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Weekly Kickoff: #ThePath is Dead and Boston College Football is in a Weird Spot

Yes, I’m already looking towards 2024.

Boston College v Syracuse Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images

Well, that was an ugly way for this winning streak to end. Not only did Boston College football lose to Virginia Tech, snap their five-game win streak, and kill their outside shot of making the ACC Championship Game, but they did it in embarrassing fashion. The Hokies came into Chestnut Hill and picked apart the Eagles from the very start, intercepting Thomas Castellanos’s first pass of the game and then again on BC’s third drive of the game. Once VT took a 10-7 lead on those two turnovers, they never looked back, riding their lead all the way to a 48-22 drubbing. Neither side of the ball looked very good for BC on Saturday and the mistakes that they’ve been making all season finally came back to bite them.

Castellanos’s risky misfires downfield actually turned into points for VT, something that Syracuse, UConn, and others couldn’t do. BC’s defense got demolished while unable to stop the run, something that was an issue against Georgia Tech, Army, and Syracuse, but finally really hurt them against VT. And BC’s offensive gameplan fell apart. They were passing the ball a lot early instead of playing to their strengths in the run game, and then couldn’t afford to rush the ball once they went down by multiple scores.

All of this is to say: this Boston College football team is very flawed and the five-game win streak was a bit of a mirage. They were absolutely good enough to beat the teams that they beat, but those teams (Virginia, Army, Georgia Tech, UConn, Syracuse) have a combined record of 17-33 after this weekend. I’m glad that BC isn’t an absolute dumpster fire like they were last year, but our expectations should be higher.

I would be genuinely impressed if this team reached 8 wins like Hafley is alluding to in this quote. It would be a huge step in the right direction and it would help the program to build around some success, especially considering it would require them to defeat Miami in late November. But even if that were to happen, we have to acknowledge that the ACC is declining in quality, they lost a really bad game to NIU, and BC still had to face the likes of UConn and Army to even think about winning 8 games on the season. How much is there actually to celebrate? We’re right back where we were under Steve Addazio.

Where do they go from here?

We have to hope that Jeff Hafley can continue building the program, because I highly doubt he is going to be fired after the season ends even if they drop the last two games to Pitt and Miami. 6-6 and a bowl game appearance is perfectly satisfactory for the Boston College administration, especially considering that they improved from 3-9 last season and that Hafley signed a long-term extension 2 years ago. But it will be harder to hide any deficiencies with a schedule next season that includes games against Michigan State, Mizzou, FSU, Louisville, UNC, and SMU.

The team is going to need to build its offense around Thomas Castellanos, who will be a junior next season. That part at least seems do-able. They’ve found an offensive identity around TC and have succeeded with him under center for the most part. With an offseason of development for him and the staff to fix some of his issues, this offense could be pretty explosive in 2024 if the pieces come together.

The defense is what could really make-or-break this team and this staff. After fielding a pretty good defense in his first few seasons as head coach, Hafley’s D has taken a tumble. The utter blowouts against Louisville and Virginia Tech are the obvious examples of how bad they’ve been, but they also had questionable performances against teams like Army, Virginia, NIU, Holy Cross, and more. The defensive line has been a complete no-show this season both in pass-rushing and run-stuffing. The secondary has been rough but is dealing with a lot of roster turnover, to be fair, and now has veteran Elijah Jones out for the season. And of course the linebacking corps has never really been very good under Hafley, which continued this year. They rank as the 90th overall scoring defense in college football this season, and it’s not like they’ve shown many signs of improvement as the season has progressed.

There are opportunities here to get better. And that’s all I’ll really be asking next year and possibly the year after. With a good QB in Thomas Castellanos on the Heights in 2024 and 2025, there is no reason that Boston College football shouldn’t improve with each coming season. So I won’t exactly be thrilled if that doesn’t happen and they drop back below .500 in 2024.