Another season has come and gone, so we think back to some of the highs and lows of the year one last time.
- At 6-7, how would you describe this season in one word (you can elaborate afterwards if one word doesn’t cut it)?
Will: Stale. Same stale approach. Same stale result.
Niraj: Exhausting. For all the wrong reasons
Toppin: Dull. I don’t think I was excited for a single BC game outside of the opener.
2. What was the best moment of the season?
Will: I’m going to go with the Virginia Tech game. It’s hard to top the Pitt game because so few people gave BC a chance in that game but it couldn’t match the hope and optimism I had after the Virginia Tech game. Anthony Brown threw for over 200 yards in just the first half, the defense made some key turnovers, and pulled out a solid opening win despite a rough second half. I felt after that game that if BC played the way they did in the first half all season long that the Eagles could be an 8 win team for sure, maybe add a bowl win to go for 9, but for some reason we never saw that version of BC again. Anthony Brown’s injury didn’t help but even before that BC never trusted their passing game to that extent, relegating it to almost exclusively play action based.
Rich: It’s pretty telling that nothing immediately comes to mind. Any whiff of optimism coming off a win was immediately snuffed out with a bad loss the next week (with the exception of Richmond after the VT win, but c’mon). I guess I’ll go with AJ Dillon and David Bailey’s combined statline against Syracuse: 51 carries for 414 yards and 5 touchdowns. I’m going to miss watching AJ run the ball, but Bailey appears to be a worthy successor.
Niraj: The worst part of me would say when it ended, but I think it was the AJ put the team on his back against Pitt. Getting us bowl eligible was great, but it was the kind of send off he deserved and earned. That was an absolute delight.
Toppin: Syracuse. I think at that moment I realized simultaneously that 1) AJ Dillon is the best running back I’ve seen in my lifetime (sorry Jahvid Best) and 2) as a runner, Bailey should be able to pick up the extra carries and perform, no questions asked. Plus who would have imagined BC scoring 54 against a ‘rival’ after the last five years.
Grant: It was definitely Virginia Tech for me. There was so much optimism, there was a real path to the Top 25, a real path to a great season... And then it was gone just like that. Man, that feels like years ago now. Woof.
3. What was the low point of the season?
Will: The Kansas game. I wrote a preview for Kansas in the off-season and it was a game I was nervous about for a number of reasons but never did I think it would be as bad as it was. For BC to be so heavily favored then just embarrassed at home was just a gut punch. I wouldn’t say all hope was lost after that game but I think maybe it became clear that the Tech game was an anomaly and not what we could expect to see from BC.
Rich: It’s probably Kansas, but for the sake of variety, I’ll go with Notre Dame. Against three ranked opponents, the Eagles lost by an average of 39 points per game. You expect to get killed at Clemson, the bowl game was a weird transition period, but being completely noncompetitive with nothing to lose against a former rival was pretty disheartening.
Niraj: It’s definitely Kansas, but I think Anthony Brown’s season ending injury during the Louisville game was a low point. While in this particular game, Dennis Grosel was kind of electric, it still felt to me like all hope was really lost and it was even worse thinking about AB. For such a high character guy, this was a real gut punch.
Toppin: Am I too late to say Kansas. What a miserable game. First game back at Alumni as an alumnus. A historical upset. A crushing loss. Nothing ruins a season like being the high point of Kansas’. I also got puked on, which added some insult to injury.
Grant: Yep, Kansas. It just shattered all hope for a good season. It would have taken a stunning turnaround from there to get into the Top 25 discussion, and it just wasn't going to happen. Plus I don't think I've ever seen our defense look that bad maybe ever. The Jayhawks were on a casual stroll down the field every single time, it was incredible.
4. Who or what was the most pleasant surprise of the season (or what was the most disappointing if you choose pessimism)?
