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Can They Get There? Boston College Football’s Path To A Bowl Game in 2023

Just a couple of wins have resurrected the Eagles’ postseason hopes

Virginia v Boston College Photo by Maddie Malhotra/Getty Images

Yup, you heard me right. The Boston College Eagles, the 1-3 team that dropped their home opener to NIU, almost lost to FCS team Holy Cross, set a program record in penalties against Florida State, and went down 42-14 at halftime against Louisville... has a path to a bowl game. This team started their season just about as badly as they possibly could have, but by pulling out that W against Holy Cross and now winning two straight against Virginia and Army, the Eagles are back to .500 and are a legitimate threat to reach a bowl game if they can finish out the year with three more wins.

It’s important to note, however, that most of BC’s easiest games this year are in the rearview mirror. In the preseason, I named four match-ups as “Must-Wins” for Boston College: Northern Illinois, Holy Cross, UConn, and Army. BC has already played three of those games, winning two, and have just one remaining. So, outside of UConn, the Eagles will need to pick up two additional wins in the final six weeks in order to reach 6-6 and qualify for a bowl game. Let’s take a look at their remaining opponents and figure out where those wins could come from.

Saturday October 21st @ Georgia Tech

This is a really interesting one. Boston College won’t be favored in this match-up, and ESPN’s FPI gives the Yellow Jackets a 76% chance to win. But Georgia Tech is no stranger to letdown losses this season after they dropped a 38-27 loss to Bowling Green two weeks ago. To their credit, GT has beaten Miami since then (on a stupid fumble), defeated Wake Forest earlier in the season, and also put up an admirable performance against Louisville to open the season in a 39-34 loss. I’d say ESPN’s odds in this one are fair. BC has an ok shot to win, but I definitely wouldn’t bet any money on it.

Saturday October 28th vs UConn

This is still a must win for the Eagles. UConn is terrible and looks much worse than the team that upset BC in 2022. The Huskies have lost five straight to open their 2023 season before they finally won against Rice last week in a close 38-31 game. UConn’s defense has been atrocious, giving up at least 24 points in every game and 30+ in four out of six. All BC needs to do is let Thomas Castellanos work his magic and score more than the other guys. That being said, I don’t exactly trust this BC defense against even the worst of opponents. ESPN’s FPI does trust them, at least, giving BC a 77% likelihood to win.

Friday November 3rd @ Syracuse

The Orange sure do love their roller-coasters. In 2022, Syracuse won six straight games to open their season, then lost five straight before closing with a win over BC. They got off to a similar start in 2023, winning their first four games before dropping two very ugly losses to Clemson (31-14) and UNC (40-7). And with FSU up next up on their schedule, things aren’t likely to get better very soon for Cuse. But I would still take the Orange over BC in a head-to-head match-up right now, especially if Garrett Shrader is still healthy and ready to shred the Eagles defense. I think it would be a lot closer than ESPN’s FPI suggests, though, which gives the Eagles just a 13% chance to win.

Saturday November 11th vs Virginia Tech

Here is a prime candidate for another win. Virginia Tech came into this season still in flux after a 3-9 campaign in 2022. And it looks like the Hokies are still dealing with a lot of roster turnover with their second-year head coach as they sit at just 2-4 through six weeks. Those losses include getting blown out by Rutgers and FSU, with some closer contests against Purdue and Marshall that they lost by just a touchdown. Virginia Tech did manage a win over the Phil Jurkovec-led Pitt Panthers, but their resume still arguably looks worse than BC’s. Given that this game will be held in Chestnut Hill, I’d give the slight edge to BC. But ESPN’s FPI would rather give it to VT, who get 54% odds of winning.

Thursday November 16th @ Pittsburgh

This is a mystery game right now, but we should have a better idea what to make of it as the date approaches. That’s because Pitt trotted out our old friend Phil Jurkovec at QB to start the 2023 season, who proceeded to play like his old self. And by that I mean he played like the worst QB in the ACC. So “old” meaning 2022. Who could’ve seen that one coming? We don’t know what new QB Christian Veilleux is going to look like, plus Pitt’s defense hasn’t exactly been stellar so far, so this game could go in any number of directions. I would still probably take the Panthers by a solid margin if I had to bet now, and ESPN’s FPI agrees, giving BC just a 28% chance to win.

Friday November 24th vs Miami

This Black Friday contest closes the regular season for Boston College, and it likely is the most difficult game remaining on the schedule. The Hurricanes were riding high their first four weeks of the season, winning all of their games and climbing to #17 in national rankings before they completely blew it against Georgia Tech. Miami coughed up a costly fumble at the end of the game and lost, when they could’ve just kneeled the clock out to secure a 5-0 record. Nonetheless, Miami is still a good team and will likely be heavily favored in this match-up. The Hurricanes have a great offense led by QB Tyler Van Dyke in his third season as starter, and the defensive side of the ball isn’t too shabby either, top-20 in the nation in points allowed. We’ll see how they look once they have to face some tougher competition in the gut of their schedule, but right now this one looks like a loss. ESPN’s FPI agrees, giving BC just a 14% chance to win.

So Where Does That Leave Us?

I’ve pointed out two clearly winnable games, UConn & Virginia Tech, plus three more games in which BC could realistically pull off an upset. It would require a lot of things to go right, but the path to a bowl game is clearly there. They need to win the two games that they should, plus pull off one upset against a mid-tier ACC team. The BC offense has found a rhythm and has been doing well at playing to its strengths. If Hafley’s staff can shore up the defensive issues in the next couple of weeks, this team could easily pull off wins against a couple of struggling ACC squads and get to 6-6.

If you take ESPN’s FPI at face value, which is the closest we can really get to an objective point of view, they project the Eagles to finish with either 1 or 2 more wins, depending on how you choose to read the probabilities. In the preseason, I predicted that BC would finish with a 5-7 record and I stand by it as the most likely outcome. But it definitely doesn’t seem like much of a stretch that this team could win an extra game. And then we’ll be looking at a trip to beautiful Tampa for the Union Home Mortgage Gasparilla Bowl on December 22nd! Can’t wait!

Do you think Boston College will make a bowl game this season? Let us know in the comments.


Will Boston College finish 2023 with 6 or more wins?

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