Just waking up an hour later this morning and musing after the Eagles 52-7 loss to Louisville yesterday. I am not a big fan of the Sunday after you push the clocks back that hour. It is dark enough already (go to work in the dark, come home in the dark), but it still makes my day better than Steve Addazio's has to be following another pasting by a top 10 team.
Here goes this week's stream of consciousness:
- In case you are wondering, I didn't do the "Guess the Attendance" or "Coach's Corner" posts because I was angry that the Eagles beat NC State last week. Life and one's job in particular can dictate how much time any of us can spend and until the wonderful people at SBNation pony up a pay check..one does what one can!
- Before getting into the Eagles performance yesterday, we would be way off base not to call a spade a spade and rave over the play of the Louisville Cardinals. I am not a Bobby Petrino fan, but it is impossible to ignore how good this team is on all sides of the ball. Yes, Lamar Jackson makes them special, but they are strong in all phases of the game and seemingly at all positions on the field and are without a doubt, a playoff worthy team. They may not get there in 2017, but something tells me this is a year a two loss team crashes the party and if that is the case, the Cardinals will be that team. And oh, the jump cut he made on the 53 yard TD run late in the third quarter was other worldly.
- Watching yesterday I couldn't help but thinking that there is a very good chance BC will still go to a bowl and how absurd that thought is. Odds are the Eagles will pull out a win over UConn and then perhaps beat Wake at the end of the year, although I am still not sold on that, and wind up playing in December. This is a team with no wins over teams with over .500 records at any level and their four wins are over teams ranked 48, 136, 160 and 215 in the latest Sagarin poll. If the Eagles find a way to six wins and beat UConn and Wake, they will add skins ranked #69 (Demon Deacs) and #107 (Huskies). Not exactly Murderer's Row. In 1982 when the Eagles broke the 40 year bowl drought only 32 total teams made bowl games. This year, 82 different teams will be "rewarded" for stellar seasons.
- Have you ever seen a game with more wide open receivers than Louisville had in yesterday's no contest? Guys were open by the distance of a first down and even on the interception by John Johnson, the blame should have gone to Lamar Jackson who threw into a situation where BC had safety help. In 1 on 1 situations, whether it was a BC cornerback, safety or linebacker, they were totally over matched.
- 38-0 at the half. Everyone remembers BC 62 Howard 0 at the half of last year's FCS beat down, but I had to think a bit about the last time the Eagles were down like that at the half. I thought back to my all time stinker list and found #1, the 49-7 loss to Army in 1995 where BC trailed 42-0 at the half. No question that if Lamar Jackson didn't miss those final two series, the Cards could have equaled or surpassed that mark.
- What's happened to Jon Hilliman? Whether it's the injury of a year ago, the ineffectiveness of the offensive line or the play calling, Hilliman just isn't the same. Yesterday he ran for 21 yards on 10 carries for an anemic 2.1 yards per play. You could ask if this is Leonard Fournette against the Alabama defense part II, except Hilliman's average on the season is just 3.3 yards per carry on 129 attempts If you take away the 73 yard TD run in the opener vs Georgia Tech, on the rest of his 128 rushes, Hilliman averages just 2.8 yards per carry. He needed to be the Jon Hilliman of 2014 as well as get productivity out of the QB position for the Eagles to have an offensive resurgence and that just hasn't happened.
- Speaking of running the ball, BC managed just 57 yards rushing for the game and got 29 of those yards on the last drive of the game. The 1.54 yards per carry was their lowest of the season, just eclipsing the 1.57 ypc at Virginia Tech where BC was held to 44 yards on the ground. In the past two seasons against the Cardinals, BC has managed only 43 yards total on land, over 67 carries for a 0.64 ypc mark. The -14 the Eagles gained last year had to be some sort of mark, but unlike the positive stats, BC doesn't post the low water marks.
- The 52 points put up by the Cardinals marks the first time in program history that BC has ever allowed 50 points or more twice in the same season. They have come close in 2000 (48 and 52) and in 1995 (49 and 58) most recently, but this one goes in the record books.
- When Louisville got the ball to start the game, before the kickoff I turned to my buddy and said, Lamar Jackson on a QB run, 7-0 Louisville. It will take a minute, twenty five seconds. It took 1:16.
- Towles or Wade? So this is as loaded a question as is whether you fire Addazio and the AD situation with Brad Bates, but at this point, what are we trying to prove? Towles has been far from great on that I think we can all agree, but in general the people who come under the most fire when things aren't going well are the QB and the head coach and in this case, I have heard no moans from the stands against Towles. But we all realize that Towles isn't the long term answer. He was brought in as a stop gap measure, ostensibly to bridge to Anthony Brown, if one is to believe that, but what does that say about Darius Wade? BC doesn't need Patrick Towles to beat UConn and probably not to be Wake Forest either, the problems are bigger than that and at this point, the decision to play Towles speaks to two clear points 1) that the staff has no confidence in Wade and no belief that he is the future of the program and 2) that Addazio is in full job security mode and feels the pressure to win now.
- Speaking of which point two. The lack of juice in the building is incredible. The atmosphere at Alumni Stadium has become more like going to a PGA or LPGA event than a college football game. Crowds are not only sparse, but there is just a general lack of care. It has become a place to sit and chit chat and not get overly excited or worked up about the on the field product. While the reasons are obvious, this has not always been the norm at BC. Whether it was the venom hurled at Frank Spaziani or going all the way back to my early days when the old East Boston guys sitting behind my Dad and I vilified Joe Yukica ("Yukica, you bum", still rings out in my ears), either BC has become a true wine and cheese crowd or worse yet, simply doesn't care. Given that, to see and hear Steve Addazio in a press conference responding to any question as if he is on the spit fire roast in the SEC, is more than mildly irritating. While Addazio lived the Urban Meyer Florida years, his only other role as Chief Executive was at Temple in decidedly one of the least pressure environments in America.
- Has this become worse than Spaz? I know that's going to extremes, but remember Spaz started out with two bowl trips before the roof fell in on him. Granted the talent level he inherited was superior to what he then graced Addazio with, but if we remove all those factors and just look at where things are on the field today and compare it to 2015 and 2016, even Spaz' 2-10 season, it is at least something one could debate. In 2012 the Eagles finished 2-10 with wins over Maine (34-3) and Maryland (20-17) both at home. BC took one massive beating, losing 51-7 at Florida State, but other than that, lost no worse than a 37-17 loss at Georgia Tech. BC's non conference schedule that year consisted of Maine, Army, Notre Dame and Northwestern, certainly better than this season's Wagner, UMass, UConn and Buffalo, which arguably is one of the worst in the country. I think the program currently is in slightly better shape than it was in 2012, but only slightly.