Curtis: Well, that sure did bring us down to Earth. It seems that a lot of the old issues cropped up to hurt BC football against Virginia Tech, leading to a blowout. What stood out to you guys?
Arthur: Flat. Again. It feels like the same song. Big game, important game, team doesn’t match up with the moment. In fairness, the hits at depth at running back clearly hurt. And who knows why Elijah Jones isn’t available. But they were very flat. The defense also looked as bad as it did against Louisville, and you can’t tell me with a straight face that Virginia Tech is as good as Louisville.
Curtis: The missing players certainly hurt them, but don’t know that they were worth the 20+ points that BC ended up losing by. There was a lot inherently wrong with the way the team played, and it starts with tackling on defense and turnovers on offense.
Kieran: Phew, that was certainly a game wasn’t it? It kinda felt like one of these had been coming for BC, as it usually does. Curtis, I think you nailed it: missing a few players is not an excuse to lose by 20+ points. I wonder if there was some sort of emotional hangover after clinching a bowl game last week. Regardless, while this season has exceeded expectations, there’s no reason to let the wheels fall off yet. They have a very winnable game next week against Pitt, so we’ll see how badly this team wants to win more than 6 games.
Curran: I wrote before the Syracuse game that the team was facing a kind of litmus test: that with some better (yet still very mediocre) competition, we would finally see just how far this team has improved versus just benefited from weaker competition. We barely scraped by a terrible Syracuse team with a backup QB who couldn’t throw before getting demolished at home by a VT team that also isn’t very good. To me, that is damning.
Curtis: That’s exactly right. The easy schedule likely isn’t going to have an impact of Hafley’s job security after the year is over, though. He’s going to have a tall task to get this team ready for next season with opponents like Michigan State, Mizzou, FSU, Louisville, UNC, and SMU on the schedule. Those teams are a far cry from Army, UConn, and NIU.
Curran: I struggle to see how Hafley survives that gauntlet. The five-game win streak was nice, but I feel confident in saying we just played a string of pretty bad teams and improved only slightly enough to win. Hafley deserves some credit for that, but I think his limitations have been exposed and I don’t think there is a higher ceiling with him at the helm.
Curtis: Castellanos may be able to take us to a higher ceiling if he improves over the offseason. There’s obviously a lot of potential there and I think they could be explosive if they play it the right way. But with such a focus on ground-and-pound, ball control run game, having a bad defense will tank us pretty quick.
Arthur: I feel like the issue is that it’s always something, right? They haven’t been able to play a complete game all year. Maybe FSU is the one exception. I think Mizzou and FSU should be away games, no? So add going into those hostile buildings to the problem facing Hafley. SMU also looks very strong this year.
Curtis: Yup. I doubt that this year’s team would’ve reached bowl eligibility with a schedule like that. But I guess all we can do now is hope that the team gets better over the offseason and will be competitive with those squads. It’s going to be a pretty good barometer for which direction Hafley is really taking this program.
Arthur: To your point Curtis, I would hope that Castellanos improves over the off-season. I think with health around him, and a year of development he’ll be better. He has shown signs of brilliance that just need to become more than signs.
Curran: And it says volumes that in our “most complete game” this year we set a team record for penalties in a game. As Castellanos goes, this team will go. Hopefully the O-line remains dominant.
Kieran: Leave it to BC football to have a winning season but already have fans writing off next year. I do agree with you all though, next year will only be tougher, and unless the incoming recruiting class adds some nice surprises or the entire teams improves a whole lot, next year could spell doom for Hafley.
Curtis: Alright I think we’re getting too ahead of ourselves. We still have a game against Pitt on Thursday! How are we feeling about that match-up?
Curran: Please Narduzzi, let Phil Jurkovec play. I want that matchup. In all seriousness, we should win. Pitt has 2 wins. A loss here would be terrible, and for me at least completely reverse any good momentum we gained during the win streak.
Arthur: To push up against that though, it’s a short turnaround from a game where BC got absolutely demoralized. This year they’ve been decent at bouncing back, but historically this is when the wheels fall off for Jeff Hafley coached teams. I know Pitt only has two wins, but let’s be real, who has BC beaten this year where we’re looking down on that? I mean, one of those two wins was against a Louisville team that ran BC out of their building.
Curtis: It’s also a short turnaround for Pitt, to be fair, who just lost to a Syracuse team that only completed 4 passes the entire game. This Panthers defense is a shell of its former self and the match-up in the run game favors us well. While I can definitely see a world in which BC drops a disappointment here, I like our chances.
Arthur: What run game does BC have at this point though?
Curtis: Castellanos and Alex Broome! No Robichaux and no Garwo is definitely a blow, but the OL is still a decent unit and we have two pretty good rushers.
Arthur: I mean, fair, but you saw how far they got with Castellanos and Broome against Virginia Tech.
Kieran: BC really should feel confident in their chances against Pitt. The Panthers are baaaad, bad, so if the Eagles lose, it’s gonna be an ugly game.