. One of my thoughts here, get a guy who is a difference maker, not a JAG (just a guy) and who you can trace the success of the program to his influence as opposed to him inheriting a program that already had momentum (see Spaz (BC) and the Dazzler (Temple).
Guys like PJ Fleck at Western Michigan and Matt Ruhle at Temple will be mentioned for sure.
Whatever the case, spend the money, spend the money wisely and get a guy, who like Tom Coughlin was in his years here, a true difference maker.
10. The worst is still to come - Remember, it was 44-0 at halftime yesterday of NC State-Louisville and BC will still be a significant underdog in Raleigh. What might Bobby Petrino do here in two weeks needing style points for a potential CFP spot?