I wish I could take comfort in anger.
When a team bottoms out the way Boston College completely cratered in Saturday’s evisceration by Virginia Tech, the most emotionally satisfying thing to do is pick someone out - a coordinator, the head coach, the AD, whoever - and launch a campaign for that person’s head.
It’s probably justified to think big changes will and should happen after this season. But I’m not really taking comfort in aiming anger and hoping for changes, because I really don’t know what comes next after that and if it’s really going to make a difference.
Should Steve Addazio be fired at the end of this season - and make no mistake, he should be if BC ends up with a losing record, which feels quite likely - it’ll be time to go through the cycle again: more transfers out, more recruits lost, and another 3-4 year period for a new coach to break in recruits to fit his system.
And whoever that coach is, well, let’s just say they’re probably not going to have many desirable offers if they end up at BC.
Unlike in 2006, or to some extent in 2009, a vacant BC job right now is not really a desirable destination. A lot has changed in the ensuing decade - some BC’s own doing, some just a result of the shifting football landscape.
Obviously, just from the school and the program itself, there’s a big difference between the brand name BC carried in to the marketplace in 2006 and what tattered version of that brand they would carry in to a coaching search in 2016. Anyone who takes this job would be looking at a big building process.
Somewhat outside of BC’s control is another factor that has made BC a less desirable job: the super-conference era. As the major conferences, including the ACC, have loaded up with good teams, it’s become more and more difficult to see a path to a conference title for an “outsider” like a BC or a Pitt or a Syracuse. Even just within BC’s division, there are three ridiculous programs, to the point where it’s hard to imagine BC ever being better than all three in a given year.
This phenomenon is repeating itself in other conferences that stack up as well, meaning that if you’re a coach looking to crash the gate with an unheralded team, you’re probably likelier to find that chance at a dominant team within a midmajor than you are trying claw your way to the top of the ACC or the Big Ten.
All throughout the last few years - even throughout last year and all its challenges - I’ve held out hope that, for all his in-game flaws, Addazio could sort of prove to be a TOB-lite results-wise, and build a platform of winning seasons and bowl appearances that could rebuild the brand and leave it in a better spot for whoever the next guy is.
After the first few weeks of this season, that’s looking less and less likely. There will be no platform built.
We’re left hoping that whoever BC hires next is someone we are fortunate enough to see be a transformative figure. We pretty much need to get lucky and hope that someone either comes out of nowhere to prove to be better than expected, or perhaps hope that someone out there with a BC connection could turn out to be a good head coach.
As far as potentially good coaches go, it feels like someone’s going to need to have a BC connection in order to be interested. Ryan Day? Bicknell? The Return of Jags?! (dream on).
A ball hasn’t been kicked in anger yet at Alumni Stadium this fall, and yet the season feels already lost, with everyone waiting to see what happens next with Bates and Addazio. But we really don’t know what comes next, nor can I even hazard a guess as to what the best way forward is to fix this.
We could well be stuck in this hole for a long time. Pull up a comfy chair, I guess.