Alright, finally! The 2022 Boston College football season is upon us! First off, what gets you most excited looking ahead to this season?
Curtis: Seeing old friends, watching a game in Alumni Stadium, and screaming Mr. Brightside at the top of my lungs. Sept 3rd vs Rutgers can’t get here fast enough!
Grant: The annual preseason shot of hope before the inevitable influx of disappointment and despair have had a chance to settle in.
Niraj: Let’s goooooo. The sheer prospect of seeing a healthy Phil connect with Zay again is tantalizing. There was so much buzz entering last season. It still feels like a lost season after what unfolded with the rest of the conference. But hey, we’re on to the next.
Peter: I’m excited most to see a hopefully full year of a healthy Jurkovec and the chemistry he can build with his receivers. Last year was built on so much hype that was deflated early with Jurkovec going down early in the season. This year will serve as a hard reboot in excitement which should have been exemplified last year.
What do you think this BC team’s greatest strength will be?
Curtis: The offense and its dynamic playmakers. The easy answer is to just include the QB and pass-catchers, who should absolutely be phenomenal, but I also want to shed some light on Patrick Garwo III and the running game. Garwo went beastmode last season and showed that he’s a force to be reckoned with in the conference, earning 2nd team all-ACC honors. Once the passing game opens up with Jurk slinging it to Flowers, Gill, and more, Garwo will have even more room to run. This offense will be fun to watch.
Grant: Quarterback. We have a generationally special talent under center for the first time in, well, almost a generation (we are old). Hopefully we have the pieces needed to support him.
Niraj: I’ll say the secondary. The unit doesn’t have much ambiguity in the air. You have established talent, solid veterans, and highly regarded new blood. The secondary returns most of the talent that producted a stellar year, and presumably their job gets a bit easier with a better pass rush.
Peter: Pat Garwo should really jump a level in his playing abilities and may provide us with one of the best backfields in the country. That said, I’ll make a blanket statement and say I think our offense for the first time in a long-time will be of a bigger strength than our defense this year.
And what about this team worries you the most?
Curtis: Defense, defense, defense. The offensive line will have its struggles, but I think the strong talent in other parts of the offense will help make up for it. But I’m much more concerned about how the defense steps into this year. They didn’t lose any huge pieces (mostly just Isaiah Graham-Mobley) and they added back some pass rushers who were hurt last year. It will be hugely important that the defensive unit takes a step forward this year if BC wants to flirt with 8 wins or more. Theoretically, they should.
Grant: Offensive line. If we had a more experienced OL I would really think we’ve got ourselves a big season ahead. Losing Mahogany in particular is going to sting. Hopefully the new guys can get acclimated quickly.
Niraj: You can’t help but look to the offensive line. Early camp reports suggest it could go in a few direction and that guys are competing. Still, five brand new starters is the number one thing that could derail the season (apart from injuries, of course). Whoever is in front of Jurkovec and his own health may limit opportunities to try and create something out of nothing. We’ve seen how much he does that, even when he’s clearly hobbled. It’s one of his best attributes although one he may be wise to be smarter about, but he and the offensive system will have to give time for things to come together.
Peter: Our Offensive Line... A lot of question marks surrounding how that is going to look this season. Let’s just hope that they put in extra work this offseason on passblocking and making sure Jurkovec doesn’t get hurt as that is priority numero uno.
Who is your player to watch this season, and why?
Curtis: I’m ready for a full-on Zay Flowers hype train. With a QB who can actually make some downfield passes at the helm, and hopefully a new offensive coordinator who knows how to utilize him better, I expect Flowers to blossom for his final year at BC.
Grant: Zay Flowers, which is too obvious a pick but is nonetheless the pick. He’s going to get a LOT of attention. If he can still have a monster year, he is going to be a must-have product for someone in the NFL draft.
Niraj: Jaelen Gill is my guy. I love his style of play and his ability to run after the catch. Last season there was plenty of talk about his improved connection with Jurkovec, but was out for the first part of the season. With all the focus on Zay, Gill can feast underneath. He’s always showed flashes, and can be deployed in a number of ways.
Peter: Zay Flowers. Do I really need to explain why? Outside of Zay, I would say I am excited to see what running back Xavier Coleman has to offer with reps he gets this year. There was a lot of hype behind him going into camp this season and I am curious to see how much depth he provides to this RB core
Any bold predictions or unexpected developments you think could play out for the Eagles this year?
Curtis: BC loses to Syracuse, but defeats either Clemson or NC State. This Eagles team is going to be very volatile (high-powered offense, middling defense) which I think will result in some wacky, random outcomes. Syracuse, for one, is an easy team to overlook despite how decent they may actually be. And the division’s top dogs in Clemson and NCSU aren’t invulnerable, they clearly have flaws that BC can exploit. It’s going to be a rollercoaster out there in 2022.
Grant: I think the defense surprises and takes a big step forward. Obviously Jurkovec and Flowers are going to be the focal point of the roster, but if we’re going to have meaningful success it’s going to be because the defense holds up its end of the workload. This is Hafley’s bread and butter, and I think we see some real gains there this year.
Niraj: Clemson upset
Peter: BC goes into South Bend and stuns the Irish. It has been wayyyy too long
Finally, what is your prediction for Boston College’s record at the end of the season?
Curtis: I’m predicting a 7-5 regular season. The ACC Atlantic is a slog this year, drawing Notre Dame in nonconference play won’t help their chances, and you just know they’re going to drop a game or two that they really should have won. But Hafley will still have the opportunity to break the Seven Win Steve curse at the bowl game assuming another act of God doesn’t prevent it from being played for another year.
Grant: 8-4. There’s real talent here and Jurkovec, if he stays healthy, is too good a signalcaller to squander. A bigger than expected jump in defensive stoutness could see us being even better than that, but I’ll keep my prediction more in the realm of the realistic for now.
Niraj: I’m doing it again: 8-4, over the dreaded Addazio Line