Will: David Bailey. I thought David Bailey had a chance to have a breakout season but I didn’t think he’d look as good as Dillon for most of the year or nearly get to a thousand yard splitting carries with an All-American. Now, granted Bailey hadn’t had to carry the rock around 600 times over the last two years but still I think he was much better than I thought he’d be in just his second year.
Rich: Zay Flowers. Flowers burst on the scene in his first collegiate game with 116 total yards and a TD. His production dropped way off in the second half of the season, and I think you can pin that on predictable playcalling and the loss of Anthony Brown. But Zay showed flashes of big play potential in his freshman season, and I’m looking forward to watching him develop.
Niraj: Hunter Long. I think I mention him every time any question like this has come up, and really thought highly of him coming into the season, but boy did he deliver. Leading the team on the receiving end and emerging as an excellent tight end and heir apparent to Tommy Sweeney was enormous. Without him, the offense would have stalled even more often than it did. It seemed like every time he caught a pass, it was going for a long gain or gave us a little hope.
Toppin: The whole offensive line. I wasn’t sure what to expect this year after they disappointed a bit last year, but they came through as a unit to deliver performance after performance. I don’t think Dennis Grosel wins a single game as a starter if not for the big boys up front.
Grant: I have to agree on it being the offensive line. I really wasn't expecting much there, but they really exceeded my expectations. The best part is that that group is pretty young and they should give us a really good base on which to build a good season next year.
5. If you could switch one win and one loss from the schedule, which would you choose?
Will: Florida State. There isn’t a huge difference between second and third but it sure sounds better. Also losing a Red Bandana game on a late touchdown to an ACC opponent was a hard one to swallow. At 7-5, we could’ve still finished at 8-5 or 7-6 depending on who BC played in the bowl game and I think we all would’ve been happier with that result. That also means we’d probably still have Addazio, so pick your poison on that one. Also I just hate Florida State.
Rich: Can I just switch the Cincinnati game to *cancelled due to inclement weather*?
Niraj: Let’s lose to Richmond, but beat Cincinnati. Yes, I know that we would have only have five wins, but let’s pretend we made it thanks to Grant’s obsession with the 5 win bowl team [Grant Note: HA touché]. Then we beat a ranked team sans Daz and everything’s coming up Eagles. I would pick another game, but I wouldn’t want to change the series of events that led to Hafley. And it makes Kansas less shocking.
Toppin: What a bunch of tiny-imagination colleagues I have. Let’s flip Clemson to a W. Just to watch the world burn.
Grant: Damn it, Toppin stole my answer. That's what I get for waiting until the last minute to respond to this. Okay, I'll flip the Kansas game to a win and lose to Pitt. We're probably ranked after Rutgers if we don't completely torch our season by losing to Kansas so badly. And we'd have six wins before Pitt, so that game wouldn't have mattered nearly as much as it did.
6. What are you looking forward to now that the BC football season is over?
Will: I’d like to see if BC Men’s Basketball can make it out of the first round of the ACC tournament. I think they have a chance to do that because this team can be good in stretches. Just need the seeding to go our way.
Rich: Well, men’s hockey has reeled off 10 in a row, so you can catch me on that bandwagon. Also, looking forward to the BC baseball season. The Eagles made some noise in the ACC tournament last season, and they’re returning a ton of young talent.
Niraj: Not having to write about the sky falling after every football game until next season.
Toppin: Now that I get my Saturdays back I’m really looking forward to skiing a lot more. It’s always something I’ve enjoyed but have never done seriously. Now that I’m so close to the mountains in California, how can I not take advantage of that? Oh and also watching BC basketball. It’s not any more successful that football, but I’m surprisingly optimistic about the future given a historical lack of results (also Jim Christian can beat a ranked team!)
Grant: MEN'S HOCKEY IS GOOD AGAIN, BABY, LET'S GOOOOOOOOOO!! Unfortunately the women's team appears to have made a blood sacrifice at the altar of the hockey gods to help them out, so that's sad. But I do look forward to the women's hockey team surprising some people and taking a trophy or two in February/March as well.