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Boston College Football Banter: Observe the BCI Staff Discovering the News About Phil Jurkovec in Real Time

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 14 Notre Dame at Boston College Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Arthur: Hey guys! Well, that game certainly happened! How are we all doing?

Will: Could be worse. Could be better. If I put it on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being losing to Kansas and 10 being beating USC in the first red bandana game, I’m at a solid 4.

Curtis: This team is bound to have bad weeks along with the good weeks, especially when Jurkovec is out for most of the game. BC survived it, which is all that counts for now. But I don’t expect this to be the only week in which the Eagles struggle like this, especially the defense, which is why I tempered my expectations to 8-4 in the regular season.

Arthur: I mean, yeah they’ll struggle. I don’t think they are quite as bad as they let on this past Saturday, I do think there was an element of playing down, but certainly this weekend did not paint a rosy picture of the team’s strength.

Grant: My response to the game is we could have won 2-0 and I would still not care about the end result — the only thing that matters to me is the health of Jurkovec. All else is meaningless. The one caveat to that being obviously that we needed to not take the L. But we won, so... if Jurkovec is healthy then really how good or bad we played in that game isn’t a big deal. Joe pointed out in his Reasons To Be Optimistic post that a lot of our issues were fixable, so I’m confident enough in the coaching staff’s abilities where we can fix them.

Niraj: Echoing Grant here, no need to raise any non-Jurkovec fire alarms in my mind. It was another preseason game, and yes they didn’t play particularly well. Better now than later so they can work on correcting assuming they aren’t inherent flaws. But yeah my mind can’t process anything until I have Phil’s medical files. Which may or may not violate HIPAA

Arthur: Way to actually use HIPAA correctly!

Arthur: This banter is almost certainly going to be a relic—there’s a decent chance when this posts we’ll know how bad Jurkovec’s injury is and anything we say right now will be out of date. I am somewhat reassured that Grosel can run the offense at least against Temple. I’m fully on team don’t take anything for granted, but he looked like he can hold BC over. Well, for now anyway.

Will: As I said in my observations, I hope this game was a bit of a wake up call for the team. The defense will be a work in progress, but some of those little mistakes will really hurt us against bigger teams. But I’m hoping everything I say will be dated, and that we can all laugh about what a downer I am being about this game.

Curtis: I think there’s more here than just preseason kinks, though, and more to be worried about than just Jurk’s injury. The defense being undisciplined with penalties is a holdover from what we saw last year under Hafley. And the interior defense was getting consistently beat by RBs at the line. There were certainly fixable things present and it wasn’t all bad, but I’m not so sure they’re going to be fixed by the time we play Mizzou, Clemson, NCSU, etc all in a row.

[Ed. Note: At this point, we all learn that Jurkovec is likely out for the season.]

Arthur: Well, let’s start over. Last week definitely happened, but that seems almost secondary to the news that broke Tuesday about Phil Jurkovec’s wrist. This is as bad for BC as we think it is, right?

Curtis: Yup. At this point I think we’re fighting for a bowl berth, you can forget any greater aspirations without Jurk behind the center.

Will: I’ll never forgive UMass.

Grant: It’s pretty funny we were talking so much about Grosel in last week’s banter. My opinion still stands here — Grosel is a totally capable backup QB who has solid ability... but he’s not Jurkovec. Jurkovec is something special. There’s a huge drop off in season expectations now. UMass, man. Seriously.

Arthur: If there’s a fall off that is as bad as I think we think it’ll be, it just seems to be an extra kick us while we’re down that it happened against UMass. Like, a non conference game against an also-ran independent team that no one cares about outside New England.
As for Grosel, look he’s fine. He’s obviously not the guy we want. He is a capable passer (did we realize he put up 520 yards against Virginia last year?) but he’s unproven, in 2019 he was very shaky, and I’m going to need a little while to feel comfortable with him running the offense.
That said, he’s had time to develop. He’s not the same kid he was in 2019, nor 2020. Like it or not, he’s our guy now, and one would hope with getting first team reps at practice now he’ll flourish. I don’t think cautious optimism is the proper outlook, but it’s not like we’re going to Troy Flutie under center.

Will: He’s got better weapons than he ever had when he was under center.

Grant: I’m fully in denial to think maybe this is all a ploy to catch Mizzou off guard, right?

Arthur: Buddy...

Grant: A man can dream.

Curtis: Ok, so generally, what are our expectations and aspirations for the season now? What’s a satisfactory record for Hafley to achieve in his 2nd year? I think 6-6 is a reasonable goal for the season. 5-7 maybe a bit disappointing but not unreasonable given the circumstances. And then maybe 7-5 best case scenario.

Arthur: Bowl eligibility is fully in BC’s grasp. Look, we’re going to have to be ok with tempered expectations, but Jurkovec is only one weapon, albeit an important one. BC still has a strong receiving corps, Patrick Garwo may be (gasp) a proper feature back, and Grosel may take us all be surprise. The defense is suspect, but they always were. But, long and short of it, I still think this will be a tolerable season of BC football.
Bottom line, BC only needs to be a game below .500 here on out to make a bowl. With a pretty poor Temple team (but, you know, take every opponent seriously) on the schedule that’s entirely doable.

Grant: I don’t know, man. I’m too depressed to think reasonably. 6-6 I guess? I don’t know. We do have a lot of talent everywhere. If I were thinking more reasonably I’d probably say 7-5.

Will: I’m going to be optimistic and say 7-5. I don’t think the ACC is as strong as some people thought it might be.

Grant: I don’t know, Florida State sure looked like... a football team of some kind.

Arthur: Was that before or after they lost to an FCS team?

Grant: Looked more like an association football team, amirite?

Grant: Anyway... I guess we should look ahead to Temple? We should have enough to take care of business down in Philly, right?

Curtis: BC’s still the better team, but I’d give them like 70% odds to win rather than the 85% I had in mind when Jurkovec was healthy.

Niraj: I think we can still push for 7 wins as well (shouts to the BC over bettors). Sub .500 would still be a big disappointment. BC has the infrastructure offensively to keep it moving, and we don’t exactly play world-beaters as Will mentioned. They should be fine against Temple, but I see Missouri as even more of a barometer now. Maybe the rest of the team steps up even more.

Grant: That’s true about Missouri being a big barometer. It probably does change the dynamic of the offense a bit — maybe we lean on the OL and the run game a bit more, which will burn some clock and hopefully keep the D off the field a bit.
I like what you said about us still having the infrastructure to succeed on offense, that’s a pretty fair point and reason for... well, maybe not optimism, but less defeatism.

Niraj: It took a really good night’s sleep to get to that point, but I’ll probably relapse again.

Arthur: Look, I think the question really rests on whether the loss in productivity between Jurkovec and Grosel is enough to change the outlook enough. We went into this week thinking Temple is an eminently beatable team. I don’t think the difference in productivity is enough to change that. That was the nerdiest way to answer that question but, whatever, go birds.

Niraj: For what it’s worth, Coach Hafley’s recent interview made me somewhat more hopeful. No excuses (hint hint nudge nudge), believes in Grosel and how Cignetti has helped continue his development too. Still tough to not be depressed, but seems like the guys are energized and will rise to the occasion

Arthur: We’re also going to learn a lot about Grosel’s development this week. We’re all kind of speculating, but the reality is there isn’t a ton of data to work through out there right now.

Arthur: So what’s going to happen? I’m predicting a 21-10 victory for BC.

Curtis: 31-24 BC. Roll damn Eags.

Grant: We win this one in pretty boring fashion. I’ll go 24-14 Eagles.